Betrayal Comes From All Sides, Arrow “Sins of the Father”
Talk about an episode filled with betrayal! This week may have been about the “Sins of the father,” but when it came down to back-stabbing, side-stepping and throwing people under the bus, it seems like everyone got on board. Obviously, the greatest offender was Malcolm Merlyn as he feigned handing over his Demon’s Head ring to save Thea, only to do a take-back and start an all out war. However, in retaliation, Oliver did his fair share of slighting as well. And keeping on the father track, let’s not forget Felicity turning in her hacker-dad, in a move I didn’t see coming. Finally, in a flashbackÂ dose of jail cell revenge-betrayal,Â Tatiana showed Oliver that she has no problem selling him out to save herself. Let’s take a closer look at all these take-backs, twists and turncoats and what they mean.
First and foremost, I have to start with Malcolm Merlyn, who clearly created the biggest impact with his betrayal. That being said, it’s Malcolm Merlyn, so can you really be surprised? I wouldn’t trust the man as far as I can throw him. Not to mention that from the beginning of the episode, he clearly disagreed with turning over the Demon’s Head ring in exchange for the elixir that would save Thea’s life. So when he doubled back on his deal and returnedÂ the ring toÂ his finger rather than giving it to Nyssa, I was hardly shocked. I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t love Thea, we’ve all seen that he does, but as he explainedÂ to Oliver, there is something greater at play than Thea’s life.
Malcolm: I always knew I was connected to her, as if on some primal level, I knew I was her father.
Oliver: A real father wouldn’t let their child die just to keep his hands on power.
Malcolm: That is not what I am doing. What’s unfolding here is larger than I and it is bigger than my daughter. It is not just her life that hangs in the balance, Oliver. Â For all your dealings with the League, you still remain ignorant as to what they do for the world.
Oliver: Enough about the League. You’re a group of assassins.
Malcolm: It is a force of change. Silently manipulating global events for hundreds and I cannot, I WILL NOT put that kind of power in to Nyssa al Ghul’s hands!!! Let me ask you something, if Damien Darhk came to you and told you to lay down your bow, let him finish his plan for Star City would you do it? Even if it meant saving William’s life? I know everything about you Oliver. I am Ra’s al Ghul. But back to the matter at hand. You will never sacrifice your city to save your son and believe me when I tell you, I am only making the same choice.
Honestly, not saving your daughter is crappy, but that being said,Â I see his point as it pertains to Oliver. Letting the entire city crumble to save one person, even if it is your child, is not an easy decision and I believe Oliver would ultimately choose the greater good rather than letting Darhk have that power. And without knowing what these “global events” are that the League manipulates, I can’t exactly say that Merlyn is wrong in his choice either.Â Nevertheless, how he went about it, well, that was obviously a disaster as itÂ resulted in bloodshed on the streets of Star City.
But Oliver gave it just as good as he got it. Promising Malcolm a dual between him and Nyssa for the Demon’s Head only to step in and take Nyssa’s place. I don’t know if Malcolm hasn’t been working out lately now that he’s been helping out Team Green Arrow or what, but his fighting was especially unimpressive and as such, he left empty-handed. Literally.
At this point, I know that Oliver believes in not killing, especially when it’s his sister’s father and he knows what that would do to her, but taking not only Merlyn’s power, but also his hand?!Â That’s brutal. However, done in battle, I feel like Merlyn saw it as a more or less noble winÂ and was ready toÂ acceptÂ it…until Nyssa threw in her own betrayal of sorts to spite her father and the control he held over her. As painful as it was for Merlyn to see her become Ra’s, it was clearly ten times more difficult for him to watch her take everything he’s worked for and honored for decades and melt it down to a puddle. Obviously, I’m talking about her disbanding the League. And Merlyn had no qualms about letting his distaste be known to Oliver and the role he played in it.
Malcolm: I thought of you as a son once, Oliver. I had more in common with you than my own blood. But that’s not the reason I’m not going to kill you. Neither the fact that you are my daughter’s brother. The reason you get to live is because death would be a mercy compared to the debt I now owe you!
So now we’re back to Merlyn taking down Oliver once again. And while the absence of the League may perpetuate global disaster in and of itself, I have no doubt the actions of Malcolm Merlyn will only exacerbate it. His visit with Damien Darhk showed us that his earlier comments to Oliver were a foreshadowing and I can imagine it’s only a matter of time before Oliver has to choose between William and his city. So does that mean William will be the one in the grave now that Thea is back up and moving?Â I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
But as I mentioned before, Thea/Merlyn, Nyssa/Ra’s and Oliver/William aren’t the only daddy issues that came up this episode. We first met Felicity’s father last week as the Calculator, but this week, we got the real story. And even though her father kicked off the betrayal train, Felicity got to do a bit of betraying herself. I have to admit, I was more than a little shocked when Noah admitted that he knew Felicity was Overwatch. I definitely did not see this storyline heading in that direction! But I also kind of loved it. His only true formidable foe was his own daughter and he got a chance to see what she has become.Â Of course, he assumed that made her a chip off the old block,Â which sounds like wishful thinking more than anything on his part.Â That being said, I would be curious to know what all “events” he had manipulated that made him believe he was anywhere near as noble as Felicity.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t matter because, with a quick trap and the discovery of a tech-stealing device, Felicity quickly proved that his intentions weren’t just to bond and make up for lost time.
Felicity: I gave him a little tour of Curtis’ R&D lab and he left this behind as a souvenir.
Oliver: He’s trying to steal from Palmer Tech?
Felicity: It was your idea, actually. You needed proof about the lotus, I needed proof about my dad.
Oliver: You set a trap for him as a test?
Felicity: Unrestricted access to Palmer Tech’s technology lab. He flunked with flying colors. I don’t even know why I’m surprised.
Oliver: You’re surprised because you’re hoping he’s the parent you’ve always wanted him to be. The parent you deserve.
Felicity: In an extremely ironic role reversal, my mother was smarter than me, she said ‘people don’t change, no matter how much you want them to’.
Oliver: Some people don’t. I’d like to think there’s hope for the rest of us.
So her father may not have changed (although I’m still confused why he LEFT the device there…I think there may be more to this storyline), but Felicity did. The old hacker-Felicity probably would’ve been eager to jump on the bandwagon and rebel-change the world, but as we saw a few weeks ago, our bubbly blonde Felicity is no longer that person and her track is one of good. Not to mention that she’s come a long way on the personal level as well, something she was quick to admit to her father as she set him up for a life behind bars.
Felicity: When I was a girl, I hated myself, I thought I was broken. That no one could or ever would love me. It’s the only way a child can grow up when their father abandons them. All I ever wanted to know was why. What was so wrong with me that you would leave?
Noah: There was nothing wrong with you, sweetheart. There was everything wrong with me. The police, the FBI, they were never gonna stop looking for me. I realized a life on the run, that wasn’t the life I owed you or your mother. So I disappeared.
Felicity: You thought you were doing the right thing for us?
Felicity: I have waited my entire life for that explanation. And the thing is, I don’t even know if I believe it.
Noah: It’s the truth.
Felicity: There is only one part of your story that I know to be true. And that is that you are wanted by the police. I just need you to know one thing, you were wrong, I am nothing like you.
I loved this scene. She rolled out with such confidence and certainty, something we never would’ve seen from Felicity at the beginning of the season. And like Oliver did with Merlyn, Felicity turned the tables on her father and landed him where he belonged.
Last but not least, when it comes to betrayal – Tatiana. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I get that she’s mad Oliver killed her brother (even though her brother was a jerk and it was self-defense) but Oliver also saved her life repeatedly when he easily could’ve sacrificed her to save himself. So once again, Oliver trusts her and gives her the weird magical stone and without a second thought, she calls Reiter in an attempt to make a deal and save herself. Not cool.Â Granted, after her hot-headed moment and realizing that her trade-attempt wouldn’t work, she seemed to come back around, convincing OliverÂ to take his pill and “right his wrong” by saving the people. Her Russian saying was spot on and more or less what Oliver needed to hear, but it was also a push for Oliver to do more and to fight, without saying anything about herself. Suspicious.Â IÂ don’t know what this stone is or why she’s so important, but I still don’t trust her. Maybe next week’s “dig” will not only uncover whatever Reiter is looking forÂ but also what her role is in all of this.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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