Arrow: Al Sah-Him (321)

Oh fandom, you’re so funny.  One of the first comments I read after “Al Sah-Him” aired was “I hate this show.”  To which I ask, “Then why the hell are you watching it?”  I know, I know.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go of a show you used to enjoy.  But why spend precious time watching something that’s gone sour for you?

In the holy triad of this week’s CW shows, Arrow comes in last.  But it wasn’t a total loss.

Katrina Law plays Nyssa al Ghul on Arrow.

Nyssa: Can we keep her?

The Good

  • John Diggle and his harem!  Thea and Felicity joined Lyla and little Sara for dinner and remembrances of Oliver.  And John almost got a crusader’s costume out of it.
  • Katrina Law:  the lighter, brighter, happier Nyssa al Ghul is lovely.  (And yes, I see chemistry between Nyssa and Laurel.)
  • Girl Power runs rampant in Starling City!  Laurel and Nyssa bonded over fries and milk shakes; Felicity and Thea commiserated over Oliver; Lyla didn’t let a little thing like kidnapping get in the way of shaming Oliver Al Sah-Him.
  • The battle of the Queens:  Thea saved Diggle’s life with an arrow through Oliver Al Sah-Him’s wrist, then threatened to put one through his eye.  Oliver Al Sah-Him pulled the arrow out without flinching and gave Thea the stinkiest of evil eyes.  (Or the evilest of stink eyes.)
  • The wedding twist!  Oliver Al Sah-Him doesn’t have to kill Nyssa, he has to marry her.  It’s the only time he actually looks upset.

The Bad

John Diggle comforts Felicity Smoak on Arrow.

John and Felicity mourn Oliver’s “death.”

  • Bad performances from several cast members.  I’m not sure if the problem was the script’s stilted language, the director’s guidance, or the actors’ fatigue as the season draws down.
  • Oliver Al Sah-Him killed faux-Diggle.  It wasn’t John (you know John would never have worn an ascot), but it was some poor schmuck.
  • The flashback:  What the hell was the purpose of unleashing a bio-weapon in Hong Kong?  What did General Shrieve hope to gain by pretending the virus was the antidote?  And when did our heroes get inoculated?  These Giant Holes That Make No Sense are Arrow‘s biggest downfall.
  • Speaking of Giant Holes That Make No Sense:  What’s the purpose of wiping out Starling City? [See also, The Ugly, below.]

The Ugly

  • Oliver Al Sah-Him’s shorn hair:  Ok, it wasn’t ugly, but it made Stephen Amell less attractive than usual.
  • Black Canary’s wig:  it is ugly.  Can’t Laurel just wear her own hair?  It’s not all that different from the wig.
  • Really?  To complete the transformation to Ra’s al Ghul, Oliver Al Sah-Him has to wipe out Starling City?  That is one totally fucked up universe.  And therein lies one of the most obnoxious problems with Arrow:  plot solely for Drama’s (capital D) sake.  Forget that it makes no sense.  Just put some dumb-ass plot in ratchet to up the stakes.

Somehow I don’t think this whole Wahreef al Ghul fiasco is going to do Olicity any good.

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7 responses to “Arrow: Al Sah-Him (321)

  1. The thing about the non-Diggle guy who died…in every episode with the League of Assassins, multiple faceless schmucks are killed. This guy is no doubt one of them. So it’s a worse thing for him to die because we saw his face and he wasn’t wearing stylized black leather? They killed a lot of them trying to get out last week, and that wasn’t under brainwashing.

    We (my husband and I) really wanted to think Oliver was pretending. He knew that wasn’t Diggle, but someone who’d signed on to die for Ra’s and the League (at some point). And it was a shoulder wound. He might not even have been dead. And we won’t know if he’d have killed Nyssa or John, because they interrupted him both times and he didn’t get to make the decision. But as the episode went on, we grew less and less sure. 🙂

    The flashbacks did serve a purpose. How Akio died is a question I’ve wanted the answer to for a long time, and it fed Maseo’s motivation for becoming Sahib and what split him and Tatsu up. But they’ve taken SUCH a long time that we’ve lost the details. I think they did explain Shrieve’s goals, but I don’t remember them. They got inoculated a few episodes ago. They might have even shown it happen, but they could have just talked about it. I wasn’t bothered by the flashbacks as much as other people because they were short and Oliver looks great in those jeans. 😉 But they have definitely run their course and I hope they’re gone next season.

    Now, as for the wipe-out thing… The current Ra’s ascended to his position in freaking 1609. That was totally believable for that time frame. The mysticism, the “rule by fear” mentality, I can easily see it happening back then. When the population would be a few hundred people. And we can tell they’re all a little insane. Or a lot insane. Probably compounded by the Lazarus Pit. And they are obviously immersed in the past. They live in stone with torches. When they come to “modern” society they find a place made of stone and light torches. LOL

    I don’t know how much of this ties to the comics and how much is the current writers. I always give a little bit of a pass for stuff that comes from the source material, though I don’t always like it. There’s inconsistency. Didn’t they put a price on Merlyn’s head for the Glades because he killed innocents? Maybe not. It could have just been because it wasn’t sanctioned. Because they threatened to kill innocents if they didn’t hand over whoever (Sara or Malcolm?) and now they’re doing this. But again, they’re INSANE. Drunk on power of multiple sorts. I’ll be glad when they’re done (because they have to be done at the end of this season, since HIVE is next season’s big bad, right? LOL)

    I do hope Nyssa survives. I’ve always liked her, but like you, I found her a highlight this week.

    • Gah. I had a reply written and then lost internet connection. :/ Let’s see, what had I written?… Oh yeah…

      Yep, Oliver looks great in those tight jeans! 😉

      I had planned to write a bit about Akio. Actually, they’ve handled the story well. By taking their time with it, they’ve softened the blow (for us) of killing off a child. What was unthinkable a few months ago is now in front of us, and while it’s terribly sad, we’ve come to accept it.

      It was Ra’s predecessor who rose to power in 1609. This Ra’s is old, but not *that* old. Heh. I was also going to mention the “hive of agents” Ra’s rival had formed. Could this hive become HIVE?? Hmm…

      • HATE when that happens! 😦

        I forgot to tell you I agree completely about Oliver’s hair. Way too short, way too awful. But I guess that goes with the whole awfulness that is him right now.

        You’re right about the way they handled Akio’s death. I hope they don’t show us any more than that. The one image was enough.

        Okay, I remembered that year and wasn’t sure it was his year BUT I also thought, “wow, Ra’s is older than I expected!” Even as young as our country is, it was common practice to wipe out villages during war time, and of course we can find that back through history, especially with the Romans, IIRC. So the practice isn’t unheard of by power-mongering a-holes, which Ra’s in any incarnation is. Even if the current Ra’s was brainwashed, too, he came to embrace his new reality and recites the history and ceremony lovingly, not by calculation. INSANE.

        But Oliver will save his city.

        He’d damn well better!

        (Sorry, I usually try not to curse when I comment here, but I’ve been slipping lately…)

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