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Last episode of Arrow turned out to be an unexpected two-parter, ending on a cliffhanger in which Slade Wilson discovers that his son, Joe (sorry, Kane), is the leader of a group of wrong’uns called the Jackals, with Oliver hiding in the background somewhere. This week’s episode concludes the two-parter, but gives a bit more focus to Team Arrow in the process. The result is a fairly average episode, mostly enlivened by Manu Bennett’s always enjoyable performance as Slade.
The episode begins with Slade going ‘oh, what the hell – okay son, I’ll join the Jackals’, leaving Oliver a little non-plussed. However, we’ve seen enough of Slade’s good side recently to be pretty certain he’s just pretending, and so it proves. We do get a good fake-out later, when Oliver gets captured and Slade holds a sword a few centimetres away from Oliver’s eye, while murmuring about the revenge oath he swore, but he snaps out of it and cuts Oliver loose instead. (Oliver: “That was a little too convincing…”)
Anyway, it turns out Joe Wilson (sorry, Kane Wolfman) is a bitter and twisted murderer because he saw his father kill that Chinese spy while on a picnic in the flashbacks last week and he murdered his first victim less than six months later or something. (Wasn’t he, like, 12 on that picnic?) Slade tries his best to get through to his son, but Kane’s not having any of it and nearly kills him, before Oliver shoots the sword out of his hand and they let him go. Kane also reveals that he has a secret brother named Grant, so the story closes with Slade making a steam-shrouded, cool-looking exit and telling Oliver that he’s going to look for his sons. Both of them. So no doubt we’ll be seeing the Wilson family again before too long.
The flashbacks are actually pretty good this episode, and are given a significant amount of screentime. Like last episode’s flashbacks, they’re focused solely on Slade, specifically his actions between his return from Lian Yu (after Oliver put an arrow through his eye) and his Mirakuru-fuelled revenge rampage in Star City. The flashbacks show Slade re-connecting with Joe and bonding over their mutual love of fighting, with the pair of them constantly training. However, Slade is haunted by flashbacks and the ghostly, taunting presence of Ghost Shado (a welcome return for Celina Jade), and soon the Mirakuru fires up his system again, especially when he realises Oliver is still alive. The best moment is a blood-covered Slade emerging from the training room and his son realising that his father has slaughtered a room full of Australian Secret Service agents.
Meanwhile, back in Star City, it’s business as usual for Team Arrow, who are engaged in taking down a new druglord known as The Dragon (Kirk Acevedo), aka. Richard Dragon, aka. Ricardo Diaz. There’s just one problem – The Dragon turns out to be Diggle’s drug-dealer, so he’s a little conflicted. The imminent loss of Diggle’s drug supply forces his hand and he comes clean to Lyla, who’s remarkably sympathetic. She also tells him (earlier) that being married to the Green Arrow is really hot and they make out. So there’s still plenty of chemistry between Diggle and Lyla, which is something of a relief, if you’ve been worried about all the sexy closeness Diggle and Dinah have been doing lately.
Anyway, Team Arrow take out The Dragon’s goons and blow up the drug supply and Diggle has a moment where he seriously considers running in and grabbing as much of the drug from the explosion as he can, which is what finally prompts him to realise he has a problem. The episode’s best scene has Diggle apologising to Rene, Curtis and Dinah for nearly getting them killed because he was compromised in the field. Like Lyla, they are remarkably forgiving. (There’s a lot of forgiveness going around in Arrow these days.) Rene points out that if he balances the times Diggle almost got him killed against the times he saved his life, he’s still ahead, so no worries. And Curtis goes, ‘Duh, why didn’t you come to me? I literally created that spinal thingy so Felicity could walk again…’ and promises to help Diggle find a cure for his shaky hand. Dinah already knew about Diggle’s problem, of course, but she keeps that quiet and the episode ends with the pair of them promising no more secrets, just as she squirrels away the present she got from Vigilante. (What is that thing anyway? It looks like a box of matches, but surely it’s more than that?) Felicity, incidentally, is absent from the Arrow Cave because Oliver’s just got back from Kasnia and she ignores Diggle’s call in favour of hanging out on the roof-top with Oliver and William.
All in all, this is a pretty average episode that skimps on the cool fight sequences (especially compared to last week) and never quite manages to inject any real emotion into the Slade / Slade Jr conflict. Still, at least we can be glad that they didn’t drag out Diggle’s drug problem for another five episodes. Just Felicity and Oliver to tell now, yeah? Tune in next time for the return of Black Siren and Cayden James!
Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune
– Slade’s second son, Grant Wilson, has actually already appeared in the Arrowverse – he was the version of Deathstroke that the Legends of Tomorrow encountered in the Star City 2046 episode (the one with one-armed, bearded Old Man Oliver).
– Still no sign of Thea. Please wake up soon, Thea. It’s just not the same without you. #TheaWatch
– Richard Dragon is apparently a well-known DC comics character, a skilled martial artist who has trained several other characters, including Huntress. Once a hero, he has been recently revamped as a Green Arrow villain (a living weapon, no less) in the comics. So it looks like we’ll be seeing him again this season, despite his underwhelming villain-of-the-week debut here.
Arrow Season 6 is available on Sky 1 every Thursday, within a week of its US broadcast. Don’t have Sky? You can stream it live or catch up on-demand through NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 14-day free trial is available for new subscribers.
Photo: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.