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Recap / Arrow S 3 E 15 Nanda Parbat

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Oliver travels to Nanda Parbat to save Malcolm from Ra's al-Ghul, while Ray puts the finishing touches to his A.T.O.M. suit.


  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Malcolm pathetically (and fruitlessly) begs to be spared and be let back into the League. It's obvious he knew it wouldn't work and he was just grasping at straws. As a deliberate contrast, Oliver is also willing to beg for Diggle's life.
  • Always Someone Better: One of the main reasons Oliver wanted to save Malcolm was that he was still traumatized from his defeat at Ra's hands and he couldn't stand the idea of someone out there who could beat him.
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  • Arrows on Fire: The League uses them when Oliver attacks Nanda Parbat.
  • The Atoner:
    • Roy reveals to Thea that he anonymously helps out the widow and son of the police officer he killed while under the influence of Mirakuru in order to deal with the guilt.
    • After telling Nyssa she was the one who physically killed Sara, Thea releases her from her cell and gives Nyssa her blade back, offering her life if Nyssa wants vengeance.
  • Birds of a Feather: Roy and Thea more so with their shared guilt for unconsciously murdering two different people.
  • Call-Back:
    • The tracer Oliver tagged Malcolm with earlier in the season allows Oliver and Diggle to locate Malcolm inside the fortress.
    • Roy tells Thea about his unconscious murder of a cop during his Mirakuru-influenced rampage to help make her feel better regarding her own unconscious murder of Sara.
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  • Catch and Return: Oliver takes a fire arrow launched at him by a League sentry and fires it back.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Malcolm's punishment by the League.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In full force during the Storming the Castle scene!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Laurel presented zero risk to Malcolm when she tried to ambush him.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Did Laurel Lance think she could take on the League of Assassins-trained Malcolm Merlyn? Subverted, because when asked this very question, she reveals she knew she couldn't and brought a gun, she just needed his guard down.
  • Due to the Dead: Discussed. Nyssa commends Laurel for wanting to avenge Sara's death.
  • Easily Forgiven: Laurel is quick to forgive Thea for killing Sara, due to the mind-control. She is not quick to forgive Merlyn.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Felicity tries to avoid this. She fails.
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  • Eureka Moment/Dreaming the Truth: After a meal, a shower and a good night sleep with Felicity, Ray wakes up suddenly with the solution for his A.T.O.M. problem and is able to finish the suit and test-fly it before Felicity even wakes up.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Diggle hates Malcolm, but even he's freaked out by when he sees the torture the League has put him through.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Ra's scolds Merlyn to do this when the latter starts begging to be spared.
      Ra's: Face your fate with honor — or at least dignity.
    • By contrast, Oliver meets Ra's calmly, asking only that Diggle be released unharmed. He even offers to beg for it.
    • Thea calmly tells Nyssa that she was the one who personally killed Sara while handing her a blade that she might use to kill her. She even suggests the fact.
  • Female Gaze: There's a scene with Ray only clad in a Modesty Towel. This serves as the aforementioned Eating the Eye Candy moment for Felicity.
  • Foil: When Malcolm is brought before Ra's, he begs for his own life. When Oliver is brought before Ra's, he (completely composed) offers to beg for Diggle's life.
  • Genius Slob: Spending days working obsessively on the A.T.O.M. suit left Ray unshaven, exhausted, and, according to Felicity, pretty stinky.
  • Gut Punch: Laurel praising Thea after sparring with Oliver and Malcolm by saying Malcolm taught her well, as well as comparing her fighting style to Sara. Due to the reveal of Sara's murder, Thea both felt guilty and disgusted with herself.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: For all the advanced training we know that the League has, the sentries that Oliver and Diggle fight on the way into Nanda Parbat have lousy aim. However since Ra's set up Malcolm to be bait for a trap and wanted Oliver alive, it is hinted that Ra's had his weakest agents out that night.
  • Honor Before Reason: Thea tells Nyssa that she was the one to kill Sara, then lets her out of her cage and gives her a sword. It cannot end well.
  • Hypocrite: Laurel gives Oliver a What the Hell, Hero? speech for lying to her about Sara's death even though she did the same thing to her father for similar reasons.
  • Internal Reveal: Laurel and Nyssa find out that Thea killed Sara.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Oliver fears Thea is going through this when she sells out Malcolm to the League; her constant state of aggression throughout the episode just adds to those fears.
  • Love at First Sight: Nyssa tells the story of how she first met Sara. Ra's made a demonstration of his power, which always awed anyone who saw it — but Sara just laughed, naively amused. Nyssa muses that she probably fell in love with her right there.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Yamashiro family and Oliver are all happily ready to get back to normal life as a reward from the Army for foiling China White. Then they find out Amanda Waller has ordered agents to kill them anyway.
  • Moral Myopia: Laurel has no problem with Killing Malcolm, but considers Oliver keeping people prisoner different.
  • Mythology Gag: The episode begins with Ra's bathing in a large pool, obviously alluding to the Lazarus Pit, his personal Fountain of Youth.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: The main reason why Diggle goes to Nanda Parbat with Oliver is because, as Lyla puts it, leaving a friend behind isn't in his DNA.
  • Older Than They Look: While the series has dropped hints that this version of Ra's is long-lived like other versions of the character, this episode makes it explicit when he mentions meeting a magician in the 19th Century. Interestingly, the trope often used in comic book movies in place of this (Legacy Character) is also alluded to by Ra's at the end of the episode.
    Ra's al-Ghul: I want you to be the next Ra's al-Ghul.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Felicity reworks the security of the company mainframe so that Ray can't get in, forcing him to either spend six hours breaking in manually, or spend that time eating dinner and getting some rest, then getting the password from her. He goes with option two. Once he's ready, he finds that the new password is literally "password".
  • The Place: The title refers to the League of Assassins' lair.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Oliver and Diggle find a tortured Malcolm, he musters enough strength to whisper "trap".
    • For what little it's worth, Malcolm doesn't try to sell out Thea to save his own skin.
    • Ra's continues to show respect towards Oliver for his strength and courage, even offering him a place at his side as opposed to killing him (like he would arguably have the right to, since their Duel to the Death was apparently never truly resolved).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: It is suggested several times by several people to Nyssa that Ra's will never let her rule the League because she is a lesbian. Her reactions to when people point this out seems to suggest she secretly admits to herself that she knows this and Ra's offering the heir position to Oliver at the end seems to suggest they are right.
  • Pride: Diggle continually hints that there's something more to Oliver's desire to save Malcolm than saving Thea's soul. Near the end, Oliver admits that it's simple ego; Ra's utterly beat him, and he wants a chance to prove himself again.
  • Reality Ensues: Turning over Malcolm to the League doesn't give Thea any closure, it just makes her angrier.
  • Save the Villain: The main plot of the episode.
  • Scenery Censor: A statue is carefully placed on Ra's' lower body when he rises up from his pool.
  • The Soulsaver: Oliver's rationale for saving Malcolm. He wants to make sure that Thea won't have to live with the guilt of being responsible for her father's death. Near the end, she admits that he was right.
  • Storming the Castle: Oliver and Dig fighting their way into Nanda Parbat to rescue Malcolm.
  • That Came Out Wrong: We've got more Felicity/Ray scenes in this episode, so of course she's going to fall victim to this trope.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Merlyn pathetically begs for his life when he's dragged to Ra's al-Ghul. He's told he should face death with dignity. By contrast, Oliver is willing to do just that, but insists that Diggle be spared.
  • We Can Rule Together: Oliver is offered a place at the side of Ra's al-Ghul as his heir.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Every single member of Team Arrow points out to Oliver that rescuing Malcolm is either morally reprehensible, suicidally stupid, or both.
    • Laurel gives Oliver one last chance to tell her the truth about Sara's death before blowing up at him for keeping it a secret — never mind that she did the exact same thing to her father for months.
  • When She Smiles: Nyssa when telling Laurel stories about how she fell in love with Sara.
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