Arrow “The Fallen” Review (Season 3, Episode 20)

Arrow The Fallen Season 3 Episode 20 15

I’ve never believed the old adage that it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Whoever said that was lying to himself. Losing someone you love is infinitely harder than pretty much anything else in this world. The pain and grief that loss causes can oftentimes lead us to make very desperate, very poor decisions. Such is the case with Oliver in this week’s Arrow.

It looks like Ra’s has finally forced Oliver’s hand. Up to this point, Oliver’s been able to resist Ra’s because of his strong desire to stay true to himself and the mission he started in Starling City. It was also based upon the belief that working with the League of Assassins could not help him accomplish his goals of protecting his family and saving the city. All of that went out the window when Oliver returned home and found Thea bleeding to death. Everyone has their breaking point, and apparently watching his sister die is Oliver’s. It kind of doesn’t make any sense that Ra’s would wait so long to go for the killshot though. Not that I wanted Oliver to suffer more or anything, but everyone knows that Thea is one of Oliver’s weak spots. This is reminiscent of Oliver giving in to Slade Wilson after Slade murdered Moira. The primary difference being that Felicity and Dig were able to talk Oliver out of giving in to Slade, but this time Oliver had his mind made up. Consequences be damned.

Oliver took Thea to Nanda Parbat so she could be healed in the super special Jacuzzi, but I don’t know if that was such a great idea. Malcolm tried to warn Oliver that using those waters to bring Thea back was dangerous, and she might not come back as the same person. As loathe as I am to agree with anything Malcolm has to say, I think he might be right. We got a small glimpse of it when Thea jumped out of the waters and didn’t recognize Oliver. Although, it doesn’t make sense that she didn’t recognize Oliver. Even if she thought he was dead, she should’ve at least recognized him. But I won’t dwell too heavily on that. For the moment at least, it looks like Thea is back to herself. I just don’t believe it’s permanent. Thea has spent a great deal of time this season talking about the darkness that she knows is inside her, and I have to wonder whether Oliver’s actions have unleashed it. Or, maybe it would be cool to have Thea go dark. Maybe she would become a more interesting character overall. It would suck for Oliver though because he’s got Thea up on such a pedestal that it might break him even more if she goes darkside.

While Oliver was on Nanda Parbat he also admitted that he no longer has a clear idea of who he is and what he’s supposed to be doing. Oliver is a mission oriented type of guy. Ever since he got back from the island, he’s known exactly who he is and what he’s supposed to being with his life. Slade Wilson and his quest for revenge threw Oliver off balance, but with a little help from his friends Oliver was able to get back on track. Then Ra’s entered the picture and completely threw Oliver off balance again. However, unlike Slade, Ra’s seems to be unstoppable. He’s relentless in his pursuit of Oliver as his successor, and for the first time in a long time Oliver isn’t able to call the shots. Not really. Whatever moves he makes, Ra’s and his minions counter. Oliver hasn’t been able to put one in the win column for a good while, and that takes a toll on a man’s psyche. He’s been fighting and fighting, but he seems to just keep losing ground. His decision to submit to Ra’s isn’t really his decision at all. Much like Diggle told Maseo, Oliver isn’t making this decision from a position of strength. He’s making it from a position fear and desperation. That’s not a recipe for good choices.

Oliver’s time on Nanda Parbat was also the first (and only) time he and Felicity got a chance to be together. Ever since Oliver walked into Felicity’s office that first time, I’ve wanted Ollicity to be a thing. They just make each other better. Part of me is glad they finally stopped dancing around each other and pretending that they aren’t deeply in love. It’s been frustrating watching them hurt each other over and over again. Part of it is stubbornness but most of it is Oliver being an idiot. When Felicity decided to stop playing around and go get her man, I literally breathed a sigh of relief. But instead of that scene being as passionate or as desperate as I thought it would be, it actually seemed more sad than anything else. Instead of that being a happy moment for both of them, it was bittersweet. Yes, they were finally together but the circumstances weren’t ideal. Oliver was saying goodbye to the woman he loves. It’s not a love borne out of necessity like it was with Shado or out of shared tragedy like it was with Sarah. This is a love borne out of genuine respect and friendship. This is a love of the deepest and strongest kind. Oliver knew he wasn’t going home. He knew he was probably never going to be able to see Felicity again. Or at the very least, he was never going to be able to look her in the eye again. For her part, Felicity never gave up trying to save Oliver from himself. She figured he would be angry at her for trying to stop him, but she also knew that she would never be able to live with herself if she didn’t at least try. It kind of broke my heart a little bit. Now that they’ve both declared and consummated their love for each other, I sincerely hope love with be able to save them. Because it doesn’t matter what Oliver says, he’s not going to be alright without Felicity and she definitely isn’t going to be alright without him.

All in all, this was a decent episode. It was pretty heavy emotionally, but none of those emotions felt forced. I don’t know whether it’s that it was such a change of pace from the last few episodes, but I enjoyed this one a whole lot more than I have the handful previous. I must give Stephen Amell kudos for his performance. He’s shown a great deal of growth as an actor, and the quiet, nuanced way he played this episode demonstrates that growth. I’m curious to see just how long Diggle and Felicity will sit on their hands before they go try to get Oliver back, but I don’t imagine it will be too long. They both love Oliver entirely too much for that. It’ll also be interesting to see just how far Oliver is willing to go and whether he’ truly got both feet in with the League of Assassins. We’ve only got a few more episodes left in this season, so here’s hoping for good things.