Arrow Review by Henry Tran

Arrow 6.05: Deathstroke Returns

Arrow 6.05: Deathstroke Returns

Written By:
Ben Sokolowski and Spiro Skentzos
Directed By:
Joel Novoa

Like its sister show, The Flash, Arrow features no appearance of its titular hero this week. Unlike The Flash however, which gave the Scarlet Speedster a night off in order to highlight the women of the show, Arrow didn't put Dig or Oliver in the Green Arrow suit because it seems like the show has forgotten about its titular hero. Dig doesn't need to suit up because the Black Canary took the reins this time. The story in Star City has a personal connection to Black Canary, and that at least allows actress Juliana Harkavy to have an expanded role beyond being superpowered support in Team Arrow. Even Oliver doesn't get to don the Green Arrow suit, even though he's nowhere near Star City. He's aiding Slade Wilson in locating his lost son.


The return of Slade Wilson to Arrow was meant to bring some measure of excitement to the proceedings. It was unclear as to what his relationship to his son might be, but that didn't matter all that much when I first saw the promo for this episode. Deathstroke was coming back! What I wasn't expecting, and I think I can say this for every fan that Arrow has left, is the return of the flashbacks. When the show blew up Lian Yu at the end of last season, and all throughout the offseason, it was promised that the show was done with the flashback framework. There was nothing left to tell from the flashbacks. The presence of the flashbacks here may be a one-off kind of deal, but it still bugs me that they've returned along with Deathstroke.


I could tolerate the flashbacks for another hour if they proved to be interesting or insightful in any way. The episode kept me waiting throughout its run, and the tease of their premise could have been made into something that added to the mythology of the show proper (filling in Slade Wilson's backstory with his son before he became the Deathstroke portrayed in the show's timeline), but it proved a huge disappointment. Not only that, but the flashbacks were simplistic and boring. They would count among the worst of Arrow's various flashbacks from seasons past, which meant they were stalling for time.



The most effective flashbacks on the show connect both storylines in a meaningful way. Showing a kinder, tamer Slade Wilson doing fatherly things with his young son, such as camping and fishing and all of that, only served to soften a character that had been well-defined by his toughness and ruthlessness. Yes, Slade isn't that person anymore since he no longer has the bloodlust from the Mirakuru in his system, and he spent years in isolation, but it then becomes arguable that these flashbacks are unnecessary. It's meant to connect with what Oliver is going through with William right now, but the overall message conveyed is somewhat lost in the shuffle.


The show has to move the plot along, and that means eschewing the flashbacks for the predictable course of having Slade think his son is dead, then he isn't dead, and it turns out he's actually the leader of the guys Slade and Oliver were sent to fight. It's a decent cliffhanger, but the show has done better, and I got the sense that the writers didn't quite know where to go with the story, probably because they wanted to focus so much on the flashbacks.



That isn't much of a problem for Dinah, who discovers in this episode that Vigilante (remember him?) is actually her long-thought-to-be-dead partner. Vigilante took a backseat last season to the growing Adrian Chase arc, and so I don't think I'd blame anyone if he was forgotten. That minimal presence contributes to the perception that Vigilante's true identity is something rather underwhelming. We know next to nothing about the character, and what we do know is colored through the viewpoint of Dinah. She thought he was dead all this time and so that doesn't give the audience much to go on if the show wanted us to connect with him or the storyline at all.


But Harkavy gives it her best shot, which is all we can ask for since this is the meatiest storyline she's been given since she joined the show in the middle of last season. It's not quite enough to drag the episode out of the doldrums, but hey, at least she didn't have to worry about Dig again. She didn't have to, since she was the only one to suit up, and Dig left his Green Arrow suit in the bunker.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • It’s interesting to see how the writers are trying to show how the story works without Oliver being Green Arrow
The Bad:
  • Special Agent Watson is getting to be rather annoying
  • The flashbacks return with a thud, which is disappointing on several levels

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Arrow by - 11/13/2017 7:21 AM188 views

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