There, that’s better. After the previous week’s unbearable soapy drama, “The Promise” delivers what Arrow truly does best, amped up action and tension! It all centers around Slade Wilson, resident smooth talker and total psycho. He’s at the Queen mansion supposedly to woo Moira and support her campaign, but Ollie knows better. There’s nothing stopping this Mirakuru infused super soldier from whipping out his machete and butchering them all. Tread lightly is an understatement!
But hey, that’s all semantics. It doesn’t take away from the fact that this was an exciting, well paced nail biter from the word go. The flashback takes center stage, finally unfolding the story of Slade, Oliver, and Sara storming the freighter. Before all that happens though we get a really sweet training scene of Oliver training for said battle. His trademark rigorous shirtless workout now comes in a forest with the beautiful bay in the background! I must say, that’s a lot more pretty on the eyes than the workouts in the dank warehouse. But I digress, because that’s not why this episode is important (but it really helps). He’s not the pansy he was when he arrived on the island, that’s sure. His marksmanship is much improved, but he’s still not in the 100% accuracy category. That’s okay, he makes up for that deficiency with moxie and heart!
The much anticipated backstory is interwoven with Oliver and Slade’s very tense present day meeting. It’s Moira’s presence that keeps these two from ripping each other apart, but the body language and cold stares were enough to keep the mansion frostier than the North Pole. But the good part is we finally get to see why these two are at such odds with each other. No, we didn’t get the whole story, but it was enough to get started and keep that interest going for a bit.
Just so we can see how quickly something unravels, the flashback shows the team having a moment of bonding before embarking on their dangerous mission. Oliver dons Yao Fei’s green hood for the first time, and Slade picks up his two sided mask from whatever Australian force he was supposed to be with (the one Billy Wintergreen wore too). Yay it’s Team…Not!Arrow. Oliver allows himself to be captured to create a diversion. He takes some of his magic herbal stuff to avoid the affects of sodium pentothal and leads the bad guys right into the trap. It all goes well until Oliver captures and confronts Ivo. That’s when the wheels fall off the wagon.
Yes, most logic dictates, he who pulls the trigger is the murderer. But in Arrow logic, he who is put into the unwinnable situation and someone dies as a result is the bastard to blame. It’s contrived, but hey, wars have been started for less. Plus Oliver did keep the truth from Slade, which never goes over well in comic book land. So Slade Wilson, in his amped up mega steroid fueled mentality, hears that Oliver stepped in to save Sara so that resulted in Ivo killing Shado, and takes that to mean Oliver killed her and pulled the trigger. Team Not!Arrow alliance over. Something else really bad must have happened between these guys because that can’t be the only reason that Slade has showed up present day to promise ultimate suffering and pain. But hey, the future flashbacks need some subject matter, so I’m sure that’s coming.
It’s really interesting when you get to see three characters in both the past and present timelines having to play what they were then and what they are now all in the same scenes. We as viewers often take that for granted, but Stephen Amell, Manu Bennett, and Caity Loitz did it perfectly. Granted Sara in present day was working mostly with the new trainee in the cave and only joined the others at the end, but they were still together at one point. BTW, it’s about time Roy made an appearance, and of course he was shirtless! What show are you watching? That’s a requirement for workouts in the cave, and you gotta follow rules. While Oliver and Slade stole the show with their restrained yet very chilling friction, it was fun time with the Scooby gang at the cave, until Oliver called that is. Felicity put him on speaker phone and things got serious fast. When Sara heard who’s voice it was at the mansion, she became very useful. She figured out if they didn’t do something the Queens would die bloody and luckily she had a crack team at her disposal. Her shocked reaction mirrored Oliver’s last week, so obviously they didn’t know this guy was still alive. Surprise! Now I really want to know how this all played out back on the island.
Meanwhile, back in the flashback, it was pure action and chaos during the siege, especially since the prisoners were all freed and given a chance to flee while the armed soldiers tried to gun them down. It certainly explained how Anatoli Knyazev ended up being an ally in “Keep Your Enemies Closer.” He escaped to the island with Sara, new preacher dude (yes, I should learn character names), and a bunch of others. Does anyone know if the preacher was part of the DC Universe? I loved that visual effect though of Oliver diving off the side, only to be quickly reeled in by ankle mid air by Slade. Funny how no one noticed he was gone until they got to the island. Oops.
The best part of the siege though was watching Slade devour those forces. He was an unstoppable killing machine on a mission, which makes him all that much scarier when we know that the ultimate showdown between Team Arrow and Deathstroke is going to happen (how can it not?). He’s the scary new captain too, taking out the old one with a simple skull crush with his bare hands. What’s first on his agenda? Why make his prize prisoners, Ivo and Oliver, suffer horribly. It’s what psychos do. I didn’t mind too much about Ivo though, because he did have this coming. The whole doing this for his wife thing, who he called before he was ruthlessly captured, didn’t strike a chord with me.
It all comes together in a giant game of “who’s going to blink first” at the mansion. Sara and Roy decided to join Oliver, while Diggle is outside with a rifle that can put a bullet through Slade. Good thing Oliver has a Mirakuru solider on his team in Roy, right? I did like how Roy subtly got his message across without alerting Moira or Thea by offering Slade a firm handshake. Slade knows now there’s one of him now in the enemy’s corner. Not that it scares him any, but now he knows. Slade was surprised to see Sara though, so ha! It was enough for Slade to leave, with Oliver showing him the way out. Slade delivers his “promise” though, which is ultimate suffering for all the Queens (as opposed to normal suffering) and goes on his way in one very sweet looking Lamborghini. Yeah, the guy is hurting.
As for Moira giving Oliver the what for after Slade left, I’m kind of hoping she’s the first to suffer the horrible wrath. I could imagine it happening, everyone giving a casual shrug, and then moving on. Sorry, I said imagine. I know they’d never go that way, but I’m allowed to have my fun, right? I’m hoping Slade goes down because if anything his shouldn’t have had his man harm Diggle like that. Torture Oliver all you want but Diggle? This means war.
So, all in all, “The Promise” answered some questions but left a lot more. I’m sure that will be unfolding in the remaining episodes for the season. Arrow takes a one week break and will be back on March 19th. Then it’s the Suicide Squad! And Diggle is involved! I’m stoked!