Arrow #4.13: “Sins of the Father” Quickshot Recap Arrow #4.13: “Sins of the Father” Quickshot Recap
Summary and initial thoughts on the thirteenth episode of the CW hit's fourth season. Arrow #4.13: “Sins of the Father” Quickshot Recap

Written By: Ben Sokolowski & Keto Shimizu
Directed By: Gordon Verheul
Series Episode: 82
Airdate: February 10, 2016
Guests: Nyssa al Ghul ( Katrina Law ), Noah Kuttler/The Calculator ( Tom Amandes ), League Member ( Natasha Gayle ), Donna Smoak ( Charlotte Ross )
Flashback Guests: Baron Reiter ( Jimmy Akingbola ), Taiana ( Elysia Rotaru )
Special Appearance: Damien Darhk ( Neal McDonough )



When last we left, Nyssa al Ghul presented Oliver Queen with the deus ex machina Lotus elixir to save Thea’s, but to get it he’d have to brutally murder Malcolm Merlyn. What’s an Ollie to do? Let’s find out…

After Nyssa’s offer, suddenly Oliver’s big face is gone and he’s responding normally, telling Nyssa that he can’t take Thea’s father’s life just to save her. She points out that Thea is her sister-in-law and that her husband should support her, which Oliver is quick to correct her on. But pay familial bonds no mind in the War of the Ra’ses!

Oliver deduces that Nyssa doesn’t feel she can defeat Malcolm but that Oliver can. He protests not to get the Queen siblings involved, but she insists they already are. They talk about fathers, how Oliver can’t take Thea’s from her. Nyssa points out Oliver’s own father sacrificed himself for his son. Oliver tries to say Neener, this is your father’s fault, but Nyssa throws the smack back, saying that it was Malcolm’s actions that put Thea in this position.

Act One

Felicity and Noah Kuttler, her father, share coffee with a side of guilt. He presents the old chestnut platitude of his leaving Donna and Felicity behind as a way of protecting them. She retorts that he was just protecting himself from being caught by the police. He insists he’s here for her now, and that he’s an open book for any questions she might have. She asks why he’s come to her now, and he reveals that he’s the Calculator and his digging revealed that his own daughter was his formidable foe on his last job, Overwatch. Felicity tries to high-tail it out of there, but Noah stops her. He tries to assure her he’s not a bad guy (and not a Bad Guy™) and that he’s hacktivist in the tradition she came from. He provides evidence on some of the jobs he’s done to prove he’s telling the truth to win her trust.

Laurel and Diggle try to convince Oliver to go along with Nyssa’s plan to save Thea’s life. Bull-headed as always, Oliver stands firm on not killing Merlyn, not matter what personal grudges he has against the main. He knows his own father was not a good man but he would still rather see him alive today, and he can’t take that away from Thea. He proposes they use diplomacy and asks Laurel to convince Nyssa while he convinces Malcolm.

Oliver’s meeting with Malcolm goes about as well as expected: he’s got no time for Nyssa al Ghul’s games! Oliver assures Malcolm that the Lotus elixir is a real thing and that Tatsu Yamashiro is part of an order in Japan that was guarding it before willingly giving it over to her. Malcolm throws the challenge flag and tells Oliver he should smarten up and not just believe a bunch of hooey just because he wants to trust the world and save his sister. Meanwhile, Laurel meets with Nyssa and tells her that if she wants Malcolm dead, she’ll have to do it herself. Instead, she offers a compromise: Oliver convinces Merlyn to give up the ring and title of Ra’s al Ghul in exchange for the Lotus from Nyssa. Nyssa agrees but is convinced that Malcolm will never go for it. Laurel says to let her team worry about that. Nyssa lays down the law that Team Arrow better or her League members will wage war on Star City to kill Malcolm and them.

Act Two

Oliver and Laurel report the news of the meetings. Felicity rolls in and explains her own meeting with her father and his revelation that he is the Calculator. She admits to wanting to believe he wants to make a connection with her and ponders aloud if there were some test she could give him to prove he’s being honest and genuine. Green lightbulb goes off and Oliver suggests that a test is good and might be a way to turn Malcolm around.

Oliver arrives as Nyssa trains with some of her members, trying to get the up to snuff for the coming battle. She chides her hubby for not bringing her any Magician take-out, but he counters that he needs a little sugar from her first to convince Merlyn to roll with the plan. Her first thought is that it’s a stalling tactic but she comes to realize that she has to show that the Lotus will really work. She commends Oliver on trying to come to a pleasant solution for everyone, but when it comes to being leader of the League, someone might be going to jail and someone might be going to emergency, or rather the morgue. Blood is the cover charge in this club.

Oliver brings Thea to the bunker and brings Malcolm to see her and witness the test with the Lotus. It works on temporarily healing Thea’s stab wound and stirring from her coma. Convinced, Malcolm asks what the plan is: He gives the ring over to Nyssa, Nyssa gives them the rest of the Lotus, Thea gets better, and they all go out for an ice cream social afterward. Malcolm agrees to the terms.

Over at the loft, Donna Smoak pops by to see her daughter and immediately knows something is troubling her. Felicity says she’s seen her dad and Donna gets about as prickly as one could imagine. Felicity asks her mom if it’s possible Noah could be a better guy than they thought, but she fiercely insists that isn’t possible. He’s a bad guy and people don’t change. The best thing for them was for him to get out of their lives and they should keep him out.

At the exchange, everyone comes dressed for the party except Team Arrow. Malcolm feigns handing the ring over but quickly slips it back on his finger and calls out a group of assassins ready to attack. Oliver has egg on his face and tries to yell at Merlyn to stop, but the two groups of killers go at each other. Oliver, Diggle, and Laurel try to figure out a way to stop everything in their street clothes, but it’s Nyssa who calls for a retreat when Merlyn’s troops appear to overpower everyone. Merlyn attempts to go after them but Team Arrow stands in the way shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Not interested in gutting them this day, Merlyn and his thugs turn and go.

Act Three

Well, your plan was a failure, the others tell Oliver back at base. Laurel makes the point that just because he’s changing his point of view and approach on life doesn’t mean everyone else is. Diggle points out that they can’t hope to take on two armies of assassins. Oliver agrees and pushes that they have to take down Nyssa and Malcolm to stop things from escalating. Felicity thinks they should focus on Nyssa to get the Lotus, but Oliver is dead-set on finding both leaders.

Oliver and Diggle meet up with Quentin Lance at a crime scene, the aftermath of League on League killing action. Diggle tries to convince Oliver that he simply has to kill Malcolm Merlyn to get all of this to stop. At Palmer Tech, Felicity invites her father over and shows him the R&D lab. They geek out over Curtis’ communication orb. Meanwhile, Black Canary locates Nyssa and radios to the others. She tries to talk Nyssa out of going through with this war but they are interrupted by Merlyn’s men. Trying to escape, the fight spills out onto the street, hurting some innocents. Green Arrow and Spartan join in, forcing Merlyn’s assassins to run. With the excitement of the moment, Oliver has Diggle shoot Nyssa with tranquilizer.

Act Four

Now in a cell at the bunker, Laurel tries to get Nyssa to tell her where the Lotus is. She tries to appeal to Nyssa’s good sense, slapping her around with Ye Olde Guilt Glove. Nyssa’s plan and rage are more like her father than her. She has the choice to do something better than Ra’s al Ghul would’ve done. Out in the main bunker, Felicity arrives to see how things are going. Oliver gives her a quick update and asks how she’s doing. Not all that great because her dad is truly a bad, bad, baddie. She set a trap, er, test by bringing Noah to the lab at Palmer Tech. He spectacularly failed it by planting an IR gobbledy, gobbledy, gobbledygook device to steal tech secrets from the company. She’s understandably bummed, yet she doesn’t understand why. Oliver points out that she wanted to see the good in him and he let her down. She recounts her mom saying people don’t change, but with firsthand experience Oliver corrects that to some people don’t change. He tells her how Diggle suggests he kill Malcolm and she hops on-board that train. Oliver admits even he’s somewhat on that train given everything Malcolm has done, but that he can’t take away the possibility that Thea and her dad could have a normal relationship at some point. An alarm buzzes: Malcolm has been found … and he’s INSIDE THE HOUSE!

Malcolm is visiting Thea and can see the effects of the Lotus are wearing off. He’s convinced she’ll be dead by morning and wants to be by her side as she goes. Oliver barks at him to cut out his nonsense and to give Nyssa the ring and control of the League to save his sister. Malcolm launches into a soliloquy about meeting Thea for the first time when she was four months old and recognizing even then that she was his daughter. Malcolm states that he isn’t trying to hold onto being Ra’s al Ghul for the power but that he’s worried what kind of cluster the world can turn into if Nyssa has that kind of power and control. That the role of the League is too influential in the world to make that choice for Thea. He spins it on Oliver, wondering what the young man would do if Darhk told him it would save William’s life if Oliver gave up trying to stop H.I.V.E.’s plan. Oh yeah, Ollie, Malcolm knows about your son. He’s RA’S AL GHUL, you fool! And he knows Oliver would never submit to Darhk’s plan even in that circumstance. Oliver would find another way, a third option. He presents one to Malcolm: challenge Nyssa to trial by combat, just as Oliver did with the previous Ra’s al Ghul. The winner gets the title, the power, and the Lotus. Malcolm points out a flaw in Oliver’s idea: Nyssa would have to die. Hey, we all made our choices, Nyssa made her bed, Oliver offers…

On a majestic … office building rooftop amidst other office buildings, the League sets up its portable fire cauldrons to set the mood. Team Arrow stands by as Malcolm and Nyssa face one another. Always the gentleman, Malcolm allows that they don’t have to go to the traditional no shirt level for this fight. Felicity calls Oliver out on this being a crazy idea, but you ain’t seen nothing yet, he shares with her. As Nyssa and Malcolm prepare to clash steel, Oliver yells for a timeout. He walks between them and asserts his League rights as her husband to fight in her place.

Act Five

Nyssa asks Oliver just what the hell he’s doing. She doesn’t need anyone to fight her battles. He kindly pushes back in her face that she came to him because she didn’t believe she could beat Merlyn and he could. You want the ring, you want the title? This is the way to do it, honey. She hands over her sword. Malcolm gets huffy about Oliver standing in and again alludes to being pretty but stupid, even after gaining experience over the years. After three years, Oliver’s ready to put an end to things. They start fighting and Oliver is eventually able to knock Merlyn to his knees. He uses his sword to hold himself up, as Oliver spits at him to yield his power and spare his life. Nope, you’ve got to kill me to get it, Malcolm offers. Everyone expects him to go through with it. Oliver pulls the sword up to strike his mortal enemy down once and for all. The furious slash … takes Merlyn’s hand off clean at the wrist!

He knocks Malcolm down and pulls the ring from the severed hand. Nyssa hands him the Lotus in exchange for the ring and the title of Ra’s al Ghul. As she puts it on, she thanks him. The League members bow to the new Ra’s.

The Tag

The Lotus works and Thea is recovering. Instead of allowing her to rest in bed and fully regain her strength, Laurel drags Thea out to get some normal clothes on. Maybe not so much with Laurel being a nurse any time soon. The other congratulate Oliver on finding a third option, and Felicity wonders when they’ll tall Thea about her dad becoming Malcolm “One-Hand Jack” Merlyn. Baby steps, Oliver assures his fiance, recalling something her father said to her.

Speaking of her father, Noah comes to visit Felicity at Palmer Tech the next day, complete with absent dad gift (a portable wheelchair ramp). She’s cold to him and tells him goodbye. He doesn’t want anything further with him. All she wants is an answer she’s waited her whole life for: why he left. He explains how he couldn’t give his family the life they needed, that there was nothing wrong with her but everything wrong with him and the trouble he would bring to them, especially from the police. Felicity uses it as a cue to bring in Lance and the police to arrest Noah.

Oliver and Laurel meet with Nyssa, who now wears the robes of Ra’s al Ghul. She asks after Thea, which Laurel insists she doesn’t really care about. She does, a big part of which is because it was her father’s actions that caused harm to her sister-in-law. She admits to Laurel that she was right about not wanting to live in her father’s shadow and continue down his path. She thanks them both for giving her fresh perspective on how she can lead her life. Malcolm arrives so she can reveal her path to them all. She pulls off the ring and melts it in a fire. She reveals that she disbanded the League of Assassins, putting to rest the order and Ra’s al Ghul. As she leaves, Malcolm gets all evily and threatens Oliver not with death but with the hell he’s going to make his life with the debt he now owes.

Oliver comes home to Felicity. Despite the man he is, Felicity feels bad for having turned her father into the police, which seems weird to her. Oliver assures her it’s because she’s a good person. Oliver himself feels bad for having betrayed Malcolm. She offers the good person right on back. He asks her to marry him, and duh, she shows him the ring. No, he means cutting to the chase and just getting married as soon as possible. Her mom is gonna hate, but she can see them just having a small ceremony and doing it. She’s in.

Meanwhile, at the docks… Malcolm meets with Damien Darhk, who knows everything about what’s happened to Malcolm recently. He’s RA’S AL… wait… Malcolm wants to offer some information about how to get at Oliver Queen. The focus should be on the one he loves the most in the world. Darhk turns away, spouting about already showing some love to Felicity. Oh no, not Miss Smoak, Malcolm holds. Oliver has a son named William. Darhk does a dance of joy, only more in his stone-faced, not moving, icy stare kind of way.



Taiana tries to makes sense of the news that Oliver killed her brother. He explains that her brother Vlad attacked him with the intent to kill him, and kill or be killed, he defended himself. She doesn’t care. Oliver reveals he has the marked stone and that it’s something Reiter wants. She swipes the rock and demands to see Reiter to one of the guards.

Reiter comes to the cell and Taiana shows the stone to him, against Oliver’s objections. Reiter is very interested. She tries to use it to get free, but he takes the stone and doesn’t give into her request. He orders her to nurse Oliver back to health because he needs Mr. Queen to aid in his plans. If Oliver dies, she dies, he tells her. So get crackin’!

Later, Taiana gives Oliver medicine to break his fever. He tries to connect with her over the pain of her loss, but she doesn’t want to hear it from the man who caused the loss. He tells her about his father taking his own life in front of Oliver so that his son could live, and how he’s lost other people close to him and knows her pain all too well. She admits that she could see in his eyes when she first met him that he was a shattered man. She gives him a Russian phrase that’s not “I must break you” and tells him that in order to make himself whole, he has to take down Reiter and free them.

Some time later, Oliver is doing much better. He tells Taiana that he is going to free her and the others on the island. Reiter arrives to tell them that the marked stone provided the final piece to a map. He’s going to use Oliver as labor to help dig for something within the ground.

Three Quick Thoughts

Have to hand it to Oliver, his third option was pretty impressive.

When Arrow locks on a theme, they really go for it. This involved no less than five different father-child relationships. You could even toss in Malcolm’s demented view of Oliver as surrogate son as another, if you wanted.

As The Flash seems to be turning more toward its DC Comics origins, Arrow seems to purging itself of everything: we lost Amanda Waller last week (that we know), and now they’ve shut down the League of Assassins. Is the movie division cracking down?

Matt Tucker Editor/Senior Writer/Reviewer

Matt Tucker is a stage and film actor, writer, Seattleite, comics nerd, sports fan, and aspiring person. Someday, he’ll be a real boy. He's an editor and senior writer for KSiteTV network (GreenArrowTV, DaredevilTV) and the sports blogs Sonics Rising and Cascadia Sports Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MattBCTucker or @TuckerOnSports