The CW’s Arrow left viewers — as well as Oliver’s jaw — hanging at the close of last week’s episode, by revealing that He Who Is Also Known as Deathstroke has infiltrated the Queen mansion, passing himself off as an inarguably charming backer of Moira’s mayoral campaign.
Tonight at 8/7c, the CW action-drama picks up where it left off, with Slade taking enormous pleasure in deftly taunting his onetime island ally in the course of seeming small talk, until at one point Oliver can take it no more and moves to kill his shockingly resurfaced frenemy.
But as Slade retorts, “Not yet, kid.” No, he has bigger, far more torturous plans in mind for Mr. Queen.
“One thing is absolutely certain,” Manu Bennett told TVLine during our visit to the series’ set in Vancouver. “As of the point where Slade believes that Oliver was responsible for the death of Shado, coupled with the effects of Mirakuru, Slade Wilson is a killing machine — and he has come to Starling City to exact revenge.”
Yet as enjoyable as Oliver’s current day conundrum is — seriously, Slade misses no opportunity lob veiled threats, while a handshake he shares with the similarly Mirakuru’d Roy makes for a can’t-miss TV moment — much of the episode unfolds in flashback, as Oliver, Sara and Slade plot to take the freighter and thus secure passage home. Aside from squashing Ivo’s small army, the only other question is: Can Oliver bring himself to kill Dr. Ivo before details about Shado’s death surfaces?
Needless to say, one way or another, Slade will become privy to the truth. And much like another comics-verse’s Dr. Banner, he’s not a guy you like when angry. “Slade has a very pure objective: To find the person responsible for Shado’s death,” Bennett notes. “And when he discovers that it is Oliver, his temper spikes. And because of the Mirakuru, he becomes even more intense.”
Stoking Slade’s fire is the deep sense of betrayal he feels, especially so soon after he and Oliver talked of one another as being “brothers.” As Bennett explains, “He brought this kid through a world he would never have survived if it hadn’t been for Slade’s mentorship. It’s a scenario akin to, ‘What would Yoda have done if he thought Luke Skywalker had betrayed him?’ Or Liam Neeson in his Batman [Begins] role [as mentor Ra's al Ghul]. Slade’s feelings are so intense because of the camaraderie they had shared.”
In the here and now of Starling City, however, Slade manages to keep his composure whilst in Oliver’s company — and even while cheating death — knowing that to do so is critical in enacting his end game.
“If you look at the movie Inception, for example, people like to be in control of their reality — and that’s how Slade is in Starling City,” Bennett says. “He has learned to control the Mirakuru rage. Because he must control his past if he is to facilitate his future.”