Arrow: Season 3, Episode 21 – Ah Sah-Him

BannerIt seems that Ollie has flipped his humanity switch, or hero switch, one or the other! I have to say that I’m with Diggle on this one – I thought he was stronger. After everything he’s been through, both on and off the island, I didn’t think Ra’s could turn him into a mindless machine. That said, he makes a pretty terrifying assassin – which is no surprise. I enjoyed the contrast because, though he’s not the most expressive person, usually his emotions are plain to see. Not this week, this week he gave absolutely nothing away.

It was a grueling initiation process and, with the drugs in his system, it took three short weeks for the brainwashing to take effect. Perhaps this is an occasion when his strength worked against him. At the beginning of the episode we saw Ollie execute Diggle, or a man he thought was Diggle. The fact he killed someone without showing any sign of remorse was disturbing to watch, yet at that point I was hoping it was a ruse. Okay, so I’m still hoping it’s a ruse!

Al Sah-Him

There was one major benefit to Ollie’s transition because, given he proved himself worthy, Ra’s let slip a few of his secrets. He spoke of his nemesis, a man he was required to kill, but failed to – Damian Dark (Damien Darhk in the comics). According to Ra’s, Damian has been causing havoc ever since (attempting to steal Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake machine, for example.) This no doubt links to H.I.V.E – the mysterious organisation behind Andrew Diggle’s death. It could mean we’ll see more of the organisation, and Damian – perhaps in Season 4.

But this isn’t the only bombshell Ra’s dropped during the episode. He informed Ollie (or Ah Sah-Him) he must eliminate his rival to the throne, the only one capable of preventing his ascension.

Nyssa and Laurel

In Starling City, Nyssa and Laurel continued to bond (something we haven’t seen nearly enough of in my opinion). Laurel’s skills have certainly improved under Nyssa’s tuition. The party soon ended though, because Nyssa discovered that Ollie accepted her father’s offer, which meant only one thing – he was coming for her.

Thanks to Nyssa, the team learn exactly what kind of training programme Ollie has been subjected to. They all try to deny this knowledge, but nobody fights harder than Diggle. He doesn’t want to believe his friend is lost to them. That Olly is gone. David Ramsey’s performance this week was exceptional, especially in the scenes where Diggle assumed a leadership role.

Both Diggle and Felicity were reluctant to interfere with League business, but Laurel managed to convince them to help Nyssa. They arrived in the nick of time too, since Ollie gained the upper hand (it was fun to see him using swords). I loved the way Laurel (Black Canary) screamed like a Banshee, and though she had a little help with the effect, it looked really cool.

Diggle and Felicity

I enjoyed the way the team dealt with the emotional impact of losing their friend. They banded together, showing how strong they are as a unit, and this included Thea. While she seems to have recovered from her dip in the Lazarus Pit, she’s hurting because of Ollie’s sacrifice. When she learns who her brother has become, she seeks her father’s help.

Ollie further burnt his bridges, when he kidnapped Lyla, and I don’t think Diggle will forgive him for putting his family in danger. The team showed up at the rendezvous point to exchange Lyla for Nyssa and though they made a pretty good attempt to stop the League, Ollie won the round and took Nyssa back to Nanda Parbat.

Two things stood out for me in this particular scene. The fact Diggle and Ollie fought one another, and the moment Thea appeared to provide backup. It seems Ollie’s not the only one adept with a bow, but then she was trained by her father.

Diggle and Canary

Before I deal with the rather confusing ending to this episode, I’ll touch briefly on the flashbacks, because they are kind of important considering what’s coming. After Ollie inadvertently broke the vial of Alpha-Omega, and exposed people to the virus, the Yamashiros decided it was time to return to their son, Akio.

They managed to thwart a plot to unleash more of the virus, and when they get to Akio, they decided it was time to leave the city – using the chaos to slip away. All seemed well until Tatsu realised something was wrong with her son.

So, back to Ra’s. I was surprised when he spared Nyssa’s life; deciding it would be more fortuitous for his daughter to become the Demon Queen. Nyssa’s face at the prospect of marrying Ollie was hilarious – anyone would think it was a fate worse than death. One of the reasons for Ra’s change of heart could be that he recovered the object Nyssa stole from him when she left. It turned out to be a vial of Alpha-Omega, which Ra’s would like Ollie to unleash in Starling City.


It was quite a curve ball, though clearly Ollie will find a way to break his conditioning and save the city – again. I’m just unclear about Ra’s motivations. I get his obsession with cleansing, and the whole symbolism thing, but would he really go to all that trouble just because Ollie beat the sword? I’m not sure.

What do you think? Will Diggle forgive his friend? Can Ollie find his way back? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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

6 thoughts on “Arrow: Season 3, Episode 21 – Ah Sah-Him

    • Thanks, Shawn. I enjoy marathons, so if you get round to it – that sounds like a lot of fun! I watched the first season again recently, and will often catch up on my favourite shows that way, before a new season starts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well. You have all the same questions and hopes that I do.
    I think Oliver’s true strength is that he’s still alive at the moment. The torture, the drugs, the conditioning. I think he let it take him so he wouldn’t feel anymore. ( I did totally get your humanity switch reference, which is a whole other can of vampire worms. Vampires don’t have humanity switches!)
    Oliver/Arrow/Al was a blank slate. No emotion. (Good on Mr. Amell cause that ain’t easy.)
    BUT…he didn’t kill everyone on the roof or in the warehouse and he could have.
    I did love her face at the mention of marriage. There are worse things dear…oh wait, you lost everyone you love and your evil dad is making you marry a guy. The same guy who took your job. No, no worse things than that.
    I’m not sure Diggle will forgive him either and maybe that’s why Oliver did it. As an added self-punishment for leaving them all behind.
    Great job on the wrap up! We shall see where they take us next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Heather. I’m glad you got the reference and probably sensed my sarcasm, but, like you said…can of worms! I agree that Stephen did an excellent job – a little too good! You made a good point about punishing himself – it’s Ollie after all. I agree about his restraint on the room/warehouse, which is a good thing because there would have been no coming back if he’d killed those he loves.
      Things are certainly heating up and there are only two episodes left. Next week should be fun!


  2. Forced marriage IS a fate worse than death, for anyone, but there is an additional layer for Nyssa, (apart from all and any League insanity of course) she’s a lesbian – as confirmed by the actor herself and various showrunner-y persons way back when the character first showed up.

    She’s the real hero in this episode. Her moments of happiness with Laurel were all the more precious and heartbreaking because she knew it wouldn’t last. She stood up for her friends, attempted to thwart Ra’s genocidal ambitions, and generally kicked butt. And while we’re on that note, how about a shout out for the women of Arrow? Copious quantities of butt-kicking emanated from them this episode.

    I haven’t been impressed by Ollie’s doucheness in the past but this episode takes the cake. I’m about ready to raise him up to the heights (or should that be depths?) of hero-douchebaggery that only Stephen Donaldson’s creation, Thomas Covenant, has achieved.

    If it is a ruse, he’s gonna have to go a long way to get me back on board.


  3. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share – Focusing on Development | Melissa Barker-Simpson

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