Arrow: This is Your Sword

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Arrow cordially invites you to the marriage ceremony of Mr. Al Sah-him and Ms. Nyssa al Ghul. (Knives and bioweapons encouraged.)

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

It’s hard to believe that “This is Your Sword” was season three’s penultimate episode. The episode completely took one of the more intriguing plotlines this season – has Oliver turned to the Dark Side? – and ruined it within the first ten minutes. Then it ends on a cliffhanger that puts almost the entire cast in peril. The idea that Arrow would kill off their entire cast is absurd, so it’s almost impossible to suspend disbelief. This season has been all kinds of a mess from plotlines being all over the place to characters acting out of character.  

After all of the speculation during “Al Sah-him,” this episode confirmed that Oliver’s loyalty to the League has been an act. Sadly, they picked the less interesting of the two plot choices, the other one being Oliver is actually brainwashed and turned evil. The Arrow writers robbed themselves of some fantastic drama.

Ra’s al Ghul has been a problematic character from the moment he showed up. Arrow had no idea what to do with him. They felt pressure to follow up the awesomeness that was the season two Deathstroke arc with a bigger villain. It failed. At first, the problem was that Ra’s was almost completely absent from the screen, and then it evolved into him having little motivation for his actions.  

Nyssa and Ra’s had a very good scene. It’s intriguing to see how he uses mind games to manipulate his daughter. He has such a power over her that’s actually quite frightening. She’s unable to shake the hold he has over her, which is evident when she tries to stab Oliver instead of her father. In case you didn’t realize Oliver, she’s just not that into you.

Thea and Roy were able to have some closure. I don’t get why Roy just didn’t leave a note on the pillow along with his suit. Instead, he gave it to his boss, who we all know totally read the note, which implicated him in being on the run, and peeked into the bag that held a superhero suit. The logic baffles me. He has now passed the crime-fighting torch onto Thea and I can’t wait to see her kicking butt every week. And, Colton Hayes’ scruff was on point.

The flashbacks tied in a little more fluidly in this episode. Throughout the season they have been a struggle. For the most part, they tried to bring the present and the flashbacks together, and this episode did a lot of the heavy lifting from the rest of the season. The flashbacks could’ve been just six or seven episodes of the season, and that’s being generous. There was a great deal of stalling and putting them in almost every episode was a tactic to make the audience think more happened than actually did. There was little character change in Oliver over the course of the season.

Does Felicity every stop crying? I don’t understand what happened. This season, Arrow ruined their most enjoyable character. She does have rare moments of classic Felicity, like in this episode her excitement at her tablet throw. Felicity’s character devolution is just another perfect example of this season’s difficulties.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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