Last season, The CW’s Arrow stepped up its game in massive ways, largely thanks to the inclusion of one major foe Oliver had to dig deep to defeat. Of course we’re referring to Slade Wilson’s Deathstroke (Manu Bennett). However, as is the way with television, when things came down to the big moment of putting an end to Slade once and for all, the writers had another future in mind.
Oliver realized committing murder would make The Arrow no better than the villains he fights – choosing a more humane fate for Slade: incarceration in a completely inescapable prison (although we wouldn't bet on its holding power). We've known for some time that Deathstroke's days weren't over just yet, specifically when Bennett himself teased a return was in the cards. Now, more details have been offered.
It was more recently confirmed that fans wouldn't have to wait long to see Deathstroke resurface, promised to appear in the second half of Season 3. It wasn't clear whether it would be in the flashback sequences or present day, but now TVLine offers a clearer explanation, courtesy of executive producer Andrew Kreisberg:
"Slade is definitely [resurfacing] in the present day... Not that he’s ever happy, but he’s particularly unhappy. When he comes back, he’s out for blood."
This statement doesn’t come as a shock considering the unwritten promise of the previous season’s finale - that Slade would one day return to Starling (perhaps causing Oliver to once again question his embargo on murder?). Regardless of that return, though, there’s really no other Slade we’d want to see beyond one that’s out for blood anyway.
[This article contains minor spoilers for Arrow Season 2]
The return of a fan-favorite character so soon after they were ostensibly dispatched speaks to the kind of freedom Arrow's success has brought. The showrunners have spoken about just how much freedom they're given from DC and WB., so the only real danger for The CW with is now balancing both Arrow and The Flash on the small screen - and Vixen taking the universe into a digital platform. The real trick for the network will be ensuring that the Arrow universe and its many characters won't overstay its welcome, and that’s means not trying to stretch things too thin.
So as some fans will be happy to see Deathstroke once again surface to give Team Arrow some trouble while Oliver is away - or perhaps play a role in Oliver's trials following the midseason finale - it's debatable just how much more the villain had to give to the story. Considering how nicely wrapped up his character's arc really was at the end of Season 2, bringing him back into the fold so soon is an odd choice. The writers have earned the benefit of the doubt to this point, but we’d hate to see The CW's confidence undermine their previous work.
Do you share some of our concerns, or has the team behind Arrow risen above criticism in your eyes? Sound off in the comments.
Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW.