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Arrow 4.13 Review – ‘Sins of the Father’

February 10, 2016 | Posted by Anthony Falco
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Arrow 4.13 Review – ‘Sins of the Father’  

[Warning: SPOILERS if you have not seen ‘Sins of the Father’]

So Arrow begins hot off the heels of last week, as Nyssa unveils her proposal to Oliver. The usually quiet hero actually states some logic for once: he calls her out on being selfish and claims that her father is the reason why they are all in this mess. But this does nothing to change her mind; in fact, it pushes her forward, declaring that the only way he will get the Lotus is if he kills Malcolm Merlyn. At the same time, Felicity has dinner with her dad; surprisingly, instead of him hiding who he is, which is a very tired storyline, he admits that he is the Calculator. However, he calls himself a hacktivist and tries to dispel any notion that he is a villain.

This leads to the gang questioning what to do next on either front. Felicity asks her mother for advice: she basically says that her father always has ulterior motives and should not be trusted. Also, Oliver decides he will try to get Merlyn to relinquish his power in exchange for the elixir: something Laurel gets Nyssa to reluctantly agree with. However, Malcolm is quick to shoot this down, as he claims there is no proof and even calls Oliver simple-minded. Both scenarios show the very depressing theme of the night: people do not change, as the gang stupidly hopes that they can actually trust criminals.

So Felicity proposes that, for both situations, the gang uses a test to get what they want: Felicity brings her father to Palmer Tech and Oliver gets Nyssa to give him a sample. The former ends with the Calculator attempting to bug the place for information and the latter results in Malcolm agreeing to a deal, only to later renege. As for the former, did the viewer really expect anything else: the show does nothing to convince us that he could be a good guy – he is not even a smooth talking con man that uses his charm to get his way. As for the latter, when Merlyn attacks Nyssa it is probably the worst part of tonight’s episode. The choreography looks rough and the fight is stiff: yet again, the stunt doubles are clearly visible in a few of the shots.

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Now, when the gang gets back to their secret lair, the group decides to talk about Nyssa’s initial offer: even Diggle, who has been a major proponent of Oliver not going back to his old ways, says it has to end with Merlyn. Something that is further repeated by the heart broken Felicity, as she reiterates, “people can’t change.” Still, at least Oliver’s reasoning is sound: if he just did not want to kill, then he would contradict what he did to Ra’s in last season’s finale. In reality, he wants Thea to have a father: even though he is a horrible man that brainwashed his own daughter into killing Sara, Queen believes that it is not his decision to talk Merlyn’s life.

So this leads to one last attempt to get Nyssa to change her mind: Laurel goes to her and calls her “selfish” for using Thea as a bargaining chip. At the same time, she also refuses to “step aside” and let Nyssa go on her crusade: by this point, it is pandemonium in Starling City, as the two warring sides are killing innocents. And while the two continue to argue, the League attacks the rebels, which spills into the streets; the fight this time is much better and certainly more entertaining, however, this sequence is designed to show the collateral damage of the situation. Instead, the scale, or the lack there of, hinders the overall impact of the scene. Nonetheless, the vigilantes then knock out Nyssa and lock her up, both to protect her and convince her to give up the Lotus.

This results in my favorite moment of the night: Malcolm, who has disappeared, randomly shows up to see his daughter – she is basically on her deathbed and he still refuses to give up the ring. However, Merlyn claims the League of Assassins is bigger than him or Thea’s life. He further asks, would Oliver give up the city for his son’s life, maintaining that this is all for the greater good. So Queen, who is on his last leg, hatches one final plan; he tells Merlyn to call for a trial by combat, which he confidently agrees.

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But when the two go to battle, Oliver steps in and says he will fight on the behalf of his wife. Now, he does this because he is the only person that can defeat Merlyn: I guess this is because he did once before and even trained with him last season. Yet is Oliver really that much better than the new Ra’s: a few years ago, the two were quite equally matched and Queen dispatches him rather quickly here. Either way, their back-and-forth is rather awesome: Merlyn defiantly accepting his death is how one would expect his character to react. And as soon as Queen cuts off his hand and lets him live, the viewer automatically knows there will be hell to pay.

And Merlyn quickly hatches a revenge plot against Oliver. After Thea wakes up and Felicity has her father arrested, Nyssa tells them that she has decided to disband the League of Assassins. Honestly, I did not really buy this storyline, as she claims Laurel convinced her to break free of her father’s shackles. Still, this sets Malcolm off, as he threatens Oliver: something he quickly follows up by giving Damien Darhk the name and location of Queen’s son. As for the flashback, it further pushes forward a narrative that I care very little about. For the one-millionth time, the writers need to get rid of this sequence.

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The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This is a solid episode filled to the brim with ups and downs. First, its message that “people can’t change” is thoroughly depressing: even when they mention how Oliver has reformed, it does not take away from this very bleak theme. Also, while the earlier fight sequences are rough to watch, the duel between Oliver and Merlyn – even if I do not agree with the outcome – is entertaining. On top of this, the final moment really sets up the eventual conclusion with Damien Darhk: could it be Oliver’s son in the grave? We will just have to wait and see.

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Arrow, Arrow Reviews, Anthony Falco