So 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.
The 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.
This 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).
Of 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.
But 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.
Although 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.
How 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..
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