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Arrow Round Table: "The Promise"

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Welcome to the Arrow Season 2 Episode 15 Round Table!

Was "The Promise" all it was hyped to be? We're not convinced. We also chat about Slade's reason for vengeance, keeping family in the dark and why we were introduced to Ivo's softer side.

Join in the conversation with staff writers Kate Brooks, Hank Otero, Nick McHatton, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica because hearing from you makes this all worthwhile. Dive in, everyone!

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Did "The Promise" live up to your expectations?

Kate: To be completely honest, no it did not. With that said, the action sequences of the episode did. It was the most action and stunt work we've seen throughout the series, which was incredibly impressive. However, we now know how it all started between Oliver and Slade and it's incredibly dramatic. I think the build up and suspense this episode created is far more intense than the actual episode.

Hank: I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I think the cast/crew over-hyped the episode. While it was definitely a big episode as far as production, sets, effects, etc... things played out pretty much the way we've been discussing here in our round tables. I think one of the most exciting things about Arrow, for me, is when the writers take the more unpredictable route. That said, it certainly was great to watch it all play out on our tv screens.

Carla: I loved the training scene with Oliver on the island. That was epic stuff. I could watch that over end over again. And the tension in the Queen mansion. The fight on the freighter was a disappointing. The choreography was obvious with the movements and explosions. Not up to Arrow standards. And it pretty much went as expected. I hoped for a twist in the island.

Nick: Yes, it didn't throw any curve balls, and it played out exactly to expectation. However, its execution is top notch with all around good acting and bridging the gap to show where it all went wrong.

Carissa: I agree with Hank that I enjoy the show better when I don't know what's coming, but I'm still looking at this installment as a gift to viewers. After all the allusions and speculation, they allowed us to see it all played out and included the moments when Oliver and Slade donned the first versions of their signature costumes. Not too shabby.

Arrow RT Logo

Slade loved Shado, but she loved him as a friend. To be so devastated over a love that never was -- was that the Mirakuru or was Slade always so volatile?

Kate: Both. I think the Mirakuru has helped push him over the edge. The fact that Shado only loved him as a friend is what probably hurts the most and the man she loved being the reason she died is just the tip of the iceberg. I see where Slade is coming from.

Hank: Though we knew the conflict between Ollie and Slade was going to be about a girl, the writers didn't give us much Slade/Shado at all. His obsession with Shado and this so-called "love" has to be the Mirakuru's influence. However, the fact that Oliver had an actual physical relationship with Shado is probably part of it as well. Jealousy, hate, vengeance all thrown together in a blender!

Carla: Even when Shado was alive he had a love for her that was obsessive and not very healthy. Perhaps even delusional. I believe the Mirakuru just heightened those emotions in him similar to what happens to an individual's personality when they become a vampire on The Vampire Diaries.

Nick: I think the Mirakuru merely amplifies what Slade is already feeling, and he's focusing on giving into those feelings of love and loss. They're driving him, and the violent effects of the Mirakuru is working overtime. He's on a mission of revenge and nothing more.

Carissa: I suppose knowing that he chose the safe route and let Oliver have her while he sat back and did nothing probably drives a lot of that pain. If only... maybe he could have saved her. Now she'll never know how he felt and with the added benefit on Mirakuru he's blaming it all on Oliver. Seems a stretch for so much hatred, really.

Did learning about Ivo's wife have any significance?

Kate: I've been reading a lot of Arrow speculation on Tumblr and this has been quite interesting to see how many theories are already evolving from this reveal. She obviously is going to have s significant otherwise she wouldn't have been introduced.

Hank: It served to humanize Ivo a little bit. Since last week's episode dealt with a sick wife as well, I think the effect here was diminished. They probably should have spaced these two episodes further apart.

Carla: As others have said, Arrow doesn't introduce people for no reason. There's more to that story. And since Ivo is still alive -- handless -- but alive, we'll hopefully find out. If she's not still alive could Dinah be dating Ivo in Central City?

Nick: None whatsoever, a jerk is still a jerk.

Carissa: I have no doubt that she'll be someone important when it all comes out, and I hope to God it isn't related to Felicity. The world is too big and Starling City to small for so many connections. It did make Ivo a humanized jerk, though!

Oliver Looking Gloomy on the Island
A hooded Oliver on the island looks pensive on the upcoming episode of Arrow titled "The Promise."

Oliver was relatively silent as things played out. What do you think was going through his mind?

Kate: I think Oliver was trying to keep himself from freaking out, like internalizing that Slade was alive and in Starling City. The whole "Slade... What do you want?" scene felt like Oliver was desperate to stop the madness before it got worse. I have to say, the scene where Slade also realized Sara was alive, the look on his face was priceless. I pictured him saying to himself, "that bitch!" The way that Roy was looking at him, and how Slade kept looking at Roy, Oliver, and Sara realizing he was outnumbered. That whole scene was great.

Hank: He seemed at a loss for words and Stephen Amell played that very well through his expressions and body language. Oliver probably never expected to see Slade again, and here he is standing in his living room. A freakin' ghost back from the dead, only this particular ghost taught him everything he knows. It's an especially complicated situation, the guy knows how to push his buttons.

Carla: What was he supposed to say? He couldn't acknowledge he knows Slade because that would bring up too many other questions he can't or shouldn't answer. I think Oliver was trying to read Slade, while being on high alert should Slade make a move against him or anyone else. He was in defense mode. Stephen Amell was incredible.

Nick: It's a sign of focus and tension. He's tense from keeping an eye on Slade and focusing on whether he's going to make a move or not. Plus, his family is inches away from a complete psycho.

Carissa: I imagined him screaming in a very high pitch inside his head while he tried to concentrate on not losing control. While he was surprised and angry at Slade, a part of him had to be disappointed at his mother for being so easily swayed by his charms, given their current relationship. Amell did a fantastic job throughout.

Would Oliver's and Sara's friends and family be safer if they knew about what occurred on the island and what dangers might be lurking or is it better to keep them in the dark?

Kate: No. It would only cause panic and more questions about Oliver. Speaking of the island, we now know why Oliver told the Lance family that Sara had died on the Gambit, per Sara's request. I enjoyed that little add.

Hank: I don't think the families knowing all the details would help matters. It would only make Oliver and Sara seem that much more damaged. In this case, ignorance is bliss.

Carla: The less they know the safer they are. They are a target now to hurt Oliver. As long as Oliver's family doesn't know, that's something that will keep them alive. Slade might as well kill them right away otherwise. The secret is part of Oliver's torture.

Nick: Not safer, but more understanding of what they're trying to do and what is really going on.

Carissa: It's time to tell them a bit more. As one commenter said, if they were more truthful Oliver could have said, "Hey mom, this guy tried to kill me on the island and can't be trusted," and it would have been Slade who was shocked instead of Oliver. Truth saves, people. Truth saves. 

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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This was a chain of events that everyone following the series for the past 1½ seasons KNEW was coming at some point, so to express disappointment over a turning point that HAD to occur makes absolutely no sense to me. The episode was incredibly well done and stands as one of the best of the series to date. Bennett and Amell, along with Lotz, turned in outstanding work in this episode. Lotz, in my opinion, keeps getting better and hasn't received nearly enough credit for her portrayals of past/present Sara, and it's hard at this point to envision her not being in the cast. It also will be difficult to lose after this season the regular presence of Bennett, who has brought his "A" game since he first appeared last season. "The Promise" delivered with an expected yet gripping 43 minutes that greatly pushed the story arc forward. The only disappointing aspect about it is that is was designed for episodic television with only 43 minutes and mandatory commercial breaks. It would be fascinating to see how much greater this series could be unhampered on HBO, AMC or Netflix.

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@ BBussey

I also hope we get to see Lotz on Arrow beyond this season and added to the regular cast. If Slade's likely destination is the Suicide Squad, which would allow Bennett to at least guest-appear after this season, there's no reason Sara/Canary can't remain as part of Team Arrow for at least another season. With the likely beginning of the redemption of Huntress starting this year, I'd rather see Sara form Birds Of Prey and relocate than be killed off to make room for Laurel.

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@ BBussey

I agree with your whole post

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The round table discussion put most of my thoughts on the page - So I'll just say thanks......

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Also no Laurel minimal Felicity equals win/win just wish for a bit more of Diggle

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Im not sure which episode you guys saw but this was easily the best this season for me and top 3 of the series.Somebody mentioned their was no character development all i can say is huh what????
Now as for all who are trying to throw Sara under the bus again the truth is if Ollie listened to Sara, Slade and Olli would still have been friends and if it wasn't for Sara assembling the team in modern time who knows what would have happened to Olivers family?

Joyeful

This is a great RT :-) 1. I try to avoid spoilers as much as I can, so this felt like any regular Arrow episode to me. I had no expectations going in. 2. I think both. I've been in the friend zone (or Palcatraz) so often I consider myself mayor - I know how uncomfortable unrequited feelings can be. That being said, I totally agree with Hank and Carla - Slade was totally creepy and voyeuristic about it. He wasn't in a good place to being with. The Mirakuru catapulted him over the edge. 3. Maybe if we saw her, then yes. Right now, no. It only reminded me of the DC Animated Universe version of Mr Freeze, who did what he did to save his wife. 4. Besides "I wish my mom would keep it in her pants?" I think he was constantly assessing the situation, being on the alert for his family, thinking of a plan, suppressing the shock and anger. 5. I agree with Carissa - a bit more info would be nice at this point. I mean, he came back from the island all scarred up - physically and emotionally. They shouldn't be surprised to learn that he met dangerous people there. It would have at least kept Moira from shamelessly throwing herself at Slade. Geez louise.

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I agree with everything in your article, especially the predictability of this season, so yes, this episode was particularly disappointing. Plus, what made me love the first season was the character development of especially Moira, Walter, the Felicity/Diggle/Oliver team. This year has not been about character development, but about introducing as many DC characters as possible, and the episodes since December have made the series almost the Lance family drama, Sara show. Personally, I haven't enjoyed the show since Shado died, but there are only a few of us Celina Jade fans who feel strongly that she should have been the one to return alive.

Claire2014

Q1. Not really, no. I was expecting some more resolution, but came out with more questions. I did like both the present and island scenes though. It really showed the great contrast of where they were and where they are now — friendship to enemies. I have always liked their friendship and it was sad to see it fall apart and to watch it happen. Sadder still, to know why. Then the tension in the mansion. That was really well played by both Amell and Bennett. And the stunts, well … that scene where Slade grabs Oliver by the leg and whips him back on the boat — nice! Q2. Yes! That’s right Smoak&Arrow! I think Shado was simply the catalyst. I’ve had some great discussions on this, and we came to the conclusion that Slade’s rage isn’t over Shado alone. Yes, he loved her, but the fact it is, is that Oliver lied to him about what happened. This has been my NUMBER ONE BEEF with Sara. I LIKED her, but then she told Oliver to not tell Slade what really happened. Slade was Oliver’s friend. They fought side-by-side together and were surviving on the island together. Then along comes Sara and Oliver foregoes his instincts to tell Salde what really happened, and forgets ALL of his history with Slade and choses to lie instead, because Sara said so. Slade had previously been betrayed by Wintergreen when he chose to join Fryers, this was the godfather of his son! You know what happened to Wintergreen … Now Oliver, another comrade, chooses deception. Hightened on Mirakuru, Slade is infuriated and betrayed. Thank you Sara. Q3. The fact that she was mentioned? Yes. Was it just to humanize Ivo, or provide a clue to something else remains to be seen. It did help me sympathize with him a bit more rather than just think of him as some sicko doing experiments on humans just because. Experiments that perhaps Sara assisted with? Are they really hinting at something here? Q4. I think silence is best portrayal of emotions sometimes. Case in point — "Hush” from Buffy Q5. I agree with Smoak&Arrow, wouldn’t have helped — at that time. Now, down the road? Is it better to come clean and let people know? THAT is the question. Look what withholding the truth did to Slade.

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What was funny was the cast and crew were so excited for the action sequences of this episode, but by far the more entertaining portion for me was the mansion and the tension there.

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@ Kate

I'll agree with that, Kate. Good point.

Smoak-and-arrow

Q1: This is a tough question. I'm not a huge fan of the island flashbacks and I think maybe the hype made me think there's be "more" to it. So no. I don't think it it did. There were a few parts I enjoyed but it didn't leave a big impact on me and it felt like it didn't really move the story forward in any way for me. I think Kate said it really well: the build up and suspense this episode created is far more intense than the actual episode. Q2: Yeah, I think it's a bit of both. I find it a bit odd that it's this extreme over a chick Slade really never "had" but I'll give him some crazy leeway because of the Mirakuru. I also saw an interesting comment somewhere else that pointed out this isn't Slade's first betrayal on this island. His partner betrayed him too. So if Slade was looking at Oliver as a brother... to have it revealed by Ivo that Oliver "caused" Shado's death AND lied to Slade about it... okay. I can see a bit more of the anger/betrayal thing coming to a head. Q3: I have a hard time caring about Ivo just because he comes across rather flat for me. He's one of those crazy science guys out to kill people for the greater good etc etc etc. So no. It didn't change my mind on him at all. Guy built a floating lab and is torturing and killing people. Can't whitewash that just because he's using his wife's illness as an excuse. I'm with Carissa in that I'm hoping this doesn't tie to Felicity's parents. Enough with linking everybody to the island. It's really stretching credibility to for me and I'd rather they use her parents as a way to introduce new people and arc and direction instead of retreading over already used ground. Q4: Sometimes it's better left to the imagination in moments like those because nothing you say can ever live up to what you're imagining in your head. Q5: No, I don't think they'd have been safer. More prone to panicking and doing something stupid to get themselves killed. Though now? Yeah. Time to speak up.

Arrow Season 2 Episode 15 Quotes

Moira: What should we drink to?
Slade: To friendship.

Slade: You and I have something in common.
Moira: What's that?
Slade: I know how difficult it is to pick yourself up when other people have written you off.

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