Arrow: Take my League of Assassins... please!
Ra’s makes Oliver an offer he can’t refuse… or can he? Thea gives Nyssa a target she can’t resist… or can she? Diamonds make really crappy bullets… or do they? Answers in this week’s Arrow!
Previously on Arrow: Thea killed Sara because of Malcolm, Ra’s might be currently killing Malcolm, and Thea is trying to commit suicide by Nyssa.
We rewind back a few seconds into the end of last episode, probably because fans can’t be expected to remember the major plot points after a brief hiatus. Ra’s is holding his sword to Oliver’s throat, but instead of killing him, he offers him his name/title/immortality. A minion removes Oliver’s cuffs, and he looks confused by Ra’s using another language. I think it’s the first time on this show that someone has spoken a language Oliver didn’t understand.
Apparently the phrase in some ancient dialect means “a tale to be told, begins thus.” That doesn’t seem to clear things up for Oliver, but he follows Ra’s, with Maseo tagging along as well. Ra’s leads them to a room of minions training with swords. One of them goes down with their partner’s sword at their throat, but Ra’s does not kill the minion, instead using the moment to explain the point of the League minions – they receive a life free of pain and filled with awesome ninja moves, in exchange for fealty.
Ra’s and Oliver sit down at a lavish table while Maseo stand around awkwardly. Ra’s claims to understand Oliver’s manpain over his dual identity: he’s offering Oliver a chance to be one man instead.
Back in Starling, Thea hands Nyssa her sword, but in an anticlimactic twist that we all saw coming (so is it really a twist?), Nyssa doesn’t believe her. After all, Oliver lied before about being the one who pulled the bowstring. Thea insists she has no reason to lie, certainly not to protect Malcolm, since she’s the one that gave him to the League in the first place, and explains the drug and everything. Nyssa says there’d be no justice in killing Thea, who tries to antagonize her into it, but Nyssa just calmly claims that the blood debt ends with Malcolm.
And of course in come Laurel and Roy to save Thea’s life, which is cute, if unnecessary. They fight briefly, and Roy manages to shoot Nyssa with a sedative to take her down. Thea claims Nyssa’s “League training” was how she got out of her cell and takes off without further explanation.
In Nanda Parbat, Ra’s is showing Oliver the LAZARUS PIT YEAAHHHHHH. It’s presented more as a fountain of youth, but whatever. Oliver is still kind of not impressed, and Ra’s says that he’s dying, finally, and wants to secure his legacy: Oliver, who survived his sword without the magic water, deserves that legacy. Oliver is again bitchy about the whole idea of the League, which, well, okay. But Ra’s encourages him to broaden his horizons: Starling City is one city; as Ra’s al Ghul, he can play vigilante to the whole world. He even tells Oliver that if he renounces killing as head of the League, so the League will. “League of Strongly Worded Letter Writers” doesn’t have the same ring, does it?
Oliver is skeptical and finally asks the real question here: what happens if he says no? Ra’s snaps his fingers, and Maseo brings in Malcolm and John. But he doesn’t threaten anybody; instead, he says that Oliver and his friends will be allowed to leave, debts forgiven. For the first time, Oliver seems swayed, but to John and Malcolm he says, let’s go home.
Back in Starling, Oliver is on the balcony of his and Thea’s apartment when she gets home. They hug, though she’s a little surprised that he’s alive — and more surprised that Malcolm is passed out and beaten up on their couch. Thea is not okay with that bullshit; she still wants him dead and definitely doesn’t want him on her couch. Oliver says there’s nowhere else to take him, then peaces out, leaving Thea alone with her abusive, terrible excuse for a father. Nice, Ollie.
John correctly guesses that Thea is less than happy about her new houseguest as Oliver stalks into Verdant, and he’s also awfully curious about why they’re not all dead, which is apparently privileged information.
Island Time. Oliver and Akio are in the obligatory crowded Asian market that marks all Island Time flashbacks, and Oliver’s trying to convince Akio that everything will be okay, even though his parents were last seen pinned down by gunfire. Oliver looks around, suspicious, and muses that they shouldn’t be out in the open, when Akio darts off, because kids are terrible. Oliver loses him briefly and freaks out, but Akio reappears a moment later, claiming he thought he saw Maseo. Oliver says they can’t get separated, which reminds Akio: Maseo and Tatsu told him if they were ever separated to go to the botanical gardens. He grabs Oliver’s hand, and off they go.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Laurel and Felicity are…sort of happy to see Oliver, but mostly angry he left in the first place. Oliver opens the cell to free Nyssa to general protest, but he says she’s free to go: she is suspicious… and much less disinclined to ask questions than the rest of Team Arrow. She says Ra’s would never trade a life for hers, especially Malcolm’s, but Oliver tells her to go home, so she leaves. Laurel starts to ask too, but Oliver just shuts it all down. Oh my god, you jackass, why can’t you just tell them the truth? He growls that somebody in Starling City probably needs a reminder that Arrow’s still around, and he glares at Felicity until she finds a crime: a robbery in progress at a warehouse. Oliver orders the team to suit up.
At the warehouse, Blackhawk Security is getting shot again, because they are a terrible security company and nobody should use them. The bad guys begin searching the warehouse when Team Arrow arrives. Arrow, Arsenal, and Canary break up most of the robbery and take down several henchmen, but several of them get away with some of the diamonds they were after.
Oliver drops off their captured minions in the cameraless alley behind the police statio, and tells Quentin that one of them will have the name of their boss. Quentin, though, is pretty angry that Arrow never told him Sara died, so Oliver shouldn’t expect any PD favors anytime soon – just like Ra’s predicted.
Felicity is at Palmer Tech, doing awesome stuff while flirting with Ray. It’s amazing how much happier she looks there than in the Cave, which Oliver ruins by showing up.
Felicity apologizes for not telling Oliver about her new relationship, but he brushes that off (genuinely, he does know that Felicity owes him nothing; he’s just gonna angst about it forever). He needs intel on the leader of the crew they fought the night before: he had his lips sewn shut. Felicity finds him in about two seconds: his name is Michael Amar, street name Murmur (comic check: Murmur is actually a Flash villain in comics and a member of the Rogues; he didn’t have powers, but he was a surgeon turned serial killer). Oliver angsts at her a bit over Quentin totally hating him now, then leaves.
Laurel stops by to check on Thea and, Thea hopes, go ahead and murder Malcolm for her. He’s still passed out on the couch, and we once again have to endure a conversation that removes all of Thea’s agency. This is getting really fucking old, show. Malcolm wakes up, so Laurel leaves, and Thea refuses to apologize, saying she’d turn him over again if she got the chance. He accepts this and urges her to just go ahead and kill him with the knife she’s clutching. She does not do that, and he says he loves her and just wants what’s best for her. Thea correctly identifies that as staying out of her life from the start.
In Nanda Parbat, Nyssa is incensed that Malcolm lives. Ra’s readily admits that he gave Malcolm to Oliver as a gift for that whole heir thing, and now Nyssa is incensed that Ra’s picked a League outsider over his daughter for heir. To be fair, Oliver’s not a lesbian, so. Nyssa challenges him on that, actually, saying that he never approved of Sara, but Ra’s claims it wasn’t the whole gay thing so much as the whole “weakness through love” thing. Nyssa doesn’t buy it, but she can’t do anything about it, either; he easily catches the knife she pulls on him, and she leaves, possibly for good. Ra’s puts his cut hand in the Lazarus Pit, and the wound heals instantly.
In the Arrow Cave, John exposits that Murmur was in Iron Heights but was released due to a coerced confession; he didn’t commit the crime he was accused of, so apparently he decided to sew his mouth shut and commit some real crimes. In the robbery Team Arrow failed to fully stop, they stole a bunch of industrial-grade diamonds, which are worth very little. Since Felicity is otherwise occupied, Roy offers to talk to a couple fences he knows, see if anybody is trying to buy or sell the cheap-ass diamonds. John tries to get Oliver to explain what’s clearly wrong with him, and Oliver tells him about Ra’s predicting the police turning against him. John correctly suggests that Ra’s is fucking with Oliver’s head and wants to know why Oliver is letting him, so Oliver finally tells him the truth: that Ra’s wants him as heir.
John is understandably confused that Oliver would be considering the offer just because Quentin is pissed and Felicity is busy, but Oliver asks him what they’ve really accomplished as Team Arrow: the criminals they put in jail are all out, and the city’s not better off. He doesn’t think the Arrow is enough, but Ra’s al Ghul might be. John can only say “Oliver” so many exasperated ways.
Back home, Malcolm is still alive, and Thea is drinking wine and ignoring him. She tells Oliver that the reason she didn’t kill Malcolm was because of what her mother would think about it. But she’s broken just like Malcolm, and she is super depressed about it. She goes to buy Malcolm some soup, leaving Oliver to talk to him; at least he’s ambulatory again. Malcolm is pretty sure, also, that Ra’s wouldn’t release them without conditions, so Oliver tells him about the heir offer too. Malcolm isn’t surprised, because turns out there’s a prophecy about anybody who doesn’t die at the hand of Ra’s becoming Ra’s. Malcolm still thinks Oliver doesn’t really have a choice, but Roy texts him, so Oliver leaves.
Island Time. We’ve moved from Crowded Asian Market to a botanical garden, and Oliver is still trying to reassure Akio that everything will be okay. Except that they’re being watched by Suspicious Men in Suits, so it’s not, and they have to run.
Felicity is in the Cave when Oliver gets there, and John has told her about the Ra’s thing and that Oliver is apparently considering it, which she rightfully thinks is insane. He goes to his go-to of nothing has gotten better, people have died, and everything is terrible. She says that isn’t a good reason to leave, because it just leaves everything unresolved and gives up on the two years of work and sacrifice they’ve put in. Felicity says they all had to examine why they were doing this when Oliver was dead, and now it’s Oliver’s turn.
John and Roy return, and they have intel. The diamonds were stolen not to sell, but to make diamond-tipped bullets as armor-piercers to get payback on the police who falsely put him in jail (real life check: diamonds would not work for this because they are brittle and not dense; why didn’t Murmur just buy cop-killing bullets off the deep web like a normal criminal?). Oliver sends Roy to suit up and John to secure the police station’s perimeter, because apparently Murmur’s crew is going to cut those industrial-grade (read: useless for cutting into pretty rings) diamonds into bullet tips in like 12 hours.
Felicity calls Quentin to warn him, but he declines the call. Laurel shows up with Chinese food, but Quentin says he already ate, because he is a dick. Laurel recants the history of Quentin being mad at her, which is the cold shoulder followed by lots of yelling when she finally gets him to come to dinner, and she just wants to skip to the yelling now so they can move on, because she isn’t giving up. Quentin says that she’s always wanted to save everybody since she was little, but she can’t save their relationship, because he can’t forgive her, he’s tried. And then the shooting starts.
Murmur and his crew bust inside, killing, or at least shooting, lots of cops. Quentin covers Laurel’s fleeing – she protests, but he says it doesn’t matter if she’s a superhero, he’s going to protect her. She escapes the office, and the baddie ready to gun her down takes an arrow for his trouble – not red or green, though; this is Nyssa’s arrow. Man, it really does not take long to travel to and from the remote Asian hidden mountain kingdom, does it? Quentin comes out of his office and takes down one baddie before Murmur comes up behind him, strangling him on a desk instead of just shooting him, for whatever reason, giving Arrow and Arsenal time to bust in through the ceiling. Team Arrow plus Nyssa fights their way through the station like collective badasses, but Murmur escapes out into the alley only to be hijacked by Oliver. They fight briefly, but Oliver wins as Quentin follows them out. He isn’t going to thank Oliver, but he also doesn’t shoot him, so.
The team returns to the Cave victorious, and Oliver thanks Felicity. He did need to examine why he was fighting, and he did, while he was fighting. All he cared about was the lives of the people he was fighting for, so he’s not ready to give up on Arrow, even to be Ra’s al Ghul.
Island Time. Oliver and Akio are back in the market, and Akio doesn’t understand why they’re running away from people they don’t know. Kid, did you forget that whole thing ten minutes ago when you were being shot at? And then Oliver runs into someone familiar in the market, someone who should be dead: Shado.
Laurel leaves the precinct to find Nyssa in the alley. She’s looking for Laurel, because she was missing Sara, and also because she’s having father issues, too, and wants to know if Laurel wants to talk. Laurel is briefly incredulous, but then she realizes she can use the Sara reminder too and says she’ll buy dinner. Nyssa almost compliments her fighting, then suggests she can teach Laurel better. Aww. I approve.
Maseo comes to get Oliver’s answer on the heir thing, and Oliver says he’ll pass. As we all suspected, Maseo reveals that the decision was already made, and Oliver cannot say no, lest there be consequences. We’ll have to wait to see what those are, though, as Maseo takes his leave for the 20 minute journey back to Nanda Parbat.
Roy is at home, reading. Really, Roy reads? There’s a knock on the door. He’s suspicious as he opens it, but it’s Thea, who’s upset. She wants to stay with him, away from Malcolm, and they hug… and then kiss.
The remnants of Murmur’s crew are playing pool and laughing about how many rounds of useless diamond bullets they still have when they get shot several times by several arrows. With three of them dead, the fourth watches while a green-hooded figure jumps down, and Ra’s, dressed as Arrow, tells the survivor to go spread the word: Arrow is killing again.
As Maseo said, Ra’s has already written the story.