Tonight’s episode of ‘Arrow’ opens right where last week’s episode left off, with Nyssa explaining her offer of the Lotus potion to Oliver, and demanding that he kill Malcolm Merlyn as payment. Oliver clearly needs time to think, as he knows he will not kill Malcolm Merlyn, and he heads back to the Arrowcave to reconvene with the rest of the Quiver Crew about what exactly they should do. Of course, most of the team feels (and has felt for years) that Malcolm deserves to die for everything he has done since first revealing himself as the Dark Archer, but Oliver will not kill the man because it is Thea’s father, and he does not want to take that away from his sister. Instead, he comes up with a new plan, realizing that Nyssa really just wants to be the new Ras Al Ghul, and deciding he might be able to strike a bargain between Nyssa and Malcolm where the latter gives the leadership of the League of Assassins to Nyssa in exchange for the Lotus potion.
Felicity meanwhile has coffee with her father, who despite everything they talk about does not seem the least bit curious about how his daughter ended up in a wheelchair, which I found off. I would have loved to see the Calculator start a vendetta against Damien Darhk because the man paralyzed his daughter. Anyway, they discuss what Felicity has been up to, and dad reveals that he knows that Felicity was the hacker he faced off against previously, and he expresses profound admiration for his daughter’s skills. He claims to be a vigilante on the side of justice same as her, but Felicity is wary, especially as dad seems to be saying everything she wants to hear, including a desire to be part of her life now. Afterwards, Felicity speaks to her mom about the situation, and Donna is not happy that her ex is back in town and speaking to Felicity, and warns her daughter that the man is manipulative, and is not one to change for better. Still, Felicity wants to believe her dad can be a good guy, and gives him a chance, inviting him to Curtis’ lab in Palmer Tech to show off everything they had been working on together. Of course the whole thing was a test for her father, which the man failed as he secretly was downloading files and stealing information while in the lab, which was enough to show Felicity that her father was still the villain they always thought he was. In the end, she has her dad arrested, though we can see doing so was a difficult decision for her, and may come back to haunt her in the future.
As for Oliver, he speaks to Merlyn about his plans, and is chided by the man for being so naive, as Merlyn does not believe the Lotus potion actually does anything, and he points out how dangerous it will supposedly be to give up the League to Nyssa, as Malcolm is using the group to help save humanity (or his own warped version of what it means to save the world). As they argue about how Malcolm seems to value being Ras over the life of his own daughter, Malcolm reveals that he knows Oliver would make the same choice if it meant helping people, revealing that he knows about Oliver’s son William and knows that Oliver would never trade the lives of others just to protect his own son. Oliver returns to the group shaken, but knows he still needs to make this work, and decides to ask Nyssa for proof that the Lotus can save Thea. Nyssa gives him a small dose to give to Thea, and they move Thea from the hospital to the bowels of the new HQ where the team can watch over her and administer the mystical cure. With Malcolm watching they give Thea the small amount of Lotus and her wounds start to heal, with Malcolm realizing the Lotus is real, and seeming like he is ready to make a deal.
Nyssa and her small band of assassins await Merlyn, Oliver, Diggle and Laurel in a secluded spot, everyone ready to make the trade to finally save Thea’s life. Unfortunately, just as Malcolm is about to hand over the ring, he reveals that he never intended on giving up what was his, and calls in his own assassins to ambush Nyssa and her troops. Nyssa flees, and her exit is safeguarded by Oliver, Diggle and Laurel, who demand that Malcolm stands down. He does, but it is already too late, the warring bands of Assassins led by Nyssa and Malcolm are now battling in the streets of Star City, and civilians are getting hurt. Oliver captures Nyssa as the team searches for Malcolm, and Laurel has a heart to heart with her old friend, informing Nyssa that she is becoming exactly what her father wanted her to be, and risking Thea’s life simply for her own selfish needs. Her words seem to strike a cord with Nyssa, but not enough for her to hand over the location of the Lotus. Luckily, the team spots Malcolm within their own HQ, by Thea’s side, where Malcolm confirms that his daughter will not last past sunrise. Oliver still cannot convince Malcolm to give up being Ras, but instead suggests a trial by combat between Nyssa and Malcolm, winner take all. Malcolm and Nyssa accept, and the stage is set.
They set up the trial by combat atop a Star City rooftop, where apparently no one in the nearby buildings could spot the bonfires or costumed figures fight. Fortunately, because a woman is involved apparently, they deign not to battle shirtless (which was one of the stupidest parts of Season 3), and Nyssa and Malcolm grab their weapons. At the last minute however, Oliver invokes his right to replace Nyssa in the battle, as he is her husband according to League law, and Oliver now faces down Merlyn, apparently giving in to his anger for everything Malcolm has done, including killing Tommy and Sara. Oliver easily bests his old opponent, once again showing how far he has come in the past few seasons, yet when the time comes and Merlyn does not yield, Oliver does not kill the man. Instead, he chops off Merlyn’s hand (the one wearing the Ras ring) and gives it to Nyssa, thus transferring the leadership of the League to her. She gives the team the Lotus and they race to administer it to Thea, who wakes up wary of what has happened, not remembering anything.
In the flashbacks of the night, Oliver reveals to Taiana the stone he got from dream Shado, and she instantly rats him out to Baron Reiter (still angry at Oliver for killing her brother), giving the villain the stone in exchange for her freedom. Unfortunately for her, Reiter does not care about her freedom and demands that she stay in the cell and nurse Oliver back to health, otherwise he will kill her. Reiter is happy to get the stone however, as it is the last piece of a map he needed to finally get what he wants off of the island. As for Taiana, she seems to make a begrudging piece with Oliver once she realizes the man he wants to be, and she knows she can help him become that man and stop whatever Reiter’s plan is for the island.
In the episode aftermath, Merlyn meets up with Oliver and Nyssa, who tells the boys that she has disbanded the League to free everyone from her father’s prison, and then melts the Ras ring down, ending the leadership role (supposedly) forever. Malcolm, in a rage, tells Oliver that he will not kill him because death would be too good for him, which is followed by Oliver demanding that Merlyn not threaten him, a statement we know Oliver can back up since he so easily beat Malcolm before. Felicity speaks to Oliver about how difficult it was to send the police after her father, and she and Oliver commiserate over whether or not people can change for the better. That conversation is followed by Oliver proposing to Felicity again, claiming they should just get married now while things are quiet (more on that in theories), to which she emphatically agrees. In the final scene of the night, Malcolm meets up with Damien Darhk, and as our stomachs twist realizing the damage Malcolm can do, he does the absolute worst thing possible. He informs Darhk that Oliver Queen has a son, William, that he cares about even more than Felicity Smoak. Darhk takes in the information, and we almost see the wheels start turning in his head.
– Is there a chance that the “He” that Oliver is ready to kill because of the mystery dead body in the coffin is not actually Darhk, but rather Malcolm Merlyn?
– I distinctly remember a civilian or two being hit by arrows during the war in the streets between the assassins. Is this a plot line that will be picked up later? Citizens of Star fed up with costumed vigilantes and the war they bring to the city? Or was that storyline done to death during Season 3?
– Feels like we are once again being set-up to believe either William or his mother is in that coffin, but my money is still on Captain Lance. They are trying too hard to make you forget about his character (he only showed up in this episode to arrest Felicity’s dad) and I think its all a ploy to make it more “surprising” when Lance suddenly has a big episode and then dies at the end at the hands of Darhk (or maybe Merlyn?)
– So I feel like the Queen wedding will be the event that ends in the death that brings Oliver and Barry to the coffin. Weddings are always a train wreck in the comic-book world, and you know Darhk will not be able to help himself once he knows Oliver is trying to be happy.
In my opinion, this might be the best episode of ‘Arrow’ Season 4 so far, as the all the storylines really pulled together, and set up some great conflict for future episodes. I especially enjoyed seeing Oliver vehemently against taking lives, showing how far his character has come, and adding weight to his eventual decision this season to kill whoever put his loved one in that damn coffin. I also LOVE the idea of Malcolm being a full on villain again, as even one-handed and without the League he can clearly be a major threat to the team, especially because of all that he knows. Definitely looking forward to where it all goes next week!