Arrow, ‘Deathstroke Returns’: Everybody’s Dark Past Comes Back to Haunt Them

Arrow, Season 6, Episode 5, “Deathstroke Returns”

You would have thought it wasn’t Halloween yet with so many characters’ pasts coming back to haunt them this week. The episode filled in some detail for a couple of secondary characters, and set up what appears to be a much more interesting hour next week. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:

What’s the scoop:  Slade Wilson has an adult son. Even before he was all hopped up on serum on Pacific islands, Slade wasn’t exactly father of the year. To make up for past sins, Slade needs Oliver’s diplomatic skills to help negotiate his son out of prison. There are a few twists and turns along the way, and we learn the son has followed in his father’s katana wielding footsteps.

Meanwhile in B-plot land: Temporary Canary receives the majority of the spotlight from Team Arrow, which limits the titular vigilante to practically a blink and you missed it role. Dinah, in her role as police detective, is trying to protect the city council member who came up with the anti-vigilante ordinance. Vigilante (the vigilante), who we last saw leaping off a building into the abyss last season, took all of this proposed legislation personally and is hell bent on killing the council member. Dinah tries to thwart Vigilante at every turn, until she discovers her target is her presumed dead partner/lover, Vinny Sobel.

Sex and the Olicity: With Ollie on the road the bulk of this episode, makeouts and horizontal tangos were in short supply. We did, however, get a signature “Felicity straightens Oliver’s tie” moments even though Oliver wasn’t even wearing a collared shirt at the time. Aww, they’re so cute.

What about the action: With Oliver out of the hood and Diggle limited, Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah has been carrying the bulk of the fight sequences, the first part of the season. She has pulled off the extra responsibility quite well. Her choreography is pretty fluid, her fights are intense and they incorporate the right mix of martial arts and metahuman powers. Dinah’s old partner has some super healing powers of his own, which make getting shot in the head a temporary obstacle. Even though Vigilante is doing bad things, Canary know there’s still some good in him, and all that Return of the Jedi stuff. Slade goes full Deathstroke and chews through a lair of European mobster thugs. Manu Bennett’s fighting style isn’t as fluid, but it doesn’t need to be. Slade is all about power and its pretty effective, until he learns his son is neither imprisoned, nor dead, nor being held hostage. He’s the leader of the gang, itself.

GIF quote of the week:

What’s next:  Given this was a pure setup episode there’s bound to be a lot of redemption attempts between Slade and his son, and Canary and Vigilante. It’s worth noting that the FBI agent investigating Oliver has everyone’s roles just about pegged. She only needs concrete proof.

Last impressions: Even though they might be frustrating, setup episodes do serve a purpose. This week’s Arrow reached into the full bag of tricks — even dusting off the tried and true flashbacks to fill in some of Slade’s backstory. The real verdict for this episode won’t come until the Ollie-Slade and Dinah-Vigilante story arcs pay off. If they are satisfying, then this episode will be folded into the overall success of those stories. If those arcs fall short, then a “I can’t believe they wasted a whole episode for that” reaction won’t be undeserved.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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