Arrow: 5.21 Honor Thy Fathers
After a slightly lacklustre entry last week, Arrow was back on form as it built closer to Adrian Chase's end game and the flashbacks saw Oliver's return to the island in time for pilot episode. I assumed the flashbacks were done with, so it was a pleasant surprise to have one final episode with Anatoly Knyazev as he flew Oliver back to Lian Yu and helped him prepare his ' five years as a castaway' story for the world.
Unlike the return to the island in season four, there was a certain sense of nostalgia in seeing the old freighter wrecked in the bay and Slade Wilson's mask washed up on the shore. Plus the surprise return of Dolph Lundgren's Konstantin Kovar, back from the dead to wreak havoc on the island suggests we're getting one final flashback story before his rescue. I'm not sure it's entirely necessary to be honest, but Lundgren makes a great villain so I'm not too disappointed.
But the core of the story was the delivery of a skeleton in concrete, a gift to Oliver from Chase and with it a final twist in the legacy of Robert Queen by revealing that he killed someone years ago during an argument by pushing him off the roof of a building into liquid concrete. Worse still, there was footage of the act, forcing Oliver and a returning Thea to realise their father was a killer too. Bloodshed has been a part of the Queen family for years and the reveal was a harsh reminder from Chase that Oliver the killer came from someone just as bad.
The legacy of fathers also played out in Rene's story as he found himself facing a hearing to determine his right to care for his daughter Zoe again. I've grudgingly grown to like Rene Ramirez over the course of the season, particularly his mentor-like relationship with Quentin, but I was frustrated by his decision not to attend the hearing. I only hope it is some cruel act from Chase that prevented him from attending and not a 'I'm not good enough for my daughter' story, because Rene has been given a chance to get some semblance of family back.
And the acts of Chase's father also played a part in his decision to create a weaponised tuberculous more powerful than the one his father tried to make five years ago. With the help of zombie-like Derek Sampson, foolishly released from prison along with all of Chase's other convictions (I guess that happens when the DA is revealed as a psychopath), it forced the team to stop another major threat to Star City. It was great to see Oliver's recruits in action, Juliana Harkavy's Dinah Drake in particularly proving to be a major asset. And as cringeworthy as it was, you've had to love Curtis's "It's terrific!" line too.
But the real heart of the episode was the bond between Oliver and Thea as they battled over the actions of their father and their own personal demons. I like that Thea continues to be wary of the battle, refusing to suit up unless absolutely necessary (aka Dominator invasions), though I suspect we'll see Speedy in action come the finale. As to what that final battle will be, I have no idea. After the spectacular showdown to stop the weaponised virus and Oliver finally back in the hood as Green Arrow to fight Prometheus, the big bad was behind bars but as smug as ever. I like that he continues to remain two steps ahead; Chase seemed broken by the revelation that his father was going to disown him, but did he know all along?
I can't wait to see how season five wraps up.