Thea’s life was at stake, Nyssa made Oliver an offer, Malcolm had a choice to make, there was plenty of material in this week’s Arrow – so, how’d it all work out?
Frustrating and unsatisfactory. As much as I love John Barrowman and his portrayal of Malcolm, how on earth is Malcolm still breathing? Well, the answer really – as we discuss on our podcast – is that the writers love John Barrowman. There isn’t any other logical explanation. Malcolm chose not to give up his power to try and save his daughter, Malcolm went on the attack against Nyssa, Malcolm revealed to Oliver that he knows about his son – and all of that was just this week. On top of that, Malcolm drugged/brainwashed – however you want to spin it – Thea into killing Sara, he was responsible for the death of Tommy, was willing to destroy the city and in all honesty, he’s just not an especially nice guy. He’s entertaining but nice? No. Not really.
Oliver’s only reason for not killing him is that he doesn’t want to take him from Thea which is wearing a little thin now. Malcolm doesn’t scream responsible, reliable, positive father figure. Predictably he’s now responsible for putting Oliver’s son at risk, with a certain Mr. Darkh now aware of another weak spot for Queen. Malcolm’s line of “Oliver. You’re very handsome, not especially bright.” seems pretty mild, now. Oliver is mind numbingly stupid at times. How did alarm bells not go ringing when Malcolm mentioned his son? Malcolm is above nothing. I’m pretty sure he’d willingly take candy from a baby. After everything that he’s done, killing Malcolm wouldn’t be a bad thing – it’d probably solve a hell of a lot of problems!
Ranting aside (well, it’s about to be continued), if Oliver wasn’t going to kill Malcolm then we could have at least had a half decent fight scene between them. Instead, we got something bizarrely weak. Malcolm gave up fast. Malcolm lost his hand. It just really fell short, when it could have delivered so much.
Nyssa was also booted unceremoniously out of character in the scene in which Malcolm had seemingly agreed to surrender his control of the League. It’s been shown Nyssa doesn’t trust him. It’s been shown Nyssa doesn’t like him. It’s been shown that Nyssa is very bright. So, why on earth did Nyssa have next to back-up when Malcolm came rolling in and double crossed her? It was an episode with lots of good material, blighted by many problems which at times felt as if it was written to A) suit the plot and B) keep John Barrowman around, rather than being driven by logic and character.
Speaking of Nyssa, it was good to see her talk to Laurel which arguably may have sparked her eventual decision to disband the League. The two building a friendship was one of the few highlights during the disappointing end to season 3, so it was pleasing this partnership was revisited after being obliterated earlier this season. Furthermore, Nyssa consistently referring to Oliver as her ‘husband’ was pretty funny and a nice lighter moment, which when done right, works really well on the show.
Elsewhere, Felicity got to know her father at last – who revealed himself at the end of last week. He reveals himself to be The Calculator in their first meeting and she attempts to leave, before learning pretty much that she can’t trust the guy and turns him into the cops. It was actually quite a pleasing twist on things – so often you’d see a character, reunited with an AWOL father, trying to get to know them, convinced they can change and all that emotional rollercoaster business. Instead, we had this sealed up rather sharply. It felt the right way to go about things, however. It wouldn’t surprise me if Felicity and her father are revisited, but all the same, I’m glad it’s not something that’s being dragged out for the moment and ended in the way that it did.
Overall, there were some decent moments here and there, but this was an episode that had plenty of material at its disposal and ended up being rather flawed – disappointingly.