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Who would have thought last night’s Arrow would have so much to say about the relationship between fathers and daughters? Sure, the major plot point of the episode was Ra’s offer to Oliver, but alongside Oliver’s potentially life changing choice the bulk of the story revolved around three women at odds with their fathers.
Before we dive into the strained familial relationships in the episode, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on Oliver’s refusal of Ra’s offer. I’m sure I was not the only one who didn’t believe, for a second, that Oliver would opt to take on the mantle of Ra’s. Nor was I the only one who saw Ra’s mode of revenge coming a mile away. Way back in the fall, when it was announced that Ra’s would be this season’s big bad, I was incredibly excited. But up until this episode, I’ve been rather disappointed with the show’s use of Ra’s. Sure, he’s not one to act rashly, which means we were going to have to deal with a lot of calculated moves before getting to the main action. But when you have an iconic villain like Ra’s at your disposal, he deserves better than the meandering storyline that has been this season of Arrow. So, I was thrilled to see Ra’s finally get down to business at the end of this week’s episode. Ra’s is a brilliant tactician in addition to being an excellent fighter. I’m hoping this is only the first of many moves in Ra’s long game.
Outside of Oliver’s refusal of the title of Ra’s and his crisis of faith, the rest of the episode dealt with Thea, Laurel, and Nyssa dealing with the breakdown of their relationships with their fathers. For Thea, it was the realization that the feather she was once so thrilled to have in her life had broken something crucial within her. Now, while that statement certainly refers to Malcolm’s complete betrayal of Thea and her transition from vapid party girl into a trained killer, it also hints at the greater pain within Thea. She has now lost every parental figure she ever had- her parents, Walter, and now Malcolm. While the series rightfully focuses most of its energy on Oliver’s personal demons, Thea has undergone just as much emotional upheaval as Oliver and over a much shorter time span. It’s no wonder she was so eager to latch onto Malcolm when he offered to be her family, and even less shocking that his betrayal has utterly destroyed her mentally and emotionally. As I’ve said before, Willa Holland is really hitting it out of the park this season. Thea has become such a complex and layered character this season. It’s been a joy to see that revelation.
As for Laurel and Nyssa, both are dealing with a similar breakdown in the father-daughter relationship. Both women shared incredibly close relationships with their fathers, so the loss of that connection has, understandably, injured both deeply. Laurel’s estrangement is, in my opinion, more justified than Nyssa’s. In fact, I am impressed that Captain Lance (not Detective anymore, my apologies sir) is even managing to speak with Laurel. As for Ra’s dismissal of Nyssa as his heir, that particular choice strikes me as extremely cold blooded on his part. Does Nyssa’s love for Sara make her weak? No weaker than Oliver’s love for Felicity. And, if anyone thinks for a moment that Oliver wouldn’t fly off the handle if Felicity were injured or put in harms way, they are crazy (in fact, that might just be the last trick in Ra’s revenge arsenal). While Ra’s is most likely reacting to the prophesy just as much as toward his belief that Oliver is a loner, I’m sure this choice – and the choice to overlook Nyssa – will have dire consequences for him in the end. Because, while Nyssa is hurt by her father’s refusal of her as his heir, she is not the type to take that betrayal lightly. I’m really hoping for a showdown between the two before the season ends.
Overall, “The Offer” was one of the most balanced episodes the show has done in awhile. One of the problems with having a full 22-episode season is that there is typically a lull in the story and action right about at this point. And I think Arrow has indeed fallen into that trap. With the show needing to build to a midseason finale, then solve that conundrum and start laying the groundwork for the season finale, there is bound to be a bit of filler that drags the momentum a bit. With this push toward Ra’s endgame clear, I think we have jumped over that lull and are heading into the backstretch with some speed.
— Oliver is a pretty awful brother. I can get on board with not wanting to see Malcolm killed at this point. But bringing him to your sister’s place and leaving her to watch him- mere days after she discovered that he drugged her and made her kill Sara? That’s just an awful thing to do. Oliver needs to stop being so self-righteous and grow up.
— Ok, is Nanda Parbat just around the corner from Starling City? Because people seem to travel back and forth between the two really easily. I think it took Felicity more time to make it to Central City than it did for Nyssa to get from Starling City to Nanda Parbat and back again.
— It was nice to see Diggle get to talk a bit this week.
— Thank god Nyssa is going to train Laurel. Also, where is Wildcat?