Arrow Finale Brings Back Deathstroke in an Unexpected Way

Arrow aired its series finale on Tuesday night, bringing a close to the first chapter of The CW's current DC TV universe. The episode took an interesting trip down memory lane, as characters from across the show's run gathered for the funeral of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). The episode took some time to showcase how things have evolved in the Arrowverse's post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" world -- which involved the unexpected return of arguably Arrow's most prolific villain. Spoilers for the series finale of Arrow, "Fadeout", below! Only look if you want to know!

The episode opened with a scene that was all-too-familiar for Arrow fans -- the death of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) in the Season 2 episode "Seeing Red". The moment famously occurred by the hands of Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), who made Oliver choose whether to sacrifice Moira or his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland), before ultimately stabbing Moira with a sword anyway. In this post-"Crisis" version of the moment, Oliver managed to get a weapon while in his restraints, and used it to fight off Slade - and, by extension, save Moira. While it was never made clear exactly how the fight ended, we quickly learned that Moira was still alive in the present, as she participated in the new version of the Emerald Archer documentary.

The moment is certainly an emotional one (even with confirmation that Thompson would be in the finale) -- but one that opens up a whole other can of worms in the process. Now that Moira's death no longer happened in the post-"Crisis" timeline, there's the question of how Oliver and Slade's subsequent fight for Star City ensued. Was Slade successfully locked up in ARGUS' prison before he was able to fully unleash his Mirakuru soldiers on Star City, or did those events continue either way? Were Oliver and Slade still able to eventually repair their relationship while hunting for Grant Wilson, or was their relationship already on a different footing, to begin with?

Just based on the text of the Arrow finale, it's genuinely hard to hell, and it also remains to be seen if that could be explored any further across any of the Arrowverse shows. Thanks to last week's "Green Arrow and the Canaries" backdoor pilot, we know that Deathstroke is still infamous enough to inspire copycats in a post-"Crisis" Star City 2040, but it's unclear beyond that. The idea of a categorically different Slade - one who potentially was humanized in a different journey than pre-"Crisis" - is definitely intriguing.

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"Every time we add on a little bit of a layer here and there it helps kind of draw that story out." Bennett said of his arc during a 2017 convention appearance. "Sometimes I’m missing Arrow and there’s been times when it's been a year and a half between getting back out there to film Oliver and the cast – Stephen [Amell] – but they made a really good job out of this last couple of episodes and that they humanized Slade rather than demonized the character was just such a relief for me because I’ve always been of the idea that Deathstroke from the DC Comics, Marv Wolfman’s character, has more integrity just being a crazy Mirakuru guy."

What do you think of Deathstroke returning in Arrow's series finale? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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