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League of Assassins on Arrow

I’ve been marathoning Arrow’s first two seasons, along with watching the episodes from season 3, and I’ve been wondering how they’re going to solve the “heir to the Demon” thing . I want them to solve it, though I can’t lie that I’m enjoying the idea that Ollie will come back from this even more badass than he was. A poster pointed out that he’ll be getting Batman-level training, which is true, and awesome. And once I saw Ollie’s brand I immediately face-palmed myself for not realising that’s why the arrowhead opening title changed this season.

Illustration for article titled League of Assassins on Arrow
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The only spoiler in the following is for the trailer for Episode 21 (I’m like Jon Snow, you guys).

But what I was really interested in was the League of Assassins, and how that whole thing works, in Arrow (because I’m not really a comic-book fan, but I’ve watched the movies).

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We first heard of the League of Assassins, and R’as al Ghul, in Season one, when Malcolm was wearing the League outfit, and Moira threatened him with R’as al-Ghul’s revenge for leaving the League.

But we really saw the League in Season 2, what with Sara’s problems with them. What struck me most, when watching these episodes after the season 3 ones, is that Nyssa calls herself “Heir to the Demon” from the very beginning. This made me assume that the League is run like a monarchy, with R’as’s daughter assuming the title on his death.

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However, Season 3 blew all this out of the water, with many revelations about the workings of the League. This is when we find out that League members have to renounce their previous lives - for example, Maseo is now Sarab. Not even R’as is exempt from this rule.

So now I had to come up with another theory about the League, that it’s more of a cult, or maybe a kind of monastic organization, and that leadership is conferred by a sort of trial by combat, or ordeal. Which begs the question, how is it that Nyssa didn’t know this? Did she assume that leadership would just be handed to her because of her status as “Daughter of the Demon”? And how come Nyssa didn’t realise that her whole identity would have to be purged to become R’as? Or doesn’t that count for her, because of her status? I really want this to be addressed within the show, and I don’t want the show-runners to point us to the comic books for an answer. A tv-show needs to stand on its own.

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This also makes me curious as to how the whole situation will eventually be resolved, though I’d like to have a couple of episodes of Oliver as R’as al Ghul.

I mean, back on Buffy (my favourite tv show of all time), Angel spent 9 episodes as the evil Angelus in Season 2, and that was some ground-breaking tv. I remember the whole situation, of a previously loved character becoming so dangerous and scary, as being intensely uncomfortable and disconcerting to watch, which, of course, only the best tv can accomplish.

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What I saw in the trailer for the next episode made me slightly nervous as to how it’s going to be handled - it seems like Oliver has to kill Diggle, and that’s setting the stakes too high, too early. I wish they wouldn’t be so much in a hurry to restore the status quo. Let the audience feel that disorientation, of the hero becoming the bad guy. Let’s not go back to the 70s and 80s, where the status quo had to be restored by the end of the same episode.

Still, I’m enjoying Arrow. If I have any caveats, it’s that Laurel really needs more training. Really. I’ve kind of resigned myself to her being the Black Canary (I feel like Winston Smith at the end of 1984), but seriously, if there’s anyone who needs to be packed off to Nanda Parbat for a few weeks (months?), it’s her.

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