written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
After the last episode’s reveal that Noah “the Calculator” Kuttler was Felicity Smoak’s estranged father, something floating around the rumor mill for a while now, the whole Calculator saga takes a back seat to this episode’s true conflict, rather the offer Nyssa made to Oliver where she will save Thea’s life if Oliver kills Malcolm Merlyn.
The entire episode revolves around this inner struggle with the League. Nyssa has been abe to split some of Merlyn’s forces to pledge loyalty to her since Nyssa believes that the role of the Demon’s Head belongs to her as her birthright.
Arguably one of the most frustrating episodes to watch in a long time, if you felt like Malcolm Merlyn was a son-of-a-bitch before, this episode will make you hate him worse than when you found out he orchestrated Sara’s death.
While the ongoing power struggle in the League does consume most of the action, a more subtle conflict presents itself in Felicity reconnecting with her father. Rather than being someone who’d try to stir up some trouble, it felt like Kuttler was seriously trying to reconnect with Felicity. He’d point out how both he and Felicity are more alike that maybe she’d like to admit, and it started to work on her… even going so far as to second guess her mother’s warning not to trust Noah. Though the resolution of the conflict between Felicity and Noah fell to second fiddle, it felt stronger than the overarching struggle of the entire episode.
As per usual, the flashback scenes moved at a snail’s pace… barely getting anywhere closer to where they are headed. Ollie’s still in that dirty prison and the big bad of the past continues to search for something… magical, mystical, whatever… personally I haven’t cared for the past this whole season… save for that Constantine episode.
While war hits the streets of Star City again, this League on League war culminates to Oliver facing down a decision between his newfound morals, protecting his city, and saving Thea’s life. The resolution of said conflict did not feel as satisfying as I hoped it would, while the ending does turn out to be positive… how it happens felt sloppy. Part of me felt like this was a like a filler episode, meant to close out the Noah Kuttler arc and push Malcolm Merlyn’s role forward to where the next episode will lie.
The biggest takeaway from this episode is Malcolm Merlyn is a slimy son-of-a-bitch and without Ra’s al Ghul, anythign involving the League of Assassins is more or less a snooze fest. Hopefully the next episode rectifies much of it, they still haven’t fully unveiled who dies… though based on the way this episode ends… I have my guess.