ARROW Review 5.21 “Honor Thy Fathers”

What good is a family without a soul?

Check out the previous review here.
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“Maybe it’s time to stop living for your father and to start living for yourself.”

Five years ago, Arrow kicked off what would become a very lucrative and intertwined superhero franchise on the CW Network. We’ve talked in the past about how far they fell for a season or two, just as we’ve discussed their recent rise from the ashes. A year ago it was hard to fathom ever being excited for an episode of Arrow again, but here we are. Each week the team behind the show continues to raise the stakes. “Honor Thy Fathers” even shows off how to throw in a villain of the week while still giving your main storyline the focus it deserves this late in the season, something other shows on the network have been having issues with.

The episode’s flashbacks work in a way that others have failed to in the past. They’re still a bit of a distraction, but overall they tie into the arc enough for them to make sense. Anatoli returns Oliver to Lian Yu so that he may be found in a way that doesn’t result in questions. Anatoli’s to bribe a ship to sail to the island in two days so that Oliver will be picked up like a self-respecting cast away should be! Dolph Lundgren’s here to ruin that plan though, so, womp womp.

“Honor Thy Fathers” main plot sticks to its title in every way. Chase has dug up a video of Oliver and Thea’s father murdering another man, and sets out to destroy his legacy. While the team is dealing with that, they also have thirty six other violent criminals that are now out on bail since the District Attorney that put them behind bars is a murdering sociopath. There’s also a side story where Rene returns to the “most hated” slot, but that rant will come your way very soon.

Oliver is loath to believe that their father is a murderer. Thea’s seen a lot of shit at this point and basically rules out nothing when it comes to her family, their motives, or what they’re capable of. Unfortunately for Oliver, she’s right to be concerned. Though it appears to be an accident, Robert Queen did murder a man, and then he covered it up. Just like that, Adrian Chase’s plan has worked. Oliver knows that making him question the very foundation of his crusade was the plan all along, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s succeeded. That is, until he and Felicity have a chat.

We all have to be reminded from time to time how dangerous it can be to live in the past. If you’re a surviving member of the Queen family, that’s basically all you’re capable of. Oliver takes Felicity’s words to heart (and will later impart them on Thea when she’s as lost as he is), and the team heads out to stop the deadly drug that Prometheus has cooked up with the help of Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes). That team includes a newly re-suited Green Arrow, who is once again ready to take on the moniker after the pep talk from Felicity. Once they meet up, Oliver plays some mind games of his own, and gets Chase right where he wants him. I mean, so long as you ignore the fact that he totally has William and just let the Green Arrow take him in. Oliver’s just had a major breakthrough and has been craving a win though, so he accepts the win and heads to congratulate the team, and to show Thea the message their father left for him so that she can make her own decisions for once.

Let’s talk about Rene Romirez. He’s impossible to miss, he’s the big mouth in the corner whose skill doesn’t begin to match up with his ego. You know him. He’s the one who doesn’t listen to anyone at all. It doesn’t matter if they have more experience, more intelligence, or, say, lost a daughter? Rene tries to play it off like he’s making the decisions he does to defend his daughter, and completely ignores Lance when he tells him that’s crap. Can Rene continue to be Wild Dog if he gets Zoey back? No, probably not. Is that the point? It’s literally the farthest thing from the point! This character’s one saving grace was his love for his daughter. That emotion that served as an undercurrent to every other terrible thing about him as a person. That all went directly out the window when he ran away the second things got hard. He says he made the decision for Zoey, but it’s very, very clear that he made the decision because he was scared. Unless something changes, his daughter now gets to grow up thinking her father doesn’t want her. Aces. Rene is the worst.

Thea obviously returned this week! But not quite of her own volition, of course. Oliver can never figure out what’s best for him, but somehow always manages to assume that he knows what’s best for everyone else. That shot is kind of unfair, since there have been very real strides in that department, and Thea does mention that he has a habit of giving an order and assuming it’s an agreement. Still, she wasn’t ready to return and makes that point very well known. The sibling stuff in “Honor Thy Fathers” was great. Oliver and Thea’s relationship as brother and sister has always been believable, but now that Thea’s grown up from the miserable little shit she was in earlier seasons it has evolved into something even better than it was. Though the character motives were irritating, this week’s episode wouldn’t have been half of what it was without her presence and Oliver’s subsequent decisions to attempt to change.

Continuing the character theme—Dinah got more to do this week! Her advice is always a nice addition, but she really shines when she’s ragging on her boys or kicking ass. We’re still yet to get anything with her deeply involved, but if it’s baby steps the writers want, I’m willing to wait it out so long as we keep getting the Black Canary we deserve. But we do need to talk about Curtis, because there are… problems. I love him. He’s sweet, and funny, and super smart, and he adds nothing to the team. The T-Spheres are great, but they’re literally the only original thing that he brings to the table. His awkwardness is always taken a step too far, and most of his moments are jokes that were overplayed twenty episodes ago (“Oh… did you want to say that?”). As I mentioned, I love him, and representation matters, but the writers really need to give him a little bit more than a pair of balls if they want him to stand up in this team. Note: This is not an invitation to kill off Felicity as a way to make him the only one on the team with his skillset.

This review has such a heavy focus on characters because there’s genuinely not that much else to critique about “Honor Thy Fathers”. The action returned to give a balance to those who had too much mush in last week’s relationship heavy episode, the stakes were high, the team bantered and worked great together, and Lance had one of his best scenes to date. Like most episodes of its kind, it’s filled with a ton of great dialogue, and has an important message to impart on its viewers. Endless applause to the team behind Arrow. I don’t know if they can keep up this momentum with only two weeks left, but I look forward to watching them try!

Mayor Queen has been an unbelievably exceptional addition to the show, but he’ll be on the backburner once again next week as the Green Arrow fights to find his team. Oliver’s not going to take too kindly to the realization that Chase is still exactly where he wants to be. Here’s hoping we don’t have yet another finale revolving around William, but it doesn’t look great.