ARROW Season 6×05, “Deathstroke Returns” recap

11 Nov

Welcome back, Arrowheads! With Ollie taking time to be a dad and Diggle now taking over the Green Arrow mantle, it’s time to focus on some other characters we haven’t been seeing for a while. For instance, Slade Wilson, who last we saw him going to find his estranged son, Joe, who he hasn’t seen since before his fateful first trip to the island of Lian Yu. And someone like Vigilante, who we haven’t seen since he took a header off a parking garage by Prometheus’ hand last season. So, let’s catch up on those two…BUT first…

Camping (and Hunting) Trip. Hey, we get a flashback this episode (been a bit since that happened), and it’s to 13 years ago, as Slade Wilson (when he had both eyes) takes his tween son out into the woods for a weekend camping trip. I’m sure Slade intended for this to be a bonding trip between him and his son, who is bummed his dad is always working for Australian airlines all the time. The truth is, Slade is also there to find a Chinese man who is camping not too far away, and after a day or so of getting close with Joe, Slade confronts his target, who reveals the location of another Slade target: some guy called Yao Fei, who is on some island called Lian Yu or something unimportant. Slade kills the guy, and after a while, he decides to pack up the camping trip to go home, but Joe is very suspicious of what his dad was up to all this time…

Vigilante Run Amok. Back to the present, as we hang with Dinah, who is shadowing the councilwoman who has been pushing for that anti-vigilante bill. Good thing she’s there too, because she prevents the titular Vigilante from taking a shot at the councilwoman. Looks like he’s back, and none too happy with this bill. The rest of Team Arrow is happy to help track down Vigilante now that he’s resurfaced, of course they have to do that in-between FBI Agent Watson subpoenaing people in the Team (and subsequently, in Oliver Queen’s circle) to ask questions regarding their former boss’ nighttime activities. But more on Ollie later…

That night, Dinah is still keeping a close eye on the councilwoman, Pollard, when she spots Vigilante about to try a second attempt on the woman’s life. She catches him off guard and sends him flying with a sonic scream. This dazes him so much that he removes his mask to reveal…Dinah’s not dead partner, Vinnie! This shocks her enough that he manages to get away, and…well, who thought Vigilante was that guy? I mean, no one was betting it was a dead man, right?

Excluding slamming into walls, catching air from a Canary Cry must be pretty awesome!

To Save A Son. So what is Ollie up to during this big reveal? Well, Slade has stopped by to explain what has happened: he tried tracking his son down, but found out he became a spy like dear old dad, and now is spending a life sentence in a Kasnian prison for espionage. But Slade’s plan is not needing the Green Arrow, but MAYOR Oliver Queen for help. Ollie’s given some time to consider the offer, and decides to go with Slade to Kasnia. When they get there, they meet with one of Slade’s old contacts, Nylander, who gives him some intel on where Joe is.

At their hotel room, Slade explains a Mayor on a humanitarian purpose (and say, a rather significant bribe) could release Joe from prison. Slade doesn’t want to go, feeling he has already let his son down by being gone for so long, and so Ollie heads to the prison. But there, he’s given bad news from the prison warden: Joe was killed in a prison cell brawl! Well, how is Slade gonna take that?

Prayers For The (Not Quite) Dead. Back at Arrow HQ, Dinah reveals she knows Vigilante is Vinnie, which is bizarre because she saw him get shot in the head at the same time that particle accelerator blast that gave her superpowers washed over her (remember that for later). Well, that just means they need to find him, and after tracing Vigilante’s bullets, the Team finds his lair. Based on all the guns and ammo they find there, Dinah is pretty convinced whoever Vinnie is now is not the same man she loved. Diggle later suggests not to throw away the man because of what happened to him, but she sees only what he became, not who he was, or maybe still is.

Back in Kasnia, Ollie gives Slade the bad news and suggests maybe heading back to the prison to see Joe’s body to have some closure. When they get there, though, they get stonewalled by the warden on seeing Joe’s body, only to discover Joe is not dead, just taken from the prison by a mercenary group known as the Jackals. Apparently they are mucho scary news these days, but you know what? So is Deathstroke.

“Sorry, I’m due for another TV show right now…”

Going It Alone. While Slade arms up in his hotel room, Ollie gets some help from Felicity in tracking the Jackals removing of Joe from the prison to a specific location. Ollie offers to help, knowing Slade facing a small army of deadly mercs is not the best odds, but Slade refuses the offer, saying this is as far as he wanted to bring Ollie into this. But Ollie never had a chance to argue against it, because Slade drugged his drink and he passes out! Tough break, kid.

Back in Star City, the Team learns Pollard is going on live TV that night to argue the anti-vigilante bill, in a rather unsecure TV studio. With Rene called away for an interview (curse you, Agent Watson!), it leaves Dinah to head down there to stop Vinnie from making third time the charm. Diggle suspects she might be conflicted about having to stop her ex permanently, but she seems convinced there’s no other way to deal with him. So when Vigilante goes for attempt number three, Dinah is there as Black Canary to intercede and whisk Pollard away. But before she can face Vinnie, a random cop interrupts things, firing a random shot that could have hit Dinah if not for Vinnie getting in front of her and taking a bullet to the head!

She tells the cop to go grab an ambulance, and while he’s gone, we see Vinnie’s alive. The particle accelerator blast also gave him powers too, to heal himself from stuff like bullets to the head. She realizes there’s still part of Vinnie left in this broken man who is convinced to take extreme justice on the guilty, and she lets him go. Probably not the best move knowing what he’s capable of, but hey, he made her a little cardboard flower in a matchbox that he always used to do for her and left it in her car, so maybe there’s hope?

What A Father Does. Ollie comes to and finds a note from Slade thanking him for reminding him what being a father is, and to go home to his son. He gets a call from William, who only knows he’s on a trip to help a friend. He says he’s about to go home, when maybe his guilt gets the better of him and he decides to go to that location where the Jackals are. Maybe on further reflection, better he took that ride home.

“Well, here’s hoping my boy doesn’t grow up to be a ruthless killer like me.”


At the Jackals hangout, Slade makes his way through a lot of Jackals only to find himself surrounded by way more of them than he can handle. And there is Nylander, who is a bit disappointed Slade wasn’t convinced to stay away, but Slade wants to know where his son is, and offers to join them in exchange for his son’s life. Well that’s gonna be a problem since we then reveal the leader of the Jackals…is Joe Wilson himself! To be continued, kids!

–Comic book connections: Deathstroke’s first solo comic was called Deathstroke, The Terminator, the latter half of that is referenced by Nylander in his and Slade’s reintroduction.

–Look, we saw one of Slade’s spawn became a psycho bad guy in the future in one episode of Legends of Tomorrow, did we really think the odds were good he’d have a sane kid?

–A fun reference to Felicity being out of town at the episode’s start, because she was at a bachelorette party gone wrong in that same week’s The Flash.

–I’m surprised Agent Watson hasn’t asked where Ollie went to, especially since he’s at the center of her investigation.

–Quentin’s on vacation this week I guess, so Rene kind of becomes de facto Mayor of Star City!

–“Did you mean ‘partner’ or ‘partner‘?”

–“Trust me on this one: don’t make this man angry.”

–“Sorry, it’s just some FBI interrogation humor.”

That’s it for now, but come back next week for the recap of “Promises Kept”…

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