Apparently the Queen blood runs strong in Thea. She manages to just barely survive being run through by Ra’s’ blade and to hang in there just long enough for Oliver to come to the rescue. Unfortunately, his skill with a bow and ability to leap from rooftop to rooftop are useless when it comes to the healing arts. The attending nurses and doctors manage to stabilize Thea, but as Oliver soon finds out, it’s only a matter of time before she will pass away. This is one of Stephen Amell’s better-acted scenes on the show, even when he’s almost upstaged by a grieving Malcolm Merlyn. Felicity and Diggle drop in to check on Thea and Oliver, who is now distracted by a plume of smoke rising in the distance. Having conceded defeat at Ra’s’ hands, Oliver heads to the source of the signal in order to punch Maseo square in the face. However, the assassin has one final offer from Ra’s: if Oliver becomes the new Demon’s Head, Ra’s will save Thea’s life.
Once again, Ollie preps for a bit of globe-trotting. He tells the team his plan to restore Thea’s life through the Lazarus pits, and Malcolm corroborates his story, though he also offers a warning. The waters may restore life, but they steal away the soul. Speaking of souls, Ray has a soul-crushing revelation that Felicity is still in love with Oliver and thus not in love with him. Always the good guy, he lets the team take his jet to Nanda Parbat anyway. Supporting Ray’s concerns, Oliver and Felicity have another heart-to-heart on the jet in which Ollie confesses his murder of Thea’s drug dealer during the brief stint when he had returned home from the island.
Having arrived on Nanda Parbat with a lifeless Thea in his arms, Oliver & Co. are greeted by Ra’s al Ghul and his extensive League of Assassins. While Thea is prepared for the pit, Maseo and Diggle have a tense discussion involving the past death of Maseo’s son, Akio. The Priestess chants while Oliver, Diggle, and Maseo lower Thea into the healing waters. It’s not long before a rejuvenated Thea springs from the pits in a frenzy, taking out the first person she comes in contact with, who just happens to be Oliver. She attacks him, but is soon subdued by members of the League. Ra’s now waits for Oliver to hold up his end of the bargain.
Thea comes to later, but can’t seem to understand that her brother is alive, though she has no problem recognizing Malcolm as her father. She also seems to have forgotten about her mother’s murder at the hands of Slade Wilson. Malcolm chastises Oliver for resurrecting Thea; Felicity takes it a step further and stands up to Ra’s al Ghul himself. She more or less declares war on the Demon’s Head, but he takes her fiery speech in stride as he tells her about his wife and son, whom he abandoned in order to save their lives. Ra’s gives her the opportunity to tell Oliver whatever is in her heart before he’s changed by the ordeal he’s about to undertake.
Meanwhile, Oliver is grappling with his dual nature: Is he still the Oliver Queen that was a brother to Thea, or did that man die to make way for The Arrow, who will now become the Demon’s Head? Felicity once again confesses her deep love for Oliver, which leads to a long-awaited sex scene that likely gave the fandom fits. (Man, it really has been a long time since this show has had any of its attractive stars disrobe for a legitimate bedroom scene, hasn’t it?) After sexy time, Felicity drugs Oliver with the hope of spiriting him away from Nanda Parbat in order to keep him safe, and keep him to herself.
Now that she’s set a plan in motion that will royally piss off the entire League, Felicity has to get her team (including a dazed Thea and an unconscious Oliver) out of the fortress through the catacombs. Luckily Malcolm is super handy with a sword and manages to dispatch every assassin thrown at them. Even with Maseo aiding their escape, they soon get penned in by a circle of archers. With escape impossible and torture inevitable should they be captured alive, Oliver regains consciousness and orders the archers to lower their weapons; they only do so because he verbally takes on the mantle of Heir to the Demon.
Outside the fortress, Oliver thanks Felicity for trying to save him, bids goodbye to his best friend Diggle, then leaves Felicity with a farewell kiss. Team Arrow (minus the Arrow) heads back to the jet bound for Starling City while Oliver returns to the fortress.
Thea wakes up with some convenient amnesia and a healthy dislike for her father once more. Malcolm breaks the news to her that Oliver has joined the League in order to save her life, and in true Malcolm Merlyn fashion, he’s super stoked to be free of the League’s bounty (though to be fair, he really seems to want to stay with Thea now). Felicity informs Laurel that Oliver has joined the League, and Laurel seems … not super concerned with it, but I don’t blame her.
Back in Nanda Parbat, Ra’s wants to know who the traitor is who helped Oliver’s allies escape. Maseo offers up his life as forfeit, and though it looks as if Ra’s is going to take it, he forgives the man for forgetting who he is and succumbing to who he once was. In order to purge Oliver Queen from his former life, Ra’s subjects him to a painful branding (with the arrow-shaped tribal image used in the show’s title cards) in order to help him along the path to becoming Al Sah-him, and eventually, Ra’s al Ghul.
The episode ends with a most excellent “suit up” as Oliver dons his new assassin gear. Cosplayers, go nuts!
Back in Hong Kong, Oliver, accompanied by Maseo and Tatsu, spies on the military as they arm their bio-weapon. They’re too late to stop General Shrieve from combining the weapon’s reagents, but perhaps they’ll make it in time to prevent its destructive force from being released.
Ollie’s stolen sedan and a few handguns shouldn’t be a match for the military truck and soldiers armed with automatic rifles, but it does make for a fun car chase/fight scene. (Shades of Indiana Jones, anyone?) They get their hands on the weapon in the briefcase … but it’s missing. At swordpoint, General Shrieve reveals the location of the weapon as being hidden in a food cart in a crowded marketplace.
Oliver draws his weapon on a soldier and causes chaos in the crowd. Maseo gets shot, Tatsu takes another guard down with her sword, and Oliver fights the trigger-man in hand-to-hand combat. It’s no use since the bio-weapon flies from his hand and shatters on the pavement.
Well we finally get to see Oliver Queen give in to Ra’s al Ghul, finally pushed over the edge (so to speak) by the death of his little sister. Honestly, I’m happy that the Arrow is making this personality change because the character is much stronger when he’s burdened with internal struggles. For three seasons, Oliver Queen has grappled with his true nature, first shedding the billionaire playboy image to become a hardened survivalist, then using his skills to become a vengeful vigilante, then softening his bloodlust by refusing to take lives unnecessarily. Sum total, it’s hard to say whether or not Oliver’s decisions have saved more lives or prevented more problems than if he would have never chosen to put on the hood. Now, Al Sah-him has taken the first big step on a path that will alter him once again, in ways that will likely put him at odds with his former allies and closest friends. A bold choice, Ollie. Let’s see how it plays out.
Rating: ★★★★ Very Good
Diggle: “Lazarus, as in, from the Bible, Lazarus?”
OK, so Team Arrow has been zipping back and forth between Nanda Parbat and Starling City for a number of episodes now, but all of a sudden they need Ray to offer up his jet for the trip?
Malcolm suggests taking Thea to S.T.A.R. Labs before subjecting her to the transformative powers of the Lazarus pit, but would that really be a better option? Discuss!
Ra’s al Ghul: “Welcome home, Al Sah-him.”
Ra’s al Ghul: “To spare them pain, I endured an agony more cruel than death.” Felicity: “Sounds like you gave up too easily.”
Maseo: “Where is the food cart??” This is the question of my life, Maseo.
Felicity: “So…that happened.”
Felicity: “I have seen enough movies to know that the scary fortress always has a secret exit.”
Oliver: “Hold! I am Al Sah-him, heir to the demon, and you will obey!”
Ra’s al Ghul: “Oliver Queen must be extinguished from memory.”
Ra’s al Ghul: “Embrace the pain because it is your soul finally being unburdened.”
Ra’s al Ghul: “Oliver Queen is dead, soon to be born as Ra’s al Ghul. But now, only the Arrow remains, Al Sah-him.”