Warning: This recap for the “Sins of the Father” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.
Tonight’s episode of Deadbeat Dads — er, Arrow — features awful choices made by Thea and Felicity’s dad, consequences of awful choices made by Nyssa’s dad, and foreshadows tragedy for the wishy-washy choices of William’s dad. Wait, who? Oh, right: Oliver’s been much too busy to remember he’s got a secret family in another city — and now his enemies know, too.
Oliver tries to negotiate a deal between Malcolm and Nyssa that both saves Thea’s life and doesn’t result in bloodshed. Of course, this leads to Malcolm trying to renege on the deal and an assassin war on the streets of Star City that leaves bodies everywhere. Oliver arranges a trial by combat, then steps in to fight Malcolm himself as Nyssa’s “husband.” He cuts off Malcolm’s hand and makes Nyssa the new Ra’s. She promptly dumps the Demon’s Head ring into the fire, disbanding the League of Assassins.
Meanwhile, Felicity has coffee with her dad where he reveals to her that he’s the Calculator, but also he just wants to reconnect with her after all these years. Of course, he’s just there to steal Palmer Tech secrets, and she hands him over to the cops. On Lian Yu, Taiana is forced to nurse Oliver back to health. She takes the mystical rock from him and gives it to Reiter, who now knows where to dig.
Bad Dads, Part 1: The Calculator
Given that so much is happening this episode, it’s forgivable that this story is given such short shrift. However, if Felicity’s dad doesn’t break out of prison in time to give Team Arrow grief by the end of the season, that will be a problem.
The Flash has brilliantly explored the idea of the absentee dad with Henry Allen in prison, but there’s plenty of room to find out what a deadbeat dad means to a driven, brilliant personality like Felicity. Emily Bett Rickards shines in that last scene with Tom Amandes as her father, but that explanation she’s been waiting her whole life for isn’t nearly satisfying enough, and both actors have a lot more to give before this is resolved.
Bad Dads, Part 2: Ra’s al Ghul
Well, the League’s thing is to burn society to the ground to make way for a better one, so even though Nyssa tries to escape the shadow of her father, it makes sense that that’s exactly what she would do once she got control of the League.
The problem with that way of thinking is the damage you do in the burning and the uncertainty that what follows will actually be better. In disbanding the League, she’s left a bunch of out-of-work ninjas wandering around who will almost certainly be picked up by H.I.V.E. to basically do exactly what they were doing anyway. So how is that better, Nyssa?
Bad Dads, Part 3: Malcolm Merlyn
Merlyn is definitely not as great a father as he thinks he is; when it comes down to it, protecting Thea is more of an ego thing than it’s actual caring for another human being. In a way, he was a better father to the League than he ever was to his daughter: At least he did everything he could to protect it. So is he working with Damien Darhk now? They basically had the same goals in mind anyway.
Bad Dads, Part 4: Oliver
Everybody thinks Oliver should just kill Malcolm, but he doesn’t want to deprive Thea of a father, even if he is a murdering bastard. That’s sweet. That’s also about a thousand percent more thought he’s put into her life than that of his son, William — who’s now in the crosshairs of H.I.V.E. Trying to be his secret dad seems like more of an ego thing than a thing that’s actually right for the boy. Maybe the reason he has a soft spot for Merlyn is they have more in common than either would like to believe.
Quiverful of Thoughts
* Line of the Night: “Who are you at war with?” “I just told you I want you to kill Malcolm Merlyn. Try to guess.” Sometime’s Ollie’s just not that smart. Merlyn echoes the sentiment later: “I’ve been holding off telling you this for years, Oliver. You’re very handsome, but not especially bright.”
* Seriously, where did all those assassins go? Do they get unemployment? Can they be retrained to build websites or something? Which presidential candidate has the best pro-ninja platform? (Probably Sanders — these guys already “feel the Bern.”)
* “Oh no! You have Mr. Square Bear face!” That is so specific. Clearly, one of the writers has experienced the real-life trauma of losing a Mr. Square Bear. Which one is it, and can we give them a hug?
* Why did Tatsu part with the Lotus? They’d better explain that soon, because either Nyssa killed her and is lying, or she had to trade something big that is definitely coming into play soon.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.