As we spiral deeper into an emotional state of Theadom, Arrow‘s dreary tone is getting more and more grating to the viewers. We’re venturing into the realm of C-Dub overload, as drawn out speeches of inner turmoil are starting to drown out the undeniably incredible story unfolding. It’s a shame because the whole story, as adaptive as it has been from Batman lore, is just as engaging as any of the past material. At the same time, I can’t be too critical of the show that has bred this new generation of superhero TV hype, but there’s an overwhelming feeling that the show has become diluted with the recent explosion of content at CW.
Ra’s the roof!: Let’s not pretend that Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins aren’t the best villains on this show thus far. He is shrouded in mystery, and has the force necessary to make life very difficult for Star City. As a villain, he’s less emotional than Slade, but there is a certain amount of maturity that Matt Nable brings to the role that makes him twice as frightening as Deathstroke was. He’s also a villain that has seamlessly transitioned from a Bruce Wayne bad guy to a Oliver Queen bad guy. Nanda Parbat and the League of Assassins have always been held in high regards, so to see them more intimately explored on one of the best TV series out has been gratifying.
The complexity of justice and honor: I’m fascinated by the amount of talk dealing with honor and justice in this show. It’s completely subjective between Captain Lance, Oliver Queen and Ra’s al Ghul. Each character has honor, but the way they go about obtaining justice is unique and conflicting from one another. Nobody disagrees that Malcolm Merlyn is a bad man, but all three would seek to go about serving him justice in different ways. I almost enjoy this better than if it were Batman that Ra’s were dealing with because Oliver’s moral code is a bit different than Bruce Wayne’s, making the decision to take the Demon Head’s mantle a more difficult decision than when it was offered to Batman.
Maybe being Ra’s isn’t all that bad: With all that Oliver has to deal with – defiant and incompetent (*cough cough* Laurel) teammates, the sad truth that there will never be fruits for their labors, the loss of trust from Quentin Lance, and the conflict of being both Oliver Queen and the Arrow – it’s not hard to imagine that sitting atop Nanda Parbat would be too much more difficult. Ollie even falls into a more stern leadership role throughout the episode, tired of getting second-guessed and mocked for decisions that put all the heavy lifting on him anyway. I guess we all have those days at work.
More strong, sexy women: I don’t think I could roll my eyes at the way the women have essentially been reduced to emotional lightning rods in Arrow. While it’s great that Thea can kick ass and that Laurel is a stubbornly independent as her sister, there’s not a whole lot of strength in whining all the time. Felicity is finally done being mad at Oliver, which is relieving, but the show will greatly benefit by the inclusion of Shado and Nyssa round out the incessant gushing.
Is this really a Batman show in disguise?: One of the most alluring elements of the show is how closely Arrow is following classic Batman lore. However, it’s almost gotten to the point where the show isn’t using much creative juice anymore, and just riding on the coattails of the Dark Knight. Whether it’s Oliver’s inner-turmoil between his split personalities, or the thought of leaving a legacy behind as a symbol, there might be too much similarity between the two. If imitation is flattery, then this is the TV equivalent of John Cusack with a boom box.
Lazy writing: There’s too much convenience going on here. How do we get Laurel to deal with her issues with her father? Let’s get the girl with the mother of all daddy issues to have coffee with her, maybe teach her some assassiny things. Poof, now Laurel will be as good as Sara, no training montage necessary. Thea is alone and sad, with nobody to turn to? Poof, let her throw down with Roy in the bedroom. That will solve all her problems. It’s just weak and predictable writing that I would have hoped CW could focus on story-telling over gawking about emotions, but maybe that’s not the main demographic the show is aiming towards anymore.
Not enough Roy in my life: Roy and Diggle, who have been unwavering voices of reason, are completely underserved in this show. They are battle-hardened and also have the best dialogue out of any of Ollie’s other cohorts. I would love to see more action montages, more diving into Roy’s background, more Diggle A.R.G.U.S. exploration. The show needs to lean more on these two characters if they’re going to continue to show the supporting female characters as the emotional wrecks they are.
Lackluster flashbacks: Aside from the gasp-worthy reveal at the end of the last cutscene, but for the most part, the flashback scenes all seemed misplaced in the episode, even feeling unnecessary altogether. I love this show’s flashbacks, but there’s no need to include them just for the sake of including them. The Shado reveal (if it was really her…) could have been better served if it were used to more of a point than just a quick peek behind the figurative curtain. The key to these is being patient and analyzing each segment, but there wasn’t a whole lot to gather from the flashbacks in this episode.
The Lazarus Pit. For Real.: We finally get a good, hard look at the Lazarus Pit. I wish I had a Lazarus Pit. Well, we’ve talked about the reviving powers from the pit, but actually seeing them at work is pretty cool stuff.
Murmur: Definitely a D list “villain of the week” here, Michael Christian Amar is also known as Murmur. He was a Flash villain who cut out his tongue and sewed his mouth shut. He was sentenced to die by lethal injection, but his abnormal blood properties prevented the injection from killing him. He’s not really that important, but it was worth mentioning.
It’s called “The League of Assassins”: Oliver mulls over the idea of being Ra’s al Ghul’s successor, but detests killing in his name. The League of Assassins isn’t always known by that name. In other comic book lore, they are referred to as the League of Shadows, which sounds just as cool without any of the nasty murder connotations that go with it.
Tidbits and Predictions
Heir to the Demon’s Head: It’s abundantly clear that Ra’s and Oliver will not be friends anytime soon after the end scene for “The Offer,” where Ra’s hopes to destroy The Arrow’s reputation swiftly, but that doesn’t mean that Oliver’s genes won’t suffice… Another Batman parallel could involve Ra’s’ daughter breeding a child with Oliver. We know which team Nyssa bats for, but there has been no mention of Ra’s having other daughters. All I know is that “breeding” doesn’t exactly spell out romance.
Oliver in a suit feels weird: Remind me again what this guy does for a job? For the first time since Ray Palmer snatch up Queen Consolidated, we see Oliver back in a business suit – begging the question, “How does Oliver make money?” It would be nice to see more of his corporate side again.
Will Flashpoint affect Arrow?: After this week’s superb Flash episode, Barry finally learns to use the Speed Force and break the time barrier, resulting in unfortuitous circumstances for the group. As in the Flashpoint books, Barry’s time travel mischief changes everybody’s reality. Could it also alter Oliver Queen’s reality?
Is this a turning point for Merlyn?: Malcolm Merlyn has not been such a good guy thus far. And even further from that are his skills as a parent. After Oliver triumphantly brings Merlyn back to Star City, he is given a crash course in what it’s like to be selfless from Oliver. Has Ra’s finally knocked some sense into Merlyn, and Thea’s heartbreak finally hit home? Or is he still just playing the game to keep himself alive?
Hush Comics gives “The Offer” a C for tripping over it’s own feet. With such a grand, expansive story at their feet, the show is more focused on inner-drama among the well oiled Team Arrow than it does finding conflict outside the group. With Ra’s presenting a real threat and bringing the battle to Star City, hopefully the team will have no choice than to confront the bad guy. Plus, we have A.T.O.M. coming up, and nobody can take that away from us.
All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Diyah Pera.