Well, things end the only way they really could ever since this arc began on “Arrow.” In the Wednesday, Feb. 24 episode, 415, “Taken,” Oliver’s secret comes out under the worst circumstances, when Darhk delights in announcing that he has kidnapped William. With help from Vixen, the team prepares to not only save Oliver’s son, but to perhaps even find a way to weaken Damien Darhk. Plus, a moment that should be rejoiced is weighed down by heartbreak. Oh, and in the flashbacks, the tattoo from Constantine saves Oliver from a ghost(?) Conklin and grants them access to the hole in the wall.
This secret kid storyline has been, really, nothing but trouble since it began in this season’s crossover with “The Flash.” “Arrow” portrayed Samantha as a woman who remembered what Oliver used to be like, who knew his mother as someone who would pay someone to say they lost a baby, and so she set what turned out to be completely unfair conditions for him to see his son: No one can know, including Felicity and William himself. And so Oliver abided by her terms, making trips to Central City (thanks to one line in “Unchained”) and lying to Felicity, even as the list of people who know (Barry, Malcolm, Thea) grew. That could only end one way in order for Oliver to learn from this mistake and grow because him lying to everyone is getting a bit too repetitive. There’s been talk of “Oliver 2.0,” but he needed to face consequences for his decision here.
What could also only end one way was what would happen to Samantha and William at the end of this episode. It seemed pretty clear once they only had one scene of Oliver spending time with William, choosing to have everything else take place off-screen and addressed with only one line, that moving forward, there was no way that Oliver was suddenly going to have an active role in his life. And once Damien Darhk had William, the only thing that could happen next is what did. So in a way, it seems that they introduced William now to (hopefully) help Oliver learn that lying is not always the right way to do things, give Oliver and Felicity an obstacle they need to face before they get married and give closure to something that was introduced back in season 2.
Damien delights in surprising Oliver and Felicity in the parking garage following her physical therapy to drop the bombshell that he has William – and he expects Oliver to drop out of the mayoral race by 6 p.m. on Friday. How everyone, in particular Felicity and Laurel, react to this news, is shelved while they try to find William. Oliver lets Samantha in on his Green Arrow secret when she wonders what he can do that the police can’t and brings in Vixen in hopes that she can track him (using his Flash action figure). Unfortunately, by the time she does, Damien has already moved William. And while they may have hoped that Vixen’s magic may have been able to help in the fight against Darhk, he struggles a bit, but not enough that he doesn’t throw Oliver out the window and has vanished by the time Vixen pulls him inside.
And after that, Damien calls Oliver (how he still doesn’t know he’s the Green Arrow is a mystery since that list keeps growing as well) with a new time table: announce he’s resigning from the race now and throw in his support for Ruve. He does just that, and Damien eventually calls him with a meeting point. Instead, the team has a new plan. Thanks to Vixen thinking that he probably has a totem like she does that allows her to access her power, Lance remembering what he saw in Damien’s cabinet and Felicity then tracing ley lines (“Wi-Fi for magic”) he’d need for power, they have a good idea where he’s holed up with William. Vixen bursts into the house (through the roof) and manages to take his idol and escape, and while he’s distracted with Oliver, Thea and Laurel outside, she destroys it, taking his power, as William watches. And as the police arrive on scene, the masked heroes make their escape and William has a new hero, as he tells his mother once she has him back that he wants a Green Arrow action figure.
But Oliver has a decision to make when it comes to William, and that’s where Vixen offers some words of advice, based on her own experience. Maybe he should let him go, she suggests. She never knew her real parents, but the way she grew up allowed her to have a childhood. She wasn’t ready for the answers about who she was. The best gift he can give William just might be his childhood, to keep him as far from his world for as long as possible. Isn’t that what parenthood is, making sacrifices? Meanwhile, Diggle offers him some words of wisdom as a father as well. He understands why Oliver made the decisions he did, and as a father, he can tell him that the way to keep a child safe is to keep them close, be there for them.
Oliver heeds Vixen’s words, choosing instead to send Samantha and William far away and to record a message for him for after his 18th birthday, explaining that his life as the Green Arrow is dangerous: “I’m your father, biologically that is. As far as really being your father goes, I haven’t earned that yet. Fathers should be there for his child every day, no matter what. To make sure they feel loved, that they feel safe, and a child should be able to rely on their father and go to him for guidance and reassurance. I have failed to do that for you. …I wanted to give you a real childhood. I wanted to give you that gift. Goodbye, son. I sure hope it’s not forever.” (Stephen Amell absolutely slays this scene.)
“Arrow” does a pretty good job of taking moments to address how the others feel about the revelation of Oliver’s son in the midst of getting him back. There’s Oliver’s conversation with Diggle. There’s Samantha taking a moment to apologize to Laurel because he was with her back then. Oliver should’ve been honest with her, Laurel argues, only letting how she feels come out when she’s with her father and they’re waiting on news. She admits that it still stings, even though she knew he cheated on her, and this allows for another nice father/daughter moment for the Lances. There have been quite a few of those lately, which has been nice to see after their strained relationship last year. (But with the death looming in the distance, does anyone else think that these are also a reason to be concerned one of them could be in the grave?)
Upon finding out that her father knew about William, Thea confronts him, but he denies being the one to tell Darhk about him, seeming offended that she would think him capable of that. (News flash, Malcolm. You’re not fooling anyone.) No matter what happens, he’ll always love her, he insists, even after she calls him out on not wanting to give up the League to save her life. But once they learn that a man with a missing hand (quite the distinguishing feature) was the one who took William, all bets are off.
He did it for them, to protect them, Malcolm tries to offer as an explanation, but Thea has had enough. She sometimes wonders what Robert, the man who raised her and loved her, would think of their relationship and wishes that she had never become his daughter. Malcolm then turns on her, arguing that he turned her from a “delicate, spoiled brat” into a warrior and all he’s gotten is her “venomous spite.” She has no idea what she’s up against and incapable of seeing the bigger picture, he argues. He’d rather have her hate him and be alive than love him and be dead. At this point, is there any question left that a) Malcolm is the “him” that Oliver has to kill in the future, and b) that he should be the one Oliver has to kill? Enough is enough with Malcolm already. At least now that Oliver knows he took his son, that eliminates any possibility of any sort of alliance in the future. Like his lying, any teamwork with Malcolm of any kind needs to come to an end.
“Taken” begins with Felicity in physical therapy, hopeful that Curtis’ implant means she’ll be able to walk sooner rather than later. “My man works miracles with technology, but the human body doesn’t play by the same rules,” Paul says of the implant, but advises that “healing” is what’s important: “Gotta be patient with yourself. These things take time.” (As do other things in life.) Still, Felicity is disappointed, admitting to Oliver, “I wanted to be able to walk down the aisle on our wedding day,” and the look of love he gives her at that is interrupted by Damien’s declaration that he took William and Oliver having to tell her who he is.
And with the truth out in the way it is, Oliver and Felicity only have a few minutes to talk about it. She doesn’t care that he has a child, she tells him. She can’t believe that he has a child and didn’t tell her because, “What does it say about our relationship if your first instinct is to always hide the truth?” He then tells her about Samantha’s conditions, but moments later, she learns that Thea, Barry and Malcolm know, something she can’t even really react to because they have to find William. Instead, she has to compartmentalize her feelings, but it’s still hanging over them. Oliver stops himself when he’s telling her he needs her to sit with Samantha and work up a search profile and changes it to him asking if she would. With Felicity playing with her ring during the episode and even with Samantha confirming that she didn’t let Oliver tell her and he told her about “someone special” in his life named Felicity, the cracks in their relationship show throughout the episode. “It’s going around,” Felicity remarks when Samantha says she didn’t know what kind of person Oliver was now.
But once William is safe and once Oliver has recorded the video for him, Felicity takes off her ring. “When your son was in danger, I had to table what I was feeling about everything, but now that I’ve had some space, I realized I need space,” she tells him. “I know the position Samantha put you in. I know it was an impossible decision, but you were right, you should’ve told me. Marriage is about inclusion. It’s about leaning on your partner when things get complicated. I don’t think that you know how to do that.” And again, he’s made the decision to send William away, which she gets, without her. He’s trying, he admits, but it’s not enough. And when her foot moves and she stands up, the first thing she does is walk out on him. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
As stated above, Oliver needed to face consequences the moment he made the decision to lie to Felicity about William. Every time he went to Central City, it was another lie, and it’s even worse that he lets her think that no one knows until it comes out who does one by one. (Is this why Felicity’s not returning Barry’s calls as he mentioned on this week’s episode of “The Flash”?) Hopefully this will also allow them to spend some more time on storylines that were rushed. Yes, Felicity’s walking again, only a handful of episodes after being told she wouldn’t, but her feelings about her paralysis were barely addressed, other than when it came to how she felt about her place on the team. Her father came back into her life after 18 years, and the conversation after she gave him over to the police quickly turned to one about Malcolm and another proposal from Oliver. And as already mentioned, Oliver has to learn what it means to be in a relationship before he and Felicity can get married. They both admitted in “Lost Souls” that it’s new to them, and hopefully this makes them stronger together in the end.
“Arrow” season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 15 “Taken”? What did you think of Felicity’s reaction? What did you think of Vixen?