Tonight at 8PM, The CW will be airing an Arrow episode called “Nanda Parbat” which might be one of the show’s strongest entries.
Why is it strong? Beyond a great directing job from Gregory Smith, the episode manages to do that thing that unfortunately not every show does in the way it should: It surprises. I had some pre-conceived notions of what might or might not happen in the episode, and found that in most if not all cases, I was wrong.
“Nanda Parbat” also shines in that there are some great character interactions that we don’t see too often, many of which were spoiled in the official promo images. Some of those I’d probably get in trouble for revealing, but I will say that at least a few of those interactions involve Nyssa, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, played by Katrina Law, who really needs to appear on the series more often, because she’s always a great addition.
There’s still some fracturing and drama within Team Arrow, but there might not be much of a show if there wasn’t some conflict. I love the decisions some of the characters make regardless of what Oliver might tell them to do, specifically Diggle, who (spoiler warning) insists that he is going to Nanda Parbat at Oliver’s side.
John Barrowman also gets some meaty material this week, as Malcolm might have to face his fears; specifically, the one and only person that seems to scare him – Ra’s al Ghul. The Merlyn family also gets some good representation from Willa Holland’s Thea, who does some of her best work of the series here.
The flashbacks, which I admit I haven’t been in love with this year, are a bit more exciting than usual, but at the same time, the sequences are a little annoying – it feels like whenever the action ramps up and gets scarier, we pull away again to present day. On the bright side, this means I’m curious what’s happening in the past, but on the down side, I’m kind of like “stop pulling away!” I also feel that from this point on, the flashback story is going to get a lot more interesting. Seeing Marc Singer as Matthew Shrieve is great, but it still makes me sad, thinking of the V Season 3 that should have been.
The comic book geek in me also, of course, loves the notion that Ray Palmer’s A.T.O.M. suit is introduced here, and the whole sequence that introduces it is a bang of excitement. I know Brandon Routh has recently signed to do a movie, but I’m praying that it’s just a hiatus thing before he can star in an Atom series of his own – or, better yet, a series teaming up a few of the Arrow/Flash universe characters that don’t have their own series, including Robbie Amell’s Firestorm as well. Who wouldn’t want to see Ray Palmer and Martin Stein talking science gobbledygook together? The A.T.O.M. suit looks very cool, by the way, but something has got to be done about that NFL SuperPro helmet. Not only does it not cover up a secret identity; it also just looks silly. I understand that the traditional Atom mask might look too much like a blue Flash or like Captain America, but hopefully there are some adjustments coming to the costume in the future.
So. Yeah. Surprises. One of my favorite scenes in the show’s history. Twists and revelations that I don’t think anyone would see coming, that will set up the trajectory of the series for the rest of the season. And a lot of cool stuff that I didn’t mention or I’m not allowed to mention. Arrow airs at 8PM tonight on The CW.