Arrow: Promises Kept

"I'm just trying to make it through the day."

Slade promised his son that he would be there for him.  Diggle promised Oliver and the rest of the team that he would protect Star City.  This episode may be entitled "Promises Kept", but it is more about the promises that were and may yet be broken.

Slade finally got what he’s wanted from the moment he was introduced in season 1, to be reunited with his son.  He is so grateful he is even willing to overlook what his son has become.  Slade wants to believe his son is a younger version of himself.  After all, it’s not as if Slade is adverse to killing, but he lives by a code.  His son does not.

In the comics, Joe Wilson a.k.a. Jericho was held hostage by a terrorist called The Jackal when he was a child.  He would later become a meta because of experiments done on his father.  Here we have variations on a theme.  Joe has become the terrorist - a man his father helped create.

Slade mistakenly believes the mirakuru and his broken promise has led his son to this.  He’s only half right.  It started with the camping trip Slade used as a pretext for a mission. The trip he promised was all about Joe.   Slade’s unwillingness to be honest with Joe left his son with no context for the violence he witnessed.  Desperate to walk in his father’s footsteps, Joe internalized the brutality without the morality to balance it.  In the comics, Joe goes on to become a hero and a member of the Teen Titans. One can only hope that this Joe, who has spent his life emulating his father, will eventually follow him into the light.

Back in Star City - Enter the Dragon.

Diggle has always been the moral compass for the other characters. He’s justified withholding information from his team and taking steroids (Really Dig, steroids?) to uphold his obligation to Oliver.  He has become so desperate to be what his team and the city needs that he compromises his beliefs to do so.  To the point where after discovering Ricardo Dias is the Dragon Diggle still contemplates letting him stay on the street.

That is until Lyla holds up the mirror.  I was not a big fan of Lyla and Diggle in the beginning, but I’ve grown to love their relationship.  They both came out of the military, and they both understand the pressure of leadership.  They understand each other on levels that few couples ever do.  Which is why it is fitting for Lyla to call John out on his hypocrisy.  He knows and admits what he's doing is wrong. But he argues that his obligation to be the Green Arrow outweighs the danger of leaving the Dragon on the street even after Lyla brings up the potential body count. I believe it’s her disappointment in addition to his “rock bottom” moment that served as his wake up call.

And at the center is Oliver.  I love that Slade and Oliver are once more becoming the brothers they were meant to be.  But is there any scenario in which Joe does not show up in Star City looking for William?  And if it comes down to a choice between Joe and William will Slade, and Oliver’s bond survive?  As for the Green Arrow, Oliver is at peace with his decision not to wear the hood, but now that Diggle has admitted to being compromised, will Oliver keep his promise to his son at the expense of the city?

TV shows in general, and shows based on comic books in particular, usually deal in black and white.  One of the things I love about Arrow is its willingness to dwell in the grey.  Slade and Diggle are confronted with the choice between doing the right thing or keeping their promises.  Unable to accomplish both they chose to do the right thing.  But at what cost?

Parting Thoughts:

Speaking of promises.  Dig promised not to keep secrets from Dinah but she's still keeping a doozy from him.

How cool was Slade's exit through the smoke?  The photographer in me was just giddy.

It was nice to see Oliver is still on his game but can we talk about how many bodies he dropped?  I thought he and the team were done with killing. Again.

Will we get to meet Slade's other son, Grant?

You can 3-D print chemicals now?  This is a thing?

Props to Stephen Amell.  I  never believed that Slade was going to kill Oliver, but I believed Oliver did.

Quotes:

Curtis: “It would be my honor. It would be my pleasure.”
Rene: “Kiss ass.”

Rene: "Anyone in the mood to stress-eat?"
Felicity: "Always.  Whatcha got?"
Dinah: "Quadruple Cheese.  Must be serious."

(That says so much about this team.)


I love a good fight scene as much as the next girl, but at the end of the day, it’s the character relationships that keep me coming back.  For me, this episode delivered.

4 out of 5 Arrows

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape. 

6 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations on posting your first review for us, Shari! I was sort of trying to read around your review because I haven't seen the episode yet. :)

Shari Houtman said...

Thanks for welcoming me into the fold. I'm honored to be an Agent of Doux!

Mallena said...

Looks like the right person was found to review Arrow. Very knowledgeable and interesting review, Shari.

Shari Houtman said...

Awwww, I’m blushing.

Anonymous said...

International Mercs>Street level thugs..Im happy 'Killing' is back on the table..It was part of the improvement of season 5..Its what makes Arrow and by extension Oliver a more interesting character than Kara and Barry for instance..When those characters go Dark both in actions and personality it does not really work (except red k Kara)..
Oliver and Sara have such dark and brutal pasts that the balance with the good they do now is a much finer line...I mean really they have dropped as many bodies as The Punisher..Especially considering its the CW i think they have done an admirable job exploring this aspect of the series.

Shari Houtman said...

I'm not arguing. It's one of the reasons why Arrow is my favorite show in the Berlanti-verse. I'm just going back to the idea that a real hero doesn't kill. Since this seems to be about Oliver's journey to become a hero, I wish they would just decide that he's not going to stop killing until the show ends the way Clark didn't put on the suit until the end of Smallville. This back and forth thing is starting to get annoying.