A Queen is dead by the end of the Wednesday, April 22 episode of “Arrow,” 320, “The Fallen,” but will that Queen stay dead? Oliver makes a deal with the devil to save Thea, but will both brother and sister be forever changed by his decision?
Ra’s succeeds in doing what he could not by ruining the reputation of the Arrow in Starling City when he leaves Thea mostly dead following their fight, and since there’s nothing that modern medicine can do to save her, Oliver has only one choice: the waters in Nanda Parbat, the same waters that have kept Ra’s alive all this time and the same waters that, Malcolm warns, change a person in the soul. (Malcolm even suggests giving S.T.A.R. Labs a try, which says a lot about what he thinks about the danger of those waters.) But for Oliver, there is no choice to make, and he’s not going alone.
Felicity turns to Ray for his jet, which also allows them the chance to have an honest discussion about the state of their relationship. Following the “eye-opening” experience of the night before, Ray knows that they’re over and he knows why. “When I told you that I loved you in the hospital, you responded with Jell-O. Seeing you two together last night, I realize you don’t love me because you’re in love with him.” This may be the best that Ray has been on “Arrow” – he seems to fit in much better with “The Flash” world, as seen in the crossover and with Cisco at the end of “Broken Arrow” – and the breakup had to be this way because he’s heading to the spin-off. He needs to be likeable if he’s going to be on another show, and this helps after he didn’t exactly come across that way in the beginning.
The Lazarus Pit does work, but upon reviving, Thea is wild and leaps at Oliver and has to be subdued. When she comes to again, she thinks Oliver is dead, Moira’s alive and knows and loves Malcolm as her father. To say she’s confused would be an understatement. That confusion continues when it comes time for Oliver to say his goodbyes to the others, but upon waking up at home in the loft, Thea’s back to how she was before the Pit. She can’t remember anything since Ra’s attacked her, and so Malcolm has to tell her Oliver trade his life for hers.
One of the best conversations of the episode is between Diggle and Maseo (the other is between Felicity and Ra’s al Ghul). Diggle calls Maseo out on working for the man who killed his friend’s sister. He doesn’t see the League of Assassins as brave, powerful men. He sees “weak men running from their lives, trying to escape. …That’s cowardly.” That’s when Maseo reveals his son is dead and died in his arms, but instead of producing what he was hoping it would, Diggle wonders if his son would be proud of his father’s actions. (That’s pretty much the only link between present and past: Maseo and Tatsu trying to do right so their son would be proud of them.)
This is a big episode for Olicity, and it all begins with her declaring she’s going with him to Nanda Parbat. On the jet, he tells her about killing Thea’s dealer during his brief return to Starling and admits that while he was angry, he also felt like he was protecting her. All he’s ever wanted to do was protect Thea, and he failed. It’s an honest, quiet moment and just as powerful as any other between the two.
Once in Nanda Parbat, Felicity confronts Ra’s after Thea comes back and refuses to le him take Oliver from his family. It’s a very risky move, and all Ra’s does is tell her about his own love and the family he left behind without a word so he wouldn’t have to watch them be tortured and killed when he was given a horrible choice. Life is more cruel than fair, he tells her, and all her threats of going to war to get Oliver back are only delaying the inevitable, so he offers her the opportunity he didn’t have: to tell Oliver goodbye and how much she loves him.
And that’s exactly what Felicity does. “Leaving you here is going to destroy me,” she tells him. “You have done so much. You have saved so many peoples’ lives and you have changed so many for the better. Including mine. Knowing you has changed my life. You opened up my heart in a way I didn’t know was possible. I love you.” Yes, Felicity finally tells Oliver she loves him, and it comes right before they have sex. After – “So, that’s happened,” Felicity comments – she pours them each a drink, he toasts to “us” and he collapses because she drugged him. She refuses to lose him, and so she turns to Malcolm to find them a way out of there. With Maseo’s help – Diggle’s comment got to him – they make it to the tunnels, but that’s as far as they can get. Oliver comes to, declares himself Al Sah-Him and commands the League to lower their weapons. They tried, but it can only end one way, and so it’s time for their goodbyes.
With Thea still confused, Oliver tells her he’ll catch up to them and Malcolm will take her home. To Diggle he says, “John, you’re the best man I’ve ever known. Whatever happens, you’re my brother.” And to Felicity, he says that he’ll survive it if he knows she’s out there, living her life, happy, but it’s not goodbye.
It is goodbye to Oliver Queen, however, as Ra’s explains that Oliver Queen must be extinguished from his memory. Assassin comes from the word meaning those who stand apart from society, Ra’s says as he brands Oliver. Ever man and woman there has renounced their past lives and forfeited their identities in the name of something new. “Oliver Queen is dead,” Ra’s declares. “For now, only the Arrow, Al Sah-Him shall remain. Al Sah-Him, heir to the demon.” And with that, Oliver only has one name, something he has been struggling with for the entire season.
As for the flashbacks, they have easily been the weakest part of the season, and that’s never seemed truer than in this episode. At times annoying, in “The Fallen,” they interrupt the story completely (and not just because there’s one in between Oliver and Felicity having sex and their conversation afterwards – it’s true for the entire episode). They’re about the danger of a bioweapon being released, and it’s nearly impossible to care about them at all. The only highlight has to be watching Tatsu use her sword.
“Arrow” season 3 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 20 “The Fallen”?