Arrow “Taken” Review (Season 4, Episode 15)

The only things you can count on in life are death, taxes, and that the truth will always come to light. Usually it happens at the most inopportune time and it destroys whatever it was you were lying to protect. Sadly, it looks like that’s a lesson Oliver learned the hard way in this week’s Arrow.

To paraphrase Dr. Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting different results. By that definition, I’m pretty sure Oliver is insane. I don’t know why he continues to lie to the people closest to him in the name of protecting them when it never works out well. Ever. This time, Felicity was the victim of Oliver’s lies. The thing is, and I believe Felicity even said it, it’s not that Oliver has a son that’s the problem. It’s the fact that he didn’t tell her he had a son. He had his reasons for not telling her, and in his mind they’re perfectly legitimate reasons. However, at the end of the day, you cannot say that you love someone if you’re unwilling to be honest with them. Additionally, Oliver makes too many unilateral decisions that aren’t his to make. He and Felicity are supposed to be in a relationship. When you’re in a relationship, you have to consider how your actions (or inactions) are going to affect the other person. The only way you can do that is by talking with them; letting them know what you’re thinking so they can weigh in on it. Ultimately, the decision may still have fallen on Oliver’s shoulders, but whatever decision he made also affects Felicity. He should have shown her the respect of allowing her to have input. As much as I love and want Olicity to be a thing, Felicity was right to walk away. She was angry and hurt, and Oliver is going to have a lot of begging to do. He also needs to grow up and realize that he can’t keep treating people he professes to love the way he has been.

I’ve already made my feelings about Samantha’s ultimatum pretty clear. She had no right to demand that of Oliver, and nothing about her in this episode made me change my mind about her. Part of Samantha’s issue was that Oliver was a rich, spoiled party boy and she didn’t want her son exposed to all of that. Ok. That’s fine. Oliver was young and stupid when Samantha got pregnant, but Oliver didn’t get himself pregnant. Samantha was just as young and stupid as Oliver. Maybe even moreso because she knew Oliver was dating Laurel when she slept with him. But all of that is in the past. In the years since, she’s grown up and changed. Is she the only one allowed to do that? How is it she can see that she’s grown up and change, but can’t see the same is true of Oliver. I don’t really get it. Samantha was all about how William is HER son, so she’s the one who gets to dictate terms. But when it came to a choice between going to the meet and saving William or getting Darhk’s totem and saving the entire city, she suddenly acted as if Oliver had a say in what to do about William. Uh…what? So he’s YOUR son when lives aren’t at stake, but he’s OUR son when lives are at stake? Go sit down somewhere, Samantha.

Oliver also got two different suggestions on how to handle his situation with William. Dig told Oliver he should keep William close. That’s the only way to protect him and the only way for William to know how much his father loves him. Vixen, on the other hand, told Oliver that he needed to let William go so as not to rob him of his childhood. Oliver’s life is complicated and dangerous, and that’s not something a child should have to deal with. Both Dig and Vixen were absolutely right, but they were coming at the issue from different angles. Dig was talking like a loving father. Vixen was talking like a kid who had the opportunity to be a kid because of the sacrifices her parents made for her. Did she understand all of that when she was a kid? Of course not. But if you’re lucky, with age comes maturity. The truth is, there is no one right answer. What works for one family doesn’t work for another. Both Dig and Vixen made legitimate points, but at the end of the day, Oliver and Samantha needed to decide what they thought was the best thing to do for their son.

Then there’s Thea and Malcolm. I’m pretty much just done. I don’t know why Thea keeps acting like Malcolm Merlyn is anything other than a monster. Like, I don’t know why she even bothered asking him whether he’s the one who turned William over to Darhk. Of course he’s the one who did it, and I don’t know why Thea is even surprised at this point. How many times does Malcolm have to show her that he’s a cold, selfish crazy person before she believes him? I just had to roll my eyes when she talked about how sorry she is that she denounced Robert Queen as her father because that never made sense to me. Being a father is more than just biology. Being a father is being there for the tea parties and playing dress up. It’s teaching you to ride a bicycle and being at your school plays. It’s loving you even when you’re a brat. It’s the every day little things. Malcolm was never Thea’s father. He’s never put her welfare before his own. He’s never loved her. He’s always used her for his own purposes just like he’s doing now. How many more times is Thea going to have to be played the fool before she finally realizes that Malcolm Merlyn is only capable of loving Malcolm Merlyn?

Although William’s kidnapping was the primary focus of this episode, it also accomplished the very important task of powering down Damien Darhk. It doesn’t look like he’ll be crushing anyone’s windpipe Darth Vader style any time soon. Team Arrow was able to capture Darhk’s totem which apparently is where all of his power came from and, with Vixen’s help, they destroyed it. I’m not sure what this means for Starling City going forward because it seems that there are several players trying to ensure whatever the plan was proceeds on schedule. The other thing about removing Darhk is that there’s now a power vacuum, and Malcolm Merlyn has no doubt positioned himself to step right into Darhk’s place. We’ll have to wait until the end of March to see how everything looks after the dust settles. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?