*Contains minor spoilers*
Arrow has been majorly teasing Deathstroke fans for quite some time now. Sure, he gets plenty of love in the flashbacks, but the modern timeline often reserves him until the cliffhanger and then he vanishes like a ninja... until the next cliffhanger, that is. Thankfully, The Promise changes that formula with Slade Wilson and dedicates the whole episode to his story.
In the modern timeline, Slade's appearance is just overflowing with suspense. Will he make his big move smack-dab in the Queens' house and right in front of Oliver? Is he just toying with him? These scenes will keep a tight grip on your attention as Manu Bennett delivers a charming yet deceiving and vengeful take on the villain. If you've been emotionally invested in the show (if not, why spend so much time watching it?), this is sure to be a gripping set of scenes that'll keep you anxious. The way it all wraps up is certain to make you pumped for what's to come, too.
While the modern era material offers some major tension, the flashbacks hit us with steady amounts of emotion and action. The action scenes are a real joy in this one. Everything from watching Oliver train in the woods and then utilize those moves on the freighter to Slade plowing through anything in his way is totally exciting. Shado's "cameo" was also a quick and effective moment. However, it doesn't get truly thrilling until Slade's struck by a major reveal. Bennett plays it smoothly in the modern era, but the past scenes allow him to let his emotions loose and help us understand the sheer amount of pain he's going through. His performance is definitely the highlight of the episode.
Yes, the vast majority of this episode revolves around the conflict between Oliver and Slade, but the writers still manage to throw some additional fan service in there. Fans of the comic will be pleased to see Roy taking up a new hobby, plus it's just flat-out cool to see Slade sporting the "first" Deathstroke's mask. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of the original look, it'll be tough not to enjoy seeing him takedown everything in his path and then give a stern stare as the lights flicker around him. Also, that final shot of him? Excellent stuff right there.
My gripes with this one are mostly minor things. For example, why would Felicity put Oliver's call on speaker if she thought it was a butt dial? I guess we can chalk it up to being snoopy, but it's odd she didn't express that at all and randomly made it so everyone could listen to the seemingly mundane conversation instead of just hanging up. And I know what happens next with Sara was meant to serve as buildup for the upcoming scenes, but that came off a tad over the top and cheesy. Lastly, am I the only one who thinks Slade's cameras aren't that well-hidden and actually somewhat large for "hidden" cameras?
The Promise is all about finally delivering on the multiple Deathstroke teases and does a thoroughly awesome job setting the stage for what's to come. While last week's episode thrived because of some superb drama and progress with Laurel (about time, right?), this week's chapter rules because of some major developments with Slade Wilson, big action pieces and a killer amount of suspense. Now it's time to see how the show will handle another huge development it has been teasing for awhile: the Suicide Squad!