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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Arrow S02E18 “Deathstroke”

April 3rd, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

Slade made a promise to Oliver, that he would make him know complete despair. And in “Deathstroke” he made him feel it in spades.

Let me be clear here, this episode is getting a 5/5. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it. The reason it’s getting such a score is in its execution of the episode. From the plot, to the characters, to the NUMEROUS jaw-dropping moments.

From the ending of last weeks episode we knew Thea would be in trouble. The questions was, how much? Well “Deathstroke” picked up literally where we left off, and answered the question quickly. But not before giving a nice tender moment between Thea and Slade.

It’s really is a testament to good writing when you can sympathize with a villain. Malcolm Merlyn could be sympathized because he lost wife to the people she had been trying so desperately to help, and it broke him. Slade, lost the woman he loved because of a decision his “brother” had made, and it broke him. Yet both of them broke the mold and didn’t go straight evil villain, at least not at first. Both bided their time, and showed just productive planning ahead could be.

From the moment Thea was shown to be captured at the debate, which I would like to note was actually an important part of this story and will be going forward, all bets were off. Everyone was looking for Thea and trying to figure out who took her. Of course, Ollie and crew already knew who took her…

But how would they get her back? Slade had always been one step ahead of them since his re-emergence, and this entire episode proved over and over that he really does know Ollie well enough to predict his moves. Scene, after scene, after scene, it played out. Just when you thought they had an advantage, it was taken away. They arrested Slade, he had an alibi. They were getting close, and then the rug got pulled out from under them, it was brutal, it was effective, it was amazing, and it was all in the name of making Oliver feel complete despair.

Yet taking Thea wasn’t the only way to make him feel that. Ever since the beginning of Season 2, Isabel Roschev has been kind of a mystery. She was there as Ollie’s business rival, yet she also slept with him in Russia, teasing something more. Then she disappeared for a bunch of episodes. Having her come back, pretend to be his friend, only to steal his company out from under him, THEN reveal she’s working for Slade was both mindboggling and yet completely made sense. Nice moves by the way. Also though, she said the very interesting line “the sins of the fathers are paid by their sons” meaning a deep connection to Robert Queen.

And that still wasn’t all! The kidnapping of Thea brought some serious cracks into Team Arrow, especially with Roy who was (quite justifiably) feeling guilty because he believed breaking up with Thea was the reason she got caught by Slade. He began to point out how everything may have truly been Ollie’s fault, and some of his points were hard to argue with. This led to Roy leaving the team, and then leaving the city!

My personal favorite was Detective Lance feeling the backlash of working with The Arrow. He made the arrest on Slade, and though he was right, he was arrested for conspiracy to commit felonies! I’m truly wondering how this will play out, as Lance has had one of the biggest and best turnarounds this season.

If there was one small ray of sunshine for Ollie, it was that he did get to reconnect with Moira, who was absolutely devastated by the kidnapping of Thea. She all but repented to Ollie and he really did seem to forgive her…unfortunately, Thea won’t be as kind. Her finding out that Merlyn is her father will no doubt divide the family going forward, just how much though remains to be seen.

The island inched towards its season 2 conclusion, with the prisoner exchange. This in itself was an interesting development, as Slade so easily let Ollie return to the island and Sara. We also heard in an earlier seen that Slade apparently “died” at sea, which no doubt will make us wonder if there’s an assault on the boat that leads to this.

For the second episode in a row though, this was really all about Sara and the choices she has to make to save Ollie. There were some interesting moral questions raised, and answered in just as interesting a way. Yet the big “reveal” was that Slade see/hears Shado next to him, and he still does to this day! Is a delusion caused by the Mirakuru? Or just something Slade’s broken mind created to ease his pain?

The ending was yet another stunner, with Ollie and the remains of Team Arrow now refocused and ready to strike, Slade dealt one final blow. He told Laurel that Ollie is The Arrow. He did WHAT!?!?!? This will no doubt be a serious plot point in the next episode, and it’ll be fun to see how Ollie reacts to this, given everything that has transpired between him, her, and The Arrow in the last season and a half. Why do we have to wait two weeks to see the next episode!?!?!

If there was one complaint I would have to make, it’s that Thea stayed to hear Ollie’s secret. Was that really so important to her personally that she would risk being scarred forever? I know why they did it plot wise, it was just a curious choice on her part.

In the end though, “Deathstroke” was a masterpiece of an episode, making good on the promise Slade made to Ollie, yet furthering a bunch of plotlines that Season 2 had created. The countdown has begun to the end. Let’s hope we just survive the anticipation!

5 out of 5 nerds

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!