They turned us into heroes.”
When Oliver announced his intentions to return to Nanda Parbat, the only question was how many characters from the League of Assassins storyline would make it into the episode. Of the three that do (Nyssa was conspicuously absent)—Talia, Athena, and Thea—the latter is the most poignant inclusion. It doesn’t take them long to catch each other up on what’s been going on in their respective lives, though Thea’s underwhelmingly emotional reaction (to Oliver’s chagrin) to the news of his impending death was a welcome slice of levity for an episode heavy on duty, fate, and the entwining of past and future.
Paired with Talia, the Queen kids search for Al-Fatih’s tomb, the first Ra’s, in the hopes of finding answers on Mar Novu. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go so smoothly, what with Athena and those loyal to her on their own mission to find the tomb and Al-Fatih’s sword. This conflict drives “Leap of Faith” into more of an adventure-type episode, with a good amount of action and though the noticeable plot beats taken from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade add a bit of non-Arrow nostalgia to the story, it’s more of a stepping stone to the big reveal: Mar Novu as the catalyst of the upcoming Crisis and the merging of the present with the future.
As an ardent detractor of the future-forward narrative since its inception, nothing about this particular story element’s inclusion this season has changed my opinion. Putting aside the dull reuniting the Glades with Star City story, Mia’s continual overcompensation to be the hardcore badass has really handicapped her from being more than a one-note character.
“Leap of Faith” does change that however, with an extremely satisfying glimpse underneath her thorny exterior persona to the rose underneath. Allowing herself to be vulnerable with William filled in a depth that her character was sorely lacking and did more to showcase her strength than wailing on a dozen Deathstroke thugs.
But it didn’t stop there.
Once again Mia faced JJ only to be overwhelmed by his martial skill and as she was ready to accept death at his hands, Zoe saves her, only to be unexpectedly run through by JJ’s sword. The teary goodbye as Mia holds her dying friend is short-lived as a blinding flash of light transports the survivors—Mia, William, and Connor (who was seconds away from killing JJ)—into the present (their past) and Team Arrow’s lair.
As adventure-filled episodes go, “Leap of Faith” was a respectable attempt at presenting things on a pseudo-grand scale. Though the outer shots are solid—Oliver and Thea scaling a cliffside was well done—the would-be wonders of Al-Fatih’s tomb were most likely victims of time and budgetary constraints, just like the middling fight scenes. But despite the inconsistent visuals and action, the story’s core maintains a strong presence throughout, particularly Oliver and Thea’s cliffside conversation. Reflecting on what their parents would think of where they’ve ended up and who they’ve become is a question many children ask themselves when their parents are gone. The honesty in that conversation, on how their parents may have done their best but screwed up, is emphasized by Thea’s assertion that what Moira and Robert Queen did ultimately led to their kids becoming heroes. And as Oliver and Thea are well aware, being a hero means doing what you think is right at the time, understanding that you will screw up but must keep going forward no matter how much it may hurt. As adventure-filled episodes go, “Leap of Faith” was a respectable attempt at presenting things on a pseudo-grand scale. In the end, that lasting lesson will outlive the convoluted yet thoroughly fascinating story that will continue to play out.
- Were it not for its link to the future and that time-traveling surprise, Lyla and John’s mission to save Sandra and Connor Hawke would have been nothing more than an uninteresting footnote. As it turns out, if you factor in the probability that JJ also made the trip into the present, the unmistakable foreshadowing evoked by Lyla and John’s heartfelt “I love yous” all but promises a tragic end, perhaps even at the hands of their own son.
- It was so good to have Willa Holland back on the show, even if only for one week. Better still is the plausible story arc left to her by the writers—Thea and Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig, Andromeda, The Arrangement) reforming the League of Assassins as a League of Heroes. It sounds a bit cheesy but it makes sense based on the codes of fealty the League abides by. Even if her return was a mini-series, a six-episode event tied in with the other CW shows next year (the next crossover event, perhaps?), I would 100% tune in to that. Will it happen? Probably not. But so long as they keep the door open…