Arrow: The Best Episode of 2017

Moving over to take a look for the best Arrow episode of 2017, and I'm going to break a rule already. The episode of the season was actually two-episode. They were the ones that focused on the return of Deathstroke and the search for his son. The showed just how much the series has grown and changed over the six seasons while remind us what made the series a success in the first place. So the best episode(s) of Arrow for 2017 are: Deathstroke Returns and Promises Kept.


One of the things that made Arrow work in the beginning was the unique format. The show had parallel narratives going on with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) being shipwrecked on Lian Yu and his return to Starling City five years later. The main story was him in the city, but his time on the island built who he would become and would often connect to the main story in poignant ways.

In those flashback scenes, the relationship between Oliver and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) was a major part of the series and some of the most entertaining parts of the show. Their relationship went from adversarial, to mentor, to brothers, to eventually mortal enemies. We knew from the beginning that Slade would become Deathstroke and become a villain to Oliver's Green Arrow. But it was a ways down the line and we got to see these two men become friends. We also get to see that it was Oliver trying to save Slade's life that caused him to inject him with the Mirakuru, which led to many horrible things after — including the death of Oliver's mother.

Season 2 ended with Oliver injecting Slade with a cure for the Mirakuru. And where he popped up in season 3 for one episode, he didn't seem to be himself again until we saw him at the end of season 5 where he is willing to help Oliver find William in exchange for help finding Slade's son Joe. This is what leads us to the two-part episode where Slade needs Oliver to try and help get joe out of prison in Kasnia. We learn it's a setup, and Joe is actually running a group that plans on blowing some stuff up. Oliver and Slade must work together to stop them.

From the point of Slade asking Oliver for help to them stopping Joe, they'd moved back into that mentor/friend place they'd been in on the island — except Slade almost seems to be more protective of Oliver now. He know that Oliver is trying to get out of the vigilante game and become a full-time father for William. Any chance Slade had to keep Oliver out of danger, he did. But Oliver was still there for his friend.

This whole season has pushed Amell as an actor into areas we haven't seen from him before, and he's been doing well with it. The two-episode story shows us just how much he's grown over the years, both as an actor and his character. If someone came had stopped watching the series after season two then came back and saw these episodes, they'd likely assume that Bennett had never left the series. Deathstroke Returns was directed by Joel Novoa and written by Ben Sokolowski and Spiro Skentzos, while Promises Kept was directed by Antonio Negret and written by Oscar Balderrama and Rebecca Bellotto.

And as much as focusing on Oliver and Slade would've been enough, the scenes with the rest of the team were very important as well. We learn that Vigilante was actually Vincent Sobel (Johann Urb), Dinah Lance's (Juliana Harkavy) ex-boyfriend, and we learned that John Diggle (David Ramsey) was using drugs to deal with his nerve damage. Not only were these episodes paying off five years of setup in the Oliver / Slade relationship, but they were setting up some big things for the current season. That makes them my favorite episodes of the season.

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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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