Wednesday, March 5, 2014

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - Oliver, Slade & Sara Take the Freighter as Thea Gives Slade a Tour of the House in 'The Promise'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 1.15 The Promise

Oliver is shocked to learn that Slade has come to Starling City; Oliver, Slade and Sara prepare to take over Ivo's freighter; and Slade's growing rage from the Mirakuru makes him unpredictable and he could on his friend if he learns Oliver is to blame for Shado's death.

Similar to season one's "The Odyssey," "The Promise" flips the basic structure of an episode of Arrow. It brings the flashback story to the forefront while the stuff occurring in the present day is effectively the B-story. I wasn't particularly intrigued by this swap when it was employed in the first season because I had no particular interest in any of the flashback stuff. As the show has continued, it has gotten better at integrating the island flashbacks into the thematic scheme of the episode. This season what happened on the island is directly effecting what happens in the present day. Slade Wilson is angry at Oliver and wants to exact revenge on him. He wants Oliver to suffer the same way he did after Shado's death. "The Promise" showcases the exact event that caused such a critical split between the two.

And everything ultimately boils down to tension and how well-executed that concept is throughout the hour. The action sequences on the freighter are exciting and well choreographed. Even in the dark shadows, I had a great understanding of place and struggles facing the people shooting at each other. But the present day stuff is nothing to scoff at either. "The Promise" picks up the second after the last episode ended with Oliver coming face-to-face with Slade once again - this time as a new beneficiary to Moira's campaign. Oliver is stunned to see him alive but can't show it in front of his family. He covertly gets the Team to come assist. But Slade has friends too. He's merely making his presence known to Oliver. Setting up a great showdown to come in the last third of the season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Promise" was written by Jake Coburn & Ben Sokolowski and directed by Glen Winter.
  • They really brought Celina Jade back as Shado for that one brief dream sequence. What a waste and total unnecessary. 
  • I'm intrigued to see the next stage of the island flashbacks only to see how Oliver shoots an arrow into Slade's eye.
  • So much well included iconography as well including Slade putting on the Deathstroke mask, Oliver donning the Arrow outfit for the first time, his training sequence on the island and shooting the arrow to start that fire just like in the pilot.