Writer: Jake Coburn
Director: Wendey Stanzler
THE ONE WHERE: The daughter of Ra’s al Ghul comes to Starling City in pursuit of Sara. Oliver discovers the truth about Thea’s parentage and tells Moira they have no relationship now…
THE VERDICT: The title references Ra’s al Ghul, of course – his name in Arabic translates as The Demon’s Head – but it could, if you squint, just as easily apply to the darkening relationship between Oliver and Moira. The matriarch of the Queen clan is seen through a distinctly unflattering lens this week, from her lies about Thea’s origins to the shifty undercurrent that accompanies Felicity’s investigation into her management of off-shore funds. Walter, too, seems especially sinister here.
It’s an episode that dwells on the deceits at the hearts of families: the flashbacks abandon the island to show us a younger, altogether chirpier Lance family, rocked by the revelations that accompany the sinking of the Queen’s Gambit. Poor Lance appears to have aged decades in just six years while Sara and Lauren clearly have a hitherto unsuspected past in Sweet Valley High . Alex Kingston’s back as Dinah Lance, but she’s wasted in this role, disappearing into the scenery for all that her kidnap drives the plot – ironic, given that she all but licks the screen when she turns up in Doctor Who .
I liked Katrina Law, bringing a glacial menace to Nyssa Raatko. She’s blessed with a brilliant introduction at the airport, turning from jet-set fashion-plate to killer hurricane in a heartbeat. All poise and one-step-ahead cool, she's able to bring a silky sense of threat to such unalloyed comic book dialogue as "If you want to be with your family so badly, they can join you in eternity..."
Elsewhere there’s the traditionally impressive Arrow stuntwork as Oliver and Sara race in pursuit of the van containing the kidnapped Dinah. Anyone else convinced that Sara’s scream of frustration was a nod to Black Canary’s all-shattering sonic scream in the comics? If so, nice touch.
TRIVIA: Created by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson, Nyssa Raatko first appeared in the Batman: Death Of The Maidens miniseries in 2003. She’s older than she looks: in the comics she was born in the 18 th Century, and extends her lifespan using Ra’s al Ghul’s fabled Lazarus Pit.
Sara: “I wasn’t trying to be a bitch.”
Lauren: “The title of your autobiography…”
Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD