There’s a party here in Nanda Parbat, excitement and a deadly virus are in the air! Yep,
Oliver Queen Al Sah-Him is finally getting married, but there’s no verdict yet on if it will be the wedding of the century. However, Oliver and Nyssa don’t tie the knot until the end of the episode and there’s a ton of stuff to explore before we get there.
“This is Your Sword,” another strong installment of Arrow, focuses primarily on the scars Team Arrow incurred during their confrontation with Al Sah-Him last week. Some are definitely more scarred than others, and all of those wounds are readily apparent. One of the joys of the back half of Arrow‘s third season has been seeing how far along Team Arrow has come since the first season, and tonight’s episode is definitely a reminder of how essential Arrow‘s supporting cast is to the show. (Like, we need a reminder though.) As the episode unfolds, “This is Your Sword” reminds of us something Tatsu said to Oliver in “Uprising”: “To defeat a man like this Ra’s al Ghul, you must be willing not just to die, but to know what you have to sacrifice in order to beat him…It will be whatever you hold most precious.”
At the beginning of the episode, Ra’s al Ghul reveals that Maseo offered him the Alpha/Omega virus when he first came to join the League. The revelation shocks both us and Oliver. The League will rain death down upon Starling City once the wedding ceremony is over, making this the most twisted honeymoon ever.
Later, Nyssa joins Ra’s and Oliver for dinner and is still, rightfully, upset about her arranged marriage. Unfortunately, she receives even more bad news: Ra’s expects her to bear Oliver’s children, and she, like her mother before her, has no say in the matter. Ra’s clearly seems intent on stealing the “Worst Dad of the Year” crown from Malcolm Merlyn. All of this is too much for Oliver. He excuses himself from the dinner table and goes for a walk to clear his head.
This walks turns out to be less about clearing his head and more about meeting up with Malcolm, who is late for their meeting because quietly infiltrating Nanda Parbat presents a challenge even for The Magician. In a twist we should’ve seen coming, but didn’t because of all Arrow has been throwing at us, almost everything that’s happened since Oliver realized he’d need to accept Ra’s offer to save Thea has been part of a plan concocted by Oliver and Malcolm. They thought they’d have a month to dismantle the League from within, but the impending weddings mean they are running out of time. They’ll need Team Arrow’s help, but there’s just one problem: Oliver sold his conversion to the Dark Side too well.
Noticing Oliver’s been gone for awhile, Maseo comes looking for him, which brings an end Malcolm and Oliver’s fireside chat and gives way to one between Maseo and Oliver. Because of how poorly the show has used flashbacks this season, it’s been hard to completely invest in Maseo’s own emotional arc, but this scene does help with that. We learn Maseo still feels guilty for leaving his grieving wife for the League and handing over the virus to Ra’s. Oliver offers to free him once he ascends to the Demon’s Head, but Maseo turns him down because the League isn’t his prison, life is.
Meanwhile, Ra’s pays his daughter a visit. With him he brings the necklace he gave to Nyssa’s mother, his concubine, as a thank you for giving him the gift of a daughter. However, this isn’t enough to even slightly fix what’s been broken, and Nyssa rejects it. As Ra’s leaves her room after making clear exactly what is in store for her if she doesn’t marry Oliver, the camera reveals that Nyssa is hiding a knife.
Back in Starling, Team Arrow has gone back to fighting crime. Despite working exceptionally well as a team, we see that they are all still hurt by what Oliver did—especially Diggle, who takes his anger out on the face of a gang member he and Black Canary take down. In terms of the stages of grief, Diggle is at anger and Felicity is stuck on denial, as she says to Laurel and Diggle, “Our Oliver—my Oliver—died the day he joined the League.” (ASIDE: Does anyone else feel like Felicity has spent most of the past few episodes just crying and doing nothing else? END ASIDE)
NEXT: The wedding of the century