Arrow recap: 'Honor Thy Fathers’
Chase's next move forces Oliver and Thea to confront who their father really was.
We open this week with Team Arrow spread thin as they monitor the worst of the prisoners released on bail and wait for new trials following the news that DA Chase is a serial killer.
But they’re about to get stretched thinner when Oliver opens a huge crate delivered to him at City Hall, courtesy of Chase. It’s the body of Henry Goodwin, reported missing in 2002. He’s been buried in concrete, and there’s no obvious connection between him and Chase or Oliver, which makes Team Arrow wonder if Chase’s father, Justin Claybourne, could be the missing link.
And hey, look who’s back! It’s Thea, just in time to work every angle of her daddy issues! She says she’s still a hot mess, but she came because Oliver was concerned about her safety given the Prometheus situation.
While they’re chatting, Quentin and Dinah show up with not-great news: Robert Queen’s DNA was under Goodwin’s fingernails, and the concrete came from a subsidiary of Queen Consolidated. Worse, the tests all went through public labs, so the news will get out. Oliver’s sure it’s a frame job and wants to have a press conference to stay ahead of the newest scandal for a change, even though Thea suggests this is exactly what Chase wants.
Further tests on the concrete reveal high levels of copper, which allows Felicity to provide the team with an address. When Oliver (still in the plain black mask) and John check it out, they spring a Chase trap that sticks them in a small room as it fills with concrete.
This means Curtis and Dinah have to stop tailing the freshly bailed Derek Sampson, the baddie who feels no pain, to rescue Oliver and John. Of course, it’s all a setup, as the death-by-concrete distraction allowed Sampson’s crew to break into a lab and steal a pair of chemicals that, when combined with a third, are the components Claybourne was using to weaponize tuberculosis five years ago. It seems as though Chase is trying to finish what dear old dad started.
The team has a stroke of good luck when they locate Darren Coffman, a lawyer who represented both Goodwin and Claybourne. Naturally, Chase found him first and threatened him into (a) giving Oliver a jump drive that will prove what kind of man his father was and (b) not telling the authorities that Chase contacted him.
Thea wants Coffman to spill what he knows about Claybourne, but Coffman argues attorney-client privilege. When Felicity alerts Oliver that they know where to find the third chemical, Oliver tells Thea to destroy the jump drive so they don’t give in to Chase’s mind games, then leaves.
When the team arrives at the chemical’s location, they find Sampson and company mid-heist. Sampson’s sad not to see the Green Arrow – you know, for killing purposes – and the bad guys escape with a supply of the chemical. As Team Arrow collects samples for analysis, Felicity beeps in to tell Oliver that Thea needs to talk to him.
Of course, Thea watched the video on the jump drive. (She makes a good point that just because Oliver gives an order doesn’t mean that everybody’s in agreement with it.) The video is Queen Construction security footage that shows Robert arguing with Goodwin. They struggle, and Goodwin falls into a vat of concrete. In a different DC Comics property, Goodwin would emerge a mangled supervillain, but in this case, he’s just dead.
Sure, it was an accident, but Robert covered it up, and this knowledge rattles Thea, who says it’s no wonder she’s a monster, given her parentage and upbringing. Before the siblings can really get into it, Oliver gets a text from Felicity, who relays a ton of messages tonight.
The update isn’t good; the third chemical is more potent than Claybourne’s version five years ago, which will make the weapon 1,000 times more powerful. However, the chemical degrades quickly and can therefore be tracked.
As he waits for the tracking results, Oliver rewatches the video of Robert urging Oliver to be a better man and save Starling City. Felicity catches the last bit and reminds Oliver that Chase’s plan was to make Oliver doubt his father and destroy the basis of Oliver’s mission.
She emphasizes that it doesn’t matter why Oliver got started on the city-saving business; the point is that the city was saved, over and over again, and that her life and countless others are better because of him. “Maybe it’s time to stop living for your father and start living for yourself,” she suggests. Then the computer beeps with the location of the chemical: Robert Queen Applied Sciences Center.
When the team suits up and rolls out this time, Oliver’s back in the green hood! “Felicity has a way with words,” he tells John and Curtis. As they head to the rooftop to stop the distribution of the weaponized TB, Prometheus intercepts them on the stairs. Oliver tells the rest of the team to go on without him and stays to fight his nemesis.
On the roof, Sampson quickly overpowers Rene, but Dinah Canary Cries him and John restrains him, allowing them to shut down the TB distribution device.
In the stairwell, Chase removes his mask and grabs a sword, taunting Oliver that they’re both defined by their horrible fathers. And then Oliver drops a truth bomb. Attorney Coffman apparently got over his privilege hangups and spilled a big secret: Claybourne was going to disown Chase, not for illegitimacy, but for insanity. It’s Oliver’s turn for taunts, pointing out that Chase has been honoring the memory of a man ashamed of him. “My father wasn’t perfect, but at least I know he never would’ve given up on me,” he concludes.
Chase doesn’t take this news well, dropping to his knees, laying down his sword, and telling Oliver to kill him. Oliver declines and takes him into custody instead. Yeah, I get it. Oliver doesn’t want to feed his monster, and arresting Chase is the moral decision. Buuuuut isn’t this the one time when a tiny little murder may be the better choice? Because dang, Chase has outsmarted Team Arrow pretty much every step of the way, and killed many, many people in the process.
When Thea walks into the Arrow Cave later that night, the team is off to celebrate their win, leaving the Queen siblings alone. Oliver gives Thea the video that Robert made for her. He hadn’t shared it with her before because he didn’t want to burden her with it, but now he says she deserves to make her own decision.
Thea plays the video and watches Robert tell her that he loves her and is proud of her. Then he tells her that she’s stronger than Oliver, and he’ll need to lean on her love and support. When Oliver comes in at the tail end, she says simply, “I miss him.” He agrees that he misses them both, every day.
Thea’s still struggling to reconcile her father with the man on the surveillance video, and Oliver reiterates Felicity’s earlier advice to leave the past in the past and live their own lives, the way their parents would’ve wanted.
Then Oliver takes his own advice and gives a press conference confirming that the allegations against Robert are true. However, he also says that his father’s immense courage and sacrifice 10 years ago allowed Oliver to return home safely so he could serve Star City. Then he gives the news that the Green Arrow and his team captured Chase…
… whom we see in a yellow jumpsuit in one of those glass cube prison cells that I’m pretty sure only exist in Hollywood. He’s watching the press conference on a TV that Argos apparently provided him, which was super nice of them, and he’s smiling in a way that makes you think this all unfolded exactly as he planned. In a nice little bit of camera work, Oliver’s face is reflected over his own in the glass.
Now, let’s flash back to five years ago: Anatoly and Oliver and Oliver’s extra greasy wig are crammed into a tiny, terrifying plane. Anatoly’s watching the video of Robert Queen to understand why Oliver wants to head home and get to saving Starling City. And of course, Oliver can’t truthfully explain where he’s been for the last five years, so they’re headed back to Lian Yu.
When they land, Oliver’s startled to discover that Deathstroke’s black-and-orange mask has washed ashore. Um. What are the odds? Seriously, that seems highly unlikely, after all this time, that the mask happens to be there today. You gotta love that pilot Easter egg! Anyway, Anatoly yet again tells Oliver that the hood’s just a piece of cloth and won’t channel his monster or protect his loved ones.
Nevertheless, Anatoly agrees to bribe a fishing boat to sail to the island, where Oliver will attract their attention with a bonfire two days hence and be “rescued.” And Anatoly leaves him with a gift from an old KGB friend, saying, “I figured nobody would believe there’s a barbershop on island.” (I’m definitely taking this wig joke as a reference to The Americans. Also, this explains how Oliver’s able to rock the extra-awful coif from the pilot.) They tell each other prochnost, and Anatoly promises they’ll always be brothers as he takes his leave. Awww, this is extra sad, knowing how they parted in the present.
Now alone on the island, Oliver’s laying out the wood for an enormous bonfire when he gets shot with a tranq dart. Not so alone after all, huh, buddy? Just as he passes out, he sees Kovar, scarred but alive. Our favorite blond Russian tells Oliver he’s going to miss his boat home. Twist!
Gotta say, I did not expect Kovar to turn up on the island. Aren’t you eager to see how Oliver handles one more complication before he finds his way home?
Arrows for your quiver
- Chase is back! Yay! May we get plenty of his special brand of creeptastic menace in the final two episodes of the season.
- Rene’s legal update: He freaks over having to testify at his daughter’s custody hearing, and Quentin, who’s inserting way too many of his own regrets and feelings at this point, urges him to do it so he can make sure the rest of his daughter’s life is better than what came before. But of course, the day of the hearing, Quentin’s there and Rene’s not, and the judge rules against him. Ugh. Unless he’s been abducted by Prometheus and friends, I never want to hear about this story line again. (Spoiler from next week’s preview: Abduction looks likely.)
- In William news, Felicity hasn’t been able to track him down, leading a relieved Oliver to conclude that neither has Chase. Little does he know…
- What do you think, Arrow fans? Can that clear cube hold Adrian Chase for long? And seriously, who hasn’t seen Witness?