Despite a big format change for the series, ditching the style of flashbacks every single episode, one thing that has not changed about Arrow is that the past is always having an effect on the present of the team. While that is common to reality, it’s sometimes a little overdone just how much of the past of every member of the team comes back to haunt them in the present. As the title of the episode points out the big part of the past that is the main plot of this episode is the return of sometime enemy and sometime ally Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke.
Since turning over the mantle of Green Arrow in episode two, Oliver has been seemingly stuck as he’s trying to just stay in the world of being a father and mayor but keeps getting drawn back into things from his other world. Having Slade want to use him as just Oliver, an American mayor for diplomacy, as a way to help find and free Slade’s son was a nice choice for the show. It for once kept Oliver away from the rest of the team where he has kept trying to get in the middle of things. Granted keeping him out of the line of fire isn’t something that is going to last long based upon the way the episode ended, but it was a nice change of pace from the last few episodes. How long Oliver is stuck between the worlds he wants to be in is really beginning to be a question that needs an answer.
While it was nice for the flashbacks to vanish from most of the episodes, allowing for actual story building in present day through the entire episode, their return worked well in this episode. Having the flashbacks be something focusing on Slade and his past with his son, the trip where seemingly it all went wrong, was a good way to build up that Slade was not always the man that plagued team Arrow previously. There was a time that he too was trying to straddle two words between being a father and doing a job. Ultimately as we know Slade failed at this attempt and ended up on the island and then on the drugs that led to his attacks against Oliver and his family. His failure stands to show that in the end trying to bridge such opposing worlds might be a futile quest. There is no way that Oliver will succeed and stay away from being Green Arrow for much longer, but where he might succeed is being able to find a way to be the hero & father he wants to be.
After making his debut last season, the mysterious visor wearing gun-toting Vigilante returned as well this week to try and take down the council member behind the vigilante bill that will be going before Star City voters soon enough. Who the character was brought a lot of questions last season because Adrian Chase is one of the men that takes on the Vigilante persona in the comics, but the producers & writers threw us a huge curve when it was revealed that Chase was actually last season’s big bad/mastermind Prometheus instead. Vigilante finally was revealed this week, after being shot with Black Canary’s canary cry, and of course to go with the theme of the past coming back to bite the team it turns out he was Dinah’s shot in the head former partner. Shot in the head when the two were in Central City at the same time of the particle accelerator explosion. Her letting him go is something that of course will come back to hurt the team later, which is par for the course at this point. They all have their painful secrets that are going to blow up in the team’s face soon.
Speaking of things that will blow up in their face, the quest of Agent Watson is starting to get a bit ridiculous. She’s been investigating Oliver since episode two and yet seemingly has made no headway on the case even though honestly the members of team Arrow really suck at keeping things low key. By now she should have easily been able to figure out that it’s Diggle that is Green Arrow and that all these people are part of the team. Maybe she has and is playing with them, I don’t know. When the photo of Oliver was used as a cliffhanger to once again make people question if he is the hooded hero, I was all for it because it felt like they might do more with it this time compared to previous times. Yet, now I’m beginning to tire of it. It’s dragging out at a ridiculous level that seems to likely take us through most of the season. It’s also beginning to be a bit silly that others can’t just tell that most of these vigilantes are people they know wearing masks, like that police officer that was talking with Dinah and then was talking to Black Canary moments later when Vigilante struck. Clearly all are versed in the Clark Kent method.
Deathstroke and his mission saved this otherwise kind of bland episode of the team once more having more grief put upon them by one of their members. Secrets of Diggle, Dinah and more are likely to sink this team pretty soon and it’s an issue that has plagued the team over and over again. Last week it was Felicity’s choices and secrets that struck back at the the team. Perhaps one day they will all learn. Once again, as with the previous few episodes, the fight choreography this episode was great. That scene with Slade just plowing through the base of the Jackel’s was fantastic. Shooting and stabbing and just one-man armying it through the whole thing. While I’m a fan of serialized story telling, I have a feeling that this series needs to do some more villain of the week less dragged out storylines, and soon. Last season they did the whole serialized villain and storyline thing perfectly, and they are not going to recapture it this time and previously they messed up this sort of thing when they did it in past seasons. Time for something new.
Score: 8 out of 10