Tonight on Arrow (The CW, 8/7c), as Oliver flirts with the Grim Reaper in the wake of confronting his mother Moira about “failing Starling City” and all that, he flashes back to a different survival saga, shedding more light on the increasingly murky Deathstroke mystery.
“While Oliver (played by Stephen Amell) is on that table [in the Arrowcave] metaphorically fighting for his life, he’s remembering the things that he was taught on the island, in order to survive,” says Manu Bennett (Spartacus), who plays Slade Wilson.
When last we tuned in, Slade was set to snuff island noob Oliver, deeming him an unworthy ally, until the billionaire brat showed his captor a glimpse of potential. Now, Slade is training Oliver to be capable enough to assist in overtaking the island airstrip and securing passage home.
This training regimen, however, is not your local fitness club’s Boot Camp class. Says Bennett, “Oliver definitely takes a beating.” But he also absorbs key learning about what’s truly important when engaging in battle. “There’s a wonderful scene where he says to me, ‘Why are we learning with sticks? What good are sticks if somebody sticks a gun in my face?’ So I tell him to stick a gun in my face, and he quickly learns the gun is not the weapon; it’s the mind.”
Once Oliver is deemed up to snuff, the men set out on their high-stakes mission. But when Slade lets slip his shocking actual endgame, Oliver balks, putting not just the plan in jeopardy but also their lives — especially when Slade is forced to go toe-to-toe with a friend-turned-foe.
“When Oliver goes off to try to save the day, Slade knows this kid’s going to get himself into trouble, so he ends up going trying to stitch [their individual agendas] together — and in the process he comes face to face with his counterpart, the other guy in the gold-and-black mask,” Bennett shares. “The two Deathstrokes come face to face.”
So is what Slade claimed last week in fact true? That the masked assassin who tortured Oliver in previous flashbacks was not him, but a fellow member of an Australian special ops force?
Bennett chooses his response carefully. “I’ll put it this way: There are two masks. There are two possible Deathstrokes. And in this episode, you’re going to have a bit of a reckoning,” he teases. “The audience will realize which way the story is going. Who is the true man behind the Deathstroke mask?”