Episode 1.14 Writers: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim Director: John Behring
THE ONE WHERE: As Dig and Felicity fight to resuscitate a wounded Oliver, we experience an extended flashback to a dramatic escape attempt from the island…
THE VERDICT: One of the most muscular episodes of Arrow to date. It begins with an impressive sense of momentum and keeps the fuse burning throughout – wisely it strips out all the soapy glop that usually bedevils this show, delivering a flashback-focused tale that’s lean, focused and adrenalised. There are strong dramatic beats throughout, from Moira falling to her knees and offering up a framed photo of her children as her hooded son looms over her – just before blasting him at point-blank, of course – to Slade’s mindgames with Oliver on the island, casually plucking a lighter from his pocket after his fellow castaway has spent two hours struggling to light a fire. It also finds time to build a solid dynamic between Dig and Felicity (and Oliver’s decision to unmask himself to her is another of this episode’s joltingly effective moments). There’s atmosphere to spare on the damp, gloomy island and a nice touch of WWII combat flick in Oliver and Slade’s assault on the radio tower.
HMM: Not sure I buy the moment where Slade and Oliver take an age to provide the correct response to the challenge code – couldn’t anyone just Wiki that quote in the time it takes them to bluff it out? Some seriously sloppy security there, Mr Fyers. Have a word with your men.
HMM 2: And how, precisely, did that mine not go off the moment Oliver was forcibly removed from it? A supremely tense scene let down by an unsatisfying resolution.
TRIVIA: Slade Wilson is, indeed, the secret alias of Deathstroke in the comic books. He was originally known as Deathstroke the Terminator, a title that quickly faded from use after Arnold slapped on the shades and leathers in a certain James Cameron movie.
DID YOU SPOT: William Wintergreen was introduced as Slade Wilson’s butler in the comics, first appearing in New Teen Titans 2 in December 1980.
Felicity: “I’m guessing how and why are Oliver Queen’s least favourite questions.”
Dig: “Yeah, well, there’s also when and where he’s not too fond of.”