Arrow Review: Al Sah-Him

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arrow-al-sah-him-diggle-laurel-nyssaI’m going to continue a theme I started in my review for The Flash and talk about how this episode of Arrow really focuses on the the new freedom given to female characters on this show. I’ve seen people complain about how the women in these shows have been kept in the dark but I think it’s all been done on purpose. I’ve talked about it for 2 seasons now but I think Laurel’s had an amazing character arc. Thea’s also come a long way as well.  And just like Iris on The Flash, the need of the men to “protect them” by keeping them in the dark has done more damage to the men and their relationships than the women. I believe all of that has been on purpose. These women have been in more dangerous situations when they were kept in the dark then when they’ve been brought in and allowed to confront the situation head on.  In a way the male characters on this show have had to go through the same transition that many male viewers have to go through. From viewing women as frail creatures that need protecting to being just as capable of handling their own and protecting themselves. By the end of this season the women on this show (Felicity, Thea & Laurel) will have completed arcs that prove what Oliver should have known up front: These are partners not liabilities.  That’s why I’ve enjoyed this show. I’ve watched Oliver be wrong and underestimate Laurel, Thea and Felicity for 3 seasons and I truly believe it will e those three that end up saving him from himself

arrow-al-sah-him-theaI love what Thea has become. She was just the annoying little sister with a drug habit in season one. In season 2, she grew up. Remember, she took over the club and was running it. You could make an argument that she was a better business owner than Oliver’s been. If you really look at it and break it down, Thea rose to the occasion after all the men in her life either abandoned her or lied to her. She’s had a bunch of people telling her ‘No’ and that she needs to be protected. Its ironic that Felicity would basically tell Thea as much when her and Diggle spent so much time telling Oliver he needs to be more open to accepting help. And Thea being Thea decided that she wasn't going to let others dictate her fate. She put on a hood, grabbed a bow and shot her brother right through his arm. I love that she stepped up. It’s going to be interesting see what she does now that she knows Roy is still alive. I like how Felicity had a legit excuse for not telling her. Its not like they were trying to keep that information from her its just that…there was a lot going on at the time and that probably wasn’t the most important thing.

Al Sah-HimI love Nyssa and Laurel together because they really do complement each other. When we first realized that Nyssa would train Laurel, it did seem like a one-sided arrangement. Laurel would finally get the training she so desperately needs. But it didnt’ cross my mind that this would be a chance at happiness and freedom for Nyssa. IT was nice seeing her out of her element. Kinda like when Bruce took Selina to the Wayne Enterprise ball in Gotham. I also liked seeing Nyssa call out Laurel for keeping a secret from her as well. Again, the theme here being that keeping a secret to protect someone usually cause more harm than good.  I saw some tweets wondering why Laurel would pick to side with Nyssa over Diggle and I think that’s pretty obvious. Laurel’s still treated kinda like an outsider when it comes to Team Arrow. She didn’t go to Nanda Parbat with them. When she first started patrolling as Black Canary, Diggle was telling her she shouldn’t be out there. She’s never really bonded with Diggle. She’s developed more of a relationship with Felicity. She’s really bonded with Nyssa though. First Nyssa told her she didn’t deserve to wear Sara’s jacket but came around when she saw Laurel’s determination. Now they’ve formed a friendship over not only Sara but their issues with their fathers. It makes total sense that she would pick Nyssa over Diggle. Also....we got to see Laurel use her Canary Cry for the first time. Apparently unlike Sara's devices, Cisco upgraded the Canary Cry to amplify Laurel's own voice so when she uses it, it actually looks like she's screaming.  Man...I love it.

arrow-al-sah-him-oliver-diggleAll this writing and I’m just now getting to Oliver…or should I say Al Sah-Him.  I’ll be honest, it never really occurred to me that Ra’s Al Ghul would brain wash and break Oliver further. That’s really on me. It’s makes sense and it is a pretty obvious thing to have to do. Oliver’s survived and been through so much, breaking him is clearly something that had to be done. I was waiting the whole episode to see him show any signs of combating the programing but he didn’t. He really didn’t hesitate to kill the man he thought was Diggle and then he went straight for Lyla cause he knew that was the weak point to get Nyssa. The only time Oliver…Al Sah-Him…seemed to snap back was when Ra’s said he would have to marry Nyssa. Between that and Ra’s telling him it’s time to destroy Starling City (finally tying in the flashbacks and how the virus relates to the present), Oliver will snap out of it. I think Oliver made peace with leading the League because he really thought he could just leave his past behind him. But it’s not that simple. He has to erase his past and that means killing all those he left behind which defeats the purpose. He wanted his friends and family and even Starling City to move on without him but the truth is, they all need him. It’s been the theme they’ve been hinting at all season. Oliver’s been struggling with his duel identity and he’s been running from embracing it. I don’t think it’s an accident that the season finale is called “My Name is Oliver Queen.”  Oliver’s going to address the fact that he’s not only the Arrow but he’s also Oliver Queen as well.

This has been a character building season and I really like how it’s all coming together. When the team finally gets back together it’s going to be interesting seeing the new dynamic because things won’t be able to go back to normal. I really love that the women characters have been beefed up this season and it makes their characters far more interesting.

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