UK VOD TV recap: Arrow Season 3, Episode 20 (The Fallen)
Stephen Amell's acting9
Gratuitous sexy times5
Matthew Turner | On 25, Apr 2015Reading time: 7 mins
So… that happened. We’re not at all sure what to make of this episode. On the one hand, it had some of the best moments of the season and on the other hand, it had some of the stupidest moments of the season. That said, it benefited from being a straightforward, single plot and it’s definitely left us intrigued to see where they’re going for the final three episodes of Season 3.
As was widely predicted last week, Thea isn’t quite actually dead – a distraught Oliver (props to Steven Amell for his acting this week) finds his bloodied sister trying to crawl towards a phone (that was actually pretty disturbing, thanks to Willa Holland’s impressive ‘almost dead’ acting) and rushes her to hospital, only to be told that there’s nothing they can do to save her and she’ll be dead soon.
With that, Oliver realises Ra’s al Ghul has won, and that the only way to save Thea is to take her to Nanda Parbat, accept Ra’s’ offer to become the next Demon Head and chuck his sister in the Lazarus Pit. Yes, someone (Malcolm) finally says Lazarus Pit this week – we may have punched the air at that point.
And that’s more or less what happens. Rather than try and talk him out of it, Team Arrow (Diggle and Felicity) and Malcolm accompany Oliver to Ra’s’ fortress, the deal is made, there’s a sort of Temple of Doom-style ceremony and a snarling Thea leaps out of the Lazarus Pit. Job done.
Except it’s not quite as simple as that, largely thanks to the presence of Felicity. After breaking up with Ray while borrowing his jet (she can certainly pick her moments), Felicity comes to Oliver’s room after Thea has been brought back to life and… well, declares her love and sleeps with him (like we said, she can certainly pick her moments), in what seems like a gratuitously long sex scene that no doubt went down a treat with the legions of “Ollicity” shippers. (We don’t need to explain “shippers”, right? That’s what Urban Dictionary is for).
Regardless of whether or not you are rooting for Oliver and Felicity to get together – personally, we think Oliver is better alone, while Felicity and Ray seem like a great match – it does seem somewhat inappropriate at this juncture, despite the big grins plastered all over Felicity and Oliver’s faces afterwards. Basically, you know the whole Ollicity thing is getting out of control when even Ra’s al Ghul is urging them to get together (because it might be the last time they’ll ever see each other).
That said, Felicity had some great moments this week. We especially loved her barking orders at Malcolm (and Malcolm obeying them), and while the scene of her marching up to Ra’s al Ghul and ticking him off doesn’t quite convince – a difficult balance of comedy and bravery – it is still a lot of fun and Emily Bett Rickards acts the hell out of it.
You also have to admire Felicity’s sheer chutzpah. She knows she can’t talk Oliver out of becoming the next Ra’s al Ghul, so instead she drugs him (after first sleeping with him) and tries to smuggle him out of Ra’s fortress. (As a sign of the scriptwriters not quite coming up to the mark this week, someone says “This place is like a fortress!” at one point. Um, that’s because it is a fortress.) Thanks to Maseo re-discovering his humanity (after a talking to from Diggle, in another excellent scene), they almost make it, but they get cornered by assassins, at which point Oliver wakes up and says thanks for trying, but he won’t be leaving after all.
This week is actually awash with moments that are kind of great, but also kind of stupid. Maseo killing three assassins to help Oliver and company escape essentially means that he breaks the Assassin’s Code or something, which Ra’s tells him is punishable by death. Maseo is fully aware of this and calmly offers Ra’s his life, at which point Ra’s says his sacrifice shows honour and he won’t kill Sarab (his ninja name) for Maseo’s mistakes. We wish the script had given us just the tiniest hint of Maseo actually playing Ra’s and knowing what he was doing with that speech, but either way, we’re glad he’s still around.
As for Maseo’s bonding moment with Diggle, that has the added bonus of finally giving us confirmation that Maseo’s son, Akio, does indeed die and that’s what sends him into the arms of the League. At least, that’s what it sounds like, although the way they worded it, there could be a little wiggle room.
There’s another example of the writers seemingly being a little off their game in the inconsistency surrounding Thea’s resurrection. At first, despite being just as upset as Oliver about her death, Malcolm actually warns Oliver against using the Lazarus Pit, saying that it changes your soul and you don’t come out the same way you went in. (Is he speaking from personal experience, perhaps?) Sure enough, when Thea first comes out, she’s like a wild animal, but after that she’s just a bit dopey (more inconsistencies – she seems to be stuck in the past, believing Oliver is dead and Moira is still alive…and yet she calls Malcolm “Dad”). Then, once back in Starling City, she seems to be back to her old self. Make your minds up, scriptwriters! Either way, if there are any Lazarus Pit repercussions to come, Thea-wise, it’s a safe bet that they’re saving them for next season.
There are a couple of other things we quickly want to mention about Team Arrow’s time in Nanda Parbat this week. Firstly, we laughed out loud at the great throwaway comedy moment of Malcolm pulling a dopey Thea into the tunnels as they were escaping. It was a beautiful piece of physical comedy from Willa Holland and if there isn’t already a GIF of it on the Internets somewhere then someone isn’t doing their job properly.
Secondly, the show quietly introduced a new character this week, in the shape of The Priestess, played by Francoise Yip, who performed the Lazarus Pit ceremony. She wasn’t given much to do outside of that, but we have high hopes for her in the upcoming episodes.
And thirdly, props once again to Stephen Amell’s acting for the episode. He played the acceptance of his fate with just a hint that he was maybe glad of a bit of focus and direction for once – and his command of the assassins during the escape would seem to back that up. He certainly looked pretty comfortable in his League of Assassins get-up when it came to the cliff-hanger. He also nailed his farewell speech to Diggle, calling him the best man he’s ever known and referring to him as his brother. Diggle was probably wondering why he couldn’t have pulled that stuff out for his wedding.
We only saw a tiny glimpse of Laurel this week, when Felicity went to cry on her shoulder after they returned to Starling City without Oliver. Apparently, they cut a farewell scene between Oliver and Laurel for time reasons. Hopefully that will show up online somewhere at some point.
There was no room for Detective Captain Lance this week at all, but as he had a decent guest spot on The Flash, he probably didn’t mind too much.
Meanwhile, in Flashback City, we actually got a decent action sequence for once, with Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu attacking a truck that they think is carrying a deadly virus. That ended badly, with a vial of the virus cracking and hissing on the ground, which reminded us of 24, but since Oliver was right next to it at the time, it presumably turned out to be not quite that deadly after all. We also got another glimpse of Marc Singer as General Shrieve, though it was literally just a glimpse and barely justified Singer’s on-screen credit at the beginning. Maybe they cut some of his scenes for time too.
All in all, The Fallen was a fun, dramatic episode, despite tonal inconsistencies. Here’s hoping that next week we get to find out what being the head of the League of Assassins actually entails. Is there a dental plan? Tune in next week, etc.
Season 1, 2 and 3 of Arrow are available on Amazon Prime, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription – or, for free next day UK delivery on Amazon items, as part of a £79 annual Prime membership.
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Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.