Arrow: The Promise


Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

If one word could some up “The Promise” I would use action. There was so much action in this episode that the series had to literally build the Amazo for filming. Throughout the series, the action sequences have become more and more polished, but the sequences in this episode were on a completely different level.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

In full disclosure I typically have a rough time getting through island flashbacks in episodes. I know, I know almost everyone I know says they are their favorite parts. For some reason I find them boring, with mediocre character development, and do little to further the plot. I even had a rough time with last season’s all-island episode, “The Odyssey.” So, I was ambivalent when “The Promise” came around. But, dare I say that “The Promise” made me a believer in the island flashbacks.

I like how Arrow is beginning a tradition much like Fringe. In Fringe they would do one “different” episode per season (like the animated episode, musical episode, etc.), while Arrow dedicates a full episode every season to the island.

There were two memorable “suit up” moments. One was Slade donning the Deathstroke mask, signifying a warrior looking for revenge. The other was Ollie donning Shado and Yao Fei’s hood, signifying the emergence of someone other than an eccentric billionaire playboy. This was really shown during Sara and Ollie’s talk the night before the assault.  He wanted his family to know he changed while she didn’t want her family to know what she had become. Two people at two completely different points in their life. With Slade and Ollie’s costumes comes the beginning of two legends looking for revenge, but ultimately taking different paths.

There was a fun little callback to the pilot where Ollie hit the bonfire with the flaming arrow, but this time he had a little more difficulty.

Some of the best parts of the episode were Slade interacting with the Queens. Oliver’s reactions to every little thing were hilarious. You could just see the wheels in his head working as he tried to figure out a plan to get this former friend out of his house. And the part where three fourths of Team Arrow arrived at the Queen mansion was also terrific, very passive aggressive. (Watching Manu Bennett react as each member reveled themselves was absolutely classic.) Oh and if you thought last week’s handshake between Ollie and Slade was intense, check out the one between Roy and Slade. Speaking of Roy, he finally got his chance at shooting a bow, but it was quickly glanced over in favor of coming to Oliver’s aid.

At the same time it was a relief that everyone had their cards on the table. There was no more hiding, everyone knew everyone was alive, and everyone knew people’s motives. Now that those cards are on the table, what’s to come should be an exciting battle between Team Arrow and Team Slade.

Arrow never introduces characters for just for fun with no purpose behind it, but the series did introduce two new characters from the Amazo: Reverend Thomas Flynn and Hendrick Von Arnim.  Everyone’s favorite Russian, Anatoli Knyazev (aka KGBeast) returned as well. It’s possible that the Reverend is the Flash’s Pied Piper. Let the crossovers of the Flash series begin! Von Arnim could end up being revealed as Heinrich Megala.

For anyone who missed it, when the Queen women were showing off their massive art collection they named dropped two actual DC comic book artists, Curtis Swan and Joe Kubert.

What did you think about Slade’s reveal? How do you think Team Arrow will fare against Team Slade?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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