When watching Arrow Season 2 Episode 15, it became pretty clear that there wasn't much new material here, but instead the hour was a gift to viewers.
Everything we've guessed and postulated for well into Arrow Season 2 was playing out before us. In a television landscape where writers seem to enjoy pulling cheap, fast thrills on their viewers, it was nice that we treated honorably.
Not everything has to be a bait and switch to keep people interested and recognizing that their viewing audience is intelligent says a lot about the people behind Arrow. I'll say it for all of us -- thank you!
This review might not be my most linear, as the installment seems suited to reaction, a bit like Oliver when he finally picked his jaw up off the carpet in the Queen living room. There haven't been many times when the former playboy has been speechless, but seeing Slade standing before him required of Stephen Amell one of his most difficult performances because it was all said without words.
The island scenes tied in very well with Slade's declarations of friendship and brotherhood and the reminder years later that he hadn't forgotten the devastating day he learned he had been betrayed.
Yet as all of that emotion was bubbling something else came to mind -- Oliver sure gets himself into a lot of inappropriate love triangles. Slade's anger over Shado's death, while heartfelt, seems as inappropriate as what has happened between Oliver, Sara and Laurel. Oliver and Shado were clearly in a "thing" before Sara came back and muddied the waters.
Slade loved Shado, but she loved him as a friend. Could they have been more if she had lived? Perhaps, but they never had the opportunity to find out. To be so devastated over a love that never was -- is that the Mirakuru or was Slade always so volatile?
Regardless, he did make the promise to Oliver for him to suffer as he did. We here at TV Fanatic on various Arrow round tables have tried to imagine who Slade will choose to stand in for Sara and Shado in this new act. That's the biggest question in the game Slade's playing right now.
You cannot die until you have suffered the same way that I have suffered, until you have known complete despair -- and you will. I promise.Slade
Since Slade rigged the house with what had to be the most conspicuous cameras ever to be placed in a highly guarded mansion to keep an eye on Oliver's loved ones, does that mean he's going to make him choose between Moira and Thea? That's not the same kind of choice, so it makes the least sense.
Familial love and romantic love produces different types of suffering and if Slade intends to make Oliver suffer then he has a different group of people to choose from.
Slade and Roy had their first Mirakuru-induced handshake, putting Roy on Slade's radar if he wasn't already. At the very least Slade knows that Oliver has one super soldier on his side. Slade did know Sara was alive thanks to the news coverage, but it was still a good face-to-face reunion.
Did anyone else catch Roy dodging Sara's question about trust? She asked if she could trust him and he said he'd be fine. Hey Roy -- answer the question! That made my spidey senses tingle just a bit.
On the freighter I was listening to Ivo ask about the woman who was going downhill quickly and then his phone call to his wife, Jessica. Of course, this made me wonder who in the heck he's married to and why he chose to name the freighter Amazo. Maybe the N fell off? I realize this is a stretch, but I like to theorize!
What condition does his wife suffer? Wonder Woman came from a group of Amazonian women but outside a rare reference here and there, there are no good Jessica candidates I can find to fit into the Arrow world. It still seemed important. Anybody come to mind? I doubt it's dementia or crazy leading her to be Felicity's mom. Right?
There weren't a lot of new revelations or surprises, but the movie that played out before us was still well worth the hour spent watching it. If you want to see it again or any other installments before Arrow returns on March 19, watch Arrow online to satisfy your desires!
Did "The Promise" live up to your expectations?
Here is your first look at Arrow Season 2 Episode 16:
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.