Tonight’s ARROW concluded an arc that had permeated the series for the first half of season 4. While “Sins of the Father” was an average episode at best, it ended Malcolm Merlyn’s reign as Ra’s Al Ghul and also destroyed the League of Assassins in one fell swoop.
These characters have some major daddy issues. Seriously, I dare you to name one character in the Arrow verse that has a good, healthy relationship with their father. The overall theme of tonight’s episode was daddy drama and the struggle for power. The entire problem they had to solve was that Nyssa offered a way to cure Thea, but she would only do that if Oliver killed Malcolm Merlyn, who is the now the leader of the League of Assassins – a place that is rightfully hers, given that her father and her husband were the last two Ra’s al Ghul. So she is more than entitled to question what the hell Malcolm is doing in her place.
However, as Laurel pointed out, that also reflects the fact that Nyssa hasn’t been able to escape her father’s grasp, even after his death. By doing what she did, holding Thea’s life hostage and inciting a war on the streets of Star City between her army and Malcolm’s, she is following right into her father’s ruthless and cruel footsteps, something that Laurel efficiently told her and that was finally what drove the point home and made her decide to desband the League altogether.
Then, on the other hand, we had Oliver, who was torn between saving his sister’s life by killing the guy he hates the most; or trying to find a way to get the Lotus potion from Nyssa without having to kill Malcolm because, despite everything Merlyn has done, he is still Thea’s father and he didn’t want his sister to lose yet another parent. So he is basically stuck between a rock and a hard place because Malcolm and Nyssa won’t compromise and Thea’s life is slipping away with every passing second. So when the battle of wills between Malcolm and Nyssa came down to a duel to the death, Oliver decided to go with a crazy idea – double cross Malcolm by stepping in to fight on Nyssa’s behalf and “kill” him. He even chopped off his hand for good measure to get the ring off.
Our Felicity aptly described what we all thought: “This is one of your craziest ideas and that’s a competitive field”. I couldn’t agree more, Overwatch. Because here is the thing, by betraying Malcolm and allowing Nyssa to end the League of Assassins, Oliver has ensured that Merlyn will make his life a living hell. And that’s what this episode was really all about – putting all the pieces in the right place to set all the events in motion of the rest of the season. But more about that in a second.
Also on our daddy issues roll call, we have Felicity Smoak. It turns out that she knew her dad was a criminal. She didn’t know exactly what kind of criminal, because she was seven when he abandoned her and Donna was never too forthcoming about what had really happened, but Felicity knew he was a bad guy. So when he showed up out of the blue, she wasn’t too sure what to think, but deep down, her 7-year-old self was hoping against hope that it was all a mistake and that her daddy had changed and was a good guy and she could actually have him back in her life.
Donna made it crystal clear that she was not to trust him under any circumstances, but she still tried to give him one last chance, by inviting him over to Palmer Tech, so she could test him without him knowing. And when he betrayed her, she knew her mother was right. People don’t change who they are. When she turned him in to the police, my heart broke not only for her, but especially for that 7-year-old little girl, who had high hopes her daddy would one day come home.
Betrayal was everyone’s greatest plan. While they all had daddy issues, it seemed that all the characters resorted to betrayal to solve their problems. Nyssa betrayed Team Arrow by holding the potion that could heal Thea; Malcolm betrayed Thea by choosing power over his own daughter; Felicity’s father betrayed her by trying to steal information from Palmer Tech; Felicity betrayed her father by turning him in to the police; Oliver betrayed Malcolm by stepping in Nyssa’s place in the duel and betrayed him again when he chopped off his hand, and then again when he gave Nyssa the Ra’s al Ghul ring and allowed her to destroy it; then he also betrayed Felicity again by not telling her about William again and reassuring her that some people can change; and Malcolm betrayed Oliver by going to Damien Dahrk and revealing the Green Arrow’s deepest secret at the moment: the fact that he has a son that no one knows about.
Jesus, what is wrong with you people? It feels like betrayal is their modus operandi and that they don’t know how to do anything otherwise. What is interesting about this is that, while Malcolm’s betrayal is what is going to put everything in motion for the rest of the season, it was Oliver who betrayed the most people in this episode, even if in Felicity’s case it was by omission. That said, he has no idea what is coming his way because, now that Malcolm is out for blood, it is only a matter of time for his secret to come out.
And that is not going to go well. At all.
Like Donna said, people don’t change, and Team Arrow is about to find out that their leader is a prime example of that. Old habits die hard and all that, right, Ollie?
A new episode of ARROW airs on February 17 at 8/7c on The CW.