Arrow S3E15 – “Nanda Parbat” Review
(Warning: full spoilers for Arrow follow. You have been warned.)
The overarching theme of “Nanda Parbat” was, without a shadow of a doubt, guilt. If you were to play a drinking game while watching this episode that consisted of taking a drink every time a character said the word “guilt,” you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning before the second commercial break.
But that’s not a bad thing (well, for your liver, maybe)! “Nanda Parbat” was another effective example of what happens when the showrunners let the human drama guide the events of the show. From Oliver’s guilt leading him to seek out Ra’s to the quieter moments involving Felicity finally succumbing to her feelings for Ray, the human drama was in full force tonight. I’ve said this before, but I can’t say it enough: when a superhero show can so effectively balance the badass comic book elements with great characters (well, most of them) and real human drama that you actually care about, I cannot praise it enough.
Let’s talk about some of the big points, starting with the one that’s been teased since the beginning of the season: the A.T.O.M. is here. FINALLY. Granted, we only got a glimpse of Iron M-… A.T.O.M., but still. We don’t have to wait any more. Somewhat sub-par CGI aside, I’m quite excited to see more of Starling City’s newest vigilante (Seriously, how many do they have now? Like 30?).
And of course, there is the little matter of Ra’s al Ghul wanting Oliver to take his place in the League. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I actually saw this coming. There was something about the way that Ra’s spoke to Oliver that seemed more respectful than angry. And what a revelation this is. Of course, I don’t see this actually panning out, but can you imagine if he were to actually accept that offer? Instead of the League being a constant threat, becoming Oliver’s personal army on the streets of Starling? This could pave the way for an almost Shadowland-esque (look it up) storyline of Oliver getting drunk on power, taking it to far, and all of the other vigilantes teaming up to take him down. We did just get a new one, after all. Hmm…
I’ve been vocal about this in the past, and I’ve never changed my tune: even if it seems a bit out of place, even if the timing may not feel right, I am an absolute sucker for the scenes of Ollie and Dig’s bromance. I couldn’t help but grin like a fool when, even chained to the floor facing certain death, Diggle asked Oliver to be his best man. Especially after seeing the two of them buddy cop it up by blowing through Nanda Parbat together. I don’t even care if moments like this might take some people out of it. I love them. Sue me.
I’m always conflicted about my feelings for Nyssa. Sometimes I love what she brings to the show, other times I think she’s a very one dimensional character. This episode fell into the category of the former. Nyssa telling the story about Sara’s laugh just shows how much she truly loved her and really drives home the pain she feels at her loss. While Nyssa may not have been here the entire season, moments like this remind us that she may have been affected more than most by Sara’s loss.
“Nanda Parbat” planted a lot of seeds for what is inevitably going to be an incredibly eventful finale to season 3. We’re in the homestretch now, and shades of a finale are definitely starting to find their way into every week’s episode. It’s only a matter of time now.