‘Arrow’ Season 3 Recap, Episode 22: ‘This Is Your Sword’
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: A wedding! A weird one with a lot of violent imagery, sure, but a wedding nonetheless. Also, a ruse is revealed and a mechanic says goodbye.
Things pick up right from last week's cliffhanger, with Ra's telling Ollie that he has to destroy Starling City with the alpha and omega bioweapon to truly wipe away his old self. Oh, and he's got to marry Nyssa.
At dinner, which looks like they made a field trip to the set of Reign, because there are like six turkeys and giant hams on the table for only three people, Ra's also insists to Nyssa's face that she have Ollie's kid. Nyssa is massively angry about this, as she should be. Ollie says he's super chill with the mass murder stuff, but he's not so sure about the getting married, so he goes for a walk. I wonder how many real marriages start this way.
Outside on his walk on the set of Reign, Ollie runs into a generically dressed assassin, who he flips over and yells at for being late. The assassin takes off his mask to reveal that he's Malcolm Merlyn. Ollie says things are worse than they thought.
They set up a campfire like a couple of Webelos and talk about how Ra's is asking Ollie to dump a bioweapon on Starling using a teeny tiny little airplane. Malcolm says that's awfully high-tech for the League, and that they're going to need help to stop it, and since Ollie was so good at convincing his friends that he's a terrible villain now, they won't believe anything that comes from him.
So wait. When Ollie almost nearly stabbed Nyssa to death last week, that was part of a big ploy? How did he know Dig and Canary would stop him? And what about all the people he's full-on killed?
I guess Ollie is an absolute master of planning and timing, because just as Malcolm scoots out of there, Maseo comes to check on him. Maseo, who Ra's mentioned earlier had brought him the alpha and omega weapon, says he took the vial when they were dealing with that truck they blew up last week. He used it to trade his way into the League. Ollie says that once he's Ra's, he can release Maseo from his obligations to the League, but Maseo says the League isn't his prison. It's life, man. It's life.
Meanwhile, in Starling, Dig is running down criminal punk teens in his street clothes, with no mask. He knows vigilantism is illegal, right? And particularly frowned upon right now? I'm just saying, it's a little cavalier. This particular teen punk leads Dig to his full gang, and Dig says that was his plan all along just as he puts in some earplugs.
Cue the Canary cry, and Dig and Canary beating the tar out of a bunch of street goons. Dig gets a little too intense with one beating, messing up his hand, and presumably, the dude's face. Smoak has to shout him down over the radio.
Smoak, Laurel and Dig reconvene at Dig's apartment (he thanks Laurel for coming in through the back, because he lives in some weird 1950s building where neighbors will talk if they see a woman enter a man's home) and Smoak tells Dig that he's unhinged and in denial. Dig says he's not in denial; he's mad! (He says this as he shoots up in rage.)
And, you know, he's got a reason. His former best friend kidnapped his wife and all.
Laurel turns it around and uses an SAT word on Smoak, asking her how she can be so sanguine in all this. She really milks the word, too. Smoak says Ollie's dead, and that's that.
Smoak goes to see Ray Palmer at Palmer Tech, and they have another awkward interaction. He asks her why she's got a cloud over her head, then deduces that it's Ollie-related. He says he's her friend and wants to help where he can. Then he has her sign a document which he says is just a formality of her becoming a vice president, but it turns out it's a "transfer of ownership" form, which means he's giving her the company, I suppose. I think there's a lot more to it than that, legally.
Smoak gets a text from Malcolm summoning her to a meeting, so she goes to a warehouse (where else) where she, Dig and Laurel meet up to talk trash about Malcolm until he gets there. When he does, he says Ollie's whole trying-to-kill-Nyssa-and-also-maybe-Dig's-wife thing was a charade (pronounced sha-rahd, and with great verve).
Team Arrow finds this hard to believe and starts to just flat-out leave, so Malcolm brings out someone to convince them: Katana.
Smoak's reaction to Katana showing up is very honest, in that she wonders who the hell she is. Katana admits she has lived a life of isolation in a magic cabin on a mountain, but she helped bring Ollie back to life after Ra's stabbed him. She says her message is from Ollie, and he needs their help. Dig recognizes her as Akio's mom from stuff Ollie has said about her, but the team is still hesitant to believe her. Malcolm hands over some info about the bioweapon and tells everyone to go to Ferris Air if they want to come to Nanda Parbat with him.
The team takes the info back to the makeshift Arrowcave and watches a video of the bio-attack on Hong Kong. As I wondered last week, Smoak asks how no one knew about this huge catastrophe from a few years ago. Dig blames the Chinese propaganda machine for covering it up. Those dastards!
Even in the presence of this compelling evidence of a bioweapon, Smoak says she can't go back to Nanda Parbat, so Katana goes to see her at Palmer Tech. She tells Smoak that she thought she had lost her husband forever to the League, and that she shouldn't make the same mistake with Ollie.
That seems to work. Smoak shows up at Ferris Air, which looks like a Citibank location, ready to go. Katana shows off her fancy sword, and Malcolm asks if it's "a masamune blade." Yeah, okay, nerd. We all played Chrono Trigger, too.
The team heads off to Nanda Parbat.
After taking what seems to be the increasingly short trip to Nanda Parbat, Team Arrow assembles in what looks like a desert stage from Soulcalibur. Katana, to my delight, is in full comics Katana gear, even the mask. Nobody mentions it or asks why she's wearing it. That makes it better, I think.
The team briefly discusses their plan to bring down the plane with the bioweapon on it, but before long, they're confronted by an assassin. Malcolm quickly takes him down with an arrow, but then more show up, and it becomes a full-on brawl. Malcolm shoots arrows, Katana swords guys, Canary flips them, and Dig starts shooting the dadgum assault rifle he brought on the plane with him. How'd he clear that through customs?
Eventually Maseo shows up wearing a mask of his own and he confronts Katana. They battle for a while, and it looks like she has allowed Maseo to get the best of her, but when he's about to deliver the killing blow, she pops up and skewers him through the stomach. She cries and sings a song to him, he thanks her for releasing him from his prison. (Rila Fukushima's acting is really good here; Karl Yune's is...less so.)
Meanwhile, the tiny plane with the bioweapon on it is starting to launch. Smoak is doing her best to tap away on a tablet to shut it down, but before she can, an assassin destroys the tablet. The plane launches, and Malcolm asks if they can shoot it down in midair. Smoak says she brought some backup, and it's "atomic." (Ugh.)
The ATOM comes flying in, and after an admittedly cool CGI air battle, crashes through the plane and brings it down, landing with a big crash. One question, though: How did Smoak hide Ray Palmer coming the whole time? Did he have to fly his own plane there by himself, or fly in the suit just so she could reveal him as a surprise to the others? Would him flying on the plane with everyone else have been easier?
The team rushes over to Palmer to make sure he's okay, and as soon as he says he is, Ra's announces that they have failed. This despite dozens of assassins being dead and limbless and so forth all around him. He says that plane was a decoy, and holds up the vial of alpha/omega. Ollie, who is also there, tells them to surrender or die.
Inside the fortress, Ollie leads the team into the main chamber with the Lazarus Pit as he warns them to keep their mouths shut or Ra's will kill them. Ra's launches into one of his meandering stories before asking who knew about the plane-and-virus plan. Katana lies and says it was Maseo, because who cares, he's dead, right?
Ra's says normally he'd kill everyone right there, but there's a wedding coming up, so maybe he'll be a little lenient. Palmer gets immediately sassy, saying it's a wonder anyone would marry Ra's. Ollie pipes up and says he's the one getting married, to Nyssa. Smoak looks like someone just shot her dog.
Next, we see the team in what is quite frankly a very roomy cell. They openly wonder whether they're going to die when an assassin comes in and tells Dig that Ollie wants to see him. Dig is escorted to Ollie's room, where Ollie quickly tries to tell Dig why he had to do that whole thing where he kidnapped his wife and left his infant daughter alone. See, he had to prove his loyalty to Ra's! Dig's not hearing it, and before Ollie can explain further, an assassin steps in and says Ra's has demanded Dig be taken back to the cell.
Back in the old pit room, Ra's admires Katana's sword and tells Malcolm that he expected Maseo's betrayal (Why'd you keep him around, then?) but not Malcolm's. As Ra's is holding a sword to Malcolm's throat, Malcolm gets in touch with his inner scoundrel and immediately sells out the team. He says Maseo didn't inform them about the plan; Ollie did.
As if on cue, Ollie walks in and asks, "What's the haps, bros?" Ra's says Malcolm said Ollie was betraying him. Ollie's like, "Nah, dude! I killed people for you!" Ra's answers with a resounding, "We'll see."
Later, in the cell, Team Arrow continues to debate whether Ollie is cool or not when Ra's and Ollie walk in and tell them it's pretty much time to die. Ollie holds up the vial of alpha/omega. Malcolm starts groveling, and everyone else starts begging for their lives, but Ollie drops it, it bursts open, and the duo of Ra's and Ollie peace out.
Thea starts out the episode in Theapartment, where she and Malcolm have a weird, talking-past-each-other conversation about her going to see Roy. It's like:
Thea: I'm leaving town to see Roy!
Malcolm: Well, that might be good for you!
Thea: I don't care what you think, Dad! I'm going to see Roy!
She finds him working in garage under the name "Jason" (a Red Hood nod, possibly). It's weird. His boss immediately hits on her and Roy acts like he's in Drive or Lost Highway or something. Thea asks if they can go somewhere else because that garage is creepy as hell, and he suggests his apartment.
Roypartment is a dump. Thea says as much, and he says it's just a sublease. She asks if he's been doing any vigilante stuff, and he says no. As a result, he's very bored. She digs his Arsenal getup out of her bag and gives it to him.
Now, here's the weird part. She says she got it out of the police impound, but she also says that nobody knows he's Arsenal; they think he's Arrow. Okay, great, but if that outfit was in the police impound, then it's stolen evidence. Plus, Arsenal is a known associate of Arrow's. Like, they're still going to be after him.
Thea and Roy have sex in his certainly-bed-bug-infested apartment, but when she wakes up, he's gone. She goes to check at that creepy garage for him, but he's not there, either. He quit. Roy's creep boss gives her a bag and a note. The note says that Thea can live a better life than one on the lam from the cops all the time, so he's hit the road.
He also leaves her with the Arsenal costume, which means she's got to be in line to become Speedy next season, right?
Things were getting bad last week when Katana noticed that her son, Akio, was bleeding from his mouth in the midst of the bioweapon attack on Hong Kong. The group rushes into a drug store and Katana starts giving him medicine. She sings him that song that she also sings to Maseo when he dies years later.
Maseo flips out and starts raving about how there might be a cure. "I know it's unlikely! But I have to be sure!" he blurts out. This episode isn't Karl Yune's best.
So Ollie and Maseo go to the local army base to track down General Shrieve and get a cure. Maseo tells Ollie that he needs him to be a killer to save his son, so Ollie just starts killing the heck out of Army dudes with arrows.
In his office, Shrieve hears all the commotion, and he seems pretty cool with it. Ollie and Maseo burst in and demand a cure. At first, Shrieve says no, but Ollie shoots him in the shoulder, so he gives up the code to open a safe. He also immediately starts giving instructions for how to administer the cure, but Ollie stops him and says they're taking him with them to show them how to do it. (Seems a little convoluted, but it's dramatically necessary, and sometimes that dictates things.)
The three of them return to the store, and, unfortunately, Akio is dead. It's not that they weren't back in time, either. Shrieve says Akio was dead the moment he came into contact with the virus. There is no cure; the stuff in the safe was insulin for his diabetes.
Just then, laser sights pop up on Ollie's chest. The Army has got him, Maseo and Katana captured.
"I do so hate loose ends," Shrieve sputters out.
As team Arrow appears to straight-up die in their gigantic cell, the wedding of Ollie and Nyssa moves ahead. Ra's tells Ollie that he's about to become Ibn al Ghul, son of the demon. Nyssa walks down the aisle under crossed swords. A priestess administers vows about how the couple is being held "captive by love." It's all very aggressive.
At one point, Nyssa tries to hit Ollie, but he stops her. It almost seems like it's supposed to be part of the ceremony. I honestly kind of love how weirdly violent this assassin wedding was.
The priestess declares their union sealed, and Team Arrow appears to breathe their last.
- In the opening, when Stephen Amell typically says, "My name is Oliver Queen," he said, "My name was Oliver Queen" this time (he did it last week, too). That's a nice touch.
- The flashbacks starts this week with helicopters dropping flyers that say "evacuate" onto the streets. A lot of good that does now, government.
- At one point, Malcolm says that Dig, Smoak and Laurel are all "bad actors," and it seems like a winky inside joke. And, you know, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy and Emily Bett Rickards have all done pretty good work this season.
- Also mentioned this episode, in a scene where Ra's gets pretty rough and demanding with Nyssa: The last name Raatko, which is Nyssa's last name in Death and the Maidens and other comics appearances.
Plot-wise, this episode wasn't bad, but the dialogue was pretty rough this time out. Maseo and Malcolm got some particularly terrible lines.
And what the heck is going on with Ra's? When did he become this weird old man who has to go on and on with these long-winded stories before he can say literally anything? And when he finds out his possible heir is definitely betraying him, he says, "Well, we'll see." Huh? He's been a pretty good villain, but this episode really tried to undercut him.
Plus, this episode had a very weird diversion to a garage. But that wedding scene was pretty cool, so I guess it's a wash.
Onto the finale (the preview for which reveals Team Arrow didn't really die) next week!