Oliver is gone, Al Sah-him is in training, and Team Arrow is left reeling. Lyla gets some screentime, and Nyssa actually works with them this time. When Nyssa finds out Oliver’s gone to Nanda Parbat, she knows her time is up. We open with Al Sah-him’s training, and one of his first big tests. Diggle is brought before him and Al Sah-him must kill him, which he does easily. But it turns out it’s not Diggle, just some poor random guy; he’d seen Diggle because he’d been given a hallucinogen. This all makes perfect sense. Ra’s is such a character. Next up, Al Sah-him goes back to Starling to kill Nyssa, and Team Arrow is forced to accept that Oliver has truly been brainwashed. He is unrecognizable, and fairly terrifying.
After Al Sah-him’s first confrontation with Nyssa, he decides to “draw her out” by kidnapping Lyla. This is the point where Diggle knows Oliver is truly gone; they exchange Nyssa for Lyla, but they don’t go down without a fight. Before we find out whether Al Sah-him/Oliver was actually going to kill Diggle, he’s shot in the arm by Thea, of all people, and decides to quit while he’s ahead. The League has Nyssa, and that’s all they needed.
I haven’t talked much about the flashbacks because I think we’re all pretty sick of them, but they’re been building up to this episode. In the flashbacks we learn about the “alpha omega,” a bioweapon which can wreak havoc upon entire cities. Nyssa had it, Ra’s wanted it, and he got it. Now Al Sah-him’s next task is to unleash it on Starling City. There’s also the matter of Nyssa and Al Sah-him’s arranged marriage, meant to unite the families.
This episode was kind of a mess, and while I enjoyed Al Sah-him (evil Stephen Amell) well enough, it was lacking. The transition from Oliver to Al Sah-him was abrupt and made it hard for viewers to jump on board. It wasn’t even a transition so much as a switch. There’s a quick montage, but again, abrupt. Similarly, Nyssa and Laurel’s relationship has changed, and it also feels abrupt to the viewer because we didn’t see it progress. We didn’t necessarily need to check in with them every episode, but we could have used something to make that transition. Laurel’s grown fiercely attached to Nyssa in a very short amount of time, and it seems out of place.
This was a good episode for Diggle, not only as he got good screentime, but he carried a lot of the emotional weight. He and Felicity hold Team Arrow together, and when Lyla is taken he’s forced to acknowledge that his friend is really gone. I also loved the moment when Nyssa called out Laurel on her need to keep secrets from people, specifically secrets pertaining to them. I’ve said it before, I can’t stand that plot device, and since Lance is still freezing Laurel out, you’d think she had learned her lesson.
I was excited to see Thea in the field (finally!) but now that she knows Roy is still alive, it looks like she’s going after him, so it seems she won’t be joining Team Arrow just yet. And as ridiculous as it is, I’m looking forward to seeing the arranged marriage play out.
Arrow 3.21 – “Al Sah-Him” Watch Arrow on the CW, Wednesdays at 8/7c.