Arrow: Al Sah-Him review

Nyssa is a major factor, while Oliver loses sight of who he really is. Here's Mike's review of "Al Sah-Him."

This Arrow review contains spoilers.

While usually montages are for the weak and lazy, I’ll make an exception for the opening moments of “Al Sah-Him,” because that was plenty badass. Even when Arrow is great, there tends to be a certain sameness to most episodes. The pacing is always familiar. So when they do something this drastically different, you notice right out of the gate.

Anyway, that was a really long-winded way of me pointing out how this whole experience is going to make Oliver even more of a badass. It’s pointed out that this training montage takes place over the space of three weeks, which I presume also will help make up for some compressed time that we’ll see over the final episodes of the season.

Ummmm…and these final episodes look like they might be pretty terrific, actually. This season has had its ups and downs, to be sure, and I’ve been waiting for it to lock in. It’s safe to say we’re there. There are no more villains of the week, no more lingering romantic questions to answer, and no more room to screw around. It’s Team Arrow vs. the League of Assassins time.

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This was a very good, if not quite perfect, episode. We’ve spent so little time with Laurel and Nyssa that it’s really hard to buy them as good friends right now, and the fast food bonding experience felt a little dopey to me (far worse was the “lonely Laurel wistfully dips a french fry in a milkshake” thing at the end). I just kinda figured that with that strong ninja-heavy opening that this episode was going to come out guns blazing for an hour, but I guess there were still a few things to take care of before they could do that.

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Willa Holland all season long, but not nearly as impressed with how Thea has been handled. I spent much of the season wondering if she was still being quietly manipulated via hypnotic or chemical means, and now I’m really not quite sure what to make of post-resurrection Thea. It’s just been tough to get a bead on the character this year, and I think this was just a product of the show biting off a little more than it could chew with the supporting cast. Perhaps the absence of Roy next year will help with that.

Thea did get the sick burn on her Dad, though, so I’m all in with that.

I was thoroughly impressed with the way Ra’s manipulated Oliver into returning to Starling to collect Nyssa, and I liked his rationale for sparing her life. Of course, just as I asked myself whether we’re supposed to like Ra’s al Ghul this much, he brings up how it’s time for them to totally wipe out life in Starling City. Ummm…whoops. My bad.

In the midst of all of this craziness, though, I’d like to take a moment to appreciate just how unflappable Lyla is. Tied to a chair under threat of death for you and/or your friends and family? Whatever. Day at the office. Then she goes John Woo style with a pair of automatics. Right on.

Meanwhile On an Island

Okay, so I get how the Hong Kong stuff lines up with our main story now. But correct me if I’m wrong…flashbacks were longer in previous seasons, right? As in, more happened per flashback?

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Anyway, it’s time to sacrifice poor Akio on the altar of his parents (or at least his mom) becoming superheroes. That’s life in the DC Universe, kid. It’s tough, but that’s how it is.

DC Universe Watchtower

– Well, we now know for sure who Damian Darhk doesn’t sound like the version from the comics

– Lyla was kinda rocking Harbinger colors there, wasn’t she?

– So, it’s a more than safe bet that Thea will be joining Team Arrow in season four. Codename: Speedy is a lock, right? And when she was talking to Felicity about that very prospect, she was wearing a red jacket…it’s not that much of a stretch. Alright, fine, it’s a stretch. But Speedy colors are Speedy colors. I don’t make the rules.

– “Bride of the Demon” is a term that comic book fans have heard before…but in relation to Talia al Ghul. Between this and the rather Batman Begins-esque plan to wipe out the hero’s home city, the Dark Knight’s shadow rears its pointy-eared head for the first time in a little while.

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That being said, this is the first time in the history of this show that Oliver hasn’t looked completely thrilled by the prospect of sleeping with a beautiful woman. Truly, he has been brainwashed! For real. Everyone who isn’t a blood relative or Diggle’s wife (yet). 

Anything I missed tonight, please blame it on every tree in New York City deciding to spontaneously release its pollen in an attempt to kill me dead. Blame it on Jason Woodrue.

Rating:

4 out of 5