The episode “Deathstroke Returns” starts off from a different point of view. Specifically, we see Councilwoman Pollard, who only seems to exist to oppose whatever Mayor Queen is doing and generally be a pain in his ass, through a gunsight. Dinah Drake, Black Canary in her day job as a police lieutenant, sees a sniper at the last minute and shoves the Councilwoman to safety. A cop gets hit and goes down. Weirdly, even though she saw the position the sniper fired from, Dinah neither returns fire nor points out the position to the other cops on scene. Odd choice.
Oliver gets a call about the situation and says no one was really hurt, which I’m sure the cop that got shot would be fascinated to hear. He tells Rene to make a statement on his behalf, and that he can’t come in for a while because he has a friend in town. After some banter about what Rene is allowed to do, we get back to Oliver and his guest: Slade Wilson, Deathstroke. Slade wants to find his son, Joe, who is now using his mother’s maiden name of Kane. Slade explains his plan, which involves going to Kasnia, a Balkan republic where, traditionally, nothing has ever gone well for the characters on this show. Interestingly, Slade wants Oliver Queen’s help, not Green Arrow’s.
Felicity, working her hacking surveillance camera magic, ID’s the shooter as Vigilante, not seen since losing a fight to Prometheus last season. Truthfully, I thought they’d forgotten about him, like Huntress and Wildcat. They think Vigilante is after Pollard for her pushing the anti-vigilante (the concept, not him specifically) bill. Everyone’s least favorite FBI Agent, Samanda Watson, another anti-Oliver obsessive, shows up to be a jerk and boss people around. I’m fairly sure this is not remotely a crime that falls into the FBI’s purview, not that this seems to matter much to Watson.
Felicity checks in on William before going to see how Oliver is doing. She mentions she has to leave soon for a bachelorette party (as seen in this weeks’ Flash episode), and teases Oliver about his Kasnian vacation with Slade. Felicity doesn’t much like Slade, but agrees Oliver should go help him, which he covers with William as “going to help a friend.” After a minor tension build up, Oliver meets Slade and they leave.
Dinah has another run-in with Vigilante as he makes another attempt on Pollard. She blasts him with her Canary Cry, knocking him backwards and jarring his visor loose. She clearly knows who he is, and is so stunned she lets him get away. Dinah assembles the team in the Lair and tells them about Vincent Sobel, her ex-partner in many definitions of the word. Dinah saw him shot in the head, so she was understandably sure he was dead. Aside from working the Vigilante case, the team also compares notes on dealing with Agent Watson. Maybe we could send Vigilante after her?
Oliver and Slade meet up with Slade’s contact, Major Nylander, played by Kris Holden-Reid, better known as Dyson from Lost Girl. Nylander refers to Slade as Terminator, another part of his comic book alias. Nylander paints a gloomy picture of how much trouble Joe is in.
Felicity has her meeting with Watson, which doesn’t go that well. Watson has no sense of humor at all, which doesn’t mesh with Felicity’s babbling when nervous. Finally, Felicity gets a text from Curtis and says she has to go.
Thinking things through well, Slade has Oliver posing as being with an Amnesty International type group. Slade knows the photo op won’t get him but so far, and also has $50,000 for Oliver to pay towards Joe’s release. Slade has some drama queen moments about his past, and Oliver agrees to go in.
The team goes after Vigilante and manages to trace him to his lair. They go in hunting for him, and Curtis wonders why everyone except him has been called in by Agent Watson. I was kind of wondering that myself. They find evidence that Vigilante is planning something big, but not the man himself.
Oliver gets into the prison where Joe is supposedly being held, and gets some bad news. Slade takes it much better than I expected aside from more moping. They decide to at least arrange for Slade to get in for a look around.
Diggle interrupts Dinah indulging in a tradition for the team, beating up on a training dummy while pissed off about something else. They talk about how messed up she was when she thought Sobel had died. Rene comes in with the dual bad news that Pollard is insisting on doing a public appearance at Channel 52 and that he’s been subpoenaed by Watson. The woman really is the Energizer Bunny.
Oliver and Slade get into the prison and get a new and different story from the Warden. Oliver, quite rightly, advises the man not to make Slade angry. The Warden does at least have a decent motive, not just corruption, for doing what he did regarding Joe. Oliver and Slade take off with a new lead to follow.
Dinah is running Pollard’s security detail, while Felicity and Diggle hole up in the Lair and exchange how much they distrust Slade. Dinah warns Felicity and Diggle that Watson is there, hoping the Green Arrow turns up. Again, not an FBI matter per se, but whatever. I wonder if her supervisor knows what she’s doing.
Slade and Oliver exchange admiration for Felicity after she sends them info on the Jackals, the group that supposedly has Joe now. After a debate about what to do next, Slade suits up in his Deathstroke armor and settles the matter of Oliver coming with him or not fairly definitively and unilaterally.
Diggle, never one to take good advice, shows up at Channel 52. Dinah gets him past the FBI line, and they argue about him being there and her feelings. He does make a joke about having left the hoodie at home. While they argue, and we learn Bethany Snow is not, in fact, the only reporter at Channel 52, we see that Vigilante is inside already. Dinah and one of the cops argue about vigilantes in general, and then Vigilante in specific attacks. Dinah somehow does an instant change into her costume and battles him as Black Canary, saving the officer who was just arguing against all the masked folks in the city. Dinah learns more about what happened to Sobel after his supposed death, and part of how he’s operating as Vigilante. Again, she lets him get away.
Back in Kasnia, Oliver gets over Slade taking off without him. He and William chat on the phone, and William hopes Oliver will be able to find a way to help his friend. Said friend is now in more and more trouble, having infiltrated the headquarters of the Jackals, the group that has captured Joe. Weirdly, they seem to based in a repurposed gym. I guess basketball is big in the Balkans? Slade does this uninspiring series of attacks, which consists of gunshots, swordplay, and the same one kick over and over. Eventually he gets captured, taunted by Nylander who has betrayed him, and gets some hints about Joe.
Dinah and Watson fence some after the action. Dinah gives the FBI credit for backing up the police, while Watson makes a lot of comments about the new Black Canary just happening to show up while Dinah was there. After this lovely bit of girl talk ends, Dinah finds a present on her dashboard that indicates there might be more of the old Sobel left than anyone thought.
Oliver sneaks into the Jackal base, of course with no mask, and listens in. Slade makes a variety of offers to Nylander and the Jackals (sounds like a bad 60’s rock band) if they will just let Joe go. In turn, Nylander gives him some surprising news.
This week’s Flashback Theater is roughly 13 years ago, not 5, and centers on Slade. Specifically, it centers on a camping trip he and Joe took. It was supposed to be father/son bonding, but we see there was an ulterior motive. Among the things we learn are that Slade is really good at hiding his gear, as bad as everyone else about unmasking for no reason, and that he has a connection to a name we know from Lain Yu. That damn island will never go away, even after being blown up.
What I liked: Oliver has an impressive sense of honor, helping out even former foes. I like that he’s trying so hard for William, too. Dinah, too, is very loyal. Slade is trying really hard to make up for past wrongs.
What I didn’t: Agent Watson. Everything about her. I don’t get how she’s on such a long leash here. Slade gets captured too easily for the bad ass he’s supposed to be, and his fight choreography was very repetitive. The general “I take off my mask/operate without it” trend is really out of hand.
I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. It had some good points, but dear God I’m sick of Agent Watson.