Arrow continues its eighth and final season/farewell tour as we get to visit more things from the past. The show is impressively managing to move the story forward while giving curtain calls to elements we’ve seen before. This episode sees the return of a major original character, a different recurring one, and is the directorial debut of Katie Cassidy, AKA Laurel Lance/Black Siren/Black Canary. They make a few references to a famous movie, and I wonder if the title is part of that. There was a scene where that character, too, had to make a “Leap of Faith.”
The show opens with a classic hero trope: fighting due to a misunderstanding. In this case, it’s how they reunite Oliver and his sister Thea, bringing Green Arrow and Speedy back together. They catch up over pictures of Felicity and Mia, and Oliver tells her a bit about what’s been going on. Thea doesn’t calmly accept the future and assumes they’ll find a way around it, and we get some excuses for why Roy isn’t in the episode. In the bit of logic I’m not sure I understood, Oliver was hoping to get answers from Nyssa about the Monitor. She’s not around, so they go look for a different former League of Assassin member. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Lyla and Diggle take on their own new mission: rescuing Sandra and Connor Hawke, Ben Turner’s wife and son, from a terrorist.
The Queen kids go to find Talia, and have another big ninja fight before she appears. Oliver calls her on a debt she owes him, and there’s tension between Thea and Talia. Talia asks about her sister, and Thea quips Nyssa is working on her tan. Katrina Law, who played Nyssa (and I’d rather have seen, no offense to Lexa Doig), is now on Hawaii 5-0, which I guess would be a great place to tan. They all argue about the past and what they’ve been up to, but Oliver finally persuades Talia to help them find the secret records he hopes will shed some light on the mystery of the Monitor. Diggle and Lyla’s mission takes a few turns as they end up in Kasnia, a bad place to be on every Earth so far.
Touring some old tunnels, Thea gets in a few great quips before they are led to the tomb of the first Ra’s al-Ghul, apparently a man called Al-Fatih. They go through some treasure hunt tricks to find a map guiding them elsewhere. Just as Thea bemoans that nothing is ever easy, Athena, leader of the Thanatos Guild, shows up with her own ninja army to give us another big fight scene before our heroes get away. They try and figure out what to do, hear about a new mystic doodad to distract them, and Oliver plays protective older brother, which goes about as well as you’d expect at this point. Lyla notices John is acting a bit off, and he mentions watching Earth 2’s entire universe die right in front of him. That might shake me up, too. Lyla keeps up the fighting spirit and rallies John to save the Hawkes.
Oliver’s quest brings him to the same mountain where, several seasons ago, he fought a duel with Ra’s. He and Talia debate Thea’s role in what’s going on and family burdens. The two of them find some more booby traps and then there’s a twist Oliver really should have seen coming. Thea catches up and they embark on a very unlikely sounding “short cut.” It’s not an easy path, and, resting at one point, they talk about their parents and what they did to make them into who they are now. Thea also impresses Oliver with her wisdom and maturity. Finally reaching the top, nothing goes as expected for anyone involved, and Athena and her ninja goons get the upper hand. Entering the giant tomb, they embark on a series of Indiana Jones-style tests and traps, and Thea even references the bullwhip and fedora archeologist herself. Lyla and Diggle get in some reminiscing about a few of their past missions together and then manage to beat their bad guy and rescue the prisoners. Score one for the good guys.
The tunnels are full of twists and turns and traps and betrayals. After a lot more fighting and some cool effects, two of the characters find a way to resolve their differences. Oliver gets some answers that seem to deliver bad news, but comic book readers know there’s more to this than he’s seen so far. In part to cause more parental disapproval, a new alliance is formed and a group given a new mission. Lyla and Diggle wrap up their loose ends. Diggle feels better, but Lyla makes some comments that hint about her allegiances, which may also be more aligned with her comic book self. Thea and Oliver talk about what lies ahead, and come to a friendly parting of the ways. Unless she turns up in Crisis, which I haven’t heard anything about, this could well be the last time we see Thea Queen/Speedy.
In the future, Mia and company try and figure out how to go after JJ/Deathstroke. William makes a narrow escape and shows that it’s good to be a geek sometimes. William makes a suggestion about how to lure JJ out, which Mia shoots down immediately. Moving on to a second plan, the team infiltrates the former headquarters of Galaxy One, where William needs to do some more hacker magic. Zoe pulls Mia aside and offers some advice which Mia doesn’t want to hear.
After a touching (for them) brother/sister scene for Mia and William, the team moves ahead with the new plan. There’s a huge fight against the Deathstroke gang. There’s a lot of action and chaos, and then there’s a shocking ending which is almost immediately overshadowed by an even bigger event that’s going to change the structure of the show for the next few episodes, if not the rest of the run.
What I liked: It was great to see Thea again. Willa Holland did a great job showing a more seasoned version of Speedy. The jokes about Nyssa’s tan and Indiana Jones were well done. The information Oliver went through so much to get could be very confusing for him and is possibly not at all what it seems. The Connor and Sandra Hawke bits were interesting, given where one of those characters go, and it was good seeing Lyla and Diggle in action together. I enjoyed Mia and William’s scene.
What I didn’t: I was hoping for Katrina Law to return, and Roy Harper. I’m not sure I followed the logic on why Oliver wanted to find this scroll in the first place. I didn’t like how the future fight ended.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about the ending.
They’re going out with a bang for Arrow. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5.