Arrow Recap: League of Assassins

Recap

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This episode was called “League of Assassins,” which may remind you of the League of Shadows from Batman Begins, which is actually the same thing but sounds way less cool. 

We start off with a flashback this week – 6 years earlier to be precise – which is a good idea considering there’s tin a bucketload of things we don’t know about Oliver’s time on the island. But this one technically belongs to Sara. On the Queen’s Gambit, Sara is lying to her dad on the phone in an extended cut of the scene we’ve previously watched. There’s a storm raging outside and she’s counting how close it is. Bing-bang-boom and the boat goes down, leaving Sara trying to stay afloat.

In our current timeline, Sara is staying with Oliver, which seems weird for a woman trying to pretend she’s still dead. Oh, whatever, says Oliver, mom’s in jail and Thea’s always with her boyfriend now. Ok then. They go on to have another discussion about how she should tell her family she’s alive so I guess we didn’t actually settle this whole thing last week. At Iron Heights prison, we find out Laurel and her boss are prosecuting Moira. Ooooooooooooh! Dirty looks aside, they’d like to give her a plea offer – life with possibility of parole. Moira’s lawyer is staying true to the “she was coerced” defense but they say they’re likely to find records of her being involved voluntarily. Moira says she’ll think about it and Oliver confronts Laurel who says she was assigned to the case, she didn’t choose it, and that she used the little pull she has to get the deal for his mom. You mean, the little pull she already used up previously in the season to get her dad out of jail?

Back at the Queen residence, Sara sees photo of the yacht and has a flashback to waking up on a piece of it in the middle of the ocean. And then a random canary lands near her. IMAGERY! She spots the Amazo boat and calls for help as we’re flashed back to the present. She and Oliver start discussing their various issues again but they’re interrupted by a member of the League of Assassins breaking through a window. Now that’s just rude. Oliver thinks it’s Merlyn because their outfits are similar and everyone gets into a Big Fight but the assassin gets away. They resign to the Arrow Lair, and Sara mentions she’s impressed with his set up. The team is brought in so everyone can know everyone and Sara calls Felicity cute, which is cute. Oliver still thinks they are copying Merlyn but Sara reveals he was after her. His name is Al-Owal, which means The First, and he’s a member of the League of Assassins. Diggle heard about the group while in Afghanistan but assumed it was a myth. Turns out one of the League saved Sara from the freighter, took her to Nanda Parbat, and “remade” her into what she is. She swore them her allegiance but left after a murder she committed a year earlier.

Sara and Felicity bond a bit more at the Arrow Lair and uncover some evidence that leads them to the assassin’s hideout. Al-Owal is sharpening a sword when The Hood arrives and shoots at him. Al-Owal calls arrows an “ineffective projectile.” Burn. Oliver tells him to leave Sara Lance alone and brings up Merlyn. Apparently this guy trained him. Blah blah blah, mission, blah blah blah I didn’t come alone. Black Canary drops in only to be told,  “The Child of Ra’s al Ghul awaits your return.” Oh my god please bring in Talia this season. But Al-Owal isn’t alone either and another Big Fight ensues. But as they’re escaping he threatens her family. At the Arrow Lair, Felicity is impressed with Sara not flinching at all as Oliver sews up a large cut and we get to see she actually has a lot of scars. “Why wouldn’t she tell me about the League?” Oliver poses to Diggle. “Same reason you were such a stubborn bonehead about what happened to you on the island,” replies Diggle. YUP.

They decide Felicity will tell Detective Lance he needs to get out of town and Oliver will protect Laurel but all of that is easier said than done. Lance has just finished leaving Laurel another voicemail about not talking to him when Felicity catches up with him. She tries to warn him as best she can without revealing the big Sara secret but it’s not enough for him. Nobody is safe in Starling City, after all. Meanwhile Oliver visits Laurel, who says they can’t discuss the case but he convinces her he’s there only as a friend. The two go out to eat and on the way back to her apartment he points out she didn’t drink at dinner. Yeah, see? You guys totally overreacted about my drinking, lol. And then she tries to kiss him but he pushes her away which leads her to break down in tears over everyone in her life leaving her. And then she says, “I thought I locked my door,” she she spots her door totally open. Oliver investigates first and finds a knife in the wall but hides it before she sees. He leaves her, which seems like a terrible idea considering the whole knife thing, and we see her take some prescription drugs in her purse.

And then there was a gross Bose commercial disguised as a mini-episode called “Blood Rush.” Roy meets Felicity at the Queen offices to meet Oliver but he’s currently unavailable. Lance calls her and says “we have a problem,” and the “episode” ends. Absolutely ridiculous. And what came on right after? Another Bose commercial. Good lord.

Back to the ACTUAL SHOW. Felicity tells Diggle and Sara, Lance didn’t take her seriously and Sara decides she’s going to go protect him. She refuses help from Diggle for no good reason at all and finds Lance freaking himself out on the street. And surprisingly, Sara reveals herself. All the tears. Sara and dad go for some Chinese food, where she reveals she speaks Chinese. They talk about family but she’s jumpy because of the League’s impending attack. And Lance says, “You know the Arrow?” I believe this is the first time that name has been given to The Hood on the show. Seems odd it would be done here and by Lance so casually. Anyway, he puts everything together and realizes she’s the female vigilante and his brain almost explodes when he realizes she’s been home for weeks. She admits she wasn’t ever planning on letting them know she was alive and then they realize, oh yeah, we should probably get out of this public place.

Sara takes her dad to the Watchtower, where he describes her “like a bird on a wire.” She explains a bit about her time with the League and says they had her choose a new name – she chose the Arabic word for Canary. “I bought you that canary when you were ten,” replies Lance, which actually makes zero sense in this context for me considering they never showed this previously. Not much more time for memories though, as the League sends a few more members crashing in and dad and daughter stand to fight together. She knew they were coming though and set up a few traps. The Hood shows up and it’s another Big Fight. Lance shoots one of the bad guys with spare gun, Sara kills the next and tells the other to give Ra’s a message, that he’s to stay away from her family. We wrap things up as Sara tells her dad she can’t stay or else they’ll constantly be in danger. He agrees, albeit reluctantly, to keep her secret. Though he immediately goes to see Laurel and give her a big hug. Like they keep doing, he asks if she’s alright again and finally she says, “I don’t know.”

Oliver meets Thea at Iron Heights because their mom wants to take the deal. She’s tired of fighting and not confident she can win over a jury. “We still need you,” Thea pleads, “I still need you.” But Oliver can tell she’s hiding something. They visit again and are resolute. Oliver says they will love her no matter what. Thea tells her she taught them to be strong. She agrees to table the offer but doesn’t actually give up her big secret. At the Arrow Lair, Oliver tells Diggle Sara left and the two share a drink. He says he’s tired of trying to so hard so it’s time for him to let out a secret, “The five years I was gone, I wasn’t always on the island.”

Our Sara flashbacks initially revealed her relief at being rescued but immediate freak out when she realizes the people who picked her up aren’t good guys. She’s dragged through the boat and locked in a cell like Oliver, only to be dragged out again later to potentially be gang raped. An older man saves her before that can happen and brings her to slightly better lodgings. He lockes her in, explaining, “My shipmates aren’t the nicest bunch,” and introduces himself as Dr. Anthony Ivo! She inquires about the prisoners and he says he needs them for his work, claiming he’s going to save the human race and that maybe she can help. The last bit of flashback leaves us exactly where we left Oliver on the freighter, last time. He’s brought to the room with Sara and there’s not much more than what we previously saw except for her kicking him and saying, “prisoners do not speak.” But overall, another great episode.

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."