The executive producers of Arrow described in recent interviews for this episode that this was going to be like a sequel to last year’s island heavy episode “The Odyssey” and that is exactly what it was.
For the past couple of episodes, we have been building up to the beginning of one of Oliver’s greatest battles ever which will be with Slade Wilson. “The Promise” continued to build up that huge battle as they both now know what is going on. This was without doubt one of Manu Bennett’s best episodes (if not the best) of the entire series.
While it’s going to be a completely new dynamic between him and Oliver on the island, it will be even more interesting to see what their interaction is going to be like in the present now that Oliver knows that he is still alive. If he was that shocked when he saw Slade in his house, just imagine how he will react if/when he discovers that Malcolm Merlyn is also still alive.
With everything that went down on the island, “The Promise” made Arrow look and feel like a movie instead of a TV show. All the fight scenes, explosions and the intense character moments that we got were at its best. We think it’s good that each season of this show, we get an episode that is mostly dedicated to the island and hopefully the show-runners and the writers will keep this as a tradition for the rest of the show.
The moment when Slade learned the details on how Shado died, you really felt the game changer hitting the show and it was heartbreaking to see Slade’s reaction. We are always used to seeing him kicking butt, killing bad guys, but this season we have started to see more of his emotional side, especially in this episode.
“The Promise” also gave us a deeper look into Dr. Anthony Ivo as we learned the main reason(s) why he was doing the Mirakuru to begin with. The conversation that he had with his wife was both emotional, yet it was a bit awkward as well. We actually thought that Ivo was going to die in this episode, but as of now, his fate remains a mystery. It would be a shame to see him go already because there are still a few more things that they could possibly do with this character. Only time will tell.
The present scenes with Slade at the Queen Mansion also had some great scenes and it was fun to see Slade being this businessman to Moira and see how well he could keep up that mask. It will be interesting to see how Oliver will be able to protect his family and friends from Slade without revealing what really happened on the island and that he is the Arrow.
There were several geek worthy moments in this episode and looking from the perspective as a comic book fan, when Oliver and Slade both put on their respective iconic costume piece, it was one of the coolest things ever. Then there was the scene when Roy was practicing archery (although why he had to be shirtless remains a mystery, but we certainly didn’t mind) was a great tease to what will (most likely) become Red Arrow down the line.
The final scene featuring Slade watching monitors of the Queen Mansion, after it was revealed that he planted a lot of spy cameras during the tour, also sets up these last couple of episodes as he will be able to see everything. While it was disgusting, visually, seeing Slade without his eye-patch and getting a look at that empty eye socket was a huge way of ending the episode.
Director Glen Winter did, as always, a phenomenal job and something that we always love seeing whenever Winter directs is amazing transition shots from the past to the present or vice versa. “The Promise” was one of the most well written episodes of the entire series as it has now become a huge game changer for the rest of the season and potentially bigger parts of the series.
They are really starting to bring everything full circle for several storylines and knowing this show, it’s only going to get bigger. The cast was always at their A-game and for some, (especially Bennett) it was one of their best episodes of the season as well as the series. Eight episodes remains of what has been a pretty big and strong season and knowing what some of these upcoming episodes are going to be about, we are in for a sweet ride.
Arrow returns with new episodes on Wednesday, March 19th, 8/7c on The CW.
[Photo via Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved]