Arrow, ‘Honor Thy Fathers’ — All the Daddy Issues

After delivering its best episode in months last week, Arrow returned last night with one of its most mediocre. There was nothing necessarily bad about “Honor Thy Fathers”, but it was one of those very business-y set-up episodes the show usually does right before a finale: plot-dense with sloppy character work.

The night’s theme was fatherhood and the main plot focused on whether or not Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan) killed a guy a decade and a half ago. Now, if we were talking about Moira (Susanna Thompson), Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Thea (Willa Holland) wouldn’t have had to spend half the episode questioning whether Chase (Josh Segarra) was trying to trick them. Moira Queen was a woman who did what’s necessary. Unfortunately, this show is mostly about boys and their pain and thanks to a tape sent with love from Chase, Oliver and Thea learned that Robert accidentally pushed a guy into a vat of concrete in some sort of lame knockoff of the Joker’s origin story.

It was underwhelming to say the least and the show had to try very hard to distract us from realizing that Oliver and Thea’s reactions were overblown. For Thea, that meant dredging up her guilt over formerly being a bloodthirsty killer. Didn’t we resolve this already? You know, it was nice to finally get Speedy back, but you’ve got to wonder what her future is on this show. The character has been inexplicably absent for much of the season and it’s difficult not to wonder if she came back just to die in the finale in two weeks. It’d be kind of a slap in the face to the good work Holland has done for five seasons, but really, what else is left for this character to do? Just saying, that this episode ended with Oliver admitting Thea is vital to his survival doesn’t bode well for her.

All that said, the storyline worked a little better for Oliver—mostly thanks to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). After resurrecting millions of Olicity shippers from the dead last week, the couple was back to their old, flirty ways. It feels like years since Felicity smiled lovingly as Oliver placed a hand on her shoulder. Their best moment, though, came when Felicity (who was for some reason wearing old costumes from 9 to 5) talked Oliver through his daddy issues. Still, while it was nice to see these two sharing heart-to-hearts again, the reasons for their talk didn’t totally make sense. Given how many times Felicity has already had to convince Oliver to keep Green Arrowing for himself rather than others, the revelation that he was always–to a degree–using vigilantism to make his father proud rang a little false. But hey, whatever it takes to get Oliver to put on the hood again and finally get over that stupid “I used to like killing” BS.

I suppose I should mention the whole, “Rene (Rick Gonzalez) Tries to Regain Custody of His Daughter” storyline considering it’s been the B-plot for a few weeks running now. Why Arrow thinks THIS is remotely relevant right now is beyond understanding. Admittedly, it has done a nice job of humanizing Rene and giving Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) something interesting to do, but there is too much other, more important stuff happening for us to really invest in it. Also, after all that, it seemed completely bizarre that Rene didn’t show up to the custody hearing. Presumably, that’s because he’s been kidnapped by Chase’s associates, but still, that’s a pretty tenuous hook on which to hang a very important plot point. However, perhaps I’m asking too much. Arrow was actively bad for most of this season and the road to recovery is slow an winding. I’ll give it a pass this time.

Rating: 6/10

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.