Arrow Re-Nocked: Episode 21 – Al Sah-Him
Originally Aired: April 29, 2015
This was a very dark episode. Last time we saw Oliver give in to Ra’s and become his heir, but in this episode we see an Oliver that we never could have imagined. Beth Schwartz the writer of this bit of the story did something quite genius. In all of the episodes of Arrow we’ve had some red herrings and twists, but we’ve also had a ton of “monsters of the week”. This is the name we give to episodes that have a different enemy for the main characters to face off with each week. What Beth Schwartz did was flip the script on us. She wrote this episode so that Oliver, now known as Al Sah-Him, is the monster of the week… and boy is monster close to the truth.
This episode features all of your favorite characters besides Roy and Ray, both who are out of town. Nyssa is the focus of this episode, because as you may have seen in the previews for this episode, she is the last remaining threat to Oliver’s ascendance as the head of the demon. The episode as a whole was okay. It was a very dark story, which leaves you wondering if a hero can be lost for good, or if they will always have a hero inside them fighting to get out. The flashbacks in this episode were pretty straight forward and end up leading to something that we all knew was bound to happen. With two more episodes left in the season, this is the part of the story that screenwriters dub Dark Night of the Soul, and there is no better way of explaining the theme of this episode than that. Luckily for us, while I’m left not sure exactly what will happen, the finale should wrap all of this story up and leave us all excited for next season.
WARNING! SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT!
So this episode starts off with a pretty big twist, not in terms of the season as a whole, but as far as this single episode is concerned. We see Oliver kill Diggle with a sword. This scene actually tricked me a bit! They did a good job at making it believable and the fact that David Ramsey was there was enough to make me think that Oliver really was executing Diggle. Luckily before the title screen we see that the man wasn’t Diggle and that Oliver had been drugged for the past three weeks, making him see thing from his inner conscience. The most troubling thing here was how fast Oliver killed who he thought was possibly Diggle, and that’s really how this whole episode is. How brainwashed is Oliver and how far will he take his new role before his inner self breaks out?
While I’ve never been a big fan of Nyssa Al-Ghul personally, she did well as the main focus of this episode. They did a good job at making the audience feel bad for Nyssa and how her life has been. She was deprived of fun and happiness in her life, then when she found that in Sarah, Sarah was killed. Laurel does her best to be a good friend to Nyssa, but when Oliver comes for Nyssa the harder choices come into play. Nyssa had been a somewhat unstable character up until recently and should the team try and protect her or let Oliver take her because of what she was in the past? Nyssa ultimately accepts her fate and wants to die where Sarah died, but instead gets captured and brought before her father. While she proves her bravery in facing her death, her life being spared was a big surprise to not just us but Nyssa herself. I feel like Ra’s’ decision to force her to marry Oliver and become the wife of the demon’s head made her more afraid than she should have been facing death. Oliver didn’t seem to like the idea either, but honestly… knowing where these characters are coming from and what they are leaving behind them… is marrying someone you know has a small light inside them so bad?
Does Oliver still have that light? Well obviously the answer will be yes. We’re not watching this show to see Al Sah-Him go around telling his ninjas to kill everyone, but we did see him try his best to push down all of his emotions and his past. While kidnapping Lyla and cutting Diggle, almost killing him had Thea not shown up, and him thinking he was going to kill Nyssa was all part of his new role, the twist at the end of this episode shows us what will probably be the last straw for Al Sah-Him. While we’ve been seeing flashback Oliver trying to stop the Alpha-Omega virus from being unleashed in China, the past becomes the present as Ra’s tells Oliver that his final test before becoming the demon’s head is that he must wipe out everyone in Starling City with the same virus. There is no way Oliver will end up letting that happen. Ra’s should have brainwashed him for years before revealing that plan to him. In the flashback we finally have to watch the start of what we all knew was coming… Akio’s death. Knowing that this same virus killed Akio, I can’t imagine either Oliver or Maseo (even Tatsu if she finds out) will even attempt to allow that fate to happen to others.
I think what we’re going to see in the next episode is the inner struggle between Al Sah-Him and Oliver Queen, followed by the outer struggle between Oliver and Ra’s Al-Ghul. With two episodes left, it’s going to be a hell of a ride these next two weeks! We also got an Easter egg mention of our next season’s villain this episode, who has also been teased through the media… Damien Darhk. I had no clue who Damien Darhk was, and I’m sure neither do most of you so I’ll enlighten you a bit. In the show we learn he was Ra’s competition way back when, hoping to earn the title of Ra’s Al-Ghul himself. In the comics and pointed at in the show he is the head of an organization called H.I.V.E. In the comics he’s nothing but a super genius criminal mastermind with no powers at all, but in the show it sounds a lot like he’s going to be a smarter Ra’s Al-Ghul. That feeling of non-excitement your feeling after reading all that is the same as I have. I was hoping for another Deathstroke type villain that’s somewhat enhanced, but I wasn’t excited for this seasons Ra’s Al-Ghul, and it has turned out pretty stellar so I’ll hold off on my final judgement. In my weekly contest between The Flash and Arrow, I’d have to say The Flash easily won this week. There isn’t much Arrow can do at the end of their season to compete against The Flash vs Reverse-Flash battle, but that doesn’t mean Arrow is bad. I think Arrow has been fantastic this season despite other critics’ opinions, and I can’t wait to see how it will end!