Arrow – The Fallen Review
"Finally, a Good Episode"
I will say this about the Arrow
writers, when they really want to, they can put together a taut and engaging hour of television. I guess that isn't particularly, fair, since the first season of Arrow
was smart and engaging, while still being paced well. But considering the rough go the series has had in this back half of this season, it seems like a miracle that the show can still put out an episode like "The Fallen."
Sure, deus ex Lazarus Pit wasn't the most original decision, but considering we saw Ra's healing himself in one several weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before it was used to bring someone back to life (Chekhov's Lazarus Pit, if you will). And, considering it saved Thea (and presumably will have her dealing with the after effects of that choice for a bit), I can forgive the show delving into their usage. A juicy storyline for Willa Holland is a good thing. I'm interested to see how the show implements the existence of the Pits (assuming there are more, as there are in the comic universe) in the future. I don't see the writers using the Pits as a means to ensure no one ever dies, but I also wonder if it might cheapen the danger of the series knowing there's a chance a mortally wounded character can be saved if needed.
But let's jump into the meat of the episode: Oliver's decision to join the League. After weeks of dithering and drawing it out, it turns out all Ra's needed to do was kill Thea. That really could have saved a lot of innocent (and criminal) lives. But Oliver's ultimate decision felt organic. Oliver was backed into a corner and desperately needed Ra's help. It makes perfect sense that Oliver, seeing he was out of options, would opt to sacrifice himself for those he loves. It's pretty much his m.o. This was the first time in weeks that I believed the course of the story from the opening scene to the closing credits. Excellent work by Stephen Amell this week, really selling Oliver's anguish and his resolve to make the best of this situation. Oliver's brooding and dark nature can overwhelm the character (and Amell) frequently, but this week, there was a nice balance between that darkness and hope for escape. Yes, the episode ended on a pretty bleak note, but seeing Oliver smile multiple times within a single episode was a nice light in the darkness.
As for the reason he was smiling, I'm glad they finally went there with Felicity and Oliver, if only because it will end that ridiculous, passive-aggressive, will they/won't they stupidity. Looking back on how the writers managed to absolutely bungle this relationship (I don't buy for a second that Oliver can't have people he loves in his life and all that martyr crap, particularly when those people accept the risk and are willing to take it) throughout this season, it's amazing they made the decision to get them together at all. I fully expect that it will end in tragedy (or at least with Oliver backtracking in some way), but I'm glad the legion of shippers will have this moment to cling to.
However, aside from romantic entanglements and paying off a long arc, "The Fallen" changed the face of the series (at least in the immediate future) for the better. Oliver navigating the streets of Starling City and saving it from bad guys week in and week out was getting stale. Now, the Arrow is an outlaw at home, so Team Arrow will have to band together without Oliver (or Roy) around for help. Laurel will have to man up and really start fighting. If Ray is still on the team after Felicity's brush off, he will have to really become a hero (and maybe shrink??). Nyssa will have to decide if fighting alongside Team Arrow is what she wants. And Oliver? Well, he will now need to learn all he can from Ra's while still maintaining his humanity. And that is certainly a tall order. But more time with the League means more Matt Noble (who was absolutely terrific this week, particularly in his scene with Emily Bett Rickards), and that is certainly a good thing. I'm feeling hopeful about this final string of episodes in a way I haven't in a long while with this series. I assume Oliver will be back in Starling by the end of the finale, but I'm interested in seeing his journey there.
-- So, just spit balling here, but now that we have Lazarus Pits in the Arrow
universe, and Caity Lotz (Sara Lance) will be in proposed spin-off series, does this mean we'll get Sara resurrected? And if so, since she's been dead a pretty long time (assuming Nyssa hasn't stolen her body and resurrected her already), will we get a really really messed up Sara? Because, that would be very interesting.
-- I loved how no one was letting Merlyn finish his statements. He tried to warn Oliver that the Pit was dangerous, and Oliver cut him off. He tried to tell Thea about what happened, she cut him off. I never thought I'd say this, but people should probably listen to Malcolm when it comes to League things.
-- We finally received confirmation that Maseo's son was killed. So, at least we can assume the boring Hong Kong story is leading to this point.
-- Again, why is every mispronouncing Ra's? It's not that hard, guys.
-- Finally, a housekeeping note. I'll be on vacation next week, so no Arrow