Welcome to the Arrow Season 2 Episode 15 Round Table!
Was "The Promise" all it was hyped to be? We're not convinced. We also chat about Slade's reason for vengeance, keeping family in the dark and why we were introduced to Ivo's softer side.
Join in the conversation with staff writers Kate Brooks, Hank Otero, Nick McHatton, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica because hearing from you makes this all worthwhile. Dive in, everyone!
Did "The Promise" live up to your expectations?
Kate: To be completely honest, no it did not. With that said, the action sequences of the episode did. It was the most action and stunt work we've seen throughout the series, which was incredibly impressive. However, we now know how it all started between Oliver and Slade and it's incredibly dramatic. I think the build up and suspense this episode created is far more intense than the actual episode.
Hank: I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I think the cast/crew over-hyped the episode. While it was definitely a big episode as far as production, sets, effects, etc... things played out pretty much the way we've been discussing here in our round tables. I think one of the most exciting things about Arrow, for me, is when the writers take the more unpredictable route. That said, it certainly was great to watch it all play out on our tv screens.
Carla: I loved the training scene with Oliver on the island. That was epic stuff. I could watch that over end over again. And the tension in the Queen mansion. The fight on the freighter was a disappointing. The choreography was obvious with the movements and explosions. Not up to Arrow standards. And it pretty much went as expected. I hoped for a twist in the island.
Nick: Yes, it didn't throw any curve balls, and it played out exactly to expectation. However, its execution is top notch with all around good acting and bridging the gap to show where it all went wrong.
Carissa: I agree with Hank that I enjoy the show better when I don't know what's coming, but I'm still looking at this installment as a gift to viewers. After all the allusions and speculation, they allowed us to see it all played out and included the moments when Oliver and Slade donned the first versions of their signature costumes. Not too shabby.
Slade loved Shado, but she loved him as a friend. To be so devastated over a love that never was -- was that the Mirakuru or was Slade always so volatile?
Kate: Both. I think the Mirakuru has helped push him over the edge. The fact that Shado only loved him as a friend is what probably hurts the most and the man she loved being the reason she died is just the tip of the iceberg. I see where Slade is coming from.
Hank: Though we knew the conflict between Ollie and Slade was going to be about a girl, the writers didn't give us much Slade/Shado at all. His obsession with Shado and this so-called "love" has to be the Mirakuru's influence. However, the fact that Oliver had an actual physical relationship with Shado is probably part of it as well. Jealousy, hate, vengeance all thrown together in a blender!
Carla: Even when Shado was alive he had a love for her that was obsessive and not very healthy. Perhaps even delusional. I believe the Mirakuru just heightened those emotions in him similar to what happens to an individual's personality when they become a vampire on The Vampire Diaries.
Nick: I think the Mirakuru merely amplifies what Slade is already feeling, and he's focusing on giving into those feelings of love and loss. They're driving him, and the violent effects of the Mirakuru is working overtime. He's on a mission of revenge and nothing more.
Carissa: I suppose knowing that he chose the safe route and let Oliver have her while he sat back and did nothing probably drives a lot of that pain. If only... maybe he could have saved her. Now she'll never know how he felt and with the added benefit on Mirakuru he's blaming it all on Oliver. Seems a stretch for so much hatred, really.
Did learning about Ivo's wife have any significance?
Kate: I've been reading a lot of Arrow speculation on Tumblr and this has been quite interesting to see how many theories are already evolving from this reveal. She obviously is going to have s significant otherwise she wouldn't have been introduced.
Hank: It served to humanize Ivo a little bit. Since last week's episode dealt with a sick wife as well, I think the effect here was diminished. They probably should have spaced these two episodes further apart.
Carla: As others have said, Arrow doesn't introduce people for no reason. There's more to that story. And since Ivo is still alive -- handless -- but alive, we'll hopefully find out. If she's not still alive could Dinah be dating Ivo in Central City?
Nick: None whatsoever, a jerk is still a jerk.
Carissa: I have no doubt that she'll be someone important when it all comes out, and I hope to God it isn't related to Felicity. The world is too big and Starling City to small for so many connections. It did make Ivo a humanized jerk, though!
Oliver was relatively silent as things played out. What do you think was going through his mind?
Kate: I think Oliver was trying to keep himself from freaking out, like internalizing that Slade was alive and in Starling City. The whole "Slade... What do you want?" scene felt like Oliver was desperate to stop the madness before it got worse. I have to say, the scene where Slade also realized Sara was alive, the look on his face was priceless. I pictured him saying to himself, "that bitch!" The way that Roy was looking at him, and how Slade kept looking at Roy, Oliver, and Sara realizing he was outnumbered. That whole scene was great.
Hank: He seemed at a loss for words and Stephen Amell played that very well through his expressions and body language. Oliver probably never expected to see Slade again, and here he is standing in his living room. A freakin' ghost back from the dead, only this particular ghost taught him everything he knows. It's an especially complicated situation, the guy knows how to push his buttons.
Carla: What was he supposed to say? He couldn't acknowledge he knows Slade because that would bring up too many other questions he can't or shouldn't answer. I think Oliver was trying to read Slade, while being on high alert should Slade make a move against him or anyone else. He was in defense mode. Stephen Amell was incredible.
Nick: It's a sign of focus and tension. He's tense from keeping an eye on Slade and focusing on whether he's going to make a move or not. Plus, his family is inches away from a complete psycho.
Carissa: I imagined him screaming in a very high pitch inside his head while he tried to concentrate on not losing control. While he was surprised and angry at Slade, a part of him had to be disappointed at his mother for being so easily swayed by his charms, given their current relationship. Amell did a fantastic job throughout.
Would Oliver's and Sara's friends and family be safer if they knew about what occurred on the island and what dangers might be lurking or is it better to keep them in the dark?
Kate: No. It would only cause panic and more questions about Oliver. Speaking of the island, we now know why Oliver told the Lance family that Sara had died on the Gambit, per Sara's request. I enjoyed that little add.
Hank: I don't think the families knowing all the details would help matters. It would only make Oliver and Sara seem that much more damaged. In this case, ignorance is bliss.
Carla: The less they know the safer they are. They are a target now to hurt Oliver. As long as Oliver's family doesn't know, that's something that will keep them alive. Slade might as well kill them right away otherwise. The secret is part of Oliver's torture.
Nick: Not safer, but more understanding of what they're trying to do and what is really going on.
Carissa: It's time to tell them a bit more. As one commenter said, if they were more truthful Oliver could have said, "Hey mom, this guy tried to kill me on the island and can't be trusted," and it would have been Slade who was shocked instead of Oliver. Truth saves, people. Truth saves.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.