Arrow continues its stroll down memory lane with a trip to Nanda Parbat and guest appearances from Thea and Talia al Ghul. The episode is also Katie Cassidy’s directorial debut. Great action, a treasure hunt, strong side plots, and a shocking ending make this the best episode of the season and one of the show’s strongest yet.
We find Oliver looking for Thea and Nyssa al Ghul to find answers about Mar Novu aka The Monitor. There definitely needed to be an episode this season where we look back in on Thea and Oliver gets a chance to tell her everything that’s been going on. She laughs off the fact that Oliver will die soon as Oliver tries to tell her this will be different than the many times they’ve all cheated death in a really strong scene.
Their search for answers eventually brings them to Talia and a treasure hunt for the journal of the first Ra’s al Ghul, Al-Faith. Once the Thanatos Guild gets on their tail this turns into a classic Indiana Jones-style adventure story. Athena and Talia want to find Al-Faith’s tomb for his sword, the symbol of leadership for the League of Assassins. Cue the riddle puzzles, pressure-sensitive spear traps, and double-crossing.
This is all a lot of fun as Talia betrays Oliver, Athena captures them all and, of course, they all end up at the tomb at the same time for the final showdown. While Oliver fights with the Thanatos Guild, Thea exercises her birthright as a Daughter of the Demon and challenges Talia to combat for the sword. Thea is able to win the fight and get Talia to surrender.
It’s great to see how far Thea has come from the last time we saw her. Oliver and Thea get a good scene on the side of a mountain where she is able to give him some advice and they both acknowledge how much she has grown up. In the end, Thea offers to take up co-leadership of the league if Talia joins her and if it becomes a League of Heroes. This is a really cool direction to take her character. This could very well have been the last time we see Thea too, at least on Arrow. While I’m holding out hope she’ll return in Crisis with a fully established League, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if this is how her story is wrapped up.
While Thea ends up with the sword, Oliver does get some answers to his questions about Mar Novu. The journal reveals a god-like being came to Earth and threatened that if the balance of good and evil couldn’t be maintained he would wipe their world from existence. Whether this refers to The Monitor or not, this will definitely cause a rift between him and Oliver moving forward.
Meanwhile, Diggle and Lyla stay behind to handle a problem with Bronze Tiger’s wife and son, Connor Hawke. This subplot felt like waiting for the bellhop’s arm to get cut off in Hot Tub Time Machine (if Endgame can reference it, I can too). We know eventually Connor will be raised by John and Lyla and spend the entire episode assuming this is when something will happen to his mother that causes them to adopt him.
The episode finds them kidnapped in Kaznia as Dig and Lyla have to infiltrate a party to find them. This gives them a few opportunities to dance and have some close moments that are particularly charged after the reveal last week that Lyla is secretly working with The Monitor. Aside from some great moments between the two, their rescue goes off without any real issues and they’re able to get Connor and his mother back under protection. We know their story is not over yet though…
In 2040, a grown-up Connor Hawke and the rest of the team rush back to the bunker after JJ threatened William’s life. They find William safe as he was able to electrify the two men sent to kidnap him in a nice callback to a move Felicity once pulled. In answer, Mia pushes the team to go right back to the Deathstroke’s hideout to put a stop to them.
Mia is definitely struggling after the threat to her brother’s life and Zoe is there to offer some guidance and support. She hasn’t had much to do this season since the focus has been on Mia’s journey and the conflict between Connor and JJ. They are able to give Zoe a couple of strong scenes to help remind you how she has been the leveling presence and really the one holding the team together.
Right before JJ kills her as she rescues Mia. This is a really shocking and emotional moment and the other three cast members all do a great job conveying this emotion in different ways. While Mia comforts Zoe in her last moments, Connor snaps and tries to kill JJ. He probably would have succeeded too until…
A bright light transports Oliver back to the bunker where we finally get our first look at the rest of Team Arrow for the first time this season. And Surprise! The 2040 team has also been transported to 2019!
We’ll have to see how this will all play out and whether this time travel will be permanent next week.
A double-shocking finale aside, this episode had everything you want out of a good Arrow episode and Katie Cassidy does a fantastic job in her first directorial effort. It had plenty of bow and sword action as well as a gripping adventure through some interesting locations. It also took the time for some crucial character moments during all three story-lines.