REVIEW: Arrow, S6 Ep06 – Promises Kept

Arrow‘s sixth season has had a very, very rough start. While other DC Comics series on The CW have stepped up their game recently, Arrow remains stuck in a loop of mediocrity. While the new season has brought in some interesting ideas, overall most of what we’ve seen has felt disposable. “Promises Kept” still feels like an episode we can easily brush off, but so far this is one of the season’s more compelling episodes. The episode continues the story which began in “Deathstroke Returns,” which sees Slade Wilson team up with Oliver Queen in order to find and rescue his son. Deathstroke’s plans change as he finds out his son doesn’t need saving and has become a killer and mercenary himself. In addition to a Deathstroke-focused plot, “Promises Kept” also addresses Diggle’s drug use, which was first established in this season’s third episode, “Next of Kin.”

John Diggle, the Green Arrow

John Diggle, the Green Arrow

Coming out of “Promises Kept” I’m glad Arrow wrapped up the subplot involving Diggle’s drug use. Team Arrow is tasked with taking down a drug dealer known as Ricardo Diaz, a.k.a. Richard Dragon, played by guest star Kirk Acevedo (12 Monkeys, Fringe). We eventually find out, along with Diggle, that Dragon is the supplier of the drug Diggle is currently using in order to control his shakes and aim his weapons successfully in the field. This places Diggle in a very tight spot, where he has to choose between allowing Dragon to continue his work in order for him to stay on the drug or stop Dragon altogether.

I appreciated seeing Diggle go through this situation and seeing how he eventually comes out of it. For the most part it’s not a clean break. Even after having a successful heart-to-heart with his wife, he still wants to stay on the drug. When Team Arrow eventually has the drop on Dragon, there is a moment when Diggle still wants to try and recover whatever drugs he could get in the process, and if he had the chance, he probably would have. Ultimately, the situation allows Diggle to see the error in his ways, and he eventually opens up to the rest of his team and gives an appropriate apology. Diggle comes out of the situation stronger, but there is still some work to be done. The good thing is now that Curtis knows about the situation, it’s safe to say he will find a technological solution for Diggle’s affliction. I would have expected this subplot to continue throughout the season, resulting in Diggle no longer being fit to be the Green Arrow, forcing Oliver to return. I’m glad it didn’t go that way, since that would have been the obvious way to end this era and I’m content with this not being dragged out.

While the Deathstroke story was the main focus of “Promises Kept,” I didn’t find it as interesting as Diggle’s dilemma. That being said, it was still entertaining and worked well as a character study for Slade Wilson. We got to see more of who Slade was before and how his actions in the past unintentionally shaped and molded his son into the killer he is today. It’s truly tragic and we do feel for Slade as he mourns the loss of his son’s soul and faces the guilt of making him this way.

Slade Wilson / Deathstroke and his son

Slade and son

“Promises Kept” also served up some interesting flashback scenes taking place before Slade returned to Starling City to take his revenge on Oliver, after Oliver stabbed him in the eye on the Amazon. We see how the Mirakuru in Slade’s bloodstream slowly took over his mind, leading to him becoming the threat he was in season two. Arrow has wisely dialed back on the flashback scenes this season, but when a flashback is decidedly written into an episode, they’ve been more amusing than flashbacks involving Oliver’s “five years in hell.” This episode’s flashbacks were definitely an interesting watch.

Overall, “Promises Kept” was one of this season’s better episodes, though the show still has a lot of work to do in order for me to get fully back on board. While Arrow deserves credit for launching a very successful and ever-expanding CW DC universe, it has fallen by the wayside in comparison to its sister series, The Flash, Supergirl, and even Legends of Tomorrow, which has been continuously fun and entertaining. Hopefully, Arrow can get back on track with the remainder of the season, without regurgitating old plots.

Next week’s episode will see the return of Black Siren and new antagonist Cayden James, while Oliver Queen is placed under arrest on Thanksgiving of all days. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Thanksgiving” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Promises Kept” in the comments.

Tags: , , ,