Deathstroke returned in his full, disturbingly violent glory while Dinah dealt with demons from her past in Arrow 6×05
The latest episode of Arrow continued from where the previous episode left off, and as the title advertises, Deathstroke did indeed return. Oliver (Stephen Amell) received a phone call from Slade (Manu Bennett) saying that he had found his son Joe. Joe (Liam Hall) was being held as a prisoner in Kasnia. Oliver agreed to help Slade secure his son’s release using diplomacy instead of force. Oliver and Slade were initially led to believe that Joe was dead. Once learning that Joe was still alive and had been taken by a group known as the Jackals, Slade attempted to lash out violently but was held in check by Oliver.
In an attempt to make sure Oliver would survive and be able to properly raise his son, Slade left to retrieve Joe alone. Wearing his full Deathstroke armor and weaponry, Slade quickly fought his way through the Jackals to rescue him. Eventually, the Jackals surrounded Slade after he ran into an acquaintance he had obtained information from earlier. He refused to release Joe due to a complication. Joe wasn’t only taken by the Jackals. He was actually their leader, and he arrived to greet his father.
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Meanwhile, in Star City, Team Arrow continued to have run-ins with FBI Special Agent Samanda Watson (Sydelle Noel). She interviewed Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and then began issuing subpoenas to the rest of the team. Vigilante reemerged and started targeting a politician who supported the anti-vigilante legislation.
Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) saved the politician’s life despite her anti-vigilante stance and eventually confronted Vigilante directly. After breaking his mask with her Canary Cry, she discovered that Vigilante is actually her former partner, Vincent Sobel (Johann Urb). Like Dinah, he was exposed to the dark matter from the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator in Central City and survived a gunshot wound to the head by gaining regenerative healing abilities. Despite Vince still being a murderer, Dinah let him go and was confronted by Agent Watson, who became even more suspicious of Dinah.
With Slade Wilson working with Oliver again, the identity of Vigilante finally revealed, and the FBI continuing to get closer to being able to prove who is working with the Green Arrow, “Deathstroke Returns” had a lot of material for us to sink our teeth into. Let’s meet this week’s roundtable!
Emily (@dianasfelicity) – College student, enthusiastic TV show watcher, and huge Arrow/Olicity fan.
Penny (@SAEBRfan) – Proud mother of 4, Jane of all trades, who loves reading, sports, TV and Arrow
Dani (@ENSM31) – Accountant, Brazilian, crazy about Arrow, not into comics though.
Natalie (@amellxwood) – Film student. Zealous Arrow fan. Olicity are the ones who light my way.
Adri (@lust_muffin) – Avid TV series watcher, Arrow fan from the beginning
1. Vincent Sobel, Dinah’s old partner, was revealed to be Vigilante in this episode. Like Dinah, he was also impacted by the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator and now has regenerative healing abilities. What are your thoughts on those reveals?
Emily (@dianasfelicity): The Vigilante reveal was lackluster. It had been built up since Season 5 that he or she would be someone the audience would recognize, but when he took the mask off, I wasn’t sure who he was! He vaguely looked like Vincent but I couldn’t be positive since he wasn’t a memorable character. If they hadn’t led us to believe we would be mind blown by the reveal, I may have liked it a bit more. With that said, I really enjoyed the scenes between Vincent and Dinah and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their interactions!
Penny (@SAEBRfan): I love Dinah. I’m happy to see a storyline for her and Juliana Harkavy was great in the episode but the Vigilante reveal felt very underwhelming to me. So much hype last season and I thought it was to going to be one of those “OMG!” moments but it ended up being “Who?”
Dani (@ENSM31): I didn’t see it coming. I was expecting someone completely different and not related to her. I still don’t know what to think of. On one hand we have the emotional connection to her character, on the other “will that be enough?” She protected him and lied to the team. His methods and beliefs are completely different from what the team established for themselves. I see trouble in paradise between Dinah and Team Arrow in the future.
Natalie (@amellxwood): It was an interesting reveal. I’m happy to see Dinah getting her own storyline. If she tries to get through to him and change him in the future, I think her relationship with Vincent could end up leading to problems with the team.
Adri (@lust_muffin): That was weak. I mean, they’ve been hyping up Vigilante for a year and the reveal they came up with was the one basically everyone saw coming. What I do like is that it gives Dinah some storyline outside of Black Siren and keeping Diggle’s secret. It’s her own storyline and that’s a good thing. I do not like the fact that Vigilante is a metahuman, though. I can understand Dinah having powers, because she’s the Black Canary and it’s expected, but metahumans do not mix well with Arrow. We have Dinah already. Keep other superpowered people on the other shows.
2. We finally got to see some of Slade’s backstory in the form of flashbacks with his son Joe in this episode. Do you think Joe witnessed his father killing a man? Is that what ultimately led to their falling out? Or will it be more complicated than that?
Emily: I think it’s plausible Joe witnessed Slade killing, but I am not entirely convinced. Their falling out is probably due to many issues that have built up over time. Slade being a murderer may be one, but perhaps there are more emotional factors that sprouted from what we saw in the flashbacks. They depicted a young boy yearning for his father’s attention, but not receiving it. I think the fact that Slade was not the best father may be related to Joe’s current mentality. In any case, as is typical with Arrow, there is likely more to the story!
Penny: He knew Slade was lying to him, that he couldn’t count on his father being there for him and he saw him kill the man. I think it’s complicated but it looks like the apple didn’t fall from the tree.
Dani: Yes, I think he saw it, but that wouldn’t make him evil or the boss of a shady organization. There are paths that we can only CHOOSE for ourselves. I believe we are going to see more of what happened to him, what made him an evil version of himself. It is more complicated than that.
Natalie: I’m sure Joe witnessed Slade killing a man which I’m sure we will see in part 2 of Slade’s 2 episode arc. I would assume that’s what led to their falling out, but with anything on Arrow, I’m sure there’s more to the story.
Adri: I think the flashbacks were purposefully ambiguous (and I truly hate this word, thank you, Wendy Mericle), so that people would be asking this exact question. I think he could have seen it. Seeing your father kill someone could mess you up in the head to the point that you would become the boss of a group of deranged people. And Joe didn’t seem to believe Slade at all about his work, so maybe the kid was paying closer attention than Slade thought.
3. FBI Special Agent Samanda Watson continued to close in on the team in this episode. She was pretty convinced that Dinah is the Black Canary. Dinah’s explanation was rather weak. Do you think Dinah’s story contradicted what Watson knows about her?
Emily: Dinah’s explanation was weak, but it was understandable given the circumstances. I don’t think Samanda was at all convinced by Dinah’s story, and she seemed to be filing the exchange away in her head to unpack later. At this point, I think whatever anyone says contradicts what Samanda knows about them. The FBI agent has strong instincts and sees through all their flimsy excuses, so all I know is they better get some solid alibis ready!
Penny: Samanda Watson is nobody’s fool and I absolutely love how Sydelle Noel is portraying her. I think she definitely knows who Dinah is, and who the others are, she just doesn’t have all the evidence she needs. Let’s face it, she’s smarter than the Star City citizens have been over the last 6 years.
Dani: Watson is very very clever person. She knows that everything that they are saying is bullsh*t. She just needs proof that won’t leave any doubts. She is building a case. She is taking her time.
Natalie: I think that no matter what plausible excuse Team Arrow comes up with, Agent Watson will not back down. I’m really loving seeing someone finally calling out how obvious the team is sometimes and how they don’t do the best job of protecting their identities. It seems like Watson already has everything figured out in her head and that no excuse will change her mind. She is just waiting for evidence that she can use to take them down.
Adri: Samanda’s scenes with the members of Team Arrow are a highlight for me. She’s rolling her eyes and sighing at them every time. She’s basically like “Do you all think I’m stupid or something?” and I’m loving it. Her scene with Felicity was so funny I was laughing out loud. She doesn’t buy a word any of them says, which of course means she didn’t believe Dinah at all. She looks pretty sure that Dinah is the Black Canary. I think Agent Watson pretty much has the whole team figured out at this point. She just needs proof.
4. Despite Vincent being a vigilante and ultimately taking out corrupt people, he’s still a murderer. Do you think Dinah will be able to save him from himself or is he too far gone? Will she even try or will she find a way to kill him?
Emily: I have no doubt Dinah is going to try! She already let him get away in tonight’s episode, and her smile after finding his “gift” in her car tells me she is already softening towards him. Listen, this is a man whom she clearly loved and trusted a great deal. I think it would be unrealistic for her to not feel some relief over the fact that he is alive. I do fear that this may ultimately blind her and affect her judgement when it comes to him, but I am very excited to see how it all plays out.
Penny: After her talks with John, and Vince saving her life, she may decide not to give up on him. It’s too early to say whether or not he can be saved. Right now I only care about how the outcome will affect Dinah.
Dani: “Love is a bullet in the brain”, literally. Her partner, her lover, the person that she knew is still in there somehow. He put his body in front of hers to protect her. She can still reach him. How far, that is the question. She will test their love for each other, how deep it can go and if it’s capable of bringing him back.
Natalie: Arrow has a track record of trying to redeem characters who shouldn’t necessarily be redeemed. I think it would be bold and interesting for Dinah’s storyline if she tries to save him and ultimately fails. I don’t think she could ever find a way to kill him because of how much she cares for him.
Adri: Vigilante is basically like season 1 Oliver at this point. He’s convinced that there’s no other way. And for all of Dinah’s words about how she was going to put him down, she still let him go, so I don’t see her really killing him. What I can see is the fact that she let him go come back to bite them in the ass, especially if he really is past the point of no return. If he really is too far gone, then things will certainly not end well.
5. The action sequence showcasing the return of Slade as Deathstroke was pretty crazy. What did you think of seeing Deathstroke back in action again?
Emily: While I respect that Deathstroke is an iconic villain, he did kill Moira and nearly decapitated Felicity, so I am not his biggest fan. Regardless of that (and the somewhat shoddy fight choreography) I do have one major issue with this scene. The episode tried to make us sympathize with Slade, but this fight sequence removed that possibility for me. I mainly still see Slade as a villain (as almost everyone but Oliver does) so any attempts they made at redeeming him were quickly erased when he donned his Deathstroke persona and tore through those men.
Penny: The action scenes were pretty fantastic. I’m torn when it comes to Slade/Deathstroke. I like him and I hate him. I feel like he has helped Oliver in a lot of ways but I hate what he did when he was under the influence of Mirakuru. Let’s face it, it may not have even been an influence. I did enjoy seeing his backstory.
Dani: Oh boy, I am a big fan of Slade. Before Adrian Chase, he was my favorite villain. Maybe he still is. He is fearless in his fights. He knows what he is doing and there is a cruelty in his moves, I have to confess, that I love.
Natalie: Seeing Deathstroke back in action was pretty neat. It was just frustrating that they are putting him in a different light and having Oliver on his side. Slade’s past actions on Mirakuru or not are unforgivable and it just doesn’t feel right to root for him in the way that we root for our heroes. He’s an iconic DC character and I’d love to see Arrow utilize him as a villain again.
Adri: I have a 4 year old beef with Slade. He kidnapped Thea, killed Moira in front of her children, held a sword to Felicity’s neck and his list of greatest hits now includes leaving everyone behind on Lian Yu when the island was about to blow up. And this is only a basic recap. Stop trying to force the best buddies with Oliver story on us, it’s unrealistic. He’s evil, Mirakuru or not. Dude killed 15 people in a single scene without blinking and without Mirakuru. That being said, Slade is a very skilled fighter and his fight scenes are always awesome. The whole sequence was amazing.
6. The season premiere suggested that there would be parallels between Oliver’s story arc with William and Slade’s story arc Joe this season. “Deathstroke Returns” partially fulfilled that. Do you think Oliver will be able to succeed with his son where Slade failed?
Emily: Oliver will absolutely have more success. When William didn’t like that his father was always being the Green Arrow, Oliver gave it up to spend more time with him. In contrast, when Joe didn’t like that his father was never around, Slade took him on a camping trip, but as we later find out it was under false intentions. Slade always has an ulterior motive, but Oliver genuinely just wants to be a good father. Beyond that, Oliver has loved ones who support his journey through fatherhood, and at the end of the day that gives him a real chance at success.
Penny: Yes I truly believe Oliver can succeed. He has the support system he needs ‒ Felicity, John, (hopefully Thea) and the team, and all are like family, which Slade didn’t have. William also knows about Oliver’s other activities, which I think helps, as long as decisions are shared.
Dani: I do believe. One hundred percent. Oliver is in a different place right now. He puts his son as his first priority and William knows that. Even if Oliver gets back to be the Green Arrow, and he will, William knows that Oliver will be there for him. That is what the kid needs. That is what their relationship needs.
Natalie: I definitely think Oliver will succeed with William. He’s done such a great job being a dad so far and it’s one of my favorite storylines of the season so far. Stephen is doing such a beautiful job portraying the softer dad side of Oliver. I’m excited to see how they will continue to integrate William into the show.
Adri: I say that Oliver is already miles ahead in that department. First because William knows exactly who his father is and what he used to do at his night job. He also knows that Oliver gave that up to be with him. Joe had no idea about Slade’s job and might have found out after seeing his father killing someone. The second thing is that Oliver has help. Ultimately, he’s the one that has to choose what’s best for his kid, but he has Felicity to help him through it, as we saw in this episode. William won’t become a Joe Wilson in the future, that’s for sure.
7. Slade’s son isn’t only a member of the Jackals. He’s also their leader. How far do you think Slade will go to win his son over? Will he succeed in keeping his darker impulses in check or will he succumb to them?
Emily: Oh, I am sure Slade will do whatever it takes to win his son over. No matter how much they want us to think Slade has evolved into a better man, this episode just proves he still has lethal tendencies, and perhaps some serious anger issues! I am fully expecting to see him unleash his darker impulses, but for the sake of repetition, I don’t see him crossing Oliver again. Regardless, Slade won’t stop trying to reach his son anytime soon!
Penny: This is a tough one. I want to believe that the only thing that will keep him in check will be Oliver and their relationship which, at times, has been good and I think he’s been to Oliver what he wasn’t able to be to his son. I want him to come through for Oliver but I’m not so sure that will happen.
Dani: I think that Slade still has a moral compass and that is what will make him set some limits. I don’t think that he will betray Oliver, for example. Call me naïve, but I trust in that bond between Oliver and Slade. And that is what will prevent Slade to succumb to his dark impulses.
Natalie: I think Slade will go to any lengths to win over his son; including crossing Oliver. WHICH IS WHY OLIVER SHOULDN’T HAVE HELPED HIM TO BEGIN WITH!!!! Nothing is black and white. I think his darker impulses will definitely come into play in the next episode. Although I want him as a villain, I think in the end, he will hold back and do the right thing even if that means his son is still lost to the Jackals (for now).
Adri: I would like for the writers to stop trying to make him and Oliver the best of friends after everything that went down after he was injected with the Mirakuru. Their friendship was believable on the island, before everything else happened. Now it’s just insulting to the audience to think we’ll just forget that he got a sword through Moira’s chest in front of both of her children. Let him be the dark version of Slade that we saw in season 2. His killing spree in this episode certainly indicates he has the capacity for it. His comic book version is a villain anyway.
Final Verdict: Slade’s return was violent, morally gray, and provided an interesting contrast to what Oliver is going through with his own son
Family has been an ongoing theme this season on Arrow and the fifth episode was very much on track with that goal. The episode reintroduced flashbacks as a storytelling device and helped flesh out Slade Wilson’s backstory with his son. We had heard about Joe from Slade in earlier seasons but watching them together was an effective way to remind viewers of that backstory while also filling in other details. Slade once again donning his Deathstroke armor and weapons when going after his son was certainly one of the highlights of the episode. The action sequence wasn’t incredibly long but it really drove home Slade’s one-man army fighting abilities (in case we had forgotten). The reveal that his son is leading the Jackals also opens up a lot of story possibilities for both Oliver and Slade. Dinah’s past clashing with the present day situation with the FBI and Team Arrow was also quite effective and should provide a lot of interesting material for the character in the future.
The reveal of Vincent Sobel as Vigilante felt underwhelming to some of our roundtablers after a full season of build-up. Instead of being an exciting reveal, it fell somewhat flat. Slade’s complicated history with Oliver and the fact that he murdered Oliver’s mother made us question both his loyalty and why Oliver is continuing to trust him. Since it’s still early in that particular story arc, it’s difficult to know whether Oliver’s trust of Slade is justified or if the writers are trying to force that old relationship. Some of our roundtablers found it believable while others were more conflicted.
With Slade reunited with his son and Oliver in the middle of the Jackals’ compound, we’re uncertain how things will play out moving forward. Will Slade betray Oliver and side with his son? Or will Slade’s history with Oliver cause him to ultimately side with his former friend? It’s difficult to say at this point since it could easily go either way with Slade. Still, we can’t wait to find out how everything will come together in the next episode.