‘Arrow’ Season 1, Episode 13 – Deathstroke the Educator

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2014 at 9:56 am,

Manu Bennett and Stephen Amell Arrow Betrayal Arrow Season 1, Episode 13 – Deathstroke the Educator

In addition to being a fairly competent superhero program, Arrow has also developed an innate ability to have some of the most literal episode titles around. The show’s writers have displayed a knack for choosing a theme and running with it, usually by making sure every character can somehow relate to the subject and then really sending the message home by titling the episode something like ‘Trust But Verify,’ or in this case, ‘Betrayal.’

While all the various members of the Arrow television family have to contend with situations regarding the titular sense of betrayal, it is, of course the inevitable confrontation between Oliver (Stephen Amell) and his mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) that makes the biggest splash. At the end of last week’s ‘Vertigo,’ Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) delivered an identical copy of book of names the Hood’s been using as his primary directive, and informed Ollie that it was given to her by his stepfather, who lifted it from Moira.

Naturally, considering the implications this second book of names presents, Oliver’s position has suddenly become a bit confused. And, surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for Ollie to have a conversation with his mother regarding the book’s contents and her relationship to those names. Moira remains cagey about it and tosses the book on the fire, telling her son that its contents can only bring trouble to the Queen family and that it would be better “for everyone in it to stop asking questions.”

John Barrowman in Arrow Betrayal Arrow Season 1, Episode 13 – Deathstroke the Educator

Diggle (David Ramsey), not being of any familial relation to the Queens, takes it upon himself to investigate further, partially due to Oliver’s refusal to see his mother is somehow connected to the element that has “failed” Starling City. His snooping not only catches Moira on tape with a strangely low-voiced Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), but it also reveals that Merlyn’s plan for Starling City is being called “the undertaking.”

Initially, it looked like the show was ready to shelve the notion of Moira’s involvement, leaving one to expect this revelation would be tossed around each episode, leading to a confrontation between son/vigilante and mother sometime nearer to the season finale. But in a surprising turn of events, ‘Betrayal’ ends with Oliver in his mother’s office, by way of a shattered window, dousing the lights and giving her the statement that typically precedes an individual being ventilated by one or more of his arrows.

This is could conceivably be a turning point in the series’ narrative, giving away to the more serialized nature of the storyline that executive producer Andrew Kreisberg mentioned just before the show came back from winter hiatus. An even though we have to see how it all pans out – which, admittedly, could amount to nothing – Arrow’s writers (Lana Cho and Beth Schwartz, in particular) should be given some credit for not holding onto the promise of such a confrontation for very long, and for attempting to do what television shows should: stoke the proverbial fire and keep a sense of forward momentum going at all times.

But there’s still plenty of Arrow’s soap opera-y goodness on display in ‘Betrayal,’ too – in fact, it would be something of a surprise to find out a soap opera titled Betrayal wasn’t pitched at one point or another. Still, however melodramatic, the events of the episode (thematically speaking), could prove to have lasting ramifications for more than just Oliver and Moira.

Diggle’s betrayal is relatively minor; he’s there as Oliver’s partner and when Oliver can’t or won’t see the truth that’s in front of him, the responsibility of seeking evidence falls on his shoulders. To his credit, not only does he manage to get enough evidence that Oliver can no longer question his mother’s involvement, but Diggle also does so without alerting anyone to his presence or damaging his relationship with Ollie.

Stephen Amell in Arrow Betrayal Arrow Season 1, Episode 13 – Deathstroke the Educator

Sadly, the same can’t be said for Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and her father, Det. Lance (Paul Blackthorne). After tracking his daughter’s use of the Arrow phone, Lance sets up a task force to bring the vigilante down, which not only fails, but compromises his already shaky relationship with Laurel, who had enlisted the Hood’s help in sending a notorious criminal, Cyrus Vanch (David Anders, Once Upon a Time), back to prison. There’s an interesting conundrum between father and daughter regarding their individual betrayals of one another. Lance uses his daughter as bait to catch the vigilante he’s become obsessed with, while feeling that his daughter betrayed him by disobeying his order to steer clear of the Hood.

After Vanch uses Laurel as a means to coax the vigilante into a confrontation, Det. Lance comes to the bitter realization that someone in the police department has betrayed him, and the only person he can now trust is his hated adversary. Although the storming of Vanch’s temporary headquarters isn’t as action packed as it could be, there is a decent moment where Oliver prevents Lance from murdering Vanch and becoming like him. One of the Detective’s stronger attributes is seeing the world in terms black and white, and while they don’t exactly get along, Oliver doesn’t want him to have to navigate the moral gray area like the vigilante does.

Which leads to the massive gray area that is the introduction of Slade Wilson, played by none other than Crixus himself, Manu Bennett. Soft, pre-Arrow Ollie happens upon Slade, thanks to the map Yao Fei (Byron Mann) slipped into this pocket last episode, and after a cursory examination, Slade decides it would just be better for everyone involved if he kills Oliver and ends his suffering before it can really begin. Of course, Oliver manages to convince him otherwise, and after a short discussion in which we find out that Slade is Australian Secret Intelligence Service and has the character’s requisite penchant for swords, Ollie’s training is set to begin.

Manu and Amell in Arrow Betrayal Arrow Season 1, Episode 13 – Deathstroke the Educator

Various Items:

  • So, apparently there are two guys running around on the island with the Deathstroke mask. Either that or Slade isn’t being as forthcoming as he seems to be. All this second-guessing in the flashbacks is making it impossible to believe anyone is who they say they are.
  • While it makes sense that Oliver and Diggle don’t yet suspect Malcolm Merlyn in “the undertaking,” the way his voice was somehow altered on the recording, and yet Moira’s wasn’t just felt like too much of a cheat. Still, maybe the show can make up for it by revealing Malcolm to  Arrow sooner, rather than later.
  • Speaking of Diggle, although his initial lie to Moira when caught spying felt reminiscent of Oliver’s inability to tell a convincing fib, the smoke break routine he used on Malcolm’s security guy was much better.


Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘The Odyssey’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview for the episode below:

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  1. another good episode overall. i just wish one episode would have the villian have a lot bigger role. i know a lot of these villians MIGHT return in the future, but it still would be nice to have the most of the episode focused on the villian.

    • Why – the show is called Arrow, not villain.

  2. I thought this was the best episode of the series so far…keep it up ARROW.


  4. wow what an awesome ep. Still cant believe they managed to get manu bennet to play slade he was so friking insane as crixus. Ohh and next ep should be a good one felicity knows =DD

  5. The smoke break was the only thing about this episode I didn’t like. Does the security guard not have a sense of smell? The absence of speedy is probably the reason I think this is my favorite episode, that and Slade.

    • thats what bugged me too…and also wouldnt mrs queen be notified about her son’s body guard being suspected of spying on her?…no matter how small the chances, i thought that whatever oliver’s and tommy’s mom and dad were doing was extremely top secret and hush-hush…

      • *so top secret that they couldnt take the chances*

      • Malcolm’s guard, if he believed the lie (which seemed the case…sort of a “professional courtesy” allowance), would have no clue of what Diggle was ACTUALLY doing, thus, no reason to report anything.

      • the security did tell mrs queen cause oliver mentioned to diggle that his mother doesnt appreciate him snooping or something like that

        • Oliver told Diggle that he was upset with Diggle for spying on his mother. Mom did NOT know anything about it.

    • The lack of smoke didn’t bother me because I thought he seemed like he was ABOUT to start his cigarette break and was caught before he could actually light up…He played up the “guilty look” quite well, I thought.

      • Agree with this one!

  6. Great ep.! Top to bottom the show continued to get better every week!

  7. Maybe the second deathstroke could be WADE Wilson??

    • I don’t remember signing up to be on a robin hood show, that would be awesome. So long as i can be Maid Marian

    • YES


  9. lol the episode could have been a lot better. overhyped show. :)

  10. who ever thought of casting Manu Bennett as Slade/Deathstroke was genius he’s perfect for the role. I love how all the pieces are starting to come together, should be an exciting back end of this season. I agree the morphed voice of Merilyn Sr. was a bit of the stretch the rest of the episode was pretty sweet especially when arrow goes Rambo on those dudes at the mansion he took out like thirty guys it was awesome. @Draagyn I totally agree with you this show is great but it burns through it’s villains way to quickly IMO.

    • He took out 24

  11. Gotta say, I quit watching weeks ago. Boring fake superheros with no powers and way to much CW soap opera.

    • So you showed up just to tell us that? Why bother clicking on the review if you don’t even watch the show anymore?

        • Oh, my mistake. I thought this was a site for discussion of various sci-fi related shows, not a fanboy geek site devoted to all ways to love Arrow!

          • You didn’t discuss…you whined.

            • No, I stated a opinion and the reasons for that opinion. You are whining ;)

              • I’m gonna have to take Jerry’s side on this one.

                Even though I like the show. He’s still as entitled to his opinion as the rest of us.

                • I concur. Jerry is entitled to his opinion. I myself love the show. I will support any type of comic book series on TV.

              • You came into a thread about a particular episode of a show you claim to have stopped watching awhile ago (as opposed to, more logically, going to the Open Discussion thread or any one of several general DC threads) simply to complain about why you no longer watch the show.

                THAT is whining…and trolling.

                It’s cute that you’re attempting to state otherwise. Sure, you have the RIGHT to say whatever you want. The WHY, however, makes it questionable.


                • Sounds like whining to me!

                  • Good. So, we’re agreed. You were whining. Phew! Glad that’s settled.


                    • Glade you made yourself happy, please pay no attention to those other voices in your head.

    • Hmm, so Jerry posts to whine and troll while claiming Green Arrow is a “fake superhero with no powers”.

      Would he say that about Batman too? Probably not.

      I do agree on the soap opera writing and acting but then I guess for some reason, writers just can’t give us an awesome show based around superheroes without thinking that the target audience is 14 years old like they did with Smallville’s horrible writing and acting.

      Otherwise, great show so far. Also I’m only commenting now because the episode didn’t air until this past monday and I didn’t get to actually watch until last night. Just in case anyone wondered.

      • Yes I would say Batman is not much of a superhero. You say Arrow is a great show, other than the bad writing? So a badly written show is great?

  12. Dont know why they even called him villian..
    Just because he used a taser? or he counted the number of arrows GA has in his quiver..
    oh yeah he kidnapped Laurel.. :P

    • I thought it was a bit silly that he said he couldn’t take down all the guards and then he pretty much does just that. The detective only got one that Arrow could probably have taken as well. He has shown time after time someone with a gun on him in close proximity is no problem for him to take out.

  13. Pretty good episode. Probably the best one since the holiday break. I agree with the commenter above me who said that the best part was that Thea was in it for very little.

  14. I want Yao Fei and Deathstroke going after Oliver in Starling City. That would be so awesome

  15. Im kinda hoping the counte comes back

  16. my theory on the “low” distorted voice of Merlyn is that when recording thru a wall a high “treble” type voice cuts thru clearly, while a “bass” lower voice gets distorted. I’m just wondering if Tommy Merlyn Sr.’s name is in the book… prob not since Oliver didn’t mention anything when he came by for dinner.

    In any case great ep., epic crixxus/deathstroke reveal, I think he’s lying about not torturing Oliver but we shall see. I think the quality of everything BUT the villian this week made it a strong episode. I just didn’t buy this guy’s too cool for school attitude. “Oh I’ll just set up shop in my dead lawyer’s mansion and take over the city!” LOL. I think the show should hire a dedicated villain director to help these guys nail their performances. The count could’ve been more scary than crazy, and firefly could’ve been handled a bit diff as well.

    Minor quibbles aside I freakin love this show, and hope they use this Arrow in their plan for Justice League (I know prob not in the first one but I would bring him in on a sequel similar to his appearance on the JLU animated show where he wonders why they wanna recruit him as a hero w/ no powers).

    • My theory on the “low” distorted voice of Merlyn is lazy writing. ;)

  17. Good episode. Crixus is on Arrow !!! Badass Manu Benett. Can’t wait to see how his character bites it in Spartacus War of the Damned

  18. I wonder who is the big bad that is pulling the strings on this show…. is it just Malcolm Merlyn? is it Robert Queen himself? or Moira Queen? or someone else entirely? The only guys that Green Arrow has real bad blood with in the comics are Merlyn and Deathstroke.

  19. So just wondering why Arrow is ok with killing like 6 underlings but is just happy to bug the villain when he could easily have killed him…So the guys getting paid to stand around with guns are fair game but the main guy, he can’t just take out…Makes no sense…I’m watching the show and really trying to like it but it watches like a daytime soap opera and the acting is hard to take…