Hello? Can you see this? I think I’m writing to you from Earth-2. Is this getting through? I sure hope so, because there’s something I have to tell you. On this side of the wormhole, The CW serves up fun, fan-pleasing episodes of The Flash and Arrow back-to-back. I’m serious. Two strong episodes in the same week.
I’m thinking about staying on Earth-2 another day, just to see whether they can go three-for-three and deliver a solid Legends of Tomorrow, too. If I do stay just one day longer, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Where to start? How about with the cameos and returning characters. Nyssa! One of her loyalists sprung the Demon’s Daughter from her cell in Nanda Parbat with the ol’ “shiv in the pepper” trick. With Malcolm away in Star City to see to his dying daughter (the other Demon’s Daughter, as it stands now), Nyssa and her crew take the mountain fortress. Not content to sit back and wait for Malcolm to return with his assassins, Nyssa and company depart for Japan, where “the lotus” has been located.
And who should Nyssa come upon sitting guard beside a shrine atop a winding road through the woods? Why, it’s none other than Tatsu! Tatsu’s back! Not only are Nyssa and Tatsu back, but they battle to the death! Okay, they just battle until they’re out of breath, but c’mon, who didn’t love seeing a little swordplay out of these two women?
It turns out that Nyssa needs “the lotus” to save Thea. While attempting to stop a burglar who is stealing seemingly unconnected but highly advanced tech from various companies around Star City, Thea passes out and nearly falls off of the roof of a building. Malcolm explains it this way: the effects of the Lazarus Pit are a balancing act. If Thea refuses to give in to her bloodlust–if she refuses to take a life–then the bloodlust will take her life.
Ollie goes into his patented “it’s all my fault mode.” The rest of the team tells Ollie to cut that out. Thea in particular, telling Ollie that this isn’t his fault and that Ollie can’t fix this. Well, he can, but that would involve trying to strike a bargain with Damien Darhk. Thea doesn’t want any part of that and certainly doesn’t want Ollie owing Darhk any favors. Whether to take a life and live or to restrain herself and to die is Thea’s choice. Not Malcolm’s. Not Ollie’s.
How refreshing is it to see a character embracing her decisions, the consequences of those decisions, and her fate. She doesn’t exist for Ollie to feel guilty or to motivate him to do something drastic. She is her own person! If she comes out of her coma, Thea needs to spend some time with the ladies in Central City. Maybe she’ll rub off on them a little.
Instead, the team focuses on catching the burglar, who turns out to be Roy Harper. Roy’s back, too! Ollie catches and IDs Roy once, following a slick display of parkour (seriously, excellent job!), but Roy escapes, only to be caught stealing a prototype battery from Curtis at Palmer Tech. Yes, Curtis used a T-sphere! This episode is like feeding candy to my inner 10-year-old geek. Like that sugary confection? Here, chase that with this chocolate!
With Thea down, Roy suits back up in red and helps the team stop the villain of the week, the Calculator. (Remember, Darhk offered Ollie a short truce for the team saving Darhk’s family from Anarky a couple of weeks ago.) Like Thea, Roy is the only one who controls his destiny. When the Calculator–who is Felicity’s father!–jams the signal for the remote detonator, which will destroy the Calculator’s weapon for killing everyone in the city, Roy stays behind to blow the C4 manually.
And there’s nothing Ollie can do about it.
With the threat neutralized, Felicity gets a pep talk meets keepin’-it-real lecture from Curtis. Palmer Tech needs the brave, smart, whipping around in her wheelchair Felicity Smoak to present the battery that will save the company from the edge of bankruptcy. Not only are Curtis and Ollie on hand to lend Felicity their support, but dear ol’ dad shows up as well.
That’s the takeaway from this week’s episode, kiddos. Guilt is Ollie’s darkness. It’s his weakness. It’s the thing makes him consider making a deal with the devil. It’s what he has to let go of in order to be the man his team, his loved ones, and his city need him to be. He heard this all once before… back on Lian Yu. And who better to deliver the message to Ollie in his delirium but Shado? Shado!
Ollie does that. He’s not happy with it, but he’s made his decision to let Thea decide her own fate, even if that means losing her. He’s made his peace with Malcolm, who has done the same for Thea and helped Ollie to let go.
Remember Nyssa? She has “the lotus,” which was a concoction that the enemies of the League of Assassins made to counter the effects of the Lazarus Pit. After leaving Tatsu in Japan, Nyssa comes to Star City to deliver Ollie “the lotus” and save Thea. All Ollie has to do is kill Malcolm.
Wow, what an episode! I’m telling you, the Earth-2 writers and producers of Arrow have got it figured out. I can’t wait to see how they re-introduce Slade Wilson!