The opening scene of Arrow‘s very first episode included an Easter egg that had comics fans in fits from the get-go: The mask of the villain Deathstroke, perched upon a makeshift stand, speared by an arrow. Ominous, right? Well, the latest episode of Arrow finally answered how and why that mask was there, and… well, the answer was “meh”.
Most of this week’s episode “Honor Thy Fathers” dealt with Team Arrow on the hunt for Adrian Chase — and Oliver and Thea confronting the sins of their father’s past while doing so. The Queen siblings learned that their dad covered up the accidental killing of a business partner, the rest of Team Arrow had another brush with wrestler Corey Rhodes’ returning drug-addled criminal Derek Sampson, and eventually Chase is in custody while Oliver and Thea bond over choosing to ignore the fact their dad wasn’t the most perfect person in the world.
Meanwhile, in flashback land, things are getting increasingly closer to the opening events that kicked Arrow off all the way back in 2012. Oliver’s been on a long, absurd trip in these flashback sequences over the years, taking him off the island of Lian-Yu and into adventures in Russia, Hong Kong and generally all over, despite the fact it made little-to-no sense with how we first found him being rescued off the island in the very first episode. That lead to this week’s flashback seeing Oliver make the silly decision that his family needs to find him as an island castaway rather than him just showing up after years of pre-vigilantism adventures, so he hauls himself and his Russian pal Anatoly back to Lian-Yu to set the stage for Oliver Queen’s “rescue” — which leads to two equally absurd moments of trying to tie it all together.
The first is the explanation of how Slade’s mask was set up on the island as we saw it way back in the pilot, despite Slade being long gone at this point in the wild journey of pre-Arrow Oliver Queen. The answer to this five-year-old question fans have been waiting to see?
It just washed up on the shore like some kind of sign.
Whelp. Over five seasons of Arrow, the show’s flashbacks have become an increasingly convoluted avenue of storytelling, treading water in an attempt to both keep related to the main story of the “modern” timeline while also being faced with the perils of having to eventually loop back around to the opening of the show. Hell, they might even be carrying on despite the fact this season is seemingly wrapping them up. But this? This is just lazy.
At least the other throwback to the pilot was a little more fun: Anatoly, correctly assuming Lian-Yu doesn’t have its own barbershop, gives Ollie a parting gift to help sell his castaway lie:
His amazingly terrible flashback wig! We missed it when it was first lost to us, but now it’s back, its role in the journey of Arrow finally complete. God bless you, bad costuming wig — you’re the true hero Arrow deserves.