Did we really witness a game changer before the credits rolled on "Nanda Parbat?"
I'm not so sure, but if I had known a bit more about Ra's al Ghul, such as the fact it was a position and not his name, and that it wasn't so much like royalty but the next in command could be appointed, I probably could have guessed what was coming.
From the moment we met Ra's al Ghul, he seemed like a stand up guy with honor. That played out rather well throughout Arrow Season 3 Episode 15.
There is a lot about Arrow Season 3 that doesn't make sense. As a reader pointed out, we have yet to discover why Malcolm killed Sara. We know he drugged Thea so she would do the job to keep himself from being targeted as the doer, but that's about it. We don't know why Sara was in Starling City nor do we know why Malcolm wanted her dead.
Those are fairly important topics to address, and ones it would seem Oliver would want to have covered before ever engaging in training to take on the League with Malcolm. That he didn't appears to be an oversight from my vantage point.
Ra's al Ghul knew, as I suspected, that Oliver didn't kill Sara. That's why he wasn't particularly upset (and probably knew) that he was alive. Nyssa didn't feel the same way, but was more than happy to apprehend Malcolm to make him pay for Sara's death. Back to not making sense, Oliver offered up this gem:
Merlyn loves Thea. He would never just serve her up.Oliver
We've been over this countless times. There are no scenarios under which Malcolm loves Thea so much that he drugged her and forced her to kill Sara. It's not just false logic, it's lunacy. Uttering the words was laughable.
When Malcolm was dragged before Ra's, the look of fear on his face proved there was no love involved when he threw his daughter before the League and Ra's. If he didn't wet himself, I'd be surprised. Malcolm begged for his life, and when Ra's assured him he would be killed, but that he'd receive no pleasure from doing it, Malcolm was dragged away again, this time kicking and screaming. Ah, I could hear the love for Thea pouring from his cries!
It took being chained to the floor with his best friend for Oliver to admit he wanted to see Ra's again because he hated the fact that Ra's bested him and couldn't get the fall over the cliff out of his mind. At least he admitted it.
Thea also admitted sending Malcolm to the League only cemented her belief that she might actually be the killer her father so desperately wanted her to become. Perhaps Oliver will be able to save her that pain in the long run, but it's important he also keep Malcolm out of her life because she regrets allowing him into it as much as shipping him to the League.
Thea's soul cleansing continued as she shared that she killed Sara with both Laurel and Nyssa. Laurel blamed only Malcolm and there's little doubt Nyssa will feel the same. She is, after all, her father's daughter. Furthermore, she and Laurel found a way to bond over Sara's smile and to dishonor Sara by blaming Thea doesn't seem likely. Still, Nyssa's a wild card.
There's something else at play that many are probably not enjoying, a changing of the guard, if you will. No, not Ra's al Ghul. I'll get to that in a minute. I'm talking about Felicity and, perhaps, Laurel. It doesn't seem like a coincidence that Laurel told Oliver she couldn't remember a time she was ever in love Oliver on the same day Felicity sealed the deal with Ray.
If you are an Olicity fan, please hear me out. When Felicity walked into Ray's apartment to the disheveled, hardworking man inside... wowsa! That was a different man than the billionaire at Palmer Industries. Scruffy really works for him. Of course Felicity wanted him showered, fed and with some sleep, but she also got him shirtless... of course!
Ray: You know what, sometimes I forget that we work together. When I'm with you, it's just you. I don't think about work or the mission or...[Felicity kisses him]
Felicity: I'm sorry.
Ray: I'm not. [more kissing]
There is something very natural between Ray and Felicity that he described well in that Arrow quote. He loses himself when she is near. Felicity needs someone to lose themselves with her; she deserves that. With Oliver, something else always comes first. Ray has made time for Felicity in ways Oliver never did, whether as a shoulder to lean on, as a friend when her mother was in town or to give her time off when she needs it. He's there.
It was utterly surprising that they slept together and a beautiful moment when he flew past the window in an almost old-fashioned nod to the Superman connection. So far, she's unaware he's up, up and away. Give Raylicity a fighting chance, because they might surprise you.
Then we have the other changing of the guard.
Ra's al Ghul: You tasted death and you wanted more, but the truth is everyone and everything must come to an end. Even for one such as me.
Oliver: Kill me, but spare John Diggle's life. Let him go. I will beg for it.
Ra's al Ghul: You have shown tremendous strength, fortitude, power. No, Mr. Queen. I don't want to kill you. I want you to take my place. I want you to become the next Ra's al Ghul.
It's kind of a stretch to imagine Oliver Queen becoming Ra's al Ghul. The entire structure of the show would have to change. It would become about the League of Assassins by way of Arrow, who I would assume might then become Diggle, if he could wield an arrow. As he cannot, I'm back to wondering why the term game changer was tossed around.
If it was used to indicate that Nyssa will be downright pissed to learn her father offered a role she trained for her entire life to Oliver Queen? Nah, I don't buy it. Not good enough. It gives Oliver something to chew on, sure, but it hardly seems game changing. If Oliver passes, it would give Team Arrow one hell of an ally with the League and a great friend in Ra's al Ghul.
It's apparent he respects Oliver and the way he conducts himself. That's why I suggested being honest with him in the first place. Just tossing that out there. Ra's is an honorable man. Malcolm would have been the only one in his sites. Things wouldn't have gotten this far.
Game changer? Do you expect Oliver to act upon the offer? What do you expect will become of Malcolm? Do you think Nyssa will avenge Sara's death by taking it out on Thea? Will we ever get pertinent answers about Sata's death, such as why she was in Starling City and why Malcolm wanted her dead?
Hit the comments, Arrow Fanatics. You're up. Talk about it all, from Ra's to Felciity to Thea to Nyssa and back again. We'll be back next week with the Arrow Round Table. Until then you can watch Arrow online and keep commenting!
Here is a look ahead to March 18 and Arrow Season 3 Episode 16, "The Offer."
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.