For a pair of episodes dubbed the “Deathstroke Arc” I have to be honest, this week’s outing and last week’s were not at all what I was expecting. They weren’t bad, they were just a lot quieter than I had anticipated. It is weird that Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, the ultimate villain from Season 2 of ‘Arrow,’ is now an ally of Oliver and company, and weirder still to see these stories of his redemption and attempts to save his sons, and blame all of his misdeeds on the Mirakuru. For me, the only moments that actually felt truly exciting, and like the Deathstroke of old, were when you thought he might turn on Oliver, but even that just turned out to be a ruse. Oh well.
Jumping in, the main story tonight clearly picks up where we left off last week and is all about Oliver and Slade trying to save Joe/Kane from the Jackals. In order to do so, Slade joins his son while Oliver watches from the shadows, warning Slade that this is not his son Joe, but rather Kane, and might not be able to be saved.
Oliver learns that the Jackals are stealing Sentex gas and may plan to release it into the water system. Slade leaves with the Jackals to steal the gas, and Kane notices that his father is not taking kill shots on any of their targets, which is disheartening to him after he welcomed his dad into the fold (even having a drink with the old man). While snooping around Oliver is captured, and when Slade gets back, Kane presents Oliver to him as a reward, saying Slade can finally get his revenge, and giving his father a sword. Slade briefly toys with the idea of killing Oliver, by driving the sword through his eye the same way Oliver drove an arrow through his, but after Oliver mentions William and their promises to their sons, Slade pulls himself back from the brink and frees Oliver, and they flee the Jackals.
Throughout this all, we get flashbacks to Slade and Joe’s first reunion, post Lian Yu, where Slade is fighting with the effects of Mirakuru while training with his son in ASIS, flashing back constantly to his time with Oliver who he swore revenge on, sometimes losing control and hurting Joe while they are sparring. Eventually, he even starts hallucinating about Shado, who tells him to keep his promise and go after Oliver, who Slade learns is still alive thanks to a report from the TV. Slade finally loses it, steals the prototype suit from the training room (conveniently enough, this is the Deathstroke suit), and fights his way out of ASIS, his final opponent being Joe, who does not understand what his father is doing.
Back in the present, Slade thinks Joe has modeled himself after Slade under Mirakuru influence and wants to set his son straight. So he and Oliver head off to stop the Jackal’s plan with the poison gas, and while Oliver holds off what feels like ALL of the Jackals single-handedly outside, Slade confronts Kane within. He tells Kane that the Mirakuru had made him crazy in the past, but Kane tells him that he saw his father kill long before the Mirakuru, back during the camping trip (which we all suspected, hence the overly long flashbacks from last episode), and Kane always wanted to be just like his dad. He also mentions that Slade has another son named Grant that their mom kept hidden from Slade as she did not want Grant to end up in Slade’s world of spies and killing. They fight, and eventually, Slade relinquishes, almost allowing Kane to kill him, but Oliver intervenes and Kane gets away, but not before wishing that Slade had stayed dead. As Oliver heads home, Slade says he will continue looking for his sons. While Oliver offers his help, Slade turns him down saying it is too dangerous for Oliver, especially since he has William at home.
In the B-story, Diggle is out of drugs (the steroid that stops his shakes), and his dealer cannot get any more for the week, so John goes to the source, played by ‘Fringe’ alum Kirk Acevedo, who “kindly” gives John a supply, claiming he cannot do his business legally because they do not have FDA approval yet. Riiiight. Meanwhile, Team Arrow is after a new bad guy in town named Dragon, who is an especially tough gangster who knows what he is doing. Eventually, they have his crew cornered in a parking garage, and as Team Arrow moves in to take them down, Diggle spots the Dragon and realizes it is the same guy who gave him his steroid drug from before. The Dragon escapes, and Diggle goes home and confesses everything to Lyla, who is hurt that John did not tell her what was going on but happy to be in the know now. She doesn’t understand how John could even consider letting the Dragon continue to work just because John needs more of the drug and reminds John that he taught her how to be more moral and ignore grey areas like this, and that the good he does as the Green Arrow while using the drug/steroid does not outweigh the lives that could be lost if he allows the Dragon to continue operating.
So John gives the address of the Dragon to the Quiver Crew and they move in to take him down, claiming he got it from a “contact.” The team moves in and the Dragon burns down the lab to make sure nothing is taken as evidence, escaping himself in the process. Diggle has a moment of weakness where he considers running into the flames to save as much of the drug as he can for himself and realizes how low he has sunk, which he confesses to Lyla afterward.
Next, he tells the rest of the team, minus Felicity who is with Oliver and William, what has been going on, asking for their forgiveness, especially to Rene who Dig put in danger in the premiere by going out while compromised. Rene understands and says Diggle saved his life more times than he risked it, so he forgives him, and Curtis is just annoyed he was not asked for help in curing the shakes, as he was the one who found a way to help Felicity walk again a few season ago. And for Dinah, Diggle has a special apology once they are alone, saying he will not have any more secrets between them, which is a shame because as he walks away she pulls out the gift from Vigilante she got last week, and it is clear she is still keeping the secret from last episode to herself.
As for Oliver, he returns home to find William and Felicity playing video games, Felicity having dismissed the nanny because William was getting sick of her. They all embrace. William tells Oliver they had ice-cream for dinner and got an A on his science project. They then all head to the roof to check out William’s bottle rocket that won him that grade. As they go, Oliver realizes that he did indeed make the right choice in giving up being the Green Arrow, which is a shame because I am pretty sure that by the time the cross-over happens on November 27th, Oliver will be the Green Arrow again, so this familial happiness will be short lived. A point that seems confirmed by the last shot of the episode, which has Diggle staring at the Green Arrow suit sullenly, holding his arm which is shaking once again.
- Thea Counter – this will be 5th episode in row without Willa Holland, only 4 more for them to truly make it so she does all 9 of her missing episodes without her present consecutively, which is what I’m hoping for, so when she comes back she will have a real presence on the series
- No sign of Black Siren or Cayden James again this week, they must be cooking up something really good for their next appearance.
- As many others are saying, it was a little foolish of Oliver to mention William in front of Kane. Did he learn nothing from dealing with Prometheus? I guess now Kane will come to Star City seeking revenge on Oliver through William, and we’ll get to see more of Slade Wilson as he follows his son and helps Oliver save his own child.
- Could the solution for Diggle’s shakes be as easy as some tech created by Curtis and Felicity?
- On that subject, how mad are Felicity and Oliver going to be about Diggle keeping this secret? I think it was pretty telling that the show chose to hold onto their reactions for next week’s episode.
Not a bad episode, and definitely one in the win category for ‘Arrow,’ but just a little disappointing considering it had Deathstroke, and the potential with that character is always so great. I am very happy that the Diggle/shakes/drugs secret is out so the team can deal with it though I think Rene, especially, was a bit too easy on Diggle about the whole thing. And I am curious to see where they are going with the Kane storyline, and how much they really plan on using Deathstroke this season after this arc because I would really like to see more of Manu Bennet. Ah well, see you back here next week!