Maybe this episode should have been subtitled, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Okay, so no dinner was served, but the Queen family did have a very special visitor. He had an eyepatch. And an Australian accent. Arrow producers promised this would be one of the most important episodes of the season, and it did not disappoint in that regard, as it set into motion a conflict that could very well take us through the end of the season, and perhaps even beyond.
I’ll dispense with my usual format of recapping the present and island scenes separately because they were too intertwined this week.
Not So Quick Summary: Yes, Slade Wilson has dropped by, the better to announce that he’s making a large donation to Moira’s campaign. He’s brought some Australian rum with him, and he proposes a drink to friendship. A very alarmed, somber Oliver joins them, with Slade making cracks about how tough it must have been for him all alone on the island.
We flash back to the island, where Ollie’s training with the bow is getting intense. As he, Slade and Sara discuss their plans for storming Ivo’s freighter, she pulls Ollie aside and they agree to burn the mirakuru. She also thinks Ollie should level with Slade about the choice he made that led to Shado’s death, reasoning that he’ll take it poorly if he learns the truth, and they’ll both be in danger.
As the night falls, Slade breaks out some rum (the same brand they’re drinking in the present, naturally). In case they die in the attempt, Ollie asks Sara to tell his mom and sister that he became a better man on the island, while Sara requests that he tell her family she died on the boat. Ollie tries to sleep, but is awoken by a nightmare about Shado. He dons a hood for the first time as Slade ominously grabs the Deathstroke mask.
On the freighter, Ivo needs an eye from one of the prisoners for his research, and it’s obvious from a phone call he’s having that time is running out for his wife. Ollie lights a fire on the beach with his second shot from a flaming arrow (he blames the first one on the breeze) right after Slade tells him they are storming the ship as brothers. Unfortunately, Ollie gets captured by the men Ivo has sent to the beach, though they are under orders to take him alive. He meets Reverend Thomas Flynn before Ivo summons him for questioning, administering a dose of truth serum.
In the present, the tense double-talk between Slade, Oliver and a blissfully unaware Moira continues. When asked if he has someone special in his life, Slade says he did have someone a long time ago who dies, to which Ollie responds that his family learned that when tragedy strikes, “You just have to move on.” Finally alone, Ollie tries going at Slade with a screwdriver, but he easily stops the attack and says he still wants to meet the rest of the Queen family just as Thea shows up.
We quickly go back to the island, where a flashback (inside the flashback — Inception!) shows how Sara had Ollie prepared for truth serum with the now infamous super herb mixture that counteracts everything. So he’s faking, and when Slade and Sara parachute on board from a cliff, he grabs a bow to help take the ship. Sara heads to free the prisoners, Slade goes after Ivo’s men and Ollie hunts for Ivo, though Slade makes it clear he wants to kill the professor himself.
Back in today-land, the Queens show Slade their art collection. Ollie has left his cellphone open, which Felicity discovers along with the rest of Team Arrow. Sara instantly recognizes Slade’s voice, telling the others they have to act quickly or Wilson will kill the entire Queen family. Diggle is advised to bring the biggest gun he has, and even Roy is going to be allowed to help, as his mirakuru-enhanced strength may help.
On the freighter, not all of the freed prisoners are happy to see Sara, who gets saved from being choked to death by the Reverend. Ollie confronts Ivo, who naturally puts him on a guilt trip about Shado. And wouldn’t you know it, Slade was standing behind them the whole time. Did he hear? Yep, looks that way. Enraged, Slade goes after Ollie, who manages to sneak away when explosions rock the ship. That’s because it’s now full-fledged chaos on the deck, with armed prisoners fighting the remnants of Ivo’s men. Ollie meets up with Sara, the Reverend and a few others, and they agree to jump overboard while they’re still close enough to swim back to the island. But just as Oliver jumps, Slade makes the most clutch one-handed grab of all time, hauling him back.
In the present, Diggle is set up as a sniper while Roy and Sara move in. Slade tells the Queens that his favorite painting in their collection was “The Promise,” something that will pay off, I’m sure. Once Roy is introduced to Slade with a very firm handshake and Sara enters, Slade appears to have second thoughts about acting out. He says he’s looking forward to seeing more of Moira and her family, and Ollie volunteers to walk him out. A shadowy figure takes out Diggle, though Slade claims he’s still alive while boasting that he has his own allies. Oliver demands to know what he wants, but all Slade will reveal is that he intends to keep his promise. That’s two mentions of the episode title in about two minutes.
The final island segment sees the freighter escapees realize Ollie is not among them. Slade wants our hero to see something: it’s Ivo, now a prisoner since Wilson has forcefully taken command of the ship. Ivo bargains for his life, and Slade reveals that he still has the mirakuru. He gives Ivo a gun, demanding he point it at Oliver the same way he pointed it at Shado. Slade chops his hand off before he can shoot, saying he has no plans to kill Ollie yet. But he promises (that word again!) Ollie will feel complete despair. Then he’ll kill Queen, I suppose.
To wrap things up, Moira scolds Ollie for his behavior and asks him not to stop by the house if that’s the way he’s going to act around company. The final reveal shows that Slade has the entire Queen mansion under surveillance, as he’d been planting tiny cameras around the premises during his visit. Insert evil Australian-tinged laugh here! Just kidding about that last part.
So the pieces are in place for the end of the season confrontation, no? Along with the history lesson, this episode did a great job fleshing out Slade’s motives and establishing him as a threat that will take all of Team Arrow to stop. Since the good guys’ numbers keep growing, that’s important. It’s going to be two weeks until the next new episode, but there’s plenty to digest until then.