Like The Flash, this season of Arrow—the last one—is all about preparing for the coming Crisis on Infinite Earths. So far, Oliver has trusted the Monitor at his word that the things he asked Oliver to do were to ultimately save his universe. But after watching Earth-2 turn to dust and talking with Katana, Oliver finds himself questioning the Monitor‘s motives. Oliver travels to Nanda Parbat, the home of the League of Assassins, in hopes of finding ancient texts that speak of the Monitor’s motives. Spoilers follow for Arrow Season 8, Episode 3, “Leap of Faith.”
“Leap of Faith”
This final season of Arrow has been a farewell tour of sorts. Each episode, Oliver moves one step closer to giving his life to save his world and his universe and says goodbye to someone who played a major role in his origin. He said goodbye to his mother on Earth-2, and then to Katana, who helped him retain his humanity during some of the darker flashbacks in the third season.
This week is all about Speedy. Willa Holland is back as Thea Queen after a long time away from the show. The story had her journeying the world to destroy the Lazarus pits that had revived her but left her with a fearsome bloodlust. Oliver finds her in Nanda Parbat, where she is fighting the remainders of the League of Assassins. In the process, she’s grown up and picked up a few scars.
Thea asks Oliver why he’s in Nanda Parbat and he explains that he, quote “made a deal with a cosmic being.” It’s a huge credit to Thea that she didn’t pick up a drink, take a sip, and then spit it out. She knows anything is possible with her big brother.
Guilds for Everyone
It isn’t long before the pair runs across a third party member in Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and sister to Nyssa. While Nyssa was as done with the League as Thea when we last saw her, Talia is much more her father’s daughter. She wants to resurrect the League by whichever meaning of the word ‘resurrect’ is most convenient at the time. The trio battles it out for a minute, but quickly realize they have a common enemy in Athena and her Thanatos Guild (which isn’t as snappy of a name as it first sounds, if you get my drift).
In the flash-forward segment, Mia, William and the crew are still trying to stop the Deathstroke Gang from executing their plan (which involves lots of executions). We now know that the gang wants to stop the effort to re-unify Star City and the Glades. Mia, never one to wait around, wants to charge right back into the Deathstrokes’ lair on the grounds that they now know the layout of the place. Okay, Mia.
John and Lyla, meanwhile, are trying to rescue a young Conor Hawke. He’s being held hostage, and they infiltrate the hostage-taker’s party. We find out that John is as freaked out by the whole Crisis thing as Oliver and Laurel, and that he’s scared of risky missions when they might have so little time left.
The team follows her lead, though, and soon William is hacking the gang’s security. Mia and William have a moment here where she drops her tough guy act and tells William that she cares about him and that she’ll mess him up real good if anyone ever finds out that she was nice. It’s very cute.
Thea is the Queen
Oliver, Thea, and Talia go through a very Indiana Jones-esque series of caverns and traps. In the course of the story, Oliver tries to get Thea to go back to camp because he still wants to protect her, Talia betrays Oliver because she’s still Talia, and Thea doesn’t listen because she’s Thea. Oliver and Thea climb the side of a mountain and pause halfway up to have a heart to heart. It feels genuine, but the whole scene is really weirdly lit. Eventually, the three end up held hostage by the Guild. Oliver takes down the Thanatos Guild, including Athena, one arrow at a time. Talia and Thea battle it out, and Thea comes out on top. Talia might be a legend in the greater DC universe, but it’s fun to see Thea best her after everything she’s been through.
Thea and Talia decide to resurrect the League together but as a League of Heroes instead of Assassins. Oliver and Thea have a tearful goodbye, and then we cut back to 2040. Here’s where stuff gets nutty again.
Mia and her team fight it out with the Deathstroke Gang. Just when it seems like they’ve won, Conor’s brother (and Diggle’s son) JJ kills Zoey with a sword to the back. Conor goes after JJ. Just as he’s about to kill him, though, a blinding light appears from above. Mia sees the same thing. And then Oliver sees the same thing. Oliver reappears in the Arrow bunker where Dinah, Rene, and John are already gathered. Considering he was somewhere in the mountains of Tibet, we’re looking at a pretty fast trip. He asks what’s going on, and then turns around to see Mia, William, and Conor.
The Flash isn’t the only time traveler involved in the Crisis
The plot of this episode is strictly okay, in my opinion. It’s the relationships that really hold it up. Stephen Amell and Willa Holland really feel like siblings. They have an amazing relationship and it’s been fun to see it grow over the course of the series. Thea was once a wilting flower and a helpless addict. Now, I’d put her toe to toe with Oliver in a fight, and that doesn’t feel totally wild to say. I enjoyed seeing them together again, and that the episode stayed so focused on them was to its credit.
And that ending? I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Arrow and the Arrowverse are able to do some really bonkers stuff now that we have 7 years, 6 shows, and hundreds of hours of characters, ideas, and dimensions to play with. Having Oliver’s daughter be yanked back to the present day from the future is the kind of move you can only pull with all that establishing work. That also means that the flash-forward episodes, which feel out of place in this season, are no longer necessary. We can focus on the here and now.
With what Oliver’s learned about the Monitor, I suspect we’ll be hearing about the Anti-Monitor very soon. Maybe the Reverse Flash can show up to tell us about him. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen next week, and that’s kind of awesome.