Jack Rowand/The CW
Sara Netzley
November 17, 2017 AT 12:55 AM EST

Arrow

type
TV Show
genre
ActionAdventure, Crime
run date
10/10/12
performer
Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey
broadcaster
The CW
seasons
6
Current Status
In Season
tvpgr
TV-14

We gave it a B

This week’s Arrow is all about the promises we make and the promises we break.

First, a flashback to seven years ago: Slade’s recovering in an Australian Secret Intelligence Service medical ward with a bandaged eye (was it me, or did that bandage travel from left to right eye depending on the shot?) and nightmares about the Amazo fight with Oliver. When he wakes up, his son Joe is there, and Slade hugs him tight, promising never to leave him again.

In the present, Joe informs his father that he now goes by Kane in his role as leader of the Jackals, and with Deathstroke’s help, they’ll be able to intercept a shipment of the high-yield explosive Semtex.

Flashback, six years ago: Joe and Slade spar in an A.S.I.S. training center. Joe gripes, “How are you better with one eye than I am with two?” then hands Slade a “happy one year back from the dead” bottle of booze, which triggers more island flashbacks.

A prototype suit that’s destined to become Deathstroke’s sits in a glass case in the training room, but Slade’s not interested in that. He and Joe resume sparring with escrima sticks, causing Slade to recall training Oliver in the same manner. The memory makes him too aggressive, and he leaves Joe bleeding. Suddenly, ghost Shado appears to taunt Slade for not keeping his promise to her.

In the present, Oliver makes contact with Slade, and they agree stop the Jackals’ plans, despite Oliver’s warning that Kane is dangerous.

When the Jackals attack the Semtex truck, Kane busts Slade for not taking kill shots, then gives him a chance to prove his loyalty by presenting him with Oliver, who was caught lurking nearby.

Flashback, five years ago: Slade trains (is that all he does at A.S.I.S.?) as his Mirakuru-induced Shado hallucination gets more severe, taunting him for being too cowardly to keep his promise to make Oliver pay. Slade shouts that Oliver is dead, but she just directs his attention to the training room TV, which is showing a report on Oliver’s miraculous recovery.

“I keep my promises,” Slade growls before kissing ghost Shado, which has to look goofy for anybody in the training room watching this all unfold. He sets his sights on the not-yet-Deathstroke armor, and eventually an extremely bloody Slade makes it to Joe, explaining that everybody got in the way of him keeping his promise to Shado. He knocks Joe unconscious and peaces out with the Deathstroke outfit.

In the present, Oliver is tied to a chair, and Slade threatens his eye with a sword. Oliver frantically reminds him about their joint promises to their sons, which informs Kane about William’s existence. Well, that can’t be good.

Slade moves behind Oliver and dramatically lifts his sword, looking very much like he intends to kill his old frenemy. But in the end, he cuts Oliver’s bonds.

Oliver tells him that performance was a little too convincing, and Slade admits that he really was tempted to stay with his son. Oliver reminds him that they’re actually dealing with Kane, not Joe. Slade worries that in his anger and resentment, Kane’s modeled himself after his father — but the Mirakuru monster version. Oliver urges him to try to reason with Kane and show him the man Slade is now.

The Jackals plan to damage a major water system, so Oliver acts as a one-man fighting machine taking down henchmen outside while Slade and Kane face off inside. Kane demands to know why Slade forgave Oliver, and Slade says it’s because Oliver forgave him for worse.

As they fight, Kane spills some secrets: He saw his pre-Mirakuru father kill that Chinese spy on their camping trip years ago. Little Joe wanted to be exactly like his father and ended up making his first kill six months later, so his current path can’t be blamed on Mirakuru. Yikes, camping trip Joe was young. Oh, he’s also got a brother named Grant, whom his mother tucked away to keep him out of this dangerous life.

When Slade says he’s not Deathstroke anymore, Kane loses all use for him and prepares to deliver the, well, the death stroke. But Oliver shoots the sword out of Kane’s hand. Kane hisses that he wishes Slade had stayed dead, then tosses a grenade and disappears.

The Jackals are all arrested, but Slade’s not willing to give up on his sons — either of them. Oliver, who really is too pure for this Earth, offers to help, but Slade sends him back to William. (Next page: John comes clean)

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