REVIEW: ‘Arrow,’ Season 8, Episode 3 – “Leap Of Faith”

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Thea Queen (Willa Holland), Talia Al Ghul (Lexa Doig) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) uncovering the secrets of Nanda Parbat.

Arrow, CW’s long-running Green Arrow series, is in the third episode of its final season. After foiling the threat of the Alpha/Omega virus once again during his adventure in Hong Kong, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was left questioning the Monitor’s true intentions. In “Leap of Faith”, Oliver returns to Nanda Parbat searching for answers that may hint towards Mar Novu’s real goal. Along the way, he is reunited with his younger sister Thea ‘Speedy’ Queen (Willa Holland) and mentor Talia Al Ghul (Lexa Toig).  Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) attempt to save the Hawke family, and Future Team Arrow plan final strike against the Deathstrokes.

If last week’s episode was an ode to the flashbacks, this week was a nod towards the main plot of Arrow Season 3, which focused mainly around the League of Assasins. It seems rather fitting that the episode released near Halloween is the one to feature a Ghul, but bad-puns aside – ‘Leap of Faith’ is an episode that once again manages to continue Oliver’s goodbye tour and lead into Crisis. Much like the inclusion of Moira and Tommy in the first episode, it doesn’t feel weird at all to have Willa Holland’s Thea appear on Arrow again. Instead, it’s a reminder of how talented the actress is and her emotional appearance here is the perfect confidant for Oliver.

As hinted last season, Thea has been off galivanting around the globe successfully destroying all of the remaining Lazarus Pits and finally dismantling the final vestiges of the League. Being hunted by her late father’s ‘Thanatos Guild’, Thea may have scars both physically and emotionally since leaving the show – but she remains a reliable voice of reason. It’s such a joy to watch Willa and Stephen share scenes together again, mainly when this may be the final time they do so as these characters.

Thea Queen (Willa Holland) returns one last time to help Oliver.

Katie Cassidy Rodgers, who plays Laurel Lance makes her directorial debut with this episode and nails it out of the park. The episode manages to successfully recreate an Indiana Jones vibe as Thea and Oliver trek through the remains of Nanda Parbat, while also keeping the futuristic and present b-plots both engaging and visually appealing. In particular, there are quite a few terrific fight sequences throughout the episode which are never, ever dull to watch. A shoutout should also go to the costume department who helped give Thea a great ‘in-between’ outfit that has semblances of Speedy in there with the red hood.

The key theme for the episode, and presumably the entire season, is the fear of losing family and can be seen throughout all three key plots. Oliver continues to be overprotective of Thea and remains guilt-ridden for leaving his family, Diggle struggles with the aftermath of the Earth-2 incident and fears losing Lyla on the mission, and Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara) fears losing her brother William (Ben Lewis). Katherine McNamara and Ben Lewis do such a great job at replicating a similar dynamic Oliver and Felicity which harkens back to earlier seasons, with their characters’ struggles being deep-rooted in the direct aftermath of Crisis. Mia and William are from the future, so they already live in pain caused by the death of their father in the Crisis event, not to mention the emotional toll it must have also taken on Felicity. It’s interesting to see the mirror between Oliver’s worries and the reality that is the future.

Renee Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and John Diggle (David Ramsey) reunited in the bunker.

The Arrowverse’s incarnation of Talia Al Ghul is an absolute delight and hopefully, one that will last even after Arrow concludes. Talia is here to help fulfill a debt she owes to Oliver after last season, helping him find the answers he seeks for with The Monitor. After discovering the truth, Oliver says one final goodbye to Thea and sets off again to continue his mission.

“Leap of Faith” manages to replicate the highs of Arrow’s earlier season, including dramatic twists, of which this episode drops so, so well. While we can’t delve into spoiler territory, the way Katie directs the scene is just superb. It’s Arrow at its best and sets up next week’s episode with much intrigue.

Overall, “Leap of Faith” is an excellent episode of Arrow that is strengthed by Katie Cassidy Rodgers’ direction and Willa Holland’s acting.

“You can’t change the future, Ollie.” 

Arrow airs every Tuesday at 9 PM ET on the CW

Rating: 9.5/10