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‘Arrow’ Review: “Honor Thy Fathers”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Executive Stage Editor

Arrow continues to head towards its season five finale with an episode that uses the best Team Arrow has to offer. After a season of struggling to find its footing, Arrow hits a long awaited stride in its final moments of the season. After an Olicity centric episode last week, Arrow creates an episode with equal parts stunts, heart and character development. In the latest episode “Honor Thy Fathers,” packs just the right punches.

Arrow has always been amazing with stunt sequences. The show has delivered us boxing glove Arrows, Green Arrow flying from a helicopter and Diggle (David Ramsey) pulling Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) up to safety with one hand. They’re moments that make the show the spectacle that it’s, but that’s not the reason we tune in. You know those quiet moments? The moments that consist of a shoulder touch from Oliver to Felicity or Laurel (Katie Cassidy) reassuring Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) everything will be fine? That’s why we tune in. Week after week we watch our characters face unexplainable odds, only to come out stronger than before.

We’ve said it before, but Arrow has become a beloved TV show for the character it has given us. From Felicity to Sara Lance to Curtis, the show knows how to use characters to build not only their main superhero, but also the show as a whole. It’s a skill we thought the show mastered until season five. Faced with the impossible task of rebuilding most of the core characters, Arrow floundered under the pressure. The show turned to impressive stunts over character development. A move that ended up being detrimental to the show. As characters were not a priority, Arrow suffered. Now with only a few episodes left in season five, Arrow has returned to the character development we’ve been searching for.

It’s safe to say, Oliver Queen has not been our favorite character this season. He’s character development has been all over the place. Contradicting past development is one of the issues we’ve had with Arrow season five. In one breathe, Oliver is saying that killing is wrong, while he leaves the Arrow Bunker and kills people in Star City. It became very hard to trust our leading character when we didn’t even understand his motives. Now after 21 episodes, Oliver has achieved some of his best character development all season and it’s all thanks to Felicity.

Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Honor Thy Fathers. Photo Credit: The CW
Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Honor Thy Fathers. Photo Credit: The CW

Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards are the pairing Arrow needs to survive and that was very apparent in this episode. After the Olicity centered episode that featured Oliver and Felicity clearing the air on their past relationship, we’re finally back into the groove of Arrow. While they aren’t romantically together, having Felicity and Oliver being able to talk is a massive plus. Amell and Rickards work effortlessly together. It’s hard to imagine either character existing without the other and this episode proved that. For several episode, Oliver has been unable to suit up as Green Arrow. As soon as Felicity tells her that Green Arrow has changed her life, he suits up. This just shows how important their relationship is. Amell and Rickards are incredible together. When they work together, Arrow just falls into place.

While Rickards and Amell work great together in this episode, again proving the small moments are what set Arrow apart from the other DCTV series, Amell’s work solo as he built Oliver’s character is the most important part of this latest episode. When we first met Oliver, he was a selfish. He only wanted to work alone and it took several seasons for him to truly realize he needs help and to let people in. This episode showcases all of Oliver’s character growth and it’s an episode we wish we got earlier in season five. Amell brings Oliver to new heights not just when he suits up as the Green Arrow, but as a brother and a friend.

Willa Holland makes her long awaited return to Arrow in this episode. She makes us realize how much we’ve missed Thea’s presence this season. As she returns to the horrible realization that Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan) is a murderer, she leaves with a better bond with her brother. In one of the biggest character development moments, Oliver gifts Thea a video Robert left her. He says that Thea is the strongest and needs to be there to protect Oliver. It’s true, Thea has undergone the biggest character development on Arrow. Holland has taken her from a wild teenager to a strong, courageous woman. The evolution is apparent to us, but Thea finally realizes it this week.

Oliver giving Thea the video also shows his character development. While he’s been holding onto this information, he finally realizes Thea deserves to know. Amell and Holland are one of the best brother/sister duos on TV. Their scenes together is something Arrow has seriously been missing in season five. This season seemingly stripped away most of Oliver’s family, Felicity and Laurel included, so when Thea and Felicity are important to Oliver’s story in an episode, we realize how much we need them. Holland is such an essential part to Arrow and we hope to see her more in season six.

Josh Segarra in the Arrow episode "Honor Thy Fathers. Photo Credit: The CW
Josh Segarra in the Arrow episode “Honor Thy Fathers. Photo Credit: The CW

This episode we also see Adrian Chase/Prometheus (Josh Segarra) return to continue to torment Oliver. Is there anyway we can keep Segarra past this season? Because we’re loving every moment we’ve had with him. Segarra has ascended and become one of the best DCTV villains across the board. While Arrow may have struggled in the early part of the season, Segarra soared. Simultaneously striking fear into our hearts and making us swoon, Segarra has created one of the best villains currently on TV. By episodes end, Team Arrow has successfully captured Chase, but we doubt it will be that easy. As Arrow begins to draw to a close, we find out days with Segarra numbered. A heartbreaking reality we aren’t ready to face. Segarra has been the best addition to the series as he creates a villain we won’t soon forget.

Another favorite addition to Arrow this season has been Juliana Harkavy as Dinah. In just a few short episodes, Dinah has quickly become our favorite new addition to Team Arrow. In this episode, with Oliver and Diggle trapped, she takes command and helps them escape. She also rescues Rene (Rick Gonzalez) with her badass Canary Cry. She’s the perfect addition to the show and a welcomed strong female character, something Arrow definitely needed more of.

Rene and Quentin’s storyline falls very flat this week. Rene skips out on a hearing regarding custody of his daughter and we aren’t at all surprised. While this storyline began to get interesting last week, it falls to the bottom this week. Blackthorne and Gonzalez continue to work beautifully together, but it’s a matter of the story being written in a lazy way. We aren’t invested in it at all and it has become predictable. We hope things spice up here before the finale.

Arrow delivers an episode that reminds us of the original Arrow seasons we love. With Holland making her grand return and Felicity and Oliver finally working together, Arrow has all the right pieces to make an amazing finale in a few short weeks. Josh Segarra triumphs while Amell proves that Oliver has undergone some character growth. While this episode may include big fight sequences, it’s the character development moments that make this one of Arrow’s strongest hours.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW

Overall Grade: A-

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