Daddy issues take center stage on this week’s Arrow. Felicity is forced to deal with the return of her father/The Calculator, while Malcolm is forced to decide what means more to him: his daughter’s life or power.
The episode picks up right where we left off last time, with Nyssa’s offer to provide a cure for Thea’s deadly bloodlust in exchange for Malcolm’s life. Oliver is angry she would even ask such a thing, and accuses her of not caring for Thea at all. She says that while Thea is her sister-in-law and Oliver her husband (bet you forgot about that, I know I had), this is war and family and friendships don’t matter now.
When Oliver tells Diggle and Laurel of her demands, they both don’t see a problem with it. Malcolm is a bad guy, and he’s responsible for the deaths of Tommy and Sara, Laurel reminds him. Oliver knows this, but at the same time he’s Thea’s father, and because of that he doesn’t want this to end in his death. He keeps holding out hope that they can have some sort of relationship and that, contrary to belief Malcolm can change.
His plan: get Malcolm to give up the ring and role of Ra’s Al Ghul to Nyssa peaceably in exchange for the Lotus. After a visit from Laurel, Nyssa agrees to go along with these terms, although she’s of the opinion that it would be naïve to assume this will conclude without bloodshed. Malcolm however isn’t so easy to convince. He doesn’t believe the Lotus even exists, or that it has the effect Nyssa claims. When Oliver obtains a sample of the elixir from Nyssa though and it immediately begins to work on Thea, Malcolm suggests they meet with her right away.
With Oliver, Diggle, and Laurel watching on, Nyssa and Malcolm come face to face, each with their own army behind them. Nyssa’s brought the Lotus, and Malcolm the ring. Malcolm takes the ring off his finger, only to put it back on and order his men to kill her. Nyssa’s able to escape though, and Oliver and co. keep Malcolm and his team from advancing on her.
Full out war is waging now, as the two assassins’ armies seek each other out. Violence is spilling out onto the street, endangering innocent bystanders. Team Arrow searches for Nyssa and Malcolm to put an end to their violence and in hopes of still saving Thea. They manage to sedate Nyssa and put her in Andy’s old cage in the Arrow Cave. Laurel tries to reason with Nyssa and get the location of the Lotus from her, but she refuses to give it. Laurel tells her that holding Thea’s life hostage and sacrificing the lives of her forces is selfish and the acts of her father, not her. He’s died, and she can and should be free of him now.
Meanwhile, Malcolm shows up to Thea’s bedside. He says he knows she won’t last the night and wants to be with her when she passes. Oliver is infuriated and accuses him of caring for power more than his own daughter’s life. He says that giving Nyssa the ring and control of the League would be akin to Oliver letting Dahrk have control of the city. Would Oliver be willing to let him carry out his evil plan all to save one life? Even if was his son William’s? Oh yeah, Malcolm knows about him. Oliver says he would never stop fighting for a third option. Oliver then suggests Malcolm challenge Nyssa to a trial by combat, to which he agrees.
Malcolm and Nyssa are about ready to duel it out with swords on a rooftop when Oliver intervenes. Using the defense that Nyssa is his wife, Oliver steps in for her. She’s reluctant to the idea, but he tells her if she wants to live and become Ra’s Al Ghul it’s the best option. He and Malcolm fight, and right away it’s clear Oliver is winning. Malcolm tells him he’ll have to kill him, but Oliver merely cuts his hand off. He then presents Nyssa with the ring and her new role as leader of the League of Assassins. In turn she gives over the Lotus and Thea recovers immediately.
After pondering Laurel’s earlier words and Oliver’s actions Nyssa is changed though. She summons Oliver, Laurel, and Malcolm later and throws the ring in a fire in front of them. She’s disbanded the League, she tells them. No one will be trapped by her father again.
Another tense father and daughter relationship is at the heart of this episode. Felicity’s father wants back in her life after years of separation. He tells her he only abandoned her and her mother because he was wanted by the police and didn’t want to put them at risk. He reveals that he came back because he recently faced an adversary who bested him and after a little digging he realized it was his own daughter, AKA Overwatch. She’s shocked, but he tells her they are similar people, both hacker activists and vigilantes. He begs her to give him a chance and look into his past work.
She questions her mother about him, and she tells her to keep away. He’ll only use and hurt her, she says. As a test, Felicity shows him one of Palmer Tech’s most high-tech labs. He fails when she realizes he was trying to steal from it. In the end, she realizes that despite her hopes he was a decent guy, her mom’s right and he hasn’t changed. She ends their fresh start by having him arrested.
Malcolm is extremely bitter towards Oliver over what happened and threatens him a fate worse than death. A promise he seems to be keeping when he meets with Darhk that night and tells him who Oliver cares about the most: his son William.