I’m just gonna sit here patiently and wait for next week, you know the good week when everything is not simply a build up and will actually result in ramifications for our characters. “This Is Your Sword” is your typical penultimate episode, building up for the epic conclusion and making you question exactly why the hell we are waiting for the other boot to drop. This is not to say that this episode is bad or boring as there is a ton of great action and some really good scenes. Its just that something about the episode left a “that’s it?” impression that I really couldn’t shake for some reason. The Oliver’s betrayal plot, expected. Roy and Thea’s plot, expected. The outcome of the flashbacks, expected. All of the big material tonight was just maneuvering the pieces into the required spots on the board so that next week shit can actually hit the fan.
So yeah, Ollie was apparently not evil, instead he was just acting like a full blown dick as Malcolm told him what Ra’s endgame was. I enjoyed the little moments where Ollie was actually Ollie and got to see the ramifications of his actions last week, including Diggle not forgiving him for the kidnapping. I am hoping that in season four all will not be forgiven considering how much of a dick Oliver has been since his ascension. The only aspect of this entire facade was that once Ollie was found out he kind of just gave up about fighting back. I know that Ollie will not kill everyone in that room because that would not make sense storywise. However, I could have seen Oliver just killing Merlyn due to his double cross and the fact everyone hates him. As of right now there are no real ramifications for Oliver’s actions only the vague promise that someone is going to die.
I had similar feeling to Thea’s visit to Roy as despite it being great for Colton Haynes to comeback for a sendoff and wrap up his relationship with Thea, it wasn’t a hundred percent necessary. The only purpose of this set up was for Thea to get a proper goodbye and now have Roy’s costume which could have easily been done in half the time it actually occupied in the episode. Granted all of the material worked and I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time, like I was in other parts of the episode. Still at this point in the season certain story aspects should take priority over romantic subplots so my enjoyment for this section was somewhat curbed. I just hope that Roy won’t constantly be on the run his entire life and that at some point he will be able to return to Starling to actually help Team Arrow fight back against whatever threat challenges them next year.
Now for Nanda Parbat which started off fantastically and somehow managed to go downhill very quickly. I don’t know what happened this but Matt Nable’s Ra’s was nearly the worst character on screen with the exception of Felicity. I mean the Ra’s we have seen up to this point is a cunning, driven, madman and for some reason he was really missing the simple details that would have added up to Oliver not being under his sway. I can’t tell if Ra’s wants an heir that badly, or if he was just really incompetent this entire time. Case in point the fact that Ra’s is constantly showing off the virus, which I assume he has multiple copies of but still. The virus wiped out a portion of Hong Kong, it’s not the type of thing you randomly wave around just because. Also for the life of me I could not figure out why everyone was so mad at Oliver for faking being brainwashed. The team nearly did the exact same thing when they faked Roy’s death, they are being hypocritical as shit if they are judging Ollie for taking a chance to stop an attack before it happens.
The good part of all that time spent in Nanda Parbat was the sheer pleasure of watching that protracted fight scene and seeing everyone slightly get their moment. Merlyn got a surprising amount of showcasing as he mowed down various members of the league, but the best moment was Maseo vs Tatsu. The sword fight was beautifully choreographed and held the exact amount of emotional resonance to make Maseo’s final moments stick. Karl Yune was excellent in both the past and present as his desperation in the past added the weight to the resignation of death. I’m gonna miss Maseo, unless he gets pitted and then undercuts all of this great material.
Overall it was a passable episode I just pray that next week is going to live up to expectations.
Final Grade C
+Ollie didn’t really double cross
+Maseo vs. Tatsu
+Flashbacks were ok
-Ra’s was really bizarre this week
-The team freaking out at Ollie faking it
-Roy and Thea material not entirely necessary
-Malcolm’s “You’re not good actors” line was gold in the moment.
-I can’t wait for Diggle to punch Ollie out. He has deserved to sock Ollie in the mouth since season one.
-So Thea is now Speedy. Discuss.