It’s been a few weeks since we last left Oliver Queen and Company in spring break cliffhanger mode, but to catch you up, Ra’s al Ghul has beaten up Malcolm Merlyn and captured Oliver and Diggle on a rescue mission. Ra’s doesn’t want to kill Oliver, though; he wants the man called Arrow to take his place, to become the new Demon’s Head. This is real shocking. Meanwhile, Thea has released Nyssa from the holding cell after telling her she was the trigger gal in Sara’s murder, implemented by Malcolm. So, she pretty much has a death wish. And that’s where Season 3, episode 16, “The Offer,” picks up. For this one, I’m gonna go character by character (of the ones that really matter to the story) to give you a breakdown, because, as always, lots happens in Starling City.
OLIVER – We start, of course, with the hero of the show. Lately, Oliver’s really been getting on my nerves because he refuses to tell people things and tells them something akin to a curt “don’t worry about it.” What exactly is the point of having confidants if you’re not going to trust them? Instead of dealing with anything that happened in Nanda Parbat, he just tells everybody to suit up and find a crime for them to solve. It’s a pretty major deal, though, to be given the choice to take over a huge organization with unlimited resources and manpower, even if the word “assassins” is in the name of it, pretty much guaranteeing he’d have to go back on his oath not to kill. Plus, things are even more complicated because he sees Felicity flirty and happy about her new relationship with Ray Palmer. It is his choice that they aren’t together, of course, but it still isn’t fun to watch. Ra’s warns him that if he doesn’t accept the offer, the city will turn on him and those he loves will suffer. Ultimately, though, thanks to Diggle but mostly thanks to Felicity, he decides to turn down the honor, even if it means staying in the shadows and being an outward enemy to Starling City.
THEA – She’s about as lost as a little pup can be. After not getting killed by Nyssa, because really it wasn’t her fault at all that she killed Sara, which Laurel basically told her in the previous episode, Thea is floating around in a pool of blackish despondency, not sure what to do. As Malcolm lay beaten and healing on her sofa, she contemplates murdering him again, and this time he wakes up and tells her to do it. That’s a pretty effed-up parental relationship. At one point she muses about the girl she was before her mother was killed and what a completely different human that was. Oliver even seems sort of surprised she DIDN’T kill Malcolm while he was out. Still, she’s in a weird place, and turns to Roy for help and comfort by the end. Glad to see them spending more time together.
CAPTAIN LANCE – He’s justifiably upset at learning that, not only is his daughter dead and has been dead for several months, but that his other daughter knew about it the whole time and never said anything. He’s also, now, decided to be frothing mad at the Arrow for not telling him either. He does kind of have a point; it wasn’t at all fair of Laurel to not tell him, and for everyone else to know but him. This, it seems, is leading him toward retaking his firm stance against both vigilantism and the Arrow personally, which is in firm contrast to how hunky dory he’d been with it for awhile. He even tells Laurel he can’t forgive her for this. It seems like they’re not going to make him revert into alcoholism (because we saw how well that worked for Laurel last year), but the writers are giving something more for Lance to do. I just hope it isn’t a full reversal and a step backward.
NYSSA – Who’d have thought the Daughter of the Demon would have one of the best arcs in the episode? After being released by Thea and refusing to kill her, she’s attacked by Roy and Laurel, who, let’s be fair, think she’s escaped and is attacking Thea. Roy ultimately shoots her with a tranq gun and they lock her back up. But not for long; Oliver releases Nyssa after returning from Nanda Parbat and the assassin is pretty confused as to why her father would let such a thing happen. She returns to Nanda Parbat (which, again, must only be a 2 hour drive away from how easy it seems to be to get there from Starling) and is crushed when Ra’s tells her he’s chosen Oliver to be his successor, not her. He says anyone who can survive his sword deserves the title. Nyssa thinks she’s been overlooked because Ra’s still disapproves of her relationship with Sara; he counters that it’s because that relationship made her weak and still clouds her judgment. She threatens to leave, and he tells her to do so. Without anywhere to go, she returns to Starling City (because of direct flights) and ends up showing up at the police station as the it-doesn’t-matter villain of the week breaks in with his goons to get revenge. She aids the Arrow, but mostly she looks at Laurel’s fighting style. At the end of the episode, Nyssa finds Laurel and asks to spend time with her, because she misses Sara and would like to share memories. Surprisingly, Laurel agrees to this and they walk on, Nyssa offering to train the new Black Canary. I do like this development if it continues this way; Nyssa’s a great character and with Wildcat incapacitated, Laurel’s going to need some more training, as Oliver continually says. So, why not another assassin?! She could become as good as Sara one day.
RA’S AL GHUL – The Demon’s Head has a plan. He’s pretty certain Oliver isn’t going to accept the offer, but this isn’t the kind of offer anyone can refuse, because Ra’s himself will make them, by taking away everything they have. He shows Oliver the Lazarus Pool and we even see the effects of it when he catches Nyssa’s blade when she angrily tries to decapitate him (kids, amirite?). He says that Oliver’s city will turn against him, his allies will betray him, and his love will walk away from him…and he’s going to make it happen either way. We see at the end of the episode Ra’s has dressed up in a green hood and killed some criminals, telling a survivor to tell everyone what has happened. If Starling City thinks the Arrow is a murderer again, they’ll be much less likely to accept his vigilantism. So, they’re going full Dark Knight with this yet again.
FLASHBACKS – The I-Don’t-Care-At-All segment this week has Oliver running around a marketplace with the son of Tatsu and Maseo, avoiding the assassins that attempted to kill them in the last episode. This was going nowhere when all of a sudden, he runs into…SHADO!! I think I said aloud “whaaaaaaaat?” when this happened and got excited for two seconds until I realized that if Shado is still alive, and they keep her alive in the future, that means we’re going to have to contend with more Slade Wilson and that made me kind of unhappy. I dislike the flashbacks a lot, and I’ve made no secret to it, and it really seems like the writers are trying to force it into interestingness by upping the intrigue. I fear it won’t much work, but we’ll see.
This episode set up a lot of things for the home stretch of the year, but I do kind of worry that making the Arrow an outcast again isn’t going to do the show any favors. If we end up just sliding backward into familiar territory, the show’s going to seem stale or stagnant, instead of embracing the new and great characters its developed this season, including but not limited to Roy, Laurel, Ray, and Thea. Oliver needs to have an arc, I agree, but I hope it’s not at the expense of all these other great people.
Next week, the episode is entitled “Suicidal Tendencies” and, of course, will have to do with Diggle and Lyla getting married and the Suicide Squad showing up. Of course. And it looks like Arrow and the Atom are going to have a showdown. Jeepers von Creepers.