Slade, Secrets, Setup - Five Things to Watch for in ARROW: 'The Promise'

Screenshot from Arrow: The Promise
Credit: The CW

Stephen Amell, star of The CW’s Arrow, is very active on facebook. Personally running his facebook fan page (which recently surpassed one million fans), Amell communicates directly with the people who love his work on a regular basis.

On March 2nd, he said of tonight’s episode, simply, “This Wednesday. Best episode we've ever done.”

I’ve seen the episode, titled “The Promise,” thanks to an early screener copy, and it is definitely up there. As we did with Barry Allen’s appearance a few months ago, we’re going to avoid a spoiler-filled review. Instead, here are five things to look out for (or look forward to) in tonight’s action-packed episode of Arrow… That doesn’t include the shirtless training sequences or the comic book nods (listen in closely for the names of the painters during one scene – you’ll hear it). But first, in case you missed it, a special 3-minute trailer that teases the next few episodes, including "The Promise," "Suicide Squad," and "Birds of Prey."

Multiple Iconic Firsts

The Hood. The Mask. First bow-and-arrow combat.

This is a night of firsts, and the island actually dominates much of the episode. There has been over half a season of preparation, and now the timeline on the island accelerates considerably. It’s a night of firsts, and each one is cooler than the last.

This Episode: the Show’s Title is DEATHSTROKE

Yes, it’s still Arrow’s show, and yes, there are some big moments for him, but in both the past and the present, Slade Wilson is the real star this time around.

In the present day, Slade Wilson starts to reveal his master plan to Oliver (following up on the revelation of himself at the end of last week’s episode). He’s officially out of the shadows, and ready to start his systematic destruction of Ollie’s life. We’ll see a couple more definitive parts of his plan come together, and how he’s prepared to deal with Team Arrow (as well as how he’s unprepared for some of them).

Meanwhile, in the past, the mission to take Ivo’s freighter has reached its time, and much of the past storyline centers on Wilson, and how he deals with situations, reacts to unstable moments. There are scenes in the past that are simultaneously payoff and foreshadowing. Slade Wilson may or may not be a bad man, but he is most definitely a bad man.

Team ARROW Has to Come Together

And speaking of Team Arrow, we’re going to see them in action here, despite a busy episode in both past and present for Slade and Ollie, the rest of the team does get some screentime, and some major foreshadowing moments of their own, especially if you watched that big 3-minute trailer for the next few episodes up above. Here are some individual teases:

Roy Harper: More in danger of a mistake than any other member of the team – but shows strong loyalty here.

Felicity: She may actually be the ace in the hole.

Canary: She has a very surprising interaction with another castmember.

Diggle: Looks like he’s about to meet an old friend or four.

Things Are Going to Get Worse

Ultimately, there are many things in this episode that go very, very wrong for our heroes. Make no mistake, this is the end of the second act of Season 2, and like other great Act 2s, it ends on a series of down notes. But the feeling of foreboding is even stronger than any one thing that goes poorly here. Every word Slade says in the present day story is careful and calculated, and meant to dig deep into Oliver’s mind and heart and soul. One thing is absolutely sure: Slade has a plan, and as of the end of this episode, it’s very hard to find a way that he won’t succeed.

Pretty Much EVERYTHING is Revealed

There are major revelations all over this episode. Loyalties are tested, secrets come out, and the revelations aren’t just for viewers, they’re for the characters, too.

Critics have praised the fast pace of Arrow, and the fact that it doesn’t waste a lot of time on drawing out questions and subplots – well those critics will be very happy with this episode, as it does pretty much anything but draw things out.

By the end of this episode, so many questions are answered and secrets unveiled, there are really only two left: What happened to _____? And how on Earth are the heroes going to win (in either time)? The good news is, there are still eight episodes left of this season.

Arrow: The Promise airs tonight, Wednesday March 5, 2014 at 8pm/7 Central.

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