ARROW 6.05 Review “Deathstroke Returns”

Deathstroke's back and you're gonna be in trouble.

Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Arrow.

Slade Wilson is an interesting fellow. He’s been one of Oliver’s most trusted friends, and fiercest of enemies. From a story stand point, few antagonists hold a candle to the villainy that Deathstroke did back in season two. His evil gets a little something extra because of the two’s familiarity, sure, but I would be remiss to not acknowledge what Manu Bennett brings to the character. We’ve seen Deathstroke since Manu’s departure from the show, but without him behind the mask he just lacks the charm that gives the final touch to the baddie.

With the Mirakuru out of his system for ages now, Slade’s no longer the murderous villain he once was. No, no. Now he only uses his murderous ways for “good”, and when trying to find his son. He enlists Oliver’s help to go find his son, who is being held prisoner somewhere in Kasnia. Oliver is hesitant, but Slade assures him that he needs him for his diplomacy, not the Hood. How is a mayor of a city in America going to be able to help facilitate the release of a prisoner? It’s a comic book show, fam. We don’t talk about those details here apparently.

Off to Kasnia the old friends, then enemies, then friends again go. Dig and Felicity have some concerns about him heading off on a mission with the man that left them abandoned on Lian Yu, but they remain supportive none the less. Besides, they have their own issues back in Star City. After playing the subplot dance for much of season five, Vigilante has finally returned to the fray. Looks like Dinah’s old partner, Vincent, isn’t as dead as she suspected. She doesn’t handle the news well.

Who doesn’t want to wake up one day to find out their past partner (and partner) is still alive? Sure, he’s now a murderous maniac, but minor details! Dinah’s out for blood, and it’s Dig’s turn to try to talk her off the ledge. She’s convinced that their little talks didn’t do much, but her tone changes when he takes a bullet for her and they see each other face to face. Dinah lets Vince live for now, which is probably best for her soul, but not so great for the Councilwoman that he’s trying to murder over the Anti-Vigilante Bill.

While Vince and Dinah are having a domestic, we still have the small issue of the FBI agent who’s investigating all of Team Arrow. There’s not much to say there, I just wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least acknowledge it. The subplot still exists, the subplot is still a retread, the subplot is still annoying, and hopefully the subplot will go away before midseason. Best we can do there.

Oddly, the Mayor from a city in America diplomacy trick worked on the prison warden. Unfortunately, Oliver receives the news that Slade’s son was murdered in prison. Mayor Queen’s not having a great day when it comes to feeling like he’s helping, but it only gets worse after they find out that the body isn’t still in the prison when Slade wants to say his goodbyes. The body can’t be there because there’s no body to be found. Slade’s son was taken by a rogue group called the Jackals. These guys are so good that even Felicity can’t track their digital footprints. Thankfully, she still knows how to read a security camera and gets Oliver and Slade the information they need.

Slade keeps telling Oliver that he can’t live between two worlds. To his credit, he stands by that idea when he drugs Oliver so he can’t follow him when he pursues the Jackals to try to rescue his son. When Oliver wakes, he’s all but ready to head home until he gets a phone call from William, and that’s where things get interesting. Removing Oliver as the Green Arrow is an eye roll worthy plot at best, not because John Diggle can’t be a great hero, but because everyone knows that it will never last. Yet, here we are, and the writers have to find an interesting way to get us out of it without causing an annoying level of drama on the home front for Oliver. In “Deathstroke” it seems like they started planting the seeds for that plot.

William asks if there’s anything else he can do to help his friend. Oliver realizes that there is, and he goes back into the field (sans super suit) to help Slade. Hopefully this means that Oliver will eventually realize that by not being the hero he knows he needs to be he is doing a disservice to his son. Evil only triumphs when good men choose to do nothing, and Oliver has laid down a mantle that protects his city. It could be looking too much into a simple phone call, but here’s hoping.

If you were missing murder on Arrow, Deathstroke is here for all of your stabby needs. It’s been a long while since we’ve seen someone go on a killing spree, and those bodies sure did pile up quick while Slade was on the warpath for his son. When all’s said and done, Slade gets his wish. He must not have heard the phrase “be careful what you wish for”, though, because Junior wasn’t kidnapped by the Jackal’s, he’s leading them.

Next week’s episode is a crap shoot. The Jackal’s capture Oliver, and Slade is going to have to choose between two sons: the misguided blood of his blood, or the hero he helped create. With Oliver and Slade’s history, there’s really no way to tell which direction this will go. He’s back to the man he once was, but that man was never strictly good, and is the same man that left all of Team Arrow to die on Lian Yu at the end of last season. Which direction do you think it’s going to go?