The Offer Plot Summary:
After Oliver (Stephen Amell) turns down Ra’s al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) offer to become leader of the League of Assassins, he returns to Starling City with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) safely in tow. However, when his relationships with Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) take a turn (as Ra’s predicted) Oliver begins to rethink his decision and realizes he may not have a choice.
As my brother-in-recapping arms, Matt Kelly, said, this week’s The Flash was the series’ best episode (outside of the last minute twist that erased all the development, of course). Not to be outdone by its upstart younger brother, this week’s Arrow was full-throttle. It was just one thing after another and I daresay the show has finally figured out how to make a good set up episode.
Oliver was at peak brooding in the aftermath of Ra’s al Ghul’s offer resulting in the darkest episode since season 1. I was beyond suspicious when the Demon’s Head was just like “K, cool” after Oliver turned him down. The reveal that he was just playing the long con and slowly forcing Oliver into the role was really effective. His first step was undermining Oliver’s confidence by playing on his major fears and insecurities. Oliver has always believed that his path is a lonely one and that it would eventually kill him –Ra’s is just making that come true.
While Ra’s posing as the Arrow and killing criminals is going to strain Oliver’s with relationship with Captain Lance even more, Oliver soured that friendship all on his own. Lance had every right to know about Sara (Caity Lotz). This makes his sense of betrayal more than about his daughter gives his anger weight. He’s totally right that Oliver keeping secrets and telling lies is really just Oliver avoiding the fallout. Oliver’s decisions affect everyone whether he tells them about it or not. Then, he’s going to get a big object lesson on that when Starling turns against the Arrow.
Until then, Oliver can keep kicking himself over messing things up with Felicity. I said it last time and I’ll say it now: the show is not even trying to get us to invest in Ray (Brandon Routh) and Felicity. Even the all-knowing Diggle reduced it to Felicity being, “momentarily unavailable.” The Ray romance plot device is only going to get more intense when he and Oliver full on superhero fight for Felicity next week. I know it’s supposedly because the Arrow appears to be back in the murder business, but I’ve been watching the CW long enough to know what love triangle shenanigans look like.
While the angst itself was fun, it served a purpose too. Oliver loves to repress, so it’s always thrilling to see him vulnerable. He and Felicity have oddly never been more flirtatious or open with each other than in the scene where she forced him to ask himself why he wants to be the Arrow. It was both a great moment for their relationship and a smart way to force Oliver to self-reflect. And while I’m sure he really believes the best way to help people is staying in Starling City, there are seven episodes left in the season for him to change his mind.
Here’s the thing, as bad as the League of Assassins’ history is, Ra’s actually makes a good point about what Oliver can do if he becomes its leader. In a way, he’s already running his own little League. Felicity said that the members of Team Arrow had to go off and become heroes in Oliver’s absence and they have—but he helped make that possible by inspiring them and bringing them together in the first place. By becoming the new Demon’s Head, he could do that on a global scale. With a group of highly-trained assassins that he can turn into non-deadly vigilantes and the gift of near immortality that the Lazarus Pit can bestow, he could really achieve something that might be impossible in Starling City. It’s a logical next step for him and would fundamentally change the show in a really exciting way.
Still, much as Arrow has improved, it loves nothing more than delaying resolution. “The Offer” ends with a series of rapid fire reveals that will keep the characters busy until then. The Roy (Colton Haynes)/Thea (Willa Holland) one is so annoying I’m not even going to bother. Shado (Celnia Jade) or more likely her twin being in Hong Kong is beyond stupid. I am, however excited by Nyssa (Katrina Law) training Laurel (Katie Cassidy). I’m still not sold on the latter’s Black Canary arc or the idea that Cassidy could pose a physical threat to anyone, but this is good. If only because Laurel will finally stop embarrassing herself in fights and Oliver won’t get to be such a condescending bitch about it while still refusing to train her. But none of this is as exciting as Diggle’s wedding and the return of the Suicide Squad next week. Sign me up for that madness.
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.