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ARROW “The Thanatos Guild” Review

By on March 30, 2018

Arrow — “The Thanatos Guild” Pictured (L-R): Katrina Law as Nyssa Al-Ghul and Willa Holland as Thea Queen/Speedy — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW

 

ARROW “THE THANATOS GUILD” REVIEW

 

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

There’s a moment in this week’s episode of Arrow that made me realize I was going to like it. 

Felicity asks for alone time while she works on deciphering an ancient lockbox created by the League of Assassins. Instead of giving her the solo time that she wants, Nyssa al Ghul says (with a naivety that’s either genuine or fake, I can’t tell, but either way it’s great) that she understands and will watch over Felicity, before calling her “sister wife.” It’s a moment that works thanks to a combination of the writing, and the dynamic between the two women.

With Roy and Thea now back together, they’ve decided to finally leave Star City and start their lives anew. But this being an episode of Arrow, that’s easier said than done, and before they can even leave city limits, ninjas show up trying to kidnap them. Specifically the Thanatos Guild, an offset group of ex-members of the League of Assassins that Malcolm Merlyn led after Nyssa al Ghul and Oliver broke up the League. With Malcolm dead, his right hand Athena is leading the Guild and searching for a map containing the location of what turns out to be a trio of Lazarus Pits scattered across the globe, and Thea is literally the only one able to unlock the map.

Refreshingly, the episode is upfront that this is Thea saying goodbye to Star City, but the question is more how she’ll depart than if she’ll depart. Forcing her to contend with the life she wants to have with Roy versus the life her Assassin father wanted for her is a good emotional hook to base an episode around; we’ve seen the ways both Malcolm and Roy have changed her over the years, and there are solid cases made for both retiring and continue to go along with Nyssa’s quest for the map. Nyssa and Oliver work well as the respective devil and angel on her shoulder, and the conversation between them about Thea’s future lays out their arguments effectively.

It’s good that Willa Holland is able to be both Thea and Speedy in this episode, unlike the one prior. Since this is her departure episode, it’s only fitting that she gets those scenes typically reserved for Oliver where she’s working out who she is and what she wants in life with someone as her sounding board. Holland and Haynes do strong work together and their discussions on whether they can really escape this life avoid any pit-fall repetition. Just as with Oliver, putting on the hood and becoming Speedy makes Thea feel complete, but it’s also understandable that Roy is so determined to leave it all behind when this life took her away from him in the first place.

I’ve always liked Katrina Law as Nyssa, and having her on this week is so delightful. There’s a lot of humor mined in her constantly referring to Oliver as her husband despite him being actually married to Felicity, and there’s something that feels so right in how she always does it in front of Felicity just to get at her goat. She’s eased back into her role as an assassin, but her cold stares at Felicity’s jabs and the way she gives Oliver a dagger as a sign that their marriage has been effectively annulled makes her fun.

With the exception of Legends of Tomorrow, the Arrowverse shows have too many episodes in their seasons. One way to rectify that would be to have mini-arcs in each season that have some connection to one another, rather than sprawling stories, like we see here. While Team Arrow Classic is dealing with classic League shenanigans, Curtis and Dinah are still searching for the corrupt cops within the GCPD.

Thus begins a cute little storyline as he starts to date one of the few non corrupt cops in the city. It’s good enough to help fill the hour and does its job in advancing the plot forward while showing that these people do have lives outside of being superheroes, so there isn’t a lot to complain about there except for one thing. There’s a very good chance that it could all go south with Curtis and Anastasio the cop, invalidating the storyline. Like Kevin Keller on Riverdale, Curtis is only gay when the story really asks for him to be, and the fact that this is happening as he’s looking into crooked cops means that some kind of shoe is waiting to be dropped.

“Thanatos Guild” is a fun episode of Arrow that does a good job of giving a send off to Thea while promising future adventures with her, Roy, and Nyssa as they travel together to hunt down those three Lazarus Pits. She’s bound to return to the series at some point given that this whole season seems to be devoted to bringing in as many returning players as possible, but I also wouldn’t mind if this is what closed out her story. It’s a fine way to leave the show.

Additional Notes

  • There’s not much to write about Athena, save for that it’s nice that the show acknowledges that she’s tough to kill after she survives a bombing, an arrow to the gut, and being stabbed.
  • This is the first time we’ve gotten hard confirmation that Malcolm is actually dead after the events of last season, and it’s just weird that the show went this long without it. That’s weird, right?
  • Oliver used to have a nightlight until he was 16, we learn in Thea’s going away party, and one of the more quietly funny moments of the episode.
  • Roy didn’t get nearly as much parkour to do as he should’ve which is just so disappointing, show.

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