Weekend Music: I’m Your Man


Perhaps I should adopt this one as my theme song. 😉

Not much to announce aside from the normal weekend things. #WeekendCoffeeShare at Part Time Monster and #SundayBlogShare on Twitter are about all I have going this weekend.

The last few weeks have been absolutely frantic, and I am in Blogging A to Z mode now, so not much social medial mayhem from me for the next couple of weeks. #AmWriting.

The Feminist Friday discussion should be well under way at Things Matter by now, and I will check in there after work today as usual.

Happy weekend!

Arrow: Season 3, Episode 15 – Nanda Parbat

arrow-header-5So much happened in this week’s episode that I don’t know where to start, so while I want to jump right to the end and the rather explosive cliff-hanger, let’s start at the beginning instead and take things one step at a time. Not literally, since that’s hardly my style, but there is a method to my madness!

Nanda Parbat opens with Ra’s in the Lazarus Pit, and there really is no question that this is the regenerative pool from the comics. Despite the fact Ollie didn’t get to swim in the mystical waters, I’m convinced the pit has its part to play, so I’m being patient.


Anyway, Nyssa makes a dramatic entrance, bringing news of Ollie’s miraculous recovery (she’s obviously never heard of the herb-induced brand of penicillin tea). Obviously Ra’s is aware that Ollie didn’t perish, and isn’t overly concerned. We all know that he didn’t buy into the whole ‘I killed Sara’ deal, and I think he actually likes Ollie – again no surprise.

In Starling City we got to see a rather short practice session between Malcolm, Thea and Ollie, which allowed Merlyn to show off his skills. Mostly, it was a chance to point out Ollie’s flaws, with the crack about bringing a bow and arrow to a sword fight. Though if Ollie were an expert with a blade it would be a very different show. And it could be, if his confrontation with Ra’s later is anything to go by. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Diggle arrived to reassure everyone that Argus provided the necessary tech to fortify the club, and couldn’t resist a ‘dig’ at Merlyn (that was terrible, even for me). “My friends’ call me Dig – you shouldn’t even speak to me.” After a rather awkward conversation between Laurel and Thea, which hinted at the direction their scenes would take, Diggle then checks in with Ollie. The show has been missing this connection, and their scenes together were some of my favourites.

arrow-image-nanda-parbat-stephen-amell-600x400The first flashback in this episode involved General Shrieve and the rather surprising revelation that Ollie and the Yamashiros had been released from Amanda’s, shall we say, employ. I didn’t buy it for a second, it was just way too easy. Still, it set things up pretty nicely.

While we’re on the subject of flashbacks, the next time we see Ollie he is with the Yamashiros at the docks. Ollie’s ‘I hate boats!’ was a nice touch. I think we all knew, before Maseo realised there was something wrong with the picture – trouble was on the horizon. Amanda had sent in a team and it wasn’t to say goodbye. A gun fight ensued, and the flashbacks culminated in Maseo and Tatsu getting pinned down, and Ollie hightailing it out of there with Akio.

But let’s get back to the real action. As I mentioned, Thea came face to face with her demons the moment she saw Laurel again, which led to the first major surprise of the episode – confessing all to Laurel. I didn’t see it coming, nor did I expect Laurel’s reaction. She didn’t blame Thea for her role in her sister’s death, she blamed Malcolm and challenged Thea’s decision to side with her father.

confession timeThis leads to Thea turning her father in to the League (though she later tells Nyssa the truth). Perhaps the most telling of her scenes is the moment she offers Nyssa a chance to exact her revenge (by giving her a dagger). I’m not sure how that will turn out, but if Nyssa takes up the gauntlet, it won’t end well.

Laurel was pretty great in the episode too. I actually cringed when she went to see Ollie, because she led him into a trap. Naturally he lied to her, and we watched him do it. We also got to see her face off with Malcolm which, granted, was a purely emotional response. Merlyn was dynamic in this scene, clearly amused by Laurel. Nyssa and the League arrived at just the right moment and took Malcolm into custody. I’m not sure why, but I almost felt sorry for him – the man gets to everyone (the power of John Barrowman, I suppose).

merlynOf course the episode is called Nanda Parbat, and it was a given that Merlyn would be taken. Ollie’s reason for going after him, to save his sister’s soul, was almost believable. Though, like Diggle, we all knew there was more to it than that.

The rescue attempt didn’t go well, despite the fact Ollie managed to grab Nyssa, and Malcolm made an impressive last ditch attempt to free himself. He’s good, but he’s no Ra’s al Ghul (he needs both hands to fight!)

The scene between Ra’s and Malcolm was electric. Ra’s is one cool cucumber, and he turned Malcolm Merlyn into a gibbering wreck – well, not quite, but he did beg.

arrow_70297But before I get to the conclusion, I’d like to touch on the other surprise of the episode. Finally, after weeks of wondering what happened to Ray, we got to see his special brand of eccentric billionaire, which was adorable. Yes, I said it. I didn’t think of CK once! I loved his response to a concerned Felicity in regard to his disappearance. A slightly confused ‘it’s been a week?’ and all becomes clear that Mr Palmer has been in a world of his own.

The chemistry between Ray and Felicity has been growing for a while, and considering her emotional state, it was hardly a shock that she acted on the attraction. It was almost funny when Ray woke up and was hit by a wave of inspiration that solved all his problems. But who cares because we got to see A.T.O.M at last. It was beyond awesome to see Ray flying around Starling – I cannot wait to see where this goes.

So that just leaves Diggle, because he was a big part of the action this week. As I said, I loved his scenes with Ollie – watching them fight side by side was a wonderful treat.

ollie and digAlthough they were captured while trying to storm Nanda Parbat, they did come pretty close to achieving their mission. Ollie finally opened up, and in a particularly touching moment (I know I’m being sentimental), Diggle told Ollie he views him as his brother. He even wants him to be best man at his wedding (if they make it out alive). Ollie wasn’t the only one who felt ‘pretty good’ about that. It definitely gave me a case of the warm and fuzzies!

Eventually Ollie is led to Ra’s al Ghul to meet his fate. In typical Ollie fashion he refuses to beg for his own life, but is more than willing to beg for Diggle’s. Not that Ra’s has any intention of killing him. What he wants is something altogether more terrifying – he wants Ollie to become the next Demon’s Head. Now I know some people predicted as much, but not me. I was blown away by this turn of events.

_1424936429How about you? Did you suspect Ra’s had an ulterior motive? What did you think of A.T.O.M? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Arrow is taking a break for a few weeks and will return March 18. My next review will be on Friday. March 20..

NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday: My Endless Tolkien Series, part 3


The_Lord_of_the_Rings_Tribute_by_SilentrageLeonOriginally published as “The One Ring is an Independent Character” in January, 2014 at Part Time Monster.

If you are just joining us, I am reading The Lord of the Rings as a series of encounters between The One Ring and the other characters. I hope to draw conclusions about how good and evil work in Middle-earth, eventually. I have a system of categories that most of the characters fit into, and a timeline for the Rings of Power. In other words, I have done the easy stuff. This week, it gets complicated. My task in this post  is to convince you that The One Ring should be regarded as a character in this narrative rather than an inanimate object.

I am just going to run through most of this stuff without citing it. If I am wrong, I am happy to be corrected. But I think I know these books well enough to do this, and if I start citing at this point, we are going to end up spending two or three weeks on The Ring.

Here is a list of reasons why I think it is fair to read The One Ring as a Character, rather than as an inanimate object or a pawn of Sauron:

1. Once he loses it, Sauron does not know where it is. If he knew where it was, he would not need to search for it. That is simple logic. A king does not search for his pawn.

2. Even though it does not have legs, The One Ring is motile. It slips off Isuldur’s finger in the river, and it obviously gets away from Gollum in The Hobbit. (Read the whole chapter “Riddles in the Dark,” — it  may be the crux of the entire mythology — and even if it is not, it is clear from this chapter that Gollum has no idea he’s lost the ring at the moment he loses it.)

3. It communicates. It does not use words, but it does communicate. Anyone who reads these books from beginning to end should be able to find places where The One Ring is putting thoughts in other characters’ heads.

4. It has its own interests. What it wants, most of all, is to be reunited with its maker, Sauron. But it takes pleasure in tempting people, and in setting friends against one another to the point of violence, and in betraying ringbearers to their deaths. From a certain angle (and I will do an entire post on this at some point), it is a parasite. It feeds on the lives of others.

I believe those three things are enough. 1 and 4 are really proving the same point — the ring is a free agent. The mobility and communication allow it the freedom it needs within the narrative to demonstrate its independence.

I am interested to know what my fellow Tolkien-bloggers think about this before I move on. Do I need to prove all this, or, is my reading here self-evident enough that we can agree on it for now, so that I can start working on Isildur? (From here, we discuss, in order:  Isildur – Gollum – Bilbo. Then things get even more complicated).

For Tolkien fiends who are just tuning in and want more to read: I also have a stand-alone post in which I attempt to begin a discussion of colonialism in Tolkien by paying very close attention to the Orcs.

Here are a few of the best WordPress posts on Tolkien I have read over the last couple of months: Some serious meditations on the nature of Sauron, your quick guide to Dragons in Middle-earth, and What you make, I mar.

Here is a bibliography of the actual books I use to write these posts.

Next: All about Isildur

image: SilentrageLeon/Deviant Art