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– by Mark Cook

I have been waiting for this moment since the end of Season 5.  Slade Wilson returns in tonight’s episode of Arrow.  Will we find out more about how he escaped the island?  We do know that he will pull out all of the stops to find his son in what looks to be a vintage Slade/Oliver reunion.  Will this episode be better than what we have had so far?  It has to be.  Read on to find out.

Slade Returns — Slade informs Oliver that his son Joseph, who he says goes by Kane now (which was his mother’s maiden name in the comics) is imprisoned for dealing arms in a foreign country.  It seems as if he has taken after his father in joining Australian Intelligence.  Slade needs Oliver’s help, not Green Arrow, for diplomacy to get his son.

It is really great to have Manu Bennett’s Slade back.  He brings the show to a different level. Oliver struggles with the decision to help Slade because of the promise he made to William.  He is worried that he will cross the line on the journey.  Slade has meticulously planned a story involving Mayor Queen that will gain his son’s freedom.  Even though he wants to free Joseph, his plan reveals that he will not actually see his son.  He tells Oliver that some don’t have the liberty to see their kids due to the lives they lead.  He is unlike Oliver (at least for now) in the fact that he cannot remove himself from his true line of work, which leads to his feelings of regret and exemplifies his motives for not wanting to see Joseph.  Oliver has to reveal to Slade that Joseph was killed while trying to break up a fight in the yard at the prison.

The connection between Oliver and Slade is what has always made this show great.  Despite their differences they have even more similarities, and the emotions and connections they share are truly captivating.  Their continual struggles to balance the double-lives they lead with the added emotions connected to their sons makes the characters sympathetic to viewers. It turns out that Slade’s son wasn’t dead, but taken by the Jakals in order to extract information from him.  This, obviously, pisses off Slade; cue Deathstroke!!

Slade sees the necessity of the promise Oliver made to his son, in which he drugs him in order to prohibit Oliver from getting involved. Deathstroke’s entrance was completely vintage!  He fluidly made his way through numerous henchmen, which was awesome to see again!  The major twist at the end comes when the leader of the Jakals is revealed to be…Kane Wilson! The Jakal in the comics was a terrorist who previously worked with Slade in the military and was responsible for muting Joseph Wilson.  Could a hybrid of this be what the current storyline is somewhat based off of?

Flashbacks — Viewers do get flashbacks this episode, but those of Slade and his son. The flashbacks show a deeper dynamic between Slade and his son from when they went camping.  It seems as if while they were camping, Slade was actually working on finding a target for Australian Intelligence.  This shows some of the deep remorse he currently has. The man who Slade had been targeting was one who blackballed Yao Fei.  This was a great connection to the early seasons and may give us even more insight as to how Slade originally got to the island.

Vigilante Resurfaces — The episode opens with a sniper attempting to take down a public figure.  It is none other than Vigilante!  Finally he returns from his long fall off the top of the building.  Not only are we treated to the return of Vigilante, but we find out his identity as Dinah’s canary-cry cracks his mask! The one who has been behind the mask was also Dinah’s partner/lover who was shot the moment the particle accelerator hit the city.

Do you think this was the plan all along, or could this be why there was a the hiatus for the character in order for Dinah’s role to develop?  It’s an interesting reveal, but one that came as a surprise.  It’s not that it didn’t fit, but still makes me question if this was their original plan.  As Black Canary confronts Vigilante he is shot in the head yet again.  That’s just bad luck.  The dark matter gave him healing abilities, which has only enhanced his mission that he and Dinah had originally started.  This brings a new dynamic to the show.  Will Dinah now be compromised?

Next week looks to put Slade and Oliver against each other yet again.  Does Slade sacrifice his relationship with Oliver, or the possibility of a relationship with his son? Now things are starting to pick up, as many said it would.  I will admit I was a naysayer, but it’s because I know that they are capable of episodes such as this.  The story lines had depth and intrigue.  Now the question is, will they stay consistent? What’d you think of tonight’s episode?  Should Slade be a permanent character in the season?  Should they stop focusing on Team Arrow and focus on Slade and Oliver’s relationship?  Leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading!

Arrow returns next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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  • Kronx

    Slade vs. Jakals … just made the whole season worthwhile.

    • MC

      I’d be completely fine with them shifting the majority of focus to Slade.