TV Recap: Arrow: “Sins of the Father”

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“Sins of the Father” Plot Summary:

As Thea’s (Willa Holland) life hangs in the balance, Oliver (Stephen Amell) struggles to broker a deal between Nyssa (Katrina Law) and Malcolm (John Barrowman). Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) questions her father’s (Tom Amandes) motives for coming back into her life.

Hey Arrow fans, did you enjoy that episode? I hope so because I wrote it. Let me explain.

Most weeks I watch the show with a longtime friend I occasionally refer to here as my “Arrow Buddy.” We spend a good portion of each episode riffing on what’s happening and a few years ago, we joked that Sin (that punk-y girl from Season 2 played by Bex Taylor-Klaus) was in fact Sara and Oliver’s illegitimate love-child. Obviously, that made no sense age-wise and the show even proved that false, but that didn’t matter. The AB and I have joked about it since, calling our joke fan fiction “Sins of the Father”. So, you can imagine our joy when we found out the title of this week’s episode was the same. However, the episode just as easily could have been called “Daddy Issues” because just about every character had to deal with theirs.

Last week, I praised the way the writers introduced Felicity’s father and that storyline was just as strong here. The three Smoak family actors took some really melodramatic dialogue and made it feel emotionally raw and honest. While Kuttler’s casual criminality was nearly as funny as Malcolm’s often is, the best scene was between Felicity and Donna (Charlotte Ross). Usually, Mama Smoak is pure comic relief, but whenever Ross gets to play the bitterness and weariness single-motherhood created in her character, it’s an absolute treat. Rickards was equally good. She played Felicity’s hope that her father had changed with heart-breaking earnestness, which made it all the more shocking when she turned her father into the police. Felicity Smoak is not a woman to be crossed. Now that Malcolm knows about William (Jack Moore), Oliver better hope Felicity marries him before she finds out or she’ll never even look at him again.

Speaking of Malcolm, he was the episode’s biggest Daddy Issue. Had I really written this episode, he’d be dead, but what actually happened was way better. Malcolm has always been utterly delusional about his quality as a father, but he was in rare form here. The depth of his megalomania was clearer than ever as he was too busy feeling betrayed to care that Thea would live. It’s utterly detestable that he put an innocent child (even one who’s an annoying plot device sent to break up Oliver and Felicity) in Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) cross-hairs, but man is it good storytelling. Oliver is naive to think letting Malcolm live is a good idea, but you have to admire his commitment to being a better hero.

However, the episode’s real hero was Nyssa. That she not only freed the whole League but herself from her father’s shadow was the most mature, healthy thing anyone on this show has ever done. So it’s unfathomable why we had to sit through more island flashbacks instead of getting more about her past and getting context for that decision. This year’s island storyline has got to be the worst ever. Mostly that’s the fault of that girl Oliver’s supposedly falling in love with. Last summer, the writers teased she would offer a contrast to Felicity in the current timeline, but she’s so boring I haven’t bothered to learn her name and just call her Eurotrash (sorry, Elysia Rotaru, but your accent work is embarrassing). Surely Nyssa deserves more screentime than some island girl who hopefully dies soon. With that, it’s time for…

Arrow Death Watch

William Clayton: 0%
While the end of the episode certainly leads us to think the Lost Queen Child is in the grave, he’s just as much of a red herring as Felicity. This show is dark, but there’s no way it kills a kid. Oliver would never recover emotionally. It’s just too harsh. Plus, Felicity and Oliver’s behavior in that flashforward doesn’t fit with William dying.

Thea Queen: 15%
Their reactions also don’t really make sense if it’s Thea. However, just because her bloodlust is healed doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods yet. She’s a good choice, just an unlikely one.

Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne): 60%
This may seem like an out-of-nowhere pick, but Starling City’s police commissioner has always been an option. He’s just the biggest cop out outside of…

Roy Harper (Coltong Haynes): 45%
This is mostly wishful thinking on my part, but Felicity and Oliver’s reactions do jibe with how you’d expect them to react if he died.

John Diggle (David Ramsey): 60%
I’d hate to lose him, but I practically salivate thinking of what this would do for the show. Short of killing Oliver or Felicity, this has the most emotional impact and the characters would be dealing with the fallout for years if not the rest of the series.

Malcolm’s Left Hand: 100%
That was insane. I can’t believe John Barrowman is just going to have to walk around with a stump now. Do the writers even care about consequences anymore?

By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.