Arrow season 4 episode 13 review: Sins Of The Father

Arrow looks as though it's finally cleared away some of the debris of its less-than-great third season. Fingers crossed...

This review contains spoilers.

4.13 Sins Of The Father

And with that, we can hope and pray that the League of Assassins stays dead and, along with it, any mention of Ra’s al Ghul and Nanda Parbat. After a heck of a lot of manoeuvring that’s less entertaining than it ever should have been, Nyssa is put in charge of the League only to disband it shortly after. Malcolm, having lost a fight with Oliver, only has one hand and, after taking the cure promised by Nyssa last week, Thea is alive and well.

So that’s that. After a season and a half of infuriating storylines and unbelievable character motivations, we can assume that this part of the show has finally been put to bed. But it’s resolution, along with the rest of it, still left a heck of a lot to be desired.

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For one, as much as Oliver keeps trying to explain it to us, it’s hard to believe that he would flinch for a second at murdering Malcolm for any reason other than his pledge not to kill anymore. Instead of using this excuse, though, the episode gives him the muddled motivation of trying to keep Thea’s father alive for her sake. That his continued existence is actually hurting Thea’s chances of survival makes this hard to fathom.

As Malcolm says, Oliver’s very handsome, but not especially bright. That’s always one of the most frustrating parts of Arrow, and was a problem that completely erased any redeeming qualities for much of last year. It’s back now as a symptom of this entire storyline, and a surprise when Oliver actually manages to orchestrate a somewhat clever plan towards the end. It’s all relative, mind you.

He still doesn’t manage to kill Merlyn, despite pledging to do just that every other week for the last four seasons. Instead, he has a homicidal murderer with a brand new reason to hate him, and that’s on top of his ongoing feud with Darhk. In other words, it’s abundantly clear that the only reason Oliver won’t get rid of Malcolm is because the show wants to keep John Barrowman around for a little while longer.

Similarly, Nyssa’s tunnel vision over killing Malcolm doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. Arrow‘s worst tendencies came out when Nyssa wasn’t even allowed to fight her own battle, with Oliver seeing fit to step in for her at the last minute. Having been brought up by Ra’s al Ghul and a member of the League of Assassins for her entire life, I’m pretty sure she’s a better fighter than Oliver, and I could have done without constant reminders that they’re actually married. Urgh.

Felicity’s attempts to reconnect with her father were a bit more interesting, but again didn’t turn out too well for anyone. After giving him an all-access pass to Palmer Tech’s R&D department she discovers he’s trying to steal data from her, and this prompts her to cut ties for good. It’s always great seeing Felicity stand up for herself, even if it might have landed better had the story thread had a bit more screen time.

There’s a weak attempt to connect the flashbacks (yeah, they’re still happening) with the present day by bringing up Oliver’s own father and his sacrifice shortly after landing on Lian Yu. He wanted his son to fix his mistakes and sacrificed himself for it, but sadly neither Malcolm or Noah don’t have the same foresight.

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Smarting from his defeat, then, Malcolm reveals the secret of Oliver’s son to Darhk. What he’s going to do with that information, we’ll have to wait and see. With Oliver and Felicity also pushing up their wedding, we can at least be sure that things are going to kick into high gear sooner rather than later now that Arrow has cleared away some of its old debris. That’s the hope, anyway. 

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Unchained, here.