1. This episode was Flashback Central, which nicely illustrated exactly what turned Slade completely against Oliver and why him showing up in the Queen parlor is such a huge problem. Summary: Slade got very angry. Long version: A lot of stuff happened and then Slade got very angry.
2. On the island, Ollie is growing into the warrior seen on Arrow now: he’s not quite there, but him donning Yao Fei’s hood was an iconic moment of note. There was also a callback to the pilot episode when Oliver fires an arrow at the bonfire and misses, earning some flak from Slade.
3. Sums up their interaction nicely:
Slade: “Well, we don’t have all day.”
Oliver: “There’s a breeze.”
4. In light of how things went wrong, the brotherly relationship of Slade and Oliver seen in the beginning of the episode is an even greater loss.
5. Oliver is not to blame for Shado’s death, but the fact remains that he shouldn’t have hidden what happened. This is one of those ‘keeping secrets comes back and bites you in the form of a villain out to destroy your entire life’ lessons.
6. Moira and Thea are completely dense when it comes to picking up on the fact that Oliver is freaking out, and in doing so, they manage to introduce Slade to just about everybody he needs to hurt in order to hurt Oliver. Nice job, Queens.
7. Meanwhile, the humor in Slade and Oliver exchanging veiled threats couched as pleasantries was a great deal of fun to watch.
8. Roy’s continued integration with Team Arrow includes the expected shirtless scenes. At least there’s consistency in the disrobing.
9. After learning about Shado’s death, Slade takes over Ivo’s ship, throws Oliver in a cell and
reveals that he didn’t burn the Mirakuru after all. He also cuts off the hand Ivo used to pull the trigger on Shado. Poetic and gruesome, both in keeping with the evolution of Slade’s character.
10. To the surprise of no one, the promise that Slade made is to destroy Oliver’s live the same way he feels his own was razed when Shado was killed. Had this been some epic romance, or even a relationship that seemed to be reciprocated in more than sideways looks and pining, it would seem a little less contrived on Slade’s part. However, Slade is, in a sense, mourning the potential of what could have been, and so the hurts he will inflict on Oliver are limited only by his imagination.
It’s thanks to the flashbacks and the writing and performances that the relationship between Slade and Oliver becomes more realized, and the result is that the audience understands both sides. This sets things up for Slade to embark on his vendetta against Oliver, and for the latter to wrestle with his own feelings of guilt, as well as trying to protect his friends and family. Things are about to get even more dangerous in Starling City with Slade in town and ‘innocent bystanders’ not being something he cares about. A strong episode and a good precursor to the struggle between Oliver and Slade.
Arrow returns March 19, 2014.