Details on the League of Assassins
Matt Nable's first impression of Ra's al Ghul
Malcolm's return to Starling
Plot fails to deliver
The hunt for Sara’s killer is still on, as a few familiar faces return to Starling City.
Staring City has been a place of increased piece since the Arrow has heavily put a dent in the crime wave, but not everything can be made such public news. Everyone seems to be aware that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) is still alive, except Oliver (Stephen Amell), the one who all thought to have killed him. He found out the truth once Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), then eventually Malcolm himself, appear in Starling. This episode took us much deeper into the dark and ancient world of the League of Assassins, but didn’t utilize enough of the show’s best elements to create something more fruitful. It’s actually a surprise that Malcolm returned home so soon after Oliver and Team Arrow were in Corto Maltese, and although they avoided a confrontation, it’s a bit too early for someone who’s under a bounty from the legendary Ra’s al Ghul to make themselves appear in public, even for someone with Malcolm’s abilities. This also leaves another question: How does nobody recognize Merlyn’s face in such a public area? His face must’ve been recognizable by a few people at least. Then there’s Thea (Willah Holland), who has contradicted herself with the entire “no secrets” idea, keeping many of them, and a few big ones, from Ollie who’s still been doing the same thing. So what’s everyone up to? Let’s discuss Starling’s new secrets and find out.
Starling City’s slowly entering a new era, and Oliver is only just beginning to realize the magnitude of danger included
Once Oliver discovers the truth, Malcolm contacts him to meet in a public place. A lot of the episodes overall tension revolved around this scene, and in particular, these two characters, but it was one that created for some quality entertainment. Oliver’s vow to not kill was heavily tested in this episode, by merely seeing Malcolm’s face. His frustration elevated as Malcolm revealed he did not kill Sara (Caity Lotz), and was very convincing even for Oliver, who believes him. Malcolm said it himself, why would he want to rattle the cages of a man who put a blood bounty on his head, by killing the one who had his daughter’s heart? Nyssa could have a lot more screen time in the weeks to come as she’s is constant conflict with the possibility her father could be responsible for Sara’s death, and Malcolm simply existing. John Barrowman has lived up to all standards so far in Season 3, and will only continue to win fans over with his twisted, yet deep love and will to protect Thea. There was a cool fight sequence amongst the two and Nyssa which was quite the showdown of three archers with hand t hand combat abilities, especially in a tight warehouse spot. This put Oliver in an awkward position where he found himself defending Malcolm (yes, that’s correct) from Nyssa, and even stood up to her, claiming his control over HIS city, although he’s well aware he will attract the eyes of the demon himself; Ra’s al Ghul.
Speaking of the devil (pun somewhat intended) “The Magician” gave viewers their first look at Ra’s al Ghul, who had just taken a bath, constantly cleansing himself as fans know him to do. We aren’t sure if this is supposed to give hints of the Lazarus Pits, which in many comics are little ponds that bring the dead back to life with the submergence of their body. It is widely known that Ra’s al Ghul has lived for hundreds of years by way of the pits, making him a very knowledgeable and powerful foe, hence why we always call him legendary. He’s tampered with mystical powers some only dream of, and he will define what it means to be “the big bad” in the Arrow universe. Matt Nable’s initial appearance as Ra’s suits the character well. His voice and accent, along with his robes, intriguing jewelry and even the sword give him the dark vibe of a true villain. The executive producers stated he would be much more comic-like than Liam Neeson’s version in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and they kept their word. A point to be made is about his physical stature; he isn’t very tall and looks a bit more scruffy for someone of his status, but he has a wicked voice in which he makes the most serious and deadly threat of the entire series, and throughout the season we will truly learn how well Nable can play the character but nonetheless, welcome to Arrow, Matt!
Ra’s: “What of Queen?”
Nyssa: “He has sworn to protect Merlyn at any cost.”
Ra’s: “If that is true, then Oliver Queen courts war with us.”
Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was not at all happy about Nyssa’s return to Starling, until she learned the depth of her relationship with Sara. Nyssa feels her father Captain Launce (Paul Blackthorne) deserves to know the truth, but as she’s becoming strong Laurel stands up and tells her straight up that he can’t know yet because of his heart condition. It’s a curious relationship with little developments, but it could open an entirely new arc between the two throughout the season. Perhaps Nyssa will give her the training that leads her to become the Black Canary? Only time will tell.
Surprisingly, Thea didn’t have much to do in her return to Starling besides having investors who will help her buy back the bar Oliver originally opened. She did, however, keep in constant contact with Malcolm and continue to lie to Oliver about his existence. We’re hoping she tells him soon rather than he find out on his own, which is something her brother won’t take well at all.
Oliver’s time in Hong Kong is becoming more vivid, revealing more of his transition and development to he man he is today
Last week we were given a break from Oliver’s flashbacks in Hong Kong in lieu of an episode revolving around Thea and her own flashbacks. In “The Magician” Oliver was once again conflicted with one of Amanda Waller’s targets, but this time chose to kill them since he couldn’t use the excuse that it was his best friend again. Oliver’s relationship with the Yamashiro family, who’s care he is under, has grown a lot. He’s formed a small attachment and rather than use their laptop to send for help or escape, but instead helps them in hopes of making their situation better.
In these flashbacks Oliver also summoned Amanda Waller, to her disapproval. He stood up to her, and while yelling at her and arguing he learns more about Edward Fyers and what was really behind the conflicts of Season 1. She had actually been keeping an eye on Ollie via satellite this whole time, letting him starve and find his own way to see if he was capable of the missions she had planned for him. He prevented a plan to shoot down a plane going past the island, only to discover through Amanda that China White had been on that plane. This was a pleasant but random addition to the episode as it took us back to some of Season 1’s mysteries. Hopefully the detail in the flashbacks continue and viewers get to see more of the scenarios that made Oliver such a strong person today.
“The Magician” is the weakest episode in Season 3 in terms of plot development. It definitely set the stage for the future with the appearance of Ra’s al Ghul at the end, which really set the tone for the season, but with Malcolm and Nyssa returning it was more bland that expected. This is just the episode, and what it means for the show overall is much greater. With Malcolm Merlyn back in starling and Oliver now at the top of the League’s priority list along with him, the young season can begin major plot and character development moving forward. Since it’s very early in the season, there’ a lot more than Ra’s al Ghul to come, and definitely a lot more of his darkness and secrets to follow. Stay tuned throughout the season and prepare for Oliver’s greatest challenge yet!
Questions, Comments & Concerns
- Was it actually Ra’s that killed Sara, or could it be someone new entirely?
- Thea and Oliver really need to be more open with each other
- Does Malcolm have another motive in Starling besides Thea?
- I wonder how Ra’s will make it known to Oliver that he’s begun a war, and if Oliver with all his bravery knows the true extent of his actions..
- Will Oliver need the help of others outside Team Arrow when this war begins?
Arrow (3×04) Review – “The Magician”