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
Having returned from Nanda Parbat, Malcolm summons Team Arrow for a meeting, which annoys everyone and leads to some great one-liners from Laurel. Malcolm reveals his and Oliver’s “charade” and briefs them on the Alpha/Omega virus, but none of them believe a word he says because he can’t be trusted. Malcolm was prepared for this and brought Tatsu with him to convince them. After reviewing video footage from the Hong Kong terrorist attack, Diggle and Laurel agree to travel with Malcolm and Tatsu to Nanda Parbat to save Starling, not to help Oliver. At first Felicity holds out, but after a conversation with Tatsu, she agrees.
If you needed more evidence to see how far Team Arrow has come, look no further than the scene where they first arrive on Nanda Parbat: Tatsu debuts the full Katana outfit; Laurel is with them, which feels very enjoyably natural at this point; and Diggle is carrying an assault rifle to let everyone know he hasn’t forgotten which century he’s in. They are immediately attacked by assassins, which leads to another exceptional fight scene, one that shows off how much Laurel has improved since she first became Black Canary.
While the fighting is going on, Felicity tries to destroy the plane Ra’s intends to use to release the virus, but fails, and it takes off. Luckily, she has a back-up plan, The A.T.O.M. Ray destroys the plane. Meanwhile, Katana is forced to duel her husband. It’s a very emotional fight for both sides, but eventually, Katana kills Maseo. As Maseo dies in his wife’s arms, he thanks her for releasing him from his prison. However, it turns out all of this was in vain because the virus was never on the plane and Ra’s arrives, with Oliver by his side, and captures them.
Ra’s and Oliver lock them in the dungeons, thereby giving them time to process the big news that Oliver is getting married. Everyone in the cell, except for Malcolm, doubts that Oliver will let them live, thus revealing how much they’ve lost faith in their hero. This point is driven home when Oliver orders Diggle be brought to him for chat. Oliver uses Tatsu’s advice from earlier to justify his actions, but it’s not enough for Diggle. Oliver went too far, and there’s no coming back from this.
Meanwhile, Ra’s holds Malcolm at sword point with Tatsu’s katana. Ever an untrustworhy snake, Malcolm, in an attempt to save his own life, tells Ra’s that Oliver was the one who told them about the virus. But, Oliver reasons with Ra’s that he would never betray Ra’s because he has nothing to go back to after everything he’s done. Without these people, Oliver Queen and the Arrow are dead. Ra’s decides to eliminate any further hindrances to Oliver’s ascendance and locks Team Arrow in the cell with a broken vial of the Alpha/Omega virus. As the cell is sealed off, Felicity and Diggle plead with Oliver, but their words fall on ears wishing they were deaf to avoid all of this guilt.
As Team Arrow dies in their cell, Oliver and Nyssa’s wedding finally takes place above. Nyssa tries to kill Oliver with the knife from earlier, but he disarms her without flinching and commands the Priestess to continue the ceremony like nothing happened. Thus, their union is seal and Oliver is now Ibn al Ghul, Son of the Demon.
Thea and Roy
Classic Thea: When things get hard, the Master of Crop Tops runs away. This time she runs to see Roy, who goes by the name Jason and works in an autobody shop. However, he plans on moving on soon before anyone recognizes him. With her, she brought the Arsenal costume. Unfortunately, their passionate reunion only lasts a night. When she wakes up the next morning, she’s alone and all that’s left of Roy is a note. In the letter, he tells her he’s leaving her behind because he wants her to grow into the amazing person he knows she can be without him, her brother, or her father. He also left the Arsenal suit because he always thought red looked better on her. Good luck finding a tailor to alter it for you without asking questions, Thea.
Wall of Weird:
- Flashbacks: Tatsu stays with an ailing Akio, while Oliver and Maseo go after Shrieve to find a cure for the virus. Unleashing his inner killer, Oliver helps Maseo make it past Shrieve’s guards and they kidnap him along with what they think is a cure. Upon their return to the shop, Akio has died and Shrieve reveals that the cure is actually insulin for his diabetes. Oh, also, he has them surrounded.
- What little suspense there was surrounding Team Arrow’s fate when the episode ended was ruined by the preview for next week’s season finale.
- Arrow‘s location scouts deserve a shoutout for tonight’s episode. I’ve only been to Canada once, but I imagine that finding a barren environment for the fight between Team Arrow and The League must’ve been hard. The chosen location looks and feels like it could be near Nanda Parbat.
- Oliver has done severe damage to his relationships with Diggle and Felicity. Yes, they’ll eventually recover, but I imagine it will be a long road. Plotting with Malcolm and going after Diggle’s family are definitely deal breakers, so it’ll be interesting to see the changing dynamic if and when Oliver rejoins Team Arrow.
- MORE KATANA! MORE KATANA! MORE KATANA!