Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor
Arrow continued to up the intensity this week as Team Arrow desperately tries to save Thea’s (Willa Holland) life. After last week’s gut-wrenching episode involving Roy’s (Colton Haynes) return to Star City and Thea’s worsening condition, Arrow piled on the twists this week. In the latest episode entitled “Sins of the Father,” Nyssa (Katrina Law) returns to wage war against Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman).
This week’s brand-new episode of Arrow picked up mere seconds where last week ended, with Nyssa offering Oliver (Stephen Amell) a way to save Thea’s life. With Thea in the hospital, Nyssa shows up with the Lotus, a potion that will cure Thea’s bloodlust. Although as every Arrow fan knows, the League of Assassins always comes with a price. Nyssa will only give Oliver the Lotus if he kills Malcolm. Katrina Law returns full force this week and it’s something Arrow fans have been waiting for. Her presence on Arrow is always larger than life and this week’s new episode did not disappoint. Law’s scenes opposite Amell prove to be some of the most interesting as fans are reminded that the duo are STILL married. The dynamic Amell and Law have in this week’s episode is something new for both characters as they seemingly work together to simultaneously save Thea and take down Malcolm.
One of the other dynamics showcased throughout the latest episode of Arrow is Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Nyssa’s relationship. The last time the duo faced each other Nyssa was less than pleased with Laurel’s decision to revive Sara (Caity Lotz). In this episode of Arrow, Nyssa is still bitter with Laurel so, when Laurel shows up on behalf of Oliver it doesn’t go off smoothly. Laurel tries to convince Nyssa that Malcolm doesn’t have to die, he just needs to give up the Demon’s Head title. This scene with Cassidy and Law perfectly illustrates the character arcs both of them have gone through. The duo have come a long way individually and together and this is showcased. Both equally strong female characters, Laurel and Nyssa don’t get along for most of the episode due to the fact they are on opposing sides. Nyssa wants Malcolm dead and will do anything to achieve this while Laurel wants to save Thea by any means. Cassidy and Law continue to work very well together and here’s hoping they continue the dynamic throughout the rest of season four.
“You are very handsome, not especially bright.” Malcolm and Oliver’s already strained relationship is tested more than ever on Arrow this week. John Barrowman brings his A-game to this episode of Arrow as he desperately tries to save Thea and keep his title as Ra’s al Ghul. Barrowman has been riding the bench for a major portion of season 4, however this episode changed all that. When Oliver goes to Malcolm to try to convince him to give up the Demon’s Head in order to save Thea, a side to Malcolm fans rarely see shines through. Barrowman continues to do an incredible job at balancing Malcolm’s emotional moments with his devious ones. He’s a true MVP and underutilized force on Arrow, but this week he proves why he’s stuck around on Arrow. After Oliver proves to Malcolm that the Lotus will cure Thea, Malcolm agrees to Nyssa’s terms: he will give up his title.
The stunt team on Arrow continues to go above and beyond expectations and this week’s episode redefined what the stunt department can accomplish. When Malcolm, Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel go and meet Nyssa one of the biggest fight sequences of the episode ensues. For any fan that thought Malcolm had changed his ways, they were wrong. He quickly puts Thea’s life behind him and fights Nyssa, refusing to give up the Demon’s Head ring. Malcolm and Nyssa fight it out and it’s one of the biggest fight sequences of the episode. The stunt team for Arrow deserves to win an award for the large scale stunts they put together every single week. As Malcolm and Nyssa duke it out, Team Arrow tries to step in and stop it.
While Laurel, Diggle and Oliver continue to be mediators with the League of Assassins, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is dealing with daddy issues of her own. After last week’s big reveal that The Calculator/Noah (Tom Amandes) is Felicity’s estranged father, Felicity cautiously tries to get to know him. Arrow opens this week with Felicity and Noah having a textbook awkward dinner. Rickards and Amandes click instantly from the first moments of the episode. Felicity begins to search for answers as to why her Dad left her and Donna (Charlotte Ross), but she doesn’t get very far before Noah turns the tables on her. “Imagine what I discovered, Overwatch,” Noah quickly lets Felicity know that he knows about her vigilante skills and the fact she was the one who bested him. Rickards continues to expand Felicity’s character with every conversation she has. Amandes adds yet another layer to Felicity’s character and he makes a wonderful addition to Arrow.
Although Rickards conversations opposite Amandes drive the episode, it’s the single scene of Rickards opposite Charlotte Ross that sticks with fans. In a very small and poignant scene, Felicity informs Donna that Noah is back in town. Donna has always been seen as the carefree character on Arrow, but this week things changed. As soon as Felicity mentions Noah, Donna’s demeanor completely changes. Charlotte Ross has done an incredible job at turning Donna into a multi-dimensional, strong female character on Arrow and this scene showcases her growth once again. When Felicity tells Donna she wants to believe Noah has changed, Donna delivers a crushing piece of dialogue. She says, “I’ve been where you are more times than I care to admit… People don’t change. Even if you want them to.” Ross delivers this piece of dialogue with such authenticity, it’s hard to distinguish where Donna ends and Ross begins. Rickards doesn’t even exchange any dialogue in return, her reaction is enough to seal the deal. Rickards and Ross have created the best mother-daughter duo on TV today and fans can agree that Ross needs to come around more often.
While the League of Assassins are running through the streets of Star City killing innocent civilians, Oliver continues to grapple with the thought of killing Malcolm. Barrowman and Amell share another poignant moment in the episode when Malcolm discusses the first time he ever laid eyes on Thea. For the first time, Malcolm slightly cracks right in front of Oliver. Amell and Barrowman work perfectly together and this small moment shows this. Of course, Malcolm can’t stay good forever. He drops one of the first bombs of the night when he reveals that he knows about William, Oliver’s son! Talk about a plot twist.
As previously mentioned, the stunt team on Arrow delivered two incredible sequences this week and one of them comes when Nyssa challenges Malcolm to a trial by combat. In a moment reminiscent of the season 3 mid-season finale, Nyssa, Malcolm and Team Arrow meet on a roof in Star City to fight. When Felicity turns to Oliver saying, “This is one of your crazier ideas, and that is a competitive field,” to which he replies “Well sit tight. I have a crazier one coming,” fans know something is about to go down. Right before Nyssa and Malcolm duel, Oliver steps up and as Nyssa’s husband, wishes to fight on her behalf. Holy plot twist!! What ensues is an epic battle between Oliver and Malcolm that showcases the intricate fights the stunt team is able to cook up. Amell and Barrowman prove their stunt skills as they create an amazing moment for Arrow. To end the epic battle, Oliver bests Malcolm and instead of killing him, chops off his hand!! Arrow delivers this crazy twist and it will be interesting to see how this new development affects Malcolm and Oliver going forward.
After all is said and done with Malcolm, Felicity returns to Palmer Tech and of course her father shows up. Rickards continues to astound in every scene she’s part of and this is no exception. She has defied expectations and turned into the heart and soul of Arrow. This season, Felicity’s backstory is being explored even more and she is presenting it to fans in a beautiful way. In one of the saddest moments in Arrow this week, Felicity tells her Dad, “When I was a girl, I hated myself. I thought I was broken. That no one could, or would love me. All I ever wanted to know was why? What was so wrong with me, that you would leave.” This heartbreaking exchange further showcases Rickards ability to break fans hearts with a simple piece of dialogue. This, however, is not where the scene ends. In a moment that further proves Felicity is the strongest female character on Arrow, she turns her father over to the police! Felicity “Badass” Smoak is here and she isn’t playing around.
An episode of Arrow can’t end without an adorable “Olicity” moment. Oliver and Felicity exchange some adorable banter including a moment where Oliver asks Felicity “Will you marry me?” to which she replies, “I think I already answered that.” Rickards and Amell continue to be the heart and soul of Arrow this season and these small moments that are slipped into every episode showcase this. Rickards continues to showcase her natural ability to make fans cry with a single look. Amell has risen above and beyond expectations as he continues to shine in emotional moments opposite Rickards. The adorable moment didn’t stop here, Oliver and Felicity decide that they want to move the wedding up and get married as soon as possible. Cue screams from every Arrow fan as the “Olicity” wedding day approaches. Rickards and Amell dominate every episode of Arrow and these small, intimate moments are where they truly shine.
By episode’s end, Thea receives the Lotus and is cured of her bloodlust and Nyssa, who is now the Demon’s Head, decides the League of Assassins does more harm than good and disbands them! Talk about a crazy, show altering moment! If this wasn’t enough, Malcolm goes to Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and tells him about William! Arrow continues to up the stakes as they continue to climb towards the season 4 finale.
Overall Grade: B+
Arrow airs Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW
Check out the trailer for next week’s episode entitled “Code of Silence”: