Arrow Review: “Deathstroke”

And how is Ms. Rochev these days? Still angry that Dorothy dropped a house on her sister?

—Moira Queen

Deathstroke steps out of the shadows but still under a Shado, as he begins the destruction of Oliver Queen and his family.

Title: “Deathstroke”

Cast and Crew
Director: Guy Bee
Writers: Drew Zachary, Mark Guggenheim

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak
Katie Cassidy as Dinah “Laurel” Lance
Caity Lotz as Sara Lance / Black Canary
Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen
David Ramsay as John “Dig” Diggle
Willa Holland as Thea Queen
Colton Haynes as Roy Harper
Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance
Summar Glau as Isabel Rochev
Kevin Alejandro as Sebastian Blood
David Nykl as Anatoli Knyazev
Adrian Holmes as Frank Pike
Dylan Neal as Anthony Ivo
Celina Jade as Shado

Full cast and crew may be found here.

Premise

Slade kidnaps Thea and begins a series of moves to (1) unnerve the Queens and (2) build a secret army. A double-agent, meanwhile, reveals herself to Ollie.

Roy Harper breaks rank with Team Arrow.

We learn more about events on the island.

High Points

We have a worthwhile villain in Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson / Deathstroke. The plot suggests classic Spider-man and Daredevil and Batman stories, where a criminal pushes the hero to breaking.

We shall see how well Arrow executes the premise.

Low Points

-Thea stays with her kidnapper just to hear her brother’s “secret.”
Detective Lance remains adamant Ollie doesn’t know anything about the Arrow.
-It makes sense that the Arrow’s associates would experience divisions under the pressure, but the writing and acting of their division feels a bit childish.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Vengeance-motivated villain has an evil plot and a flair for the dramatic. He kidnaps someone close to the hero. He tries to destroy the hero from within, and has assistance from a double agent. Meanwhile, cracks begin to form in Team Arrow.

And since we are watching Arrow, expect flashbacks.

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 5/6

Story: 4/6 The show sets up a familiar but effective dilemma at the start.

Aspects of Deathstroke’s plot seem beguiling. He apparently considers telling a secret to Thea as a more effective way of antagonizing Ollie than, say, torturing her and telling her a secret. Apparently, he knows precisely how she would react to the news. He also believes that telling Laurel that Ollie is the Arrow makes a better distraction than just revealing it to the general public.

Yes, I know. He has a slow, elaborate revenge plot. He wants to gradually break Ollie. Many of these things will make sense from the perspective of the completed season.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 4/6 Arrow works, overall, but it continues to struggle with the balance between comic-book superheroics and live-action drama. The music, tone, and dialogue can sometimes feel cheesy in a way that doesn’t consistently work for a TV series.

In total, “Deathstroke” receives 30/42

Lingering Question and One Update

Does anyone else feel the show would improve if they made the music at least 30% less over-the-top?

Can someone please get Roy a costume?

Can FOX get new central casting? Seriously, too many of the characters look too much alike. The men mostly from the same square-jaw shop where they found Stephen Amell. The women, likewise, tend to be of one type. (They do a little better on the island, and with Roy’s associates, who haven’t been seen much lately).

I will be reviewing Continuum (or posting discussions), but later in the week. It still hasn’t premiered in the U.S.

7 replies on “Arrow Review: “Deathstroke””

  1. Jethro says:

    Who else went “Finally!” when Summer Glau started kicking butt?

  2. quantaman says:

    Can FOX get new central casting? Seriously, too many of the characters look too much alike. The men mostly from the same square-jaw shop where they found Stephen Amell. The women, likewise, tend to be of one type. (They do a little better on the island, and with Roy’s associates, who haven’t been seen much lately).

    Have you had trouble distinguishing characters? I guess I’ve had some trouble distinguishing the guy who plays Oliver from the one who plays the Arrow, and similarly with actresses playing Sara and the Black Canary but there’s a few subtle tells in each case if you’re observant.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      I can definitely distinguish them! However, most of the cast are taken from a very few physical types, of the kind popular with modeling agencies in the present era. One of the key differences I see between European and U.S. television (Fox especially), and old and newer media, is the tendency of the former to cast character actors and the latter to cast underwear models. I’m just asking for diversity of types. We see it on the island– and Sin (for example) stands out because she was cast for being an actor/character.

      • quantaman says:

        It might be a problem exacerbated by the genre a bit, typical superheros are supposed to be the height of human perfection, so it makes sense that them and their families are the fittest most beautiful people out there, particularly since Oliver has to sleep with all the female ones. It seems that male villains are the only ones allowed not to be classically attractive.

        I do agree it would be nice if they got more Sin-types on the show.

      • Fez says:

        It’s the CW, all of their shows can be summed up using “Pretty people with X and problems”

        Where X is one of: Super powers, money, demons, aliens, etc.

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