You would think that with a goal of “get through all the Arrowverse series before the heat death of the universe” that I wouldn’t skip weeks, or have posts that only cover two episodes. I even have a spreadsheet of how I imagined I would bundle the episodes, and today’s post was supposed to include one more. But life happens–for sanity reasons Sunday posts are not guaranteed, and sometimes I just have enough to say about two episodes that trying to cram a third one would add too much bloat. Certainly doesn’t hurt that episode 13 has Oliver Queen meeting Slade Wilson, a major enough character that he gets his own paragraph!
The lucky thirteenth episode is “Betrayal.” After a bad dude named Cyrus Vanch (Mr. David Anders, AKA Takezo Kensei/Adam Monroe from Heroes) gets out of Iron Heights Penitentiary, he decides that he’s the one who should take over the Bertinelli and Triad gangs. Laurel Lance recognizes him as a threat, so she calls the Hood and asks him to gather evidence she can use against him as a lawyer. But her father, Detective Quentin Lance, bugged her phone back in episode 10, so he uses his daughter as bait in an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the vigilante. Laurel doesn’t like that, but her boyfriend, Tommy Merlyn, doesn’t like that she’s been working with the vigilante without telling him. Meanwhile, Vanch decides that killing the Hood will solidify his power grab and orders goons to kidnap Laurel. Something like the third time she’s been attacked by goons this season (previously in episodes 2 & 4). Quentin is horrified not just by the kidnapping, but also because the only people who knew that Laurel and the Hood had a connection are his fellow cops. Grudgingly teaming up with the Hood, the duo rescue Laurel and take down Vanch, although Laurel isn’t quite ready to forgive her father. Meanwhile, the List that tech nerd Felicity Smoak gave Oliver last episode makes Ollie’s crime fighting partner, John Diggle, suspect that Oliver’s mother, Moira Queen, is up to something bad. Acting as her bodyguard, he gathers evidence that she knew about the sabotaged ship that killed her husband and stranded Oliver on Lian Yu, and that she’s working towards something called the “Undertaking.” Finally realizing his mother has been lying, the episode ends with Oliver suiting up as the Hood and smashing through a Queen Consolidated window to corner Moira.
Next is “The Odyssey,” an episode that focused more on Oliver’s time on Lian Yu, so this is going to be a shorter paragraph. Picking up right where we left off, the Hood confronts Moira, who begs for her life by bringing up her children. This makes Oliver let down his guard, and he gets a bullet from his mom for his efforts. He drags himself to Felicity before he bleeds out, who takes him to his secret base, much to the surprise of Diggle. Turns out she was pretty sure what was going on when Oliver gave her a bullet ridden laptop. And a black arrow. And just the worst cover stories. Anyway, Dig and Felicity manage to remove the bullet, restart Ollie’s heart, and keep the vigilante alive. Felicity upgrades the base’s computers and agrees to help Oliver’s quest to clean up Starling City, but only in order to rescue Walter Steele, her boss and Moira’s missing husband (and therefore Oliver’s step-dad).
In the flashback to Oliver’s time five years ago on Lian Yu, he came across the wreck of a plane which was being used as a base by Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), an ally to Yao Fei, the man who saved Oliver but now was working for the villainous Edward Fyers for unknown reasons. After Slade realized Oliver had some survivability in him, the two planned to take an airstrip in order to get off the island. We also learned that Slade is ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Services), and that the man in the Deathstroke mask who tortured Oliver back in episode 5 was his partner, Billy Wintergreen (Jeffrey Robinson). See, that’s why I kept not calling that guy Deathstroke! Oliver and Slade trained but the playboy just didn’t have it in him to kill people yet, as evidenced by a nearly botched stealth assault on the airstrip. But Oliver had developed a sense of honor, so he had to go rescue Yao Fei–and of course he got caught. Before Billy can kill him, Slade attacked and killed his former friend, but got a bullet for his efforts. AND Yao Fei wouldn’t join them. AND the plane they were hoping to catch left without them. Oops. That’s when we found out why Yao Fei was staying: Fyers had in captivity his daughter, Shado (Ms. Celina Jade)!
Hope you like comic book references, cause I got ’em! “Betrayal” mostly had nods towards comic authors: Vanch’s lawyer worked at Wolfman and Perez, a reference to writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez. They’re not known for working much on Green Arrow comics, but the two created characters like Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, and Deathstroke. Wolfman separately also created Tim Drake, so basically there’s one dude to thank for creating the Teen Titans as most people know them. The other nod is the Hood mentioning the Winick building, named after Green Arrow writer Judd Winick. Winick also wrote Batman: Under the Red Hood–both the comic event and the movie–so there’s an extra fun fact.
So. Slade Wilson. Deathstroke the Terminator. Oliver’s antagonistic ally, future friend, and even further future big bad. Weird to think that one of the deadliest men in the DC universe started out as a Teen Titans villain, right? He debuted in New Teen Titans #2 (1980), an issue where the Teen Titans are attacked by… Grant Wilson? Why doesn’t that name ring any bells? Oh, because he died that same issue, causing his father to swear a vendetta on the Teen Titans, who he believed killed his son (they did not). From that odd beginning he would become one of the deadliest assassins to walk the earth, sometimes even fighting the Justice League by himself. Slade has a complicated history with his surviving children, with Joseph/Joey (AKA Jericho) and Rose (AKA Ravager) both having been villains and Teen Titan members (usually not at the same time). He would also manipulate Terra into betraying the Titans, a story known as “The Judas Contract” and seen in various media. As for other adaptations of Deathstroke, he’s been in the Teen Titans cartoon (voiced by the ever amazing Ron Perlman), the live action Titans show (played by Esai Morales), and was even in a post-credit scene in the movie Justice League (and therefore Zack Snyder’s Justice League as well) played by Joe Manganiello. Needless to say, he’s kind of a big deal.
Slade Wilson was also the inspiration for Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, because of course Deadpool was a originally a parody character.
Back on track, in “The Odyssey” we have Billy Wintergreen and Shado, two characters of varying importance. The William Wintergreen in the comics was Slade Wilson’s butler. Not very important, but there was some possible gay subtext I noticed while reading “The Judas Contract” (happy Pride Month), but nothing I can confirm. Shado, however, has a torrid history with Green Arrow. She debuted in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1 (1987), a comic series whose title will be referenced later in the show. She’s a Japanese assassin who teamed up with Green Arrow and then later… um… had less than consensual sex with him while he was severely wounded. Because she shot him. Bit of a yikes there. She would give birth to a son, Robert, but that whole thing was the old continuity–in the New 52 her revamped debut was in Green Arrow #22 (2013), and she didn’t rape Oliver! Instead it was revealed that she had an affair with his father, Robert Queen, eventually giving birth to Emiko Queen, Oliver’s half-sister. That’s not a character who’s going to appear for a while, so no worries if you don’t remember her if/when we get to season 7.
The timeline of the flashbacks feels weird to me… “The Odyssey” says Oliver had been on Lian Yu for 6 months at that point, which just doesn’t sit right with me. There’s an assumption on the show that it more or less moves in real time; the mid-season break–between episodes 9 and 10–was the same duration that Oliver temporarily stopped being the Hood, so I buy that. Sure, some episodes directly flow into the previous one–like above–but there’s a sense of real time passing. But the flashbacks are such a small part of the show that it’s hard to get a feel for time in them. Is that really what Oliver’s facial hair looks like after 6 months? Did he train with Yao Fei for longer than we saw? Was he a captive of Fyers’ longer than indicated? I know, I’m probably thinking too much about this, but I suppose I’ll get a better understanding if the flashbacks also time jump ahead a bit in order to accommodate the break between seasons 1 and 2. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the series, so I don’t remember everything. I mean, if I did, what would the fun of all this be?
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