The end of the third season of Arrow is finally upon us, and CW is really pulling out all the stops. Oliver is preparing to become Son of the Demon, all the while keeping a genocide from hitting his city. The theme of the episode is best-described as defining identities. Many of the characters were faced with tough decisions that would define them as characters. There was also a shotgun wedding where the bride tried to stab the groom. In other words, “This is Your Sword” was an action-packed and insightful watch, much more true to the show we know and love.
So the flashbacks DO have a purpose: After nearly half a season of seemingly meaningless flashbacks, there is finally some depth and mystery behind what the heck happened after Akio died. General Shrieve is an evil S.O.B. and his conflict with Amanda Waller should make for some good story-telling going forward. Also, how the heck did Maseo end up with the bio-weapon, and finally, his acceptance to the League?
Laurel’s stock continues to rise: If you’d have told me two seasons ago that Laurel would be a more likable character than Felicity, I would have thought you were crazy. However, Laurel was awesome in this episode. She kicked butt, frankly. Her fighting skills were awesome, and she reacted to the situation in ways that make sense.
Tatsu-Maseo showdown: Finally! The Katana-Sarab fight we’ve all been waiting for. Oh man, the pain, the struggle… The entire episode could have been centered around these two and I would have been happy, but the bit we did see was a major highlight for me. I was a bit disappointed when Maseo took his Scorpion mask off to fight. In my head, Tatsu said, in a sexy voice, “no, keep it on.”
Roy’s cameo: Imagine my surprise when Roy’s appearance actually added value to the show! I was convinced this would be an excuse for Thea for pine over Roy’s absence. However, it ended up being a refreshing talk with Thea, pretty much saying, “Hey girl, respect yourself.” I didn’t find it gratuitous or cheesy, and it helped address the broken record that Thea has become these past few episodes. He also gives her back the Red Arrow suit, which is awesome! It’s so awesome that I’m not even going to address the fact that Roy and Thea wear the same size.
Merlyn: Seriously, why is this guy not in this show more? He was such a badass in “This is Your Sword.” He’s the only one not constantly whining about the current situation, and the only one with a plan. Plus, he can fight as well as, or better than, Oliver. He took out a whole mess of the League with like 5 arrows! Plus, he hurls insults with swiftness and accuracy. What about that “None of you in particular are good actors” line? Was that supposed to be meta?
Yeah, let’s not destroy Starling: We knew that once Ra’s told Oliver he would be unleashing the Alpha & the Omega on Starling, that his working contract with the League of Assassins was void. It was kinda nice to find out that the whole thing was a charade (or sha-rod, as Merlyn puts it), but nothing ever goes according to Oliver’s plans. When the League captures them all, Oliver is kind of left holding his junk in his hand. But there’s gotta be a back-up plan, right?
Ray’s character growth: Remember how much you hated this prick for taking over Queen Industries and stealing Felicity from Oliver? He has grown into the perfect Atom, and is still there for Felicity even though she broke his heart (and has a scary-sized obsession with Oliver at this point). I can’t wait for him to break off into the spin-off, because he’s going to be great.
Felicity: Is it even worth explaining anymore? She’s not about this life. Constantly complaining, never leading, and turning this whole thing about Oliver into HER loss. She did manage to fling a tablet computer into some dude’s neck; that was cool. I found myself not being very concerned if she were to have died this episode, and that makes me sad.
Canary Cry: While Cisco’s tech has made the Canary Cry a legitimate weapon, the lack of visual effects to accompany it look kinda weird. Then again, visual effects might make it look dumb, too. I’ve only really seen the Cry in comic books and animated shows, so it might not translate to live-action. It’s worth a try, though.
A.T.O.M. effects: I don’t know if it was the fact that it was daytime or lack of trying, but the CGI effects that went into his fight with the plane were awful. There’s a good chance that once we’re supposed to care about The Atom more as a character, there will be better effects, but it just was not working this time around.
Free Passes: Seriously, how many free passes are these guys gonna get? They’ve trespassed and interfered with League activity half a dozen times now, and for a guy that murders people at the slightest misstep, Ra’s has sure let it slide with these guys one too many times. It’s not that I want them murdered, by any means, but the more mulligans Team Arrow gets to try and foil his plans, the less exciting their eventual triumph will be.
Merlyn the Magician: During his time in the League, his name was Al Sah-Her, The Magician. He showed why in the scene where he and Oliver are sitting around the fire, and then Alakazam, he’s gone. I hope we can get a better look at his
Katana: Tatsu Yamashiro is fitting her mantle of Katana almost to a tee on Arrow. First, let’s talk about how sweet that costume looks on TV. The New52-style outfit with the rising sun is awesome! They also make some reference to her… katana… named Soultaker. In the comic books, Maseo’s brother, Takeo, was the one to slay Maseo with the sword. Tatsu believed that Soultaker’s mystic abilities allowed her to talk with her dead husband through the sword, so look for some Michonne-like (Walking Dead) moments with Katana if she continues to be a part of the show.
Ferris Air: There it is, blasted in our faces again. The company that employs the most recognizable Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, was mentioned again. There hasn’t been any official mention of Jordan, or Carol Ferris, but we’d be gosh darned if there wasn’t eventually going to be the inclusion of Green Lantern in this CW universe.
Red Hood: When Roy runs away, he goes by the pseudonym Jason. This is likely a reference to Jason Todd, the Red Hood – a formerly-resurrected Robin that spends a lot of time with Roy Harper in the comic books. They will actually be sharing the spotlight in the upcoming Red Hood/Arsenal book out in June.
What a cliff-hanger: There’s no way Ra’s just unleashed a bit of the bio-weapon into their cells, right? Oliver wouldn’t just leave his team to die in a cage while he was off to the shotgun wedding… would he? The promo for the season finale showed the crew fine and well, so there isn’t too much mystery here, but it was believable enough of a scene to make you question what’s happening.
Transfer of ownership: If I was reading that situation right, then Ray Palmer is relinquishing control of the company to….somebody? The easy answer is Felicity, but there’s a chance that the VP needed to sign off on it either way. I’m intrigued to see what happens while Ray is out galavanting. It would be cool to see Felicity in a role of power. It might make her likable again.
Hush Comics gives “This is Your Sword” a A- for turning things up a notch, keeping us guessing and really buffing up the characters who needed the most attention.
All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment and are credited to Dean Buscher and Cate Cameron.