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Arrow - The Offer - Review

Arrow, “The Offer,” was written by the team of Beth Schwarz and Brian Ford Sullivan and was directed by Dermott Downs. This was a terrific episode. The theme of daughters and fathers runs throughout as Oliver (Stephen Amell) struggles with Ra’s al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) offer to replace him. Nable is terrific in this episode as we finally get to see more of Ra’s.

I loved how the story wove the stories of the daughters and fathers. I also liked how the three women reached out to each other with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) going to Thea (Willa Holland) and Nyssa (Katrina Law) going to Laurel. Each of the three are struggling with being defined by their fathers and needing to break free from that. It was also nice to tie this storyline into Oliver’s story when he recalls that becoming the Arrow was a tribute to his own father.

So many terrific scenes in this episode. Two really great fight scenes as well. I loved the initial fight to stop the warehouse robbery with the team really starting to work as a team. I particularly liked Oliver telling Laurel that she still needs more training. I think the writers are doing a great job addressing fan/viewer concerns over Laurel earning her stripes too easily. It’s perfect when at the end, Nyssa offers to help Laurel train.

Laurel has a number of really good scenes in this episode. She’s become the fierce, competent character she was in the first season, and I think Cassidy is doing a great job with her. I loved her confronting Quentin (Paul Blackthorne), even if his declaration that he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to forgive her is heartbreaking. It also seems a bit out of character. It’s also annoying that the Arrow doesn’t tell Quentin that he was asked not to tell him.

Quentin not helping the Arrow and ignoring his call leads to Murmur (Adrian Glynn McMorran) taking out a lot of police officers, so hopefully, he’ll have a change of heart. Of course, Ra’s disguising himself as the Arrow and taking out the rest of the gang will likely put a stop to that. However, it’s also heartbreaking when Quentin says to the Arrow, “I see the man under the hood. He lies and keeps secrets and doesn’t have to carry around the weight of his decisions and I’m done with him.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite as we know that Oliver does carry the weight of all his decisions.

Oliver’s big decision in this episode, is whether to accept the offer of Ra’s to become him. Ra’s would seem to remove all the barriers to doing so when he tells Oliver that the League could become anything Oliver wanted it to be. The League isn’t there to kill for him, it’s there to die for him. They wouldn’t have to be assassins under Oliver. The obvious question then becomes why not just accept them and have them do good? Or simply disband them?

Oliver is almost convinced that Ra’s has seen his future when he tells him that the city will turn against him and he will end as he began – alone – when Oliver comes back to Quentin’s rejection and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) being with Ray. However, Diggle (David Ramsey) isn’t buying it, and Ra’s actions at the end seem to suggest that he’s simply ensuring that what he said came to pass – after Oliver has told Maseo (Karl Yune) no.

The scene with Diggle and Oliver is a good one with Oliver musing that becoming Ra’s would allow him to make a difference, not just a dent. He laments that they’ve really accomplished nothing. Diggle naturally tells Felicity about the offer, and I was really glad to see everyone find out about it quickly rather than having the secret linger – but then that’s not the show’s style. It’s Felicity who is really able to talk some sense into Oliver.

Felicity and Oliver share three great scenes in this episode. The first is when Oliver walks in on her and Ray (Brendon Routh). I loved how flustered Felicity got – of course Amell’s face upon first seeing them is wonderful too. Felicity says she should have told him and Oliver says she doesn’t owe him anything. It’s almost painful when Felicity tells him, “Of course I do. You’re one of my closest friends.” I also loved her asking if sewing your mouth shut is “a thing” and musing that “If only I had known I had that option” – hilarious in light of how often words just blurt out of her!

There’s an interesting contrast to the scenes of Felicity with Ray and Felicity in the lair. With Ray the lighting is very bright and her hair is loose. The lair is always dark with her hair pulled back. When Oliver steps into her office and Ray leaves, the lighting actually darkens. It’s a darkness that she’s chosen.
We would miss the times when Felicity is the only one who can talk sense into Oliver if her mouth was sewn shut. He tries to tell her there’s more than one path to justice and she asks him why he thinks he isn’t already on the right path. She points out that if he leaves, all the deaths and sacrifices will have been for nothing. She tells him she doesn’t think he’s the Arrow so people will thank him – and he echoes that exact sentiment to Quentin after saving his life from Murmur. Felicity tells him that they all had to figure out why they were doing this when they thought Oliver was dead and suggests it’s time for him to do the same.

When he returns from the police station, he thanks Felicity and proves he is the bigger man by admitting that she was right. He tells her that he started all this because of his father but now it’s about giving peace to the families of the people he saves. He vows that he’s not giving up on what he’s started. Felicity tells him that he’s always concerned about her being happy, and she tells him that she will be happy as long as he’s in her life – and then Ray calls…

Thea’s journey takes another turn as she suddenly realizes she doesn’t really know who she is anymore. Holland has some excellent scenes in this episode as well. I loved her confronting Malcolm (John Barrowman), who is also excellent in the episode. She contemplates killing him – and he even gives her pointers on how to do it. He reminds her that she asked him to teach her how to be strong and tells her she’s learned her lessons well. But Thea tells him that she hurts more now than before. All of this really proves that she’s not the killer that he is – she’s not broken inside the way he is. We’ve seen him beg for his life, and we’ve seen her offer hers to Nyssa. He may be a coward, but she is stronger than he is. It’s her humanity that causes her pain.

One of my favorite scenes in the episode is when Oliver comes home and asks if Malcolm is still alive. Thea relates how many times and how she’s contemplated killing him. They are in the background and the focus is on Malcolm lying on the couch in the foreground with a smile playing across his lips. He knows that she is stronger than he is. The final scene with Thea has her returning to Roy’s (Colton Haynes) arms to try to re-find herself.

Both Malcolm and Maseo warn Oliver that Ra’s offer is not an offer at all. Malcolm tells him not to delude himself into believing he has a choice. Maseo tells Oliver he may be grateful for Akio (Brandon Nomura) but there will still be consequences to Oliver’s refusal of the offer. The flashbacks still don’t clarify what happened to Akio. We see Oliver take Akio to the Botanical Gardens because that is where Maseo and Tatsu had told him to go, but it turns out to be a trap. While there, however, Oliver runs into Shado (Celina Jade)! Is she a product of the Lazarus pit?

We see Ra’s explaining his longevity through use of the pit to Oliver at the beginning of the episode and learn that its effects are lessening for him. We also see it heal his hand later in the episode. I quite liked that we finally see that while Ra’s may not think Nyssa worthy of being his successor he does care for her. We also see him instructing fighters – not simply killing them. But he also tells Nyssa to fight for the right to be his heir. Is that why she turns up at the Police Station? Does she have an ulterior motive for being in Starling City such as killing Oliver?

What did you think of the episode? Were you satisfied with Oliver’s decision? I apologize for the lateness of this review due to illness, but would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.