“The Thanatos Guild” or Family TiesBy Marc Watkins

Our show begins four years in the past when we see Thea Queen walking towards a limousine. When she enters it, there waiting for her is her father, Malcolm Merlyn.  Malcolm is on the run and plans to leave the city and offers to take Thea with him so they can travel anywhere in the world. He also lets her know that he will ensure that she will have the ability to protect herself from any harm. See, along with being an “evil” businessman, Malcolm was a skilled archer and trained assassin under the tutelage of Ras Al Ghoul, leader of the League of Assassins.

Fast forward to the present and we see the League’s stronghold in Nanda Parvat; inside, a new leader (since the death of both Ras and his successor Malcolm) has emerged. As she addresses her masked underlings she instructs one to come forward and as she does, she removes her mask to reveal her to be Nyssa Al Ghoul, daughter of Ras and estranged “wife” of Oliver Queen. Nyssa, as the heir to Ras, is not pleased at how the league is going under the leadership of the woman named Athena. To that end, Nyssa displays a timer connected to explosives she has planted. Nyssa begins to fight the dozen or so ninjas when her explosives detonate destroying part of the temple and allowing her to escape.

Team Arrow, meanwhile, is throwing a going away party in The Quiver (their secret HQ) for Oliver Queen’s sister, Thea. She has reunited with her long lost love Roy Harper who reappeared in the city after being kidnapped and was going to be forced to testify against Oliver Queen in the ongoing criminal investigations into his nocturnal activities as the masked vigilante the Green Arrow. Thea and Roy plan to run off together, where exactly they do not know as of yet, just so long as they are together. During the party we learn about some of the other goings-on in the city; Quentin Lance, current deputy mayor and former police captain, has a houseguest in one Black Siren, his “daughter” from another earth who is the doppelganger to the deceased Laurel Lance (the original Black Canary). One of the other party goers is John Diggle, Oliver’s most trusted sidekick, his former body guard, current masked vigilante “Guardian” and substitute Green Arrow at times. Diggle expresses to Quentin how he’s anxious to put back on the green tights but can’t so long as His Honor, Mayor Queen, moonlights in the role he created. This may very well cause conflict between the two friends, but that’s a tale for another day.

Former Team Arrow members Curtis Holt (aka Mr. Terrific) and police lieutenant Dina Drake (aka the NEW Black Canary) are holed up in their other teammate Renee’s apartment. During a fight with their ex-comrades on Team Arrow, Rene was severely injured and is currently hospitalized outside of the city. While Rene convalesces, Curtis has taken on the duty of looking out for Rene’s daughter Zoe.  Along with this task, Curtis & Dina are trying to ascertain which cops on the force can be trusted and which are on the payroll of bad guy Diaz by hacking in to the police data base and reviewing the files of the officers on the force.

After all the goodbyes have been said and cake eaten, Roy & Thea set off on their journey. As they drive along headed out of the city an arrow pierces the darkness and lodges in one of their tires. When they stop League assassins appear out of nowhere bent on either killing or kidnapping the lovebirds. Before any harm can befall them, Nyssa arrives and takes down the assassins.

They regroup back at The Quiver and Nyssa brings Team Arrow up to speed: Since the death of both Ras & Malcolm, the League has splintered into a new group known as The Thanatos Guild with Athena as its head. Because Thea is the heir to Malcolm, it is thought in certain circles that she should be the leader but she has stated unequivocally she wants nothing to do with that life-style any more. Nyssa also lets them know that the Guild is after a map secreted away in the city by Malcolm, so it’s decided that to keep it out of the hands of the Guild, they would – as a unit – go to find it and keep it safe.

Team Arrow + Nyssa (who constantly refers to Oliver as “husband”) set off to investigate one of Malcolm’s old hideouts. While searching for the hidden map they have to dodge Indiana Jonesesque traps. Nyssa is able to locate the hiding spot of the map which is contained in a rather large puzzle box. No sooner has it been removed from its secret location when Athena and the Guild arrive. Athena lets Thea know that she is wanted along with the map but of course “Speedy” is like, “No thanks”. A fight ensues between Team Arrow and the Guild with our heroes getting as good as they give. Thea fights Athena one on one and isn’t quite up to the same fighting skill. Before any harm can befall her though, Thea sets off one of Malcolm’s hidden traps that injures Athena and allows Team Arrow to escape with the box.

Once again in The Quiver, they set about trying to figure out how to open the box that has the map. Because Felicity is brilliant she rather quickly figures out the code needed and leaves the honor to Thea to open. When she does all she finds is a blank piece of parchment.

Back at police headquarters Dina suspects Captain Hill is dirty when the senior officer arrives at a crime scene that seems beneath her and confiscates some evidence from Dina that turns out to be drugs. Curtis and Dina break in to the evidence locker to determine if there’s anything special about the seized drugs and through their investigation they learn that the captain is in fact dirty and that she’s pushing drugs for Diaz.

After solving the puzzle box, Felicity notices that the Guild has taken up residence at the city’s water plant. It’s feared that they will damage or poison it if they don’t get the map so the team suits up once again to take them on. When they arrive another battle ensues with Thea going up against Athena once again. The Guild leader still wants Thea to join them and once again outmatches her physically. During the battle some of Thea’s blood got on the map thus showing what was hidden. Knowing the importance of the map to the Guild, Thea feigns burning it which catches Athena off guard allowing Thea to stab her thus snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. But, because she’s a ninja, Athena is hard to kill and makes her escape without Team Arrow knowing.

The show ends with Roy moping because he and Thea weren’t able to run off together but he makes the decision to accompany her on her quest with Nyssa to find the hidden treasure the map leads to which is suspected to be Lazarus Pits (that have the ability to raise the dead). So the lovebirds won’t be separated after all.

Tune in next week to see how the tension between Oliver and Diggle turns out. And be sure to follow @ATLCW & @ATLBlerd on Twitter to live tweet the show.

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