Arrow Season 6: Why the Best Episode was 'Deathstroke Returns'

Today we're going to take a look at the single best episode of the season in each of the superhero-related shows I cover for Bleeding Cool. These are, of course, based on my opinion, and you are welcome to disagree in the comments below. What I look for in an episode is how it moves the characters, plot, and/or universe forward, as well as how memorable the episode is and how I felt about the series after having watched it. In the case of the Arrowverse shows, I'm skipping the Crisis on Earth-X crossover.

Let's move on to Arrow and why 'Deathstroke Returns' was the best episode of the season.


Manu Bennett's character of Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, was one of the best things about the first two seasons of Arrow. The brothers-in-arms relationship Slade built with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was great to watch build up and heartbreaking to see fall apart in the second season. His appearance in season 3 was more of a cameo and not very satisfying; it also upset Bennett enough that it was possible that he wouldn't return in the future. Deathstroke popped up one… maybe two more times, but in mask only and not with Bennett.

But the end of season 5 teased the actor's return, and then we finally got it. Seeing him in the season finale working with Oliver and then in flashback in the season 6 opener was great. But word of an upcoming two-part story arc may have been the thing that got fans of the series most excited this season.

'Deathstroke Returns' was written by Ben Sokolowski and Spiro Skentzos, with Oscar Balderrama as the story editor and Joel Novoa directing. It is, of course, paired with the second part, 'Promises Kept', written by Balderrama and Rebecca Bellotto and directed by Antonio Negret. I went with the first part because it focused on Slade coming to Oliver for help in trying to get his son Joseph (Liam Hall) out of prison — only to discover that Joseph is running a military mercenary unit. We see flashbacks to when Joseph was a kid and the types of missions Slade used to do, and we see that without the Mirakuru in his system, the bond between he and Oliver returned.

This episode also revealed that Vigilante was actually Vincent Sobel (Johann Urb), Dinah's former partner and lover… and that he's working for Cayden James (Michael Emerson), which starts another important story line that ends up putting Dinah (Julian Harkavy) on a mission to kill Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and helps grow the division in Team Arrow.

Word is now that Deathstroke is once again off-limits because of the WB's film plans for the character, so this might be the last time we get to see Bennett as Slade… at least for the foreseeable future.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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