Arrow – Love among the Ruins
Arrow’s “The Fallen” sent shockwaves through the Internet as Maseo, Tatsu and Oliver raced through the streets of Hong Kong desperately trying to stave off the latest apocalypse. Ra’s al Ghul put the pressure on Oliver to take up with the LOA, Thea bathed in the rejuvenating waters of Nanda Parbat, Felicity broke up with Ray and one more thing happened. I can’t quite put my finger on it . . .
Oh, right. Now I remember.
Before we go there . . .
Ra’s al Ghul is hell bent on shedding his Darth Vader cape for some beachwear. His 401K has reached maturity and that Greek Island he has had his eye on for years is finally on the market. No more windowless dungeons for him! Bring in the sun. The only obstacle standing in his way is a blond firecracker with the nerve to call his plan “perverse.” What is perverse about an old man jamming a sword into the gut of a 100 lb. twenty-something just so he can extort her brother into taking over his assassin business? This scheme sounds perfectly reasonable coming from the “League of Psychotic Murderers.”
In Starling City, an emotionally leveled Oliver stands on the other side of the glass as doctors frantically try to save his beloved sister whose life hangs by a thread. He turns his wrath on Malcolm pointing out that Thea’s own father is the cause of all of her problems. Ra’s would not have come after her and she would not be in need of the Lazarus Pit if Malcolm had not drugged her into murdering Sara, thus causing Oliver to face Ra’s and then die at his hands, only to return from the dead conveniently fulfilling a prophesy naming him the Demon’s heir. By the way, when Malcolm Merlyn, a man whose sins know no depths, thinks tossing his baby girl into the Lazarus Pit is a bad idea – “The waters change a person, in the soul” – you should probably follow his advice. Oliver disagrees.
Felicity and Dig finally arrive at the hospital prompting my first thought – “For god’s sake Felicity, hug that man!” quickly followed by “Don’t get blood all over that beautiful cream coat!” Foregoing the hug and preserving the coat, Felicity quickly assesses Oliver’s condition and opts to give him what he wants – quick passage to Nanda Parbat in her boyfriend’s jet. Felicity, being Felicity, swiftly and compassionately dispatches Ray who proves himself a true gentleman by loaning the aforementioned jet to his newly-ex girlfriend and her true love.
When the beleaguered group arrives on the Demon’s doorstep an army of assassins, torches in tow, bow to their soon to-be-leader. In the dramatic ceremony that follows, Oliver, Dig and Malcolm lower a white-clad Thea, looking every inch the vestal virgin into the pit.
She flies out of the “magic hot tub” seconds later pouncing directly on her brother in the manner of a wild animal. Once again her body has been violated by a man who loves her –this time Oliver makes a life-altering decision on her behalf. Sure he saved her life out of love, but consequences will follow – “The Thea you get back will not be the one you lost.”
Oliver has “traded his life” for Thea’s, and no one is happy about it. Felicity plows through the fortress like a fire-breathing dragon, walks straight up to Ra’s al Ghul and threatens to “go to war to get Oliver back.” Ra’s, the man who typically fills the dragon role on his home turf eyes Felicity with bemused respect. Then he pours out his sad story about losing the love of his life long ago prompting Felicity to retort, “Sounds like you gave up too easily.”
Dig gives equally scathing advice to Maseo who attempts to justify his allegiance to the League as penance for the death of his son. John offers his condolences and then cuts Maseo off at the knees asking, “You think Akio would be proud of his father right now?” Damn. Felicity takes one good thing from her conversation with Ra’s, the courage to tell Oliver how much she loves him thus bringing us to “The Fallen’s” pièce de résistance.
Felicity joins Oliver in his swanky Nanda Parbat suite complete with mood lighting and complimentary robes. She declares her love for him at the very moment that they cannot be together. As anyone with an ounce of sense would do, they opt to say goodbye with some hot sex. Oliver notes “everything I have done has led me to this moment.” One imagines a similar conversation in the writer’s room since this scene represents the culmination of a pairing built upon actor chemistry, common sense and the need to tell a plausible love story. Felicity confesses that Oliver has changed her life for the better and that’s all Oliver needs to hear. The music swells as two superhot Canadians prompt fans the world over to sigh, “Wow. I wish I could get paid to do that for a living.”
Then with a harsh cut, editors rip us from the bedroom and plunge into a flashback so Maseo can ask the crucial question, “Where is the food cart?” An Arrow flashback has never felt more intrusive or irrelevant.
The return cut to the bedroom occurs just as abruptly. Felicity and Oliver shake off their post-coital glow in time for her to make a bold move. She drugs Oliver [we have seen this before, no?] and plans to physically drag him out of Nanda Parbat. Malcolm calls her scheme suicidal and Felicity all but neuters him in response. She strips him of any power he might have had, labelling him a “stooge” and calling his bluff – “If there is anyone who knows a way out of this hellhole it’s you.” With her voice deepening as if a woman possessed she hisses, “Don’t-even-try-to-play-games-with-me.” No one can make Felicity angrier than Malcolm Merlyn and when he balks at her command to get Thea, she roars “Go!” effectively muzzling him. He obeys rather than risk another ball bashing. All hail the Queen.
The group’s hopeless escape falls apart when Oliver wakes up just in time to claim his title as Al Sah-him and kiss Felicity good bye, a kiss framed by their trademark [fire]light. She boards Ray’s jet with Dig, Malcolm and a confused Thea. Meanwhile, Ra’s brands Oliver with an arrow, outfits him with a snazzy new uniform announcing that his soul has “finally [been] unburdened.” Ra’s might be ruining Oliver’s life and his bid at happiness with the firecracker, but we can hardly quibble with the Demon’s choice. No one screams Sexy Assassin louder than Oliver Queen.
Oliver will humor Ra’s and spend some time in Nanda Parbat learning how to manage his new staff, before he finds his way back through the catacombs and eventually to Starling City. He has so much unfinished business to conduct with Felicity as Oliver Queen. There is desk sex, up-against-the-wall-sex, tie-me-up-tie-me-down-sex, oops-Dig-sorry-you-walked-in-on-that-sex. . .