Arrow: “Heir To The Demon” Review
Shocks, Betrayals, Families Torn Apart And… One Very Intense Episode
Okay. Bare with me here, folks. I’m still reeling from that episode. I swear, these last two episodes — Tremors and Heir To The Demon — have been the strongest two episodes of Season 2B. So far. We knew going into it several things — Moira running for Mayor and that there was bound to be some form of a stand-off between her and Blood even if it took weeks to get there; we’d get some backstory on Felicity; Sara’s back and so’s mom Dinah, along with the introduction of Nyssa al Ghul (guest star and Spartacus alum Katrina Law); and finally, we’d get happy Lance family through flashbacks (with the obvious shock in the final flashback).
And I’m gonna try my hardest to stay as spoiler-free as I possibly can with this week’s review. But I swear I might very well fail at that — so forgive me if I do make the blunder. Consider that your warning.
The very first person we see is Nyssa arriving at Starling City (which was released as a preview clip earlier in the week, but I stayed clear as I wanted to keep myself surprised this week for the first time all season). She, for the sake of the few reading this who don’t have the comics knowledge, Nyssa’s the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (as if her surname didn’t hint it). In one scene, we meet her and her kick-assery. Which is, as always when it comes to the fight scenes in Arrow, beautiful to watch. Law auditioned for Shado, and was ultimately turned down for her Spartacus history with Manu Bennett, aka Slade. But the pass on Shado led us to here — seeing Law kick some serious butt as Nyssa. And it’s great to see another female kicking butt. Good to know she’s coming back before the end of the season — though when is yet to be revealed.
Nyssa’s in town to bring Sara back to the League of Assassins. And, to put it simply, Sara’s going to go down kicking and screaming (the latter actually happens, btw). Sara’s not interested in rejoining the killers, but over the course of the episode we see her willingly sacrifice herself to protect her family. And we also learnt very quickly who the creepy guy at the bar in Tremors is — turns out Nyssa sent him to poison Laurel in order to draw Sara out. Plus, after all the blah blah blah over the last three episodes about Laurel, it’s nice to see the other Lance women shine. Especially Alex Kingston as Dinah — oh, how I have missed thee! Even if we get you in only a few scenes, you still rock more than Katie Cassidy and her weird plastic face. (Okay, I admit. That’s a bit rude. But… she’s just gone too far. Katie has a very pretty face. Or should I say had — she’s lost weight between seasons, as well as perhaps had plastic surgery. No fan of the show that I know likes it. Had to be said.)
It’s actually quite nice having the opportunity to take a break from the intense island flashbacks for a week, especially with episode 15 being dedicated in its entirety to the island and when the present day action is heating up. And it’s nice to see the Lances before all the drama post the Gambit’s sinking. Admittedly, Laurel’s just as irritating five years ago, while Caity Lotz sounds like she’s trying a little too hard to have her voice set higher. Be yourself, honey! She has a beautiful tone to her voice, and I hate to hear it in the flashbacks. Other than that, the flashbacks were incredible. Seeing the Lances happy balanced out perfectly the really dark events unfolding in the present day. And I want to praise Paul Blackthorne — who is doing a superb job as a father doing his all for his daughters, even as they spiral out of control.
Now… Moira has a mini showdown with Blood. And Susanna Thompson’s been highly underused this season. So it’s great to have her come back into the spotlight. Blood does his best to intimidate her out of running, but she holds his ground. And that makes me excited for the rest of the season — “bring it on” comes to mind right now…
And then there’s the Queen family drama. That big secret Moira’s trying to desperately keep hush hush. Earlier, Stephen Amell was asked by a fan if Oliver would learn about the secret — he simply said “watch tonight”. HOLY FUCK DUDE! I swear to God that guy knows how to kill the fan base in his performance. While we don’t actually see it going down, we can tell from the reactions of him, Felicity and Moria in the connected scenes that this secret will have a lasting effect — not just on Oliver and Moira’s relationship, but also Oliver and Felicity. And kudos to Oliver for holding his shit together while giving a speech about his mom mere moments after learning what he did. Stephen Amell nailed that scene perfectly. NAILED. IT.
And for months they’ve been saying we’ll get a bit of Felicity background, promising episode 13 will be it. And Stephen Amell praised Emily Bett Rickards this week for handling the scene so well — he even hopes that they give her “a Felicity-centric episode because she’s earnt it.” And… I agree. One speech knocked me over. One little bit of information, just a little bit of her opening up to Oliver — it was so powerful. Especially when she was scared to open up to him about what she’d learnt about Moira. Speaking of that, Felicity actually approached Moira earlier in the episode about it — only to have the Queen matriarch give her quite a chilling threat. It screamed “don’t mess with me” from Moira. That and her Blood showdown was the best Moira moments.
We also got a brief Walter-Felicity scene, which I’ve been hoping to have since Walter’s comeback last week. Shame it was so short. Highlight was the adorable moment where Felicity said “Walter” with a British accent. Cute.
Also, Andrew Kreisberg has said that Roy made an appearance in the episode — fighting against Nyssa at the hospital. His scene unfortunately was cut for time, but thanks to TV Guide, here’s what was said about it:
The deleted scene featured Oliver calling on his protégé to protect Laurel at the hospital, where he ends up coming face-to-face with Nyssa when she comes to kidnap Dinah. “Nyssa shoots him with a dart with snake venom and she says, ‘A normal person would be dead by now. You’re stronger than you look,'” Kreisberg says. “And he says, ‘I get that a lot.’ They have a fight, but the venom starts to affect him, and she takes him out.” Don’t worry about missing the scene. Guggenheim teased it would be on the Season 2 DVD.
I apologize for the upcoming SPOILER-FILLED rant. But this has to be said. If you’re not interested, stop reading.
While I’m still emotionally fucked thanks to the wonderfully acted scene between Oliver and Felicity in which she opened up about her family while also setting up telling him the big secret while standing in the midst of his mother’s campaign launch — the fact that he noticed immediately something was wasn’t right with Felicity, and chose to be there and talk it through with her is a beautiful moment, proving how close they’ve become — most of the Olicity fans I know are getting worked up by the non-Olicity but Oliver and Sara scene that closed out tonight’s episode. I’m in the minority when it comes to that scene. A lot of Olicity fans are in uproar over the scene, disliking the turn of events. Personally, though, I’m unfazed. Oliver needs to sort things out — he’s had a big bombshell dropped into his life, adding yet another complicated layer of lies to his already complicated life, as well as tearing his relationship with his family to shreds. Because, to be honest, who could back Moira after hearing that secret? Meanwhile, look at Sara. She has a lot in common with him right now. Both hide secrets from their moms and sisters (I admit his is way more than hers), but… there’s that mirroring between them. Both have experienced similar things over the last six years (five years on Lian Yu, plus I’m assuming we’ve had a year gone by since Oliver returned to Starling). And ultimately, they’re gonna seek each other out in times of need. Plus, earlier in the episode Oliver made it damn clear that he’s sick of having her vanish on him (which makes me wonder what the hell went down on the island — how did they part ways???). They need each other right now, and that’s what we saw at the end of the episode. I’ve always rooted for Olicity — they’re my OTP and end game. But… until we get them openly saying how they feel towards each other (because right now, we’re not even close to that — neither wants to admit it yet. Oliver’s becoming aware of his feelings, but… he’s a stubborn guy, and Stephen’s said he’s confused over it.) he’s fricking allowed to be with whoever the frick he wants! So to all those Oliciters out there getting angry over that scene — CALM DOWN! It’s obvious we’re getting a slow burn on them. And have a bit of faith in the writers for God’s sake! Trust that they know where they’re going and just let them guide us there. It’s a journey worth letting unfold slowly.
And I also want to bring in Stephen Amell’s Facebook comment following the episode, because it works for this:
My favorite characters on television are flawed; because – non Arrow spoiler alert – real people are flawed. Real people have messy lives. Characters with cracks are more interesting. I will defend this point to the death.
With that all said, I’m gonna round out this review. Like I said at the start, these last two episodes have been the best in Season 2B. They definitely rival some of the big episodes in 2A. The cast were exceptionally amazing tonight — every. single. one. (okay, maybe not Katie Cassidy — though she did better in the end scenes than all season. So… go her!) The writing was brilliant, the action and stunt work (big nod to the Arrow and Canary on a motorbike scene) were f-ing amazing as always. And the way Nyssa appears to Sara for the first time… WOAH! Awesome!
Also worth noting — Caity Lotz going hard at it on the salmon ladder. I’m still hoping Felicity gives it a shot at some point.
And I want to add this slight off-topic note in — I was told over the week to justify the score I give each episode. And I really do hope that this week has done so. It’s hard to explain myself and keep as spoiler-free as I can. And I’ve only just started reviewing episodes actively since Season 2B began, so I’m still in the midst of a massive learning curve. But I feel like I can’t really give Arrow any less than A+ out of the ones I’ve reviewed so far — the show continues to impress me every week (except perhaps Blind Spot, which was a very ‘meh’ episode and happened to fall in the week I took off reviewing as I’d stressed myself out the previous week and needed a chill out week). I just wanted to put that out there — that, to me, Arrow deserves at least an A every week, and so far has earnt A+ every week. Things may change in the future though. But I’m a “let’s take things one episode at a time” kind of woman.
Last note — Arrow is taking a couple of weeks off. It will return on February 26th with episode 14, Time of Death. It’s time to meet the Clock King!
- “She’s been doing that for like an hour.” – Felicity, on Sara’s salmon-laddering
- “Come over to academia. The fun never ends!” – Dinah
- “Goodbyes are never easy. Is that why I didn’t get one?” – Nyssa
- “British people are really bad liars.” – Felicity
- “If you won’t keep my secret for Oliver’s sake, keep it for your own.” – Moira to Felicity
- “I’ve seen the way you look at him.” – Moira to Felicity
- “Lucky for us, Tibetan pit-viper venom is difficult to transport.” – Felicity
- “Where’d you two even meet?” – Lance
“Vigilante club.” – Sara
- “Felicity. Fel-i-city.” – Oliver to Felicity, as she tries to walk away from him in THAT scene.
- “Is this about your family?” – Oliver
“No. It’s about yours.” – Felicity
- “I can promise you, you don’t know my mother. You don’t know her like I do. And you don’t know what she’s capable of … when it comes to helping the people of Starling City.” – Oliver
- “Not again.” – Oliver