Arrow: 4.13 Sins Of The Father
Sins Of The Father was a very apt title for this week's Arrow as there were father issues abound. Malcolm's actions in using Thea to kill Sara last season came back to bite him with the impending death of his daughter. Nyssa was haunted by the legacy of her father Ra's Al Ghul and the role he forced upon her. Felicity reconnected with her father and realised the kind of man he really was and even Oliver was reminded that his own father wasn't the great man everyone thought him to be.
But the episode was more than just these characters dealing with Daddy issues. It was the culmination of the 'League of Assassins' storyline that has been bubbling away for two and a half seasons and wrapped up many of the repercussions of what happened in season three. Following on from last week's cliffhanger, we saw the conflict between Nyssa Al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn reach a bloody end. Laurel used her connection with Nyssa to reason that she could win by having Malcolm give up the ring - and leadership of the League - in exchange for the cure, but in his true selfish, villainous manner he refused, even when Thea's life was at stake.
I would have liked to have seen more of the civil war between the League but what was good was rather thrilling. Assassins fighting openly in the streets, arrows flying and taking down pedestrians made for an exciting scene, particularly when Oliver, Diggle and Laurel rushed in end the fight in their superhero guises. And it all culminated in another duel; Oliver's third option worked surprisingly, taking Nyssa's place as her husband and taking down Malcolm in spectacular style. The moment he chopped off his hand and gave the ring to Nyssa was rather shocking but kept the audience on their toes and the twist that she destroyed the ring and disbanded the League took the show in a surprisingly new direction.
Will there be fallout from these assassins, no longer bound to one leader or is this the end of Nanda Parbat? I suspect Nyssa may make more appearances, now that she is back as an ally - if a very grey one. And as for Malcolm, with Thea cured he no longer needs a reason to hang out with team Arrow. I wondered if this would have been the right episode for him to die, but now that he has been betrayed and maimed, he seems to becoming a more dangerous foe. Allying himself with Damien Darhk and revealing that Oliver has a secret son is sure to have dramatic consequences - Oliver's sin as a father putting William in the cross hairs.
Though not everything was strong in this episode. It took a while for the League 'civil war' to get going and up to that point the rants of Nyssa and Malcolm seemed like a retread of old episodes. And while I liked that Noah revealed himself to be The Calculator early on, the story never really went any further after that. Her internal conflict and decision to have him arrested for his crimes didn't really have much of an impact after his intriguing introduction last week. And in the flashbacks, I'm not sure anything happened. The island-based drama is better than last season but the magical stuff has been established and really needs to get moving soon. And given where we saw Oliver at the start of the show, it feels like Arrow should really considering dropping the flashbacks next season, or at least limit them to a handful of scenes.
Sins Of The Father followed another trend of the arguably improved season four. Things start of a little slow, feels like a bit of a retread at times and then comes back with a great ending leaving you ready to watch more. I think the Damien Darhk conflict has lost a little momentum after that mid season finale cliffhanger and I hope that with Malcolm's latest revelation about William, this will pick up too. Arrow, you're doing well but you really need to kick things up to another level now...