Tonight’s episode of Arrow put everyone’s fathers front and center. Robert Queen, Justin Claybourne, Rene Ramirez, even Malcolm Merlyn and Quentin Lance were all showcased tonight — their strengths and their shortcomings. “Honor Thy Fathers” brought to light an ugly truth about Oliver and Thea’s father, a truth that deeply eroded Oliver’s faith in his father’s crusade. While Prometheus tried to use this revelation to bring Oliver down, it actually became a stepping stone to build Oliver up — a truth that helped him decide to move past his father’s legacy and onto his own. Some key Easter eggs were present in this episode as well, like Oliver and Anatoly returning to Lian Yu, Deathstroke’s mask, a Queen Consolidated building named Oliver, two pre-recorded messages from Robert Queen, musical cues from Season 1 and much more. Tonight’s episode was well written, sharply edited, and felt like one of Arrow’s best, a trend that has kept increasing as the season has progressed. With only three episodes left until the Season 5 finale (including this one,) Arrow is on track to bring five seasons and ten years of storytelling to a brilliant and hopefully resolute finish.
Sins of the Father
Tonight’s episode, aptly titled “Honor Thy Fathers,” shined the spotlight on the fathers of Arrow. Every father on the show had a moment, but none more so than Robert Queen. When Oliver began his crusade back in Season 1, he did so under the inspiration and order of his father. “I’m not the man you thought I was Oliver, right my wrongs…” were Robert Queen’s famous last words to his son. Those words became Oliver’s driving point and anthem. Those words were what drove Oliver back to Starling City after five years in hell (Lian Yu, Hong Kong, and Russia.) Robert Queen’s legacy was called into question this week when Prometheus sent Oliver the dead body of a man encased in cement. After doing a forensics test, that dead man was revealed to be Henry Goodwin. At first, Team Arrow couldn’t find any connections to Goodwin and Prometheus, they did, however, discover Robert Queen’s DNA under Goodwin’s fingernails, a tell-tale sign that Robert killed him. Neither Oliver nor a newly returned Thea wanted to believe their father was capable of murder until Prometheus sent them proof. A video showing Robert and Henry at an Oliver Queen-named building showed the two men getting into an altercation and Robert accidentally pushing Henry into a vat of wet concrete. Whether Henry’s death was intentional didn’t matter as much because Robert was complicit in the coverup.
This revelation sent Oliver into a tailspin. He began to question his crusade as the Green Arrow, his father’s legacy, everything he had been working towards over the last five years. Prometheus’ plan to derail Oliver had worked. Fortunately, Oliver was surrounded by his team — a team that refused to let him lay down the hood just yet. Felicity was able to give Oliver one of the best pep talks of the season and reminded him that is was time to lay down his father’s crusade and pick up his own. These introspective scenes were intercut with scenes of Oliver and Anatoly going back to Lian Yu. Anatoly left Oliver on the island with tools to build a signal fire, a beard, and wig from a KGB friend and plans to send a ship to retrieve him in a few days. This plan looks like the events that took place in the pilot, which we are likely to see fully unfold in the upcoming Season 5 finale. What’s fascinating about cutting these flashbacks together is that we are watching Oliver simultaneously pick up his father’s mantle (in the past) and lay it down (in the present.) Something Arrow does well and continues to do well is telling these parallel stories that mirror what’s happening in both Oliver’s past and present.
Letting Go & Moving Forward
It was so great to see Thea this week. Her absence has been felt every week that she has been away recovering. Thea returned in “Honor Thy Fathers” because she needed to know the truth about Robert just as much as Oliver did. She took the news just as hard as Oliver, but Thea has a strength, a resilience, that made her less willing to throw in the towel than Oliver. She wasn’t quite willing to suit up with Team Arrow though, when they went after Prometheus and returning baddie of the week Derek Sampson. Sampson and Prometheus were attempting to recreate the same chemical experiment Prometheus’ father was attempting to create when Oliver killed him. Team Arrow took both baddies down relatively quickly (that’s what happens when you have a great team) including Prometheus, whom Oliver was able to talk down by telling him his father, Claybourne, was originally going to disown him. The scene was powerful, but felt almost “all too easy,” considering Prometheus has been such a tough adversary for Oliver to fight all season long. Oliver also showed Thea Robert’s final message to her about taking care of Oliver and trusting in her own inner strength.
The episode concluded with Prometheus behind bars at A.R.G.U.S. and Team Arrow primed to celebrate. On the island, just as Oliver was getting ready to put his rescue plan into place, Kovar appeared from the woods and took Oliver down with a tranquilizer dart. It would seem as though the upcoming penultimate episode and the finale will center on Oliver overcoming TWO deadly bad guys: Prometheus and Kovar. The other storyline in this episode focused on Rene’s hearing to get custody of his daughter. In a very emotional scene with Lance, Rene said that going to the hearing was a lost cause and that it wasn’t worth putting his daughter through the pain. Lance, however, having lost his daughters multiple times, urged Rene to go anyway, so his daughter would know that her daddy is fighting for her. The final moments of the episodes showed Rene missing the hearing and being denied custody. One other father who was central to this episode was Oliver himself. While we don’t know what Prometheus did with Oliver’s son William, you can be sure it’s not good.
Prometheus’ Final Play
With Prometheus behind bars, Team Arrow could be feeling pretty confident about their future. Unfortunately, Chase has contingency plans in place that will include kidnapping Curtis and Dinah. In “Missing,” Prometheus will play his last few cards in order to bring Oliver down, which will include calling on Talia al Ghul and Black Siren for help. Watch out for the ladies Oliver, they are coming for you.
BLACK SIREN RETURNS – Black Siren (guest star Katie Cassidy) returns to help Chase (Josh Segarra). Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) organizes a birthday party for Oliver (Stephen Amell) while Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is furious after Rene (Rick Gonzalez) misses the custody hearing for his daughter. Mairzee Almas directed the episode written by Speed Weed & Oscar Balderrama. Original airdate 5/17/2017.
Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, “Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, John Barrowman, Willa Holland and more.