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Arrow – Sins of the Father Review

"A jumble with some strong elements"

As well as things have been going for Arrow of late, I knew the other shoe had to drop eventually. That isn’t to say that “Sins of the Father” was a bad episode- it wasn’t. But the episode’s final moments gave a pretty good idea of where things are headed on the series, and I’m far less enthused for what is to come.

Before I jump into speculating about the upcoming Arrow story arc, I want to talk a bit about what worked well within “Sins of the Father,” and where the episode missed its mark. I have to say, I’m glad to see the writers acknowledging that so much of what has come to pass is the result of poor choices by Oliver. Rather than having to listen to him blame Ra’s al Ghul for his (and Thea’s) current lot in life, it was nice to see him remember what a really awful person Malcolm Merlyn has been over the course of the series (and it was great that someone finally remembered that Merlyn killed his own son way back in season one- which pretty much disqualifies him for the Father of the Year accolades Oliver seems to want to give him for not killing Thea yet).

Arrow -- "Sins of the Father" -- Image AR413b_0549b.jpg -- Pictured John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn -- Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Oliver’s decision to give Merlyn control of the League of Assassins has bugged me since last season. It was one of the most irresponsible things he has ever done on the series. So, I was strangely happy to see him finally eat some crow and rectify it. But it took way too long for Oliver to see what he had to do. I cannot imagine he really though Merlyn would go along with the plan to give up power. Again, this is the guy who brainwashed Thea and made her kill Sara. This is not a person you trust. Just like Oliver thinking last week that Damian Darhk would be totally cool with saving Thea if only someone asked him. I get that heroes need to have some flaws to be realistic, but man, Oliver’s judgment when it comes to trusting villains is going to get himself or others killed at some point (we already know it creates one body this season, but how more members of Team Arrow haven’t died due to his stupid naivete is beyond me).

While I was glad to see Oliver take the reins and strike down Merlyn (and give Nyssa the position she should have had a while ago), it was just the latest in a line of too little, too late choices. Knowing that, with the proper pep talk from Laurel (once again, I want to mention my wish for a spin-off that consists of Laurel and Nyssa fighting crime and hanging out, because Katie Cassidy and Katrina Law are a great team), Nyssa was willing and able to make the right and honorable choice (although I have my doubts that the League has been disbanded for good) only makes Oliver’s short-shortsightedness all the more glaring. And now his inability to focus on Damian Darhk and not end Merlyn is going to come back to bite him and Team Arrow? Well, just another day at the office for Oliver Queen.


So, let’s get into what Merlyn and Darhk’s discussion means for the future of the series. When William was introduced, and Oliver opted not to tell Felicity anything, the show made it pretty clear that this would be a major blow to their relationship down the line. Couple that with Felicity not wearing her engagement ring in the flashfoward, and I think we can all put the pieces together on what that means. But, I’m just plain disappointed that the next step in the “Destroy Oliver” plan is going after William. Not because I don’t want to see a little kid become a pawn in the game of killers (although, I don’t want that), but because I don’t think many members of the audience really care what happens to William.

Considering we’ve seen the kid once, had a veiled reference to Oliver taking lots of trips to Central City, and haven’t had anyone mention him again until today, there is no emotional attachment to him on the part of the show’s audience. Frankly, I forgot all about Oliver’s kid until the missing engagement ring issue came up. If the show wants us to care about him being in danger, then it needs to take steps to let us know him. I highly doubt he’s the one who gets killed by Darhk (my number one suspect is now his mother- which would be an even bigger let down than William dying, since I can’t even remember her name off the top of my head and she was pretty annoying with her refusal to let Oliver tell Felicity anything about William), but this entire story arc is just exhausting. From day one, it has screamed of the writers putting unnecessary roadblocks into Oliver’s life, and now their inability to follow through with turning William into anything more than a one-off character is going to take its toll on the season arc. I was really enjoying the show these past few weeks, but now I have that familiar sense of dread in the pit of my stomach for what is to come. I hope the writers prove my instincts wrong.


Final Thoughts:

— So, now that Nyssa isn’t Ra’s, what is she going to do? Become a vigilante for hire? Start a school to train new warriors? I would totally watch that spin-off, too.

— Merlyn’s over the top reaction to what the League would be under Nyssa’s control really made me want to see what she actually would have done with it.

— Despite Merlyn’s villainous ways, I did appreciate that he didn’t trust Nyssa’s initial offer. I can certainly see why your former nemesis’s daughter rolling into town with a heretofore unheard of cure would be suspicious.

— Felicity’s reunion with dear old dad was pretty anticlimactic. It makes me think we haven’t seen the last of him.

— As glad as I am that we now get to experience evil and crazy Malcolm Merlyn again, I still can’t believe Oliver let him live. How many times do Oliver’s bad choices have to cost him people before he realizes he can’t always choose the path of least violence?

  • Great work by Katie Cassidy and Katrina Law
  • Always fun to see Nyssa
  • Oliver finally realized he can't trust Malcolm
  • The William plan
  • Oliver failed to clean up loose ends

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeaniusIsMe on Twitter.

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