The brilliance of Arrow Season 3 Episode 9 is that a whole new slate of possibilities has opened up for the series.
On this week's Round Table, we're discussing the reveal of Sara's killer, impressions of Ra's al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn and what might come next by way of new heroes and other possibilities as Oliver is "dead" on a cliff.
Join TV Fanatics Allison Nichols, Paul Dailly, Hank Otero, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica as they discuss all of this in great detail. Join in by sharing your answers in the comments. It's a long wait until January 21!
Were you surprised at the reveal of Sara's killer?
Allison: Yes! I hope the writers do great things with this. There is a potential for Thea to start remembering kinda in a similar way that Roy remembered killing the cop while under mirakuru. This could be a great way for Thea to get out from under Malcolm's grasp.
Paul: Yes. Although Malcolm has shown throughout he is a clever psychological manipulator of the human brain and he clearly has the ruthlessness to carry out evil tasks.
Hank: Not surprised, terribly disappointed that Malcolm drugged Thea and recorded the whole damn thing. Felt like kind of a cop out to me. Malcolm Merlyn hiding behind his innocent daughter. I've lost all respect for the character and hope Barrowman is out by the finale (and I'm a fan of his btw).
Carla: Yes. I never would have guessed that Thea killed Sara or that she did it due to her father's manipulations. I wasn't thrilled with the reveal, but it definitely shakes up the series in an intriguing way. If Thea finds out, it could be a means to bring her closer to Roy again since they both went through a similar situation, which would be good. I like the idea of these two changed and now fierce characters finding love again.
Carissa: Yes and no. Since I sincerely thought Malcolm was behind the killing and Thea fits the physical description of the killer per Felicity's specs, so my reaction was more of a sad, "You bastard!"
Did Oliver take the right approach in handling the situation?
Allison: Yes, Oliver definitely made the right choice. He is much more prepared to handle the league than Thea is, and it would have been weird if Oliver just handed over his sister to a bunch of assassins. There really isn't anything else that he could have done. Thea has no memory of the event, and so if Oliver just confronted her about it or clued her in, all it would do is make Thea upset. Hopefully once Oliver recovers from his falling off of a mountain, he will focus more on making sure Thea is okay and that Malcolm isn't using her as a hitman anymore.
Paul: Divided loyalties. Oliver knows Thea is going down a dark path through Malcolm, but he has too much of an emotional connection to her to physically harm her.
Hank: Absolutely not, he should have shared the truth with Nyssa al Ghul. She would be more understanding than her father and possibly help convince him that Malcolm Merlyn was behind the whole thing. Once again, Ollie carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and paid the ultimate price. Of course, if everything played out this way there would be no drama right?
Carla: Absolutely not. He played right into Malcolm's hands by doing his bidding. The Oliver we've gotten to know should have been smarter than that, right? Yes, he wanted to protect his sister, but there were other ways to do that. I like Hank's suggestion that he should have approached Nyssa. His desire to save his sister blinded him to a more logical solution.
Carissa: Definitely not. I really think once Ra's finds out Malcolm Merlyn was behind the assassination of Sara, he'll hold Oliver equally responsible for her death by not telling the truth. Right now there isn't a reason for Ra's to remain as an adversary, but I have a feeling he's not going to take kindly to Oliver's choice to keep the thruth from him. Whether he went directly to Ra's or through Nyssa, truth would have been a much better option in the long run.
Ray shared his plans to help Starling City with Felicity. How will this impact things going forward?
Allison: I'm surprised that Ray told Felicity everything! I loved her reaction to this news. It would be interesting if Felicity tried to balance helping Ray and Oliver while keeping the other one's identity a secret. It probably wouldn't go well for Felicity, but I would love to see her try it. I'm curious to see how Ray does his first time out.
Paul: Very unsure about Ray’s intentions. I know he portrays himself as some intellectual saviour but I doubt his sincerity so far.
Hank: After watching those last few moments of the midseason finale, it appears Oliver/The Arrow is going to be out of commission for a while. That gives the writers room to focus on other characters like Arsenal, Black Canary and Ray's ATOM. I'm now more convinced of his good intentions.
Carla: It will complicate Felicity's life and perhaps help Starling City ... maybe. I don't know the comics, so I have no point of reference regarding ATOM. With Oliver's absence over the next few episodes, it will leave a void to be filled and Ray's positioning himself to do that (among others).
Carissa: I'm pleased he's turning out to be a good guy. The comics indicate he is, so sticking with it works for me. Felicity wonders why it always happens to her; it's because she's fresh and honest and people feel they can confide in her. What a wonderful way for people to see you. She's a special type of superhero. I need Felicity 101 training!
What's your impression of Ra's al Ghul now that we've met him?
Allison: He has an interesting sense of justice. I'm glad that the writers allowed him to explain more of his views on the world. I hope that this isn't the last we've seen of him.
Paul: It was a strange choice to include Matt Nable as Ra’s. He has been okay so far but with the shows emotional and dark setting, it will be interesting to see if his acting skills hold up.
Hank: As Paul mentioned, Matt Nable seemed like an odd choice at first. He certainly doesn't resemble the Ra's al Ghul from the comics. However, I think he did an excellent job in this episode. He's got a fantastic presence and I look forward to seeing more of him in 3B.
Carla: Ra's definitely is a force. If Ra's intended to kill him or had something greater in mind for him? His words before pushing Oliver over the cliff were telling and indicative of honor.
- Forgive and have mercy upon him
- Excuse him and pardon him
- Make honorable his reception
- Protect him from punishment of the grave
- And the torment of the Fire
Carissa: Unless Ra's was putting on one hell of a show for the sake of tricking Oliver, his code means the world to him and since it is to vanquish evil with death, I can't say I disagree. Whether he has a distorted view of evil will make the difference, I suppose. He seems kind even while being a killing machine. His comment to Oliver about being "just a boy" really moved me. I'm incredibly intrigued and want to see a lot more of him.
Has your opinion of Malcolm Merlyn changed?
Allison: Yes and no. I can't believe that he used Thea like that, but then once I start thinking about it, Malcolm is Malcolm. He does whatever he wants to whomever he wants just to serve his own goals. It would have been interesting to see that if Oliver gave Thea up to the league (which he never would but go with me), how Malcolm would react to that. Would he distance himself from Thea? Fight on her behalf? Would he shrug and say, it's your life Oliver?
Paul: Nope. Besides Ra’s, he is the most lethal opponent to Oliver and it shows his influence over people in how he changed Thea.
Hank: Yes, he's a coward and has to go. Won't miss him when Ra's al Ghul ultimately catches up with him. I covered this a bit in my first answer.
Carla: Yes. I thought (naively, of course) Malcolm really wanted to do better with Thea than he did with Tommy. He did, but it was more in his twisted version of manipulating his daughter's life rather than out of protection and love. It makes for a better story, perhaps, but I hoped we'd see Malcolm take a different approach with Thea. I'm still not sure what his endgame is though regarding this. It doesn't really make sense to me. He knew Oliver couldn't beat Ra's, so why did he put this all into play? Did he foresee the rise of the Green Arrow and a stronger Oliver to take out R'as? That's a stretch for me.
Carissa: No. I've never believed he was anything but a well-dressed snake. I agree with Hank. He's a coward. I look forward to seeing him pay for his sins. Whether it's Arrow telling him he has failed this city (and the world) or his bare chested fight on top of Old Smoky, I'm ready to see him put himself out there.
What do you expect lies ahead in the second half of the season?
Allison: Well, Laurel's got to suit up as Black Canary at some point, and hopefully that will be exciting. I'm just really curious to see who rescues Oliver, and if Team Arrow will be informed of his death and have to fend for themselves for a bit. Also, I need follow up on all the Olicity moments in the episode.
Paul: Unsure. I expect some form of Lazarus Pit usage in order to save Oliver from death at the hands of Ra’s, but whether the writers will go down this route is unclear.
Hank: I think more heroes will rise in the Arrow's absence. I'm actually looking forward to the writers shaking up the show in this way. Though the series is called Arrow, it's hard to feature all the characters. This "death" was a brilliant way to shift the focus to Arsenal, Black Canary, ATOM and any other interesting characters the writers might be introducing. So, definitely other masked heroes is what I'm thinking before the Lazarus Pit comes into play.
Carla: Oliver will be gone for 2-3 episodes and be revived through the Lazarus Pit or another mystical force. He'll come back a changed man. It's unclear if it will be for better or worse. In his absence, we'll see the rise of Arsenal, Black Canary, ATOM, and maybe Diggle will get a mask and a name (we can hope, right?). Though, I think it would be interesting to see Roy be given the name "Red Arrow" by the public. The titular character doesn't have to be Oliver....
Carissa: The idea of heroes rising in Oliver's absence is compelling. He's been leading and it will be a switch to see what his presence in Starling has meant to those who also wish to do well for their City. Maybe Wildcat will make an appearance. There are so many possibilities and the story, from new heroes to dealing with Malcolm and Ra's is very exciting.
Have a great holiday season everyone. Make sure you watch Arrow online to catch up. Especially those of you just joining us after watching The Flash!
And here is your first look at Arrow Season 3 Episode 10. Is Oliver Queen really dead?!?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.