This post contains spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) cheats death…again.
In this week’s episode of Arrow, our hero traveled to Nanda Parbat in an effort to rescue Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) – for ridiculously altruistic reasons – from the clutches of Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). However, the rescue mission was a failure except for the fact that it ultimately wasn’t.
Queen and John Diggle (David Ramsey) were captured and imprisoned, and all seemed lost for the twosome. The head of the demon then summoned Green Arrow and had him kneel before him, the League of Assassins and Ra’s sword. Queen accepted his fate but wanted Diggle’s life spared.
The head of the League then dropped the bombshell at the end of the episode by stating that he wished for Queen to become the new leader of this deadly group.
From a television standpoint, it appears clear that the writers are giving Queen multiple challenges to overcome coupled with intriguing temptations.
As the head of the League of Assassins, an argument could be made that Green Arrow could certainly use the troops to do some good in Starling and rescue the city once and for all.
But that’s not quite how things work when comic books intersect with television. Queen, after all, is our hero despite his multiple transgressions. The show paints him in a light where he almost fails as many times as he enjoys success, a fact that repeatedly hits home when viewing the relationships he entertains with his loved ones.
Oliver’s mother died because kid couldn’t solve Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) in time. Queen also stands practically a stranger to Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) because he slept with her sister Sara (Caity Lotz), which led to her death. Sara ultimately came back alive as a member of the League but was killed when Merlyn manipulated his daughter Thea Queen (Oliver’s sister played by Willa Holland) into killing Sara.
Sara became a member of the League because Oliver couldn’t save her from a sinking ship, and Lance took refuge with Ra’s.
What’s more, her death at the hands of Merlyn could have been prevented had Oliver killed or jailed his nemesis. Instead, Merlyn was captured by the League and Queen made the attempt to rescue him to rid Thea of whatever oncoming guilt she may feel for providing the League with Merlyn’s location.
And to top it all off, tech expert Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) has seemingly finally abandoned all hope of a romantic relationship with Oliver judging from her late-night romp with Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). Smoak had started warming up to Palmer when Oliver explained to Felicity that they could never be together given his mission; but there was still a glimmer of hope for them.
And then, Oliver challenged Ra’s and “died.” We’ll probably never know how he was brought to life, but after roughly three or four weeks away, Queen returned as less than a conquering hero. Felicity realized that loving and mourning were extremes she could not live with.
So many failures for Arrow, and yet, they have led him to the top of the League’s mountain, which infuriates some the comic book readers.
Let’s not mince words, Green Arrow is a lesser version of Batman, a fact that was made fairly clear in the early years of the Green Arrow comic book mythology.
The television show has relied on some of that writing as inspiration, and it makes for an intriguing and yet odd dichotomy between Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen.
Wayne defines himself through his successes but uses the threat of failure to persevere and defeat his opponents. Batman will use every edge possible short of killing a foe, whereas the TV Arrow’s moral compass fluctuates.
There are times where Oliver will do whatever it takes to get the job done and other instances where he doesn’t put in everything and then some to stay ahead of all—the fact he lost Queen Consolidated is proof of that.
Despite it all, Queen stands as Batman’s equal in this latest episode of Arrow.
Ra’s has always wanted for Bruce to stand beside him and eventually take over the League. When that failed, his daughter Talia (she’s named Nyssa [Katrina Law] on Arrow, but there is a possibility that TV will give Ra’s two daughters) drugged Wayne and slept with him in a successful attempt to bare his child.
Damian Wayne was later born and trained by the League before joining forces with his father. This is relevant now because Arrow appears to be lining up on that path. Considering Queen’s penchant for troubled women and Nyssa’s grief over slain lover Sara, it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a brief union between them.
Should she become pregnant with his child, it will only reinforce the notion that Oliver’s failures put him on the route for something resembling success yet again.
Our hero is but a complicated man, and no understands, not even his women. Through it all, whether he continues to emulate Batman or not, it seems fairly clear that his destiny remains that he will continue to cheat death no matter what.