For my original full recap for episode 4, you can click here.
Quick rundown of the pertinent details of Arrow 3-4 The Magician: Nyssa learns the tragic fate of her beloved and reluctantly teams up with Oliver to track down the very much alive Malcolm Merlyn who they suspect as being responsible for her murder. Oliver hesitates in going for the kill shot which infuriates Nyssa who decides to lure Malcolm out by kidnapping Thea and using her as bait. Oliver of course can’t abide that and arrow-blocks Nyssa’s second attempt to kill Malcolm and adding insult to injury allows Malcolm to bluff his way from an arrow to the head and heart by playing the ‘You don’t kill’ and ‘I’m your sister’s father’ and ‘No prison can hold me’ cards all at once. Oliver places Malcolm under his protection against Nyssa and the League of Assassins which when relayed to her father, Ra’s, is not well received.
Rewatch Reacts: Knowing how the season played out, this episode is a key moment where the motivations and logic of the story begin to falter mightily in the season and is a preview of the bad logic to come. There was literally no logical reason for Oliver to not at least try to incarcerate Malcolm and make it clear that he may not mete out lethal justice but he does still see his city protected and avenged. Even if Oliver had said to Malcolm that it’s because of Tommy’s dying wish that Oliver not kill Malcolm that he continues to breath, I would’ve shaken my head and said to the tv screen: in this instance Tommy was wrong – kill this dude. Or at least maim him so that he can’t easily escape whatever jail you put him in. Instead Oliver just gives him a weak warning and let’s Malcolm go because…reasons. It makes Oliver and the Arrow look like weak sauce. And we know Oliver is not weak sauce. The choice has been made of plot over consistent characterization as a guiding force for the season – and while once can have awesome moments set up due to plot, tearing down the character to get to that point –which we will be seeing- does more harm than good for the overall product.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s save that more in depth discussion for later.
Next ep: The Felicity Smoak origins story you’ve been waiting two seasons for -complete with the introduction of the delightfully brassy, sassy Donna Smoak!