'Arrow' Recap: Ra’s Al Ghul's Plan is Revealed in 'Al Sah-Him'

We kick things off this week with a “Batman Begins”-style opening montage of Oliver Queen undergoing transformative training at the hands of Ra’s Al Ghul. But you know when Bruce Wayne refused to kill in the name of Ra’s? That’s where the parallels end, as Oliver Queen did indeed kill, and in doing so became Al Sah-Him, the Heir of the Demon. However, it wasn’t a nameless prisoner he killed; it was a League of Assassins member whom Oliver believed was John Diggle. Now, unless Oliver is playing a long game, he had no idea the man wasn’t his best friend, which signals that Oliver Queen is no more.

Oliver might have changed, but Team Arrow is altruistic as ever, doing whatever it can to keep Starling City safe. Laurel is fighting crime as Black Canary, and doing a rather good job of it -- even if she does receive a little assistance from Nyssa Al Ghul. In fact, Laurel and Nyssa have a nice bonding session over fries and milkshakes. Meanwhile, Felicity and Diggle try to keep the group together without Oliver, or, for that matter, Roy, who faked his death a few weeks earlier.

Roy’s ex, Thea, has her own troubles to contend with as she discovers Oliver remained in Nanda Parbat in the bargain to bring her back from the dead. Felicity also has a burden to carry, as she recently broke offer her relationship with Ray Palmer to be with Ollie, who’s now gone. However, that doesn’t stop Team Arrow from relying on each other in their fight for justice.

But Oliver won’t be away from Starling City for long, as the last thing he has to do to become Heir of the Demon is destroy any threat to his ascension. Nyssa, the daughter of Ra’s, is just such a threat, and Oliver returns home to kill her for betraying her father. This creates a rift within Team Arrow, as Diggle doesn’t’ want to risk their lives defending Ra’s daughter, yet Laurel wants to protect the woman who meant so much to her sister. Oliver takes his men, including Maseo, and goes after Nyssa, only to have Laurel place herself -– and her new Canary Cry – between him and the Daughter of the Demon. It’s an impressive moment as glass shatters around Oliver, saving Nyssa, at least for the moment.

Let’s take a few moments to appreciate the hero Laurel Lance has become: Just a few short months ago, she was a manipulative, pill-popping brat who served as the unintentional foil to Oliver and her father. Now, however, she’s proved herself worthy of the mantle of Black Canary, throwing herself in harm’s way to do what’s right.

However, that’s not the last attempt Oliver makes on Nyssa. Al Sah-Him’s next try takes him to a dark place from which he may not be able to return, as he kidnaps Diggle’s wife Lyla and offers her in exchange for his target. Of course Diggle agrees, but not before making a play to save Nyssa. A kick-ass fight ensues, with Lyla, Diggle, Felicity, Laurel and Nyssa taking on Oliver, Maseo and their men. For some reason, Laurel doesn’t use her Canary Cry this time (the episode’s only little flaw), and Oliver is able to escape with Nyssa, but not before an unexpected hooded figure arrives to save Diggle from a killing blow. That’s right, a costumed Thea Queen fires an arrow into her brother. Is this the first appearance of a new Speedy? Whatever Thea ends up calling herself, her debut as a hooded champion is pretty epic. It’s a memorable episode for Thea for other reasons as well, as she also learns that Roy is alive.

But Thea’s arrival doesn’t save Nyssa, who’s brought back to Nanda Parbat to face her father’s justice.

Before we discuss that, we should note that this week’s flashback focuses on an attempt by Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu to save Hong Kong from the Alpha Omega virus. The trio manages to rescue a group of innocents from being exposed to the virus, but it seems as if they can’t save Tatsu and Maseo’s son, as the last thing we see is the poor kid exhibiting symptoms. Could this be the moment Maseo becomes a killer?

Whatever the case, Ra’s now possesses the virus. It’s revealed that he wants Nyssa not only because she betrayed him but because she held the virus. That isn’t Ra’s Al Ghul’s only plan, as he also wants to see his daughter wed his new heir in a move right out of the classic Batman graphic novel “Bride of the Demon.” So to complete his transformation, Oliver must not only wed Nyssa, he must also use the Alpha Omega to destroy Starling City.

It’s quite an ending, setting up this season’s final episodes of “Arrow.” However, that’s not all, as we also get our first mention of Damian Dark, a formal rival of Ra’s Al Ghul who seems to be positioned as a major villain for next season, and perhaps beyond. But with the Alpha Omega virus in Oliver’s hands, will there be anyone left once Dark arrives?

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