Arrow: Suicide Missions Galore
Pretty much everyone volunteers to die for Sara’s murder except the guy responsible. And we finally get an answer to the eternal question, “Where do superhero come from?” (The answer is S-E-X, obviously)
Previously on Arrow: Oliver finally told Thea that she killed Sara and Thea disowned Malcolm as a result.
Ra’s is sitting in some fancy stone hot tub thing that is sadly neither Lazarus Pit or time machine, and you know he’s in Nanda Parbat because the music is vaguely Asian. Nyssa rushes in to report that Oliver is still alive—Ra’s knew that already, and Nyssa is pissed that he didn’t bother to tell her.
He says he didn’t tell her because Oliver didn’t kill Sara, but Nyssa accuses him of simply refusing to believe Oliver’s confession because he didn’t approve of her relationship with Sara. Ra’s claims it has nothing to do with the whole lesbian thing: he just figured Sara would eventually break Nyssa’s heart, and he didn’t approve of that. Nyssa thinks Oliver should die anyway, for the crime of challenging Ra’s, whether or not he actually killed Sara.
In the Arrow Cave, Oliver, Thea, and Malcolm are having a spirited sparring session. It’s Thea and Oliver vs. Malcolm, and the half-siblings don’t fare well. Malcolm thinks they have a long way to go to be ready to kill Ra’s al Ghul, especially Oliver and his bow-and-arrow habit.
John comes down to tell the group he’s reinforced all the security, which seems pointless because Malcolm’s already in. Malcolm wants Oliver and Thea to relocate to the Cave because he’s avoided being murdered for so long because the League doesn’t know where he is. No, wait, they don’t know where in the city he is. Seriously? The League of motherfucking Assassins can’t find a dude in
Seattle Starling City?
Laurel has been observing all this, and she comments on how much Thea seems to have learned in such a short time. Thea fights like Sara used to, she says, which makes sense since Malcolm and Sara were both trained by the League. Thea doesn’t want to talk about Sara with Laurel, though, so she hits the showers.
Oliver is still working on his swordplay when John comes over to check on Ollie—he’s been working too hard and not sleeping much. Oliver thinks he’ll sleep when it’s over, and John rolls his eyes as he leaves him to his swords.
ISLAND TIME! Oliver is in debrief in China, recounting how he and Maseo recovered the Omega virus and captured Chen Na Wei. General Shrieve comes into the interrogation/interview room to relieve the questioner, and he’s playing it pretty friendly. He tells Oliver that Maseo and his family are being released to return to Japan, and Oliver’s also free to go home. Oliver doesn’t seem suspicious at all, and he and Shrieve shake hands.
Thea is hanging out alone in Verdant, and Roy wanders in, impressed with the new security measures. Thea says she’s not okay, but she can’t tell Roy why. Roy thinks she has to have somebody to talk to besides Oliver, so she gives it up pretty easily; of course, Roy was already aware Thea killed Sara. She’s a bit incredulous that everybody but her knew about it, but Roy commiserates, sharing his experience on Mirakuru and killing the cop. They try to out-angst each other, and Thea thinks she wins because she has to see Laurel every day.
Hey, it’s Ray! He’s in his apartment, and judging by his impressive stubble and artfully mussed hair, he’s been there for a while. Felicity rings the doorbell, and she confirms my suspicions: Palmer Tech stock has taken a dive because Palmer himself has been AWOL. Then she looks around his apartment and notices it appears to be a full lab. Ray is apparently also sleep-deprived, because Felicity has to stop him from using some tool on material that could destroy the whole building, kind of like metal in the microwave. She tries to make him go to bed, but not in the fun way. He pulls the dead wife card, and she gives up.
Laurel is calling Quentin again, but he’s not answering or returning her many calls. Thea overhears, because she’s lurking in the DA’s office to talk to Laurel. I see this “don’t tell Laurel” directive is going to be immediately overridden. Sure enough, Thea straight up tells Laurel that Malcolm drugged her and sent her to kill Sara. As I thought, Laurel immediately tells Thea it wasn’t her fault, but she’s pretty incredulous that now that she knows the truth, Thea is continuing to work with Malcolm. Thea says she has no choice because of the threat of the League, but Laurel doesn’t quite buy it.
Oliver is now working on one-handed swordsmanship when Laurel comes down to the Cave—she can’t remember Sara’s smile anymore, just the way she looked after falling off that building. Laurel baits Oliver by claiming that the only thing keeping her going is knowing that they’ll find her killer one day, and Oliver promises that they will. Laurel busts him for lying, but Oliver says he was just trying to protect Thea, proving he doesn’t know Laurel that well, because, again, she immediately absolved Roy when they all thought he was the inadvertent killer. Oliver again tries to convince whoever’s around that he desperately needs Malcolm and can’t possibly survive without him. Whatever, Queen.
Oliver is pretty annoyed that Thea only made it a whole week before telling all the people she wasn’t supposed to tell about the Sara thing. Thea counters that she’s not into all this “secrecy for the sake of secrecy” bullshit that Oliver practices, and also she really doesn’t like having to work with Malcolm. In fact, she may have done something to ensure that Malcolm is the only one of them facing the League.
Malcolm is wandering around in one of Starling’s many and varied abandoned warehouses when Canary steps up behind him. She runs at him, and he easily dodges her many strikes with the police baton. Did you consider bringing a gun? No? Okay, just checking. He brings her down a few times, going relatively easy on her, and takes the baton…and she does pull out a gun. Okay, then! Before she can struggle with the decision to kill him for longer than necessary, though, they’re ambushed: by Nyssa and the League. A League minion holds Laurel to the side while Nyssa and Malcolm fight. She’s better than him and quickly brings him down and knocks him out. She tells Laurel that Sara’s murder is avenged as League minions haul off Malcolm’s unconscious body.
In the Cave, Oliver comes in to yell at Laurel for going after Malcolm, but she doesn’t really give a shit about his attempts to control her. Damn, Laurel has gotten really badass this season. Hooray for character growth! He whines that she gets too emotional and womanly to be a real superhero, which oh my god Oliver, pot kettle. John distracts him with the real point at hand–which is that the League has Malcolm and Malcolm has a video of Thea killing Sara. Oliver muses that Malcolm wouldn’t serve up Thea in his place, though, because he does love her. Oliver’s solution is that they rescue Malcolm, because Thea is too emotional and womanly to realize that she served her own father up for death and they need to protect her from herself, which is both sexist and patronizing. Oliver is on a roll today! Felicity starts to look up private airfield information, but Laurel is having none of it and storms out.
Island Time! Oliver and the Yamashiros are having a joyous goodbye before they had back to their respective hometowns for a happy and well deserved retirement because that’s absolutely what’s about to happen. Ollie tells Akio he’ll be happy to send his family’s plane to fetch them to America for vacation any time they want, and Tatsu apparently didn’t realize that the Queen Consolidated heir owned a plane. As the four of them head towards the boat that will take them to Japan, suspicious-looking dock workers start hovering around suspiciously. Maseo notices first and pulls his gun; shots ring out as they all duck for cover.
The League is holding Malcolm at an airfield. Malcolm immediately starts trying to convince Nyssa that Ra’s gives no shits about Sara’s death and that her lesbianism has cost her the chance to inherit Ra’s’ position as head of the League. Oliver roars up shortly after, and the League minions escort Malcolm onto a helicopter while Nyssa and Oliver fight. Oliver manages to hit her with an arrow, but the helicopter takes off with Malcolm aboard.
In the Cave, Nyssa is safely ensconced in a cell. Oliver doesn’t think Ra’s will trade Malcolm away, even for his own daughter, and he asks the rest of the team to leave so he can torture the location of Nanda Parbat out of Nyssa. For some reason, they allow this. Oliver tells Nyssa that he’s not going to have to torture her because she’s going to talk voluntarily. Nyssa thinks Oliver is crazy—after all, he’s been blocking her attempts at justice for Sara’s killer for months and there’s no reason she would cooperate with him. Oliver says something like, “If you tell me where Nanda Parbat is, you know I’ll just go there and get myself killed, right?” This sounds good to her, so she sings like a black canary.
Upstairs in Verdant, Roy is admiring the laser motion detectors across the floor while John exposits that they were safe from the League for like five minutes before Oliver took Nyssa prisoner. Laurel doesn’t like that they’re taking people prisoner now, but Felicity accidentally mentions that Oliver has a whole prison on the Island already, so it’s nothing new.
Speak of the devil, Oliver shows up with the location. Laurel and Felicity are pissed that Oliver’s even considering a suicide mission, Roy understands but thinks Oliver getting himself killed is going to be worse for Thea than getting Malcolm killed, and John wants to talk to Oliver privately. John reiterates what Roy said, but then expands that he feels like there’s more going on than a straightforward save-Malcolm-to-save-Thea deal. Oliver swears that it’s just about Thea. Mmhm.
Still in his apartment/lab, Ray can no longer log into his own server. It’s almost as if someone locked him out intentionally! Felicity tells him that she may not be able to help her other friend who’s off to get himself killed, but she can do something about Ray. She tells him he can choose to either break her encryption, which will take like six hours, or he can sleep, eat, and shower, and then she’ll let him back in. Because he is smarter than Oliver, he takes option two.
Heyyy, it’s the Digglet! She hasn’t been around for a while. John is adorably playing with her, ADORABLY HOLY SHIT. Lyla asks John if he asked Oliver about that favor he’d been meaning to bring up, but John claims it wasn’t the right time. Lyla thinks Oliver’s crazy too, and she wants to know if John’s going with him this time, since last time he blamed himself for not accompanying Ollie to the one-on-one duel with Ra’s. John thinks he has to do what’s best for his family, which is not getting killed, but Lyla thinks he should go along or he’ll just beat himself up again.
I don’t know where Thea has been for most of this episode, but she finally shows up to ask Oliver what the hell he’s doing. Thea claims she can live with Malcolm’s death, but she couldn’t live with Oliver’s. Oliver says she can’t possibly understand like he does because Robert and Moira, blah blah. She begs him not to go, but he doesn’t listen.
Present Day!Maseo and another League minion drag Malcolm before Ra’s. Ra’s tells Malcolm about some dude he met in 1854–insinuating that the Lazarus Pit does exist–which is really just a way to tell Merlyn that a magician can’t cheat death. Malcolm begs Ra’s to let him work for the league again, to prove his loyalty. Ra’s isn’t impressed: he tells Malcolm to face his death with dignity.
Felicity is loitering in Ray’s apartment, admiring his ridiculous art collection, when he emerges from the bathroom in a towel, allowing her to admire another impressive collection he has. He thanks her for forcing him into basic self-care, and she’s glad that someone listens to her, and they kiss. A lot.
Oliver and John approach Nanda Parbat, which frankly doesn’t look that impressive. John wants to know why they’re really attempting to infiltrate this place, but Oliver just says if they get spotted by sentries, they can’t let them raise the alarm. They need the element of surprise, which is immediately moot as flaming arrows rain down on them. Oliver’s idea of a plan is to shoot better, which of course works. They take down all the sentries but one, and Oliver gives chase as the minion runs toward the fortress. (Good thing these bad guys have never heard of walkie-talkies.)
Island time! Oliver and the Yamashiros are hiding behind barrels to avoid the gunshots. Maseo tells Oliver that the assassins are ARGUS, though he doesn’t explain why ARGUS would need to kill them now. Oliver tells Maseo to take his family to a delivery truck while he covers them with the one pistol they have between them. They run while Oliver takes out at least one sniper.
Back in real time, Laurel brings Nyssa water. Nyssa tells her that Malcolm’s last hours will be spent in agony, but Laurel isn’t terribly happy about it; once Malcolm’s gone, Laurel loses the hate for him that still connects her to Sara. That’s fucked up, Laurel. Nyssa tells her that Sara would want to be avenged, and they reminisce about her and laugh and cry. It’s…very sweet, actually.
The sentry makes it back inside in Nanda Parbat, but Oliver takes him and the three soldiers he warned down immediately. John wants to know how they’ll possibly find Malcolm in this massive fortress that looks to be about the size of a typical Starling City abandoned warehouse, but luckily Oliver can track Malcolm on his phone because reasons. They fight/kill their way to Malcolm, who’s hanging over hot coals, looking awfully tortured. They start to get him down, but he mutters something about a trap. As Oliver turns around, a gate lowers over the doorway and Ra’s approaches.
Oliver wakes in a cell where he and John are chained to the floor. Oliver struggles for a moment, but John has been through all that and tells him to save his strength and, while he’s at it, stuff all the guilt about John being involved, too. Oliver admits that maybe he wasn’t just here for Thea, and John agrees that he felt like he had unfinished business with Ra’s. Oliver admits that all he can think about was falling off that cliff. Pretending they’re going to live, John asks Oliver to be his best man as Maseo enters to get Oliver for whatever comes next.
On Island Time, Oliver joins the Yamashiros, and the four of them run for the truck. Tatsu takes out one shooter with a crowbar, but she and Maseo get separated from Oliver and Akio. Maseo orders Oliver to run away with Akio, and he does.
Thea and Roy are chilling in Roy’s way-too-nice-for-Roy car. They’re watching the family of the cop Roy killed, and he admits that he gives them cash and groceries and Christmas presents—anonymously, of course. Thea thinks he’s torturing himself, but he says it helps him with the guilt. Thea claims it isn’t the same—but not, as I originally assumed, because Sara is more ~important~. She says it’s different because even though she didn’t consciously kill Sara, she did let Malcolm into her life, and trusted him, and should have known better.
Felicity and Ray are in bed when Ray suddenly wakes up, probably with an idea. He rolls over and starts writing equations on a notepad, then heads into the living room to his lab setup. Within minutes, apparently, he’s on the roof, wearing a functioning Iron Man ATOM suit, and he takes off.
In the Arrow Cave, Thea approaches the cage to tell Nyssa the truth. She unlocks Nyssa’s cell and hands over her sword, telling Nyssa to take her real vengeance.
Meanwhile, Ra’s holds a sword to Ollie’s throat, and Oliver asks him to spare John’s life and kill him. He offers to beg, and Ra’s is seemingly impressed; he doesn’t want to kill Oliver. He wants Oliver to become the next Ra’s al Ghul.