In continuing with the show’s tradition of rivalling its big screen counterparts, this week’s episode of Arrow was a heart-pumping, action packed and well-written hour of superhero entertainment. All season long they’ve been teasing the big showdown between Oliver and Slade Wilson, and many thought that this episode would finally deliver. Instead, what we got was a big psychological game of cat and mouse that truly threw everything into chaos, setting the stage for what is sure to be a fantastic final five episodes.
“Deathstroke” picks up right where “Birds of Prey” left off, with an upset and recently dumped Thea Queen getting into a car with Slade. Things quickly go awry when Thea realizes that Slade is in fact not driving her home, and instead stops in a shady looking part of town and commands her to get out of the car. Rather than run, oh I don’t know, back the way she came towards civilization, she decides to bee-line straight down an alleyway and bumps into Brother Blood, Scarecrow-ripoff mask and all.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Diggle’s reading the news and muses about how Oliver’s “No Kill” rule has put Iron Heights prison at full capacity (foreshadowing alert!), and Roy is practicing his archery skills but still has a way to go before he’s as good as Oliver. My question is why are they trying to make Roy an archer? I get that it’s a nod to his character, Red Arrow, from the comics, but why not just train him in some kind of combat that’s a bit more up his alley?
Anyway, I digress. Roy’s still angry about Thea, but Ollie tries telling him that keeping those close to you in the dark about your vigilantism is perhaps the best idea. More on that later. Felicity chimes in and reminds Oliver of a board meeting at Queen Consolidated (oh yeah, he’s CEO!) and gives one of the best lines we’ve heard in a long time: “Do you know where your business suit is, or do you keep that in a cool glass case too?”
Oliver rushes to the board meeting and finds that Isabel Roshev has been scheduling them thirty minutes early in anticipation of his tardiness. Speaking of Isabel, I honestly forgot that she was even in this show, and they luckily made up for her absence this week. With a few sly moves to make Oliver feel less stressed about the company, she assures him that it’s her job to pick up his slack. Later this prompts him to hand over “temporary” CEO duties to her. This, of course, backfires because that was her plan all along. She’s been working with Slade this whole time and seizes full control of Queen Consolidated.
While this all felt a bit close to The Dark Knight Rises for me, I like the way they handled it. I honestly didn’t see that little twist coming, and I’m excited to see Isabel’s relationship with Slade explored a bit more over the next few episodes.
Before long news comes out that Thea has been kidnapped. Team Arrow springs into action, as Sara makes some cool new League of Assassins brand sedation to use on Slade, and Oliver gives Roy permission to use that Mirakuru rage he’s been trying to get him to control. Arrow, Canary and Roy (who is again without a disguise. Come on, guys, give the guy a domino mask at least!) confront Slade, who was obviously expecting them. He’s not at all intimidated, and taunts them by saying that he can’t be killed because then they won’t find Thea. Oliver instead tells Roy to call the police, and shoots Slade with Sara’s new arrow.
Manu Bennet is once again great as Slade, chewing the scenery just enough to make us root for him a little bit. Obviously we want Oliver and co. to win, but it’s incredibly fun to see Slade toy with them a bit before we get there. Slade has an alibi for the last 72 hours, which puts Officer Lance in hot water for arresting him based off of The Arrow’s suggestion. He ends up getting arrested at the end of the episode, which I like because it not only adds some tension going forward, but shows that this is a world with consequences. He already got demoted for consorting with the Arrow, and arresting people based solely on the word of a vigilante isn’t good police work.