After the heart-stopping mid-season finale, and the slow build up to Oliver's return to Starling City, I can't wait to get back into some real Arrow action, and it seems that tonight's episode "The Return" will not disappoint!
Malcolm Merlyn has sent Ollie and Thea to Lian Yu to train ahead of their battle with Ra's Al Ghul, and in this clip, we can see Oliver's surprise at how far Thea has come.
You would assume that Ollie would be more than capable of beating Thea, given his years of training, but Thea stands up surprisingly well. She attributes her skill to Malcolm being a good teacher (probably a good sign for Oliver) but also references his harsh style. Who can forget his method for teaching her to overcome pain in Corto Maltese? He doesn't believe in cheating, but that there is only "survival and death." Could this be foreshadowing what is about to happen with Deathstroke? I have previously suggested that Merlyn releases Slade as a test for Thea and Oliver, and this seems like a heavy hint that that is what happens...
After training, the two have a bonding moment over the fire, talking about Oliver's previous times on the island, and what it means to him. Again, Malcolm is mentioned, as Oliver suggests that he had good reason to send them there to train. More hints that he is behind Deathstroke's reappearance?
Finally, the clip decides to make us feel all the feels, as Thea tells Oliver how happy she is that "there are no more secrets between us." Despite her surprisingly positive reaction to discovering that her brother is the Arrow, he and Malcolm have obviously not told her about her pivotal role in Sara's death. With that still hanging over them, it's almost a guarantee that the two will have problems in the future. Just to twist the knife further, she asks if he ever thought he would see them again. Of course, we know that he already returned to Starling City, and we'll undoubtedly see a lot of his time there in flashbacks this episode.
Our second sneak-peek reveal's Deathstroke's return in full glory: Slade Wilson swinging in and throwing punches.
At this point, the two know that Slade is out and after them, and are stopping by Oliver's island-graveyard to pick up a gun... "just in case." Of course, it all goes to heck in a handbasket as Slade bursts out of the trees and knocks them both out within seconds (go Slade!). "Nice to see you again, Miss Queen."
There are a few things to take from this clip, short as it is. First off, Slade is wearing an ARGUS jacket. This could be simply because it was part of his prison uniform or the closest stealable item from the prison during his escape, but it could also mean that Malcolm is not behind his release, and ARGUS has plans for them.
He's also focused on Thea, rather than Oliver, which is strange. In the past, Slade has been all about destroying Oliver for what he did to Shado. Here, at her gravesite, he chooses to focus on Thea, a relative stranger, rather than Oliver?! I refuse to believe that he has somehow forgiven Ollie or developed a personal vendetta against Thea, so there is someone else pulling the strings. Either Malcolm set him loose and told him to aim for Thea in order to test her survival skills (and her trust that Oliver will always protect her), or ARGUS wants to use Thea as a pawn.
Either way, it looks like Slade isn't yet aware of Thea's new ability to kick ass. When hiding in the trees, he hears Oliver tell her that she should have a gun, suggesting that she is untrained and unable to defend herself. He then knocks her out without giving her a chance to show off her newly-acquired skills. Finally, he calls her "Miss Queen," a name that she has all but abandoned, taking on the Merlyn name and money for her father. This could get interesting, and I cannot wait to find out when he realizes just what she can do.
With only hours to go till "The Return" hits our screens, what do you think of these latest clips? What are you most excited to see tonight?