Thursday, March 29, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 16 - The Thanatos Guild

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Nyssa Al Ghul returns to Star City to warn Thea that a League of Assassins splinter group is coming to kill her. This new faction, The Thanatos Guild, also seeks a mysterious box that was created by Malcolm Merlyn. Meanwhile, Oliver comes to a realization about his life.


Raiders of the Lost Ark (the traps in Merlyn's hideout) The Benjamin Percy run on Green Arrow (evil group seeking to recruit or kill Oliver Queen's half sister) and the New 52 Batman books (heroes warring with League of Assassins splinter group)


Katrina Law is as amazing as always.

As far as final bows go, Willa Holland gives a good one. The only downside is there's no final moment with Quentin, who has been more of a daughter to him than anyone else the past two seasons.


The fight sequences are well-choreographed, even by the usually high standards of this show.


The Thanatos Guild is named for Thanatos, the Greek God of Death.

The plot of this episode borrows somewhat from the recent Batman comics, which have seen the heroes contending with Leviathan - a new secretive group of assassins that employs many former League of Assassins members, including Talia Al Ghul.

The plot also vaguely resembles a plot thread from the Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy. There, Emiko Queen was head-hunted by The Ninth Circle - a cabal of Satanic bankers with a long association with The Queen Family, who employed Emiko's mother Shado.

The ball-cap worn by Roy Harper in this episode has a distinctive crown-shape icon on the front. This resembles the ball-cap worn by Roy Harper as part of his Arsenal costume in the DC Comics Rebirth universe.


Spartan has thermal imaging scanners built into his new helmet.

Iodine Dixonium is a component that is magnetically attracted to the same type of steel Ra's Al Ghul used to encase relics.

The League of Assassins cipher is based on The Fibonacci Sequence - a mathematical pattern dating back to Pingala's Formula in 450 BC. The Fibonacci Sequence is that every number is the sum of the two starting numbers.

Felicity attempts to scan the map to create a 3-D voxel-based re-creation of the original parchment. This might reveal some hidden markers.

Felicity is able to locate a bomb by tracking the frequency root of the detonator.

The bomb has a collapsible circuit. Since it has a mercury switch, it cannot be frozen. It can be short-circuited with an electricity arrow.

Merlyn's map was made with nanolithography - printed with bacteria. When the enzymes in it are exposed to Thea's DNA, the map reveals itself. This is, according to Felicity, cutting edge science requiring an atomic force microscope to create.

Dialogue Triumphs

Nyssa: I would so relish slitting your throat, Athena.
Athena: One thing we have in common.
Nyssa: Except I've grown a taste for the contemporary...
(Nyssa holds up a detonator and grins.) 
Nyssa: Such as plastic explosives.

(Roy and Thea are driving away through the streets of Star City.)
Thea: I can't believe we're actually doing it.
Roy: Yeah. I can't believe it either.
Thea: (purring) Happily ever after.
Roy: Yeah. (hesitatingly) Ever after.
Thea: Okay. That wasn't so convincing.
Roy: Look, Thea - I'm thrilled. I just don't want to jinx it.
Thea: Okay. And since when do you believe in superstitions?
Roy: Well, ever since I met your brother, there's not a lot I don't believe in.
(Thea scoffs as suddenly one of their tires blows out.  We cut away to see Roy struggling to control the car as it spins out. Close-up on the front passenger tire, which has been shot by an arrow.)
Thea: Okay. Now I may believe it too.

Tigressa: Your father had much faith in you.
Thea: Yeah, well... with that new league he created running around, I can't say the same for him.
Tigressa: So you've met Athena. She's not the leader your father desired. You are.
Thea: Yeah, well, I'm sure death has cured him of his disappointment.

(Athena and her men are standing above a dropped Roy and Thea.)
Make your father proud! Come with us!
Thea: (weakly) Felicity? I know you were wondering...(suddenly stronger) it's from Raiders. (To Roy) Kiss the floor.
(Roy and Thea both lie flat as Thea hits the trigger panel next to her. The darts in the hallway go shooting into Athena and her soldiers. most of them dropping dead instantly.)

Oliver: Nyssa.
Nyssa: Husband.
Oliver: (forced chuckle) You've got to stop doing that. I... I do have a wife now and...uh... she doesn't like it.
Nyssa: But that's the fun of it.
Oliver: Thea may want you to stay. Doesn't mean you have to.
Nyssa: Her point about Felicity's utility was well taken.
Oliver: So was her point about wanting nothing to do with Malcolm.
Nyssa: It is her life and she must find her own truth.
Oliver: I think her truth is a new life. That she's earned.
Nyssa: She's earned your support for her actions. Whatever those may be.
Oliver: I can understand why she would be conflicted with Malcolm. He was her father. I am not conflicted. He was evil. And Thea should not be charged with writing his wrongs.
Nyssa: My father was also evil. And I've dedicated the rest of my life to righting his wrongs. From what I understand, you have done the same.
Oliver: But my father asked me to! With his dying wish, he asked me to!
Nyssa: Back on Lian Yu, Merlyn gave up his life for Thea. Just as your father did for you. I believe Thea owes him the same debt!
Oliver: Well, it is convenient for you to believe that. Because Thea gets you closer to what you want, so do not pretend that you are selflessly supporting her. And never, ever lecture me on what I owe my sister.

(Felicity explains the code for the League of Assassins' Puzzle Box and The Fibonacci Sequence)
Roy: Wow.
Felicity: Yeah.
Roy (To Nyssa) When you said ancient, you were not kidding.
Nyssa: I never kid.
Felicity: Except where my marriage is concerned, apparently.

(Felicity explains the horribly technical thing she is trying to do to an oblivious Nyssa. She is clearly reveling in Nyssa being unsure of something for the first time since she's ever known her.)
Nyssa: That sounds... complicated.
Felicity: It is. Very.
(Felicity turns back to her computer, still smiling.)
Felicity: So it would be really great to not be distracted. You know?
Nyssa: Very true. (pause) I'll stay here to make sure you remain uninterrupted. Sister-Wife.
Felicity: ... okay.

(Thea asks Oliver why he's still The Green Arrow when John wants to take the mantle from him.)
Oliver: I don't know. I - I - I gave it up because I wanted to be a better father. But... William accepts the idea that I'm The Green Arrow. Plus, I don't want to give it up. I don't know why.
I do. Because being The Green Arrow is what makes you feel complete. For some reason when you... you put that hood on, it enables you to become the best version of yourself.
Oliver: We're supposed to be talking about you.
Thea: Maybe we are. I don't know...  Maybe that's the reason why I can't seem to give this... life up. I... (sighs) I dunno maybe I'm hoping that maybe I'll get the same thing... and find the best version of myself. Whoever she is.

Felicity: Don't forget guys - we have a bomb situation.
Roy: There's always a bomb situation!

Thea: One more piece of advice?
Oliver: Sure.
Thea: If you're going to wear that hood, you shouldn't string John along anymore.
Oliver: I thought I was the one who gave the wise sibling advice?
Thea: Nope. That has never been the case.


The opening flashback from Four Years Ago with Thea talking to Merlyn took place in 223.

Nyssa Al Ghul is confirmed to still be alive following the events of Lian Yu's destruction. The last mention of her was in 601, where Slade Wilson said he saw her heading towards the cages to see if Artemis had survived the bombing.

Thea and Roy are planning to run off together, though they don't know where just yet.

According to Thea, Oliver was afraid of the dark and couldn't sleep without a light on until he was 16. Ollie says he just had a problem with pitch blackness.

Oliver makes reference to the two times he shot Roy Harper with an arrow in 208 and 220.

According to Quentin, Black Siren is as messy as Laurel but is a better cook.

Dinah and Curtis are working on figuring out which cops in the SCPD are working for Diaz, but Quentin fears that other parts of the city government might be under his control as well.

Quentin confirms that the Star City District Attorney is still going forward with the case against Oliver Queen being Green Arrow, even without Roy Harper as a witness.

One of the dirty cops working for Diaz is named J. Hester. Dinah recognizes him by sight from the fight to rescue Roy in 615.  He is the tenth dirty cop Dinah has identififed.

Nick Anastas is an SCPD officer Curtis thinks is cute. He has no blackmail pressure points and hasn't had any odd deposits into his accounts that Curtis can track.

Curtis has been taking care of Zoe since 615. He cooks Macaroni and Cheese far too much for her liking.

Rene is supposed to be starting physical therapy soon.

The licene plate on Roy Harper's car is JJV-467.

The Thantos Guild was Malcolm Merlyn's attempt to reform The League of Assassins following Nyssa's disbanding them in 413. His second in command was a woman named Athena.

Athena was a rival of Nyssa's in The League of Assassins.

Merlyn found a map to something he wanted to unearth with Thea. The Thanatos Guild wrongly believe Thea to have the map or knowledge of where it is.

Merlyn had one female associate in Star City with whom he confided - Tigressa. She is an assassin with over 200 confirmed kills, including her own brother, whom she killed because he had matched her record. She claims to have rejected the path of The League of Assassins. 

Captain Hill takes over a drug-related homicide which Dinah is investigating. This tips Dinah off that something strange might be going on, beyond her suspicion there's no way there can be this many dirty cops in the SCPD without the Captain being dirty as well.

The map is contained within a puzzle box made with an ancient cipher used by The League of Assassins. It utilizes 18 characters from three different alphabets.

Curtis is able to bluff his way into a tour with Officer Nick Anastas when he catches him standing watch outside the evidence room while Dinah is breaking into it.

The League of Assassins cipher is based on The Fibonacci Sequence - a mathematical pattern dating back to Pingala's Formula in 450 BC. The Fibonacci Sequence is that every number is the sum of the two starting numbers.

The starting numbers are 10 and 13. 1013 was the year The League of Assassins was founded. It is also, according to Thea, Malcolm Merlyn's birthday (October 13).

Roy Harper was always good at math.

Felicity holds the map close to a fire, hoping there is invisible ink in much the same way as utilized in other League of Assassins documents, such as The List from 106.

Nyssa was 25 when she first used a computer.

Curtis determines that the drugs Hill took from Dinah at the crime scene were Vertigo - not something Diaz manufactures. This suggests that Hill is clean.

Athena is able to escape despite an apparently fatal wound dealt by Thea.

The map requires Thea's blood as an agent to make the invisible ink visible.

The map shows a series of ley lines spanning the globe. There are three points which have the same confluence of ley lines as Nanda Parbat, suggesting that Merlyn discovered the location of three more Lazarus Pits.

Curtis asks Nick Anastas out to dinner. He says yes.

Dinah determines there are no cases involving Vertigo being handled. This means that Diaz is now selling Vertigo and that Captain Hill is working with him.

Thea decides to go with Nyssa to destroy The Lazarus Pits. Roy decides to go with them.

Nyssa gives Oliver a dagger that symbolizes the cutting of marital bonds among The League Of Assassins members. This officially annuls their marriage.


An unnamed castle run by The Thanatos Guild.

The Bottom Line

A marked improvement over most of the episodes of the second half of Season Six, but that's likely due to the fact that it has nothing to do with the on-going story of Season Six. Even the bits with Dinah and Curtis investigating the SCPD seem far removed from the on-going story since it doesn't involve them butting heads with the Original Team Arrow and there's no Black Siren getting in the way.

This episode is almost entirely devoted to giving Thea Queen a proper send off . It does the same for Roy Harper and Nyssa Al Ghul to a lesser degree, but this is honestly Willa Holland's swan song and she makes it clear just why she was so essential to this show's success. Of course the show hasn't given her much to do in recent episodes but at least she's been given a good send off with a chance of coming back later.

Unfortunately, the preview for next week indicates more stupid bickering and heroes fighting heroes while the villains get away with murder.  For this week, however, Arrow was good.

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