Arrow: “Nanda Parbat” Season 3 Episode 15 Review

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“Nanda Parbat” is the first episode since Oliver was seemingly killed on that cliff to deal directly with the League of Assassins. With some eight or so episodes left, it’s about time Arrow started showing off season three’s villain in chief.

Unfortunately, to get there, we had to sit through a lot of “he said, she said” melodrama. All the secrets surrounding Sara’s death have to come out. To sum up (prepare for an Ace Ventura style run-on sentence), Thea told Laurel it was her that killed Sara, but it was Malcolm’s fault, which meant that Laurel wasn’t mad at her, but she was mad at Oliver for lying, which sort of blows up in her face when he announces he’s going on a suicide mission to rescue Malcolm from the League because they captured him after Thea called them so she could get revenge. Phew. See? Soapy superhero melodrama.

Well, the rest of “Nanda Parbat” was totally awesome. From Oliver’s short duel with Nyssa on, this was top-notch Arrow. With Malcolm in the hands of the League, Oliver claims that the reason he wants to go rescue him is to save Thea from her future guilt. Diggle sees right through him, refusing to let Oliver re-confront Ra’s al Ghul alone. Their stealth mission into the compound was great fun. But the second they reach Malcolm, they get captured.

In their solitude, Diggle manages to pull the real reason they’re there out of Oliver: he can’t accept that Ra’s defeated him. Pride has gotten in the way of Oliver’s good judgement, and now he needs a chance to prove himself.

This was a great Diggle episode. It’s rare for just he and Oliver to take on a mission alone these days. The young Queen’s former bodyguard asks if Oliver will be his best man should they make it out alive. It’s a touching moment between two friends before their possible demise.

But Ra’s has no intention of killing Oliver. In fact, he wants him to take his seat as the Demon’s Head. That’s right, Arrow went full Batman. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Ra’s al Ghul is actually a major Batman foe, but he also wishes for the Dark Knight to take up his mantle. Outside the comics, this is alluded to in Batman Begins and more directly explored in the superb Batman: The Animated Series cartoon and Batman: Arkham City video game.

Anyway, this presents a new dynamic between Oliver and his foe. Where this will take the characters is an exciting prospect. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of Ra’s al Ghul for the rest of the season once Oliver, of course, refuses his offer. It all made for an exciting episode that defined what the rest of the season is going to be about. A smart move as we head into this little break until the next episode. Grade: B+


Some Other Thought Bubbles:

– ATOM, the DC television universe’s Iron Man. I have no qualms.

– I love how Laurel went after Malcolm only to be showed up by the League of Assassins.

– The scene between Roy and Thea in the car was one of my favorites of the night. Giving money the family of the cop he killed while on Mirakuru, Roy might just be the most heroic person on the show. He is the most true resemblance of heroism on the show.

– Don’t think Arrow is a Batman show? Starling City is super rundown, not unlike Gotham. If you take Oliver’s team, or family, and replace them with some other names, the series looks pretty familiar (Arrow-Batman, Diggle-Alfred, Felicity-Oracle, Arsenal-Robin, Canary-Batgirl). Not to mention the abundance of dead parents.


By Matt Dougherty

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