Arrow “The Promise’ — TV EPISODE REVIEW


Stephen Amell (left) and Manu Bennett (right) in CW’s “Arrow”

This week came off of a vicious cliffhanger that had me literally yelling at the screen. And in a good way. Kind of like “OH SHIT!”. Yeah, that ending made me excited. Last week’s episode was a solid episode that was made even better by that damn handshake. That’s right. Slade Wilson finally revealed himself to Oliver in the present timeline. And Oliver’s reaction was priceless. Credit to both actors who sold the scene 100%. Completely believed Oliver’s shock by the two-second look on his face. This week, we get the continuation of that. And we get one of the better episodes to date.

This episode focused primarily on flashbacks and all I can say is it is about damn time. We have been going through these episodes with a lot of attention on present Oliver and we get only a couple scenes per episode on island Oliver. But this week, it was the opposite. This is the episode where shit gets real. Oliver, Slade, and Sara plan on taking the freighter from Ivo. And the plan works. Before all of that actually happens, we get a little one-on-one time between Slade and Oliver and Sara and Oliver. We see how cool Slade and Oliver are to each other before things turn south and it is a nice touch to witness. The Oliver and Sara talk was a nice moment too. I cared more about the interaction between Ollie and Slade, but it was still effective. It does kind of point out that, at this point, Oliver has been through a lot and he has changed a lot too.

But obviously, I was waiting for THE moment in this episode. You know, the moment where Slade finds out that Oliver chose Sara over Shado. And that moment didn’t disappoint. I love that we saw the return of the mask from season one that Slade wore. To me, it felt like him putting that mask on and taking it off during the reveal felt like a way to signify the point in which this character truly changed. Before that moment, he was Slade Wilson and Ollie’s friend. But in that moment, when he took off that mask, it was like revealing a whole new face to this character. And that face is truly terrifying. And back in present time, we see a more “pulled-together” version of this dark Slade; as he torments Ollie while he meets the Queen family.

Seeing Slade smile and smirk his way through every piece of dialogue had me laughing constantly. Manu Bennett is just a thrill to watch and I can’t wait to see where this story ends up going. A couple things that I liked about this episode were the lack of Laurel, the urgency of Sara and the rest of Team Arrow, and the scenes between Ollie and Slade post-reveal. How awesome was it seeing Ollie get so close to getting off that freighter only to have super-strong Slade whip his ass backwards back onto the Amazo. Also, Slade’s “I am the new Captain” speech was epic. You can really see the emotion on Bennett’s face as he talks to Oliver. I’ve followed his work since Spartacus and he never disappoints.

I was a little disappointed with Sara this week, though. Well, actually Caity Lotz. The moment when she hears Slade’s voice over the phone was really well done. But I was waiting for her reaction to be better. You could see the shock on her face but it almost wasn’t enough, given the situation. She said the right things, but I just can’t help but feel she should’ve reacted even more strongly in that instance. But we know a couple things for sure. Slade is going to be one tough cookie, even more-so now that he has allie and that he had Diggle taken. He is just an ultimate badass. That’s all you can really say about him. Also, this episode was the episode of facial reactions. Slade’s reaction to hearing how Ollie saved Sara over Shado; the reaction on Ollie’s face whenever Slade walked freely around his house, and the facial reactions in that super tense scene when Roy and Sara show up in the house to protect Oliver and his family. The looks that Slade exchanged with Roy, Sara, and Ollie was priceless. But I am curious why he is shocked to see Sara; unless he thinks she is dead for some reason. I don’t really know but I know that I am super excited for the rest of this season. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

WHAT I LIKED:

+: Manu Bennett and everything he does

+: Present Slade toying with Oliver

+: NO LAUREL!

+: Facial expression, people!

+: Tense moments

+: Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett’s on-screen moments

+: Stand-off in the Queen house between Slade and Team Arrow

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

-: Sara’s reaction to Slade’s voice could’ve been done better

-: Not enough Felicity; but this episode was jam packed so it’s forgiven

-: I didn’t care about Ivo and his wife

OVERALL

8.9

B+ (Good)

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