Better go call a massage therapist, because this episode is tense. The flashbacks come fast and nobody really wins this time.
This week "Arrow" picks up right where last week's episode left off. Ollie has to get Slade Wilson AKA Deathstroke away from his family without tipping them off to his secret identity. Mr. Wilson has apparently made a large contribution to Moira's campaign, and also brought Australian rum*. The three toast to friendship, and Slade also flippantly asks if they spend a lot of time on boats.
First flashback; Ollie works out on the beach, practicing his archery. He, Slade and Sara start planning their attack, and jointly decide to destroy the remaining Mirakuru before Ivo can get his hands on it. Ollie and Sara secretly debate if Slade should be allowed to kill Ivo in revenge, and Sara mentions that Slade is unstable and may kill them if he finds out how the standoff went down. Later, Slade breaks out the Australian rum* and toasts to hopefully getting off the island on Ivo's boat, and Shado. That night, Ollie has a dream where Shado returns in the forest, taunting Ollie over choosing Sara, ending in her savagely stabbing him. He wakes in a start, and it's time to begin the attack. Before they head out, Ollie puts on the green hood, and Slade takes out the orange and black Deathstroke mask.
On the ship, the prisoners are getting restless. The head guard grabs Henrik, and Ivo gets a call that someone's condition is deteriorating. Henrik gets strapped in for forceful eye removal.
Ollie, up on a cliff, lights an arrow and lets it fly at a pile of timber, missing. Another attempt, and the pile goes up in a small explosion, getting Ivo's attention. The surgery is paused while two men come to investigate. Ollie waits for them, running them off and tripping over a branch. He gets knocked out and thrown back into his old cell. Thomas Flynn, and his rat Abraham greet Ollie back. He's shortly strapped into the operating chair, and asked where the Mirakuru is, but he's defiant. Ivo instead prepares him for Sodium Penathol, truth serum.
Back in the present; Moira asks if Slade has anyone special, and he mentions he lost someone a few years ago. Ollie says you need to move on eventually, but Slade disagrees. Moira leaves the room briefly, and Ollie silently comes at Slade with a knife, but Slade disarms him, deciding to meet Thea. Thea, who has just walked in and wants to meet the new family friend.
Flashback! Ollie doesn't react favorably to the serum, because FLASHBACK IN A FLASHBACK, Sarah gave him something to counteract it. In fact, he busts out and frees the prisoners. Sara and Slade see the commotion and parachute down onto the deck, and Ollie meets them.
PRESENT! Ollie calls Team Arrow (Sara, Roy, Diggle, and Felicity) but doesn't talk. Felicity assumes they've been butt dialed and puts it on speaker. Sarah recognizes the voices, and tells them they need to stop Slade Wilson. Diggle grabs the biggest gun they have and they head out.
FLASHBACK: Slade terminates some dudes, and Ollie makes his way to the helm. Ivo is calling someone named Jessica, who is apparently his wife that has very little memory of him. Ollie busts through the wall in a grenade explosion. Ivo lays on the floor and taunts Ollie about Shado's death, making Ollie admit he feels guilty. Just then, Slade walks in, having heard their whole conversation. He asks if its true, and Ollie can't say no. He lashes out at Ollie, missing but hitting the wheel. Slade almost kills him, but the ship runs aground instead.
Explosions go off on the deck as the guards and prisoners fire at each other. The ship is eventually retaken, though a few prisoners escape. Slade gets a good punch on Ollie and knocks him out. Later, Slade crushes the head guard's throat and claims the ship as his own.
PRESENT! Diggle gets a thermal scope on the sniper rifle, and Sara climbs up to the second floor. Roy goes in to separate Moira and Thea from Slade. Sara sneaks in, and Roy shakes hands firmly with Slade. VERY firmly. Sarah makes herself known, much to Slade's surprise. Slade realizes he's outmatched, and elects to leave peacefully. Ollie offers to walk him to his car, right in Diggle's line of sight, though Diggle gets a smack on the back from an unknown figure. Ollie confronts Slade about his plans, and Slade mentions he's had Diggle taken out. Then he mentions he's there to fulfill his "promise."
Flashback again to the boat, Ollie gets dragged out of his cage, and Slade reveals he still has the Mirakuru. Ivo is there too, pleading that Ollie is responsible for Shado. Slade has him reenact on Ollie how he killed Shado while Ollie tries to plead for reason, but Slade doesn't care anymore. He decides to slide off Ivo's hand, and tells Ollie he won't give him the mercy of killing him right away. He promises he'll know "complete despair."
In the present; Moira reprimands Ollie for his behavior, telling him to not come by the house anymore. Meanwhile, as Ollie leaves, the camera pans out to multiple feeds of the Queen Mansion. Slade watches every room in the house simultaneously while he airs out his eye socket.
EEWWWWWWW EW EW EW EW EW EW WAS THAT SLADE'S DRY EYE SOCKET EW EW EW EW EW HOW WAS THAT ON BROADCAST TELEVISION EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
What the hell, CW? Not cool. I apparently have to lock my daughter in her room when I watch this show now, in case she wanders in like she did tonight. I realize it's TV-13, but a dry eye socket? I was talking gibberish to keep her from turning her head to see the TV.
This episode actually worked the flashbacks into the main story, and it worked great. At worst these pop up as a way to lead into a commercial, not really helping the main plot but continuing a B-plot that might pay off down the road. I think this is the first episode of the series where the flashbacks were more interesting.
Ollie and Sara talk about how Slade has become "unstable," but this episode does a good job of making him sympathetic. Blaming Ollie for Shado's death because he "chose" one woman over another is a bit of a stretch; The woman Slade loved is dead, and the man he considered a brother is partially responsible. All that plus a few years on a hellish island, you can see why he'd go a bit nuts.
An interesting twist is that Ollie knows now that the man in the skeleton mask works for Slade, but he still doesn't know who he is. Maybe that'll change next episode, but since they're teasing the Suicide Squad pretty heavily, we'll see. As always, check back here next week.