Arrow: Do You Take This Woman to Be Your Lawfully Wedded Wife?
Previously on Arrow: Ra’s al Ghul killed Thea, Team Arrow took Thea to the Lazarus Pit to bring her back to life, Oliver and Felicity did it, and Team Arrow is now Team Al Sah-Him.
Oliver trains in Nanda Parbat. This seems to involve brainwashing him to forget his old identity, as well as fighting with swords. One day three weeks later, though, the training montage is over. Oliver repeats the mantra “Oliver Queen is alive only in the past” when Maseo arrives with a prisoner caught sneaking into Nanda Parbat. It’s John, and he seems confused by where he is and what’s going on. Ra’s orders Oliver to kill John, who insists Maseo and Ra’s are lying to him and that they’ve had John locked up all three weeks. Oliver seems unmoved, and he orders Maseo to give John a sword because he won’t kill an unarmed man. They fight, and Oliver quickly wins and stabs John through the chest. But when the man falls, it isn’t John. Ra’s exposits that the magic herb they’ve been feeding Oliver over the past three weeks induces visions, though Oliver is not eager to share his.
Island time. A man in a truck sits in traffic, turning on his radio to an emergency broadcast. As he peers around, looking for the emergency, a clearly sick man runs into his window. The driver takes off, and the man stumbles into Crowded Asian Market. Maseo, Tatsu, and Oliver are there too, lamenting the apparent loss of the bioweapon they thought they’d stolen; now their mission is just to get back to Akio.
Exposition time! Ra’s tells Oliver that when he was recruited, the then-Ra’s molded him and another conscript into his “horsemen.” But after years of fighting together, Ra’s was the one named Heir, and thus he was tasked with killing his friend. He hesitated, and the friend – Damien Darhk – escaped (comic check: Damien Darhk is primarily a Teen Titans villain, associated with HIVE, which is sort of a cut-rate League of Assassins). Darhk set up his own anti-League. He tells Oliver that there is a threat to his own claim as Heir, and when he eliminates the threat, he must do so without mercy. That’s a little harsh for your own daughter, there, Ra’s.
Back in Starling City, Black Canary chases down a baddie, holding her own pretty well until he pulls a knife on her, drawing a little blood. Before he can do any actual damage, though, he’s wrapped up and deposited on the ground, and Nyssa walks up to knock him out. She asks if they’re going to continue their training, but Laurel is starving and suggests they go get milkshakes instead.
They go get milkshakes, and Laurel introduces Nyssa to the joy of fries dipped in milkshake. They chat a little, and Laurel finally admits that Oliver is in Nanda Parbat, Heir to the Demon. It does sort of ruin the date, as Nyssa exclaims that Laurel definitely should have told her right away and stomps off.
Thea and Felicity are feeding baby Sara dinner at the Diggle-Michaels home. John arrives just in time for grown-up dinner after patrol, having intercepted a shipment of M-16s coming into the city. Felicity suggests a costume for John, who shoots that right down, and then we check in on Thea, who feels fine, just miserable about Oliver, since she feels like it’s her fault he turned himself over to Ra’s. Team Arrow is a little broken, but they do vow to fight on.
Island time. A US Army van is giving out inoculations, but it’s virus, not cure. Oliver and friends attack the truck, quickly dispatching the soldiers and decide they need to destroy all of it. Shouldn’t they…maybe check on what it is first?
Nyssa is sharpening her sword when Laurel comes into her lair to apologize. Nyssa finally ‘fesses up that the problem here is not Oliver’s position per se, but that his position comes an inevitable assault on her life. Sure enough, Oliver and Maseo lead a team of League minions onto the roof of the building.
At Palmer Tech, which is apparently still serving as the Arrow Cave, Nyssa and Laurel come to tell John and Felicity that Oliver is coming, but they refuse to accept it. Well, John doesn’t say much, but Felicity keeps insisting that no matter what ritual brainwashing might have happened, Oliver is still Oliver, because sometimes she is really dumb. Nyssa says she’s going to face Oliver herself, not wait for death in the shadows, and stalks off again. This time, though, Laurel has put a tracker on her, so once she convinces John and Felicity that Nyssa deserves their help, they can follow her right to the fight.
Island time. Team Good Decisions blows up the truck in the middle of the market and declare the virus gone. Um. I see about 74 flaws in their plan.
John and Laurel track Nyssa and wait in the van for something to happen, I guess. Laurel wants to handle it herself if it comes to a fight, because she knows how close Oliver and John were and wants to spare him that. John is letting Felicity brainwash him, though, because he also insists that Oliver would never hurt them.
Back in the Cave, Felicity is tracking Nyssa when Thea tracks her down at Palmer Tech. Felicity tells Thea the truth about Oliver maybe being back in town. Felicity doesn’t want Thea involved, but Thea is probably going to get involved. Again, has everyone forgotten she is a very good fighter?
Nyssa waits on the roof where Sara died, and Oliver appears as Al Sah-Him. He says he’s there to take her back to Nanda Parbat, though that’s really just the precursor to ritual murder, so she’s not interested. She assures him that he will not beat her in battle again, and they fight. Oliver takes her down quickly this time, and she taunts him to kill her, saying she wants to die where Sara did. Before he can stab her – or even hesitate – Nyssa’s backup arrives: and we get our first look at the new and Cisco-improved sonic scream! Canary distracts Oliver, breaking windows; it looks kinda silly, but I’m all for ridiculous comic book powers, so. Upon seeing them, Oliver flees.
Back in Nyssa’s lair, she tells Laurel that there is no happy ending; she was marked for death the moment Oliver became Heir. She says that she’s been happy in Starling the past few weeks, but as Daughter of the Demon, she wasn’t meant for a simple life (apparently training a vigilante in the streets of Starling City counts as “simple” to Nyssa). Laurel thinks that if Oliver can change so drastically, so can Nyssa. I’m not really sure what that means in the context of “marked for certain death,” but the scene ends on dramatic music, so I guess it’s supposed to mean something.
At Palmer Tech, John says Nyssa is okay, and he and Felicity talk about what they saw – or didn’t see – in Oliver. Felicity laments that Oliver gave up his soul, not just his life.
Oliver returns to Maseo and the minions, reporting on Nyssa’s friends. Maseo asks if they’re friends of Oliver, too, but he doesn’t answer. Instead, he just says that they’ll be protecting Nyssa and they’ll need to draw her out alone.
At Thea’s loft, Malcolm arrives. Thea called him because she needs to know if Oliver is back. Malcolm confirms it, and Thea says she needs to stop him. Malcolm’s response is predictable: that Oliver didn’t trade his life to the League for her to immediately call the might of it down upon herself. Thea is adamant, though, because she couldn’t stop Oliver from joining the League, but she can stop him from killing Nyssa. It’s pretty ironic, really, that Malcolm is the only one on this show that takes Thea seriously, because after her speech, all he does is ask what she needs from him.
John brings Felicity go back to his home, but something is wrong. Sara is crying in her crib, but Lyla is nowhere to be seen. Because Oliver has kidnapped her, of course. He calls John and tells him if he brings Nyssa to him in thirty minutes, he’ll let Lyla go.
John and Felicity confront Nyssa; she apologizes, of course, but John isn’t placated. He says the only way for Nyssa to prove she has some honor is if she turns herself in to free Lyla. Nyssa agrees, but Laurel is incensed. She doesn’t want Nyssa to commit suicide, and she tells the team that if they don’t come up with another way to get Lyla back that doesn’t involve condemning another person, Oliver won’t be the only one to lose his soul.
In the League’s warehouse, Lyla taunts Oliver a bit, asking how he could possibly be this now, after standing up at her wedding. He yells at her to be quiet, but she continues talking about how John’s brother’s death left a void in him and only Oliver was able to fill that void.
Island time. They return to their safe house, and Akio’s caretaker is dead, although he seems to be okay. They decide that they might be able to get out of Hong Kong in the chaos.
Nyssa, John, Laurel, and Felicity approach, and Oliver has them searched while he brings Lyla out, though Felicity growls at Maseo not to touch her and Oliver allows that. Minions take Nyssa, and Lyla returns to hug John—who gives her a message. And as she hugs Felicity, she takes the two guns Felicity was of course hiding under her jacket. Battle time! Minions are dispatched left and right while John fights Oliver, but Maseo gets away with Nyssa. Oliver quickly takes down John. John insists that Oliver is still himself, but Oliver picks up John’s sword to impale him…and takes an arrow in the wrist. Thea growls at him to get away from John or the next arrow goes in his eye. Oliver chooses to retreat, since Nyssa is in custody.
Team Arrow tries to regroup at Palmer Tech, but Laurel can’t stomach that Nyssa is going to die, while the rest are trying to come to terms with the idea that Oliver really is gone. John has the best answer, though: the only thing left of Oliver is them.
At Nanda Parbat, Oliver brings Nyssa to Ra’s. But it turns out Nyssa has stolen something from the League, and Ra’s finds it in the hilt of her sword. He says he’ll remember Nyssa as the warrior she was, not the traitor she is. She smirks that she was always afraid of him, but she’s not afraid any longer. I kinda feel like that vial in the sword hilt was a decoy. Ra’s orders Oliver to do the killin’, and he raises his sword without emotion—and Ra’s catches his wrist. He says that Oliver broke Nyssa, and that is proof enough of his right as Heir. Ra’s has another, creepier idea: Nyssa and Oliver should marry and unify their families. Nyssa would rather die, of course, and Oliver shows no emotion.
Island time. There are dead bodies all over Hong Kong, and Oliver and company steal a jeep to get away. Tatsu tells Akio that they’re safe and they’re going to get away, but of course, because you’ve known all goddamned season the kid had to die, blood trickles from the corner of Akio’s mouth.
Felicity comes to visit Thea, who tells her Oliver should’ve let her die. They bond over how they still love Oliver, even with what he’s become, but they have to remember him and move on. Oh, and by the way, they still haven’t told her Roy’s alive. Felicity finally does — I guess Thea being dead is a good reason for forgetting to tell her — but now she has the option of going to start a life with him. She seems overwhelmed by the knowledge.
The rest of Team Arrow mourns, too; John looks mopily at the picture of him and Oliver from his wedding, Laurel tries dipping her fries in her milkshake, and Felicity returns to the real Arrow Cave to cry.
In Nanda Parbat, Ra’s finally tells Oliver what’s going on with Nyssa. See, the graduation ceremony to becoming Ra’s is to erase all vestiges of your former life. Ra’s himself had to “unleash death” on his home village, and his predecessor wiped out Alexandria with Cholera. Oliver will have to do the same. Nyssa had stolen the Alpha/Omega bioweapon, and Ra’s presents the vial to Oliver with the order to release it in Starling City.