Welcome back, Arrowheads! So previously, Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak finally had sex. Yes, I know this is a great thing for shippers, and a questionable plot move (like most of them this season) for many critics. On the other hand, its good to finally get that tension and wishy-washiness both of them have had all season put aside to have that brief break from all this lunacy together. Oh, and in order to save a dying Thea using Ra’s magic health hot tub, Ollie had to finally take that offer to be the next head of the League of Assassins. The main takeaway of this is Ollicity sex, everyone.
Outbreak. In this flashbacks this episode, that Alpha/Omega virus is starting to spread out in Hong Kong, but fortunately for Ollie and the Yamashiras, they are inoculated from dying a nasty death. They look to make their way back to Akio, but make a pit stop to destroy a truck Shrieve has sent out to spread the virus. They pick up Akio, who’s seemingly healthy (unlike the woman who was watching him), and decide its time to pack it in and leave the city. As they pick up a car, Tatsu notices some blood coming from her son’s mouth. Someone apparently didn’t get inoculated.
Ghosts of the Present. In the present, Ollie gets to experience what a lot of people in evil cults get to experience: brainwashing. Ra’s is putting Ollie through the Assassins fraternity hazing ritual, which takes a few weeks (and some narcotics to warp his head), and involves killing what he thinks is Diggle in a drugged up haze. With that done, Ra’s takes him to the remains of a village and talks about his current aggravation. He mentions his friend Damien Darhk, a Heir to the Demon like him, who escaped and now has a “hive” of agents (like, HIVE, who have popped up in the outliers of the show’s run) to protect him. But Ra’s wants Al Sah-him to handle one job: bring back Nyssa for judgment, whether she wants to go or not, or kill her to assure no competition for the job.
Gone, But Not Forgotten. Back in Starling, most of Team Arrow (and Thea) are hanging out with Diggle’s family, reflecting on things and planning to still keep up their vigilante activities. Laurel is out fighting baddies, along with Nyssa offering some tips on improving her game. During a bit of dinner (and a surprisingly less rigid Nyssa), Laurel finally brings up that whole “Oliver’s now the Heir to the Demon” thing she should’ve brought up weeks ago, and Nyssa immediately heads back to her place. Laurel isn’t clear on what’s going on, but Nyssa explains: if Ollie’s the Heir, that means her life is forfeit, and they’ll be coming for her. Laurel lets Team Arrow in on the news, and Felicity thinks if Ollie’s coming, they might be able to get him back. Of course, when hearing about that brainwashing hazing ritual thing, even Diggle’s having a hard time thinking Ollie couldn’t resist that. But Nyssa has no intention of running, but instead will face Ollie to the death, if needs be. There’s some debate within the Team whether they should just let her get scooped up by the League or not, so its probably good Laurel wins the “help Nyssa” argument and planted a tracking device on her.
Facing Judgment. While Diggle and Laurel debate what to do if they have to face Ollie as they track Nyssa, Felicity gets a visit to Palmer’s lab/Arrow HQ from Thea. She really wants to help when hearing Ollie may be in town, but Felicity is kind of against it, seeing as how Thea just died and came back relatively sane. Nyssa shows up on the rooftop where Sara was killed, as Ollie appears, seemingly unfazed when hearing where they are. They fight, but before Ollie can kill her, Laurel breaks out that new Canary Call she got back in Flash a few episodes back to stop that. Instead of fighting Diggle and Laurel, Ollie coldly exits the scene. By the way, Felicity sees him in surveillance cameras, and she looks ready for some tears. At this rate, I recommend she get a Costco card so she can buy tissues in bulk.
Team Arrow vs. Arrow? At the loft, Thea calls Malcolm to ask for help in trying to un-brainwash Ollie, but he says, “sorry, but as you know from experience, I’m only good at brainwashing people to be murderers, not the opposite”. So she asks for something else, which we’ll come back to. Ollie sees Maseo at the local Assassins chapter house, and says if he’s going to bring Nyssa out, he needs some leverage. Meanwhile, Laurel and Nyssa talk about what this last few weeks has meant for them, as Diggle and Felicity discuss what has happened to their former friend. Then we discover at Diggle’s house, that while baby Sara is there, Lyla isn’t. Ollie calls to let his former teammates know he has her, and will trade her for Nyssa. Diggle’s content to just throw Nyssa to Ollie, and she’s willing to go, but Laurel believes they can’t just let this go down the way Ollie wants. So what’s the plan?
Brother Against Brother. The Team and Nyssa arrive at the exchange place, and outside of a brief search (not for Felicity though, because she’ll tear you up, Maseo), Ollie is content to let Lyla go. Diggle hugs her, mentions something about this being just like “Dakarta”, and Lyla reaches into Felicity’s coat to pull out some guns for some dual pistol action on some Assassin goons. Nyssa and Laurel join in the fight, while Diggle ends up fighting Ollie. Nyssa still gets nabbed, and Diggle looks like he’s about to get a fatal sword stabbing, but–oh snap, an arrow goes through Ollie’s arm! It’s Thea with a bow and arrow, warning Ollie to leave or get another one of those arrows for his trouble. He does, and everyone there along with us is thinking the same thing: thanks, Speedy?
Unions. As the Team reflects on what just happened (and of course, Lyla and Sara leaving town), they realize that even if they can’t save Ollie, they can continue on with protecting the city. Later on at the loft, Felicity visits Thea and decides to let her know that Roy is alive, and if she wants to call him, she’ll give Thea the info. Then she heads back to the wrecked former Arrow HQ and has a long cry by herself. She could really use an extended vacation.
On the matter of hot spots she doesn’t want to visit, in Nanda Parbat, Ollie brings Nyssa to face Ra’s. He wants something from her that she’s hidden, and finds it in the handle of her sword (more on that later). Despite Ollie willing to kill Nyssa and she’s accepting of that, Ra’s has a far more horrifying punishment in mind for her. To really cement Ollie’s Heirship, Nyssa will be made his bride! Nyssa is really happy about this. Did I say happy? I meant appalled! Meanwhile, Ollie’s all, “oh great, I’m marrying the boss’ daughter, yawn, back to some salmon ladder crunches and being force fed mind altering narcotics!”
Some time later, Ra’s mentioned that destroyed village was his home, but as part of his final ritual to become Ra’s, he was to destroy it. And for Ollie to do the same, he’s to do the same to Starling with that container Nyssa had in her sword…of the Alpha/Omega virus! Really, hide a vial of pure death in your sword handle, Nyssa? Two episodes of season three left!
–Comic book connections: Damien Darhk is a villain connected to the HIVE in the comics, and is supposed to be a computer prodigy. Do I sense setup for next season’s big bad?
–Seriously, I don’t think they’re really any rules in the League of Assassins, because you can make them up like Ra’s apparently does. “Kill Nyssa? Nah, changed my mind? Marriage!”
–Fun Felicity Facts: got fed nachos as a baby by her mom. She turned out normal-ish, though.
–Jeez, Ollie just snaps that arrow sticking out of his arm like its nothing.
–Seriously, I thought they inoculated Akio earlier. I thought there was enough cure for all of them. Well, fine.
–Quentin doesn’t show up, because, look, he’s still on my ***t list for totally ruining Team Arrow, so maybe its best he doesn’t show up this episode.
–“It’s a long story, as most faked death stories are.”
–“What’s the house rule?” “No Glocks on the dinner table.”
–“What is a black and white milkshake?”
That’s it for now, but please, comment and discuss below, and come back next week for the recap of “This Is Your Sword”…