Title: Arrow: “Deathstroke Returns” Review
Release Date: November 9th, 2017
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Arrow fan favorite Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) returned this week as the titular star of the episode, and this time he is on the good guy’s team. While Manu Bennett stole the show as always, the rest of “Deathstroke Returns” failed to deliver dividends on a highly anticipated reveal.
Despite the rampant overuse of it this episode, I will never get tired of hearing Slade Wilson call Oliver “Kid.” As it was alluded to earlier in the season, Wilson’s goal since being freed from Lian Yu was to reunite with his son Joe, or at least make sure he was safe.
The end of last episode saw Oliver answering a phone call, revealing Slade Wilson needed his help. Instead of asking Oliver to break his promise to his son though, Wilson aims to solve his problem diplomatically through the use of the Queen name. It’s refreshing to see that the writers are able to work around the rock and the hard place decision between two promises that Oliver is presented by using this option (at least for now). On top of that, Slade doesn’t even force Ollie to help him, even though he owes him one, which certainly helps the former mirakuru soldiers redemption arc.
When things break down later on in the episode though, Slade Wilson proves that it wasn’t simply the mirakuru that made him Deathstroke, it was the fact that he is a badass. Ever since the Green Arrow vowed not to kill – or I guess just not to do it so much, it’s a bit confusing, to be honest – Arrow has lacked any real interesting action in its fight scenes. While there are certainly ways to do action without involving death, the fight scene in this episode proved that it certainly allows for a lot more creative freedom.
It also helps that Deathstroke is a sword-wielding, killing machine. Alongside awesome choreography, Deathstroke’s fight scene in “Deathstroke Returns” benefits from this season’s ongoing use of tracking shots. Unlike most fights in Arrow, which constantly cut camera shots and angle, sometimes multiple times a second, the start of Wilson’s brawl with The Jackals features one long shot, showcasing its brutal combat without a single cut.
On top of being fun to watch, the fight scene, and Deathstroke as a whole, have added another layer to a somewhat stagnantly pure cast of heroes in the show. Just like The Punisher in Daredevil, Wilson’s character is the necessary anti-hero that helps balance things out. He’s not a good guy, he’s not a bad guy, he’s just a man with a mission. The closest a character has come to that status for Arrow in recent memory is The Vigilante.
Introduced to Arrow last season, The Vigilante – and he or she’s identity – became one of the most interesting side storylines in the show. While they never outright tried to kill Team Arrow, at least in the sense that most antagonists in the show do, The Vigilante also opposed them on certain fronts when it came down to their mission when it contradicted his own. Add to the fact that the showrunners revealed that the character’s identity would be someone who fans would know and that they would be important. Instead, the reveal was a complete letdown.
In season five we are introduced to Dinah Drake, who gains her canary cry like scream powers after witnessing her partner and boyfriend, Vincent Sobel gets shot. While it serves as an important catalyst to her character’s motivations, it’s significance wains as time goes on. So when it’s revealed that Sobel is actually The Vigilante, it really falls flat. Not only has been so long since I have even thought about that character, he was literally only on screen for about two minutes when introduced, so it took me a second to put two and two together once his mask was taken off. What’s even more confusing is that the two have fought before, yet The Vigilante didn’t show the same hesitancy that he did this time around when fighting Dianah.
You could argue that he didn’t know it was her, but Canary’s costume is pretty telling from the neck up. As is everyone on Team Arrow’s really, outside of Wilddog. A fact that, for all intensive purposes, should have allowed Agent Watson to wrap up her investigation already. So far Sydelle Noel has been very confusing in Arrow, as the FBI agent seems to have everything in place necessary to put two in two together, logically speaking, but the execution has been terrible.
The best example being that when Samandra calls Felicity in to interview her about the investigation, she says she doesn’t like her time to be wasted. Yet the entire interview is made up of about two questions! It lasts literally about two minutes. What was the point? I could have been done over the phone, but instead, you wasted everyone’s time.
It wasn’t a bad episode, and I am definitely excited for continued adventures of Ollie and Slade next week, but everything that wasn’t Slade Wilson or Deathstroke wasn’t great.
Verdict: Deathstroke takes center stage in “Deathstroke Returns,” as everything he was in was great. Be it his bromance with Oliver, an amazing fight scene, or even an interesting cliffhanger that continues next week, it reminded me how much I missed the character. Otherwise, a floundering reveal for The Vigilante and more confusing Agent Wilson scenes turn a great episode into simply a good one.
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,”Promises Kept,” immediately after it airs on The CW next Thursday 9 PM ET.
- Slade Wilson
- Introduction of more anti-heroes
- Deathstroke fight scene
- Vigilante Reveal
- Agent Wilson
- Anything not about Deathstroke