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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I’m so behind on recaps, la la la. Maybe I was trying to avoid this episode because I assumed it would disappoint me. I can’t say that it did, but it wasn’t particularly good anyway. I’ve made it no secret that I haven’t been impressed with this season. I haven’t enjoyed this arc of Oliver’s at all. People have made reference to the fact this is basically Batman’s story, and that’s true. Batman was the one that Ra’s al Ghul wanted to be his heir in the comics, and who was set up to marry his daughter. But they can’t have a Batman show (ugh Gotham), so they seem to be stealing the plot a little bit.  I wouldn’t mind that if this was executed well, but this entire season has felt disjointed. Plus there’s the unfortunate implications that … well I’ll get to it in a minute. Previously on Arrow, Oliver willingly gave himself over to Ra’s al Ghul in exchange for bringing Thea back. He got to say farewell to all his loved ones first. Nyssa al Ghul stomped off after her father offered the title to Oliver, and she’s been training Laurel to fight. Roy revealed himself as the Arrow and then faked his death, leaving the show semi-permanently. He’ll be back for the finale.

Right off we’re shown that Oliver is being brainwashed. I’m back and forth on this. It does make sense, to an extent, although Ra’s certainly doesn’t seem brainwashed himself. Is the intention to get him brainwashed enough that he does horrible things, and then afterward accepts his fate because it’s already over? Food for thought. He’s given hallucinatory drugs apparently that make him see himself killing Diggle. Ouch. He’s this odd mixture of Oliver and not Oliver, aka “Al Sah-him.” He doesn’t seem to have an emotional response to his friends at all, but he knows enough about them to use their weak spots. So he has his memories, just not his emotions tied to them? It’s a little vague. The team is horrified to find out that he’s basically a zombie now, and that he is supposed to kill Nyssa since he doesn’t want any competition for his position. Laurel persuades the others to protect Nyssa despite what she’s done, since the two of them have bonded. And also have some chemistry, I must say, more than Laurel has had with anyone else. They point out that Oliver didn’t know he’d end up a drugged zombie, but I mean … it’s not like there was any fine print with joining the League. Ra’s is a bad guy, what did you expect?

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The team agrees to help Nyssa. Oliver attacks her, but when he’s confronted with Diggle and Laurel, he flees instead of fighting them. Laurel uses her Canary Cry for the first time, and I have to say, it is completely awesome. It was so fun to see. He doesn’t flee far though, because he goes and kidnaps Diggle’s wife as leverage. They do bring Nyssa to him, but they try to fight him and his goons. Oliver beats them, and it looks like he might kill Diggle, although he is hesitating. If he wanted to kill him it was fairly easy to do it. Instead Thea intervenes with an arrow through Oliver’s arm, and he just calmly cuts off the arrow and walks away. Yowch. Felicity tells Thea that Roy is still alive, and I was surprised to remember she had no idea! Of course not though, she was killed and brought back to life right after. Also I call foul on the fact she has no side effects from the Lazarus Pit. If you’re going to say that people don’t come back right, actually show that they don’t. This is weak sauce. It’s possible Thea indeed will run off to find Roy, and perhaps that’s why he comes back in the finale. Or not. Hard to say.

They all basically have to accept that Oliver is gone. Stephen did a fairly good job this week of just seeming like a blank slate. No emotion was getting through to him, and he’s always been good at giving Oliver subtle emotion since he’s otherwise a serious guy. So kudos to him, even if it was jarring. I’m a little shocked they’re all so quick to write him off. You now know that he’s being brainwashed. So this is when you give up on him? Like you barely gave up on him when he was in a right mind to accept the position. No one’s considering taking him back and clearing his mind? This storyline has just been so spotty. Also Nyssa and Oliver are told at the end of the episode they need to get married. Ewwwwwwwww. For one, Nyssa is a lesbian. I think she is at least, she could be bisexual, but for the moment I’m reading her as a lesbian. So forcing her to get married to anyone, least of all a man, is yucky. And seriously, how are they going to force her to do that? She said she’d rather die, it’s not like she’ll go willingly down the aisle. And that freaks me out about what it implies for the planned wedding night from Ra’s. Gross gross gross. I guess this means Talia for sure will not be showing up, since introducing her here would’ve been easier. I hope the team gets their act together and goes after their friends, because right now I’m side eyeing them a little for giving up. I’m not sure what’s coming, outside of Ra’s saying they have to destroy Oliver’s city. Of course they do. Poor Starling City. It never catches a break.

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