‘Arrow’ Recap: And the Award for Worst Father in Star City Goes to...

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow in The CW’s Arrow. (Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW)

Warning: This recap for the “Honor Thy Fathers” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.

Former WWE star Cody Runnels returns to stir up trouble as the feel-no-pain Derek Sampson, as does Dolph Lundgren as Kovar. But the center of attention remains Adrian Chase, whose plan to shame Oliver’s dad backfires. What Chase learns about his own father finally leads to his capture.

The Plot

A giant crate arrives at the mayor’s office from Simon Morrison: It’s the body of a former city councilman encased in concrete. While they try to unravel that mystery, the team must also contend with three dozen felons released from prison because Adrian Chase prosecuted them as DA before he was revealed to be Prometheus. Derek Sampson — who can’t feel pain after falling into a vat of chemicals — is back. Mr. Terrific and Black Canary track him until they are forced to save Oliver and Diggle, who fall into a trap — a room filling up with cement — while following a lead on Chase. Thea returns just in time to find that the DNA underneath the fingernails of the dead councilman is Robert Queen’s. Oliver and Thea try to prove that their father has been framed, but the councilman’s former lawyer gives Oliver security footage proving otherwise. It turns out Sampson and Chase are weaponizing the tuberculosis as Chase’s father had intended, but the team — including Oliver, clad once again in his Green Arrow outfit — stops them and locks Chase away with A.R.G.U.S. Rather than cover up the murder that his father committed, Oliver gives a press conference owning up to it.

The Flashback

Oliver and Anatoly return to Lian Yu to establish Oliver’s cover story. While there, he’s captured by Kovar.

Leave the Past in the Past

The long-term arc of the show has always been for Oliver Queen to go from dark vigilante to something more like the lighthearted Green Arrow best known by fans of the comic books. If you were so inclined, you could read Felicity’s impassioned plea to “stop living for your father and start living for yourself,” which goes along with the fact that this will be the last season of pre-Arrow flashbacks, as a sign that year six will feature a friendlier, goofier Oliver. It seems unlikely, though. With three other DC shows on the network, it’s important that each show offer something different, and The Flash already is, essentially, a more lighthearted Arrow. Would fans still watch if Oliver stopped feeling guilty, patched things up with Felicity, and KO’d bad guys with a boxing-glove arrow every week?

Daddy Issues

Oliver and Thea were forced to deal with the legacy of their father this week. He’s always been a morally gray character, but now we have incontrovertible evidence that he’s a stone cold murderer. Ollie was able to use the soul-searching he did there to poke right into Adrian’s psyche and tell him what he least wanted to hear. Was Prometheus giving up part of his larger plan? Or was he actually gutted by the revelation that his father was about to disown him? Even if it was a ploy, it can’t have felt good to have your greatest enemy twist the knife in your most shameful secret.

In an episode full of shameful dad business, though, one father stands head and shoulders above the rest. After finally getting a court date, having a good lawyer and the backing of the deputy mayor, Rene ditches the hearing to get his daughter back. After all the progress he’d made as a person and as a father, after all the pep talks and heartfelt one-on-ones with Quentin, he hangs Zoe out to dry. It’s a blow for Quentin, who has invested so much in Rene because helping to repair that broken father-daughter relationship helps soothe his own pain over the loss of Laurel. But the biggest heartbreak is on the face of Zoe as she realizes that her father isn’t coming. Nothing Prometheus has done to Oliver this season holds a candle to the hurt on display right there.

Cody Runnels as Derek Sampson in The CW’s Arrow. (Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW)

Quiverful of Thoughts

The playwright Anton Chekhov said that if you have a gun onstage, you’d better use it. In comic book shows, the same holds true for giant, open vats. It really seemed like Derek Sampson was going to take a second dunk, but it turns out it was poor old Henry Goodwin who was destined for that vat of open cement (that can’t be how cement is actually made, right?).

That final fight was very anticlimactic. So was being captured all part of Adrian’s plan? How much more has he got left? Only two episodes remain this season. If he’s got a coup de grâce, he’d best deploy it now.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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