Arrow Review – “The Fallen” S3E20

It seemed like a natural progression for the show, but much of this episode was spent saying hello to Nanda Parbat and the Lazarus Pit, and goodbye to Oliver Queen as he is finally forced into a corner to accept the mantle of Ra’s al Ghul. Oliver has essentially lost Roy Harper, and his reputation in Starling City, to keep away from the League of Assassins, so it’s natural that losing Thea would be his breaking point.


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Wait, don’t die, Thea!: We all knew that Thea’s life would be leveraged with the Lazarus Pit, but once I saw her crawling for help, bloodied and dying, I started having sad thoughts. Even though I knew she would be okay, and told myself I didn’t care if she died anyway, the episode still made me feel like her life was really in the balance. That proves that the show COULD do emotion well without being an “emotional” show.

Let her go, Ray: I loved that this issue was addressed early on. Ray and Felicity have been a really fun couple to watch, especially when they appeared on The Flash in “All-Star Team Up.” However, now that Ray will be departing for his own spin-off show, it’s probably best that he isn’t weighed down by Felicity. Plus, anything other than a Felicity/Oliver pairing is just a distraction.

John Diggle (Snow): He knows nothing, or at least that’s Maseo’s impression of him. We know better, though. If there’s any constant in this show, it’s that Diggle is bound to drop some science on anybody dumb enough to say something stupid or off-kilter to him. This episode, it was Maseo, whose life choices have resulted in him strong-arming a former friend into leaving his family behind – when Oliver risked it all in order to reunite Maseo with his. That’s messed up, man.

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Matt Nable: The guy who plays Ra’s al Ghul is a man among children in this show. The presence that Ra’s has in Arrow is so smooth, and commands your attention, even when he isn’t talking. The way he shoots down Felicity’s silly threats of “going to war” with them was like Kim Possible versus Don Draper. He’s not even playing in the same ballpark anymore, kid.

Felicity and Oliver make sex: Whoo! Cable network TV sex scenes are the best. I mean, who knows if their pants were off? If Felicity says they did it, then they did it. It was sadly a goodbye bang, but it leaves us with the impression that if Ollie were to leave his life in the League of Assassins, he would be willing to make it work between he and Felicity. They share a nice TV-14 lovemaking session with plenty of back exposure. Oh yeah. And then it gets weird…

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Date rape Felicity: How awkward was it that she drugs Oliver right after sexytime with him? Now that she’s had the Arrow in her quiver, she’ll never let him go. I know it was supposed to be out of love and desperation, but it was just weird. Can you imagine how that would have gone had Oliver banged Sara and then been like, “I know you’ve got commitments to the League and shit, but you belong to me now?” Creepy.

Inconvenient travel: Why is getting to Nanda Parbat all of a sudden an issue? When Oliver and Diggle went to Nanda Parbat to rescue Merlyn, they just ran up on the place and started cappin’ fools, like it was just down the road or something. Now, to draw out this dramatic break-up between Felicity and Ray, we need some reason to use the Atom for his fancy jet. RAY PALMER DESERVES BETTER FRIENDS!

Do we need flashbacks anymore?: I understand that we need to show Amanda Waller; I know she’ll be important here sometime soon. Other than that, what are they accomplishing? Maseo told Diggle that his son dies in his arms. I don’t really need any more of an explanation than that. There are more interesting stories to be told, and the Lian Yu flashbacks worked because it WAS inherently one of those more interesting stories. Unless this somehow goes into an Outsiders tale with Tatsu, I’d rather get more details on A.R.G.U.S.; we’re gonna need some background for the movie.

Amateur Hour: Call me cynical, but there were a lot of terrible moments that made me jeer at the TV screen this week. For one, take Thea’s animalistic jump out of the Lazarus pit. This isn’t Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (is that reference still relevant?); that’s not how this show works, or has ever worked. Then there’s Felicity’s outburst to Ra’s. It’s such an outlandish reaction that Ra’s just looks at her, dumb-founded, and continues to figuratively talk her down like a granddad who has you sit on his knee while he explains how the real world works.

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Easter Eggs:

Restoring the dead: When Merlyn tells Team Arrow about the Pit’s mystic ability to restore the dead to life, two things jump out at me. One, this has to be how they will revive Sara for the spin-off. Or perhaps Nyssa already has? Either way, it’s a nice loophole for storytelling to just bring characters back to life – one that just doesn’t fly in comic books. Two, the only character I can remember being brought back from the dead by the Pit in the books is Jason Todd, the second Robin and current Red Hood. Either Sara will be an homage to this process – certainly not the first time Arrow “borrowed” Batman lore – or Roy Harper will be making some new friends off-screen in Gotham (Red Hood and Arsenal team-up in the New52 continuity).

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An actual Easter Egg for once: OMG, talk about subtlety. For the first time in nearly a decade, Ra’s al Ghul’s son is mentioned in passing. Dusan al Ghul, Ra’s’ son was rejected by the Demond Head early on because he was born an albino. In this story, though, he is part of the family (which included a sister… Talia perhaps??) that Ra’s left behind to join The League. Appropriately named, Dusan means “soul” or “spirit” in Turkish, which is essentially what Ra’s left behind to become the Demon Head.

Al Sah-Him: It’s what Ra’s refers to Oliver as multiple times in the episode, and it means “partner” in Arabic. Trust me, I’m Egyptian. And I have Google Translate. [Update: Al-Sah-Him actually means “arrow.” Thanks for the correction, harj]


The Maseo loophole: The legend of Ra’s is that whomever survives the sword of Ra’s will become Ra’s… or whatever, I paraphrased that. Point being, Oliver only survived the sword of Ra’s because of outside help. This could mean that the wedding is off. It could mean that Maseo will be murdered, and Tatsu will become Katana. It could be an awesome way to end the season without having to rely on Barry to turn back time.

Barry could turn back time: We’re hoping that the creative teams at CW didn’t waste their one magic trick by turning back time in “Out of Time.” Now we all know that, just like that, the Flash can erase whatever bad things are happening without consequence. However, any time it happens going forward will just be a cop out, so it’ll be CW’s move to convince us they can write a better story than just pretending like it never happened.

Hush Comics gives “The Fallen” a C+ for a predictable story with bad acting and fruitless flashbacks. However, it still shows us that it could be the great show it used to be with amazing performances by David Ramsey (Diggle) and Matt Nable (Ra’s). Also, Laurel was barely in it.

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment and are credited to Cate Cameron.