Last week, following another mysterious mission for Mar Novu, aka The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) decided to travel to Nanda Parbat to learn more about the cosmic being currently given him orders! Plus, John Diggle (David Ramsey)’s wife, Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), was revealed to be working with The Monitor! And, in 2040, the Deathstrokes stormed the bunker to attack William (Ben Lewis)! What do they want with Oliver’s adult son? What’s the nature of the relationship between Lyla and The Monitor? And what will Oliver find when he arrives in Nanda Parbat? Arrow S8E3, “Leap of Faith,” answers some of these questions, leaves others for another time, and sees Oliver reunite with his family in more ways than one.
Family Double Dare
The episode opens with Oliver’s arrival in Nanda Parbat. Finding a still-smoldering campfire in the woods on the outskirts of the city, Oliver is immediately attacked by a hooded figure wielding a bow and some serious moves. The two fight to a standstill before the figure lowers her hood to reveal Thea Queen (Willa Holland), Oliver’s sister, surprised to see her brother.
Having rekindled the fire, Oliver and Thea catch up on what’s been going on in their lives. Thea tells Oliver that she and Nyssa destroyed all the Lazarus Pits on Earth, but that she’s still working on take down the Thanatos Guild, a splinter group from the League of Assassins founded by her father, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), which manipulated Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) into murdering two innocent men last year. Oliver explains his mission for The Monitor and tells Thea why he’s come to Nanda Parbat. Thea jokes that, with Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) away from Nanda Parbat, they’ve killed pretty much all the other League of Assassin members who could help them, but Oliver says knows of one who still might be able to.
In 2040, Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones), and Zoe Ramirez (Andrea Sixtos) arrive back at the bunker to find two Deathstrokes on the floor and William apparently having been taken. After a brief search William emerges from a backroom, saying he electrified the floor to take out the Deathstrokes. They discover the list that J.J. Diggle (Charlie Barnett) stole of all the people working to unify Star City and The Glades. William suggests using himself as bait to draw J.J. out, but Mia decides they should attack the Deathstrokes’ headquarters, a plan no one but her likes and which they’re going to do anyway because she said so.
Back in present-day Hong Kong, Lyla and Diggle try to have a video call with their young son, J.J., to no avail. Lyla then tells John she’s been keeping an eye on Ben Turner (Michael Jai White)’s family, Sandra and Connor Hawke, while Ben’s away on a mission, and that the two missed their most recent check-in. Lyla thinks they’ve been kidnapped by a known terrorist, Abdul Nardoc, and that she needs John’s help to infiltrate a fundraiser at Nardoc’s home in Kasnia in order to find the Hawkes.
In Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Thea arrive at some temple ruins in the woods when they’re attacked by masked ninjas. After a brief battle a woman’s voice tells them to hold, and Talia Al Ghul (Lexa Doig) steps forward. Oliver tells her he’s there to collect on the debt she owes him. After some verbal sparring over Talia trying to reform the League of Assassins and Thea trying to take down the Thanatos Guild all by herself, Oliver gets to the point of why they’re there. Talia says she’s never heard of Mar Novu, but that any records the League might have on him would be in the catacombs of their old headquarters.
Back in 2040, Team Arrow 2.0 has snuck into the Deathstrokes’ headquarters. William finds their server room and starts hacking into their tracking program so they can keep an eye on J.J. and the rest of his gang. Mia thanks Zoe for agreeing to do this, and Zoe tells Mia that she hopes Mia’s not letting her anger over J.J. trying to kill William cloud her judgment. William says he’ll need some time to get into the system, and Zoe and Connor get into position, while Mia stays with William.
In Kasnia, John and Lyla have infiltrated Nardoc’s fancy dinner party. While Lyla runs a program on her phone to hack into the house’s security feeds, the couple reminisce about their shared past. The hack completes, and Lyla sees that Sandra and Connor Hawke are being held in the house. She also discovers a complication: one of the other men at the party is the son of a man Ben Turner killed to save Lyla’s life. They deduce that the kidnapping wasn’t carried out randomly.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Beneath the League of Assassins headquarters, Oliver, Thea, and Talia make their way through the catacombs. Talia tells them that her father kept his most prized possessions in a secret room down there, and that among those possessions was likely a document about Al Fatih, whom she calls ‘the first Ra’s Al Ghul’, and who League legend says was gifted knowledge from the sky gods. The trio arrives at the secret room to find it ransacked, with only the scroll about Al Fatih left behind. A riddle written on the scroll leads Oliver to realize they need to burn it, which in turn reveals a stone sphere which Talia believes to be the key to finding Al Fatih’s tomb. Just then the Athena (Kyra Zagorsky) and the Thanatos Guild enter, demanding the sphere. Talia turns it over to them, and a fight ensues. Oliver, Thea, and Talia position themselves between the Guild and the door, and Talia throws a smoke bomb, allowing the trio to escape.
Later, Oliver, Thea, and Talia, still walking through catacombs, are talking about what a coincidence it was that the Guild arrived while they were there. Thea snipes at Talia about handing over the sphere, and Talia says they don’t need it—she memorized the markings on it as a map that will lead them to Al Fatih’s tomb. She also surmises that Athena wanted the map so she could take the sword of Al Fatih, the holder of which is granted absolute loyalty by their followers, so she can use it to restart the League of Assassins. Oliver tries to persuade Thea to go back to their camp and wait for them, saying Thea is Athena’s chief rival in restarting the League. Oliver and Talia leave, but Thea never agrees, so you know she’s not going to do what he asked.
In Kasnia, Lyla suggests the kidnapping was a trap to lure out Turner. Diggle insists that Lyla leave, and when Lyla calls him out he admits that seeing Earth-2’s destruction has changed his perspective. He says he can’t risk losing Lyla, and she tries to comfort him, saying they can’t make choices based on fear. All they can do is make the most of the time they have.
Back in Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Talia arrive at a monolith in the woods. After avoiding a boobytrap, the pair approach it, and Talia opens a panel to reveal on its side, which reveals a compartment holding a small bundle. Unwrapping it reveals a map and a key, which Talia says is to the Tomb of Ra’s. As Oliver looks at the map, Talia jabs him in the neck with a poisoned dart, saying she can’t let anyone get to Al Fatih’s sword before she does. When Thea, who as predicted didn’t listen to Oliver earlier, finds him later, Talia is long gone. Oliver says she’ll likely have taken the trail to get to the tomb, which is safer, but that it’ll be faster if they climb up the mountain, and Thea says they’d better get going.
In 2040, Mia paces impatiently while William works on hacking into the Deathstrokes’ system. William reminds her they have another option – using him as bait – which Mia rejects again, saying he’s the only family she has left and she doesn’t want to lose him. William echoes what Lyla told Diggle earlier, that they can’t operate from a place of fear, and that she has to be able to trust him. Just then his hack completes, bringing up a camera feed of dozens of Deathstrokes milling about. Mia tells Connor and Zoe via comms that it’s time to get in position, then tells William never to tell anyone about their conversation.
On the side of the mountain, Oliver and Thea rest on a ledge. Thea calls Oliver out on being overprotective of her, and he tells his sister about the sacrifice he’s made leaving Felicity and Mia to work for The Monitor, and that the only way he can be okay with his impending death being if he knows his family is safe. Thea reminds him that everything their parents did was to protect them, even their mistakes, and that in the end it turned them into the heroes they are now. Oliver asks when she stopped being his baby sister, and she says she never did.
At the top of the mountain, Oliver and Thea arrive at the tomb to find it open. Athena and the Guild appear with a captured Talia. Oliver and Thea hand over their weapons, and Athena makes the two of them and Talia lead the way into the tomb. Within the tomb, another riddle tells them to open Al Fatih’s coffin, which reveals a staircase down.
In Kasnia, Diggle and Lyla make their way to the room where Sandra and Connor are being held. As Diggle cracks the lock into the room and rescues the Hawkes, Lyla distracts the men who are on their way to stop them, including the son of the man Turner killed. He recognizes Lyla and draws a weapon on her after she takes out his guards, but Diggle shoots him before he can kill her.
Back in the tomb, the group descends further in, facing more boobytraps along the way. Talia, Oliver, and Thea get past the latest trap, but two Guild members are not as lucky. Oliver retakes his weapons and holds off the Guild while Thea goes after Talia, who has hurried ahead. Finding the sword, Talia takes it, and Thea picks up another. The two duel while Oliver holds back the Guild, and Athena is crushed under falling rocks. Talia gains the upperhand on Thea, but she turns the tables on her, and Oliver enters in time to see Talia yield to Thea.
Later, Thea reads from the book they found in Al Fatih’s tomb. The book includes an illustration that looks like The Monitor, and says Al Fatih believed a balance must be kept between good and evil or else the being would bring about the end of the world. Oliver says it sounds like The Monitor is going to be the one to cause the crisis, not prevent it. Talia arrives with a bag packed, saying she’s released her students and ready to leave after betraying her honor. Thea declines to restart the League of Assassins, but invites Talia to help her train a new league of heroes, which Talia bemusedly accepts.
In Hong Kong, Lyla and Diggle set up Sandra and Connor with new papers and safe passage home. They leave, and Diggle tells Lyla he’s accepted that there’s nothing he can do to stop danger for coming for them. Lyla makes him promise, no matter what happens, he’ll always remember their good times together.
Figure It Out
Back in Nanda Parbat, Thea questions why The Monitor, if he’s going to cause what’s about to happen, would enlist Oliver in the first place. Oliver says he doesn’t know, but that he’ll do whatever he can to stop The Monitor if he has to. They say their emotional goodbyes, Oliver clearly believing it will be the list time he sees her.
In 2040, J.J. preps the Deathstrokes for an attack on the unification movement. His speech to the troops is interrupted by Mia, Zoe, and Connor, and the latter two take on the Deathstrokes while Mia engages J.J, who gets the upper hand on her. Zoe saves her, but is mortally wounded by J.J., who escapes. Zoe dies in Mia’s arms, and Connor goes after J.J., taking him down and bringing a knife to his throat. As they struggle, a bright light appears, enveloping Connor, Mia, and William, who’s watching remotely.
When the light fades, a confused Oliver is back in the bunker, where he’s met by the equally-confused Diggle, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), and Rene (Rick Gonzalez). He asks them what’s going on and then turns around to find the adult Mia, Connor, and William standing in front of them.
I’ve been waiting to see how the 2040 sequences would intersect with the present-day action, and it looks like we’re about to find out. Who’s responsible for the two groups meeting? Are these Monitor shenanigans, or something else entirely? The answers to these questions and more will hopefully be revealed next week!