Arrow continues their two-part Deathstroke arc in this episode entitled “Promises Kept.” Just like the previous installment, Arrow splits its time equally between Slade and Oliver’s adventures and Team Arrow in Star City. Yet “Promises Kept” takes a much more Deathstroke-centered approach than “Deathstroke Returns” and really offers a look at what Arrow would look like if it Slade Wilson was the lead character and not Oliver Queen. That look is dark and bloody but is still a tremendous amount of fun while keeping that edge that is uniquely Arrow in tact.
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The Sins of the Father
“Promises Kept” picks up directly after the events of “Deathstroke Returns” with Slade being menaced by his own son, who informs Slade that his name is no longer Joe; it’s Kane Wolfman. This is all about of Joe’s Kane’s determined mission to be taken seriously as a super-villain. Kane has evidently learned all the wrong lessons from Slade and he’s everything Slade was, before and after, the Mirakuru but much, much worse.
Kane is a complete sociopath but rather than this feeling cheap or campy, it makes him into a surprising and credible threat. Arrow makes clear, due to an effective use of flashbacks, that Slade made his son into this monster. While Arrow doesn’t allow the audience to sympathize too much with Kane, the show does a wonderful job of making the hurt from Slade feel palpable. At the same time, it’s clear that Kane’s ruthlessness pulls on Slade’s dark side and makes him want to re-emerge as Deathstroke.
Slade enters his son’s mercenary group with the goal of trying to redeem him. Yet it’s only due to Oliver’s repeated warnings that Slade manages to stay on the side of the angels. Slade is really tested, however, when Kane finds and captures Oliver.
Kane forces Slade to choose between Oliver and himself and Slade’s seriously tempted in axing his best frenemy. (It’s a testament to Manu Bennet and Stephen Amell’s acting that this scene feels much more dangerous and tense than the similar one in the season 5 finale where Slade was merely pretending to betray Oliver.) A careful mention of William though secures Oliver’s fate and together they escape. Although it should be mentioned that Kane now knows that Oliver has a son … which is doubtless going to be a huge problem later this season.
Star City Break
Back at Star City, a much less interesting conflict is playing out. While “Deathstroke Returns” both brought back and introduced Vigilante, “Promises Kept” takes a similar route by introducing a new villain, Ricardo Diaz aka The Dragon. While it’s a fine introduction, it’s nothing too special. Actor Kirk Acevedo’s entrance into Arrow as The Dragon is a far cry from Michael Emerson as Cayden James, but there’s still potential for the future.
The main hook is that Diaz is the manufacturer of the drug that Diggle has been taking to stop his tremors. Facing and taking down his drug dealer, forces Diggle to finally come clean to everyone about his injury, both in his personal and professional life. Lyla finally returns, almost specifically, to deal with this bombshell in her husband’s life and it’s a surprising non-issue. Diggle recognizes that he’s made a mistake and Lyla helps him through it. It’s all very mature, open and honest. It turns out that fight needn’t cause a couple to immediately break-up on Arrow. (Take notes, Olicity.)
Team Arrow responds to Diggle’s confession just as well. They all accept his apology for lying and Curtis even promises to find a tech solution to Diggle’s problems. The way that Diggle’s tremors situation is wrapped up in a nice little bow is a teeny bit frustrating. It makes Diggle’s lies seem even stupider than before but it’s nice to have a little happy ending to the episode because Slade certainly doesn’t get one.
What Do With a Problem Like Kane?
Although Slade and Oliver escape Kane, they are still faced with inescapable problem of having a sociopath on their tails. Slade is convinced that his son is way too far gone and that he must be killed. Oliver, however, doesn’t think filicide is the answer. Of course violence is still in the pictur, because this is Arrow, but no actual death.
Oliver and Slade raid the Jackals compound determine to destroy the entire operation. Slade takes on his own son, while Oliver hunts pretty much everyone else. Eventually it all leads to Slade and Kane on the rooftops, which might just be the most intense father-and-son battle this side of Empire Strikes Back. Just like that movie though, there’s a big bombshell to drop. Kane reveals that Slade actually has another son named Grant, who was kept entirely out this life by his mother. Grant is innocent but Kane is, and always will be, his father’s son.
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Kane, right on cue, goes to chop Slade’s head off in the fight, but Oliver shows up to disarm him. Clearly outnumbered, Kane runs off into the night. Slade’s battle is just beginning, however. He tells Oliver that he will continue hunting and helping both of his sons and The CW really just needs to quit everything to give us a spin-off about that story.
For now, at least, Oliver and Slade part ways. Seeing Slade’s turmoil, Oliver becomes convinced that he made the right decision to leave the Green Arrow life behind. It should be mentioned that Oliver says that without knowing, yet, about Diggle’s tremor problem.
So what did you think of the episode? How do you feel about Kane as a villain? Are you looking forward to another Deathstroke adventure? Will Kane end up hunting William? What, if anything, will bring Oliver out of Green Arrow retirement? Was the solution to Diggle’s deceit too easy?
Arrow season 6 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)