“Saving the world is kind of what we do. That, and fixing our mistakes.”

It seems that we’ve reached the point of Season 6 where the Arrow writers bring back all the loose ends of last season, and sort of tie them up. Some of them, anyway.

“Reversal” sees the return of Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) ‘hacktivist’ friend Alena (Kacey Rohl), in an episode that endeavours to try and make hacking intense, when in reality we’re just waiting to see John (David Ramsey) whip out his infinite ammo crossbow and take down some guys. You may remember that Season 5 saw Felicity join the hacktivist group ‘Helix’ – the culmination of her time with them being helping to release a criminal imprisoned by ARGUS’ named Cayden James (Michael Emerson), whose face we never saw. This episode is where that move comes back to bite her. Hard. As it seems Cayden James is the Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) mystery saviour, and the two are working together to bring about destruction – with the aim of killing 300 million people. So, low-key villainy.

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Elsewhere, Oliver (Stephen Amell) is struggling with taking a step back, while Felicity is in the thick of it. “Reversal” is a little Olicity-heavy, but almost understandably so, as this episode does more to cement the role reversal (see what they did there?) taking place between the two, and how it leaves Oliver wanting to do more than he is able to in order to ensure Felicity’s safety. What’s nice about this, is that it feels as though we are slowly coming back to a point where Felicity has a real role in the show in her own right, rather than how she’s connected to Oliver.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to comment on with “Reversal”, as most of it is hacking and/or Curtis (Echo Kellum) trying to track down Laurel in a number of different ways, each more convoluted and confusing than the last.

Moving on, the imaginatively titled “Deathstroke Returns” sees the return of Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) – surprise! – as he and Oliver venture off to find Slade’s son, Joseph ‘Kane’ Wilson (Liam Hall), a member of Australian intelligence who has found himself imprisoned overseas.

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In this episode, it is Slade’s turn to experience the Daddy Issues that Oliver enjoyed early on this season. Mixing scenes of Slade and Oliver in the current day, with flashbacks of a camping trip with a young Joseph and his father, we are able to see how Slade’s double life has impacted his son, and how it corrupted their relationship. For all his past faults, Slade comes into his own in this episode, not just as a father, but as a friend to Oliver. Knowing that Oliver has hung up his hood, Slade makes sure to find a diplomatic way of trying to free his son, using Oliver’s name as mayor, not as the Green Arrow, and drugging him when things go south, so as not to involve Oliver in anything that might get him hurt, or take him away from William. However, when Slade does find Joseph, it seems that he’s more like his father than they thought, and this may not be a rescue mission after all.

The B-side of “Deathstroke Returns” sees the return of another character, and another of Season 5’s loose ends. Remember Vigilante? He’s back, and he’s got his sights firmly set on taking down Councilwoman Pollard (Laara Sadiq), the woman behind the anti-vigilante referendum that’s barely being talked about in either of these episodes. And while there’s no explanation offered as to why Vigilante has been absent for so long, this episode finally shows us who’s underneath the mask. It’s a familiar face for one of Team Arrow – and for the audience as well apparently, though do they go on to explain who it is for those of us who can’t remember all the way back to this time last season.

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However, with all these characters coming back, once again we see nothing of Thea (Willa Holland), and get the briefest of mentions in “Reversal” which almost leaves you wondering why they kept her alive after the Lian Yu explosion if they were just going to continue ignoring her character.

VERDICT:

Bittersweet, these two episodes have their strong moments, matched equally with their faults. But, where past seasons have seen a slump in the quality of their episodes at this point, Season 6 continues to show that this is the new and improved Arrow, as the story arc stays relatively strong.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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