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ARROW “Honor Thy Fathers” Review

By on May 11, 2017

Arrow -- "Honor Thy Fathers" Pictured (L-R): Juliana Harkavy as Tina Boland/Dinah Drake and Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr.Terrific -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW

By Justin Carter

Honor Thy Fathers

Almost every character on Arrow is defined by his or her family. That’s to be expected, as families and parents in particular largely help — or are supposed to — shape who we grow to be as adults. A stable family can result in an Oliver or Felicity, while the lack of one can produce an Adrian Chase or Flash’s Hunter Zolomon. But as we grow older, the time comes when we have to step out of the shadows of our parents to become our own people, something that few characters in both this show and overall universe have really been able to do.

To go to the latter two examples: Zolomon grew up in an abusive household and ended up a power hungry serial killer; and Chase’s family was never really whole to begin with, even before Oliver killed his father. To him, Team Arrow isn’t just something that makes Oliver weak, it makes him worthy of hate because he’s got two stable families while Chase has none. More importantly, Oliver actually had a father who — even though he was a bad person, cheating and Undertaking aside — shaped the core of his being into a good person, even in death.

Chase tries to taint Oliver’s view of his father, digging up the 15-year-old corpse of a councilman who was killed by Robert Queen. With video evidence proving that Robert indeed killed the man, it’s clear that Chase is saying the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, that the island and subsequent adventures may have helped Oliver learn to kill and get a taste for it, but it’s just a part of his family history. Oliver’s certainly picked up many of his dad’s other traits, such as his secrecy and womanizing (that they both slept with Isabel Rochev is a prime example of that). And when Thea points out that she and Oliver ended up just as bad as Robert and Moira, it’s admittedly hard to really dispute that, given that all four of them have killed or ruined the lives of a number of people.

What makes Oliver and Thea different from their parents is that they had people from outside their families to take them out of that inevitably dark path. There’s a version of this world where the Queen kids likely would’ve been complicit in the Undertaking all those years ago if there weren’t a Laurel or a Roy around to help them pull their heads out of their asses.  And the list of names that began Oliver’s crusade has expanded to become something bigger, to the point where it no longer truly matters. Everyone on Team Arrow has, at this point, become a support system for one another when it’s needed, and as this episode shows, that’s how they’ve managed to stay a solid unit for as long as they have.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with Rene’s story this week, where he faces the very real chance of getting custody of his daughter again. The episode uses this as a good opportunity to pair him up with Lance again, who is reasonably the only other person on the team who knows what it’s like to lose a child. While Rene’s right in being worried that Zoe would be worse off with him again, given his night job, Lance knows from experience that being absent is the worst thing that can happen for them both. Still, Rene does duck out on the court hearing, no doubt spurred by fear while facing death the previous night (more than usual, as Cody Rhodes’ Derek Sampson from earlier in the season made his return and nearly choked the guy to death). It’s a heartbreaking turn, but understandable.

For a moment, it seems like sympathy is what we’re meant to feel for Chase towards the end. Oliver tells him during their fight that his father was going to disown him, less because he was a bastard child and more because he was declared insane and just plain didn’t want him. The look of shock and subsequent resignation would’ve felt like another real win for Team Arrow, two episodes left in the season be damned. But no, it turns out that all of this, including being put into an ARGUS prison, was all part of his Grand Master Plan. Sure, there’s two episodes left into the season, but this does feel like the show is bending logic pretzels to make sure our villain is on top yet again. (Depending on your viewpoint, the logic bending has been prevalent for a good chunk of the season.)

Still, “Honor Thy Fathers” does a solid job at cementing that Oliver and his family — both what remains of his real one and the one he built himself — will always have each other’s backs, come hell or high water.

Additional Notes

  • I didn’t mean to gloss over this, but: Thea’s back! And she hasn’t lost a step, delivering sage musings in one scene and then threatening a lawyer in the next.
  • The flashbacks manage to justify Oliver’s epic beard in the pilot as a fake one he got from Anatoly, which cements this season’s flashbacks as the best ever. (It’s also revealed that the last two episodes of flashbacks will land us directly on the opening moments of the pilot.)
  • Speaking of flashbacks: Kovar is back, and he is pissed.

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