Nyssa al Ghul, from The CW’s Arrow, has had a turbulent story since she was first introduced in season two.
Hell Hath No Fury.
The resilient daughter of the former Demon’s Head, Nyssa al Ghul, started as first in line for the throne of the League of Assassins–only to have Oliver fulfill the prophecy of the next Ras al Ghul by surviving Ras’s sword. Then to keep his blood in power, her father forced her to become the unwilling wife and vassal of Oliver Queen when he took her place as leader of the League.
But that wasn’t the end of it, the title of Demon’s Head made one more jump to Malcolm Merlyn, the man who betrayed her father and had a large role in killing her past lover. And like every other member of the league, Nyssa had to become subservient to him. When she bowed to Merlyn at the end of season three, the audience could feel her disgust and anger permeating from the screen and coursing through our own veins. It was clear Nyssa had no control over her own future. It was devastating to see a woman with a lioness spirit like hers be so callously treated.
But if we know Nyssa al Ghul, we know she would by no means allow herself to stay a victim to the selfish agenda of Malcolm. Months later, under Merlyn’s reign, she would “spar” with him; however, after she destroyed the Lazarus Pit due to Malcolm’s reckless usages, she was jailed in the shadows where she could meditate on her coup d’état. But before they took her to the prison cell, she made Merlyn a bold promise: “One day I will have my moment, and I will kill you. And now when I do there will be no coming back.”
Like a Woman Scorned.
That moment came in last week’s episode when we were rewarded with another chance to see her fighting spirit. In episode twelve, aptly named “Unchained,” her moment finally reared its triumphant head during Malcolm’s absence when Talibah and two other league members orchestrated her jail-break. James Bamford, the master-mind behind Arrow’s amazing action, orchestrated gold with her escape scene.
Nyssa’s prowess with her sword was true to form as we watched her slay every league member still loyal to their new Ras. With every fierce swipe of her sword, Nyssa finally declared war against Malcolm in the blood of her enemies. Quickly leaving the lair, her search for the mysterious lotus led her to the door-step of an old friend, Katana, where we were treated with another sword fight that had us at the edges of our seats.
However, seeing as Nyssa and Katana were evenly matched and the former was crunched for time, Nyssa explained her way into receiving the Lotus, an elixir that can heal the recipient of the Lazarus Pit’s effects. The last scene of the episode showed Nyssa executing her plan to strike another midnight deal with Oliver: the Lotus for Malcolm’s head. Although Malcolm is slowly becoming a beloved character with his own warranted character growth, there are fans, such as myself, that see Nyssa’s treatment at the hands of the past Ras’s as a grievance that must be addressed and repaired.
In the next episode, “Sins of the Father,” we will finally see the war we’ve been waiting for. From what we’ve seen so far, it appears Malcolm will indeed fight to keep his place, because “what’s unfolding… is bigger than [his] daughter.” I guess there will be no falling on any swords in exchange to fix his daughter’s life; the same life he put in jeopardy in the first place. So much for character growth.
Will Merlyn stay alive and Thea’s condition worsen? Or will Nyssa hold up to her promise by showing Merlyn “no mercy if given the opportunity?” It would bring great satisfaction to see Nyssa finally become triumphant in taking hold of her future, however, Merlyn has never been an easy man to take out. Since Arrow has began, the former Demon’s Head, Oliver, Nyssa, and countless others have tried to no avail, so if he is finally defeated, it will not be an easy feat. Regardless of the outcome, the irony of Nyssa using the same tactics that Malcolm used to become Ras in order to unseat him has me chuckling with glee. From the green, straight-arrow fighter of the League to a tactical leader who decided to take her destiny into her own hands by whatever means necessary – Nyssa al Ghul has finally grown into a woman who can exact her revenge on Malcolm Merlyn with the poetic justice fitting of (hopefully) the new Ras Al Ghul.
Watch Arrow on Wednesday’s at 8/7c on The CW!