Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
This week’s episode, “The Promise,” points the focal point much more on the island than in present time. The present scenes followed a tense meeting that carried over from the end of the “Time of Death” episode. It was easy to forget the distance that exists between Moira and Oliver. It wasn’t easy to swallow how oblivious she was to Oliver’s reaction to Slade Wilson just being in his home. Going a step further, at the end the episode she tells Ollie, “If that’s how he’s gonna act around her, he isn’t welcome there anymore.” I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t wash considering all they had been through.
Fortunately, “The Promise” finally does a fantastic job of making great use of the island flashback sequences this week. The mechanic used to drive Arrow’s training history has grown stale in the last couple of episodes. It was nice to see things fully developed as we get a great look at Oliver’s intense training, and with a little help from friends, take the fight to Dr. Ivo. I was a little worried that his initial running-and-shooting training was going to be for no reason, but at the end of the freight sequence it was brought full circle in a great way.
The writing in “Arrow” this week was top notch in terms of both dialogue and storytelling. It sucks to see how close Slade and Ollie have become on the island, knowing full well how much conflict exists with them in the present timeline. That is attributed to both solid acting and great delivery of lines like Slade’s, “You know, when we first tried to get off this island, it was as strangers. But now, it’s as brothers.” I’m constantly reminded how great of a choice it was to cast Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson for the show.
The assault on the freighter was well executed. Sara was underutilized during the sequence, but she was the reason the freight mission could get started, so that was something. It was fantastic to finally see Deathstroke unleash his inner beast mode and take out thug after thug in a fit of rage. I will say that I felt a little cheated in Slade’s reaction to hearing the “truth” about the death of shadow. I expected to see Slade not just choke Oliver out, but to beat the crap out of him considering how upset he was over the entire thing. Slade’s revenge on Dr. Ivo was very well placed. I look forward to seeing the other ways he is tortured through the episodes to come, as well as what happens to Ollie on the island.
What was interesting for me was to see how not only Moira, but Thea as well, didn’t pick up on any of Ollie’s body language that he was so against Slade Wilson being in their home. So much so that they were willing to open up the entire house to show off the Queen family collection. The butt-dial call for help from Team Arrow was awesome, and I really enjoyed the way the team came together to help Oliver. We got to see a little bit of Sara’s abilities in scaling Ollie’s house, and I can’t help but get excited over the foreshadowed fight between Roy and Slade.
I honestly hope that they don’t let Sara, Ollie or Diggle fight him. It seems to me that with all this focus on The Suicide Squad being built, that each member of Team Arrow will have someone they can face off against. My preferences, would be: Arrow vs. Malcolm Merlyn, John Diggle vs. Bronze Tiger, Sara Lance vs. Yao Fei and Roy Harper vs. Slade Wilson, all while Quentin Lance and Felicity run telecommunications defense. After all that hinting about Slade’s “Alias,” I’m thinking we won’t be waiting too much longer to see those fights take place.
“The Promise” did a great job to show exactly why the feud between Slade Wilson and Oliver Queen took place and set the stage for the looming battle between Team Arrow and The Suicide Squad. For the first time in a while, the island was a welcome addition to the show that added a lot more to the story as opposed to offering a distraction.
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