WARNING MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW
Episode 16, The Offer.
Notes before reading:
I am NOT a reviewer, I'm merely a huge fan of the Green Arrow comics, and like to believe that I know the series and the characters incredibly well. This review is made purely from the standpoint of a fan, who wants to see his favorite Green Arrow and DC comics characters hit the big screen in a creative fashion, and that I do this review for no reason other to get my thoughts out. If you agree, more power to you, but if not, honestly, it's fine. Not at all a big deal. Rather inconsequential, even.
Now this episode is about Oliver Queen being offered the title of demons head. He's being handed the rights to one of the most powerful organizations in the world, with almost no strings attached as the current Ra's Al Ghul makes it seem. Can Oliver give in to the will of Ra's and go back on the path of a killer? Should he create a better world by abandoning the one he worked so hard to return to? I'm really excited for this one.
Things kick off kinda slow, going back to Nanda Parbat where Oliver has been offered the Demon's head position. However, Oliver seems to have very little desire to become the demon. Listening and following Ra's rather nonchalantly. Claiming that the League stands for everything he stands against. Ra's mentions that the League will become whatever he sees fit, though Oliver still seems rather unimpressed. Even when shown the infamous fountain of youth. However Ra's does say something that does ring true, he waves all blood feuds as a gesture of good faith, and leaves the Arrow to contemplate.
Going straight into the comic book compare, this "fountain of youth" must be the CWverse's version of the famed Lazarus pit. For those of you who aren't big on comics, the pit is a green liquid which when it contact with someone either repeatably or in large amount, can give the user immortality or the illusion of such. In the New 52, it's the same liquid that the caveman Vandal Savage touched from a meteor and the same liquid that's within the Joker's blood. So it's a pretty profound and important part of the DC universe. And it'll be interesting to see the limits of this world's pit. In a more Ra's related note, it's important to mention the League has nearly unlimited resources in almost every version, such as wealth, technology, connections and man power.
Thea is back in the Arrowcave with Nyssa, confessing to the murder of Sara. Nyssa believes it to be a lie, and refuses to believe her. Reminding her that Oliver Queen made the same claims, and that her real killer had already faced justice. However Thea has a death wish and explains exactly how she is responsible. Nyssa however repeats that killing her would not avenge her dear Sara, and prepares to leave.
However Roy and Laurel are returning and immediately attack her. Not giving either her or Thea a chance to explain the circumstances. Of course Nyssa easily outmaneuvers them, once again proving by how far the skill gap is between them and league, especially it's higher ranking members. However Roy seems to be able to exchange at least a few blows with her, and gains the upper hand when using a gun that fires tranquilizer darts. Thea leaves after, claiming that she used her skills as an assassin to escape.
Now this is important because it mentions how Roy had the best training in a short amount of time. In addition to countless sessions with Oliver, he also had sessions with Sara, Who was a high ranking member of the league. And that while he's still miles behind Oliver he's also miles ahead of everyone else. Especially Laurel, who appears to be the weak link. Something that's rather hard to see, considering her skill set in the comics.
Back with the entire Arrow crew, we have the return of Diggle and Oliver, along with Malcolm. Everyone is enraged, and outraged that he brought Malcolm back, none more than Nyssa. Nyssa claims that her father would never do this without some form of deal, and that their lives were worthless in his eyes. Oliver remains silent about the offer, and continues to talk to the team as if nothing happened.
Prompting them to move on and move forward. Reminding them that they do have a city to protect. Everyone senses something worse is happening, but they move on to attack the next kingpin of crime.
The villain this episode is really lacking, while he's a distraction of sorts while everyone figures everything out, he seems rather pointless and uninspired. It's as if Starling has one kind of villain. Smart, cunning and ruthless. Following the same pattern as the cities other criminals, he creates an army for his personal agenda, involving thefts that inquire the Arrow crew to rain on his parade and face him. Things go smoothly until Laurel is almost killed, but is saved by Oliver. However, she buys enough time for the crooks to escape.
Once again we see that her lack of skill is costing the team, while Arsenal isn't must help either, he definitely does much more than her. Now compared to the comics, it's always a huge let down to see Laurel be such an inadequate hero. But it makes sense for the series and this universe. In a world without a JSA to train her, a world where she's never needed to be a hero. A world where the law was enough to win the day. Now I'm still hoping she'll get closer to Sara's former skill level, but for right now I'll settle for helpless Laurel.
Arrow then goes to visit Detective Lance, who has moved up to the rank of Captain. Last episode he found out about Sara's death. It shows a deeper side to his character that the series never really explores. He's more than Oliver's resource, and Laurel's father. He's a man, a detective with a job and goals. He completely cuts off ties to the Arrow, unable to forgive him, or Laurel. While thinking about the loss of Detective Lance's trust, he goes to see Thea.
He and Thea talk about Merlyn, who he has brought back with him. Thea is upset, that he has left him in her care. But he claims that he's not asking her to forgive him, or to love him. But just to let him heal, and let this be the place. The scene when Oliver leaves is powerful because of the conversation between Malcolm and Thea. All of their scenes are always very tense and filling. It's good to see the true sense of dread between the two of them. Malcolm claims that he has done nothing but make her stronger, which it seems he has. But Thea doesn't seem willing to pay the price for the supposed strength that he offers. She comes close to killing him, but finds herself unable to do so when he encourages it.
While they do that, Oliver finally has a chance to get to talk to Felicity. Most specifically about her relationship with Ray Palmer. Who as we all know is now the armored ATOM. He of course remains friendly and despite wishing he was in Ray's shoes, congratulates her. At the same time, we also get to see what a fitting couple Felicity and Ray are. Sorry, Olicity shippers, but it seems the CW is murdering the chances of that ever happening.
The next scene is by far one of the episode's best. The exchange between Nyssa and Ra's. Now it starts off relaxed, she's trying to understand her father's actions. Understand why Merlyn lives. When she discovers that Oliver usurped her spot as the next Demon's head she is displeased and angry. Claiming that he is only doing so "because of her love". Nyssa's apparent Homosexuality being a problem with him. However the sensible Ra's claims that it's not who she loves, but the fact that she lets that love weaken her.
This is great because we never really get to see where he is on "world problems" or societal issues. As expected he is above them, and seeks to see everything on a much higher plane than everyone else. Ra's isn't the kind of man to worry with such trivial things as who you love. Which is interesting because in the comics the main premise of his character was to get Batman to succeed him, and for Talia to be his pride. Though it's still possibly he'd accept whoever they fell in love with to be his heir, should they be worthy. However it seems in this universe an outsider taking over isn't a welcomed idea.
Next we have the true thoughts of Oliver on becoming Ra's Al Ghul. He hates the idea, but begins to see the worth in the idea. Ra's Al Ghul and his society have shaped the world. Changed it, and even molded it in a way. While everything the Arrow's done in two years of work has been ignored and refuted. He talks about how Oliver Queen and the Arrow are both still failing the city, by doing nothing to truly change it. Diggle opposes the idea, but Oliver seems to think it may be what needs to be done.
The scene moves to Oliver and Thea, who are discussing exactly what Thea's becoming. Oliver wants to save her from the darkness, but she seems to be wallowing it. She claims that she doesn't know who she is, or what's she's capable of. Which is really groundbreaking, because we never really got to explore this dive into killing amongst any of the other characters, besides Oliver. Merlyn however claims that he wants to support his daughter and her choices to make her stronger. Oliver calls him crazy but he refuses to accept it. Merlyn however continues to say that Oliver has no choice, it's set in stone for him to surpass the demon.
We flashback to Oliver Queen and Akio a few years ago, trying to safely navigate China while avoiding ARGUS men, it's not big on content but it does show his more caring side. The scene then moves back to Felicity and Oliver, who discuss what the Arrow is, and why he does what he does. Oliver claims that long term he's done nothing, but Felicity tells him just how much he's done for this city. He continues to ponder as she's called away by Ray.
We move onto the Arrowcrew getting a hit on the current gang they're after. Using both the resources of Roy Harper and Diggle in order to figure out there real game plan, and what they're gunning for. It's good to see them bring there unique skills to the table. There backgrounds that separate them from Oliver and everyone else. Which really tops off the episode. The gang however has already implemented their plan, and as Laurel tries to have a heart to heart with her father, they attack.
The following scene for Laurel is pretty strong, because we finally get to see the toll this has taken on Detective Lance. How becoming what he hates seemingly for nothing has torn him apart, and torn his family apart. However he still steps up, and does his best to protect her as they attack. Laurel wishes to help out, but does her best under the conditions, as an unusual savoir, Nyssa comes to the rescue.
Nyssa, Arrow, Arsenal and Laurel all quickly dispatch the men, even taking out their ring leader rather easily. Oliver does so with pride, and almost joy. Having finally realized why he does what he does. He returned to the Arrow cave, revealing that the reason he does this is because he is needed, to do things which the police cannot, and save those who cannot save themselves.
The episode starts reaching it's ending point, as Oliver comes to terms with who he is, and who the Arrow is. Completely declining the offer to become the demons head. Nyssa and Laurel seem to bond, over the loss of Sara, Becoming and growing a lot closer to one and other. Thea and Roy reconciling, even sharing a passionate kiss. While all is well with them, things could not be worse for Starling. As they celebrate, hooded figure eliminates the other half of the gang, leaving one man alive to spread the word. Ra's Al Ghul is the Arrow. One way, or another.
In it's final moments we see past Oliver run into SHADO. That's right Shado, can't wait to see what kind of tricks the show throws out next week. And we also see Oliver formerly decline the offer, claiming that he understands any and all consequences. Though it seems that he does not even know the half of it.
High Light of the episode for ME.: The TheaXRoy seen takes the cake for me. Their relationship was the best in the series for me, and it's good to see them almost officially back together. I think it's great considering the to have been growing closer again. Showing a very mutual need for one and other, they were nearly falling apart alone. So it's good to finally see them together again. I only hope that it lasts.
Overall Rating: This one was pretty good. It hit home on content, and everything that needed to be established for future episodes. However, it seems like that's all it did. It went over the characters inner turmoil, but not as in depth as we're used to, especially in season 3. The episode seems to somewhat derail at times, which took away from the total experience of Oliver's choice about the offer. Though the character growth for everyone else does seem to make up for it. Total rating is an 8 out of 10.