Tonight's episode of Arrow saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) deal with what might be the most unusual situation he's ever faced. His now-adult son William (Ben Lewis) and daughter Mia (Katherine McNamara) along with Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones) suddenly and inexplicably appeared in the Arrow bunker in 2019. There wasn't much time to figure out precisely how or why that had happened, though, as a new Deathstroke threat emerged in Star City, one that offered quite a bit of context for what the future Team Arrow is dealing with in 2040.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Arrow, "Present Tense", below.
When the new Deathstroke shows up in Star City, Mia, William and Connor quickly assume that it must be J.J. Diggle having somehow also been brought into the past with them. Early on, that appears to indeed be the case, but when the Future Team Arrow goes to deal with the threat once and for all and avenge Zoe Ramirez as well, they're hit with a major surprise. The new Deathstroke in Star City isn't J.J. It's Grant Wilson.
For fans of DC Comics, Grant Wilson is familiar name, but not exactly as Deathstroke. In comics, Grant is the son of Slade Wilson -- as he is in the Arrowverse -- but he adopts the mercenary persona of Ravager. In the most recent DC continuity, Grant was hired by H.I.V.E. to take out the Teen Titans, but due to genetic modifications that had been made to Grant, his heart failed during the fight, killing him.
Tonight's reveal of Grant Wilson isn't the first time the character has been named in the Arrowverse nor is it the first time that the character has been associated with Deathstroke. Back in the Season 6 episode of Arrow "Promises Kept", it's revealed that Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) has two sons. While Oliver and Slade are aware of Joe who has followed a little too closely in his father's footsteps, Joe reveals that there is another Wilson brother -- Grant, whom their mother had kept secret. Before that, in the first season of Legends of Tomorrow episode "Star City 2046", Grant Wilson was revealed to be the future Deathstroke going up against Connor Hawke's Green Arrow. While that timeline was only a potential future -- one that seemed to no longer be a possibility fans really had no reason to connect the Season 6 in-continuity reference to the character to anything going on in the 2040 timeline.
Tonight, though, by revealing Grant to be the new Deathstroke in Star City 2019 it's also revealed how J.J. becomes the leader of the Deathstrokes in 2014. It turns out that he came under Grant's influence at some point between 2019 and 2040, ultimately taking on not just his ideology, but his villainous mantle as well. It's an interesting development, one that may get even more interesting when William, Mia, and Connor return to their own time. The combined team manages to stop Grant in 2019, potentially changing the future.
Arrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8 on The CW.