Picking up where we left off last week, Thea lies broken and bleeding on the floor. She reaches for her phone but passes out just as Oliver enters. He runs to her side and calls for an ambulance. At the hospital, they take her into the OR and her heart stops beating, but they’re able to resuscitate her. Later a doctor tells Oliver that they’ve done everything they can, but he might want to consider other options, ’cause she may not ever wake up. He goes inside to see her and is soon joined by Merlyn where the two of them see the consequences of their choices up close. We flashback to Hong Kong where Ollie, Maseo, and Tatsu scout out the Army base and see them loading the now active bio-weapon into a truck. Oliver steals a car and they begin the chase.
Oliver sits catatonic as Felicity and Diggle enter, and all he can muster to say is that it’s bad. Outside he notices smoke signals from the League and laments that they’ve won, and there isn’t a plan to make. He finds Maseo at the source of the smoke and pops him right in the kisser, but then he reveals that Ra’s can bring her back as long as Oliver accepts his deal. Later Oliver packs his things much to the chagrin of Felicity and Diggle, especially given Ra’s is probably tricking him, but Merlyn pops in to explain the Lazarus Pit (even citing it by name!) and its abilities to raise the dead. Though he warns that the Thea it raises will not be the Thea Oliver knows. This does not sway Oliver, who just needs a way to get there. Thinking ahead, Felicity goes to see Ray to borrow his jet because of the issue that has arisen. Roy reluctantly agrees, but lets Felicity know that he knows she loves Oliver. Also, someone call the Jelly School for Ray.
At the airfield they load Thea into the Jet, and though Merlyn tries to talk Oliver out of the plan he tells him to get on the jet. En route to Nanda Parbat, Felicity and Oliver talk about his time away, and he reveals the time he returned to Starling City (way back in episode 3.14!) – he also delivers a twist on his famous catchphrase, because he has failed his sister. We flashback to Hong Kong where the truck is speeding down the road, but Oliver, Maseo, and Tatsu are in hot pursuit. As they exchange gunfire, Oliver hops inside the truck and beats on the soldiers, Katana pops in too and brings the truck to a halt. Oliver opens the case and of course finds it empty – the real bioweapon is still out there.
Oliver and company approach Nanda Parbat in a scene that is fresh out of “Game of Thrones,” with the full league standing outside their HQ as Ra’s, Maseo, and an unknown lady approach. He welcomes Oliver back and they head inside. Maseo takes Thea’s body to prepare her for the ritual and later shows Diggle to his own private quarters. Diggle recognizes him from Oliver’s stories and verbally knocks him out, asking him what his son would think of him now and how he can serve under Ra’s knowing what he’s doing to Oliver. Maseo also offers a tease of what we’ve all known was coming, that Akio died at some point previously. Everyone gathers in the main chamber for Thea’s resurrection. She’s lowered into the pit by Merlyn, Oliver, Diggle, and Maseo as the preistess chants about her rising. Her body falls into the water and after a beat she flies out of it like a giant possessed frog, knocking Oliver to the ground. They sedate her after she does her best impression of Regan from The Exorcist. Afterward, Ra’s reminds Oliver he’s fulfilled his half of the bargain and he must prepare to honor his.
Thea wakes up some time later and though she recognizes Merlyn as her dad, she doesn’t believe Oliver is who he says he is and she also asks where he mother is. Oliver reveals the confusion will eventually pass, but Felicity has had enough and marches out of the room and straight to Ra’s. She chastises him for what he’s doing to Oliver, but Ra’s turns it around. He was forced into this life and never given the opportunity to say goodbye to his family, something that he’s giving both her and Oliver. Taking this to heart, Felicity goes to Oliver’s room where he pours his heart out, discussing the struggles he has with his own identity (it’s the theme of the season kids!). Oliver peacefully proclaims that everything that has happened has lead to this, and Felicity reveals she knows she can’t change his mind. They each profess their love and then get down to business.
In Hong Kong, Katana interrogates a soldier to find out where the real weapon is: in the food cart they saw at the base. The trio head to the market to search for it and Maseo and Tatsu have a tiny family crisis in the midst of the mission. Back in the present, Felicity and Oliver engage in post-coitus chitchat while she pours them drinks. They toast to each other and Oliver stumbles to the ground, drugged by Felicity. Later Diggle and Merlyn aren’t sure what her big plan was, but she says she knows that Merlyn knows a back way out and that’s where they go. They run through the tunnels and fend off some ninjas, and just as things seem dire, Maseo, touched by his talk with Diggle, comes to their aid. Though they make it to the catacombs, they become surrounded. Oliver wakes up just in time to call off the assassins, who recognize him as their leader in waiting. He walks his friends out of Nanda Parbat and they share their goodbyes, except with Felicity who he purposefully doesn’t say bye to before planting one on her like Clark Gable.
Thea wakes up in her loft in Starling, seemingly back to normal, and Merlyn explains the circumstances of the past few days to her. She takes it better than expected, though many a huff is tossed out. Merlyn says he’ll make it up to her, but who even knows if that’s true. Felicity goes to see Laurel in a scene that closely mirrors when they thought Oliver was dead and reveals to her that he’s gone and done this time. In Nanda Parbat, Ra’s asks Oliver who helped him with their escape attempt and Maseo cops to it. He asks Ra’s to take his life, but he refuses, saying he won’t punish “Sarab” for Maseo’s actions. It’s time Oliver begun his transformation, where the identity of Oliver Queen must be extinguished from his memory.
Back in Hong Kong, they look for the bio-weapon-holding food cart and if we’ve learned one thing about Oliver’s time in China, it’s that a gun fight is going to break out, which it does. Oliver makes it to the food cart and fights the attendant for the vial but it soars through the air and crashes on the pavement, sending glass and spooky smoke into the air. In the present, Oliver enters a room shirtless as Ra’s delivers a grand monologue as villains do. He then brands Oliver with a brand that resembles the arrow head seen in the opening credits of the series and after he gets dressed in his brand new League of Assassins garb, it is proclaimed that Oliver Queen is dead and that he is now Al Sah-him, heir to the demon.
You can check out the promo for Episode 3.21 of “Arrow” in the player below. Titled “Al Sah-him,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“Oliver (Stephen Amell) goes through a rigorous transformation. The League of Assassins sets their sites on Nyssa (guest star Katrina Law), who is back in Starling City training Laurel (Katie Cassidy). When Nyssa realizes they are coming, she arms up to face them alone but Laurel asks Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) to help protect her new friend.”
Directed by Thor Freudenthal with story by Beth Schwartz and teleplay by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich, “Al Sah-Him” is set to air April 29. “Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 P.M. EST on The Cw.