‘Arrow’ Season 3 Recap, Episode 15: ‘Nanda Parbat’
The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson is back for the third season of the popular series in our recap feature we’re officially dubbing Pointed Commentary.
This week: Both Queen siblings play out their death wishes, Nyssa al Ghul gets cagey, and a certain legally-distinct-from-Iron-Man flying suit of armor makes an appearance.
Thea Queen didn't know until last week's episode that it was ultimately her hand that killed Sara Lance (though Malcolm Merlyn drugged her to maker her do it). Ra's al Ghul must have been watching, because this episode opens with him chllin' in a huge bathtub when a pissy Nyssa (I bet that was her nickname in middle school) storms in and says Sara's killer --- who she still believes to be Ollie --- is alive.
Ra's calmly says he already knows that, and that Ollie isn't actually Sara's killer. Nyssa says Ollie's got to die anyway, and presumably teleports directly to Starling.
I now Ra's likely knows all this because he's got League of Assassins eyes everywhere, but I like to think he's just a big fan of the show. Like, in his spare time, he concocts theories about how Tommy Merlyn might not be dead. He ships Ollie and Amanda Waller.
In the Arrowcave, Thea, Malcolm and Ollie train while Malcolm tells Ollie that he's been wasting his time preparing to "bring a bow and arrow to a swordfight." Is that a euphemism? Anyway, Malcolm suggests Ollie and Thea stay in the Arrowcave for safety since Dig has apparently rigged Verdant up with iron gates and the laser security system from the movie Entrapment. Ollie says they'll stay in Theapartment, thanks, in one of his many acts of jerky defiance this episode.
As if she absolutely couldn't wait to tell people, Thea spills that she threw the arrows that killed Sara to both Roy and Laurel in record time. Roy already knew, but Laurel didn't. She actually takes the news in a surprisingly measured way, telling Thea it wasn't her fault if she was being mind controlled. She says Malcolm's going to get his, though.
Laurel goes to the Arrowcave and tells Ollie she can't remember Sara's smile, one of two times Laurel says something mega-sad about the loss of her sister, but also perhaps indicating she's suffered a serious concussion. Laurel asks if Team Arrow is going to find Sara's killer, and Ollie lies, "We will." Laurel calls him out on it and tells him Thea spilled the beans. She says Team Arrow has got to take down Malcolm.
Ollie, the control freak that he is, says the team needs Malcolm to fight Ra's, and, "this is the way it has to be," like he's a dad telling his daughter to eat all her peas.
Then Ollie, who is really on a roll at this point, bursts into Theapartment and starts yelling at his sister for telling another human being about this immense burden of guilt she has, because they're still in danger. Thea says she and Ollie aren't in danger anymore, because she has handed Malcolm over to the League.
Cut to: Malcolm walking away from some warehouse somewhere, the most common location in all of Starling City. Laurel, in full Canary gear, confronts him and initiates a fight. It doesn't go well for her, so she pulls a gun. Before she can fire, however, the League shows up.
Nyssa fares much better, eventually subduing Malcolm. The assassins drag Malcolm away and Nyssa tells Laurel she "can rest now" because Sara's killer is going to be horribly executed.
Laurel returns to the Arrowcave and Ollie starts yelling at her, as he does, and it's a real doozy this time. He tells her that she "let her emotions dictate her actions." Next thing you know he's going to start blaming her hatred of Malcolm on misandry and saying "not all men" killed Sara.
Then Ollie, moral arbiter of everything, gets up on his high horse and says Team Arrow has to go save Merlyn. Everyone rightly looks at him like he's bananas, but he says Thea's going to regret handing her father over to be executed. "I'm trying to save Thea's soul," he says, and somehow no one makes a jerk-off motion at him.
Smoak does some searching and finds Nyssa and Malcolm at a helipad. Arrow drops in and manages to catch Nyssa with a rope arrow, but the assassins still get away with Malcolm. Nyssa says that's the last they'll ever see of him.
Ollie takes Nyssa to the Arrowcave and puts her in this tiny little cage that I think is supposed to be for a dog. Ollie tells everyone to clear out of the room, which makes them all think he's going to torture her. Instead, he straight-up asks her where Nanda Parbat is, and she immediately tells him, because he has abetted Sara's killer, so she knows Ollie is going to die there, too.
Harbinger tells Dig that he should go with Ollie to face down Ra's, so Dig asks for the ARGUS jet. Meanwhile, Thea literally begs Ollie not to go to Nanda Parbat on what is essentially a suicide mission. While the guilt of killing her father might be bad, her brother dying on her behalf is worse. Ollie smirks while cavalierly saying he's going to go. The nerve of this guy.
In Nanda Parbat, Malcolm gets dragged in front of Ra's. He tries to cut a deal, then begs for his life, but Ra's says Malcolm's got to pay for what he did. If it's any consolation, Ra's says, he won't enjoy it.
Dig and Ollie show up at Nanda Parbat dressed up as cartoon thieves. They should be carrying giant sacks with dollar signs drawn on them. Also cartoon-like, the minute Ollie mentions the element of surprise, assassins start raining arrows down on him and Dig, but they miss wildly. Dig pulls out a gun and straight-up starts shooting dudes, and Ollie starts blasting fire arrows at people. I'm pretty sure they're both killing guys.
The two of them get inside and find Malcolm with the help of a tracker. Just as Malcolm starts to get out the word "trap," a gate closes behind them.
As Ollie prepares to go get himself killed, Smoak sneaks off a few times this episode to go visit Ray Palmer, who has holed up in his condo to work nonstop on the ATOM armor. When Smoak first arrives to find old stubbly Ray hard at work, she says he's been missing for a week.
He says the whole Brick fiasco really kicked him in the pants and he's been deep in his work. Smoak says he should get some rest and eat, but he somewhat politely tells her to buzz off.
Later, she returns and tells him she has blocked his access to his own server, which means he can't work anymore. She says he has to shower, eat and sleep before she'll give him a password to get back in. He says he'd normally fight back, but he's so tired (he's got stubble, after all), he acquiesces.
Later, he emerges from the shower clean-shaven and wearing only a towel. Smoak turns from admiring his Johannes Vermeer (not a euphemism) to his Johannes Vermeer (a euphemism). She plants a kiss on him and says she's sorry. He says he's not and kisses back. Weird, slapsticky music plays for some reason. I honestly thought they were both going to fall over.
And they kind of do. Palmer wakes up post-coitus with some crazy eyes. He jots down some sciency jargon and rushes off to his computer. He pulls out the password Smoak gave him to get back in the system ("password," which is pretty funny) and puts the finishing touches on the ATOM armor.
He suits up and... let me be honest. It's not great. It's one part Captain America, two parts Iron Man and a big dash of NFL SuperPro, all on a TV budget. It isn't all that far removed from MANTIS, is what I'm saying.
He flies around. It's pretty goofy.
There's also a scene where Roy, after telling Thea that he killed a cop when he was out of his mind on mirakuru, and takes her to see the cop's family. He tells her that he's been buying them groceries and gifts. Her response is, basically, "That's cool, but my dad is awful."
As tough as this is to say, I think he show may be getting ready to kill off Dig.
The clues really piled up this episode. In several scenes, it's revealed that Dig is the only member of Team Arrow that really gets Ollie, with him accurately determining that the suicide mission to Nanda Parbat isn't just about Thea. It's about Ollie wanting to beat the guy who beat him in a duel. (In a rare moment of self-awareness, Ollie calls that reasoning "egotistical and insane.")
We also see Dig at home playing with his baby daughter, Sara, when Harbinger urges him to go help Ollie, just as long as he comes back in one piece.
Here's the big one, though: After Ollie and Dig get captured in Nanda Parbat, Dig asks Ollie to be the best man at his wedding, because Ollie is his brother now.
Doesn't Dig know that everyone related to Ollie dies? Why on earth would he voluntarily join the Queen family?
(Honestly, I hope I'm wrong.)
Captain Lance has the week off, but at one point Laurel does call him and leave a message imploring him to call her back after last week's falling out.
Later, when Nyssa's locked up in that tiny cage, Laurel approaches her. Nyssa says Laurel should be comforted to know that Malcolm will be brutally killed. Laurel openly worries that if Malcolm dies, she'll lose absolutely everything about Sara. if she remembers Sara's laugh. Laurel, really, watch those head injuries.
Nyssa tells a story about how Sara's reaction to seeing Ra's do some mega-intimidating act of manliness was to laugh, which makes me wish this was a show about young Sara Lance joining the League of Assassins instead of what it is. Nyssa says that's the moment she fell in love with Sara. Laurel is comforted.
Later, Thea approaches Nyssa's cage and says she lied about Malcolm killing Sara, which is a lie. It's a lie about lying. A lie-lie. She opens up the cage and hands Nyssa her sword. She asks her to kill her.
Meanwhile, Ollie gets dragged in front of Ra's and Ollie begs Ra's to kill him. The Queens are a weird family. Again, why would Dig want to join?
Ollie begs Ra's not to hurt Dig, and Ra's launches into a speech about how he actually respects Ollie for coming back to life after being pretty clearly slaughtered. Ra's says he doesn't want to kill Ollie now. He wants him to be his replacement.
We're back to basically nothing happening in the flashbacks again this week.
Ollie gets debriefed by the Army, and Gen. Shrieve, instead of unveiling the Creature Commandos, just lets him go.
Back in golden-tinged Hong Kong, Ollie meets up with Maseo, Katana and their son, who are about to board a boat back to their home country of Japan. Before they can board, a group of longshoremen start haphazardly firing guns at them.
Maseo identifies them as Waller's men, because Waller is just mean, I guess. (Really, you'd think they'd be Triads.) After some creative maneuvering that involves Katana once again showing off how awesome she is and how she should have been the secret agent all along, the parents get split up from their son. Ollie heads off to safety with the kid, at Maseo's urging.
- During a commercial break, I found Sara Lance. She's apparently in some sort of limbo where people get way excited about test driving Nissans.
- I swear I heard like four different pronunciations of the "Ra's" in Ra's al Ghul this episode. Look, I don't care if the actors say it "rahz" or "razz" or "raish" or whatever, just be consistent.
- According to Ollie, Nanda Parbat is "under the Hindu Kush," which is...not all that exact of a location. (It's also a totally different location than that of comics Nanda Parbat, which is in Tibet and requires an "invisible map" to locate.)
- When Dig and Ollie find Malcolm being held in Nanda Parbat, they find him suspended over red-hot embers. Are... are they cooking him?
Ollie was an almost insufferable jerk this episode, but beyond that, I think this one was pretty good. The building tension at the end was pulled off really well, and I have to say I didn't see that cliffhanger coming at all.
Just don't kill Dig, y'all.