Arrow: The Offer

Felicity: "When we thought you were dead, each one of us had to figure out why we were doing all this. Seems like it's your turn."

Well, things have certainly come to a middle.

So Oliver questions himself and his role in the city, again. Diggle asks him what the hell, man? Oliver waffles over his path and what has he done for the city since coming back, again. Felicity, like a quirky cute Yoda, tells him that she's already figured out her path, and he needs to get over it. Oliver figures out what his path is and becomes a hero, again. Everyone in the cast basically just shrugs and goes, yeah, about time.

I think this episode was the definition of wheel spinning. Everything felt a bit like going back in time. We had yet another DC Comics villain (Murmur) who was totally underwhelming and facilitated the action for the episode. We got Quentin returning to his anti-Arrow stance from season one. But mostly it was Oliver being all angsty with his decision to become the next Ra's al Ghul, which felt a lot like what he went through in season one when he was in his formative months as the Hood.

In a way Ra's was right. Oliver has lost almost everything he once had. The main problem with that prediction is that it is self fulfilling. Everything that has happened to Oliver is because of Oliver. He pushed Laurel and Felicity away. He brought about the relationship break with Quentin. He even caused Sara's death by pushing Thea away which forced her to go with Malcolm, instead of trusting her with the truth (yes, that is roundabout logic, but go with me). Still, I actually like the character stuff being explored. He isn't making great choices, but maybe he'll actually realize why things have gone bad for him by the end of the season.

As for everyone else, I'm really digging what's going on. Laurel is really starting to work as a character again, and my ambivalence towards her is starting to shift into something more positive. Thea is growing layers, and despite the fact that she's basically in the same place she's always been emotionally, at least it has brought her back to Roy and that's a step in the right direction. The reason for their breakup was forced in the first place, and it is about time for them to reconcile.

Ray and Felicity seem almost happy, but it is so clear that if Oliver changed his mind, she would drop Ray in a micro second. That's kind of sad, but probably a necessity given he's going to be in his own series next year without her. Last and probably least is Malcolm, who looked totally thrashed. I loved how there were three conversations about him while he was in the room as if he were already a ghost. Is this an attempt to make him more sympathetic? I don't know if that will ever work, but I love John Barrowman so I'm all for making him a better character.

Flashback:

I'm not sure if there is anything much to say about the flashback this week. It was a direct theme parallel with Oliver lost wandering around with Aiko trying to get away from the brutality of the past, then unexpectedly bumping into another manifestation of his past. I mean, I haven't thought about Shado since Slade was having visions of her last season, so having her just pop up out of the blue was just... random.

Bits:

Thea is wearing a lot of red lately, so it is pretty obvious that she is going to be Speedy soon. Or at least some version of Arrow's sidekick. Plus that scene alone with Malcolm confirmed that she isn't playing sympathetic, she truly is a good person who was horribly used.

Maseo all but told Oliver that he can't say no to becoming Ra's. Then we got the coda with Ra's masquerading as the Arrow and killing people again.

How is Ray going to be a superhero in a tech suit if he can't solve any of the technical problems without Felicity? She has already broken through two of his major hurdles to getting the suit to work. I know she's a genius and all, but come on.

I like the fact that Nyssa has started down a different path, and is looking for solace with someone else. Even if it is a bit awkward to choose the sister of her dead lover to find that companionship.

Quotes:

Felicity: "John might've told me about your job offer from Evil Incorporated. He also might have told me that you may be considering it, which is, by the way, insane."

Felicity: "They're the League of Assassins. That is not the name of a nice group."

Oliver: "We went up against a new crew last night. One of them had his lips sewn shut."
Felicity: "Is that a real thing?"
Oliver: "Apparently."
Felicity: "Ugh. If only I had known I had that option."

Overall, this wasn't a bad episode, but I wasn't engaged at all. Snarkiness aside, character growth and emotional exploration are always good things.

2 1/2 out of 4 Characters lost in existential crises.

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.

15 comments:

Patrick said...

It's ok for shows to take a breath sometimes, especially before heading into a really significant story arc, which they are clearly doing.

Not a big surprise that Ra's' offer wasn't so much an offer as a pronouncement. The actor they got for the part still isn't doing it for me, though. He just doesn't project the kind of power that Ra's Al Ghul should have. And seriously, why the HELL are we still pronouncing his name two different ways? When a guy pronounces HIS OWN DAMN NAME a certain way, isn't that a sign that everyone should be pronouncing it that way?!? It's ESPECIALLY irksome that Malcom says "Roz" instead of "Raish", even though he used to be one of the damn League(I think Sara used the wrong pronunciation too). Yes, I'm this annoyed by it. No, I'm not going to STOP being annoyed by it. Mostly because I think "Roz Al-Ghul" sounds really really stupid.

Laurel is indeed improving as a character, but she needs to listen to Oliver, she still needs training. I'm glad she took some initiative with her father, I hope those two can mend things.

I'm glad they have a way to keep Nyssa involved in the story, mostly because....Katrina Law. I mean, c'mon. :) But I liked seeing her reach out to Laurel, it does make sense that the two of them could help each other grieve. I'll be very curious though to see how she is with Oliver now. One the one hand, he's her father's chosen heir, which must burn. On the other, he's clearly defying the choice. If Ra's declares war on Oliver, I'd love to see her throw in with Team Arrow. Something in me says that she's not surviving past the season finale though. She has "tragic end" written all over her.

Nice to see Oliver & Felicity on better terms, and Felicity was definitely throwing out signals that if Oliver got over himself and decided he could be the Arrow and still have a love life, she'd be game.

Shado?!? Did NOT see that one coming AT ALL. Very curious to see where they go with that little twist. On a conspiratorial note, the League member that Ra's gave instruction to definitely looked like a woman. If Shado really is still alive, could that have been her?

migmit said...

I might be in a grumpy mood now, but... I'm totally disappointed with this show. I'm actually thinking about dropping it. And, probably, Flash would go along.

The problem, as I see it, is that it's not the logic that drives the show (I use this in a very broad sense), but the need to get to the next plot twist. I've heard that's what happened to LOST (which I didn't manage to watch through the second episode), but here it's definitely happening. Twists follow no clear path, they are there just to.. be there. And that's my definition of boring.

And yes, that includes Shado's reappearence. It seems that instead of advancing the story they just invent ways to mess with our heads. I think I'm gonna stop caring.

Patrick said...

migmit, I would counter by saying that so far the twists in Arrow have served a purpose by the time the storyline was concluded. Lost's problem wasn't that they kept throwing twists at the audience, it's that they didn't seem to have any idea where they were actually going with the story. Oh, they pretended to, but when it was over there was so much left hanging, the fans were pissed. Arrow has done a good job of making seemingly random events relevant eventually. This thing with Shado hasn't had a chance to actually be anything yet. If it turns out to be some throwaway thing where somebody's trying to trick Oliver, then yes I'd say it was a cheap twist. But what if it turns out to be something more?

J.D. Balthazar said...

Migmit,

I may not be thrilled with the current state of Oliver's character arc, but that's the thing. The villains sure, they most definitely plot. But most of the time the twists on this show are character driven. Sometimes the characters follow paths we don't want them to follow, and can frustrate the hell out of us. Laurel, Thea, Quentin, and now Oliver have been pushed to the point of being almost unlikable. Only to be brought back up. Each had an emotional, personality driven reason for those declines. I'm not saying it isn't partially plot driven, but it's far more than I can say for a lot of shows where character growth is like a mythical object of unexpected awesome.

I get where you coming from, and if you are feeling that ambivalent than maybe you should drop the show for a while. But, this one has consistently delivered in the final arc of the season, with only seven to go this should be when things pick up and get really good again.

Patrick, I totally agree that the pronunciation of Ra's should be consistent. I hope you're wrong about Nyssa though.

Billie Doux said...

Yeah, I just desperately don't want Oliver to even consider becoming R'as, or whatever his name is. Really, what's with that? Is it "Roz" or "Raish"? Is it a name or a title? Do I care?

I'm glad that Thea seems to be free of her father's influence -- loved the scenes with everyone talking about Malcolm as if he wasn't there. And I'm glad she's giving Roy another chance. I'm a Roy fan. I was a Roy fan when he was on Teen Wolf.

The Oliver/Felicity thing is bugging me. Come on. Ray should leave town and get his own series. Felicity and Oliver should go to Hawaii together for a week. That would make me happy.

sunbunny said...

I ship Oliver and Felicity to a truly unhealthy degree, but I really like what they did with that triangle this week, despite being anti-love triangle in general. She wasn't ashamed to admit her relationship with Ray to Oliver and she picked up when he called. I get the idea that, while she still prefers Oliver to Ray, she's giving the relationship with Ray a real shot. And I love that when Oliver tried to act all 'woe is me' about her being with Ray, she called him on it and reminded him that them not being together was his call and just because he wants to be alone and miserable for hero reasons, doesn't mean she has to join him in his misery.

Can I say I really hate that there is a Roy and a Ray? I keep getting confused.

Really happy Nyssa is sticking around. I hope she stays forever.

What Ra's (which I've always pronounced Roz fwiw) is doing reminds me of what the Snow Queen did on the first part of this season of OUAT. They each framed someone they wanted to get on their side in order to turn the townspeople against them. And I think that's the first time anyone has compared Green Arrow and Elsa.

Patrick said...

sunbunny, was your first exposure to Ra's Al-Ghul in the Nolan movies? I'm guessing the people who first learned about him through them are more used to that pronunciation, whereas I first heard the name in the 90's Batman animated series, which pronounced it "Raish". But beyond that, it's the inconsistency within the show itself which drives me up the wall. It'd be like everyone outside the Obama administration pronouncing his first name the same way you say "barrack" when talking about the military building(or if they'd said Reagan like "Ree-gun", just to be balanced). It's just....stupid.

Michal Dvorak said...

I don't see what the big deal is about the two pronunciations of Ra's al Ghul. Famous names are often pronounced differently in different parts of the world. Paris is pronounced "Pah-ris" by English speakers, but "Puh-ree" by French speakers. The capital of China is known as Beijing in some places, Peking in others. The good king Wenceslas is known as Václav ("Vaats-luv") in his native Bohemia.

I figure Ra's al Ghul is a similar case and the characters are simply sticking to their native pronunciations.

migmit said...

> Paris is pronounced "Pah-ris" by English speakers, but "Puh-ree" by French speakers

And "Pah-rizh" by us Russians. And Sandra Bullock is usually called "Bahl-lok" in Russian (due to mistranslation, sure, but oh so common).

It also works the other way around: the city of Moscow is really Moskva.

Catherine said...

Even within English Moscow can be pronounced "Moss-cow" (USA) or "Moss-coe" (UK).

And my name - Catherine - can have either 2 or 3 syllables depending on who says it.

This might be why it doesn't really bother me whether it's Roz or Raish.

Onanymous said...

I can't help but think that there must be some twist to Shado's reappearance. Otherwise, why wouldn't Oliver have mentioned it to Slade, since her death was his main motivation for attacking everybody last season? A lot of trouble could have been prevented if he knew she was still alive (in the flashback, at least)

As for names, I can also speak from personal experience that people struggle to pronounce uncommon names. My name, Ona (Oo-huh-nah), often gets mangled by Afrikaans speakers, never mind English or any of the other African languages.

I've actually started pronouncing it differently, depending on who I'm talking to - it just saves time.

Patrick said...

Yes, but his name isn't difficult to pronounce, it's "Raish", and they've HEARD it pronounced correctly by both him and his daughter. This isn't like the name of a city or someone's name in the abstract. There's a difference between reading a name on a piece of paper and having someone shake your hand and say "Hi, my name is _____". Especially when the two pronunciations used are so different, and the correct one is so simple. It's just really, REALLY irritating. It's the one thing I will always be pissed at Christopher Nolan for, introducing that stupid version of the name. :)

Deborah Gallegos said...

As much as you like Raish, I like Roz. That's the way I always understood it to be pronounced since I was first introduced to the character in the '70s Batman comic books.

Deborah Gallegos said...

Here's an interesting article. It appears both are correct on Arrow. Arabic vs. Hebrew.

http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/82897/what-is-the-correct-pronunciation-of-ras-al-ghul

Marianna said...

The offer Oliver is considering sort of reminds me of the one in this episode of Angel: http://www.douxreviews.com/2002/06/angel-home.html. It's interesting how often this show reminds me of Angel.

I interpreted everyone talking about Malcolm while he was in the room as no one really caring about his feelings, which is well-deserved and kind of funny. Honestly I would have been okay with Thea/Oliver letting the League of Assassins kill Malcolm, but then I guess I'm not as good of a person as Oliver is.