This week’s episode of Arrow was all Slade Wilson, but the mysterious Vigilante did the impossible and stole Slade’s thunder. In “Deathstroke Returns,” Oliver Queen and Slade team up to break Slade’s son Joe out of an eastern European jail. But, in Star City, Dinah discovers the identity of Vigilante, and it’s a revelation that shocks her to the core.
Last season, Vigilante disappeared after a fight against Prometheus, where he was presumed dead. Now, Vigilante is back as Star City doubles down on its anti-vigilante legislation. During a bout with Black Canary, Vigilante is unmasked. He’s Vincent, Dinah’s old partner, both on the police force and personal romantic partner. And thanks to the particle accelerator, Vince is also a meta-human like Dinah, who possesses a Wolverine-esque regenerative factor. So, if you’re wondering exactly how he survived his fight with Prometheus, that’s how.
Vigilante was a loose thread in Season 5’s otherwise perfect tapestry. It had become too obvious that Arrow came up with Vigilante as a red-herring for Prometheus. It was also brilliant. For once, a comic book TV show understood its fanboy audience and used their own knowledge against them (in the comics, Adrian Chase was Vigilante, but in Arrow he was Prometheus). The side effect of that great bit of misdirection turned Vigilante’s plot into leftovers. Now, Season 6 of Arrow is on microwave duty.
But, at least this week kicked ass. “Deathstroke Returns,” far and away the best episode of season topped by an awesome, extra violent one-shot of Deathstroke clearing out a warehouse, will also be the most important.
For the past few weeks, Arrow has taken its time establishing the arcs of its primary four protagonists: Oliver, both as a promise to his son and to evade suspicion, has handed his bow and arrow to Diggle (David Ramsey). Diggle, pressured to live up to expectations, now depends on a dangerous drug to keep himself together. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), who has maybe the least interesting arc, has rekindled her relationship with Oliver. Now Dinah has Vigilante, which appears to have enough steam to last until the winter finale.
So all the pieces are in place, now it’s up to see how Arrow delivers.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.