Arrow Episode 16 ‘The Offer’ Review…

DOCTOR WHO Christmas InvasionIn this episode Ra’s al Ghul offers Oliver the chance to take his place as the head of the League of Assassins, which Nyssa doesn’t take too well, Merlyn is saved but becomes some spare part no one seems to know what to do with so he sleeps on a sofa through most of the episode, and Arrow tries to get the band back together and back in business, but he finds that he can’t rely on his old ally Detective Lance because of Sarah’s death and it could be that Arrow is not going to be seen as a hero for long. He’s also about to find out that the job offer is one he can’t refuse…

Hmmm. I’m a little baffled by the way that Arrow is going at the moment.

I had thought that Arrow had been saved by some as yet to be revealed mystical healing technique of Tatsu’s. Nope. Just looks like Arrow survived a sword through the chest and taking a tumble off a mountain through strength of will. Really? This universe takes some liberties with what is possible for non-meta-humans to achieve but this is a tad too far. I mean we know there’s a Lazarus pit with miraculous regenerative properties–why not have used the water from that somehow?

I liked the dilemma that Ra’s posed that eventually Arrow’s crew will fall apart and he will just be seen as a vigilante, a danger himself, which Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ drove home, and that Arrow, as the lead of the League of Assassins could have an army to command to his will of cleaning up Starling City–and the world. It would certainly be a game changer for the show, one that it could pull off, and I wonder if this realisation that Arrow is destined to fail in his ideal unless he has a legacy, others to carry on the crusade, is paving the way to committing the show to become an ensemble show with his various side-kicks and allies as a mini-justice league. As much as I love the expanded cast it does seem to struggle juggling everyone, and I wonder if this is the writer’s dilemma coming out, do we have a cull and go back to Arrow as the lead or can the show work as ‘Arrow’ when it has so many other masked vilgilantes in it? Ra’s prediction of the future seemed timely, but Detective Lance’s change of perspective has been crafted in advance, so, while sudden, doesn’t seem contrived. Perhaps Ra’s manipulation of public opinion was a little premature though.

The motivations in arrow have had a tendency to be a little off, but that’s usually been with the supporting cast, like Moira and Merlyn, and Slade, villains, so I can accept it as their distorted justifications. But, just recently it’s been our lead, Arrow that’s troubled me. I’ve pointed out in previous posts that from how I see it, Arrow’s fear of the truth and addiction to secrets has created much of the torment and disaster this season, and this episode I really just didn’t get him–he saves Merlyn when there is no sensible reason to do so. Merlyn has never been anything but a slippery eel of a villain and his machinations have become so personal this season with his manipulation of Thea’s losses and her need for family, and his risking her life to save his own neck in an overly complicated and rather convoluted plan, I see no reason for him to be saved. Yet, Arrow saves him and insists on taking him to Thea’s home and asking her to look after him. I mean, Merlyn has been nothing but dangerous, and now Merlyn is free of his blood debt he doesn’t have any obvious ‘need’ of Thea–which knowing what we know of Merlyn, that makes him even more dangerous. Instead Arrow just leaves them together for the barest of reasons–he’s Thea’s father. Does that, and should that, really mean anything? Should Thea be forgiving him because they are tenuously related by blood? Should she feel guilt is she did decide on killing him? Arrow was way off the mark here, and I don’t know what the writers have in store for Merlyn, maybe he’s going to face off against Ra’s to end this plot, but he just seems redundant and Arrow’s decision to save him and leave him with Thea damages his character.

I was unsure how Nyssa would take Thea’s confession, but again, another secret didn’t have the end of the world impact as Arrow, and Thea, thought. Nyssa has been getting a raw deal throughout, what with daddy not being supportive of he lady lust, and Arrow taking Sarah from her, and then preventing her from getting justice for Sarah’s killer (don’t worry love, no one else know’s why he did it other than ‘reasons’), so I’m not convinced by her now losing her inheritance and returning to Starling City to cosy up to Laurel and the Arrow crew unless she has a fat piece of revenge lined up. She better have, not that I want Laurel to suffer any more, because it didn’t some right for Nyssa to go there.

I have to say, what’s with the travel in this show? Several characters went and returned to the supposedly far and distant and difficult to reach Nanda Parbat this epsiode. It must have it’s own airport or teleporter… And what’s with people that don’t stay dead? So, if that is Shado, the one who was shot dead on the island and was the major chip on Death Stroke’s shoulder that lead to Oliver’s mother being killed, does this mean Arrow has kept another secret that could’ve prevented a drama and a crisis? And does this mean that death really isn’t the end for anyone on this show? I mean, Merlyn, Death Stroke, Sarah, they’ve all been killed too. I’m waiting for Moira to come back. Merlyn does have some decent heart surgeons.

There was a nice scene with Felicity and Arrow when it looked like the gang were back in business, it had a measure of them accepting that they were both in different places now, things had moved on as Felicity rightly said about so many things. However, I did get the sense that Arrow only had to snap his fingers and Felicity would be like ‘Ray? Ray who?’ even if he was Boba Fetting around the room right in front of her. Which, is great for the writers getting to keep their will-they-won’t-they prick tease going, but not so great for Felicity as a character as she tends to flip-flop in her decisions a little too much, and as I’ve said in a post about such things, the plot runs the risk of getting tiring for me.

There was some cool action from Arsenal and Canary as they fought Nyssa, and disapointingly they had their asses handed to them, but when they teamed up with Arrow in their attempt to prevent a robbery, Arsenal and Canary were allowed to have some skills that time around. I liked Roy’s kung-fu like kicks that he delivered to the two goons. The conceit of masked vigilantes is funny when you think about it, keeping the changed voices and calling each other by their hero names when their alone, it’s quite odd. I’d love to see them all suiting up together (not because of Roy–not just because of Roy) and see them putting their eye make-up on and Laurel putting on her wig. Bizarre.

The Flash had the stronger episode this week, and I hate to say it as I want to love this show, but Arrow is starting to lose me a little. I’m hoping the show gets back into its stride and commits to the ensemble of characters it has established.

What did you think of this episode? How do you think the series has been playing out this season?

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