By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
This week’s brand-new Arrow episode entitled “This Is Your Sword” was another one for the history books. After last weeks emotional reveal of Oliver (Stephen Amell) officially becoming Al Sah-him, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) coming to terms with Oliver possibly being gone forever and Nyssa (Katrina Law) being captured by The League of Assassins, fans anxiously awaited for what this weeks brand-new episode would hold. This being the last episode before the season finale, Arrow hits the ground running with an emotional, heart-pounding, wild hour.
This Arrow episode began with Team Arrow seeing the ramifications of Oliver leaving. Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) spring into full superhero mode and it’s something truly special. Diggle has decided to unleash some of his anger by nearly beating a man to death. Ramsey continues to unleash a range of emotions and it’s very refreshing to see him in the forefront of these last several episodes. This leads to a little tension between the new Team Arrow when Laurel and Diggle begin to tell Felicity she’s in denial about Oliver possibly being gone forever. Felicity delivers a soon-to-be classic, fan-swoon worthy line when she says, “Our Oliver… my Oliver died the day he joined the league… this is someone else.” This new Team Arrow is starting to take shape and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
One of the biggest surprises during tonight’s Arrow didn’t even involve Oliver Queen or Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). In a short scene, Felicity goes to see Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). This is the first time that Ray and Felicity have interacted since their breakup. Ray automatically can tell that something is bothering her and being the good friend that he is asks if she’s okay. Ray tells Felicity, “You have this little cloud that keeps following you around… You’re my friend, I promised to be here for you.” Ray and Felicity may not have been made for each other but there is no denying that their friendship is a great one. Routh and Rickards have amazing chemistry and without having to worry about Ray stealing Felicity, their scenes together are genuinely enjoyable. The most shocking portion of this scene comes at the end when Ray has Felicity sign a transfer of ownership paper for Palmer Technologies without her knowledge. This is no doubt a way to get Ray out of Arrow now that the Arrow/The Flash spin-off Legends of Tomorrow has been picked up by The CW.
This episode wasn’t all about Team Arrow; it also focused on Thea’s (Willa Holland) trip to visit Roy (Colton Haynes). This storyline consisted of several short scenes; most of them involving Roy and Thea in bed together, but the ending was well worth it. Roy left in a massive hurry in the episode “Broken Arrow” after faking his own death so it was nice to see where everyone’s favorite sidekick ended up. Thea fills Roy in on Oliver becoming Al-Sah Him and how she doesn’t know if Starling City is the right place for her. Roy does the noblest thing and leaves town before Thea can follow him. In his wake he leaves Thea a heartfelt, tear-inducing letter and his Arsenal suit. “Red always looked better on you,” Roy writes and fans can take that as Roy officially giving Thea his blessing to become Speedy. Holland and Haynes continues to have unbeatable chemistry and it’s still hard to imagine Arrow without Haynes’ charming smile but fans can begin to get excited for Holland’s sure-to-be epic transformation into Speedy.
With Oliver Queen dead and Al Sah-him towering in his place, fans of Arrow anxiously awaited for how this episode would set up the sure to be explosive finale. Fans watched as Team Arrow and Al-Sah Him’s storylines began to intertwine. One of the culprits of this amazing transition: Malcolm (John Barrowman). For a character that has been the sole villain in previous seasons, fans waited to see if Malcolm’s character would begin to show redeeming qualities. Barrowman is a fan-favorite actor and fans have been anxiously waiting for him to take on a better role on Arrow. This week fans eagerly watched as Malcolm showed up to Nanda Parbat and it was revealed that he has been working with Oliver the entire time in order to take down the League of Assassins. Barrowman and Amell rarely share scenes together but the two of them do an incredible job in this episode.
In no time at all Malcolm returns to Starling City to tell Laurel, Diggle and Felicity that Oliver has informed him that Ra’s al Ghul plans to unleash a deadly bio-weapon on Starling City. Felicity sums it up best when she says, “He’s lied to us so many times it should be a drinking game.” While Team Arrow argues over whether or not to trust Malcolm, Oliver foresaw this happening and enlists the help of Tatsu (Rila Fukushima). Tatsu shows up to let the team know that their city is in grave danger. It was very refreshing to see Tatsu show up in an important storyline of Arrow. The flashback sequences involving Maseo (Karl Yune), Tatsu and Oliver have fallen very flat this year and are often forgotten about so it was refreshing to see Tatsu out of the world of the flashbacks. Tatsu convince Diggle and Laurel to accompany her and Malcolm to Nanda Parbat but Felicity still needs an extra push.
A character pair up Arrow fans never thought they needed happened in this episode. With Felicity refusing to return to Nanda Parbat, Tatsu visits her and gives her a little extra push. In an amazing scene, Tatsu tells Felicity, “To speak with you about Oliver… During his recuperation he spoke of you and how his last thought before the fall was about you. You love him still and if you believe that you must fight for him.” In a single episode, Fukushima transformed into a fully-formed character and it was amazing. Her character arc this episode was exceptional and perfectly intertwined the flashback sequences with present day.
Arrow fans could not have prepared themselves for the movie-style fight sequence that took place in Nanda Parbat. With Felicity now joining the voyage to Nanda Parbat the entire team was assembled and fans sat tight for what was sure to be a monumental fight-sequence. Malcolm shoots arrows at The League of Assassins, Laurel and Diggle kick some serious butt, Felicity frantically tries to stop the plane carrying the bio-weapon and Tatsu, who has taken on her super-hero identity Katana, slashes people effortlessly. With The League of Assassins continuing to come towards them, Felicity can’t stop the plane and just when all hope seemed loss Ray swoops in with his full functioning A.T.O.M suit to save the day. Arrow’s stunt team were the MVP’s of this episode because this was by far the most epic, battle scene this season. Every stunt double, extra and actor who worked on this scene deserves a round of applause. The most jaw-dropping element to this fight sequence wasn’t the fact that Black Canary finally transformed into a fully-functional superhero, but the epic battle between Katana and Maseo took center stage. Katana and Maseo battled in a seemingly synchronized dance and just when it looked like fans would say goodbye to Katana just as they began to love her, she plunges her sword into Maseo. In a truly touching moment Maseo utters to Tatsu, “Thank your for saving me from my prison.” Fukushima and Yune do an amazing job in this episode as they portray a couple torn apart by the sins of their past.
Last week, fans were left on the edge of their seats when Ra’s al Ghul announced that before Oliver can ascent to the calling of Ra’s al Ghul, he must marry Nyssa. Let’s just say Nyssa, and fans, were less than pleased with this news and this created some tension for the married couple to be. The episode was set up thinking this would be the major plot point in this episode however, it was far from it. Nyssa and Oliver inevitably do tie the knot at the very end of the episode and the marriage was not touched upon prior to that.
Emily Bett Rickards continues to astound, especially in the small moments of tonight’s episode. When The League of Assassins captures Team Arrow, Felicity turns to Oliver for help. Amell does an incredible job at showing just enough of Oliver Queen for fans to know he’s still in there somewhere. With Felicity pleading with Oliver to save them, Oliver reveals to the Team that he’s betrothed to Nyssa al Ghul. The simple look in Felicity’s eyes packs the same punch as any emotional monologue. Rickards and Amell don’t even share a conversation together in this episode but the stolen glances and the heart broken exchanges are enough to make fans swoon. The most heartbreaking moment of the night comes when Malcolm betrays Team Arrow when he tells Ra’s al Ghul that Oliver is the one who told them about his plan to unleash the bio-weapon. Team Arrow is changed together in a cell when Oliver shows up with Ra’s al Ghul. After removing Tatsu from the cell, Ra’s al Ghul and Oliver toss a vial of the bio-weapon into the cell with Felicity screaming, “You asked us to trust you and we trusted you.” Rickards continues to astound and create moments of pure emotion and heartbreak. With Team Arrow clutching for life and fans screaming over their favorite characters dying, Arrow closes in on its last episode of the season.
By episode’s end, Oliver has been married off to Nyssa, Team Arrow is passed out in a dungeon and Thea has no idea any of this is going on. As Arrow closes in on it’s season three finale, fans are anxiously awaiting the return of Oliver Queen and how the Ra’s al Ghul storyline will be wrapped up. Arrow has created some of their biggest stunt sequences and twists this season and fans are anxiously awaiting the final showdown.
Arrow’s season 3 finale airs next Wednesday at 8/9c
Overall Grade: A