ARROW Season 3, Episode 16 'The Offer'

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Last week’s Nanda Parbat concluded with Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) making Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) an offer to take over from him and rule the League of Assassins. Here we get to see Oliver deliberating over whether or not to accept Ra’s offer. After all, who in their right mind would say no to Ra’s? Then again, this is a man whose methods are often questionable at best.

As a show of goodwill whilst Ollie thinks over the deal, Ra’s lets Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Malcolm (John Barrowman) go free from his Nanda Parbat home. What’s unique here is how we actually get our first real glimpse of Ra’s talking for any real length of time. Sure, we’ve seen him wax lyrical when running Oliver through with his blade and then booting him off a cliff, but it’s in The Offer that we get some extended conversation between The Demon’s Head and Oliver Queen as Ra’s explains his whole shtick and even shows Ollie what is essentially the show’s version of the famed Lazarus Pit. There’s also a great line in here as Oliver quips, “I didn’t defy death just to become an instrument of it.”

Back in Starling City, we get some furthering on the Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) front, with Thea (Willa Holland) giving herself to Ra’s daughter. Stepping into a cage with Nyssa is the equivalent of walking into the cage of a lion, but this is a Thea who is quite open about having a death wish and wanting to die for her part in the death of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). As the two are talking it out, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) arrives in the Arrowcave and attacks Nyssa, quickly followed by the arrival of Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). The thing is, it’s still hard to take Laurel seriously when it comes to any sort of physical excursion.

When Ollie, Digg and Malcolm arrive back in Starling, Oliver first releases Nyssa and then makes it clear that Team Arrow needs to make a mark once more, and so Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) finds a heist of sorts headed up by Arrow’s version of DC’s Murmur villain, played here by Adrian Glynn McMorran. It’s totally the feel of a typical ‘villain of the week’ character, but that’s exactly what Murmur’s here for at present as there’s plenty of other goings on for the episode to focus on.

One particular strand of the show that is again looked at here is how Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is dealing with the revelation that not only is daughter Sara dead, but that this information has been withheld from him by those who he trusted, be it eldest daughter Laurel or one-time cohort The Arrow. As such, Captain Lance again lashes out at Laurel throughout the episode, and understandably so, but this is the first time that Quentin has had any interaction with the Emerald Archer since learning of Sara’s demise. The thing is, you can totally appreciate where Lance is coming from and, as ever, Paul Blackthorne is absolutely magnificent once more in how he handles the Quentin Lance character.

Another arc expanded on in The Offer is the relationship between Felicity and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), who are now an apparent item. And much like the relationship between The Arrow and Captain Lance is fractured, so is the one between Oliver and Felicity. For the most part of the episode, Oliver ends up shutting Felicity out a little, although this is all overcome by the end of The Offer. Way to stretch that out…

Whereas Laurel and Quentin are at odds here, daddy issues seem to be the order of the day, for Thea and Malcolm are still butting heads and now even Nyssa is in on the act after being insulted at Ra’s offer to have Oliver take over as the head of the League of Assassins. As such, Nyssa has a timely return back to Starling City in order to help save the day from Murmur and his goons and then goes on to have an apparent bonding moment with Laurel. The daughter of The Demon even looks like she’ll be training Laurel in the coming weeks. God knows the Laurel/Black Canary character needs some sort of change.

But back to Oliver Queen, for this episode sees the Master Bowman seriously contemplate what he’s achieved so far in his quest as a hero. He questions the work he’s done and whether he has managed to actually change anything in Starling City. We’ve all been in the same situation in a workplace where you look at things, realise you aren’t getting any recognition or seeing any change and so question exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. We’d imagine it’s safe to say that most people’s “job” doesn’t involve them patrolling rooftops in a green hooded ensemble, though. Of course, Oliver ultimately says no to Ra’s, but The Demon’s Head was already one step ahead of him and so is taking actions to further tarnish the reputation of The Arrow, as highlighted with the closing moments of The Offer. And it’s also worth noting, Matt Nable particularly shines as Ra’s here. He’s been impressive since debuting, but this latest episode is the most we’ve really got to see from the character, and Nable delivers accordingly. Still, we wish there was some sort of continuity in the pronunciation of the Ra’s al Ghul name. As in real life, certain people in the show seem to go with the “Raaz” pronunciation, whilst others go with the “Raish” pronunciation.

Overall, this is a decent enough episode that looks like it’s laid the foundations for The Arrow being further isolated by his city. Matt Nable and Paul Blackthorne are brilliant, and Stephen Amell has some great moments with both, but there’s still the problem of Laurel Lance. In both the storyline and the actual show, this is a character who is just not hitting the right beats. And she’s not going away any time soon for she is DC’s long-standing Black Canary. The writing of the Laurel character has been the biggest weakness of Arrow since it debuted, and she’s again done no favours here. Whether it’s the writing, whether it’s Katie Cassidy herself or something else, she’s a character that currently has no real appeal and just comes across as annoying in whatever she does. We know she’s still “learning” the whole hero trade, but it’s more than just that.

Whereas this former love of Oliver Queen’s is problematic for the show, The Offer gave us a huge revelation about another former love: as the flashback moments showed us, Shado is alive! Oh, and Thea has hopped back in to bed with Roy. Standard. The Thea/Roy stuff is all a bit 'meh' by this point, but Shado's return is a bit of a shocker.

A so-so episode for Arrow this week, and arguably the weakest of the season so far, which is a strange thing to say given some of the great moments when Ra’s al Ghul and Captain Lance were on screen. It was far from a bad outing, just one that was let down on certain fronts.
 

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