Warning: Contains Spoilers
This week’s episode had the theme of “daddy issues”, which you can probably devise from the title of the episode. You would think an episode focusing on father-child relationships would be melodramatic–and you would be right, for the most part. But there were some strong character moments, especially, surprisingly, from Felicity.
Finally, strong-Felicity is here to stay–no backpedaling like the previous two episodes (and basically the entire time since she started dating Oliver). Her father hasn’t been in her life for 18 years, causing her to deal with not feeling worthy of anyone growing up. He wants her to trust him, so he starts off with revealing that he is The Calculator. Not sure how that was going to help in the trust department–maybe honesty was his reasoning. You can’t have trust without honesty, I suppose.
Felicity could have spent this episode feeling sorry for herself and being mad at her father,but instead she steps up and gives her father a chance. That shows incredible strength–she is able to swallow any ounce of pride and try to forgive. That’s more then we can say about her fiancé, or Malcolm Merlyn, or Nyssa–but I will get to that later.
Her mother is not thrilled about him returning. “People don’t change, even if you want them to,” she tells Felicity, which strikes hard. She gives her father a test, which he fails, so she turns him into the police. That must’ve been incredibly hard for her. She probably could have spent time trying to have a relationship with him, but that would have dug her into a deeper hole. She is strong enough to have a grip on reality and know not to waste time with something that will only hurt worse. I’m so proud of Felicity–she redeemed herself in my eyes.
This episode wasn’t really the Felicity show, but she had the meatier character development, in my opinion. The episode actually focused heavily on the “daddy issues” of Oliver, Nyssa and Thea, mainly surrounding Malcolm Merlyn.
Oliver spends this episode projecting his own pain of not having his own father in his life anymore onto Thea’s relationship with Merlyn. He becomes blinded by this and doesn’t care, at first, that Merlyn is a horrible person. Come on, Oliver. Think about how many people he has killed and all the pain he has caused. But, because he is Thea’s father, Oliver’s willing to move past that.
Projection is a powerful thing.Eventually Oliver realizes that Merlyn hasn’t changed one bit when he won’t give up the ring that makes him Ra’s Al Guhl to save Thea’s life. In a very melodramatic scene, Malcolm tells Oliver that what he’s trying to do with The League is bigger than anything else, and he won’t let anything stand in his way, not even his daughter. He asks if Oliver would do the same thing to save his city, bringing up William, Oliver’s son–a low blow.
On the other side, Nyssa won’t give up the cure to save Thea’s life because she is holding on to her hatred towards Merlyn. She, too, is projecting her hatred towards her father onto Thea for revenge. She holds onto that hatred so tightly that she is actually turning into her father. Everyone is dying around her and she still won’t swallow her pride and give up the cure. If she does, she can finally be free–something that Laurel (who actually got to do something this episode) shows her.
I really wish they gave Laurel more to do. She actually helped move things along with her heart-to-heart with Nyssa, but usually Arrow forgets about her or makes her forgettable. It is so frustrating that she is just wasted.
Remember when Nyssa and Oliver got married last season? Yeah, I didn’t either, but I do now that Nyssa mentioned it about nine times. Another thing that frustrates me about Arrow is that it forgets about important moments, then brings then back several episodes later and expects the audience to understand and care.
There is another Trial by Combat–no one took their shirts off this time which was rather disappointing. Originally it was Nyssa vs. Merlyn, but since Oliver and Nyssa are married, Oliver can step in and fight. He has the best chance he has ever had to kill Meryl, but instead, he cuts off Merlyn’s ring hand, giving the ring back to Nyssa and getting the cure. Thea is saved! Everyone wins!–except Merlyn, I guess.
After everything that went on, Nyssa destroys the ring and releases The League of Assassins so that no one can be held prisoner by her father anymore. Translation: so that she can’t be held prisoner by her father anymore. She’s free. This was a nice moment for Nyssa. She let go, and if we never see her again, this was a great send off.
Malcolm Merlyn is furious by the end of this episode, with good reason. He meets with Damien Darhk and starts his revenge plot of getting rid of the one person that Oliver cares about the most. Who is that? I yelled, “Himself!” at the screen a lot because that is really the one person he cares about the most, but alas, it’s William. This might possibly confirm who is in the grave in the flash-forwards.
This episode was a very frustrating watch for me. I want Arrow to make me excited about the episode that I’m watching, not just for future episodes I haven’t seen yet. A show is supposed to entice me to watch more episodes, but also make me intrigued and captivated while watching the current episode. I love Merlyn and I’m glad he’s being evil again. Watching him try to redeem himself was just tiresome and not the character we all know and love to hate. He is, and always will be, a villain. So Arrow is doing something right by bringing that back. Even though Merlyn ended this episode empty-handed, his revenge plot is going to be fierce.