TV REVIEW: Ra’s Makes His Plans for Oliver Clear in Arrow’s “Nanda Parbat”
By Justin Carter
Well, we knew this would happen sooner or later. Ra’s al Ghul couldn’t be kept in the dark about Oliver returning to Starling City for long, and it’s good that he’s refreshingly upfront about knowing in the opening minutes. With Ra’s connections, it would have been too ridiculous to keep him oblivious, especially when Oliver’s first act upon returning was to shoot an arrow and zip away in the night sky like Batman, on live television. If anyone is shocked, it’s Nyssa, still convinced that he killed Sara and annoyed that her father didn’t let her in the loop. Oliver still being alive, having challenged her father, feels to her like a giant middle finger to the al Ghuls, so “for that alone, he must die!”
Which is why it’s a bit odd that it never feels like Oliver is ever in any real danger. Nyssa devotes her time to going after Malcolm, his being alive and murdering Sara now outed to the League because of an angry Thea. But the kidnapping is over fairly quickly, so Nyssa spends the rest of the episode locked in a cell, meditating. She willingly gives up the location of Nanda Parbat to Oliver and Diggle, talks with Laurel for a bit, then is visited by Thea. Nyssa’s always been a character who wore her heart on her sleeve, making it easy to tell what she’s going to do, given that she’s driven by her love for Sara. With Thea coming to her and admitting that she fired the arrows into Sara’s chest, it’s hard to determine what she’ll do. Yes, Thea did just confess to doing something she didn’t even have any consent to do, but Malcolm also lied to her face and defied her father’s orders. Like Thea says, Malcolm deserves to face justice.
But first, justice will have to wait for some good old-fashioned discussions. Malcolm’s kidnapping and Oliver’s venture to Nanda Parbat to find him leads to the other characters talking with each other in different areas. Roy and Thea go off to talk about the guilt Thea’s feeling for serving her father up to the League, all the while showing us that Roy is playing secret hero for the family of the cop he killed in season two. It’s a bit cheesy and on the nose, but it does feel appropriately Roy, the same guy who rescued a bus full of people during the Undertaking. Thea, while claiming she’s fine about selling out Malcolm, is anything but. The shift from justified fury to sobbing guilt does feel a bit jarring, considering that there wasn’t any real signs of her being truly done with Malcolm before this happened. It doesn’t feel entirely real that she would just so easily feel bad about something she did just about two commercial breaks ago.
Felicity, meanwhile, spends most of her time talking with Ray. He’s been missing for the past week, tinkering with the ATOM project. People who aren’t fans of the two of them being together will more than likely want to put their foot through something when they end up having sex. It couldn’t have been any more telegraphed. Shirtless, post-shower Ray (flat out admitting while shirtless he forgets they work together), along with Felicity’s awkward wording earlier were clear indicators that something was going to happen. If the show is trying to make people think the Olicity ship is dead, they’re doing a pretty good job of it. And like a certain other billionaire inventor, Ray immediately slips out of bed to try on the Atom suit and take it for a test flight. The thread of Ray becoming the Atom has been going slowly building throughout the season, and it looks like a payoff is finally coming.
The feels session finally concludes with Oliver and Diggle, imprisoned in Nanda Parbat. Diggle can see through Oliver’s BS claims that he’s saving Malcolm for Thea’s sake; the man has spent a lot of time “on top” of the fighting food chain, able to take down supersoldiers, speedsters, and assassins. For him to step into the ring with Ra’s, confident that he’ll win and get a sword through the abdomen and kicked down a mountain is a lesson in humility. His determination to keep Malcolm around as a teacher is less about saving his sister’s soul than it is for macho bragging rights, plain and simple. Ra’s, however, isn’t in the mood to satisfy Oliver’s desire for a round two. His plans for Oliver actually involve him staying alive…as the next Ra’s al Ghul.
- The way Ra’s says “Face your death with honor” to Malcolm is filled with the right amount of disgust and anger. Chills.
- Diggle asks Oliver to be his best man at his wedding. Which is probably not the best thing to ask when you’re both chained up, but whatever works, right?
- Oliver lights a League archer on fire with a flame bow. Ouch.
- The flashbacks have Oliver and the Yamashiros being attacked before they leave China. Maseo thinks Waller sent the goons, but more than likely it’s General Shrieve.
- The show keeps making a point to reference Sara and Nyssa’s relationship being the reason Ra’s doesn’t care about the former dying. He dances around the subject a bit, so it’s possible this could be the case.
- Seriously, can DC just come to an agreement across all its departments on how to say Ra’s al Ghul? Oliver says “Roz”, Ra’s himself says “Raysh”.
- “Your family owns a plane?” “It’s more of a jet.”
- Oh, Laurel. Trying to go up against Malcolm was so stupid.
- New episodes will return March 18. I’ll return then.