Nanda Parbat brings Nyssa down on Starling City and has Thea drowning n her own guilt.
ARROW 3.15 “NANDA PARBAT”
Director: Gregory Smith
Story by: Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski
Teleplay by: Erik Oleson and Ben Sokolowski
Original Air Date: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards
Previously on Arrow 3.14 “The Return”: Malcolm Merlyn sends Oliver and Thea to Lian Yu to fight Slade and, in theory, learn something more about themselves.
SO THAT ATOM SUIT WAS COOL
Nanda Parbat is like many episodes in the third season of Arrow – a bit of a mess. One of the smallest plotlines in the episode is the most compelling and, for the most part, the story is contrived and convoluted.
In the previous episode Thea (Willa Holland), learned from Oliver (Stephen Amell), that she is the person responsible for the death of Sara at the beginning of season 3. In order to protect his little sister Oliver advises that Thea try to keep this fact to herself, and deal with what is surely a flurry of emotion, privately. Rather than heed the advice of the only character in Arrow who has proven that he has her best interest at heart, Thea goes through the remainder of Nanda Parbat telling everyone from Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), to Laurel (Katie Cassidy), admitting her culpability.
Nanda Parbat gets an appearance by Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law who is always stunning and compelling), who visits Starling City to defend her lover and absolutely owns every scene that she appears in. Nyssa as a character and Law as an actress are so compelling, in fact, that one cannot help but wish that she would become a permanent fixture in place of Laurel.
Writers Erik Oleson and Ben Sokolowshi prove that they don’t understand how real women speak or act by having Laurel turn around and emotionally blackmail Oliver by hurling lines at him that no actual human being – certainly one as professional and educated as Laurel is supposed to be – would ever speak out loud. Katie Cassidy’s performance does absolutely nothing to help these aforementioned scenes along and leaves viewers desperate to have her character written out of the show, even if it means losing the [Black] Canary mantle.
Something positive, the male writing team and male director do an excellent job giving John Diggle (played by the always wonderful David Ramsey), something to actually do in Nanda Parbat. Unfortunately, since the beginning of season 2 Diggle’s character has gotten lost in the narrative fray as team Arrow takes on more and more underqualified, unnecessary characters in order to fulfil actor contracts. Over the course of Nanda Parbat he proves his dedication to Oliver by not only joining the Arrow on his journey to the titular Nanda Parbat, but by affirming their bond of friendship and asking Oliver to be his best man.
It’s such a treat in the murky water of Nanda Parbat as an episode to get to see David Ramsey and Stephen Amell act against each other. They are both talented leading men in their own rights and when Oliver and Diggle get the opportunity to prove their functionality as teammates and reaffirm their emotional bond as brothers the scenes soar in quality and make for great viewing.
However, when the threat to Oliver and Diggle in Nanda Parbat is R’as Al Ghul as played by Matt Nable he’s so milk toast on screen that one can hardly fear for their safety. Even the so-called twist ending in Nanda Parbat’s final moments is flagged several minutes out, particularly if the viewer is familiar with the events of Batman Begins.
One of the b-plot surround Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), actually doing her job. She visits Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh, who gets better and better as the season goes along), near the start of Nanda Parbat and not only convinces him to take care of himself and get some rest, but gives Palmer the key to completing his Atom suit. Yes, we get to see the Atom suit in Nanda Parbat! Unfortunately, it appears that the Atom is shaping up to be more like Iron Man than … well … the Atom.
The question can certainly be raised as to whether Felicity will remain on team Arrow or if she will take up with Ray Palmer and head up team Atom? However, the fact that she sleeps with Palmer over the course of Nanda Parbat in one of the oldest and least inspired tropes in the storytelling books that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue anymore.
BOTTOM LINE: IT WAS OKAY
Nanda Parbat is a middling episode with a few great performances that translate into compelling scenes. The writing in quite lacking and almost none of the woman actually behave like real people, which is a touch disappointing, I must admit.
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