Review: Arrow – Ep. 15 “Nanda Parbat”

This week on Arrow we have found many of our characters to be in a state of flux. Ep. 15 “Nanda Parbat” was all about changing the status quo – as if they haven’t done that enough already this season. If you aren’t caught up on the show, now is a good time to stop reading. Don’t ruin the surprise for yourself. In other words: Spoilers ahead.

Let’s start with some fairly benign characters on Arrow. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). The smartest and sweetest characters, arguably the most innocent characters on a fairly dark comic book series. This week we finally got a peek back at the progress of the ATOM suit being developed by Ray. Focused entirely on his work on the suit and focusing very little on anything else, Felicity rounds him up back to reality after his absence from his company for a week. Very quickly, we see that the Raylicity relationship is being pushed by the show runners – but to what end? Unsure at this point. Although the two are a match made in heaven, one of the few complaints I have about the running of the show this season has been the handling of the Felicity character. In season 3 we have seen her kiss Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), pretty much admit her love for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), and now she has done the deed with Ray Palmer. Initially written to be a smart and independent woman, this turn of events this season makes her appear as a flaky and inconsistent. One of the most likable and sweet characters is moving down the list of people I care about on Arrow. Although I appreciate the great reveal of the ATOM suit this week, I’m a tiny bit miffed at the idea that he finally figured out how to make things work after he got laid. This is not the set-up I would have chosen for an impetus to finish developing the suit. But now he has a working ATOM suit and there is something going on between Ray and Felicity – in flux, as I mentioned.

Onward to Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and her role in “Nanda Parbat” this week. After learning the truth behind Sara’s death last week (Caity Lotz), Thea went on an emotional rampage this episode, telling practically everyone within earshot what she did and how guilty she felt about it. While this reaction was a little bit of over-sharing, to the point of annoyance, this guilt served well as a reason for Oliver to go to Nanda Parbat, on his sister’s behalf. He knew how the guilt of her actions would eat away at her and wanted to save her from becoming the man he has become. However, Thea’s admissions have led us to a fairly significant cliff hanger, as she tells someone of her sin who has a particular vendetta against Sara’s murderer. A transitional moment has occurred – where will it lead when the show returns on March 18, 2015?

The flashbacks in this particular episode were particularly intriguing. The flashbacks always have a reason for being shown, relaying some kind of connection to events in the present day. This week we saw Maseo and Tatsu lose their son as Oliver had to rescue him from a dire situation. Why would they show us their son and his escape with Oliver? Are we going to see him again? What is going to happen with our new General (known in the comics for heading up the Creature Commandos)?

Finally to the meat and potatoes of ep. 15 of Arrow… “Nanda Parbat” sent Oliver and John Diggle (David Ramsey) off on a rescue mission, ready to take on the League of Assassins on their home turf. Is Oliver going to rescue Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) for his sister’s sake? Or is there something more behind his fascination with death at the hands of a centuries year old leader of assassins? This is one spoiler I just won’t reveal. But we see that after a defeat at the hands of Ra’s al Guhl (Matt Nable), Oliver is still the capable fighter we know him as.

What I loved most about “Nanda Parbat” wasn’t the twists and turns of the characters, but rather the one thing that has been consistent since the beginning of the show – Oliver and Diggle. In season 1 of Arrow we began with only Dig knowing Oliver’s secret and joining him in his mission to save Starling City. Through the last couple seasons, the Arrow Cave has become more crowded as more and more people learn Oliver’s secret and join his crusade. This episode brought us back to the roots of the show, with two men having an understanding of one another and connecting. Malcolm attempts to teach Oliver and Thea to act in unison if they are ever to defeat Ra’s al Guhl, but in the end, it is Oliver and Diggle who act and fight in unison with one another – a relationship achieved only through 3 seasons of being together and accepting one another. After Oliver’s incident with the sword and mountaintop, I didn’t know if I could ever be as moved emotionally as I was then. However, Oliver and Dig have a bromance that is worthy of a happy tear now and again, especially in the “Nanda Parbat” episode this week.

Overall, we were promised an episode with twists to rival the fall of Oliver in the mid-season finale this year. I am not sure the twists here accomplished that. Through the entire episode, comments and actions foreshadowed the end of the adventure this week. The writers were leading us to the cliffhanger at the end, wanting us to guess and know before the moment arrived. I’m not sure anyone really expected Oliver to be nearly killed just a few episodes ago. I will say this about “Nanda Parbat” – If it were any other show, this episode of Arrow would have been a season finale. Everyone in transition, cliffhangers abounding, lots of action, questions unanswered… The bar has simply been set so high on Arrow that we expect them to move heaven and earth to impress us.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Arrow? Can you wait until March 18 for the next episode? Can you handle what comes next after a drunken hangover from St. Patrick’s Day? Stay tuned to the CW in March on Wednesday nights at 8/7c. for more Arrow.

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