That ladies and gentleman is how you introduce a villain. No punches pulled, no little details side stepped, just a man on a mission to destroy the person who betrayed him the most. That is Slade Wilson in a nut shell and he is on a warpath unlike any other villain we have seen. A lot of the talk going into “The Promise” was about how this would be a huge game changing episode for everyone involved, and I would say it delivered on the large majority of that promise. Up until this point Ollie has been insulated from his villains, to the point where they never went after the ones he loved. Slade however is driven with the sole purpose of tearing down everything Oliver loves and making him truly feel the same pain he felt when Shado was killed. Even the bits in the present managed to play up the tension so well and moving forward this is definitely an episode to beat. So let’s dive in.
So lets start on this weeks big character, Slade. This was the first real length of time we were allowed to spend with present day Slade and for all intents and purposes he lived up to his hype. This Slade has learned to control his rage not through letting go, but rather focusing it all on one goal and that is not ideal for everyone involved not named Slade. Since this was a flashback heavy episode we were given the unique opportunity of witnessing the moment Slade decided to kill Oliver and that transformation was suitably scary. Up to know we have always known Slade to be a powerful killer, but it was in the aid of helping Ollie. Now though, he has put all of that rage and pain into making Oliver feel just as much sorrow and heartbreak as he has. It was interesting to see that he was not surprised to see Roy show up or know that Diggle was on post to take a head shot. That is some serious foresight but it does raise the question of how he seemingly did not expect Sara to show up. That smile when he saw her was suitably creepy, like Slade finally figured out how he was going to make Ollie suffer the most. Suffice to say Manu Bennett brought his A game once again as he managed to be super charming in the present and absolutely terrifying in the past.
Meanwhile I can’t tell if Stephen Amell played Ollie right tonight, as he just breathed so much hate and fear into the character. We have seen Ollie on edge before but never quite to the extent he was with Slade. Yes, we don’t know just how bad things got between them, but when it gets to the point where Ollie is verbally berating before attempting to stab him with an ice pick I am pretty sure your should be picking up on the verbal ques Moria. By comparison island Ollie was more like present day Ollie than we have ever seen. I mean everything from the opening training montage to the raid on the Amazo was top notch and Ollie proved he could be just as badass as Slade if he wanted to be. Unfortunately, Ollie is now Slade’s prison bitch and if what Slade did to Ivo is any indication of what is going to happen to Ollie, this is not going to be bueno for our hero. Ollie unlike Slade though has a team he can trust and right now we don’t know who Slade’s allies are outside of Blood, but I am sure that he has some real backup muscle just in case.
Speaking of top notch action, this definitely was an ambitious episode in terms of body count and staging alone. I mean seriously this story rivaled Ollie’s raid on Bludhaven in “The Undertaking” in terms of sheer scope and balls to the wall fun. I did like that Ollie really did not stand a chance of escaping from Slade and that each charter got their body count moment during the episode. I mean how cool was it to see Ollie take out a few guys and then see Slade wreck the entire crew of the Amazo. Props to the stunt and action departments for staging that entire thing as it was epic to watch over and over again. I would have to say my only qualm with this episode was that Team Arrow really did not get that much action this week. I mean Roy finally got to do something as a member of the team but beyond that it was all about the simmering tension which slightly felt like a missed opportunity.
Overall a fantastic episode.
Final Grade A-
+Manu Bennett’s Slade being terrifying no matter what time period
+Stephen Amell’s Ollie being a badass on the island
+Action from beginning to end
+Strong flashback material
-Team Arrow did not have much to do
-Moria not picking up on Ollie’s warnings
-Did Slade really have to watch the camera’s he just installed without the eyepatch. I mean that was a bit excessive even for me.
-The moment where Roy and Slade were sizing each other up may have been one of my favorite moments of the season. Barry becoming The Flash is still the best.
-So Sara is left alone on the island with a bunch of scrubs including Anatoli and what I will assume was The Ratcatcher. She will be motivated to get Ollie back for sure.
-Slade is the captain of a pirate ship. Please let this be a lead in to the Ravengers storyline.
-So creepy blond chick with pigtails hanging out with the Suicide Squad. Please be Harley, please be Harley, please be Harley.