After nearly a month off, Arrow returns with a new episode as Oliver (Stephen Amell) weighs Ra’s Al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) offer to succeed him.
Let’s bitch it out…
I’ll admit that I’ve deferred writing this review because I really didn’t know what to make of ‘The Offer.’ In reality there’s nothing implicitly wrong with the episode, but I found myself bored and listless during the many introspective passages.
S3 of Arrow has proven to be a struggle in many regards. The murder of Sara Lance never really bore the fruit it could (should?) have and the three episode arc (I II III) in which Oliver was “killed” and the rest of the team took over was a messy, at times unpleasant affair. It’s not difficult, then, to understand why Oliver might be tempted by the offer to take over the League of Assassins. After all, Starling City can be a bit of a soul-sucking place to live. Add to this a depressed sister, a true love who has moved on and an ally who (rightfully) blames him for being a liar and breaking their trust and yeah, things aren’t great for Oliver Queen.
The problem is that we’re aligned with Oliver (most of the time). So his despair = our wah-wah depressing episode. And that makes ‘The Offer’ a bit of a pain to watch: as much as Oliver needs to wallow in his own misery stew, he really is a bit of a whiny baby. When Diggle (David Ramsey) suggests that his friend’s issues are petty, I may have actually cheered. Finally someone says what the audience is thinking and tells Oliver to suck it up.
The reality is that Oliver was never going to accept the offer. Not only would that require a complete reinvention of the series, it’s not part of his path. And just as we knew that he wouldn’t accept, it was clear that Ra’s would refuse to take no for an answer. The final coda, which finds the Devil’s Hand impersonating his presumed successor on a murderous rampage, should be enough to prompt a personal crisis in the newly confident Oliver Queen.
But for now, let Ollie have his smile and flirty-friend banter with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Our boy had a rough week.
- Arguably Thea (Willa Holland) had the roughest week when Oliver dumped Malcolm (John Barrowman) – the father she’d sent off to be executed – on her couch to recover. While I applaud bringing Thea into the inner circle and complicating her story line with all of the daddy issues, I’m not sure that Holland has the acting capacity to convincingly deliver the emotional beats. Most of the time she just has angry scrunchy face.
- No surprise here: Thea ends up hooking back up with Roy (Colton Haynes). The only genuine surprise is seeing Roy with a book. Who knew the boy could read?
- More daddy issues: Lance (Paul Blacthorne) tells Laurel (Katie Cassidy) that he may never forgive her for lying to him. Honest truth? I’m over it. Dunso! Obviously it makes sense that Lance is grieving and angry, but considering he’s just found out that 50% of his daughters are dead, would he really toss the other one away in such a cavalier fashion?
- Even more daddy issues: Nyssa (Katrina Law) is understandably peeved that her father chose an outsider successor over her. If anyone stands to benefit from their estranged relationship, it’s us (followed by Laurel). Partnering up the girls for a new Mentor/Mentee relationship holds lots of promise and should help bring Laurel’s fighting technique up to par.
- Finally, how do you know the sex with Ray (Brandon Routh) is good? Felicity wears her hair down with him. Prrrrowl.
- Oliver (when Laurel asks when he’ll stop telling her she needs training): “When you no longer need training.” Snap!
- Felicity (when Oliver suggests she didn’t have to tell him about dating Ray): “That’s not true, you’re one of my closest friends.” Drive the knife in a little deeper, there, Felicity
- Oliver (when Felicity laments the lack of victory dance): “You know me, I don’t dance.”
Your turn: were you popping the happy pills waiting for Oliver’s existential crisis to end? Are you excited to see Ra’s in Starling? What about Nyssa partnering up with Laurel? Can Holland handle Thea’s pain? How obvious was it that Thea would hook up with Roy again? Sound off below.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW. Next week it’s wedding bells for Diggle. I’m sure nothing will go wrong with the nuptials.