The Queen is back! Thea Queen that is. This week the Arrow’s greatest hits tour takes us down memory lane for the League of Assassins. This includes scenic tours of booby-trapped tombs and being ambushed by multiple residual factions of the League, the best Nanda Parbat has to offer. Meanwhile, John and Lyla conduct their own mission to save Sandra and Connor Hawke. In the future, New Team Arrow takes on JJ’s Deathstroke gang to some disastrous consequences.
After last week romp in Honk Kong Oliver doesn’t want to play errand boy for the Monitor without knowing more about the mysterious being. He tracks down his sister, who was last travelling with Nyssa Al Ghul. If any organisation would know about mysterious powerful begins, it would be the League. The sibling duo catch each other up on their lives since they last parted ways, Lazarus Pits destruction, the birth of a daughter, impending world-ending event and Oliver’s death on the horizon. A day in the life of the Queens. Thea isn’t too worried about Oliver’s foretold death, he’s escaped death countless times before.
Unfortunately for Oliver, Nyssa is off on her own mission but he knows of another Al Ghul in the area. Talia’s in Nanda Parbat training new assassins. She agrees to help Oliver to settle the score between them, taking him and Thea to a chamber below the former league headquarters. They find a scroll with a riddle. Oliver’s the one to figure out they need to burn the centuries-old document and he’s actually right, revealing the item with the directions to their next clue. Their scavenger hunt is interrupted by Athena and Thanatos Guild (sworn enemies of Thea after she denied her claim as Malcolm Merlin’s heir). Escaping Talia leads them to the next clue, but before they get there Oliver asks Thea to remain behind. When she doesn’t listen he insists.
Turns out he could have used the backup because as soon they have the map their goal Talia knocks out Oliver, leaving him in the dirt for a mildly amused Thea to find. To get ahead of Talia, Oliver and Thea free climb up the mountain. Along the way, they have a heart to heart about Oliver’s overprotective attitude. He’s shaken after everything he saw on Earth-2. Not only did he see a universe disappear, but that universe also didn’t have his sister because he wasn’t there to protect her. He’s clinging to the need to keep his loved ones safe.
At the crypt, Athena is waiting for them, Talia already captured. Athena forces them to go first, letting them play guinea pigs for the traps. By using the traps to dispose of the Thanatos Guild, Talia rushes ahead. Thea goes after her while Oliver holds back the rest of the guild. Thea and Talia fight over Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword, which as heirs of the demon either could use to restart the league. Thea defeats Talia, forcing her to yield. In the tomb, they do find texts about a being like the Monitor, one who will ‘bring forth the end of times’. It leaves Oliver wary of who he’s been working for.
Talia offers Thea her students now that she’s proven herself as the heir to Ra’s legacy. Thea doesn’t want to make another League of Assassins though. She proposes a League of Heroes, asking Talia to help her. The Queen siblings say goodbye for what may be the last time with a tearful hug, each on their own path of heroism.
Meanwhile, in Kaznia, Lyla and John uncover where Sandra and Connor Hawke, Ben Turner’s (Bronze Tiger) family were taken hostage. Going undercover the couple discovers the family is being held by Farzad Qadir, a crime lord whose father Lyla killed. Like Oliver, John’s concerns have narrowed to his family after seeing a universe vanish. Knowing Farzad could recognize Lyla he wants to leave. She convinces him if they leave they lose their best chance to save Connor and Sandra. She distracts Farzad, allowing John to get to the family. Post mission, after providing mother and son with travel back to America John and Lyla promise to always ‘remember the good times’ which comes across as ominous after last week’s reveal about Lyla and the Monitor.
In 2040, New Team Arrow learn the Deathstroke gang are targeting the proponents of the Star City/Glades reunification plan, which includes William. William suggests using himself as bait to lure JJ and the gang into a trap, but Mia instead orders they take the fight to JJ. It becomes clear Mia’s actions are fuelled by her fear of losing William, the only family she has left. Team Arrow storms the gang’s hideout, but JJ overpowers Mia and drives his sword through Zoe. As Zoe slips away in Mia’s arms a light appears around the team members.
When it fades Oliver is suddenly back in the bunker and he’s not the only one. Conner, William and Mia stand there with them, in 2019.
The disjoined future storyline is suddenly not so disjointed. But before we get to the ‘Dad’ bombshell, let’s discuss the rest of the episode. Willa Holland’s return as Thea was just plain delightful. She and Amell play off each other so well, it makes me wish Thea had gone back with Oliver (though she’s set to recur this season so I doubt we’ve seen the last of her just yet). Likewise, Talia was fun to see again. She’s the always the character who you’d root for, if she wasn’t so deceitful. Sometimes you root for her, despite that.
Plotwise, the three plots this episode couldn’t be more disparate, but they’re unified by the theme of protecting family and loved ones. Oliver, John, and Mia were all motivated by the fear of losing someone they loved. Oliver and John were able to move past their fear, not allowing it to consume their decisions. Mia didn’t quite get to the same point and her team paid the cost. A death in episode three is the kind of thing I’d expect from season one Arrow, but not now. Certainly not with a major character like Zoe. Sure, the timeline is going to be a little pliable with Mia, William and Connor being sent to the past, but Zoe still died.
Just when you think that her death is going to be the cliff-hanger for the week, Arrow pulls one more thing out of its quiver. Oliver meets his adult kids. Mia, who grew up without her father, gets to meet him now. Kat Mcnamara sold the hell out of that moment as short as it was. It was easy enough to guess that Mia would meet her father at some point this season (a certain crossover hasn’t been entirely quiet about the characters appearing in it), but for it to happen three episodes in? There are four episodes before the crossover, giving plenty of time for development with the kids.
Some Stray Shots
- Thea said you “can’t change the future” which is an odd statement for someone who’s met Barry Allen and the Legends to say. But the metaphor was still sweet.
- Talia agreed to join Thea because two women co-leading the league would make her father roll over in his grave. I admire her levels of pettiness when it comes to Ra’s.
- I’m genuinely surprised Sandra Hawke survived this episode. I was certain this was setting up the moment that would lead to John and Lyla adopting Connor.
- It’s probably a long shot, but with Thea creating a League of Heroes I’d be delighted for her to appear in the crossover flanked by Nyssa and Talia with a small army of reformed assassins at their backs.