Spoilers ahead for "Honor Thy Fathers," the latest episode of The CW's Arrow!
The short version: Chase is trolling Oliver by showing him his father might've been a murderer. Turns out to mostly be true. But, Oliver gets some intel on Chase's father, and shellshocked him into basically surrendering. Yeah, it was kind of weird.
The good: Robert Queen and going full circle, Rene, the flashbacks
This episode wore its theme on its sleeve, and it was all about how parents (and father in particular) can be just as damaged and mixed up as anyone else — but that doesn't exactly mean they love their kids any less. The A-story plays this out with Chase sending Oliver the body of a man Ollie's father killed (somewhat accidentally) more than a decade ago, and security tape that proves he covered it up. It forced Oliver to grapple with the fact that his crusade was started to honor a man who was technically a murderer (trying to delegitimize Oliver's mission, a persistent theme of Chase's mission). Which hit home, but still, Oliver already knew his dad was a bad dude, right? How could this be *that much* of a shock? But still, it was a meaty story to build around.
We got to see a decent bit of the late Robert Queen thanks to some pre-recorded videos he'd left behind, including a message for Thea that Oliver had kept from her the past five years (because he just automatically hides everything at this point?). Oliver and Thea grapple with the reality of their parents, which is something they've dealt with in the past, but as they continue to move forward as adults, it's interesting to see them revisit those emotions from a new perspective. Especially Oliver, who is actually a father, now.
To that end, we also got the story of another father: Rene makes a move to pursue custody of his daughter, but gets cold feet when he realizes he would have to testify about his late wife's drug use in front of his daughter. To hammer home the point that fathers can absolutely let you down, Rene skips the custody hearing — letting down not just his sweet daughter, but also Quentin, who came to the hearing as moral support. This was a good place to tackle Rene's story, and seeing him grapple with his own inadequacies as a father is messy. Just like real life. It was refreshing to see this story not get a happy ending. Instead, we're reminded that Rene is still pretty screwed up, and he's still going to make some mistakes that he will almost certainly regret in the future.
Lastly: The flashbacks are coming full circle, and it's glorious. It's been a long five years, with some crappy flashbacks along the way, but the flashback saga is almost to an end. Oliver is back on Lian Yu, getting ready to fake his rescue that we see in the pilot episode. But, he has to deal with the fact that Kovar has tracked him there, first. What, you didn't think it'd be easy, did you? Also: Oliver's friendship with Anatoli has really become a touching piece of this story, made all the more heartbreaking when you already know how things turn out a few years down the line.
The bad: Prometheus' grand plan, Thea's random return
So … Prometheus has done everything this season with the end game of setting off a chemical weapon in Star City, which Oliver's back-up team shut down in about five minutes? Prometheus has been one of the most prepared baddies we've ever seen on this show (see that insane concrete trap for an example of his meticulous level of planning), and he's thwarted in one act? It made sense enough he'd do something based on his father's legacy (or at least, it's certainly on theme), but this seemed like some weak sauce Generic Bad Guy stuff at best.
Having Oliver drop the intel about Chase's father disowning him was a clever move, but why did Chase believe it at the drop of a hat? Furthermore, why did he suddenly surrender? This wreaks of the "Bad Guy Captured On Purpose" trope made popular in films like The Avengers and Star Trek Into Darkness. There are still two episodes left, and the preview for next week made it clear Chase isn't done terrorizing Oliver and the gang. If this all part of his insanely convoluted plan (as that smile to the camera leads me to believe), what would he have done if Oliver just chopped off his head guillotine-style and called it a day? Now that would've been a twist.
Hey, Thea is back! Which is great! But, it's obvious they only brought her back at this point because she was useful for the larger father story (being Robert Queen's adopted daughter). This show has struggled mightily to find a place for Thea, after putting her through so much insanity the past few seasons. She's broken, and she knows it, but it's high time they start putting her back together, right? With Thea back in the fold, hopefully the writers can map out a plan for next season that actually gives her something to do, other than acting crazy and subsequently disappearing for weeks on end.
Line of the night
"Nothing concrete." - Felicity
We already know Deathstroke is coming back, and we're going to get an epic face off on Lian Yu with a whole lot of interesting guest stars. But, with just two episodes left, it'll be interesting to see how they get the pieces in place next week for that to happen. The Chase-related parts of this episode felt really rushed, and though it's obvious they're setting up more of Chase's plan for next week, having him surrender was still such a strange and random move.
Also, for Olicity fans — will we get a love connection before the season ends? The two seem to be getting closer and closer, and after last week, it's only a matter of time, right?
Next week: Chase is pulling the strings from prison! Penultimate episode!