‘Arrow’ 5×21 Roundtable: ‘Honor Thy Fathers’

Arrow continues to deliver in its revival tour that progressed with “Honor Thy Fathers,” which took a look at the similarities and differences between Oliver Queen and Adrian Chase. It was an episode where Oliver got some real character growth, and an episode where Chase planned his next move that’s sure to have us freaking.

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Nora, Sarah, and Charles are breaking down the latest episode of Arrow, which has us discussing Oliver and Adrian’s daddy issues, calling out Rene, and praising Thea’s return.

Describe your thoughts about “Honor Thy Fathers” using just six words.

Alyssa: Arrow has found its groove again.

Lizzie: Hello continuity, it’s been a while.

Nora: The Arrow I’ve been searching for.

Sarah: Arrow it’s nice to see you.

Charles: Thea’s return brings a calm episode.

Describe your feelings about “Honor Thy Fathers” using a gif.






This episode was all about Oliver and Adrian each honoring their fathers in their own crusades. What were your thoughts on how they chose to honor their fathers and how they’re different?

Alyssa: While Arrow has failed to do a lot right this season, one thing that it has done quite well is deliver a villain worthy of being Oliver’s adversary, as well as making them quite similar yet different. Adrian Chase is what Oliver Queen would’ve become without those he loves in his life, like Felicity, Diggle, and Thea. Without those people, Oliver would’ve become Chase. They’ve both been touched by tragedy. They’ve both also been acting in honoring their fathers in some way. For Oliver, he was trying to right his father’s wrongs. For Adrian, he is trying to avenge his father’s death. But that’s about where the comparisons end. This year’s villain is about the similarities, yes, but mostly about what sets Oliver and Adrian apart. Oliver is a hero — a flawed one — but a hero. While Adrian is the villain. And yet, they could each be in the other’s shoes if their lives had been different. Fascinating dynamic.

Lizzie: I think both Adrian and Oliver are alike in that they took the honoring their fathers theme to a dangerously insane place, even to the point that they lost themselves, because all they could think about was how to honor their fathers. Obviously Oliver chose to honor his father by trying to do good – even if his methods were questionable. Adrian chose to honor his father through revenge. That has nothing to do with their fathers, really, it has to do with them. This is a decision they both made – Oliver to be a hero, Adrian to be a villain. They can both use their fathers as justification, inspiration, whatever, but in the end, what makes them different is that they choose different paths.

Nora: I’ve really enjoyed the commonalities between Adrian and Oliver this season. I think that’s why Adrian has become such a formidable villain and one of Arrow’s best. Both of them clearly have father issues and the way they have gone about honoring their fathers are simultaneously very similar and very different. Adrian continues to be a reminder of what Oliver could’ve become if he let his crusade consume his life and if he failed to let anyone, like Diggle and Felicity in. Both of their methods to honor their fathers have taken them to these dark and crazy places. But, it’s that turning point that made Oliver a hero and Adrian a villain that makes this so interesting. They both use their fathers as justification for their actions, but seeing Oliver and Adrian being different is what makes this one of the best dynamics Arrow has given us. Bravo.

Sarah: Adrian and Chase are mirror images that both reflect how taking a memory of a loved one to honor them can lead you down a path that was completely unimaginable before. True when you put aside the fact that Chase has purposefully set out to be Oliver’s mortal enemy they do share similar experiences, but the choices they make are what set them apart not just as vigilantes (or hero vigilante in Oliver’s case) but as people. Oliver’s crusade was initially to honor his father by taking down the people who threatened the city, but no matter how bad it got (and it’s been dicey a fair amount of times) he never lost of sight of wanting to help his city and the people in it. Chase has only gotten to a place of insanity and deep darkness for making it his sole mission to ruin Oliver’s life and seemingly “honor his father.” As committed as he is to it, it only serves for Oliver through all the crap he’s been put through from the most formidable adversary he’s faced, to see what he might have become. His struggle to stand apart from Chase while using similar tactics is a fascinating dynamic that has been one of the best parts of Arrow (and I say that knowing how much I’ve disliked a lot of the season.)

Charles: Oliver and Adrian both have daddy issues honestly. How they honor their fathers is sort of similar but also completely different. Oliver has taken up a crusade to honor his father in helping Star City become a better place. Adrian taking up a crusade to honor his father….except his is to make Oliver Queen’s life a living hell. Of course Oliver’s is the more noble one but both even now feel like they are still stuck in their father’s shadow in this episode. Also Oliver looks to be taking the step finally to become his own man and hero finally and hopefully we see more of that in season 6.

What was your reaction when Oliver suited up for the first time since Chase tortured him?






Oliver has been living in the past when it comes to understanding the purpose of his crusade and the person that he used to be. But Felicity reminded him that he needs to start living for himself instead of his father. What were your thoughts on Oliver choosing to live in the present and for himself?

Alyssa: I think we can all agree that this revelation was long overdue. But if we’ve known anything about Oliver over the years, he’s always a little behind when it comes to acceptance. But we’ve also learned that if there’s one person Oliver needs to listen to, it’s Felicity Smoak. Given everything that Oliver has been through in his life, it’s easy to see why someone like him would be hung up on the past. But given that this show is about Oliver’s journey to becoming the Green Arrow — and we’re just two episodes away from the conclusion of that chapter — it was about time that he finally start doing this for himself instead of his father. This crusade might’ve started with his father, but it’s going to live on through Oliver and his team.

Lizzie: Only like 5 years too late, Oliver. Honestly, you should just listen to Felicity all the time. I promise, if you’d actually opened up, she would have given you this advice a long, long time ago.

Kidding aside, I think this is an important and necessary step for Oliver. At some point, to become a fully realized hero, Oliver had to start doing this for him, for the city, for his team – not for his father. And he also, maybe, had to stop seeing his father through rose-colored glasses. Robert Queen was many things, a saint wasn’t one of them. But he was a man who loved his son, who sacrificed himself for his son and a man who wanted his son to be better. That’s what Oliver needs to carry forward, not his father, but his legacy. And his legacy is – well, Oliver. And Thea.

Nora: My same thought was that it’s about time this happened! If Oliver has learned anything over these last five years, it should be that you ALWAYS listen to Felicity Smoak. If we didn’t spend an entire season avoiding each other, this conversation could’ve happened a long time ago. This is a necessary step for Oliver, especially as Arrow gets ready to close a chapter in the shows history. In order to fully accept his Green Arrow alter ego he needed to realize he needs to do this for himself. He can’t go out night after night to protect Star City for his father or anyone else, he needs to do it for himself. I’m very happy Oliver finally realized this. Robert Queen may have been the reason Oliver put the hood on, but after five years on this crusade, Oliver’s doing this because he wants to be a better person and protect his city. It’s time Oliver suits up every night for his own legacy, not his father’s. I think this was a great time to have this realization.

Sarah: I quite literally thought oh Thank God and Felicity for telling it to him straight. As deeply overdue as it was, I was glad to finally see it onscreen, not only acknowledged but openly talk about. Not just because Oliver should always listen to Felicity, because come on that woman knows you. Oliver’s been letting what happened on the island and especially with his father haunt him even as it drove him into starting this crusade. As much as it might have helped him in the beginning he isn’t bound to his father’s memory with chains to keep doing what he’s doing. He just has to remember why he started in the first place and I think is a good positive first step toward letting go of all the pain of the past.

Charles: My first thought is that it’s about time! But seriously Felicity is completely right as is usually the case. Oliver can honor his father but at some point, you need to live for yourself. Eventually you have to get out of the shadow of your father or you will be engulfed by it. This doesn’t mean Oliver should stop being the Green Arrow or anything like that but he needs to start focusing on his life and the people that are still in it.

  1. What was your reaction when you saw Thea had returned (using a gif)?






This storyline with Robert Queen’s morality was as big for Thea as it was for Oliver. Thea sees herself as someone who’s destined to be messed up because she was raised by Moira, Robert and Malcolm, who have all done unspeakable things. Do you agree with her?

Alyssa: Absolutely not. Thea Queen, if anything, has been made even stronger by all of the hardships she has faced in her life. But given all of those things that she’s gone through — and continues to go through — it’s really easy to fall into that mindset. Sure, she’s the daughter of Moira and Malcolm and raised by Robert. Sure, those people have done unspeakable things. But if there’s one thing we all learn in our lives is that we’re not our parents. We forge our own path. Thea isn’t destined to follow in the footsteps of her parents. Unless she chooses to. Thea is in control of her own destiny. Yes, Thea has made some questionable decisions, but not nearly to the degree of Moira, Robert, and Malcolm. But consequently, Thea has done what they never have: She’s become a hero. She’s used her power to help people. That’s her doing. She’s in control of her destiny.

Lizzie: No. Like, not even a little bit. I think Thea’s going through so much that in a way, it’s understandable that she’d see it this way, as just another thing that’s been thrown on her, another reason for her to just be …evil. But we’re not our parents, we’re not their decisions, and we’re not anything but our choices, and Thea’s got to understand that destiny is in her own hands, and sometimes, we can make things worse by being so afraid of living that we just shut off from the world.

Nora: I don’t agree with her. Everything Thea has gone through has made her one of the strongest female characters on any of the DCTV shows. She’s had to overcome some impossible obstacles and watching her come out the other side is what truly makes her a hero. Thea doesn’t have to be Robert or Moira or Malcolm, she needs to be Thea Queen. While these three had a profound impact on her life, Thea is Thea because of everything she’s faced and overcome. While it may not seem like it in the moment, Thea shapes her own destiny. This season she’s been so afraid of becoming a killer again that she’s retreated and turned away from some tough tasks. It even led to her just leaving Star City. Thea needs to understand that she can’t be afraid to live her life. While Robert, Moira and Malcolm’s words may be in her head, ultimately it’s what Thea decides to do that’s most important.

Sarah: No not in the slightest. Thea’s been through literally one crazy experience after another in the last few years (and that still feels like an understatement.) When you get to that point it can be hard to climb out of the rabbit hole of bringing it all back to yourself. She’s grown so much since we met her in the pilot and overcome some astronomically difficult challenges, situations and just hell dangerous times and faced it all. What I want Thea to realize is the people we love, including the ones who raised us may shape us, but at the end of the day they don’t define us. Thea has the power all on her own to make the choice as to the kind of person she wants to be and what life she truly desires to live. It’s a terrifying concept when you’ve been through what she’s dealt with but one I very much think she’s going to figure out. She deserves the life she’s fought for and not one that’s shrouded in fear as it has been.

Charles: Nope. Thea has gone through a lot of crap over these 5 seasons and that she is still strong as anybody. Thea is her own woman and she has the chance to make her future into whatever it is she wants it to be. She doesn’t have to be Moira Queen or Malcolm Merlyn or Robert Queen, She is Thea Queen and she needs to know that and let herself find her place in the world.

Rene has been afraid to get custody of Zoe because he feels like she deserves so much better than him. Quentin told him that it’s not about focusing on the past but the present and future — the one thing he can control. To control the way his daughter views him moving forward. What were your thoughts on that?

Alyssa: There was so much potential with this storyline until Arrow chose to make Rene look selfish as hell — and just when I was starting to like him. I understand that Rene is scared. But I don’t understand why for the love of God Rene would choose to further hurt his daughter. He tells himself he’s pushing Zoe away so he won’t hurt her. But by pushing her away, he’s doing exactly that. It makes no sense. It’s time for Rene to step the hell up — to become a decent character that this audience has a chance of liking or continue to be the annoying newbie we despised in season 5A.

But something occurred to me after the episode. I started to wonder, What if Rene actually intended to show up but Prometheus got to him first and prevented him from getting to the hearing? Because there’s no way that a father would turn his back on his daughter like that — after seeing how much he loves her. Or maybe it’s just me grasping for straws again.

Lizzie: My thoughts are YES QUENTIN and RENE YOU SELFISH BASTARD, basically. I know they’re trying to parallel the two and now they’re gonna throw Laurel-look-alike Black Siren into the mix, but honestly? This just makes Rene look like an ass because even HE knows the reasoning the show is giving him is flimsy. I don’t like it, not one bit.

Nora: I appreciate where the story is coming from and I’m glad Quentin has an actual storyline, but Rene is just coming off as extremely selfish. I thought this storyline would possibly allow me to like Rene a little more, but nope. The storyline took a turn that’s making me dislike Rene even more. The reasoning for Rene skipping his hearing and avoiding seeing his daughter isn’t concrete enough for me to stand behind it. Yes, he hurt his daughter, but you’ve seen that she’s fine and just wants to be with you. But somehow, he still believes staying with a stranger away from her father is the best choice for her. Can Rene either gain custody of his child or let her disappear because these are the two options Arrow has given us right now. I don’t need this storyline to drag into season six. Let’s resolve it here and now. Rene has the potential to be a good character, especially if he’s given potential to be a reflection of Quentin, but right now this storyline feels very thrown together and just set up for Black Siren’s return.

Sarah: It would have been a nice story, Rene had you know SHOWN UP. *sighs* This is where Arrow wears on me for falling back on the typical I can see it coming storyline. Rene has the chance to do what he truly desire only to walk away from it out of whatever messed up logic he has in his head. I’ve never hated Rene, but now any chance to at least connect with his character just went out the window for me. Quentin getting a front and center part in this was the only good thing about it, but at the end of the day this can only end in two ways. Rene either gains custody of his daughter, or he doesn’t, but by the time we get there I’m not sure I’ll care which way it goes and that’s the truly sad part of it all.

Charles: I’m not a fan of this story arc and it just makes dislike Rene even more. I mean, there is a chance that Chase has somehow kidnapped Rene but who knows yet? Really even if this is the case, will he try again to get custody back or will the show forget about it? Right now it’s 50/50. I think Rene can be a good character someday but right now he just doesn’t work for me.

  1. What was your reaction to watching Team Arrow celebrate Chase’s capture and not being in the least bit suspicious?






That final shot of Chase being locked up in ARGUS watching Oliver on TV with that evil grin — what are you thinking here?

Alyssa: There is no way in hell that it was that easy. Usually when something’s too good to be true, it is. When you lock up your Big Bad — who goes down without a fight — and tie it with a bow, there’s no way that this is the end of the story. Adrian Chase has been manipulating Oliver all season long. And this is another mind game. Just another part of his grand plan. Lure Oliver and his team into a false sense of security and then strike when they least expect it. Also, I know Chase is the villain, but my God he’s sensational. Josh Segarra truly has added depth to a villain that, on the surface, could’ve been quite bland. He’s easily my favorite Big Bad ever on Arrow, and while I’m terrified to see what he’s got up his sleeve, I also can’t wait to see this go down.

Lizzie: That it can’t be this easy, that he’s got William and that shit’s gonna hit the fan, obviously, because we still have two episodes to go and there’s no way this is how they wrap up the storyline with Chase. I know how TV works, Arrow. You ain’t fooling me.

Nora: There’s no way it’s this easy. He’s got William somewhere and this is clearly part of his plan. There’s absolutely no way we’ve come this far for Chase to simply be locked up that easily. I’m not buying it and honestly, I’m surprised Team Arrow bought it. Chase is getting ready to cripple Team Arrow and the fact that he will most likely do some of it from an ARGUS supermax facility is terrifying. His master plan won’t fall that easily and I’m ready to see the final pieces be set in motion. Can you tell Chase is my favorite Arrow villain ever?

Sarah: I knew the second Chase surrounded and allowed himself to be arrested it was just another part of his plan. After all the effort he’s gone through and plans he’s made he would never allowed Oliver to just defeat him that easily. Oliver still doesn’t realize he’s got William somewhere, and Chase is just sitting there grinning likely thinking he’s about to pull the biggest rug out from Team Arrow & Oliver’s feet. However this goes I know one thing about tv, the villain is never taken that easily and not without some massive fight to the death knowing this show. Bring it on Arrow, I’m ready to see how this ends.

Charles: As Chase has said countless times, he is always 10 steps ahead of Oliver so I feel this is just another part of his masterplan. Remember as LIzzie mentioned, he already has William. Next , I think Chase will strike Team Arrow just as they feel relaxed about things now. Because to perfect time to strike is when your opponent lets their guard down. Team Arrow has their guard down and Adrian is ready for his next move.

What are your thoughts on “Honor Thy Fathers?”

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Stay tuned for another Arrow roundtable next Wednesday!

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor, TV Editor and Sports Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.