Arrow: Nanda Parbat

Malcolm: "You've spent years preparing to bring a bow and arrow to a sword fight."

When Nanda Parbat was first mentioned in Season One, I spent the entire review trying to remember how to spell it. Two seasons later, well, I'm still having issues getting it right the first time.

I had some trouble figuring out what to say about this episode. It was a good episode, with a lot of fun moments and character beats. But the thing that really stands out to me is what they have done with Oliver, and the more I think about it, the more I'm feeling conflicted.

I don't like Oliver that much anymore. Which is a shame, because for a while there he was my second favorite (Felicity will always be at the top of my list). What they have done with him is both logical, and works within his character's personality. It's just not satisfying on an emotional level. The hero shouldn't be all doom and gloom. He shouldn't be actively sabotaging his own happiness. Or at least that's what I want from my heroes.

I think the reason why Superman has endured for over three quarters of a century isn't because of his personality, or even the powers he has. I believe it has to do with his conflicted relationship with Lois. A similar explanation can be made for Batman, but on the other side of the spectrum. His story works because he's a lone hero, but to make up for the lack of traditional romantic relationships, he has arguably the best gallery of villains in comic books. His almost personal relationships with those villains makes up for that lack of romance.

On Arrow, there isn't a spectacular gallery of villains, and Oliver certainly doesn't have a quasi-personal relationship with any of them. So that leaves his personal life as a focus, or in this case the lack of a personal life. Even with all the people in his life, he is basically alone. So he is throwing everything he has into protecting the one relationship he can't push away, the one he has with his sister.

Of course that is by necessity. He spent the first two years back in Starling pushing Thea away. It is only now that she knows the truth that he's actively trying to be a part of her life again. In other words, there are some major issues going on inside his head, and he isn't even close to resolving them. And now he has just been offered something massive.

That cliffhanger wasn't so much surprising as it was impressive. That the show would go there was a good choice. I know I've just spent five paragraphs ragging on Oliver, but the character needs this push. He needs to see the path before him, both as the new Ra's Al Ghul and as the Arrow. If he rejects the title and job, what will he do with himself?

There will always be another monster for him to fight, but that isn't a life. Will this choice make him realize that no mission is worth pushing everyone away for? Because at this point, he's lost Laurel as a lover and probably as a friend. His relationships with Diggle and Roy are feeling strained. Thea is basically committing suicide by Nyssa. And Felicity has thrown her hat and love into the ring with another hero.

I guess that's the reason why Oliver has been feeling so one dimensional to me as of late. Is his decision to push forward alone the entire point? Have the writers been pushing him into a corner emotionally because eventually he'll lash out and try to reclaim something real in his life? Is that why they literally threw him off a cliff? All I know is that he needs to have a revelation about his path, because he doesn't even see that he is on the wrong one.


When Diggle and Lyla were having their conversation against that window, I half expected a sniper to take Lyla out. I keep getting bad vibes from their relationship. I really hope I'm wrong, though.

With two years still on the table before Oliver finally goes back home, of course his release would go south. After all that gunfire, we have Tatsu and Maseo together, and Oliver trying to protect their son. I bet nothing good will come from the next few flashback scenes.

Laurel fighting Malcolm was interesting, I wonder what he would've done if Nyssa hadn't shown up?

There was just an announcement that there will be a new spin-off coming next season. Tentatively, the leads will be Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), and Caity Lotz (who will presumably play Sara, but there was no character confirmation). There will also be three new characters, all major DC characters, joining the show as well. No further details were mentioned, which brings up several questions which I won't ask here.


Malcolm: "John."
Diggle: "My friends call me Dig, you shouldn't even speak to me."

Laurel: "Taking prisoners now. Isn't that crossing a line?"
Felicity: "Actually, Oliver has a prison on Lian Yu. (pause) Maybe I shouldn't have told you that."

Oliver: "I couldn't live knowing that a, there was someone out there who beat me."
Diggle: "Yeah, that makes sense."
Oliver: "No, that's egotistical and insane."
Diggle: "So is putting on a mask and jumping off rooftops, Oliver."

As much as this episode made me realized the problems with the main character, there was still a lot to like.

3 out of 4 Relationships in jeopardy

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Josie Kafka said...

I haven't loved Oliver's recent arc either, JD. This week he spent an awful lot of time yelling "No! You have emotions! And therefore can't plan things!" at the women in his life while he tried to plan things despite being emotional (in his stoic way). But I think the show is aware that he's being a bit of a jerk, and I hope you're right that he'll look at the two paths before him and choose wisely.

When Diggle and Lyla were having their conversation against that window, I half expected a sniper to take Lyla out.

Yeah, me too.

Marianna said...

When Ra's made his proposal at the end, I thought "There Arrow goes again trying to be Batman."