The scenes in the Queen mansion were excellently directed, and Manu Bennett does a great job of playing two very different versions of Slade Wilson. The island version is angry and defeated, while the contemporary one is almost gleeful, walking around Oliver’s home with a spring in his step, no doubt taking joy in how much he’s scaring his nemesis. At any moment Slade could have easily killed Moira or Thea, but instead just toys with Oliver and leaves. Bennett plays the dichotomy between the two timelines wonderfully, and completely deserves his status as Ollie’s nemesis. We’re beginning to see that the show itself is more than just a Green Arrow origin story, it’s an origin for Deathstroke as well.
The island scenes all lead up to the storming of Ivo’s ship, Amazo. How it’s executed is fun, because we get to see Oliver developing his skills (though he’s still not quite the excellent marksman he is today). There’s a brief Rocky-esque montage at the beginning, and then a few good fights on the freighter itself once he’s on board. The action in this episode isn’t as cleanly choreographed as it usually is, though that may be on purpose, showing us the differences between island-Oliver and Starling City-Oliver.
I appreciate that the writers tried giving us a bit of an Ivo backstory, or at least some hints at what his motivations are, but I wonder if they’ll keep him around for much longer. Oliver said early on in the season that Ivo was dead, and therefore couldn’t have been the one to bring the Mirakuru to Starling City. However, he’s been wrong about the fate of certain characters before, so if they find an interesting angle to give Ivo, I’m sure they could bring him back at some point.
One of the best things about the episode was Team Arrow’s rescue of Oliver. Ollie tips Sara off that Slade is back, and the team immediately hashes out a plan to intervene. We get to see Roy again (testing out his archery skills, a nice touch), and Slade’s reaction to seeing Sara arrive was priceless. Though her and Roy’s arrival at the mansion did nothing more than scare Slade off, it was nice to show how effectively the team can work without Oliver calling the shots. For the first time since their roster expanded it finally felt like everyone had a bit of a part to play, and I look forward to seeing how that team dynamic changes once things move forward.
Overall, “The Promise” is a strong episode of Arrow. It kept up with the fast pace that’s been building over the course of the second half of the season and it succeeded in answering a few burning and lingering questions while also relentlessly and ferociously driving the plot forward, propelling us into the remaining eight episodes with a great deal of excitement.
The momentum and tension were so expertly handled that at one point my wife turned to me and asked, “Is this the season finale?!” It most certainly felt like one, which makes it all the more exciting that we have more to come before we actually get there. The pieces are certainly falling into place for an action packed showdown between Green Arrow and Deathstroke, with some great stuff thrown in for Black Canary and Roy (inching ever closer to his Red Arrow status) as well. In other words: buckle up, folks! We’re in for a hell of an eight-episode ride.
- Anyone else get excited when Roy and Slade shook hands? Nothing like Deathstroke coming face to face with a Teen Titan.
- Is Ivo hand-less in the comics? Just curious
- “You burned a box of dirt.” Such a great little jab at Oliver from Slade.
- Who is Thomas Flynn? Google seems to have failed me, I’m guessing he’s someone like the Pied Piper? Just a guess from the way he handled that mouse all season. I thought he was going to be in The Flash show though, so does that mean they’re laying the groundwork for some of the scarlet speedster’s villains as well? Hm…
- Slade planting cameras around the Queen mansion was a great touch. I thought the mansion tour was a bit excessive, but Deathstroke always has a plan, doesn’t he?