Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out the real point of Arrow. It’s not the trials and tribulations of being a superhero. It’s what does it mean to be a father. Follow me on this. The entire show starts with Robert Queen sacrificing himself for his son, Oliver. Yao Fei, Shado, and Mei. Quentin Lance grieving the loss of his daughter Sara, while trying to be somewhat present for his surviving daughter Laurel. Then he goes through hell as Sara returns, only to die soon after and is later revived, then Laurel dies, and now he’s got Evil Laurel. There’s Ra’s al Ghul and his screwed up family. Diggle’s a dad, but half the time it’s hard to remember he has a kid, whether it be baby Sara or JJ. Moving on, we have Rene trying to get his daughter back after losing custody of her. Last season, Adrian Chase wanted to avenge his father, which leads to Oliver learning what it means to be a father to William, and now we have Slade reuniting with his son, Kane (Joe), and it’s not what any of us expected. Arrow is all about fathers.
Last week’s episode left off with Slade discovering his son, Joe, now Kane Wolfman, is the head of The Jackals. Promises Kept reunites the two and has them catching up. Kane is planning a heist of the high-yield explosive, Semtex, and he wants Deathstroke to help. Slade appears to go along with the plan.
When the Jackals attack the Semtex truck, Slade is accused of not taking kill shots. Slade tries to blame it on screwy depth perception. Kane gives him a chance to prove himself. He presents Slade with Oliver, who had been nearby, trying to stop the robbery.
For a moment there, it seems like Slade is going to take one of Oliver’s eyes as revenge. Oliver tries to plead with him to remember their promise to their sons. Luckily, it was all a ruse, like it would be anything else, the show isn’t killing Oliver anytime soon. Slade cuts Oliver’s bonds, and the two of them go off to try and prevent the Jackals from damaging a major water system.
Oliver takes on the Jackals, while Slade goes after Kane. Kane is furious Slade forgave Oliver. Slade says he did it because Oliver forgave him. Slade swears he’s not Deathstroke anymore, so Kane decides he has no use for Slade. He’s about to strike the killing blow, when Oliver shoots Kane’s sword out of his hand. Kane exclaims he wishes Slade had stayed dead and disappears.
The rest of the Jackals are arrested. Slade turns down Oliver’s offer for more help, and goes off on his own to find his sons. (More on that in a second)
Oliver returns home to find Felicity playing video games with William. Felicity explains William got sick of Raisa, so she stepped in. She let William have Rocky Road ice cream for dinner, and he got an A on his science project, a bottle rocket. Is Oliver good with her being there? Yes, he is very happy she’s becoming more of a part of William’s life.
While all of this is happening, we get lots of flashbacks of what happened to Slade after he left the island. It starts seven years ago, with Slade being rescued by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). He wakes up in a medical ward, sees Joe standing there, hugs him tight, and vows never to leave him again.
A year later, Slade and Joe are training at ASIS. Joe wonders how Slade is better than him with only one eye, then he gives him a “Happy One Year of Being Back from the Dead” bottle of booze. Slade gets triggered and begins to have flashbacks to the island. There’s more sparring, which triggers more memories of Slade sparring with Oliver, and he loses control. He hurts Joe. Meanwhile, the ghost of Shado has appeared to him and taunts him for not keeping his promise to her. Also, situated in the training room, is a glass case containing the prototype for the Deathstroke suit. Slade isn’t interested in it at the time.
A year after that incident, Slade is still having Shado hallucinations, and they’re getting worse. She taunts him, calls him cowardly, wants him to get rid of Oliver. Slade screams Oliver’s dead, but Shado directs his attention to a TV in the training room, discussing the miraculous return of Oliver Queen.
Slade reminds Shado he always keeps his promises, and destroys everyone in his path to get the Deathstroke suit. He makes it to Joe, while covered in blood, tells him everyone got in his way and he’s got a promise to keep. Then he knocks out Joe and skedaddles.
As for Team Arrow, they’re dealing with a new baddie, Dragon. He’s been stealing parts to make military grade 3D printers. He wants to use them to make cheap high end designer drugs. This is bad for Diggle, because the Dragon is none other than Ricardo Diaz, aka Diggle’s drug dealer. Diggle is understandably upset by this. He wants to stop Dragon, but he needs his drugs.
Finally, Diggle has a moment of clarity and decides it’s time to come clean. He tells Lyla, who is furious with him and wants to know what happened to the moral man she married. He gives her some line about the morally gray area she lives in as head of ARGUS, but that doesn’t work. They have a rough night.
The next day, Team Arrow is struggling to find Dragon. Diggle offers up the address, claiming he got it from a contact. The team arrives, and rather than sticking around to fight, Dragon is pretty quick to sacrifice his operation. He kicks over a barrel of some kind of flammable substance and lights it up. Diggle watches the fire head towards his drug supply and seems conflicted. He makes it out just in time.
Later, he goes home and confesses to Lyla just how close he was to running into the flames to save the drugs. After some soothing family cuddles (Hi JJ, you’re super cute, but I still miss Sara), Diggle realizes he needs to make a few apologies.
He texts the team to meet him. Felicity takes a raincheck, because she and Oliver are watching William light up his bottle rocket, but the rest of the team shows up. Diggle comes clean about everything, from the drugs to what happened at Dragon’s place.
Rene realizes the tremors are why Diggle wasn’t able to prevent him from getting hurt during the premiere, but he forgives Diggle. Curtis is annoyed Diggle didn’t come to him and starts brainstorming science related ideas to help.
Diggle offers Dinah a special apology, and they agree not to keep anymore secrets from each other, which is kind of funny considering as she’s walking away, she looks down at the gift Vigilante has left her last week. Diggle is left alone. He stands in front of the Green Arrow outfit and his hand trembles.
Other points of interest
~ Slade has another son! Kane dropped a bunch of truth bombs on Slade during their fight, including the existence of his other brother, Grant. Their mom hid Grant from Slade to keep him out of the “life.”
~ Slade originally thought the reason Kane became like him is because he was trying to emulate the person Slade was while he was on the Mirakuru. Nope! It turns out Kane decided he wanted to be like his father after seeing him kill the Chinese official during their camping trip. He made his first kill six months after that.
~ How ridiculous do you think Slade looked to all the other people in the room kissing a hallucination?
~ At first, Lyla wasn’t sure about Diggle taking up the Green Arrow mantle. She understands now how he felt when she took Amanda Waller’s place in ARGUS. However, now she digs it (pun intended), as evidenced by her enticing him into the bedroom.
~ Diggle is using the fun arrows. This one seems to make airbags inflate or something similar.
~ Kane knows about William. This is not going to end well for Oliver.
And there you have it. Promises Kept gave us a lot of answers, moved the story along, and wasn’t too bad. I think I would have preferred not to have so many flashbacks, but I understand why. It’s good to have more of an understanding of who Slade is now and how he got that way. Kane is an interesting character. I want to know if he was twisted even before he saw Slade kill. And how is his relationship with Grant? What’s Grant is like. I can’t wait for us to eventually meet him.
The introduction of Dragon is a good one. As always Kirk Acevedo does this kind of role very well, but given how strong the Slade/Oliver story is, I almost wish they had focused entirely on Slade/Kane/Oliver, and left Dragon for next week. I extremely grateful they had Diggle come clean about the tremors, but again, I worry the impact of everything might be a little overshadowed by Slade/Kane/Oliver. I guess we’ll see as it goes.
And finally, once again, MVP of the episode goes to Manu Bennett. He’s incredible as Slade. I don’t think we would have gotten as much use out of the character had Manu not been such a strong presence.
What did you think of Promises Kept?