Arrow deals with fatherhood and the deadly fallout from Lian Yu in Season 6 debut

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Mar 26, 2021, 7:00 AM EDT (Updated)

Fatherhood has been a theme through pretty much the entire run of Arrow, but it took a major and fascinating step forward in the Season 6 premiere. Oh, and we finally find out who died in the Lian Yu explosion from last season, to boot. Put simply: The premiere is titled “Fallout,” and it certainly lives up to its name. Pretty much every character on Team Arrow is dealing with something in the wake of Season 5, so let’s dig in.

Spoilers ahead for “Fallout,” the Season 6 premiere of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Thursday, October 12!

Fans have been throwing out theories for months as to who would live and who would die in the fiery explosion that torched Lian Yu with pretty much all of Team Arrow along with it. Well, we didn’t get any huge surprises on that one: Samantha, the mother of Oliver’s estranged son William, was the only actual casualty from the island’s destruction. But there was a twist: Thea was critically wounded and knocked into a coma, where she remains several months later when the season premiere picks up.

Samantha’s death finally forces Oliver into the role of being a father to William, and he makes a deathbed promise to raise his son in her absence, case it wasn’t clear enough. Oliver’s entire mission started as a way to work through his own daddy issues after learning Papa Queen was working with Malcolm Merlyn to try and destroy the Glades back in Season 1, and we’ve come a long way since then. The reveal about William has been hanging out in the wings for a few years now, but Season 6 finally brings that story to the forefront. It’s been one heck of a slow roll, but it’s fitting to finally see that arc come to a head here. Seeing Oliver make the transition from son to father should make for a compelling narrative, and one that has been a very long time coming.

We get some glimpses of that story in “Fallout,” as William deals with the (there’s that word again) fallout of his mother’s death and Oliver’s role in it. He’s scared of an unnamed bad man, and surprise, he’s not talking about Chase — he’s talking about Oliver. Which is understandable for a kid who has gone through so much. Oliver represents this dangerous figure who basically stepped into his world and turned it to ash. They have a long way to go in building a father-son relationship, but we see it take a tiny step forward here.

Even Slade shows up to step back into that fatherly role for Oliver when he needs a bit of advice, reminding him that it’s almost impossible to live in both of these worlds and be a good father in the process. Slade should know, as his arc this season will find him hitting the road in an effort to reconnect with his own son. Being a parent isn’t easy, but just imagine if you’re missing baseball games and parent-teacher conferences because you’re trying to juggle being the mayor by day and battling supervillains by night.

But that’s not all: Bringing fan favorite co-star Katie Cassidy back into the fold as Black Siren also managed to resurface Quentin’s own insecurities about fatherhood, as we learn he shot his daughter’s doppelgänger (Black Siren is the Laurel Lance from an alternate reality, thanks to the DC multiverse) to save Dinah’s life back on Lian Yu. With Cassidy slated to stick around in a semi-regular role this season, that story is far from over. Even Rene’s long-simmering story of fatherly redemption, as he tries to reconnect with his own estranged daughter, got a nod as Oliver pulled some strings and got Wild Dog another shot at visitation.

Team Arrow looks to be facing its biggest challenge yet in Season 6, and it’s not the mystery baddie pulling the strings behind Black Siren. It’s fatherhood.

Assorted musings


*After setting up the Lian Yu cliffhanger, it was honestly a bit of a letdown to have no one from Team Arrow actually taken out. Yes, Thea is in a coma, but that’s pretty much it. Which, this show has had a hard time finding a consistently compelling story for Thea the past few seasons, so landing her in a coma just feels like insult to injury to simply put her on the bench for a while. Here’s hoping they’ll spend the downtime to find a story worth telling with Thea, because if not, why have her survive at all?

*What’s wrong with Diggle? We see Diggle shaking as he tries to pull the trigger during a mission, and again when under attack in the Arrow Cave. We get some quick nods back to the explosions on Lian Yu, and perhaps a lingering shoulder injury(?), but there’s no real resolution to that question here. Perhaps he’s dealing with some PTSD from something that happened on the island, which could be revealed in a few more flashbacks over the next few weeks? Here’s hoping, because right now that C-story isn’t making a lot of sense.

*Who is Evil Laurel working for, and why did she steal a T-Sphere? Putting Black Siren as the face of this mystery operation is a clever move to draw her back into the fold, and yeah, an obvious way to keep Cassidy on the show. But hey, for now it works. So no complaints.

*Wild Dog’s new suit is pretty great. We only see it in action for a minute, but he’s definitely gotten a long-deserved redesign during the offseason.

*We also seem to have a few too many canary-powered heroes around this season, though the Canary vs. Siren fights were a lot of fun.

*Olicity fans should be happy, because the rekindled romance between Oliver and Felicity certainly seems to be brewing. With Barry and Iris’ wedding coming up later in the year in the annual Flash crossover, could it also ring some relationship bells for these two?

*How bad is the security at the Arrow Cave? Season after season we see bad guys with nary a problem storming the high security bunker and causing all kinds of chaos. Didn’t Argus, Cisco, Felicity, and Curtis all team up to develop the security system there? It’s insane to think Black Siren and her gang could just stroll in without tripping a sensor.

*Last but certainly not least: That final scene is a big one. Oliver has grappled with keeping his identity secret since pretty much the pilot episode, and as a new photo showing him clearly sporting the Green Arrow armor shows up on the local news, it’ll be hard to bury that theory a hundredth time. From the peek at next week, it seems the city’s new DA is keen to look into these allegations, and Oliver will have some explaining (or more likely, lying) to do in the next week or two.