Tonight on Arrow: it’s the final confrontation between Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson. Just kidding! There are five episodes left in the season after this one; did you really think the showdown would happen this soon?
While there was some action and a lot of tension, most of the big happenings were psychological in nature. And there were feelings, coming out everywhere. Or just feels, as the kids call them. So many feels!
“Deathstroke” picks up right where last week’s episode left off, with Thea Queen accepting a ride home from Slade Wilson …
Not So Quick Summary: The ride quickly turns bad as Slade orders Thea out of the car in a bad part of town, where she’s promptly grabbed by a guy in a scary mask. Back at the Arrow Lair, Diggle muses about how the jails have been bursting at the seams since Oliver decided to stop killing bad guys.
(WARNING! FORESHADOWED PLOT POINT ALERT!)
Roy Harper still needs some work on his archery. Make that a lot of work. He’s still upset because he stopped seeing Thea, but Ollie does his best to convince him it was necessary. Felicity reminds her boss of an important board meeting since he’s been slacking on running the company, asking if he knows where his business suit is or “Do you keep it in a cool glass case too?”
Oliver rushes to the board meeting and finds he was 30 minutes early. Isabel has been holding down the fort, something he thanks her for doing. Moira Queen stops by too, asking if Ollie will be at the mayoral debate tonight (he will) and if he knows where Thea is (he does not).
But they find out soon enough. After Laurel Lance wishes Blood good luck in the debate, it comes to a screeching halt when Thea appears on the big screen with a ransom request of sorts. Team Arrow spring into action, but only after Ollie appoints Isabel the temporary CEO because there is a board meeting coming up he can’t miss — “It’s an SEC thing.” Felicity has a lead, Sara has some powerful sedative arrows, and Roy has his rage, which Oliver gives him permission to use.
Arrow, Canary and Roy find and confront Slade, who mostly shrugs off a punch to the jaw from Roy. He taunts them by saying they can’t kill him and still find out where Thea is being held, so Ollie tells Roy to call the cops and knocks Slade out with a sedative arrow.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t go so well. Seems Slade has an alibi for the last 72 hours, and now Officer Lance is in hot water with his bosses for arresting Wilson on the word of the vigilantes. Oliver sneaks in to see Slade and begs him to reveal Thea’s location. The cops apologize and turn Slade loose, and he plays to the media assembled outside by publicly pledging all of his resources and offering a $5 million reward for information on Thea’s kidnappers. Everyone on Team Arrow tries tracking his vehicle when he leaves, but he’s one step ahead of them all again, disappearing without a trace. He goes to visit Thea where she’s being held, and much to her disbelief, he says she’s free to go — but if she does, she’ll miss out on learning the secret Oliver has been keeping from her for years.
Roy argues with the rest of Team Arrow, blaming Oliver’s decisions for the current state of affairs. He’s not there to defend himself because he’s consoling Moira, who’s feeling guilty about all the lies. Told you there were feels! When he returns to the lair, Roy gets to blame him face-to-face before storming out. That’s hardly the worst of the news though: Isabel has taken control of Queen Consolidated in Ollie’s absence, because … she’s been working for Slade all along! She can fight too, but not well enough, and Oliver threatens her life if she won’t give up Thea’s location. She does, but tells Oliver he must go alone or Thea will be killed.
You know what that means. Oliver tells Diggle and Sara they have to sit this one out, and Felicity implores him to end this once and for all. As Arrow, he tears through Slade’s men with a vengeance. But Thea isn’t there, and neither is Slade. Fully suited up as Deathstroke, he violently stops a Department of Corrections bus and has a proposition for the prisoners inside.
As for Thea, she walks into the police precinct unharmed, but Slade did tell her a secret. Namely, that Malcolm Merlyn is her dad. Ollie says it was kept secret to protect her, but she angrily shoots back that he sounds just like Moira with that justification. Roy watches her walk out but drives off, apparently out of Starling City. And Officer Lance is arrested for conspiracy even though Thea tells the cops that Slade really was behind her kidnapping, which makes no sense at all.
Moira gets a sympathy bump in the mayoral polling, angering Blood. Slade reminds him that what he really was promised was an army to take the city, one Isabel is helping to create by having Queen Consolidated’s applied sciences division work on a serum based on Wilson’s blood. Slade also ominously promises one more distraction for Queen.
Speaking of our hero, he’s slipped into his self-doubt and self-pity space again. Diggle and Felicity try to buck up his spirits, and it seems to work, as he gives the order that it’s time for them to fight back. But there’s still that final distraction, which comes when Slade visits Laurel at home. He’s not there to harm her. He simply reveals that Oliver is the Arrow and walks out. As Rick James might say, “Cold blooded!”
Meanwhile, on the Island: Sara and the survivors are determined to make the trade of Hendrick for Oliver. But maybe there’s an opportunity to kill Slade and take the Amazo too. The Russian defuses some land mines and takes their explosives, and they booby-trap Hendrick for the exchange. There’s a problem though, and that’s the fact that the mirakuru has enhanced Slade’s senses to the point where he literally sniffs out the bomb. He thinks about killing them for the betrayal, but Shado appears to him in a drug-related fever dream of sorts, convincing him to leave them on the island as their punishment.
Final Thought: Even though the clips from the next new episode (which is in two weeks) again teases a showdown with Deathstroke, you know that’s not happening until the season finale. The question is whether the deck can be stacked even more against Arrow and friends or not. I think the writers can do it, but I also have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Roy, and he could be due for a mini-redemption arc before it’s all said and done. In any case, this episode did a nice job of upping the ante on the mind games, even if Slade is starting to feel a bit like the Joker from The Dark Knight in the way he is constantly ahead of the heroes at all times. But I guess he has had a long time to plot this all out …