Arrow "Sins of the Father" Review: Different but Dumb

Arrow S04E13: "Sins of the Father"

I reached a place pretty quickly with Arrow where I accepted, on some level, the whole "I'll like it this week but not like it next week" relationship I had with the show. I found myself in a similar position this week within the episode itself: "I liked that last scene, but this scene isn't great." I'm reducing things significantly here because "Sins of the Father" was a different sort of episode for the show in that the show's only recurring quasi-antagonists (or whatever we want to call Nyssa and Malcolm at this point) were the main source of villainy this week, and that was, like "Unchained" having a victim in Roy last week, very refreshing.

The other side of the equation, however, was that the episode kept undermining Nyssa and Malcolm's motivations and actions. Sometimes it was really just flagrant contradictions of things that had happened in the episode while some of it was just reducing Nyssa and Malcolm to dummies to keep the episode moving along so that it could, inevitably, get to Malcolm selling out William (and by extension, Samantha) to Damien Darhk. Of course, who the hell knows if this isn't a con. Maybe Oliver promised Malcolm that he could take over H.I.V.E. if they set a trap for Darhk. Dumber things have happened on this show.

Arrow doesn't have much in the way of recurring bad guys, which has been something of a failing for the show, so pitting Malcolm and Nyssa against one another and leaving Team Arrow trapped in the middle was a fun way to break routine. And I'm saying this as someone who did not really care who wore the Ra's ring one little, teeny, tiny bit and said, out loud, to his cat, "THANK GOD!" when Nyssa disbanded the League. This set-up forced Oliver to not solve his problem this week by putting arrows into it, which was also a nice change of pace. He had to find, as people kept emphasizing to him, a different way to solve the issue (even if Diggle was advocating for a controlled burn to put Malcolm in the ground).

I think many of you, dear readers, are in agreement with me that Oliver has generally sucked at this sort of thing (i.e., the back of half of last season), and while he didn't suck too much less here, we at least got to see him grapple with the decision-making and what happened when his plans went awry. As a result, it was not only a nice departure from the usual Arrow routine, but it also didn't get bogged down in that whole "I plotted this off-screen" nonsense that plagued Season 3's storyline. Essentially, while Oliver was still in charge, at least Diggle and Laurel were piping in with opinions, and Oliver was listening to them and weighing his options with their advice. I like it when the show treats Team Arrow as a team, what can I say.

Likewise, Nyssa and Malcolm continued in ways that made sense for them. Nyssa had always been smart and capable, but she's also consistently outmaneuvered by others because she's not much of a schemer. So her plan ended up being straightforward—"Let's kill Malcolm, whatever's necessary!"—but also ran up against the fact that Malcolm is a schemer. It's like his only consistent character trait in what has otherwise just been a exposition-delivery system with John Barrowman's face instead of an actual character. And so it made sense that he went to that first meeting with a small group of soliders to just force Nyssa to give up. It's who he is, after all. He would do a double-cross.

All this held up until the episode decided to just chuck all of it out the window. Some of it just called a massive amount of attention to itself, like Nyssa, just before the rooftop duel, claiming she had never allowed anyone fight her battles for her. Except, you know, that time 47 minutes ago when she asked Oliver to kill Malcolm for her. Sure, she framed it as a quid pro quo arrangement, but, c'mon. C'mon. It was the entire impetus for the episode, Arrow! I didn't forget about it just because the episode was almost over. The other instances were largely based in the emotional aspects of Nyssa and Malcolm that made a little bit of sense, but mostly just never amounted to enough justification for their actions. This can be a tricky thing to pull off; The Flash did a solid enough job of finding an emotional throughline for a possibly squishy plot this week, for instance, but Arrow didn't have that luck. 

On the one hand, Nyssa's a fun character to have around, but she's not particularly fleshed out. So the idea that Nyssa was willing to go to war never really rang true until Laurel put it into context as Nyssa being trapped in her father's shadow, in the idea of being Ra's al Ghul herself. This is an interesting and great idea, but it's one that didn't have much time to exist in the storyworld to really make me buy it. However, it at least explained why Nyssa, despite having a pretty solid moral compass, was being not Nyssa in the episode. I would have preferred her little end-of-the-episode epiphany to come before the whole duel thing, since Laurel explained it after they caught Nyssa, but the episode needed its little duel.

On the other hand (yes, I totally did that on purpose), Malcolm, as we've established, barely qualifies as character, depending on your standards. He doesn't have a baseline beyond scheming and, apparently, caring a lot about Thea. I'll be honest and say that, in his own warped way, I do buy into Malcolm caring about Thea, but I also think that it's because the show keeps reminding us, loudly, that he does. Which was why Malcolm's unwillingness to compromise with Nyssa or even scheme his way out of things was so bizarre. Malcolm can shout and protest all he wants about what the League does and that he doesn't want Nyssa in charge of that mission, but to then single-mindedly focus on one solution didn't seem like the Malcolm that took advantage of every angle and played very long cons to get what he wanted. Instead, he had to make a plan with Oliver? Oliver?

So while the superhero stuff was alternating between novel and contradictory, it was just frustrating to watch. Not because of Felicity's willingness to hope her dad was different than she thought or that she sent the man off to prison who has her identity as a vigilante (though, does that really matter with Laurel in the DA's office and Quentin on the police force?). I thought that idea was fine, but as Felicity herself alluded to twice in the episode, none of it was as important as a nearly dead sister and an assassin civil war.

No, what was frustrating was that Felicity was talking about people changing, parental abandonment, and how much all of that meant to her, and Oliver just sat there like a dolt and didn't come clean about William and Samantha. I mean, sure, with all that stuff going on during the episode, maybe telling Felicity right then and there wasn't the best idea, but, man, oh man, he could've said something in the loft at the end of the episode instead of saying, "Let's get married right now." Arrrrgh.

Look, I'm the first to want a show to really lay the groundwork for big character moments, but this is ridiculous. This isn't groundwork or building; it's just delaying for storyline momentum reasons and not for character reasons (I mean, apart from Felicity being reeeeeeaaaaaally pissed when she finds out that Oliver's a bad dad). So when Felicity was talking about all of this and Oliver barely made a face about it, barely offered an acknowledgement that, hey, all of this is hitting close to home, it made me a little ragey. But, hey, at least we seem to be getting closer to finding out who's in that grave! Which means the teasing and red herrings can really begin now!



FROM THE QUIVER

– Barrowman's been pretty poorly served by Arrow for a while now, so I was glad he got some time to do, well, something. But I think even he's sort of struggling to make Malcolm work.

– Better performance note: Charlotte Ross, folks. She turned Donna on a dime in that scene with Felicity. On a dime. And it was very good.

– Reiter's got the vision stone Oliver got from Vision Shado last week. Because whatever.

– I like how everyone on Arrow thinks that Sara's fine.

– I'm not going to lie to you all: I totally forgot that Nyssa and Oliver were married. Like, when she mentioned it, I said, "Oh. Right. That did happen." I've blocked out so much of Season 3.

– "Oh no! You have Mr. Square Bear Face!"

What did you think of "Sins of the Father"?


Comments (165)
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Feb 16, 2016
The one really dumb thing for Malcolm to say was that Oliver loved his son more than he loves his sister or his fiancé. Well, Oliver has spent like two minutes with that kid. How can there be any connection between them, when Oliver isn't more than a mere sperm donor?
Sure, he cares, and wouldn't want the kid to be harmed (or any other kid for that matter), but I don't see him going crazy with grief over the loss of someone he barely knew. The son is just there, not a part of his life. Oliver knows next to nothing about him.
If he cared, he'd tell Felicity about it, because he would want to form a real bond with his son.
I know, I wouldn't care, if mother and son ended in that grave (it's just, that the show didn't make me care, not that I'm indifferent to children being murdered).
Maybe, Darkh is clever enough to deduce that on his own.
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Feb 15, 2016
I can summarize this comment in one sentence. Oliver is a idiot.

He really doesn't see how giving the League to Malcolm would make Nyssa angry? That she wouldn't want it back? That it's not his business? Wow. They've been talking about how Oliver feels guilty too much for everything, but he has yet to take any responsibility for anything he does.

He went along with Ra's forcing Nyssa to marry so he could kill him. He let her rot in a Nanda Parbat dungeon for weeks, maybe months.
How can he be shocked when she blackmails him with Thea's cure? He has shown zero regard or respect for her at all! He has the gall to stand there and say it's her choice in not giving Thea the cure all the while dismissing his own role in the drama.

He hasn't gotten better, he's gotten worse. With Slade he at least admitted it was his fault. He could of cured Slade ages ago but choose not to, and he owned it... barely.

This next horror show that he's set into motion will be much worse. He cut off Malcolm's hand and handed his secret ninja - para military cult over to Nyssa who promptly disbanded it. Yeah, nothing bad is going to happen there at all. I'm sure he is behind Vandal Savages return and will call in the marker some time down the line.

On the whole disbanded League thing, that should bite him repeatedly in the butt. How can having dozens, maybe hundreds of trained deadly and brainwashed killers out in the world with no one holding the leash a good thing? See Season Five for that one folks, and I bet it won't be his fault somehow.

On a side note I really like/d Nyssa and it's a shame that they've been dumbing her down so much. Of course with Oliver as the resident hero on the show they had to I guess. Maybe they'll move her to DC Legends where she can return to the better version of Nyssa we saw previously.

Get out the hankies folks, Oliver and Felicity are going to crash hard. I'm fairly sure William exists only to blow them apart. Oliver's unregretted betrayal of Malcolm will end in the tragedy of little Willy's death. I have no doubt that after the kid bites it the dust, (and it should be him) Felicity will learn he was Oliver's son. Symmetry is a beautiful and awful thing. I'm not a Olicity fan, I don't hate them together but I don't think Oliver should end up with anyone at all. He's just such a a$$ I can't handle how he is with women at all.

I actually miss the whole shoot the bad guy first then ask if he deserves it later approach, and I think that's where they just might be steering Oliver. Crossing my fingers on that one.

Body count aside, I don't see why people doubt how much Malcom loves Thea. Guys, he fed her his minions to kill so she wouldn't go crazy. It's not a car but still.




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May 02, 2016
I officially love you for this comment.

I still love Felicity, but I'm so far and away past wanting Olicity anymore, it's scary. And it's not because of her, it's because of Oliver. The big thing is, though, I'm not sure the worst part of him is because of the island. If anything, I think the island saved him from being a complete waste.

No, the lying, the evasions and the 'if I don't address it, it won't bite me in the ass' sound familiar to me because that is classic, pure Moira Queen. Don't get me wrong, I loved Moira as a character and I miss her -- but it can't be denied that Oliver is spot-on for her when it comes to the 'I can handle it myself' and 'let me deny the truth even when I know it's going to stab me in the back' part of his personality.

TBH, this is just one unhealthy relationship at this point. Oliver's always going to manipulate and lie. That's part of how he was raised. And fortunately (or unfortunately, I guess, depending upon how you look at it), Felicity's got a shining example in her mom of just where a relationship like that can eventually lead.

Not to mention I'm pretty ticked at him for treating her as a love interest. Hello, she was on the team for HER reasons, not just because she was with YOU, Oliver. Ugh.

Here's hoping Felicity stays away from him and lets him go down whatever path he wants to go down. I'm all for having her on as a member of Team Arrow, but I think she'll have much happier life and someone who might actually deserve her elsewhere.
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May 02, 2016
Your right. Oliver got that from his mother. Unfortunately, Slade was right too. Just before he stabbed Moira with his sword he said she had true courage and that it was too bad that she didn't pass it onto her son.

Out of all the things he got from his mother, he missed out on her grit. Moira was a steel fist in a velvet glove. She took crap from no one. Not even from Malcolm and that takes guts to look a aspiring mass murderer in the eyes and say you'll reduce his world to ashes.

I hope the guilt Felicity feels for what she (wrongly) believes as her part in Laurel's death doesn't push her back to Oliver.
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Feb 14, 2016
The extreme lengths this show will go to just to keep John Barrowman on... He is a great asset, to be sure, but Malcolm as a character became an elephant in the room as early as season 3 (if we are being kind and accept his miraculous revival in season 2, that is), the moment they went that ridiculous route with mind controlled Thea killing Sara. Even if he could be forgiven for the crimes committed during season 1 and given another chance (and that's a hefty if), there's been way too many elements during these last two seasons that absolutely couldn't and shouldn't be excused.

Oliver warming up to Malcolm has never made the slightest bit of sense in light of the above, just as Thea occasionally and conveniently forgetting to hate the man who made her murder a friend. If that's not unforgivable and beyond twisted, then I don't know what is.
Which is why this whole ideology of "it's still family" is such a steaming pile of crap when used as an explanation for anything. If you wouldn't give a cold-blooded murderer a pass, you still don't give them a pass if they happen to be a member of your family. Doing otherwise is just extreme hypocrisy and a very warped take on morality to be had.

It was good that Diggle and Felicity were allowed to be voices of reason (at least for the most part), it's too bad that the main man still wasn't allowed to be particularly bright. Sure, I liked how Oliver tricked Malcolm into issuing the challenge and then took Nyssa's place (the entire fight, on the oter hand, was a huge letdown - Malcolm was just made to look like a hugely inept combatant), but why did he have to revert back to being dumb immediately afterwards?
Malcolm has made it clear how precious The League was to him, so taking that away from him (and the arm) should've informed Oliver (everyone on the team as well) that there would be guaranteed huge consequences down the line. It should've been obvious from miles away, even if Malcolm didn't swear his revenge or told Oliver that he knew about his son. But no, instead everyone is seemingly oblivious to this looming threat and chooses to pat themselves on the backs that they didn't have to take this one life.

So eh, same old Arrow issues. I don't know how I feel about Nyssa disbanding The League of Assassins lore-wise (two huge warring factions inside the organization, fighting it out in the open, felt like pushing it already), but I guess it could fly and make a modicum of sense in this universe. I know that I'm going to continue to regret that Nyssa was made into an inferior fighter and couldn't just run Malcolm through with the sword there and then. Would've been good for the show.
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Feb 13, 2016
Was it me or Oliver defeated Malcolm VERY easily?
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Feb 14, 2016
It seemed like he didn't even break a sweat. Clearly getting into politics, watching over one's dying sister/grievously hurt fiancee, and not training all that regularly just turns a person into a more skilled fighter than they used to be.
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Feb 13, 2016
They need to kill off Merlin and hopefully his latest gambit is paving the way. Oliver no more excuses not to kill Merlin once he finds out he sicced Darhk onto William, regardless of whether or not William actually dies.
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Feb 13, 2016
What I see happening:
4x14: During the debate, Darhk's wife brings up William and everyone find out he has a son. William is kidnapped by the end of the episode.
4x15: The team works to find William. They find him at the end which eliminates both him and Samantha from being in the grave. I seriously don't understand why people think it will be them. If can possibly be them. They are neither important nor relevant enough for the audience to care. Felicity ends the engagement.
4x16: Cupid comes back. Crazy nonsense happens.
4x17: Is this when Vixen shows up?
4x18-4x20: The death happens somewhere around there.
4x20-4x23: All hell breaks loose. Crazy (and hopefully awesome) things happen to wrap up the season. Also, Oliver and Felicity get back together.

P.S. I think it's Laurel in the grave. And if it isn't, it will either be Diggle or Lance. I really hope it's not John. The person who dies will be killed by Merlyn or it will be his fault somehow which means that the SOB that Oliver needs to kill is definitely Merlyn. I think he will definitely die at the end of this season at the hands of either Thea or Nyssa. I'll accept either one but I think it should be Thea.
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Feb 13, 2016
Heh, I had actually just remembered last week that Oliver and Nyssa were married.

I was thinking how I hope neither Quentin nor Donna are in the flash-forward grave, just so that can get serious about their relationship and hold the world's most wonderfully awkward Thanksgiving for their kids: Felicity and her by-then husband Oliver, Laurel, and then Sara showing up with Nyssa as a date.

Tell me that wouldn't be a truly hilarious scene. Oliver will have been married to two women at that table and have slept with three (with only Felicity belonging to both groups). That's some Jerry Springer-level s**t right there. :-P
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Feb 12, 2016
"In deference to good taste we will forgo the removal of shirts."
Damn! Oliver made quick work of Malcolm!
Nice knowing ya League of Assassins!
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Feb 12, 2016
Wow, this was bad.

Merlyn and Nyissa are body-snatched by their alternate universe non-comic book character dopplegangers who don't know that they're supposed to be badasses. Oliver doesn't kill the man who doesn't isn't even willing to save his own daughter's life if it means giving up having killer "minions". And Felicity isn't even willing to explain to her father why she dropped the dime on her father to the authorities. The only good part of the episode was Donna.
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May 02, 2016
Why should she have to explain? The guy faked trying to build a relationship with her so he could scam her company out of billions of dollars of tech.

The SOB deserved a kick in the ass as well as jail.
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Feb 12, 2016
No more League what are the redundantant assisians going to do now well they work at night , prefer working under megamolamaniacs so Trumps bodyguards then LOL Still daft episode in all so seeing Oliver desembering hands of Family members and getting inoccent civillains killed he not really got his capmpaign in good stead lol Also agree with the review I can't see this as a rouse to get Damien Darkk to reveal his plans to Macolm with the whole Oliver son whereabouts. The whole Felicity story with her daddy was a drag slowed down the pacing Flash was better this week.
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Feb 12, 2016
People are talking about Nyssa's sister and I though what if Thalia Al ghul does come played by Willa Holland?

Thea/Thalia.
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Feb 15, 2016
Still think that might happen.
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Feb 12, 2016
anyone else now thinking that it is William in the grave?
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Feb 12, 2016
with diggle on top big grave LOL

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Feb 12, 2016
I did but the I didn't. For all his moves Darhk has shown love for kids he doesn't want them hurt and I think thats his final objective to make great world for kids. So I don't think he'll go after Oli's kid.
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Feb 14, 2016
when has darhk ever shown love for kids besides his own and jeri ryan's kid
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Feb 14, 2016
He had a spiel about it being a line that is not crossed.

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Feb 12, 2016
probably covered before but how does everyone get to nanda parbat and back so quickly all the time? Is there a direct supersonic airline between star city and presumably somewhere in the himalayas.
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Feb 12, 2016
It was the Star City Lair not Nanda Parbat. It has been used before.
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Feb 12, 2016
on an unrelated to my other comments note: I am not familiar with barrowman like many of you are so I've never cared for malcom in the slightest. I really did like the old R.A.G.
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Feb 12, 2016
I've taken to reading the reviews before watching the episodes, that's how little the show's developments mean to me at the moment.

for comparison, I virtually never watch trailers because I feel like knowing what's coming at any given point can ruin the flow for me. this includes "next time on _" for tv shows too.
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Feb 12, 2016
and actually, even reading what an episode is about like in tv.com's 'what's on tonight' for that matter.
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Feb 12, 2016
REALLY feeling like Malcolm is going to be the "son of a bitch" Oliver swears to kill, not Damien. Damien understands family being a sacred part of a heroes life (given that he did an out of character move and agreed to a truce after Oliver saved his family from Anarchy) and, from what I've seen, Damien appears to be a good father, which kind of makes me believe he's a "punch clock villian" (When on the job he's ruthless, but off the job he'd prefer taking his daughter to the zoo or ice skating.) I really don't see Damien hurting Oliver's kid. Now any of Oliver's adult friends, or the mother of his child, that's a different story, but specifically targeting kids seem to be off limits to Mr. Darhk. (Granted, when his plan finally is completed, I'm betting scores of children will die along with the adults, but he won't see them, so it doesn't count.)

Nyssa... what a gem. She spends her wedding actively trying to kill Oliver or find some way to get out of it, yet now that she IS technically married to him she spends the entire time calling him "husband." (I got the first hint that she recognized the marriage after she referred to Thea as "sister in law" when she and Laurel came to Nanda Parbat to resurrect Sara) You'd think that once Oliver got the ring from Ra's in season the first thing he'd do would be to officially annul the marriage, since Nyssa obviously doesn't love him (or even seems to LIKE him) and Oliver's in love with Felicity. I'm also wondering if Oliver can legally wed Felicity now, or if Nyssa will show up and declare that he's her official husband, and League marriages need to be recognized by the state of... wherever Star City is. (But since Nyssa dissolved the League, maybe that put an end to her forced marriage as well?)

So Malcolm was more worried about what Nyssa might do with the League rather than just being a power hungry asshole? Bullcrap. I'd get him being worried about the League going after him for killing Sara (even though she's alive and well, it's still the principle of the thing.) but when Nyssa was in charge in season 2 she proved a pretty capable leader, and ultimately a stand-up lady. Oliver would never have been able to defeat Slade's Mirakuru army without Nyssa and her team of assassins, and I'm sure she'd be a much better leader than her flip-flopping father. I binged watched season 3 last week and Ra's Al Ghoul's motivations still seem like "the plot says so." Nyssa I can at least understand. And I don't see how she could abuse her power like Malcolm said she would.

The Calculator stuff was good last week, but here, as the B-plot, it just seemed... tacked on, and really anticlimactic. It also seemed like Felicity's father might not be completely evil, but Felicity immediately jumped to the conclusion that the data stealing device left there was proof enough that the dad is a bad dude, and didn't even confront him about it. Yeah, I never trusted him either, but you'd think Felicity would wave the device in his face and give him a chance to concoct a bullsh#t explanation before Felicity gave him a rebuttle with hard facts. That's how parent-adult child conflicts ALWAYS go. That pretty much was all the confrontation the Queens had in season 1 and 2.

6 out of 10. Nyssa is one of my favorite characters on Arrow, but her relationship with Oliver really makes no sense. You'd think she's be the first in line to ask Oliver for a favor when he became Ra's. ("So, uh... husband... now that you control the league, could you... you know... ANNUL THE MARRIAGE so I can pursue the fine ladies in the Middle East and you can be with that nerdy blond girl who cries a lot? Thanks. Love to Laurel.")
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Feb 12, 2016
I said the same thing about Malcolm being the one Oliver wants to kill. I think that's the case.
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Feb 12, 2016
Nyssa and Oliver is a mysitical bonded marriage where as Felicity and Oliver is excuse me normal marriage lol
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Feb 12, 2016
I loved Donna in this episode.
I hated the main plot. Specially Malcolm hate. He said that he would give anything to save his daugher but he wouldn't give Nyssa the power over the LoA. Well, his daughter is alive, Nyssa has not the ring or the power over the LoA and he "only" lost an arm (I am ready for some prostetics and a new LoA under another name). And he hates Oliver and sells his little son to Dhark?? God, I really hope all this is a scheme because if not Malcolm would make less sense than ever, and that is saying somehing.
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Feb 12, 2016
I felt like the show took a step back this episode. This is ground we have already covered "to death" i felt. The finale of the episode was a surprise i admit..Oliver found a "3rd option".. Although Nyssa disbanding a league that's been around thousands of years just like that is a little hard to swallow.But this episode did one thing right...
It does not need to see any more of "The League of Assassins"
Grade=C/C+
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Feb 12, 2016
Yea this episode was good with the whole father vs Felicity angle but the whole Malcom vs Nissa was a complete joke. There's NO WAY Malcom loses that easy to a real fight against Oliver. Sure Oliver has beaten him but give me a break. The whole thing seemed staged to me. Hell I expected Nissa to assume so as well. It was dreadful. Then she turns around and dissolves the league... What a waste of everything.
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Feb 12, 2016
YEah! I was expecting a double cross that Oliver and Malcolm were just faking the fight because it was way too easy but nope he really did lose his hand I was like wtf Malcolm barely lasted a minute lol! Anyway about time Malcolm got some kind of punishment the guy did kill like 500 + people in season 1.
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Feb 12, 2016
It just reminded me of Coulson who also lost his hand recently on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Losing one's hand is a thing since Luke Skywalker lost his hand. Come up with something new writers. Maybe a leg :D

Just as Coulson, It was Malcom's Left hand that got chopped off. Luke lost his right hand. The hand he was using the lightsaber with. Is there a significance to this? I'm overthinking this...
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prt
Feb 12, 2016
How can Malcolm the super warrior lose in a fight with Oliver so easily..? Also what was with that wish to die ?

The plot is getting worse every episode and characters that used to be good ( like Malcolm at first ) seem really..tragic now..
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Feb 11, 2016
Oliver's luv life is stuff of legends. Exes Sisters Canary Black&White, Laura&Sarah✔️,Still married to Nyssa✔️, Engaged 2 Felicity✔️, Child with another, puts others like Shade in etc... Mode. Guess marriage 2 Felicity marriage speed up ensured to hit speed bump with Malcom's William reveal.... Plus I guess Malcom gets a handy (pun intended) revenge with D reveal that on Legends of tomorrow future starcity eps, Oliver would have lost an arm & made up for it by growing a goatee.... KARMA... then?!
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Feb 11, 2016
I have to agree with some of the other commenters here..Oliver said himself he hates no one more then Malcolm Merlin, and then he finds out that Malcolm knows about his "little" secret (the secret revealed in the Flash/Arrow crossover earlier this season) and he doesn't think Merlin might USE that against him after Merlin makes his big threat at the end? Ayeyayyay....Merlin was right about one thing, Oliver is handsome but not too bright lol..at least, not regarding this. I hope to god that this isn't a premonition on who is in the grave...i have seen many ideas and theories on who may be in that grave through this seasons comments, yet not one of them mentioned the person hinted at in this episode, i certainly didn't think of this person...MAN the writers are just doing a bang on job keeping it a big secret yet dropping all kinds of hints but none of those hints point at anyone in particular!! Kudos to the writers for that, that takes skill! Just another GREAT episode!
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Feb 11, 2016
That's what I said!!!! Man for someone who went through what he went through, for someone who had seen what he has seen Oliver is really naive or really stupid. He should have been running to central city to get William and Samantha out of there the minute Malcom mentioned he knew about William. instead Oliver doesn't even get worried after betraying Malcom. What about Malcom made Oliver think he would just walk away after a betrayal that literally cost the man a hand. smh
But I also agree with you about the writers keeping this person in the grave secret tight. For the life of me I still can't guess. I'm just glad its not Felicity
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Feb 11, 2016
I can't stand Oliver's reasoning about not killing Malcolm! I mean shit, he brought so much pain to a lot of people. Thea fucking despises him. Just kill him! Just because someone is related to you by blood doesn't mean they should be a part of your life despite being aabsolute horrible human being. I fucking hate that mentality.

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Feb 12, 2016
i think malcolm gave up because he knew Oliver was the better swordsman (despite the fight looking too easy) and that he wouldn't be capable of killing in cold blood while he is capable of killing in the heat of battle. Oliver probably planned to kill him in the heat of battle. But merlin dropping his weapon and inviting him to kill just pushed him into an alternative.
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Feb 11, 2016
Well, if Malcolm continues to lose body parts, maybe he really will be the Face of Boe (DW).

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Feb 11, 2016
I never ever want to hear Malcolm say, "I care about Thea," ever again.
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Feb 15, 2016
PS you can be a murdering, brainwashing, power - hungery megalomaniac doesn't mean you don't care about your kids.
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Feb 11, 2016
I'm glad to see the League go bye-bye, they're not handled well, sometimes incredibly effective and others incredibly lame; but getting to that point did require everybody be as thick-headed as possible, and it is frustrating. Also, when the end result is back to square one with Malcolm being a super bad guy right away, it feels cheap - it would with a comic too, they pull that crap too often, but here they are trying to pretend they're above such things and it's frustrating.

Ollie did plot it offscreen, but at least it was a simple plot. It would have been nice to have some dialogue explaining why Ollie bested Malcolm so handily (yuk yuk) but otherwise was acceptable. I didn't even think about Nyssa and that "nobody fights my battles" thing, I guess the episode hid that with "we got rules over here in the league of killers!"

Malcolm's motivations are too all over the map though, Thea, the League, Ollie, his original mission... that was probably the weak point for me, and the lip service paid late in the episode didn't wave it away.

Also Felicity was in this episode.
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Feb 12, 2016
I just get the feeling that the League won't be gone for good. Malcolm was pitching the idea that while the League might be a group of killers with a dubious moral code, they do at least prevent worse evils like HIVE. So going to be surprised if by the end of the season we see the formation of the League 2.0, they'll still kill you but they'll apologize afterwards.
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Feb 12, 2016
Also, it'd be good if they weren't staffed by tubby Canadians ;-)
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Feb 11, 2016
My predictable prediction may be coming true - that Oliver's son is in the grave :(

If this is true then i would despise that - a whole season building towards this mystery and it was a character the audience doesn't even care about?
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Feb 11, 2016
Works for me, it motivates Ollie and Barry and Felicity without costing the show's audience too much to get there.
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Feb 11, 2016
But a major character death is what is needed -
they refrained from killing Roy off
Malcolm is still alive for some odd reason
Thea has died and come back to life (and her health was the major plot in this recent episode)
Felicity survived her attack

Tommy was the first and only main character to die right?

so instead of a pointless kid, then kill off someone worth the emotion for audiences
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Feb 12, 2016
"Needed" is a strange term here, in no way is the storytelling demanding it.

Tommy and Moira are main characters who have died, as well as Ollie's dad, Sara for a while, the mayor, the chief of police, the DA, Ra's Al Ghul, Katana's son, Slade Wilson for a while, and Sebastian Blood, all major characters who have died.
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Feb 13, 2016
Not once did i agree that artists should cave in to audiences - why do you think i get so annoyed on the fate of the main characters of Supernatural - because writers won't take big risks because of the fan backlash (Castiel and Crowley being the big two that still shouldn't be around)

I still stick by the fact that the Arrow team need a casualty - and by casualty, i mean death, not just take the fall for Oliver (Roy for example) - the team is too large for a show that is supposed to be about the GREEN ARROW - hence why killing off Ollie's son would mean nothing to me, it needs to be one of the main cast or just stop teasing such a big event if you don't have the balls to kill off fan favourites

My Favourite show currently on TV is The Leftovers, and that is a show that does NOT cave in to audiences' demand for answers
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Feb 12, 2016
Ah, the fallacy of the standard anti-critical-thinking argument of "let's see you do better". One doesn't have to know how to rebuild an engine to mean they can drive. One doesn't have to know know how to play guitar to appreciate music and musical production. Your argument is weak sauce, it's not even remotely original or compelling in any way. It doesn't counter anything, it's just a lame ad hominem irrelevant comment to deflect from having nothing to say.

Just catering to fan whims isn't original or clever, it's not creating, it's merely serving the masses, that's what McDonalds does. Caving to fans' desires is not an original choice, it does not show leadership. Artists should not be affected by their audiences.
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Feb 12, 2016
Yeah cause you would know a lot about storytelling and artistry - what's your infamous show?

Love when people think they could do better with the material - especially when it is an already established universe that is bound to get criticised no matter what the writers do
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Feb 12, 2016
I was drawing a distinction between "Main" and "Major" characters. Also, I forgot about Amanda Waller's recent death.

That's not ironic, that's a solid example of their failure as storytellers and artists.
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Feb 12, 2016
I forgot about Moira - thanks for the reminder

And you have just listed seasonal villains and characters that aren't major

Major character are those in the main cast - our heroes

As for the 'producers shouldn't be beholden to audiences' - ironic considering that's what the audiences are claiming the producers are doing with the Oliver/Felicity stuff
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Feb 11, 2016
Oh and people keep complaining about there being too many characters, so that is also a reason to kill someone major off
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Feb 12, 2016
Ignore what "people" have to say, people are idiots in general, producers shouldn't be beholden to audiences, they should make product good enough to draw audiences in regardless of what they thought they wanted.
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Feb 11, 2016
So Malcom is going to take Oliver's hand!!!!
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Feb 11, 2016
Nope, Supes does that. At least in Frank Miller's DCU future.

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Feb 12, 2016
I hate frank millers DKR. such a stupid comic and movie
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Feb 12, 2016
Like it or hate it, you have to admit that seeing Amell portray that version of GA would be hilarious.

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Feb 11, 2016
I was complaining to someone about how Nyssa was being written, and this person had this to say: "Just because she was in love with Sara, to the point which she poisoned Laurel and kidnapped Dinah just to get her to come back, doesn't mean that she was ever really a good person."

This person went on to say that Nyssa willingly murdered people for years as an assassin with no remorse, and went along with whatever evil her father had in mind, and only defected once Ra's chose Ollie to be his successor and made it clear that her love for Sara is what made him reject her. Nyssa still returned to the League, and still killed people until Malcolm listened to Laurel and brought Sara back. In his view, if Nyssa were a male, she wouldn't be so popular, and that last night was probably her first true step toward redemption.
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Feb 11, 2016
She probably would be less popular if she were a male.... however, Oliver was a sh*tty human being in season 1 and he was still popular and seen as a hero. There's assuredly different reasons why each of their "sins" are overlooked but the end result is the same.
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Feb 11, 2016
In the whole of the arrow-verse Nyssa was easily my favorite character. Owing largely to her absolute commitment to the league, while maintaining some semblance of humanity. Now they've gone and turned her from the strong and proud "heir to the demon" into an emotionally abused victim of the demon. I'll spare you all my umpteenth rant on the complete lack of well-rounded female villains who aren't eventually made into victims or have some kind of change of heart. I so effing hate moralist, which it seems most tv writers are.

And because no discussion on arrow is complete without it being said multiple times, Laurel Sucks!!!
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Feb 11, 2016
I'm really disappointed with Nyssa's decision to disband the league. (I'm glad that she's out of Ra's shadow, that she won't be a villain, and that this never-ending LoA plot can finally die.) They've basically depowered her. Nyssa has always been a great neutral character and it would have been interesting to see her as Ra's.
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Feb 11, 2016
For me, this episode continued and extended this season's over-emphasis on convoluted character inter-relationships. Isn't it supposed to be a superhero series? So what was particularly (super)heroic in this episode? How much has the title hero accomplished all season that has been?
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Feb 11, 2016
Well, he pissed off Darhk several times. He released Anarky. And now, he has Malcolm after him. Oh, and he's running for mayor.

So....not much!
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Feb 11, 2016
The problem I have with this storyline was that it all hinged on Nyssa suddenly being unable to win a fight with Malcolm. His fight with Oliver took all of a minute, and Oliver beat him with little effort. Tell me that Nyssa couldn't do the same, and I will roll my eyes. Heck, her little duel with Malcolm before had her turn into Laurel suddenly.

Feh.
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Feb 11, 2016
Also, everything here was contrived:

Nyssa: "I am a proud, powerful woman who fights her own battles. I have spent months trying to avenge the woman I loved. With my allies, I have basically retaken the castle and now have the chance to kill the man responsible. But wait! His kid is dying. So, I can blackmail him into sacrificing his own life for hers...OR! I can force her brother into killing him for me! Even though there is no reason why I can't do this myself, especially since it's all I have thought of for a long time. Heck, I will even threaten the city for good measure. That is what we do. All of this will have been forgotten once I try to fight him on a rooftop and said brother takes over. I will remind him that I fight my own battles, something that I myself forgot throughout most of the episode. Then, I will disband the League and send a bunch of trained killers loose on the world. This will end well!"

Malcolm: "Last week, I spent a lot of time away from the League to worry about my daughter, who is dying. It was to the point where it seemed that I forgot about it, and spent time trying to find a way to save her. This week, I am all about the League! My daughter be damned! Heck, once I lose the League but still live, I will get my revenge on her brother by selling out his son to Damien Darhk. Makes sense! Heck, Oliver has yet to kill me, this won't make him change his mind!"

Oliver: "I am no longer a killer, but Nyssa, who is still my wife somehow, asked me to kill Malcolm. For some reason, she can't do it herself. I want to kill him, but he's the father of my baby sister. Nevermind that she hates him half the time. Anyway, I don't kill him, but I do remove him from power, which is what he was trying to avoid in the first place. But, I am sure that he won't do anything, even though he knows about my son."

Grr!
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Feb 11, 2016
oh well... it was bellow average!

I don't get the change of heart and sympathy Oliver is showing towards Malcolm. Ok, he's Thea's biological father but also the source of Thea's misery and misfortune. I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Oh those flashbacks... I urgently need Peggy Carter to zap my memory! LoLL

Felicity's story with her father felt irrelevant and indifferent! Actually this episode had lots of irrelevant and indifferent moments!

No! No! No! Not one of my favorite episodes.
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Feb 11, 2016
Also, clearly not all of the lotus thing was required for Thea, as they wouldn't have wasted a little bit of it on her initially. So how about reserving a syringe full for Felicity so she can walk again? No? Too much sense?
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Feb 11, 2016
Um, now I might be relatively ignorant of comic book stuff. But I thought that the whole League of Assassins is supposed to be an important thing in the DC universe and can't just be disbanded.

Also, why make Merlin such a little whiny bitch. Damn.

But Nyssa had a lot of screen time, so that was good to have a female character that makes sense for once.

At this point though, it really just feels like the writers are phoning it in at this point. Which is kind of sad because I still like the cast and the overall idea of the show. Amell has some power behind the show, can't he demand competent writers? It has to be bugging him how bad it has gotten.
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Feb 11, 2016
In the DCU it was more formidable. In the Arrowverse, it's sometimes come across as Men in Tights without the singing. So it was probably best to nix it.

(Besides, Zoom could always toss Earth-2's RAG through the breach and have it reboot.)

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Feb 11, 2016
It might also help if they show that Nyssa is actually competent.

She couldn't beat her sleepy-time father. She can't beat Malcolm. She can't beat Oliver (who can beat Malcolm). She can't beat Katsu! (or her German brother, Gesundheit!).

Other than faceless mooks every time she shows up, Nyssa can't seem to actually beat anyone.
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Feb 11, 2016
She beat Ravager last year (Ok, with some Canary help). But I'm pretty sure she used to beat Sara. Ahem.

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Feb 11, 2016
Totally. And by proxy that just makes Tatsu seem weak in being even in their battle because Nyssa is portrayed as described. Which there's no way Tatsu is weak so it creates a confusing mess.
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Feb 11, 2016
Ah, but for some reason the writers think that they have established Nyssa as a badass. So having Tatsu fight to her level (supposedly) shows that Tatsu is really really good.

Upon seeing Tatsu, my first reaction was "Wait, who is that again?" My second was "Why is she guarding a Shinto shrine in Japan?" My third was "Wow, this Order she works for sounds more interesting than the League of Assassins."
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Feb 11, 2016
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Feb 11, 2016
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Feb 11, 2016
I used to love Arrow a lot in season 1 and 2. But now it has become a kerfuffle of sorts. Compared to The Flash this show stands nowhere.
1. Can't they just stop those godawful miserable flashbacks? Is anyone even paying any attention to them? They just keep happening independent of what's happening in the present time and that loses the very point of them being in every episode.
2. This show always takes giant leaps when it comes to logic. Like it has been pointed out in the article above. Season 3 was a mess starting right from Sara's death and terrible consequences that followed.
3. No doubt John Barrowman is a fantastic actor but this show's obsession keep him in the show and forcefully connect him to the main storyline is ruining not just his character but the entire show. It was cringeworthy that he was made Ras Al Ghul. They should at least seriously lessen his screentime.
4. Laurel as Black Canary is laughable. Especially considering how Sara fantastically carried out that role. This looks lacklustre.
5. So this show is basically a few great action sequences and the plots that lead to them are extremely dumb and logicless. Oliver Queen sans his Arrow costume is one of the dumbest and most boring character I have ever seen on TV. Hope to see him less and less as Oliver Queen.
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Feb 11, 2016
Haha @ Flashbacks. Yeah, the first few seasons the flashbacks were good and important but i don't even know what the heck they are on about anymore. They seem pointless and taking away from the main content at this stage. This guy wants to tap into some kind supernatural stuff and some Russian lady is there and Oliver's there and a bearded Ryan Robbins [Who i like] hates him for some reason... what in the literal F. That's a good time to take a bathroom break or make a second cup of tea.

Disagree about John Barrowman/Laurel as Black Canary though.
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Feb 11, 2016
It was an okay episode, not up to the same level as others this season though. Especially when following such an amazing Flash episode.

I don't like how Nyssa has been portrayed of late, it feels out of character that Nyssa doesn't believe herself capable to take on Malcolm and needing Oliver to fight her battles for her but her actions toward the end of the episode in disbanding the League and freeing her father's hold on things sort of redeemed all of that i guess,

Felicity's mom has been growing on me, her scene with Felicity was my favorite of the Felicity scenes which were otherwise forgettable imo.

John Barrowman stole the show for me, he was great in every scene... I loved the scenes between he and Oliver..I get the feeling he's having a lot of fun playing the character and i'm having fun watching the character. Such a deliciously complex character.


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Feb 11, 2016
Oh, one more addition.. after all that build up i was let down by the Oliver/Malcolm battle. Oliver's the main character, the hero and i know he's going to win but that seemed way too easy for him. Diminishing Nyssa because apparently she can't beat someone Oliver can take out that easy and diminishing Malcolm's legend that he's so easily defeated by Oliver. That was my biggest letdown of the Ep.
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Feb 11, 2016
I also have to wonder what Nyssa told Katsu to convince her to give up the lotus. It seems like Nyssa would have had to lie a bit, which I'd think would come back to bite her. Would Katsu really be okay with "Give me the lotus so that I can blackmail Oliver into killing his abortive father figure and my arch-rival, so that Oliver can save his sister while I take control of the League unless I have a last-minute change of heart"?

But hey, they spent time on a flashback instead of giving us that conversation.
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Feb 11, 2016
Merlin just die already you POS!
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Feb 11, 2016
Malcolm just became a candidate for the season's end grave. Any sadness in that scene can be attributed to the fact that he is Thea's father. After this episode, he became my new King Joffrey: the character I most want to see dead!
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Feb 11, 2016
Malcolm became the new Grant Ward for me. I don't know how there could possibly be any sadness over his death. He blackmailed Moira, killed Tommy, lied to and brainwashed Thea, killed Sara, brought Vandal Savage back, has thrown in with Damian, caused the first terrorist attack in Starling City which destabilize the economy and has lead to the city's degradation. Why. Is. He. Still. Alive?
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Feb 11, 2016
The sadness, such as it is, would be a red herring. I don't really remember any tears in that scene. Die Malcolm die!
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Feb 11, 2016
Every Episode of ARROW IS AWESOME & I DISAGREE WITH THE NEGATIVE & BIAS REVIEW
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Feb 11, 2016
We're all fans of the show here (hopefully), since we're reading the reviews.

Even so, if someone think that "every" episode is awesome, I'd suggest that the bias lies with them. Even the greatest of shows has one or two stinkers. "Spock's Brain", "The Girl Who Was Death", "Grey 17 is Missing", and almost any Rod Serling "comedy" episode of Twilight Zone.
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Feb 11, 2016
Don't remind me about "Grey 17", don't get me wrong the episode picked up on the layout of Grey sector not matching the blueprints which had been hanging around since the pilot. But using steam to fire bullets?!!!! That was bad enough but using steam to fire bullets and then having the bullet furthest away from the steam fire first????!!!!!!!
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Feb 11, 2016
What makes you think Noel is biased? Do you have inside information that Greg Berlanti ran over Noel's dog or something?
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Feb 11, 2016
HE RAN OVER MY HEART #Everwood
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Feb 11, 2016
Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't indicate bias.
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Feb 11, 2016
Yeah, they're only biased if they disagree with me!
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Feb 11, 2016
Amen to that!

On every difference of opinion people tend to call you biased or hate or whatever... that's just so rushed and superficial - if not worst!!!
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Feb 11, 2016

So basically Malcolm has upped his ante into the "Who's the "SOB"/"him" responsible for the headstone?" game. Which, you know, fits Oliver's speech, since he's dismissing blame for the darkness from himself (which has led some to believe that Quentin is the victim, as a reference to his SWAT van speech to Oliver last year), as Malcolm is pretty much responsible for everything majorly bad that's happened in Star City over the past 3.5 seasons, minus of course HIVE:

If Malcolm had gotten some therapy instead of going off the deep end after his wife's murder:

- Robert & Moira Queen, Tommy, Anna (Ray's fiancee) and hundreds of others would still be alive. (And Sara wouldn't have had to die as many times.)

- Slade Wilson would have never come to try to destroy a large part of the city out of revenge.

- Star City may have stayed off of RAG's radar in view of more depraved targets.

- The city would not have simply limped along in the aftermath of three devastating attacks, possibly making them a less desirable target for HIVE.

So, you know, blaming Malcolm for everything pretty much fits.

And yes, I know that these events have led to some good through Oliver and his team, but the point being that Oliver's grand statement that he's going to kill the person (who he seems to view as responsible for the darkness) would seem to imply that it's Malcolm. After all, he had already said he was going to kill Darhk (among others he'd said it to, he specifically said it to Quentin in the aftermath of the attack on Felicity), so saying it at the grave would be redundant.

Unless Slade fits into Felicity's comment about who's-making-a-surprise-return-next, of course.
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Feb 11, 2016
I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Oliver has almost killed Malcolm a few times but then let him off the hook for *reasons* killing William and\or Samantha is probably going be enough for Oliver to say screw this time to end it.
There are a few wrinkles that need to be worked out, it might just be me but I thought the grave scene took place in Star City but William & Samantha live in Central City so there going to have to some sort of relocation. Also if Malcolm is the end of season villain what does that do to the Darhk storyline?

Also there is no Malcolm Merlyn there is only Arthur King
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Feb 11, 2016
Of course, someone from Star City could die in the act of saving William and/or Samantha. Or Team Arrow could try moving them to Star to protect them (like with Kendra).

I've also entertained the possibility that the scene is the coda on the S4 finale, leading into S5 being all about Malcolm (since it would also parallel Year Five on Lian Yu). Not an idea I'm pro on, mind you--nor, I suspect, the rest of the viewers.

Another possibility is that Malcolm quite agrees with the HIVE overseers' Genesis project (similar to the Undertaking), and maybe he tries to pitch himself as Darhk's replacement. Since he does have that whole megalomania thing going. (Again, it'd be same song, different verse, as @NoelRK pointed out.)

Speaking of his megalomania--lol Arthur King.

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Feb 12, 2016
John Barrowman and his sister have written a digital comic about Malcolm and what he was doing between season's 3 & 4. Turns out Malcolm's real name is Arthur King. Now if you go back to the first appearance of "Merlyn the Magnificent" in the comics his alter ego was Arthur King. Less megalomania more Easter egg.
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Feb 11, 2016
Maybe I forgot I didn't notice, but how does Malcolm pay into Slade's attack on the city?
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Feb 11, 2016
Oliver ended up on Lian Yu because Malcolm blew up the Queen's Gambit. Therefore, Oliver meeting Slade, and the subsequent events leading to Slade seeking revenge on Oliver, can be traced back to being Malcolm's fault.
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Feb 11, 2016
Have you ever wondered Oliver not becoming Arrow could have saved Star City from a lot of trouble?
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Feb 11, 2016
Seen The Dark Knight ? :)

Of course, the concept has come up numerous times in the DCU, particularly surrounding GA and Bats, given their darker cities and correlating dark personas necessary to rid those cities of their criminal elements. Even Spidey in the Marvel Universe is constantly blamed by JJJ for being the cause of the supervillains.

The Elseworlds line of DC titles used to have some pretty neat what-if gems. @Gislef mentioning Bruce and Kal-El back to back reminds me of one of those, Superman: Speeding Bullets, which dealt with the scenario of Kal-El being adopted by the Waynes (who were childless like the Kents), and you can guess the rest.

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Feb 11, 2016
Or Bruce Wayne not becoming Batman.

Or a baby Kal-El landing on Mars instead of Earth.

Or Steve Trevor never crashing on Wonder Woman's island (or whatever her origin is this week).

Or Peter Parker never getting bitten by a radioactive spider.

There are What-If issues and fan fic out there for all of the alternatives.
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Feb 11, 2016
4x14 and 4x15 are going to be so brutal!!!!! *SOOOOOEXCITED*

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Feb 11, 2016
Ugh hated this episode so much. Oliver has never bothered me so much this season. Ughhhhhh Arrow.




Also love how you mentioned Sara, and how Laurel was all like "she's happy......"????????????????? Clearly they're not keeping in touch.

I just wanted Oliver to kill Malcolm so badly it just would have been something awesome, something that the Show needed right now when so much of the storyline sucks.

Maybe it's Oliver's baby mama who dies? I also thought maybe his son but I don't think they would take it that far. Doesn't really explain Barry's presence there, other than him just being a good friend.
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Feb 11, 2016
"-I'm not going to lie to you all: I totally forgot that Nyssa and Oliver were married. Like, when she mentioned it, I said, "Oh. Right. That did happen." I've blocked out so much of Season 3."

Well, it's not as if this is a binding marriage
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Feb 11, 2016
Hmmm, why do I get the feeling that William's mum is going to get killed, and he will go and live with Oliver
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Feb 11, 2016
Who knows at this point. The writing is just not good enough to predict what rabbit they will pull out of their arse.
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Feb 11, 2016
I would like to see an episode where they actually do that
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Feb 11, 2016
I'm still angry about Felicity in her wheel chair. It's not the wheel chair, it's her name. On Smallville Chloe was Oliver's "love" when she became the Watch Tower and now on this show Oliver's love is named OverWatch. Aaaahhhh, I don't care if the shows are on the same network, but I guess I'm happy that they didn't try some variation of the Oracle. And now back to our regularly scheduled episode..
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Feb 11, 2016
"– Better performance note: Charlotte Ross, folks. She turned Donna on a dime in that scene with Felicity. On a dime. And it was very good."

Agreed.

"– I like how everyone on Arrow thinks that Sara's fine."

Well, she's not by their standards, but I love seeing her easily massacre people. :p

It was cool to see Oliver cut off Merlyn's hand, but yeah, that fight was particularly underwhelming. Oliver did beat him before and he's even better now, but that seemed way too easy. And before the final scene, I was completely thinking, "Uh, Oliver, you do remember that he knows about William, right?" Oops.
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