Taking out Dr. Ivo’s freighter is just the beginning.
Making the promise
Interestingly, most of “The Promise” takes place five years earlier, on the island and on the freighter. Oliver, Slade and Sara are ready to take down the evil Doctor once and for all — Oliver has been exercising himself into superman-like fitness and the group has destroyed the box of mirakuru.
All that remains is sneaking onto the boat.
This is easier said than done. For one thing, Oliver isn’t quite as adept as he will be at shooting flaming arrows into distant bonfires. He does manage it though and then gets himself captured by Ivo’s men on the beach. When they go to interrogate Oliver, however, even sodium pentathol can’t make the kid reveal his team’s plans (thanks to some funky berries Sara mixed up).
Alas, this failure to learn the truth also means that we don’t have any final confirmation that Oliver’s middle name is indeed Jonas.
Anyway, Oliver’s fake truth sends the troops down to the engine room while Slade and Sara paraglide from the island to the deck of the ship. Everything is going perfectly at this point too — Sara lets out the prisoners (including Oliver’s Russian mafia buddy, the Reverend Thomas Flynn and Abraham the mouse) while Slade kills the men in the engine room.
Oliver tries to get Ivo quickly, since the Doctor is the only one who can really turn Slade against Oliver. But it’s too late. Slade hears Ivo protest that Oliver is at fault for Shado’s death.
Needless to say, Slade does not take this very well.
The boat is sent off-course, Oliver and Slade nearly kill each other, and Sara and the prisoners dive overboard to swim to the safety of the island. Oliver would have followed if Slade hadn’t caught him first. Instead, Oliver ends up in a cage.
Shortly thereafter, Slade has control of the ship (mercenaries aren’t terribly loyal, after all) and makes Oliver and Ivo face each other. It seems like he’s going to make Ivo shoot the boy, but Slade instead slices off Ivo’s gun hand. That is about as disgusting as you would think.
Then Slade makes his promise to Oliver:
“You cannot die until you have suffered the same way I have suffered. Until you have known complete despair. And you will — I promise.”
Keeping the promise
As seen in the last episode, a new and improved (if somewhat eye-deficient) Slade Wilson is back and hanging out with Moira Queen. He’s a major campaign donor now, and therefore enjoys the luxury of Moira’s company and a tour of her art collection.
This is bad for Oliver, who really just wants to stab Slade with an icepick.
When Thea shows up for the art tour as well, Oliver calls in reinforcements. With Felicity on the computers back at the lair, Diggle setting up a sniper shot, Roy heading in for a mirakuru handshake and to save the ladies, and Sara cat-burgling her way into the manor, it looks like Team Arrow might just win this one.
One of Slade’s “associates” takes out Diggle (he’ll live) before any sniping can occur. And Oliver just gets Slade out of the house and into a way-too-small sports car, learning that this former “brother” fully intends to keep that promise from long ago.
He even has a way to do so now: Slade has installed cameras all over Queen Manor. With a funky, artificial eye behind that patch and constant video feed to watch, Slade Wilson is in control of most of Oliver’s life.
This isn’t just bad for Oliver. It’s potentially catastrophic.