Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
This season of Arrow is all about returning faces. Deathstroke Returns not only gives us the return of the awesome Slade Wilson, but also brings back another kind of familiar face. I’ll get to that in a second.
Remember Vigilante? Well, he’s back. He takes a shot at anti-vigilante legislator, Councilwoman Pollard, who Dinah happens to be nearby. The attempt is foiled and Team Arrow goes on the hunt for Vigilante. They catch up to him, and Dinah lets loose a Canary Cry. Vigilante is unmasked and revealed to be Vincent Sobel. Who is Vincent Sobel? He’s Dinah’s former partner in law enforcement and luuuuuuuurve. Needless to say, Dinah is having some complicated feelings about this, especially when you consider the last time she saw him, he was being shot in the head.
It turns out Dinah wasn’t the only one to become a meta. Vincent is now a DC version of Wolverine or Deadpool, if you want to take into account the being nuts. Basically, he heals really fast. Dinah wants to stop him, because he’s the bad kind of vigilante, but in the end, she falters, and he escapes. She thinks the man she used to love is gone, but she given a sign all hope might not be lost in the form of a matchbox left in her car. So, now we know what Dinah’s main conflict for a chunk of the season is going to be.
But now let’s get on to the meat of Deathstroke Returns. Deathstroke returns. Okay, there you go. We’re done. Thanks for reading.
Okay, we’re really not. Slade Wilson is who initially returns, and oh, how he’s been missed. He needs Oliver’s help getting to his son, Joe. And it’s Mayor Oliver Queen who Slade needs, not the Green Arrow.
It turns out Joe is being held in a Kasnian prison, and Slade wants to attempt a diplomatic way of getting him freed. He wants Oliver to get Joe out and take him to London without ever revealing Slade’s involvement.
But naturally, it all goes wrong. When Oliver gets to the prison, he’s told Joe was killed trying to break up a prison fight. Slade is devastated. Oliver suggests Slade say goodbye to him, so they go back to the prison, only to find out the warden lied. Joe was apparently kidnapped from the prison by a gang called The Jackals. Slade naturally loses it, and after drugging Oliver, we finally get the return of Deathstroke.
Deathstroke locates the Jackals’ hideout and goes on a bloody, bloody rampage, in one of the best sequences we’ve seen in a long time. Eventually, it’s a little too much, and Deathstroke is outnumbered. By now, Oliver has woken up from his drug nap and finds Deathstroke. He gets there just in time for the big reveal – Joe, who now goes by the kickass name of Kane Wolfman, is not a hostage of the Jackals. He’s their leader. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun!
Other points of interest
~ FBI Agent Watson is still digging into Oliver’s life. She now suspects Team Arrow of being Team Arrow, and speaks with them. This time she speaks to Diggle and Felicity. Neither does much to make Agent Watson pack her bags and end the investigation. If anything, she’s being to suspect Dinah is the new Black Canary.
~ We get a brief flashback of Slade with his son on a camping trip. Joe doesn’t believe they’ll make it through the entire weekend, because Slade usually gets called away to work. But this time is different. This time Slade brought his child to work with him. There’s Chinese foreign official camping nearby, and he has information of the whereabouts of Yao Fei. So, we find out Slade really loves his son, but he’s a lousy father.
~ Oliver tells William a modified version of the truth. He doesn’t want William to worry, so instead of saying he’s going off with an old killing buddy, he tells William, he’s helping a friend find a his son. These little lies are going to catch up with Oliver eventually. We all know it.
While Deathstroke Returns has a lot going for it, there are two places where it really falls flat. First off, is the flashback. While it’s great to get a little backstory and see some of the dynamic between Joe and Slade, it kind of kills the episode’s momentum.
The other place is the reveal of Vigilante. There was no buildup. No hints. Nothing. It just was there. It’s a shame, because it could have been more impactful to both Dinah and the viewing audience, had we been given any inclination of anything. I appreciate bringing back someone we wouldn’t have ever thought of, but way to drop the ball, Arrow.
What did you think?