Arrow, S3 Ep04 – The Magician

Last week’s episode of Arrow concluded with Nyssa al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, returning to Starling City in search of Sara. After Ollie breaks the tragic news of Sara’s demise to Nyssa, the hunt for Sara’s killer begins. According to Nyssa there is no person more suspect than Malcolm Merlyn, or as he was called in The League of Assassins, The Magician.

Arrow, S3 Ep04 - The Magician (01)

Nyssa al Ghul returns to Starling City

“The Magician” reexamines Ollie’s vow against killing, which was originally taken to honor his dead friend Tommy’s memory. During last season’s finale, Ollie proved to himself and his peers that killing wasn’t necessary as he took down Slade Wilson and locked him up in an A.R.G.U.S. prison cell. In this episode he doesn’t do the same with Merlyn, which makes perfect sense considering Merlyn knows all about that cell somehow and Merlyn isn’t the one responsible for Sara’s death. Merlyn makes an amazing point, stating it wouldn’t be in his best interest to murder the lover of the daughter of the man who wants him dead. Plus, I feel Merlyn no longer has any quarrel with Ollie, even though he did try to kill him in season one, so to take out Sara as a way of getting to Ollie wouldn’t make much sense. Judging from Merlyn’s theories, it seems much more likely that Ra’s al Ghul would murder Sara as a means of keeping his daughter Nyssa closer.

This entire plot line was very interesting and contained some fun action scenes, but it still felt off. Perhaps I expected more because this episode was hyped as being Arrow‘s big 50th. Merlyn, a well know terrorist in Starling City, choosing to meet with Ollie in a public city square didn’t make much sense, and the whole argument about killing villains versus not killing villains is beginning to feel redundant. Understandably it’s a big part of what makes Ollie who he is, but we don’t need it shoved into every other episode. Ollie already had this argument with Sara last season, Laurel.

One aspect I’m really enjoying about the series now is the relationship between Ollie and Thea. Both characters are leading secret lives and not telling the other one about it. While part of me wishes they can just tell each other everything, I’m glad Thea now has her own secret up her sleeve. The fact that Ollie continues to lie to his sister about his secret life goes against the only reason Thea came back to Starling City in the first place – Ollie promised no more secrets. While I feel Thea has no obligation to tell her brother the truth, Ollie’s lies to Thea will eventually blow up in his face, and I look forward to seeing what dynamic that brings to their relationship.

Arrow, S3 Ep04 - The Magician (01)

Laurel wants Merlyn dead

It’s almost too hard to watch Detective Lance continue to remain ignorant of his daughter’s demise. Laurel’s reasons for not telling her father the truth about Sara are understandable, but she really should give in and tell him. When he finds out that Sara died and Laurel lied to him about it, the pain it will cause will be way more severe than if Laurel were to come out with the truth right now. It was heartbreaking watching Detective Lance attempt to call Sara not knowing she wasn’t there to answer.

For a 50th episode “The Magician” didn’t seem grander in scale than previous episodes, but it at least finally gave us a glimpse of this season’s big bad. Ra’s al Ghul, who’s name translates to “Head of the Demon”, made his first onscreen appearance on the show after being mentioned continuously since season two. His scene is very brief and not enough of a performance is given from newcomer Matt Nable to judge him, but it is nice to finally get that glimpse. While it’s doubtful, hopefully that pool he emerges from is some form of a Lazarus Pit. In the comics published by DC, Ra’s uses what are called Lazarus Pits to rejuvenate his body and stay immortal.

Overall, “The Magician” was just okay. While I enjoyed it, it was not one of this season’s stronger episodes. I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of Team Arrow after the outcome of this episode, though. Ollie has found a new enemy in Nyssa al Ghul and Ra’s al Ghul after he prevented the assassination of Malcolm Merlyn. Hopefully, no one else on Ollie’s side dies.

Also, I just wanted to point out that Diggle needs to start wearing a mask when he’s out on patrol with Ollie and Roy. You have a kid now, Diggle!

Next week on Arrow we’ll find out “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”. Check out the official promo for next week’s episode below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “The Magician” in the comments.

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