Arrow “Sins of the Father” Review (Season 4, Episode 13)

ARROW Sins of the Father

Dr. Maya Angelou once said when someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. That’s a lesson that is usually only learned the hard way. It is learned after the person you love hurts you in ways from which you will never really recover. It is learned after being burned over and over again by a person you keep hoping isn’t as bad as they appear to be. If this week’s Arrow is any indication, it is a lesson Oliver Queen is about to learn in a very painful way.

Let’s start with the power struggle for leadership of the League of Assassins. In one corner, we have Nyssa. Nyssa wanted to be Ras al Gul because she felt like it was her birthright. Her father (who was also insane) chose Oliver over her, and she’s never really gotten over it. She’s challenged Malcolm several times, but he’s just better than her, so instead of her fighting her own battles, she used Thea as a bargaining chip to drag Oliver into it. She came to Oliver while he was sitting at Thea’s bedside watching her slip away and told him that she would provide Oliver with a cure for Thea on the condition that Oliver killed Malcolm Merlyn. That’s why I literally laughed out loud when she got a little prissy about Oliver asking her to let him fight on her behalf. She claimed she never had anyone fight her battles for her, but um, isn’t that exactly what she showed up in Starling City to do? Have Oliver fight a battle she knew she couldn’t win? Oh the irony.

In the other corner, we have Malcolm. He knew Thea was dying, but when he heard Nyssa’s terms, he refused to hand over the power of Ras al Gul to Nyssa. He claimed it’s because the League of Assassins is this super special group that effects change on a global scale and yada yada yada,, but in truth, he doesn’t like Nyssa. He doesn’t want to have to bow to her. But even more than that, Malcolm craves power. He has always craved power more than anything else. That’s what got him in trouble with the League in the first place. He can spout on and on about how much he loves Thea and that the League’s work in much bigger than him or even Thea, but at the end of the day, it’s about power. Malcolm knew if he gave up the ring, he was giving up his power.

Whatever their individual motivations, Nyssa and Malcolm brought war to Starling City. They pulled Team Arrow into the middle of their management conflict, and they killed dozens of innocent people. Neither of them came out looking good. I suppose Nyssa was supposed to come off looking like the hero because she disbanded the League and released everyone from their obligations. However, by the end of the episode, I wanted someone to put an arrow through her. I mean, it’s not like I was particularly surprised that she’s a cold–blooded killer. She is, after all, an assassin. But the fact that she somehow thinks all is forgiven because she disbanded the League is ridiculous. Then Nyssa’s little speech about how Laurel made her realize that she was becoming her father fell pretty flat. This isn’t a new revelation. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. This was the same kind of speech Nyssa gave when she ran away from the League last season. Was she not changed then? Did she not realize what she had become then? If not, then what was she talking about back then?

Then there’s Malcolm. I’ve said on many occasions that Malcolm is not to be trusted. I’ve also said on many occasions that Malcolm isn’t the kind of man you save. He’s the kind of man you stop. I understand why Oliver was so torn about killing Malcolm, but at the same time, Malcolm is dangerous. There has NEVER been an occasion where Malcolm didn’t do what was in the best interest of Malcolm. He doesn’t love Thea. Not really. He doesn’t know what love is anymore and he certainly isn’t willing to put her above his own desires. I don’t know how many times Malcolm is going to have to show that to Oliver before Oliver will accept that there is no good in Malcolm. Even when Malcolm does the right thing, it’s only because it somehow serves his purposes. Now, Malcolm is angry that Oliver outsmarted him so he’s put Oliver’s son on Damien Darhk’s radar in retribution. I don’t know what’s lower or worse than pond scum, but whatever it is, Malcolm Merlyn is lower than that. There is absolutely no excuse for putting an innocent child at risk. None. There is no forgiveness for it either.

While Oliver and Co. were dealing with their League problem, Felicity was dealing with her daddy problem. Felicity’s father showed up unexpectedly in Starling City because he figured out that Felicity was the one who thwarted his plan. He also figured out that she’s working with the Green Arrow, and he claimed that they were a lot alike. Felicity was (understandably) skeptical of him showing up in her life at this moment, but she was also desperate to believe him that he wanted a second chance with her. She was also desperate to understand why he abandoned her. Like any good con man, he told her exactly what she wanted to hear. Donna (not so gently) told Felicity that her father is a lying, manipulative jerk who will tell you exactly what you want to hear so he can get whatever it is he wants. She also told Felicity that people never change. That’s a sentiment I share. Sometimes, people do grow up. They mature a bit, but very rarely do people fundamentally change who they are. For instance, even when Felicity was an angry, anti-establishment got girl, she was never really a bad person. She was lost and angry, but she has always been a good person. Noah, on the other hand, seems to have always been a manipulator. A fact Noah proved when he tried to surreptitiously steal info from Palmer Tech while Felicity was giving him a tour of their research and development lab. It clearly broke Felicity’s heart when she discovered he’d failed her test, but I don’t think she was completely surprised. The only reason it was even sad is for how it affected Felicity. She wanted Noah to be telling the truth, but alas. Unfortunately for Felicity, he’s exactly what Donna told her he is. Even though it was clear as day that Noah wasn’t on the up and up, I still felt really bad for Felicity.

This episode was ok. I dislike the way Arrow is cleaning house though. First having ARGUS become compromised, then the extremely anticlimactic death of Amanda Waller, and now the rather sudden demise of Ras al Gul and the dismantling of the League of Assassins. It seems that Arrow has spent a lot of time this season either serving as a springboard for other CW shows or clearing the path for the movie version of these DC characters. That last one is just speculation, but that’s really the only reason I can see for why they decided to handle ARGUS, Waller, and the League the way they did. None of what they’ve done with any of that makes sense within the confines of the story Arrow has been telling for the last few seasons. Especially given how integral a part each of these entities has played in Oliver’s life. All of that being said, I did enjoy watching John Barrowman chew through scenery and make me hate Malcolm Merlyn even more than usual. The action sequences were also very well done, but Arrow has always done a good job with action. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?