Arrow: Al Sa-him Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

After “The Fallen,” it didn’t seem like things could get worse for Team Arrow, but in typical Arrow fashion, they did. Though, should they really be called Team Arrow anymore? As long as they have some archer around I guess it’s okay. Oliver, or should I write Al Sa-him, returned to Starling City to carry out Ra’s orders.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I find it hard to believe that Oliver Queen is gone for good. There are two options: he’s either playing Ra’s or his team will snap him out of it. Besides rude awakenings, sword training, and sleeping on the concrete floor, I don’t see how that would break him. In those five years he was away, he went through so much more than three bad weeks in Nanda Parbat. His breaking was condensed into an opening montage that felt inadequate. If Oliver was truly broken and moved on to being Al Sa-him then it would have need much more screen time as it’s one of the most important character and plot point of the series.

Stephen Amell has done some fantastic work over the past handful of episodes. “The Fallen” displayed his ability to nail the crushing character moments while “Al Sa-him” showed his skill in being cold, distant, and detached. The series rarely lets him go to different emotional places and he’s nailing it.  

With Oliver gone, characters are given more freedom with whom they interact. For example, how many times have we seen Thea and Felicity interact? Before this episode, I would say I can only remember a couple of times. That could be due to the fact that Thea didn’t know about Team Arrow, but she does now. In this episode alone, Felicity and Thea interacted more than in the entire series combined.

Since Oliver is gone, Roy has left, she killed Laurel’s sister, and she’s not on good terms with her father, the only person Thea can turn to is Felicity. In particular, the scene in the loft between the two was a highlight. Neither have anyone to lean on so in a weird way they comfort each other. They have a great chemistry that hopefully continues to get screen time.

I’ve always liked the Laurel and Thea dynamic. They’ve been in each other’s lives for years and I would’ve liked to have seen Laurel be there for her after the whole getting resurrected and losing her brother thing, but I guess killing Sara kind of makes it awkward.   

Let’s take a moment to remember season one Thea. She was a bratty high school kid who crashed a car while high on Vertigo and tried to put a move on Tommy, her half-brother (to be fair, she didn’t know they were related.). Out of all the characters, she has had the most development. Besides Nyssa, she’s the most kick-butt woman on the show. I mean, she shot an arrow through her brother’s wrist. Not only was that a great shot, she was the only one with the guts to harm Oliver. It’s only a matter of time before she dons a mask.

After all of the warnings from Malcolm about the Lazarus Pit, there has been little change in Thea. Either it’s anticlimactic or the other shoe has yet to drop.

Changing the opening to “My name was Oliver Queen…” was a nice little touch. I would’ve liked to have it start with “My name is Al Sa-him…” instead, but you know, I’ll take what I can get.

Laurel schooling Nyssa on the finer points of burger, fries, and a milkshake was adorable. Laurel actually smiled. I couldn’t believe it; it’s like she was having a good time. I only thought that was possible on The Flash.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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