As tends to happen when a show has been on for seven years, the latest episode of Arrow had a whole lot of moving parts — and some worked better than others. That said, Oliver’s story deftly paid off a plot point that had been years in the making.
Spoilers ahead for “Past Sins,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.
With Oliver’s surprise half-sister in town and running around with her own bow and arrow, the OG Green Arrow has spent the past few weeks grappling with the lingering sins of his father (which, yeah, it’s right there in the title). He’s had to deal with the shock that his father had a secret family in Emiko, and tracked down Emiko to make the case that he’s nothing like his father. Keeping with the theme, this week we finally get some payoff on the murder Robert Queen committed in order to keep Oliver alive after the Queen’s Gambit went down. Before shooting himself, Robert shot and killed his bodyguard David Hackett — and now the bodyguard’s son wants some revenge.
The truth about Oliver’s father came out during his therapy at Slabside, and those transcripts conveniently leaked all the way down to David’s son Sam. Sam uses his knowledge of electrical systems to, umm, somehow electrocute people at will and tries to force the Star City PD to turn on Oliver? Yeah, his plan and powers are a little wonky, but his motivations certainly make sense. Sam has spent the past decade searching for his father, only to realize Oliver has known he was dead all that time. It drove him mad, and though Oliver didn’t kill his father, he does take responsibility for not offering Sam the same closure he’s had from the shipwreck.
We also get to see this all play out via a few TV interviews Oliver does in an effort to rehab his public image and put the citizens at ease about his new gig with Star City’s finest. After his encounter with Sam, Oliver returns to television to tell the real story of his father’s death, and David’s murder. His push for transparency manages to reach Emiko, who comes to Oliver and says she might be interested in at least talking to him.
It’s interesting to see this theme of the sins of the father circle back, as it was the entire concept that launched Oliver’s mission all the way back in Season 1. It’s also, to a degree, inspired Emiko to take up the mantle of the New Green Arrow, after being abandoned by Robert and having her mother murdered mysteriously (yeah, that one still doesn’t make a ton of sense in context just yet). We’ve seen Oliver grapple with these emotions before, but perhaps introducing Emiko will provide a fresh lens to explore this story. Here’s hoping, at least.
Suicide Squad: This week also officially brought us a brand-new Don’t Call It A Suicide Squad. ARGUS is set to launch a new Ghost Initiative, which Curtis hilariously points out is “just a cooler name for the Suicide Squ—” before being interrupted, presumably because the Arrowverse has been asked to steer clear of the ‘Squad in the wake of the team’s big screen debut (and with a Harley Quinn spinoff film currently in production). Regardless, Diggle wants to get the team back together to solve a case, albeit with a new lineup. The new roster is set to include Diaz, Cupid, China White, and Joe Wilson. Curtis understandably has his reservations abut getting this program back on the ground, but reluctantly agrees to help, developing a McGuffin-y virtual reality program to trick them into helping? The details are kinda fuzzy on that one, though it did provide a way to have a jaw-dropping murder fakeout (R.I.P. Curtis, just kidding).
The team isn’t on the ground yet, but look for the Ghost Initiative to hit the street soon. With Diggle putting Diaz back in play (even with a bomb in his head), you can’t imagine Oliver will take that too well.
Laurel: This episode also spent a bit of time on Laurel, who is still fighting the good fight to make Quentin proud. We learn a good bit more about exactly what drove her to become a villain instead of a hero back on Earth-2, as she has a run-in with the Earth 1 counterpart of the man who killed her Quentin while driving drunk. She also reveals she had asked Quentin to get back on the road, and still blames herself for his death. It certainly provides some humanity to a character who has struggled to convey it, so that’s a good thing. We also get more of the Felicity-Laurel friendship that’s been brewing, and it’s at least starting to feel less forced. Though, with things finally looking up for Laurel, we can probably expect her to backslide sometime soon.
Also, there’s a mystery stalker out there leaving notes for Laurel and Dinah? That could tie into next week …
Next week: Some bad dude rocking an exo-suit goes hunting for vigilantes. This one looks loaded with action.