With an episode titled ‘Deathstroke Returns,’ ‘Arrow’ really set the bar high for this week, and for the most part, they did a pretty good job delivering. I would say the only disappointing parts of the episode would be the old achilles heel of the series, the use of flashbacks (which felt unnecessary and drawn out) and the fact that the big reveal of Vigilante’s identity did not mean all that much because it had been a very long time since we had seen the anti-hero, and the man he turned out to be was a character that it had also been a very long time since we had seen, or even heard his name mentioned (not that we ever knew him that well in the first place).
Jumping in, let’s start with events in Star City. FBI Agent Watson continued her investigation into Oliver Queen, now going after suspected members of Team Arrow, starting with Diggle who happened to be at a crime scene with Dinah investigating a sniper who attacked the Councilwoman who was pushing the anti-vigilante bill. After Diggle came out assured that he put the matter to bed, Felicity is called in, proving Dig was wrong. Felicity and Watson do not get along, as Watson is not amused by her comic attitude, nor Felicity leaving when she gets a text from Curtis on Quiver Crew business. Rene is the next team member to be interviewed, the results of which we do not find out this episode. Meanwhile, Dinah sets out to protect the Councilwoman as the team learns the assailant is none other than their old foe Vigilante, and after thwarting another attack, Dinah chases Vigilante down, cracks his visor, which he removes, revealing he is actually her old partner Vincent Sobel, who she had thought was shot and killed the night of the particle accelerator explosion that gave her the siren cry. He escapes, and Dinah is torn, though she swears she will help take him down, but Dig knows better. He takes her aside and reminds her that somewhere inside might be the man who she used to love. The team prepares to protect the Councilwoman yet again when she goes to a news studio for an interview on her bill. They soon learn that Agent Watson is there with a full FBI detail, ostensibly to protect the Councilwoman, but really there to catch Team Arrow if they show up to help. Dinah warns off everyone else as she is there in her capacity as a cop, and she manages to thwart Vigilante on her own, learning that while she received the sonic cry from the dark matter of the particle accelerator explosion, Vincent got a healing factor, hence how he survived being shot in the face.
Dinah talks him out of killing the Councilwoman and lets him escape, showing him mercy, and is later rewarded by receiving a homemade matchbox in her car from Vincent, much like he used to give her when they were partners. Unfortunately, she was in full Black Canary costume when she stopped Vincent, and Agent Watson is suspicious about the fact that Dinah disappeared in the crisis and the Black Canary suddenly appeared, meaning one more member of Team Arrow is most likely now on her radar.
As for Oliver and Slade, Slade is on the hunt for his son, who we learn is a spy and is being held in a prison in Kasnia (anyone else notice every other time they go abroad in this show it is to the fictional nation of Kasnia), and Slade wants Oliver’s help to free him. But not as the Green Arrow, but rather as Oliver Queen, going as a Mayor on a diplomatic mission to free a prisoner, with a suitcase of money to pay for Joe’s freedom. Oliver is reluctant to go because of his promise to William, but Felicity encourages him to explain what is going on to his son, telling William that he is leaving to help a friend save his son. Oliver does so and joins Slade, though it is clear there is still a lot of trust issues between Slade and Oliver (understandably). Even Diggle and Felicity comment on the fact that they don’t like/trust Slade completely back in HQ, remembering all of his deeds in Season 2, and not quite blaming it all on the Mirakuru.
They arrive in Kasnia and meet with their contact, after which Oliver attempts to buy Joe’s freedom from the prison Warden but they learn that Joe died in prison. When he and Slade return to see the body, they learn that Joe is gone and after interrogating the Warden, learn that Joe is alive and was actually taken by a group known as the Jackals who wanted him for information he had, and the Warden was forced to cooperate. Slade tells Oliver to go home because he does not want to force his old friend to break his promise to William and put himself in danger, and then suits up as Deathstroke, ready to storm the Jackal HQ and save his son. While all this is going on we keep getting flashbacks to a camping trip Slade took Joe on 13 years prior, which was actually cover for a mission Slade was on to get intel on Yao Fe prior to Lian Yu, though his son did not know that. In fact, Joe though his dad was an airline pilot, though the kid was suspicious since they never got free flights. After getting the information he needs while dressed as Deathstroke, Slade kills his target and returns to camp. He and Joe clean up, but one does get the sense that Joe might have seen his father in action, especially after what happens at the end of the episode…
Back in the present, Oliver won’t let Slade go alone, but he is drugged by Slade and left behind. Slade barrels through the Jackal defenses, showing us once again why Deathstroke is one of (if not the BEST) of the ‘Arrow’ villains, in a massive, well-choreographed and bloody battle that only ends when Deathstroke is eventually surrounded by dozens of Jackals with guns. Meanwhile, Oliver wakes up and goes after Slade, arriving just in time to see Deathstroke surrounded. As their Kasnian contact comes out and reveals he is actually a Jackal and guessed Slade would figure it out eventually, Slade offers a deal. He will become a Jackal and work for them if they set his son free. It is then that we learn that Joe (who has the alias of Kane now) is not actually a prisoner of the Jackals, but is actually their leader, which he reveals as he comes out and greets his father.
- Thea Counter – episode #4 – I’m wondering if they are really going to have her absent from all 9 of her episodes in a row, and then have her be a consistent presence for 14 episodes, as opposed to last season where she just randomly disappeared every now and then.
- No sign of Black Siren or Cayden James this episode, I suppose they need to take every other episode off to hatch their evil schemes.
- Also, no mention of Diggle’s drug problem again this episode, though I am assuming it will be something that will come up at the worst possible time, maybe a mid-season finale type of thing?
- Does it really make sense for Vigilante to be making a martyr of the woman trying to get the Anti-Vigilante bill passed? He’s not an idiot and as a former cop, it seems weird for him to be targeting a government official, even if he does claim she is corrupt.
I do like the symmetry of Slade and his son and Oliver and William, and I am wondering if Slade’s failed relationship will be the example that helps Oliver set things right with William and figure out how to be both the Green Arrow and a father, and find a way for William to be ok with that, as the message right now seems to be lying about it is doomed to fail. I do also like that Felicity is so good with Oliver and William. While I hope that she continues to be a bridge between them, I also that she doesn’t become a crutch, where Oliver cannot be a dad by himself without always having to ask for Felicity’s advice. And as always, it is awesome to have Deathstroke back, and I cannot wait to see more of him next week! See you back here then!