Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arrow 3x15 "Nanda Parbat" (Do You Want Justice or Vengeance?)

"Nanda Parbat"
Original Airdate: February 25, 2015

I'm a word nerd.

I said that once this week already, but it's true. I chalk it up to the English degree and the fact that I'm just wired to be curious about what words mean the way scientists are curious about how cells look under a microscope. The English language fascinates me and it always intrigues me that we assign meaning to certain separate words and yet use those words interchangeably. The words "justice" and "vengeance" are thrown around in this episode so if you'll allow me, I'd like to explore each word's definition and hopefully that will help us identify what exactly is happening in this week's Arrow episode titled "Nanda Parbat."

Justice, as defined my Merriam-Webster is: "the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals." Vengeance, meanwhile, is defined as "the act of doing something to hurt someone else because that person did something that hurt you or someone else." Man, I love words, don't you? Nyssa tells Oliver in "Nanda Parbat" that justice IS vengeance, essentially equating the two. What I think is so interesting is the introduction of complex themes and questions into Arrow's third season. This has been a year that is fueled by the idea of identity -- what you do defines who you are, essentially, and what you don't do also defines who you are. I think that's the problem that Team Arrow is having with Oliver recently (and everything that happens with Malcolm throughout this episode and the episodes prior is a pretty great callback to how Oliver treated the man in "The Magician" much to the disbelief of everyone else). What he isn't doing angers Nyssa and Laurel and Diggle and Roy and Thea and Felicity just as much as what he is doing. If you'll notice in the definitions above, vengeance is the definition that focuses on the first-person pronoun "you." Vengeance is selfish, by its very definition because it is all about YOU. It's all about what has been done to you and what you feel is deserved because of that. Justice, meanwhile, if you'll notice is not defined that way. Justice isn't focused on a pronoun at all, first or third person. Justice is focused on a process and on a series of decisions. Vengeance is one act of doing something to hurt someone else because they hurt you first.

So the big question of "Nanda Parbat" really is this: are our characters seeking justice for Malcolm Merlyn or are they seeking vengeance for what he did to them? There's a pretty thin line that I think a lot of the characters walk and it's interesting to watch unfold. So let's explore it a bit, shall we?

Thea (+ Oliver, Malcolm, Nyssa)

First off, show of hands if you're really happy with how Thea Queen's development over the past few episodes? I'm absolutely loving her and the way that her arc is being constructed and when others were crying "lack of agency" months ago, I was patiently waiting for the day when the Arrow writers would deliver us the best possible arc for her. I talked with Connie about this last week, but I have difficulty when people bash character and seasonal arcs before they're completed. So yes, of course in context, it appeared like Thea was being utilized as a pawn of the writers. But after watching the past few episodes unfold, it's clear that they constructed the narrative that way in order to bring about her agency. You know how they often tell you to not judge a book by its cover? Don't judge a character arc before it's finished.

(That's my #micdrop moment this week.)

What I love so much about this arc of Thea's is how utterly true to her character it is. The thing that sets Thea on edge isn't just that she was used to kill someone by Malcolm Merlyn, but that she: 1) allowed herself to care about someone and to let someone care about her and 2) was lied to. Thinking back on Thea's life (last week's episode was a great precursor to this one), it's easy to see why Malcolm's betrayal sets her off so much. Every relationship she has had in her life has been riddled with lies. Thea was lied to about her parentage. She was lied to about her father's death. She was lied to by Oliver. She was lied to by Moira. She was lied to by Roy. She was lied to by Malcolm. And that really is Thea's trigger -- people using how caring and forgiving she is in order to turn her into a weapon or push her away. Thea wants justice for what Malcolm did and when Oliver confronts her about it -- about the fact that she told someone else what happened -- she fires back at him, saying that she's obviously not as good of a liar as he is. To Thea, the ends don't justify the means. And the guise of protection does not excuse lies. She forgave Moira, eventually, but it was difficult for the mother and daughter to repair their broken relationship. She flat-out refused to visit Moira in jail, remember?

Thea Queen is no one's pawn and when people treat her like one, she ensures that they face justice for what they've done. I just love Thea because this act is less about her wanting for Malcolm to feel the pain that she did and more of her wanting him to pay for the crimes he has done -- to be held accountable for his actions. Because NO ONE IS HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS ACTIONS. And funnily enough, the one person who should be holding him accountable is the one person protecting him.

(Oliver. I'm talking about Oliver.)

Lest we forget, there's a fine line between justice and vengeance and that's something that Thea does toe in the episode. It's something that Nyssa opens the episode with: she wants Oliver dead for what he did to Sara, regardless of whether or not he actually killed her... until she gets word from Thea (how did she manage to contact the League?) that Malcolm Merlyn was the one to kill Sara. Nyssa is fueled with anger and emotionally invested in avenging Sara's murder. After all, they loved each other. Nyssa is such an interesting character and I can't remember where I read this recently so if someone recalls, hit up the comments, but Nyssa is the one character in Arrow who wasn't really forged in fire. She was born into it. And that makes her more concerned with emotions and with vengeance and with anger than anyone else on this series.

Nyssa is such a great character. She's so complex because she tries to be calculated and a killer, but she also genuinely loved Sara. In fact, I would say that Nyssa is an extremely emotional character -- she is constantly fueled by anger or love and that is what makes her extremely dangerous (funny how Oliver tells Laurel that in this episode, isn't it?) She believes that vengeance and justice are the same thing but Oliver does not.

So now we come to our Oliver portion of the evening in which we talk about Oliver's reasoning for constantly protecting Malcolm. It's convoluted logic at best, but it really boils down to the fact that if Malcolm is alive and not sent to his death by either Oliver or Thea, Thea's soul can be spared. When Oliver and Barry had that conversation in "The Brave and the Bold," Oliver essentially told Barry that once you kill someone, a part of your soul is gone. It's touched by darkness. And you can never get that back. Oliver believes he's too far gone to really save any piece of him and Thea is filled with goodness. Everyone believes Thea is filled with goodness... except THEA.

The problem is that Thea hands Malcolm over to the League because he deserves justice for what he did to her (or vengeance, you decide) and what he did to Sara and what he did to so many others. But Oliver's reasoning for saving Malcolm is this: if he can save Malcolm, he can save Thea's soul. With Malcolm alive, Thea has the chance to heal. She wasn't herself when she killed Sara and Oliver knows that. But if Malcolm dies because of something Thea did? Because she turned him over to the League? His blood is on her hands, permanently. Laurel and Thea have a conversation in this episode and it's beautiful because Laurel finds out (via Thea) that Thea was the one to kill Sara. And... she's not mad. She's shocked and stunned and trying to process her grief but what she tells Thea is that her killing Sara under Malcolm's influence was not her fault. But now, what she does with the rest of her story... well, that IS on her.

Thea has a lot to contemplate this episode. She has a lot of guilt that is weighing her down -- guilt for letting Malcolm into her life; guilt for killing Sara; guilt for spending so much time lying to Laurel; guilt for then sending Malcolm off to his death willingly. When she has a conversation with Roy at the episode's end, Thea tells him that maybe she is a killer. Perhaps that's just who she was destined to be -- that all of the lies and all of the pain and all of the suffering turned her into a monster. And that no sacrifice in the world could actually save her soul because a part of it was blackened and shriveled and could never return.

And so, Thea finally confesses to Nyssa what really happened -- that she was the one to shoot the arrows -- and hands Nyssa a sword at the end of "Nanda Parbat." What Nyssa does next is yet to be determined, but it's clear from the anger and bitterness and rage that boiled up within Thea that she believes she's better dead than a murderer.

Team Lance

Laurel Lance was awesome in "Nanda Parbat." She was compassionate and stubborn and strong and she called Oliver out multiple times on his crap. When she discovers that he's lying to her face about finding Sara's killer, she tells him that she's not so consumed with vengeance that she would go and try to kill Thea. It stings her that he would see her -- the person who basically was family to Thea for years when she and Oliver dated -- as someone who could even have the potential to do that. And really, Oliver has been in the business recently of telling women what to do and making decisions for them (Oliver Queen, get your crap together, dude...) and so when he blatantly lies to Laurel, she's angered and appalled that he could even be the same person she once loved.

It's a fantastic burn because it reminds Oliver that he can't keep making decisions for people without there being consequences to those decisions. And though Laurel is mad at Oliver in this episode, she also doesn't want to see him embark on a suicide mission. But that's not even the most important Laurel-related scene in this episode, really. The most important scene is the one that occurs between her and Nyssa.

Nyssa is captured by Oliver after she and the League attack and kidnap Merlyn to send him to Nanda Parbat and his death, and while she's in a cage, the two women have a conversation about Sara, where Laurel admits that seeing Malcolm hauled away didn't feel as good as she thought it would. And actually, with Malcolm gone... another piece of Sara is, too. Laurel struggles to remember happy memories of Sara. She struggles to remember what her laugh sounded like. But Nyssa beautifully reminds Laurel of the goodness and the light that Sara possessed. That is what Laurel needed most to hear. She needed to hear a story of Sara's light and her happiness. She needed to remember Sara the way that she lived, not the way she died.

And hearing it from Nyssa was extremely important because Nyssa is typically the person Laurel clashes with the most from Sara's past. Nyssa reminds Laurel of everything that was done to Sara and everything that Sara was turned into. So to hear Nyssa recount the moment she fell in love with Sara and Sara's laugh was so beautiful and special.


Let's talk about Oliver and Diggle throughout this episode, shall we? First of all: John Diggle was amazing in "Nanda Parbat." From the conversation in Nanda Parbat to the scenes with Lyla and baby Sara, Diggle was the wisest person in this episode. When Oliver claims that the reason he's so eager to save Malcolm is because he wants to save Thea's soul, that's only partially true. And we, the audience, don't know exactly WHY Oliver is sleepless and why he's so adamant on returning to see Ra's until the two men are captured in Nanda Parbat.

Oliver then admits that all he hears when he falls asleep and all he can see is the moment he fell off that cliff. And it's stupid and it's egotistical and it's crazy but it's driving him into madness because Ra's beat him. He beat him GOOD, too. Diggle understands this, though, because Dig is still a solider. It's something Lyla tells him in this episode -- that just because his uniform is gone it doesn't mean his mentality is. Being a soldier is a life-long duty for Diggle. That's why he will always protect the people he cares about. He didn't last time when Oliver left and Lyla encourages him to go with Oliver this time around; to be his comrade in battle.

And John Diggle knows better than anyone that there are certain parts of yourself that you can't turn on or off like a switch. Oliver can't turn off the part of his brain that is egotistical while he's in the field because it will get him killed. Diggle notes that when soldiers go into battle, they have to constantly believe they will come home or else they'll be paralyzed by fear. There's this extremely heartfelt moment that the two share in that cell while they're in chains and it's beautiful because Diggle knows Oliver better than Oliver wants to admit. They're brothers. They're partners. And Diggle will always be there for Oliver, not because Oliver asks him to but because that is what true partnership is -- being there even when you're not asked and standing by even when you're not wanted.

I love how Oliver pleads for Diggle's life when he kneels before Ra's and I love that these two men were able to form the relationship that we did, not in spite of their differences but because of their similarities. Diggle is the person who Oliver should aspire to be. Think on that, won't you?


First of all, let me discuss why the scene between Ray and Felicity where he tells her that he values and trusts her judgement is extremely important. I know a lot of Oliver/Felicity fans were up in arms over Felicity's response ("Well, that would make you the only one") citing examples of when Oliver told Felicity that he relied on her; that she was his partner. Let's just think back a few episodes to "Uprising," shall we? What happened in that episode between Oliver and Felicity at the very end? Do you remember? Of course you do. That was rhetorical. They had a fight. But it wasn't a fight rooted in anything superficial -- it was a fight centered on the fact that Oliver came back from the dead and it didn't change him, in Felicity's eyes. It didn't cause him to think about others -- about HER -- and listen to her. Oliver chose to do business with Malcolm Merlyn, to align himself with the enemy, and he made that decision the way he makes all of his decisions: alone, without consulting anyone.

There's this cliche that says actions speak louder than words. I hate it. I hate that cliche because of how often it is used but also because of how true it is. Oliver can tell Felicity that he loves her. He can tell her that he relies on her and that she is his partner. But what good are words without actions to back them up? Oliver can tell Felicity all he wants that she is important to him, but the way he's treating her -- and the rest of the team, like in "Canaries" -- recently doesn't really exemplify that idea of love and partnership. If Oliver truly wanted to treat Felicity as a partner, he would ask her opinion before acting. He would consult her, because that would show he trusts her judgement (even if he doesn't agree with her, respect doesn't mean agreeing -- it means at least just listening). Oliver's dismissal of Felicity and the rest of the team proves that all they're doing? All of this hero work around Starling City? Oliver still sees himself as the final authority: as the person who is in charge of making decisions for everyone else.

Oliver did this with Felicity in their relationship, too. This is what I wrote in my review of "Uprising" and I stand by it 110%:
Oliver's greatest strength is his instinct to protect. His greatest flaw, meanwhile, is his instinct to protect because it leads him to make decisions FOR others, rather than WITH them. Remember how at the end of "The Calm" Felicity, as Oliver was telling her that he thought he could be Oliver and The Arrow but he couldn't, had this look of pure and complete frustration on her face? It's because she had no say and always had no say in what Oliver did under the guise of caring about her. She vocalizes her anger in that moment when she tells him to "stop dangling maybes." And then he kisses her. And I know we flail about it and we think it was romantic, but think about it from Felicity's point-of-view momentarily. Think of that moment and then the: "You know how I feel about her" comment in the foundry, too. Oliver ALWAYS dangled maybes and almosts when it came to Felicity -- he told her he couldn't be with her and then kissed her; he told her he had to be alone and then, indirectly, that he had feelings for her; he told her he loved her and then he left. Felicity never had a say in their relationship because Oliver made the decisions for her.
Oliver never makes decisions WITH other people -- he makes them FOR them. And when it comes to Oliver/Felicity lately, he's the one who calls all of the shots. So yes, I think that Felicity is right when she tells Ray that lately, he's the only person who seems to actually listen to her and -- at the very least -- take her opinion into consideration. For all of his flaws (oh, and they are numerous), Ray Palmer genuinely does listen to Felicity Smoak. He cares about her. He values her. And he thinks she's smart enough to actually listen to what she tells him. That's a trait that at the current moment, Oliver Queen doesn't possess at all which is why Ray is so appealing to Felicity. Moreover, Ray doesn't just tell Felicity that he respects her judgement... he tells her that he DEPENDS on it. That he depends on her. That's so important because Felicity feels like she's not Oliver's partner anymore. She feels like she is the woman who can do things for him but whose thoughts and concerns ultimately mean very little in light of Oliver's own thoughts and opinions.

This all may seem like I'm coming down hard on Oliver and it's because I am. Oliver Queen is in an identity crisis this year. He's trying to determine whether or not there's any part of him left that is human or if he is destined to just be The Arrow and nothing more. In his trajectory this year, there are moments that I love Oliver and moments that I loathe him. And that's simply a part of his hero's journey this year. For the record: it's okay to dislike what Oliver Queen does and yet still love him. I feel like that's something that everyone needs to know in terms of characterization in any television series but especially in the Ray/Felicity story.

You can love a character and not agree with the decisions they're making. That doesn't make them out-of-character. It doesn't mean the writers are writing them badly. It means that they're living, breathing, real characters and you're having reactions to them. My best friend dated some people in her life that I disagreed with, but that didn't suddenly make me question everything I knew about my best friend. It didn't mean I loved her less or somehow she was dead to me. So let's all stop treating characters the same way. Let's question their choices but realize that their choices will sometimes not align with what WE believe they should do. When a writer is good, they'll be able to justify their characters' decisions and I think that Arrow is doing a fine job of that with Felicity Smoak. I understand why Felicity is drawn to Ray. Yeah, he pinged her phone and I don't remotely like him at ALL because he has some stalker-ish tendencies. But if you take that out of the equation, what you have to contrast is this: a man who is smart, caring, intelligent, and who allows Felicity to call the shots versus a man who is headstrong, intelligent, stubborn, and wants to call all of the shots in the relationship.

And with that comparison, it's easy to see why a relationship with Ray would be... well, EASY for Felicity. She would be in control. She would dictate what happens. She would be the one making decisions. Because she is the one who is valued and until Oliver realizes that Felicity is his partner and not his punching bag or his girl Wednesday... he's going to lose her to someone who proves -- not just says -- that she's valuable.

Felicity tells Ray what to do and he listens to her. She tells him when she enters his apartment that her friend (Oliver) won't listen to her and is probably leading himself to death because he won't listen to ANYONE. And he continues to be that way. But Ray? Felicity can fix Ray. She can help him not make the same mistakes that Oliver does. She can help Ray be better and most importantly, Ray listens to her so she knows that she has the upper hand (which sounds manipulative, but she really does care about Ray being better and healthy. And that brings us to the moment that exploded the Internet: the Ray/Felicity make-out scene. 

Honestly, I don't blame Felicity for initiating a kiss and for sleeping with Ray. Again, I don't like Ray. I don't remotely ship Ray and Felicity. Like, at all. But I understand WHY she did. I understand because everything that happened throughout "Nanda Parbat" (and everything that has happened since "Sara," really) has led Felicity to believe that Oliver will continue to do what Oliver wants to do, without care or concern for how she feels. So she'll do that, too.

So what is the theme of "Nanda Parbat"? Where does it leave us? It leaves us wondering what these characters are willing to do in order to save the souls of the people they love most. And the final question is at what point does saving another's soul mean losing your own completely?

Observations & favorite moments:
  • I have a few MVPs this week: 1) Stephen Amell because he consistently impresses me with his range of acting. Though I don't like Oliver right now and I think he's being absolutely dumb by not letting other people make their own decisions, I love the way that Stephen plays this character. I think that scene in Nanda Parbat was some of the finest, most heartfelt acting we have seen this season. 2) Katrina Law was absolutely perfect in her return as Nyssa al Ghul. I love watching her play the raw, powerful anger and bitterness that Nyssa possesses, of course. But what really struck me is how vulnerable Nyssa can be and how perfectly Katrina is able to portray that vulnerability and emotion. Nyssa is, perhaps, one of the most emotional characters in this entire series and that's really beautiful. 3) Willa Holland absolutely knocked it out of the park again this week. She's played Thea so raw and so powerful and so guilt-ridden it was both heartbreaking and beautiful. Brava. 4) David Ramsey for the scene in Nanda Parbat and for the wonderful way that Diggle asked Oliver to be his best man. David is so under-appreciated in this series but he is one of the consistently solid performers in Arrow. This episode was proof of that.
  • Do we think Oliver will take over for Ra's? Do we think he will actually join the League because he truly believes he's destined to be alone?
  • "John." "My friends call me Dig. You shouldn't even speak to me." YOU NEED SOME ALOE FOR THAT BURN, MALCOLM.
  • "Yeah, he's father of the year."
  • Quentin isn't returning any of Laurel's phone calls and hasn't for a week. Is anyone shocked?
  • All of the secrets came out in this episode which is perfect. It's almost like people are capable of telling the truth on this show. WHO KNEW.
  • "You know it's hard to remember a time when I was actually in love with you." DANG, OLIVER, ASK YOUR NEW BFF MALCOLM FOR SOME ALOE BECAUSE YOU GOT BURNED, SON.
  • Katie Cassidy wordlessly crossed her arms in a confrontation scene with Stephen Amell's Oliver and it was the most hilarious, sassiest thing I've seen.
  • "I hate boats." Oh, Hong Kong!Oliver. You also hate haircuts, too. Also: Hong Kong stuff happened. Oliver and Maseo and Tatsu were promised passage to Japan on a boat by the commander who debriefed them and then, shocker! They were shot at. Oliver was instructed by Maseo to take his son and run. It was heartbreaking to watch Tatsu scream after them.
  • Nyssa was mediating in her cage and it was amazing.
  • The revelation that Roy anonymously gives money and toys and food to the family of the cop that he killed while under Mirakuru was the most wonderful, touching thing I have seen from Roy Harper perhaps ever. This is a guy who has very little to give and yet is giving it away because it helps him heal. That was beautiful.
  • Felicity's Freudian slips made a return this episode!
  • "Thank me later, give me the gun!"
Well, folks, there you have it. Thanks for reading this massive Arrow review! I'm sure you all have a lot of thoughts so be sure to hit up the comments below with them. We won't be back until March 18th, but that just gives us more time to discuss. Until then, folks! :)


  1. Loved your review of the episode, very insightful!!! Like the definition of vengeance and justice !!! I agree with what you said.

    1. Thank you for reading and for saying such nice things, Carly! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)

  2. I'd like to know how Thea got Nyssas number and can I have it? I'd like to call her and see if she wants to do a show of jusd bad ass women. Diggle and Roy can visit but as of right now, no one can tell Oliver the secret password. Who am I kidding, he'd just brood with Malcolm the whole time. The girls kicked ass tonight.

    Ray? I literally feel nothing for him. When he's gone I won't even remember him, of that I'm sure.

    Felicity? Oh please, who hasn't has comfort sex? (Am I revealing too much?)

    Oliver? Sigh, I love you but you need a time out to think about what you've done. Maybe he should hang out in NP for a while, clear his head, drink some Lazurus Pit. I hear it makes you crazy so I'm only guessing if you're already crazy (oliver) it will make you sane.

    Olicity - oh it's so happening

    1. April! Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm as baffled as you are as to how, exactly, she contacted the League but can we please have a show of just Nyssa? Or a spin-off where all the ladies of Arrow just go and be awesome together? I would be cool with that. And yeah, Oliver isn't allowed in.

      Ray is such a meh character for me but I'm glad that he at least respects what Felicity thinks. She's the one calling the shots, clearly, which is what was lacking in her relationship with Oliver. A girl needs to feel power and respect and Ollie needs to get his head out of his colon and realize that he will lose her if he doesn't step it up.

      I'm like, 99% sure Oliver/Felicity is endgame so I'm not concerned about Ray/Felicity at all. Thanks again for your comments! :)

  3. I totally understand how you feel about words. The words chosen for lines are so important and can tell us so much if we listen carefully. And excellent point about the difference between justice and vengeance. At the best of times we really confuse these I think which is why people always say that prison shouldn't be an easy experience for criminals. We equate punishment with a certain amount of suffering on the part of the perpetrator especially if we have suffered ourselves. They should “pay” for their crimes but everyone disagrees what form that payment should take.

    Diggle! John Ramsey was totally my MVP for the episode. I really missed him and I thought that his discussion with Lyla really made it clear where his priorities have been. From beginning to end Diggle was just killing it during this ep. He totally slammed Merlyn when he said “You shouldn't even talk to me.” Talk about putting him in his place. Go Dig! He has noticed that Oliver is not sleeping again (which is exactly what happened last year when Slade got in his head) and authoritatively tells everyone to clear out so he can talk to Oliver and they all do it without a word. His talk with Lyla was so lovely, she understands him so well and knows that even if it is risking his life he has to be who he is, he has to back up his partner. He was so smooth in combat at Nanda Parbat and made it clear how deadly he can be. But by far the scene between Dig and Oliver in the dungeon was my favourite of the whole episode. When Oliver insisted he shouldn't have let Dig come along Diggle says in no uncertain terms that it wasn't his call. Oliver is not the boss of him. He gently makes it clear he totally understands where Oliver is coming from and he's backing him up even though Oliver isn't thinking clearly. When he asked Oliver to be his best man and told him that he found another brother I teared up a little. Such a beautiful scene and Diggle is a paragon among humans.

    1. BECCA. Your comments are always such a delight. Which reminds me that I need to respond to your Parks & Rec farewell post comments later today, haha.

      Words have always been such a huge part of my life and even more so as someone who loves writing. Because when you use words, they convey what you really mean and tell us so much about who you are. People misconstrue words or use them incorrectly (LITERALLY DOES NOT MEAN FIGURATIVELY). So I loved the idea of exploring the difference between justice and vengeance.

      DIGGLE WAS SO GREAT. I knew from the first sassy line he spoke that he would be outstanding this episode and thank goodness he understood why Oliver acted the way he did because most of us did not. I love how much Lyla understands him and I love how Diggle reminds Oliver that he can't make decisions for people and that the burden of guilt does not always fall on him. Calling Oliver out in the best way possible is Dig's specialty. AND I LOVED HIM ASKING HIM TO BE HIS BEST MAN. I audibly "awww'd" at that, I won't lie.

  4. Oliver- Because of that talk with Diggle we got to understand where Oliver's head has really been since the Climb. I agree with Felicity that it has been pretty far up his colon but Oliver finally talks about it with someone, maybe because he can finally admit it to himself. He is haunted, obsessed even, with how easily R'as beat him and what it felt like to fall to his death. So when Felicity was hoping that near-death would change his perspective, it did, just not in the way she was hoping. It drove him further into himself, more obsessed with focus on a mission, he fell back on old habits in dealing with uncertainty and fear: he shuts down. In this way, he is kind of like Ray Palmer. Ray can't stand to feel helpless after the death of his fiancee which drives him in his work to the point of obsession. Oliver feels helpless in the face of the threat from Ra's and it consumes him too. He can't get past it even when he knows it's egotistical and insane. It raises another interesting theme of focus (which Oliver has mentioned repeatedly since ep 1) and when that focus becomes so narrow it is a destructive obsession. Because, let's face it, Oliver's plan was kind of crappy. He went off again to face R'as not intending to die, even though Thea begged him not to, but he would have because R'as caught him easily and only his choice to recruit Oliver instead of killing him saved Oliver's life. Not an effective plan. But I do see some glimmers of change and progress in Oliver. At the beginning Oliver makes it clear that he and Thea have discussed (very important word) their living situation and Oliver is going to back her up and they are going to stay at the loft even if Malcolm thinks it is foolish. That was a move that a true partner would make. And even when he first tells them all that he is going to save Malcolm he explains, directly to Felicity, what his reasons are, that he needs to save Thea's soul. He needs her to understand and he says “Please?” which I think is progress, tiny but still there. No idea where they are going to go with Oliver in regards to Ra's proposal to join him, to become him (he certainly looked tempted in the trailer) but I can only hope that Oliver has some better plans in the future, a better way to live with himself.

  5. Felicity- I am not surprised (sad but not surprised) that Felicity is getting some flack from people about her decision to make a move on Ray. Female characters are always more sharply criticized for their relationship decisions. (Also, I think enthusiastic fans can be imaging she is further along in her feelings than she actually is. An imaginary future that you allow yourself to dream is not equivalent to an actual committed relationship. And she made herself very clear that Oliver's current way of expressing love is not something that she wants.) But I don't believe she has done anything objectionable in that choice or anything out of character. And it doesn't matter if we see or believe as an audience that Oliver didn't regret the kiss or does respect her judgement if SHE doesn't believe it (she doesn't have all the info that we the audience do). She is often the voice of reason and she has gotten ignored a lot lately. Now let's not make out that Ray is the best listener in the world. He didn't really listen until she forced him to by locking him out of his own computers. (Ray's strength comes from tech which is totally in Felicity's wheelhouse so she can stop him or slow him down more easily than she can with Oliver.) He claims to be focused on the problem (just like Oliver) and Felicity makes it clear you can be too focused, to the point of nearly killing yourself or blowing yourself up (hint hint). But when he finally does stop and listen he says three things that really hit major buttons for her. 1) He values and depends on her judgement. 2) He can be as obsessive and stubborn as the next billionaire (Mr Queen anyone?) but he knows the value of someone calling him on it. 3) “When I'm with you, it's just you. I don't think about work or the mission.” And in the middle of that last line she kisses him. He has hit on a major thing for her. Now, let me be clear. I don't particularly like Ray or love the pairing. I agree the characterization has been sloppy and hasn't shown me anything compelling. No matter how they have presented him I am not intrigued or excited by the relationship. Also, if Felicity is attracted to him because he is both like and not like Oliver, that is not a good foundation for a relationship. That being said, I can see where she is coming from and while I don't think it feels powerful or lasting I do think the relationship makes some sense. She deserves to feels appreciated, heard and adored. We all do.

    1. So help me, if one more person says that Felicity is out of character or slut-shames her, I will end them. Because no, the show isn't asking us necessarily to accept Ray/Felicity, but we can understand her. It makes total sense that she would choose to pursue Ray because she feels like it's the better alternative at this point. I'm so glad they're NOT making Felicity sit around and pine for Oliver. That would be making her a weak, flat, awful character who is dependent on a man. Felicity mother-effing Smoak waits for no man, even one who says he loves her (and doesn't show it). She won't wait in the foundry forever and I'm glad for that.

      I mean, I'm with you and I still don't like Ray. He's got this creepy vibe ever since pinging her phone. But Felicity connects with him. It's easier with him. And thank you for pointing out that last sentence. He hits something major for Felicity when he says that when he's with her, it's JUST her. It's not work or a mission. That's not true of Oliver and it's what is the final straw for Felicity.

      It's not a relationship I love or care about, but I think it's necessary. Ugh, and it's killing me that I can't remember the exact quote or where, even, it's from, but there's a quote that's along the lines of "you were just a pit-stop in something real" and I feel like that's the best way to describe Ray/Felicity and Oliver/Felicity's obvious endgame.

  6. Oliver- Because of that talk with Diggle we got to understand where Oliver's head has really been since the Climb. I agree with Felicity that it has been pretty far up his colon but Oliver finally talks about it with someone, maybe because he can finally admit it to himself. He is haunted, obsessed even, with how easily R'as beat him and what it felt like to fall to his death. So when Felicity was hoping that near-death would change his perspective, it did, just not in the way she was hoping. It drove him further into himself, more obsessed with focus on a mission, he fell back on old habits in dealing with uncertainty and fear: he shuts down. In this way, he is kind of like Ray Palmer. Ray can't stand to feel helpless after the death of his fiancee which drives him in his work to the point of obsession. Oliver feels helpless in the face of the threat from Ra's and it consumes him too. He can't get past it even when he knows it's egotistical and insane. It raises another interesting theme of focus (which Oliver has mentioned repeatedly since ep 1) and when that focus becomes so narrow it is a destructive obsession. Because, let's face it, Oliver's plan was kind of crappy. He went off again to face R'as not intending to die, even though Thea begged him not to, but he would have because R'as caught him easily and only his choice to recruit Oliver instead of killing him saved Oliver's life. Not an effective plan. But I do see some glimmers of change and progress in Oliver. At the beginning Oliver makes it clear that he and Thea have discussed (very important word) their living situation and Oliver is going to back her up and they are going to stay at the loft even if Malcolm thinks it is foolish. That was a move that a true partner would make. And even when he first tells them all that he is going to save Malcolm he explains, directly to Felicity, what his reasons are, that he needs to save Thea's soul. He needs her to understand and he says “Please?” which I think is progress, tiny but still there. No idea where they are going to go with Oliver in regards to Ra's proposal to join him, to become him (he certainly looked tempted in the trailer) but I can only hope that Oliver has some better plans in the future, a better way to live with himself.

    1. So when Felicity was hoping that near-death would change his perspective, it did, just not in the way she was hoping

      This was really important to hear from Oliver because it gives us a bit more perspective on why he wants to go back to Nanda Parbat and face Ra's. In this weird sort of way, I think Oliver respects and admires Ra's? And you're exactly right in that Oliver is throwing himself into being The Arrow because it gives him purpose. He is, like Laurel aptly said, an addict. And what he's doing is worse than what Laurel did when she put on the mask because at least LL knows WHY she is doing it.

      Oliver's plan was so crappy. Like, so unbelievably crappy. Did he want to get caught, you think? I feel like he almost did because he realized he couldn't beat Ra's and resigned himself to that. I'm still not sure, though. He's hard to read these last few episodes. He's making tiny progress in letting other people in but he's got a long way to go.

      From spoilers, I think something happens to Felicity in 3x18 after she and Ray cross over to The Flash. I hope THAT will wake him up and cause him to snap out of whatever funk, dark place, etc. he's been in. I want to start liking you again, Oliver! STOP MAKING ME MAD AT YOU.

  7. Roy- loving his interactions with Thea this episode and in a way they are the only ones who can really understand what the other is going through. They are both dealing with the aftermath of being killers but not really killers of their own volition. Roy really impressed me with how he is handling his guilt. It hasn't been discussed much since ep 6 but he's obviously figured out something he can do to help the family he harmed even though there is nothing he can do to fix it. He wasn't totally responsible in his condition but that family will always be part of his responsibility and I respect that.

    Thea- I can only echo what you said about her character arc this season. It's been fascinating and while I can understand people's frustration at times you are right about waiting to see what the writers will do. And this has also given Willa Holland so many wonderful things to play. I have enjoyed seeing her struggle with the mess of emotions over the last few episodes. She has really shone. I like that she couldn't handle lying to either Laurel or Nyssa. She seemed fairly comfortable with lying to Oliver for a lot of the season but she knew he was lying to her a lot so it was perhaps easier to justify. She is honest with herself in that car with Roy. She accepts she's not really responsible for taking Sara's life but she is responsible for going with Malcolm in the first place and for giving him to the League. Oliver was right. That guilt will eat at her. She wants justice but she is also really angry at Malcolm and she knows that her decision to give him to the League was partly motivated by justice but also by anger and vengeance. It's not so easy to separate those motivations. And I was really amazed at her line that she deserves to be punished. She offers herself up to Nyssa because she believes she deserves some consequences. In this way, she is more like Oliver and the least like Malcolm. Malcolm always tries to get out of the consequences for his actions (and up until this episode he largely has) but Thea wants to take responsibility, she doesn't want to hide. That more than anything shows her goodness.

    Malcolm- I thought it was interesting watching him fight Laurel. She was so clearly outmatched and he moved with his hands behind his back just like Ra's. He told Nyssa her love for Sara had disqualified her for leading the League. I thought that was significant and weird (not that we should ever believe him). His professions of loyalty to R'as after being caught sounded weasel-y and cowardly. It is the most shaken we've ever seen him which is telling since he's always looked so calm and in control around anyone else.

    1. Roy - Okay, I kind of fell a little bit in love with Roy after he showed Thea what he was doing for that cop's family. That was beautiful. It really was. And I loved all of his scenes with Thea because he's been the one to constantly stand by her and let her make her own decisions, even if he doesn't agree with them. He still really loves her and that's great to see. Also, can we talk about how Roy is poor. Like, dude lived in The Glades. He doesn't have much and yet he buys that family food and anonymous gifts because it helps him heal. That was what really struck me was how selfless he was being and generous.

      Thea - I love my bb Queen so very much this year. Her offering herself up to Nyssa was crazy and huge and the way that she handled her anger and grief and guilt and pain in this episode was so intense. I think Thea is worlds ahead of Oliver in terms of coming to grips with who she is and what she's done. And actually, that's what is going to cause her to keep the light within her: her willingness to own up to all she's done, even if it wasn't her fault, and expunge herself of guilt. She knows she's guilty and she knows that just as Malcolm is deserving of justice, so is she. That's extremely brave and I love her for it.

      Malcolm - I loved seeing Malcolm shaken in front of Ra's. That was such an awesome Barrowman-acted scene, seriously. I may hate me some Malcolm Merlyn but I love me some John Barrowman. ;)

  8. Laurel- I can totally understand her frustration with Oliver. He lied to her so easily although I believe that he meant what he said about finding Sara's killer, eventually. Laurel seems to tend more to your vengeance definition, she even recognises that she needs to have Malcolm to hate. This is perhaps why Nyssa respects her but she doesn't find the thought of Malcolm suffering pleasing which Nyssa clearly does. I can understand Oliver's initial reticence to tell Laurel because she did get pretty angry at Roy and said “Just because he was drugged means it wasn't his fault?” But clearly she's worked through that part and now knows where her anger can be directed. But hating Malcolm isn't going to make her feel better either. I think if Malcolm were to have some real meaningful consequences for his actions she could heal some too. She can't remember any happy times with her sister because she's been so concentrated on anger. But Oliver has decided his course of action and neither he nor Laurel are budging.

    Nyssa/Ra's- So she clearly thinks that justice and vengeance are the same thing. She has been raised in a unique environment, a very violent environment so I'm not entirely surprised. But Ra's doesn't seem to be driven by vengeance. He said he will take no pleasure in the pain that Malcolm will suffer for his crimes and I believe him. He has a very violent and stern code and the rules he lives by are enforced without mercy, almost justice to an extreme. He's a very different kind of villain so far. In season one we had Malcolm who is clearly off his rocker and only fought Oliver because the vigilante got in the way of his supercrazy plan (all about vengeance by the way). In season 2, we got Slade who couldn't care less about the Arrow. All the destruction in the city was vengeance too, this time personal hatred for Oliver and a desire to make him suffer by destroying everything he loved. Now we seem to have Ra's as our main threat who doesn't have anything against Oliver or Starling City and who seems to threaten Oliver's whole identity by the temptation to become a weapon completely. And it will be interesting how far Nyssa's anger at Oliver will go. Because now Ra's has chosen Oliver as his successor over Nyssa and we aren't exactly sure why or how that decision will affect her. They hyped up that as a twist a lot but I didn't feel very surprised. I felt like it had been coming for a long time, especially since Ra's seemed to respect Oliver so much during ep 9 and called him “my son” at the end.

    One last thing, I do NOT understand the logic of the flashback stuff in this episode. They would have me believe that Waller does not agree with letting them go so she sends people to kill them? Why? What possible reason could she have? What would it accomplish? She is all about accomplishing an objective and I just don't see one. Maybe I missed something but it felt so weird to me.

    So now we're on break so we can mull things over. Very interesting stuff and I can't wait to see what happens with Nyssa/Thea and R'as/Oliver. I think R'as is a pretty big threat to Oliver's humanity even if he has no interest in actually killing him.

    1. Laurel - I'm loving Laurel more and more, to be honest. She's proving that she's growing and that she's learning to process her grief in healthy ways. So when she learns that Oliver has lied to her, it's not just the lying it's that he continues to lie right to her face. And I get how stunned she is because she trusts him. And I get why Oliver didn't tell her, but Laurel is essentially right because... yeah, what did he think? She was going to kill Thea? Thea was her family, too, for so long. And Oliver thought so little of her that he believed her vengeance would outweigh her love. I loved the Nyssa/Laurel bonding because they're so fundamentally different but they're connected by Sara, always. And they understand each other. And Laurel knows that Nyssa isn't right in her ways, but she gets the motivation behind them. I loved seeing Laurel fight Malcolm, too, because baby Canary still needs to learn better skills but she was angry and hurt and ready to take it out on the person who took away her beloved sister.

      Nyssa - I love Ra's because he's like, his own jury and judge. He doesn't scare me. He intrigues me. He wants people to pay for their crimes and if they don't commit any, he doesn't see a reason to unnecessarily kill them. He's so different than any of the big bads, like you said, because he's a threat to Oliver's identity, not to Starling itself. BECCA YOU JUST SUMMED UP THE WHOLE SEASON WITH THAT SENTENCE, YOU BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL FISH. I never thought of that, but you're right. THAT is why Ra's is so important this year. Slade physically maims and kills but Ra's causes Oliver to question his soul and his mind.

      (I think everyone on Tumblr called that twist so I was also not surprised at all when he got that offer.)

      ... I kind of tune out Hong Kong flashbacks. This week seemed the least important of all. Why was it necessary to throw those in there?

      YAY THANK YOU FOR MULLING THINGS OVER WITH ME. You're the best commenter (shhhh don't tell Connie, HAHA. Just kidding, Connie, I LOVE YOU TOO.)

    2. He he he, and you are a poetic, noble, land mermaid.

      Oh, and thank you for reminding everyone that Roy is doing all his helping from a position of relative poverty and in total anonymity until he told Thea. I mean, he has a job at Verdant but it's not like he's ever been rolling in dough. Which makes the fact that Malcolm (and Thea a bit) have done so little to help with his wealth all the more despicable.

  9. Wow!! What an episode!!! I love when they do that… and I needed something like this, because last episode was really boring for me…

    Vengeance or justice… well it´s a complicated concept….. I could discuss it in 800 lines in Spanish, but in English… I´m afraid it´s too much! But I understand what you say… Everything depends on how something is or someone sees it…….

    Everyone in this episode was great! Everyone had his moment of glory….. but for me the three more beautiful moments were:
    1. Oliver lowering his voice and telling Felicity he needed to save his sister´s soul, and she totally understanding it and helping him without saying anything else.
    2. Bromance moment between Oliver and Diggle…. Wow, Diggle should write a book or something, he´s so wise….
    3. Laurel and Nyssa talking about what a sweet person Sarah was…..
    4. Well, actually four… because the Lyla-Diggle scene was pretty awesome too!

    And at last I have to comment on Ray- Felicity…. I agree with you in most of it, but I think the main trigger for Felicity´s kiss is Ray saying: “When I´m with you, just you, I don´t think about work or the mission or…”
    That´s what Oliver isn´t able to give her….. Those moments just for her! The mission always comes first, Arrow always comes first!
    And I think Felicity likes Ray, very much, he´s really attractive, and he relies on her, and she likes that, but Ray isn´t Oliver…… and she knows that, and I think she slips for a moment because she deserves some happiness too, and she´s worried about Oliver going to Nanda Parbat but she knows she can´t do anything but worry, and she doesn’t want to do that, because she is trying to get Oliver out of her life (romantically speaking) so when Ray says that sentence, she let´s herself go…. And that happened.

    And I don´t see Olicity in danger at all, because what Felicity needs is someone who respects her and counts on her, but also who defies her a little, and that´s Oliver, not Ray…

    And also Oliver thinking about becoming the new Ra´s al Ghul is going to make him realize he´s not made to be alone as he thought he was…… and then… bye Ray, thank you for coming! ;)

    Again all your observations were most of my highlights moments of the episode but I would add one more:
    “I´m sorry” “I´m not” (and the password being password!)

    Finally…… 18th March?? Really?? Well, with such a great episode it´s more bearable isn´t it?


    1. Bri! So good to see you around here again. :)

      1) I did love that Oliver/Felicity moment. Because I think for as mad as she is at him about everything (and justifiably so), she knows that Thea comes first. And Felicity may not be as close to Thea as Oliver is, but she loves her just the same and wants to help her. It wasn't about Malcolm in that moment, it was about Oliver's sister.

      2) DIGGLE AND OLIVER BROMANCE. I'm 100% here for that and I was so glad that he was able to talk some sense into Oliver and that Oliver was honest with Dig because they're brothers. :')

      3) Nyssa and Laurel bonding over Sara's laugh was beautiful.

      Yes! I think in regards to Ray/Felicity you and Becca said the same thing: that everything led up to that last sentence. Oliver isn't able to give her (or willing to, at this point) all she needs. And she does deserve happiness and Oliver isn't giving THAT to her either so it makes sense she would get it wherever she could.

      I think this whole LoA stuff is gonna really cause Oliver to make a decision about his identity by the season's end. And it's going to definitely be interesting.

      The password being "password" is so cheeky and SO Felicity Smoak.

      Thanks again for your comments, Bri!

    2. Hi again! :)
      My friend and I have a theory about something MG said about episode 3x20... I hope it´s ok I post it here, because I would like to read your opinions on the matter.
      MG said in the 3x20 is going to be a really good olicity moment, and a really bad one too....
      No clue what the good moment can be about, but we think the unhappy moment could to be related with Ra´s proposition. Maybe Oliver makes a deal with him: he will be the new Ra´s once he is dead (in exchange for Thea´s life) but he will keep living his life until the moment arrives... (which means he can´t start something with Felicity because sometime in the future, he will have to leave everything and everyone).
      Now that I think about it... the happy scene can be Felicity thinking Oliver comes back for good (because he said no to Ra´s proposition)
      Actually I find flaws in our theory, but it´s all MG´s fault because he plays with our heads.....


  10. This is a really good recap of a show with a lot of moving parts, and I thrilled how you are continuing to focus on Oliver's decision process. At some point, he is going to let go of the reigns (short arc), they will have to accept the bit (several more episodes for each to come to the same conclusion), or this team will not be a team anymore that will come together for a death or epic battle for the city (the most likely arc that gets them to a season 5 or 6).

    It might make sense for Oliver to lose all of them to Ray but Diggle and Thea. A crisis could come up where Oliver must ask for help, and people die/change in the process restoring a new team Arrow and the return of Olicity. Might even let Ray complete his hero's his own show.

    It's Matt, but for some reason Google hates me and Anon was my only working option.

    1. Matt! Thanks for your comments. :) This week's recap was a beast because SO much happened in such a short period of time. And at some point, Oliver is going to need to accept that he has to let other people make decisions -- that he can't bear the guilt of what they choose to do and in order to still be Oliver Queen, he needs to realize that's okay. I really hope that he does and I hope something DOES happen to shake him up so he changes.

      Again, thanks for commenting even when Google is being stubborn! ;)

  11. I would also have had Katie Cassidy as a MVP of tonight's episode. She was perfect in her scene with Oliver and even better in her scene with Nyssa. Cause I've been in that situation where you try to remember a loved one smile or laugh and it gets hard to. So when she heard that story from Nyssa, you could see in Laurel's face that she forgot the hate and pain for a second and remember the love for her sister she had ironically from the person who loved Sara just as much as she did but in her own different way.

    I still miss Sara but how they have written Laurel has been really well. (I know it was stupid to go fight Malcolm but honestly all of us would have done that if we had found out what she found out.)

    So excellent review and thank you for your Arrow reviews each week!!

    PS: I would watch a show dedicated to Nyssa.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Charles! I really did love LL in last night's episode being all stubborn and defiant and mad at Oliver. The scene between her and Nyssa is one of the best female interactions we've had on the show since Laurel/Felicity. And you can totally see in Laurel's face that she's able to remember what Sara's laugh was like through Nyssa. It was a lovely moment.

      Thanks for your comment, again! These things are beasts to write but I'm glad you all love them. ;)

  12. "Felicity can fix Ray."

    See, I think this is where Felicity/Ray is going to go off the rails, because Felicity *thinks* she can prevent Ray from turning into another Oliver, and she won't be able to. Ray hasn't gotten to this point without a major ego of his own, albeit without going through the extensive pain Oliver has suffered, but the overinflated "I'm responsible for every bad thing in the world" martyr complex is totally there. I think Felicity thinks she can help him and guide him but eventually it's going to come to a head where Ray insists on continuing down the path regardless of what she thinks. And I think Felicity will do the same thing she's done with Oliver - she can't control his actions or decisions but she can control her own, and she'll walk away.

    (I can't stand Ray either and I'm rooting for an Atom spin off solely to get him the hell out of Starling and off my tv screen, so possibly I'm just hoping Ray will prove himself not to be the partner Felicity might be hoping he is so he'll go away.)

    1. Anon! First off, thank you for commenting. :) I do think that you're entirely right in that Felicity won't be able to fix Ray. He listens to her, but he's also stubborn and will do whatever he thinks is best for the city. So I think she will see that clearly at some point but for the moment, I think it's good to have a contrasting character to Oliver's unwillingness to listen to everyone else.

      (Notice how he keeps TELLING the team that he's leaving and that he's doing things and never consults them? I think it will take Oliver proving he wants Felicity and will fight not just for her but for HIMSELF in order to make Felicity change her tune.)

      Thanks again for commenting! :)

  13. That was certainly a jam-packed episode of Arrow! Oliver being stabbed in 3x09 still remains the most-shocking moment in S3 for me so I was not really surprised at all at the ending of Nanda Parbat but I'm eager to see how it plays out and also what happens with Thea and Nyssa.

    It's hard picking just one person in this episode who was great as just about everyone had some really wonderful moments. I loved the scene between Oliver and Laurel at the beginning when Laurel asked him how he could lie so easily, she was so on point this episode. Also I really enjoyed her scene with Nyssa, I think they have a great dynamic and as they both loved Sara it's interesting to each others perspectives on their shared loss.

    Diggle was amazing this episode, it was sooo good to see the quality Oliver/Diggle moments and the scene between them in Nanda Parbat was very touching when he called Oliver his brother (Yay!). I remember back in I think it was 3x10 when Dig said to Laurel he still thinks of himself as being Oliver's bodyguard and I was not satisfied with that, but in hindsight I'm glad as this 3x15 scene was the perfect moment. He is an absolute rock, so intuitive and indeed very wise.

    I'm fine with the Ray/Felicity scene, it was not a surprise as obviously they've been hinting towards it from the start and I get why they are doing it, so it hasn't shaken my belief in Olicity. Even though we've seen in the crossover episode that they can incorporate more superhuman aspects into the show (The Brave and the Bold was a flawless example of this) I did find the Atom flying slightly less in-keeping with this Arrow episode, it felt a bit off considering everything else going on (a super high-tech scene contrasting greatly with the more ancient feel from the LoA).

    Apart from that I really loved the look and direction the rest of this episode, like the fight scene with the helicopter at the airport was visually stunning and I really enjoyed seeing Oliver practising his sword fighting (he looks hot welding all forms of weaponry:)

    I totally agree with you about Thea, her arc has been handled wonderfully this season, and her struggle with the truth and telling Laurel and Nyssa was great and rather refreshing when we're used to seeing so many secrets being hidden between characters. It just shows that as much as Oliver wants to protect people, he cannot carry on the way he is going in keeping secrets and making decisions for everyone.

    We've seen a build up towards Oliver's identity crisis and this episode really emphasised Oliver's current state of mind, especially when there are characters who are portraying a direct contrast to this like Ray. I'm really interested to see how Oliver reacts to Ras Al Ghul's declaration and how this will effect his struggle for his identity. How will he come to reconcile all parts of himself and what/who will be the catalyst for him coming to terms with who he is? This theme is incredibly intriguing and one I will be pondering on during the break.

    Sitara x

    1. Sitara! Welcome back, my friend. :)

      I don't know what else this show could do to try and surprise us. I mean, they stabbed the main character and kicked him off a cliff, haha. But being on social media has its drawbacks because Tumblr has called that plot twist for a long time now. Nevertheless, I really did like that final scene.

      LL has been so kick-butt lately and not just physically. Her verbal jab at Oliver was so harsh but so necessary. And that scene with Nyssa? Beautiful. They've always had such a cool dynamic because you can tell they respect each other but also kind of hate each other, too? Nyssa's story was so great and you can tell that it really helped both women to hear it and remember Sara.

      Diggle was AMAZING this episode and I'm so glad that we got a really honest scene between them in Nanda Parbat. And it was so sweet and emotional and Dig really does know Oliver better than anyone else does.

      Ray/Felicity isn't a thing that I like because I don't like Ray, but it's certainly not out of the blue. And I can understand WHY Felicity is drawn to Ray which is what I think makes her so in-character during this whole thing. In her mind, there's no chance with Oliver now so she's trying to be happy. Okay, I totally do understand what you mean about that Atom scene feeling out of place. Apparently the producers were excited though because it's very much of something they get to do on The Flash, but never on Arrow (which is accurate). It was still weird though, haha.

      Thea's arc has been handled so well this season and I love that she's the one who's breaking the cycle of lies and calling Oliver out on his crap. Beautiful, beautiful bb Queen. And that scene with her and Roy was fantastic and illuminated so much about her character.

      This episode is like, the hinge on which the rest of the season swings in terms of identity. Everything we've seen so far has been building up gradually to the moment Ra's asks him to take over and everything after it will certainly be Oliver having to make a determination as to who he really is.

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments! The time you all take to type them out and really articulate them well is not lost on me. :)

  14. "when he (Oliver) blatantly lies to Laurel, she's angered and appalled that he could even be the same person she once loved".

    I think that this was interesting because it raises the point on why the larger audience from even season one failed to embrace this first intended pairing. Because him blatantly lying to her was something that was a part of their romantic canon relationship from the very beginning, and a lot of people found themselves scratching their heads, because on one hand we were being told that they were 'soul mates' and 'best friends' and 'the love of each others lives' but being shown that lying and cheating was a reoccurring theme for them from the very beginning, so these labels just didn't make sense with what we, the audience were seeing.