TV Review: <i>Arrow</i> (4×13) “Sins of the Father”

This week, Arrow keeps its story narrowed to a couple thematically tied plots about Daddy Issues: Nyssa and her late father Ra’s Al Ghul, Thea and Malcolm Merlyn, and Felicity and her recently revealed fugitive dad.

Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW
Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW

The Throne of Dads

When offering Oliver the Lotus elixir, Nyssa’s demands consist of killing Malcolm Merlyn. Plain and simple. She guilts Oliver partly into agreeing by claiming that Thea’s condition is the fault of Merlyn in the first place and that she is “seeing things through to their inevitable end.”

Diggle sums up the dealings with Nyssa as essentially “Holding Thea’s life hostage,” but Oliver doesn’t want to play her game and rather wants to give her control of the League instead of killing anyone, but particularly Malcolm as it could devastate Thea.

Malcolm alternatively tries to convince Oliver that Nyssa’s offer is a false one, doubting the powers of the Lotus elixir she is offering. Oliver attempts to convince Merlyn to give up his power so that she simply gives them the Lotus for the role of Ra’s Al Ghul.

Oliver arrives magically at Nanda Parbat to receive proof that the Lotus is what she says. She gives him a sample and bids him a warning that “someone is going to die” no matter what decision is made. This is kind of conducive to the season as a whole as opposed to an empty threat for the contents of this episode. Of course, this is agreed to, but not executed the way Oliver wishes. This attempted rendezvous between Nyssa and Merlyn results in them engaging in battle, and attempting to be a hero, Oliver wants to stop it somehow.

Laurel tells Oliver back at the lair that “just because you’ve changed doesn’t mean everybody else has” which is actually quite a poignant and realistic revelation for Oliver to come to as a character in regards to the people surrounding him in his life and the trials and tribulations of being a pure of heart hero like he aspires to be – even when his goal is as simple as to not allow anyone to die.

When they arrive back in Star City, Captain Lance brings them onto the crime scene of some League of Assassin’s activity. Diggle has a spontaneous heart to heart with Oliver about the back-and-forth intentions of Merlyn, where he realizes, delving back into his vigilante feels, “I’ve never hated anyone more than I hate him right now.” Diggle makes him come to the realization that the only way for it to end is for Malcolm Merlyn to end.

Late into the night, Team Arrow intercepts Nyssa and makes any obstacle or distraction to keep people from dying, rescuing citizens in the middle of the firefight. Ultimately they tase Nyssa and briefly take her prisoner. Laurel gets to Nyssa by telling her that her actions aren’t hers, they’re those of her father’s.


Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW

Felici-dad Smoak

Felicity’s dad, after meeting for the first time since she was barely a child, invites her out to dinner, and is very quick to reveal his “evil plans” and his alias as The Calculator to her by calling her “Overwatch.” She reacts as intelligently and distraught as anyone would expect in a situation such as this, despite that he’s “asking for a chance to prove” that he’s not a bad guy, then offering her a thumb drive of his old hack attacks to prove his innocence or whatever. His goals are unclear in this episode other than vaguely wanting to bond with Felicity over the fact that they’re both “hacker vigilantes.” In the middle of the episode, she invites her mother to discuss her encounter with her dad, who doesn’t take very lightly the fact that he’s come to town to wreak havoc on Felicity’s emotions, lecturing your standard fare about fathers who abandon their wives and children: “He tells you exactly what you want to hear and you get sucked in… people don’t change.” Felicity eventually shows her dad around Palmer Tech, and as he dicks around with Holt’s tech on display, they talk about taking “baby steps” in furthering a relationship. Little to his knowledge, as it appears, she gave him the slip by seeing if he’d try to take advantage of the situation when she later shows Oliver a data mining device that he planted in Holt’s lab, proving that she should never have thought to trust him in the first place. She was hoping he was the parent she always wanted, but when she caught him manipulating and taking advantage of her, she rightfully draws a line in the sand.

Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW

Sins of the Father

Oliver comes to the realization that Malcolm will not change, just like Felicity’s father, as she notes herself. He’s a terrible human being for the past four years, there is no amount of love he could express for Thea that can make up for it or change him. Malcolm reveals that he knows about Oliver’s secret son just to make a point about the decision he is making and of his power as Ra’s Al Ghul. Felicity calls Oliver’s suggestion of a session of Mortal Kombat between Nyssa and Malcolm as “one of his craziest ideas.” Oliver wants to fight on Nyssa’s behalf because he’s officially her husband, a detail that no one has cared about since the end of season 3 until now. Instead of killing Malcolm, Oliver seems to think that chopping off his ring hand will suffice.

The conclusion of the episode thematically ties the father issues into the two plots in Nyssa and Felicity by showing they’re capable of proving they’re unlike their paternal origins and have no reliance on them when Nyssa notifies Malcolm and Oliver that she has disbanded the League and the role of Ra’s Al Ghul will be no more, and Felicity turning her fugitive father in to the police.

Flashbacks 4.13

→) Reveals the strange rune covered stone that Ryder wants, Tiana quickly bribes


→) Tiana foolishly shows the stone to Ryder, who forces it from her hands
→) Tiana tries to lecture him that he has no idea what she feels, he then tells her about all the lives, especially his father’s sacrifice, that he’s lost in the past few years.

Rating: (8/10)

Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!


Arrow Season 4 Weekly Recaps

The Flash Season 2 Weekly Recaps

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Weekly Recaps

Supergirl Season 1 Weekly Recaps

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