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By: Adam Basciano

DC COMICS’ VILLAIN DEATHSTROKE APPEARS ON THE ISLAND WITH OLIVER — After Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) arrests Oliver (Stephen Amell) for murder, Oliver tells Moira (Susanna Thompson) the only lawyer he’ll allow to represent him is Laurel (Katie Cassidy).  Laurel takes the case which puts her at odds with her father.  Oliver offers to take a polygraph in front Detective Lance but things get tense when Lance asks him if anyone else was on the island with him.  Oliver flashes back to when he got his first scar, courtesy of Deathstroke (guest star Jeffrey Robinson)

While fans of the show have been hyped for the appearance of Deathstroke for week’s now, by the end of the episode, everything in this episode left me excited! This episode really shows off Oliver’s intelligence.  Turns out, the shock of Oliver being caught on camera and arrested at the end of last episode, was all part of his plan.  He was smart enough to assume that people in Starling City would find his reappearance and the sudden appearance of Arrow a little dubious.  So he got himself caught and arrested, while Diggle handled hero duties for a night throwing suspicion off Oliver.  Other superhero adaptations should take note and address the elephant in the room, that is how the city folk don’t put two and two together more often.

This episode was lighter on action and relied more on character and that’s fine, because the character interactions were FANTASTIC!  Willa Holland once again delivers the emotional goods as Thea Queen. She has another heart to heart with Oliver and tells him how she hopes he’s not Arrow because she can’t bare to lose him again.  Her delivery in that scene was so good, I was on the verge of some tears.  Now, either I’ve become a softy, my allergies are on the fritz or, that’s good acting.  I’ll stick with number three.  Stephen Amell is ever reliable and steady in his role, but Katie Cassidy was a scene stealer in this episode.  Her conviction as a law practitioner was fierce and combative.  Her scenes with Stephen Amell were emotionally charged.  One minute she’s opening up to him, seemingly giving into her feelings for him.  Then, telling him that the island incident drove her mother away and drove her father into his work.  At episodes end she tells Oliver they can’t be together.  I don’t usually get like this for any show, but I totally “ship” Oliver and Laurel, as the kids would say. Cassidy’s delivery of Laurel’s familial strife made me sympathizes with Paul Blackthorne’s character more as well. Did everyone catch the nod to Black Canary via Larel’s fishnet reference?

While John Barrowman has a larger role in this episode, the mystery surrounding his character is still intact.  All we know is that he’s worse than Moira if you can believe it. It turns out that Walter Steele is an innocent bystander, in the midst of his wife’s evil shenanigans. I wasn’t expecting that.

Moving on to Deathstroke, his appearance was minimal but very effective. Appearing only in flashbacks and a non speaking role, Deathstroke is ruthless in inflicting most of Oliver’s scars.  The quick cuts (no pun intended) and the lighting of Deathstrokes scenes effectively built up the feeling of danger and pain whenever Deathstoke is involved. Even though Yao Fei rescues Oliver from Deathstroke’s torture, Deathstroke still comes out of that fight looking like a total badass!  I have no doubt Deathstroke will be back!

“Arrow” has been pretty action heavy up to this point.  This episode proves it can deliver just as effectively on character developement and drama too. Next week, Diggle broadens Oliver’s crime fighting horizons, while the Royal Flush Gang invades Starling City.

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