With last week seeing Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) finally accepting Ra’s al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) offer to join him as his heir, Al Sah-Him opens up by showing some of the training and conditioning that has gone in to making sure that Oliver Queen is no more – all that remains is Al Sah-Him, Heir to The Demon.
Time-wise, it’s supposedly been 3 weeks since Oliver gave himself up to Ra’s. As things stand, Oliver Queen is now dead, alive only in the past. To demonstrate this, we soon find the former Oliver Queen presented with Diggle (David Ramsey). The League of Assassins claim that Diggle has been constantly trying to break Oliver out of Nanda Parbat, whilst Digg insists that he has never left and has just been kept prisoner by The League. Either way, the newly-named Al Sah-Him kills Diggle! Yes, massive, massive shocker… oh, right… that’s it, yeah, it’s not actually Diggle but just some poor lackey. With this trick, it’s revealed that Oliver Queen has actually been under the influence of a particular herb (likely not the same one that Snoop Dogg so often raps about, fo’ shizzle) which essentially can work as some sort of mind control.
With the presence of Oliver Queen alongside Ra’s al Ghul, it now gives viewers a chance to get further insight into The Demon’s Head. For instance, here we get to hear about a certain Damien Darhk (someone who comic book fans will be familiar with largely due to his ties to the Teen Titans, not to mention the fact that he and H.I.V.E. have already been suggested as the ‘big bad’ of Arrow’s fourth season). The point here is that Ra’s wants
Oliver Al Sah-Him to learn from his mistakes and to not hesitate when the chance arises to take out any potential threat. The one lasting threat to Oliver Queen’s claim to the Ra’s title is that of Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law). And so it is put into motion: Al Sah-Him switches his attention to tracking down Nyssa and killing her.
As it would happen, Nyssa is still hanging around Starling City and training Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) to actually be of use when attempting to patrol the streets of Starling. Safe to say, Laurel is still a little pants at this whole Black Canary thing. But that’s okay, for she knows a good place to get a burger and is also a master of dipping fries into milkshakes. Go Laurel! She also lets slip that Oliver has actually decided to “join the dark side” and take up arms next to Ra’s; something which doesn’t sit well with Nyssa, who instantly realises that this means the former Mr. Queen will be out to get her.
Whilst Laurel Lance is busy winging it as a hero, the rest of Team Arrow are picking up the pieces after Oliver’s departure from Starling City. They’re all fraught with emotion and sadness, and Thea Queen (Willa Holland) has an enormous sense of guilt. We guess that’s what happens when your brother has to give his body and soul to The League of Assassins in order to save your behind. But just as everyone is getting glum about things, we get to see Al Sah-Him and Nyssa throw down. As is often the case with Arrow, a wonderfully put together fight sequence takes place on one of Starling City’s seemingly endless array of rooftops. Then, just as Al Sah-Him has a blade to the throat of his enemy, the moment is shattered by the Canary Cry. Yes, the same Canary Cry that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) was working on in the recent Who is Harrison Wells? episode of sister show The Flash. This is enough to cause Al Sah-Him to take his leave, but he has another plan to get his hands on Nyssa.
In a move of utter bastardness, the one-time Oliver Queen has Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), Diggle’s wife, kidnapped in order to draw out Nyssa via a swap deal that would make Keith Chegwin proud. Laurel is against handing over one life for another, whilst Diggle will do whatever it takes to get his wife back. Purely by the fact that Laurel regularly comes across as a naïve dick still (and the fact that, as pointed out, Nyssa has previously killed hundreds of people), we’re with Diggle on this one.
When the trade of Nyssa for Lyla finally does go down, obviously it’s not without a hitch. As a tear-up commences between Team Arrow and The League of Assassins, we get to see Nyssa kicking some ass, Felicity seemingly vanishing, Lyla firing double hand cannons as if she’s dropped in from a John Woo film, and more importantly Oliver vs Diggle. Fight! Luckily for Digg, just as he’s about to be ended by his “brother”, a timely arrow slices through the forearm of Al Sah-Him. What’s that? Is it Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman)? Is it Roy Harper (Colton Haynes)? Hell, is it Komodo (Matt Ward)? Oh wait, it’s Thea Queen with a hood on. We thought it was coming, and here it is. Mark Thea down for the “sidekick who needs fine tuning” role in Season 4…
After the dust has settled, Al Sah-Him still manages to bring Nyssa al Ghul to her father. Following orders, the new Heir prepares to kill Nyssa, only for Ra’s to step in. In a twist of events, he actually decides against having his daughter slaughtered and instead wants to see her marry the former Oliver Queen. Thanks dad!
Over in the flashback moments of Al Sah-Him, we get to see General Shrieve’s (Marc Singer) virus spreading throughout Hong Kong. Oliver and the Yamashiros see this as their chance to escape to pastures new, with the chaos acting as the perfect distraction to allow their exit. They just need to rescue son Akio. And so they do, only that doesn’t go all that well when the episode’s close brings the realisation that the young Yamashiro is infected. Last week brought confirmation that Akio was dead in the present day, and so this was no major surprise. The poor lamb never stood a chance.
Another good episode of Arrow, although it again seems to be holding a little back and maybe just missing some of the spark of its previous season. Also, the stuff with Laurel and Nyssa was a little forced and over the top here. We’re supposed to believe that the two are now life-long BFFs after just a few passing weeks of training together? And on that subject, Laurel Lance’s Black Canary fighting multiple members of The League of Assassins and not getting badly injured? Right. And just why does Laurel see fit to turn up against The League in her Black Canary garb? Maybe she likes the feel of the faux leather. Another beef is Roy Harper. Sure, he’s had to go underground and start a new life elsewhere, meaning he cannot be seen in Starling City ever again. We get that. But when a battle of life and death is happening at an undisclosed location or even at Nanda Parbat, surely that’s an occasion where he could realistically turn up to help our his former team-mates, safe in the knowledge that nobody there is a cop who will spill the beans that he’s still alive and well. Maybe that’s just asking too much. Either way, expect one further Roy appearance in the coming episodes.
With two episodes to go in Season 3, it feels as if Arrow is just missing something. It’s still very good television, just not up to some of the high standards that it’s set for itself. It is rather cool to see Oliver Queen now an almost machine-like clinical rogue, mind. Oh, and he’s been tasked with the tiny mission of wiping out Starling City with the very same virus that decimated Hong Kong during the flashbacks of this outing.