Everything League of Assassins came to a point in Star City, with Nyssa al Ghul propositioning the Green Arrow to kill Malcolm Merlyn as Ra’s al Ghul once and for all: bringing the League into civil war.
Nyssa arriving at the tail end last week teased big things on the way for the League, with the mysterious and fake-as-hell-looking Lotus concoction playing the perfect MacGuffin to save Thea’s life. The demands? Malcolm give up his leadership over the League. Originally attempting to end things through diplomacy, it turns to full-on assassin war as arrows start flying in Star City that the Green Arrow needs to put to a stop.
Oliver’s reluctance to kill Merlyn seems odd. Throughout the season he’s done a number of things that would seem to herald his redemption, but then he’s done other things that are downright villainous such as collecting Vandal Savage’s ashes. With everything he’s done, he still sees some chance at redemption? In truth Oliver’s logic ends up making a bit of sense, if he were to kill Merlyn it eliminates even the possibility that Thea could ever have a normal relationship with a father. Merlyn doesn’t deserve that chance, they know it, but Thea does. Does that still make it the right call? Clearly not.
The idea that Nyssa isn’t capable of winning a fight against Malcolm Merlyn is supposed to hammer in the point that this was the man who was the antagonist to the Green Arrow for a season; a better archer than him, a better fighter, that he was an insurmountable combatant to him. That Oliver’s victory over him there was proof that he is the only one capable of defeating Merlyn in combat. It doesn’t necessarily sell here, especially with Oliver ending up defeating Merlyn with little fanfare in under maybe a minute of combat.
Tying the theme of fathers having dark secrets, comes Felicity’s. Already being seen as the counterpart to her Overwatch last week, he claims that the body count he had been working for was an illusion, and that his villainous use of Roy and his gadretry was just the whim of whoever pays. Felicity’s not that dumb however, she knows the concerns right off the bat, and what seems to be her being open with her life was truly an attempt to bait out any ulterior motives. This paralleled Merlyn’s own deceit, in that he truly would rather let Thea die than give up his power, just as the Calculator would rather continue gathering intel on potential enemies than focus on actually forming a relationship with his daughter. Turning him over to the cops was fitting, and perfectly justified.
Deciding whether or not to kill Merlyn wasn’t an easy decision, and it was solved in a crafty manner. Just as he decided he can’t simply let Merlyn die, letting him live seems to pose more problems than it has since his initial “demise.” Nyssa obtaining the Ring of the Demon, and promptly destroying it, and the League of Assassins in the process, denies Merlyn the possibility of ever gaining back the power he sought so much. It’s a fitting play for power that tracks with Nyssa’s motivations. The League of Assassins was always an interesting thing for the show to have in play, from so early on as well. Seeing it done away with is odd, and it’s easy to be skeptical and assume it might have some executive decision making influencing that decision. Hopefully Nyssa makes continued appearances in whatever life she chooses to live from here, and the fractured League membership will definitely need new work. It could go any number of ways.
For my review of last week’s episode, “Unchained,” click here.