Title: Arrow: “Promises Kept” Review
Release Date: November 16th, 2017
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Arrow has failed to create any interesting plot lines or dilemmas so far this season, favoring Oliver’s relationship with his son, and the team’s ability to cope with his departure, over any real substance or conflict. “Promises Kept” puts forth a solid effort though, on the backs of Deathstroke and the long-awaited introduction of Richard Dragon.
Leaving off exactly where “Deathstroke Returns” left off, Arrow shows how Slade copes with the fact that his son is not only with the Jackals, but that he runs them. The dynamic between the two throughout the episode is interesting, as Joe’s – now going by Kane Wolfman – resentment and Slade’s dejected reaction to it all result in Slade doing what it takes to win his son back, even joining the Jackals.
The flashbacks this episode are a vast improvement as well, as it reveals just how Kane became as jaded as he is in the modern day. Couple this in with the fact that the previous Slade and Joe flashback from last episode also carries importance and weight, showings that it is possible to use the mechanic right again, like they did in the previous season.
Alongside delving a bit more into Kane/Joe’s past, the look into the past also bridges the gap between Slade’s supposed death at the hands of Oliver on Lian Yu and his return to Starling City in Season three. A mirakuru driven, blood-soaked Slade Wilson – who is also still hallucinated in the form of a vengeful Shadow – shows just how much the violence elicits better content when compared to the Olicity drama home to Arrow in the last few seasons.
Even Oliver had some amazing action scenes in “Promises Kept.” Instead of hand to hand, and of course his trusty melee bow, driven action, an unmasked Green Arrow goes all out. His no limit use of guns, using a bad guy as a human shield, and obvious kill shots are reminiscent of Season one Oliver. Just like Deathstroke’s hallway scene last week, the no holds bar Ollie results in one of the best sequences in recent memory.
As much as I loved this scene, it adds to the ever-blurring line regarding Mr. Queens point of view on killing. The end to season four showed that Oliver’s thoughts on killing is not as Batman esque as he was, even snapping a mercs neck so no one would find out his secret in season five, but its hard to tell just where he stands on things. I have no problem with dialing back the no killing rule, it would just be nice to have some consistency.
The other issue I took with the episode revolved around Joe’s “sudden” transformation to a mindless villain. The entire episode, and even the title, points to the fact that it was Slade’s constant broke promises that led his son down the path of evil. Yet later it is revealed that he had been a killer since he was a child, ever since he saw his father kill on their camping trip.
Arrow has constantly pushed the Sins of our Fathers mantra. To say I am over the idea that the kid turning out bad because the father was bad is an understatement. Joe shows no signs of being a messed up kid in either the flashbacks or the training scenes in which his father snaps. So the jump cut to present day, “Hey I’m as evil as you now daddy” is a bit jarring.
Back in Starling City, Team Arrow is introduced to the highly anticipated Villain Ricardo “Dragon” Diaz, placed by Kirk Acevedo. Immediately, Acevedo’s look and presence fit the character perfectly, as Dragon is shaping up to be one of the best antagonists in recent memory. It’s a good thing too, as a proper villain is something that the series has been craving ever since the death of Adrian Chase at last seasons climax, even with the return of Black Siren and the introduction of Cayden James.
While the episode means the end of Ollie’s adventures with Slade, at least for now, the introduction of Dragon and an end in sight for Diggle’s tremors arc (I hope), mean only good things for the future of Arrow.
Verdict: “Promises Kept” has its problems with inconsistencies and cliches, but is bolstered by the focus on two very interesting characters in Slade Wilson and Richard Dragon. With a small taste of Kirk Acevedo’s acting ability in this episode, I can’t wait to see more from him for the rest of the season.
What did you think of the most recent episode of Arrow? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for the rest season six as things begin to unravel? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check back next week for the next episode of the season, “Thanksgiving,” immediately after it airs on The CW next Thursday 9 PM ET.
- More Slade
- Deathstroke flashbacks
- Action sequences
- Richard Dragon
- What is Oliver’s rule on killing?
- Father is bad so son is too