The treatment of father daughter relationships in Arrow

This post is inspired by this clip from Sins of the Father, Oliver intervenes in the duel between Nyssa and Malcolm, clip uploaded by NDT TvClips. The battle is something that I have been hoping that would happen since it was revealed that Malcolm was responsible for Sara’s death in the season three premiere, and then the writers let Oliver take over, because he is her ‘husband’ in another story choice that irritates and angers me. The writers have Oliver take away Nyssa’s opportunity to take revenge on the man who imprisoned her for months, had taken her birthright as leader of the League clip uploaded by Bastion Cortes and had been responsible for the death of the woman that she loved, clip uploaded by BestTvShowVideos.

I wanted to see Nyssa finally defeat Malcolm, something that I genuinely believe that she  would be capable of. I mean she is supposed to have been training under the guidance of her father for the majority of her life, it’s laughable almost that someone who like Malcolm had only a fraction of that level of training would be able to beat her. She was able to hold her own against both Oliver and Malcolm in episode 3.04, clip uploaded by Vincent Valentino.

I mean in the preceding episode the writers have her and one other woman take down several League members, clip uploaded by NDT TvClips, men that I assume are meant to have trained for longer than the two years it says on the Arrow specific wikipedia that Malcolm trained under Nyssa’s father. Not only that but in the third season finale the writers had Nyssa take down at least five League soldiers in the same amount of time as Oliver’s battle with Ra’s is going on.

Why give her the physical ability to beat multiple men on those occasions and then make her unable to beat Malcolm? I know some might say that she could be weakened from being imprisoned, but that doesn’t work as a reason, given the scene in 4.12 when she escapes.

They have consistently robbed her of her agency, some of the most significant choices in a woman’s life, who she marries, what she chooses to do for a living, and when she has a child, were all not her choice, but dictated to her by men. Was it so much to ask for that after all the things that had been taken from her by men, that the writers allowed her to take proper revenge on the one who had done the most to her?

Admittedly it was her father that took away two of those three choices when he forced her into the marriage with Oliver, clip uploaded by NDT TvClips, the treatment that she endured at her father’s hands was such that no daughter should really have to endure.

Although father daughter relationships are often very complicated on Arrow. I mean Malcolm drugs Thea and plants the suggestion that she kill Sara so that he can eventually become the head of the League. Well Malcolm’s parenting skills, along with everything else in his life is highly questionable, he abandoned his son for two years, when Tommy was still coming to terms with his mother’s death so that he could learn from the League. Everything that the character does is to benefit himself and his own agenda. I mean the last scene of Sins of the Father involve him putting Oliver’s son and Thea’s nephew in danger, to satisfy his own need for revenge, clip uploaded by NDT TvClips.

Detective Lance is so destroyed by Sara’s ‘death’ when the Gambit goes down that he disappears into a bottle, leaving Laurel to cope with it without his assistance. The depth of his paternal love for Sara is shown clearly in the scene when they are reunited in season two clip uploaded by J Myers. Even that relationship, however healthy and normal it might be for the most part, has it’s dark moments, especially during the arc when Sara is meant to be ‘soulless’. The scene when Lance holds a gun on a feral Sara, isn’t something I thought that I would see, clip uploaded by Show Time but within the context of the story line, and the fact that the Arrow writers often have unusual ideas for father daughter interactions it made sense. The struggle between his natural paternal love, and reconciling himself with the idea that the woman in front of him was still his daughter, despite the evident changes that the resurrection had wrought in her, was evident in Blackthorne’s emotive performance.  

However the basis of his relationship with both his girls is that he loves them unconditionally, he might have been angry enough with Laurel to cut off contact with her, clip uploaded by Katie Cassidy Daily, understandably in the wake of the revelation in the third season that she had known for months that Sara was dead,clip of the revelation uploaded by Trevor Heck but he still will risk a lot to protect her. The whole reason that he gets involved with Damien Darhk is because he threatens Laurel. 

Felicity’s dad abandons her when she’s small, and doesn’t reappear for eighteen years, because of his criminal activities. That is part of the reason why Felicity is so reluctant to say the words ‘I love you’, she responds with ‘Jello’ when Ray says it to her clip uploaded by KalElHDClips, and it takes the better part of twenty episodes before she is able to return Oliver’s ‘I love you’, which come multiple times during the third season, clip from 3×09 uploaded by BestTvShowVideos.  She admits her feelings when faced with the prospect of never seeing Oliver again, given that he is going to stay in Nanda Parbat, clip uploaded by chasing scenes.  It’s understandable that she would have tried to protect herself, after her father abandoned her, seeing as she could only be very small. I mean she’s early twenties now, so she must have been six or so when he left, judging by the discussion that they have over coffee, clip uploaded by Olicity Queen.

Shado’s father also leaves her and Mai, but it’s not his own choice. He was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit against the Chinese people, and made to do things that he would not ordinarily do, in the hopes of protecting both his daughters, clip uploaded by Oliver Queen. He was a good man, regardless of the events on the island. I didn’t like the fact that once again the writers have a woman be robbed of what she wants the most by a man, as Fyers shoots Yao Fei before Shado’s eyes, clip uploaded by Oliver Queen.

The idea of having the thing that a female character wants most, taken away from her is also a theme in Helena’s story lines. I mean her father has the man that she loves murdered because he believes that Michael is responsible for telling the FBI facts about his criminal activities. Then when she is very close to achieving her ultimate goal, however you might view the fact that she wants to kill her father, she is prevented from it by Detective Lance clip uploaded by Abdul Moid Khan.

Nyssa also is unable to take the ultimate revenge that she wants on her father, because it’s the series finale, and Oliver has to be the one from a story perspective that kills the season’s ultimate big bad. She is undoubtedly one of the worst treated daughters’ I’ve seen in American television, but I like the fact that at the end of Sins of the Father she has managed to emerge relatively unscathed from her past, and chosen her own path.

That is something that the writers give to both Thea and Felicity as well. The writers might create difficult and in some cases downright weird father daughter relationships, within the show, but the female characters that they create, are strong enough morally and emotionally to form their own judgments, and overcome whatever shortcomings their fathers’ possess. Felicity has her father arrested for his criminal activities clip uploaded by Olicity Queen, and Thea on numerous occasions has told Malcolm, that she is not his daughter, clip uploaded by NERD ParadoxHD.



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