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: Ollie sincerely considers last week's job proposal, fathers get mad at daughters, and a villain of the week so inconsequential they literally sewed his mouth shut.

  • The Offer


    After a three-week break, this week's episode offers a little refresher on last week: We see Ra's al Ghul once again tell Ollie he wants him to be his successor. He explains that Ra's is a title rather than a person, and he's not the first, which makes him pretty different from comics Ra's.

    How he's not different? Wanting a Batman (or ersatz TV Batman) to take his place. He takes Ollie through a chamber full of chandeliers and shows him some fighting assassins, explaining that Ollie would have every possible resource available to him as the new Ra's; an army that is completely loyal to the point of death.

    Ollie scoffs at the offer and asks if he's supposed to be impressed, Ra's retorts by saying that he can see that Ollie is conflicted about having to serve two identities. Arrow was once a murderer, full stop, and soon the city (the cops, the woman he loves) will turn on him.

    Later, Ra's shows Ollie his Lazarus pit, which looks pretty much just like a big jacuzzi. It's totally surrounded by candles. I was waiting for Ra's to break out mai tais and start blastin' "Beautiful Girls" by Van Halen. And maybe for the the two of them to make out a little.

    Instead, Ra's explains that the pit isn't working on him as well as it used to (so he's really old despite not being the original Ra's), and is coming toward the end of his time, despite looking about 45. Then Ra's and Ollie have a very civil debate about the nature of justice. Ra's even says the assassins will denounce killing if Ollie tells them to; he'll be the supreme leader.

    Ollie is incredulous about that point, and asks what will happen if he refuses the offer. Ra's says he, Dig and Malcolm will all get to go home as an act of good will.

    And so they do. Ollie takes Malcolm to Theapartment for him to convalesce and he gets back into the groove by taking on a terrible criminal, which we'll get to in a minute.

    Everything Ra's said starts coming true. Arrow goes to visit Captain Lance, and Lance says he doesn't want anything to do with him because everyone lied to him about Sara's death (a pretty reasonable reaction to his situation, honestly). Ollie goes to visit Smoak at Palmer Technologies and he sees her flirting up a storm with Ray Palmer, which means she's off the market.

    Later, in the Arrowcave, Ollie tells Dig about Ra's offer and how everything Ra's said is coming true. Dig says that's crazy talk, but Ollie says he's legitimately considering being the new Ra's, because virtually all the work he has done as Arrow has been reversed with prison breaks and earthquakes and Deathstroke armies.

    "Maybe I should be Ra's al Ghul," Ollie says, though he pronounces it differently from Ra's. (Hilariously, Thea pronounces it "Rarrs" at one point.)

    Then Ollie talks to Malcolm about the offer, and Malcolm says there's a prophecy that if someone doesn't die by Ra's sword, he (or I'd hope she) will be the next one. It's inevitable, he says.

    Then Ollie talks to Smoak about it, and launches into the whole, "What have I really done?" question again. He really could have just gotten her, Dig and Malcolm into a room together and done this once.

    Anyway, Smoak says that when everyone thought Ollie was dead, the team came up with their own reasons to continue the crusade. Ollie needs to find his, she says.

    After the fight with the week's villain, which involves the bad guy shooting at cops, Ollie returns to the Arrowcave to announce he figured out his reason: saving people. Yeah, that's it. He wants to save people. Great for him and all, but it ain't exactly the book of Revelation.

    Ollie meets Maseo in what appears to be the middle of a street (?) to tell him he won't be taking the Ra's job. Maseo says Ra's has willed it to be, so it's going to happen whether Ollie wants it to or not. He warns "There will be consequences," like he's a vice principal trying to calm down a bus full of rowdy kids on a field trip. That's kind of Maseo's whole character, actually.

  • The Action


    Murmur is this week's villain, and he could not possibly be any more of an afterthought.

    After Ollie returns from Nanda Parbat and everyone is asking him why he, Malcolm and Dig aren't dead, he changes the subject and asks Team Arrow if there are any crimes to solve. That's literally what happens.

    What the team finds is a robbery in progress, even though it apparently hasn't even really started (?). As Arrow and Arsenal arrive at a warehouse, Murmur, whose mouth is sewn shut, and some goons attack an armored car. There's a big fight, and Murmur gets away with a bag full of diamonds.

    Turns out they're not that valuable; they're industrial diamonds. Why would he want those? Because they can be used to make armor-piercing bullets. Why would Murmur be looking to make that? Because he wants to kill some cops.

    See, he was beaten into making a false confession a while back. Yup, that is his entire back story.

    Murmur and his squad show up at police headquarters and start shooting cops. They get a lot of them, actually. Captain Lance and Laurel take cover behind a desk and the captain tells Laurel to run while he covers her. She runs straight into a goon, who is taken down by Nyssa. Eventually, Arrow and Arsenal show up and there's a big dust-up in the police station.

    Somehow, Murmur still manages to slide out the back door, but Arrow catches him and beats him up. Captain Lance comes out and asks Arrow if he's waiting for a "thank you," and Arrow says that's not what he does this for. (It's the prestige, and the cool outfits.)

  • Family Stuff


    Last episode, we left off with Thea asking Nyssa to kill her because she was the one who shot the arrows that killed Sara. This week, Nyssa rightly dismisses that and says Malcolm is definitely to blame. Thea straight-up begs Nyssa to kill her, but Nyssa won't do it. They go their separate ways to deal with their daddy issues.

    Malcolm is healing up at Theapartment, and on multiple occasions (once when Laurel is there, another when Ollie is there) she talks about how she desperately wants to kill him. This all while he's right there.

    Malcolm actually overhears all of it, and at one point essentially dares Thea to kill him; he says that's what he taught her, after all, and he wants what's best for her. She doesn't do it.

    Later, she explains to Ollie that she didn't kill Malcolm because she thought of Moira and how she wouldn't want her daughter to be a killer like Malcolm. Uh, sorry? Are we talking about the same Moira who had her husband kidnapped and kept in a dank cell? The same one who was complicit in the whole "kill everyone in The Glades with an earthquake machine" plan until she got a pang of conscience? Her?

    Whatever the case, Thea goes "to get my evil father soup" instead of killing him. It's the most relatable she's ever been.

    Later, as her crisis continues, she shows up at Roy's dank house and asks if she can stay there while she tries to figure stuff out. Then she and Roy make out.

    The second daddy/daughter story of the night involves Ra's and Nyssa. After Ollie lets Nyssa go, she returns to Nanda Parbat (which I swear is like, a short bus ride away from Starling) to confront her dad about why Malcolm isn't dead.

    Ra's tells her that he has selected Ollie as his successor, and she quite rightly flips out, saying he's an outsider and she's his daughter. She knows what this is all about, she says: It's about her relationship with Sara. Ra's says her love still "clouds her judgment," so Nyssa cuts his hand and storms out.

    I never thought we'd see a "Ra's al Ghul is too old fashioned to approve of his daughter's same-sex relationship" plot, but here we are.

    Laurel and Captain Lance also continue their troubles this week, with  Laurel eventually confronting him and telling him to just get to the shouting match already so they can forgive each other. Lance responds with a story about how Laurel has always been the family's protector, but she can't fix this. He may not be able to forgive her about not telling him about Sara. (Then some shooting starts.)

    Later, as Laurel is leaving the police station, Nyssa catches her in the alley and says she needs something to remind her of Sara. As she and Laurel walk to dinner together, Nyssa says Laurel's fighting earlier in the night was "adequate." Laurel takes that as an offer to train her, and they continue to their... date?

    They have a nice chemistry, those two.

  • The Flashbacks


    Not much in the flashbacks this week.

    Ollie, wearing an extremely dumb hat, walks Maseo and Katana's kid through a crowded marketplace when the kid thinks he sees his dad and runs off. Ollie pretty quickly finds him and tells him not to run away, and the kid says they have to go to the botanical garden, because that's where his parents said to meet them if he got lost. You're just realizing that now, kid?

    So Ollie and his terrible clothes and the kid go to the botanical garden, and instead of Maseo and Katana, they find what look like Secret Service agents (ARGUS guys, I suppose). So they once again take off running through a crowded market.

    Ollie bumps into Shado and incredulously says, "Shado?" End of flashbacks.

  • The Cliffhanger

    This was weird. So, even though Murmur has been taken down, some other criminals who are not in possession of the diamonds sit around and talk about how they've still got the diamonds. It's mega confusing.

    Anyway, a guy dressed as Arrow shows up and kills all but one of the criminals. He jumps down and reveals himself to be Ra's. That's right. Ra's Arrow Ghul! The first alternate Arrow to show up since Proto Arrow, D'Arrow, Dark Arrow, Shadarrow and so on!

    Ra's tells the survivor to go tell everyone what happened, because that's how he's going to beat Arrow. Bad PR.

  • Final Notes

    • Thea also wears a super-dumb hat at one point. You can really tell they're siblings.
    • When Murmur and his goons steal the diamonds, they talk about the "Catoca manifest," which is a reference to a real-life diamond mine in Angola.
    • Early on in the episode, Canary almost gets run over by a van and Ollie says she needs training. They are really hammering that point home.
    • So hey: Why didn't murmur just steal some armor-piercing bullets instead of diamonds? Are bullets that easy to make?
    • Laurel brings Captain Lance some Chinese food and he coldly says "I already ate." I'm taking it as a stealth callback to Ollie's shouted "They've met!" when Slade shows up at Casa Queen in season 2.

    Welp, that one was about as average as you can get. The stuff with Ra's is intriguing, at least (though, for the love of all, please pronounce it in a uniform way, actors). But the whole Murmur plot was about as half-baked as you could imagine. Nothing to speak of in the flashbacks.

    Everything felt kind of rushed, didn't it? With six or so episode left to fill out this season, let's hope the pacing gets righted a bit.

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