A few episodes now into its third season, and “Arrow” is in some ways at a crossroads. They are doing many things right, but at the same time falling into the same pitfalls that it has for the first two seasons.
For example, what is the point of proclaiming to have an honest relationship between Oliver and Thea while the two of them are still lying? For Oliver, he is lying about his true identity; meanwhile, Thea is acting all clueless about who her father truly is. Both of these are pretty substantial, terribly lies, and they made up the crux of their relationship right now. If they are not going to give Thea a whole lot more to do, why go through much of this trouble?
For the most part, the rest of Wednesday’s “The Magician” was worthwhile entertainment, save mostly for the fact that Malcolm Merlyn really doesn’t seem to be that concerned about whether or not someone spots him alive. He had to spend most of the hour convincing Oliver and Nyssa al Ghul that he was not the murderer of Sara Lance, and he made a pretty convincing case, arguing that there was no real motivation for him to go through with something like this. Meanwhile, the finger needed to be pointed instead at Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon who really is at the center of everything.
How is Matt Nable in this role? To be honest, it is really far too early to know. He looks on the surface almost like a hybrid of Oliver and Littlefinger from “Game of Thrones.” His voice had an odd echo to it, so we weren’t quite able to tell a whole lot else about the part yet, either. It does seem to be a more inspired-by-the-comics Ra’s than what we saw within the “Batman Begins” movie, and we are certainly okay with that.
The rest of the episode was solid, from the battle scenes (save for the awful Roy flip) to John Barrowman being awesome to Amanda Waller seemingly always using “blow everything up” as her fallback strategy in the case of emergencies. Now that we’ve opened up the Pandora’s Box that is Ra’s, we’ll have to see where the story goes from here. Grade: B.
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