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"To kill you now would be a mercy. You cannot die until you have suffered the same way that I have suffered. Till you have known complete despair. And you will. I promise."
Slade Wilson's promise to Oliver Queen

"The Promise" is the fifteenth episode of the second season of Arrow, and the thirty-eighth episode overall. It aired on March 5, 2014.



The episode opens with a visibly stunned Oliver asking what Slade is doing there. Moira tells Oliver that Slade has just made a "generous" donation to her mayoral campaign. Slade has brought some rum and Moira asks Oliver to join them for a toast. Oliver notices the bottle and agrees to have a drink. Slade offers the toast to be towards "Friendship". Slade notices a model of the old ship and asks if they ever go on the sea, as he claimed ignorance of knowing Oliver from the Island. Slade brings up the island and Oliver says how he doesn't like to talk about it.

Back on the island, Oliver is running around the island shooting targets with his bow, and conditioning his body. Later on, Slade, Oliver, and Sara discuss the plan for attacking the freighter, as it is heavily-guarded. Oliver takes Sara aside and asks her about the drug. He thinks Ivo should never be allowed to control it. They were unsure on what Slade would want so when Slade agreed, saying they should burn it, they were surprised.

While burning the drugs Sara mentions that Slade is going to kill Ivo for what happened to Shado, and if he finds out Oliver chose Sara over Shado, he might kill him as well. They agree to kill Ivo before Slade gets to him.

Slade, Oliver, and Sara share a drink and toast to Shado. Slade mentioned that he and Billy were planning on saving it for a rainy day or in their case, the last day on the island. Oliver wants Sara to tell his family he's changed if he does not survive the attack. She wants him to tell her family she died on the Queen's Gambit, if she dies. Oliver agreed. While sleeping, Oliver has a nightmare featuring Shado who blames him for him choosing Sara over herself.

As they gear up, Slade grabs his balaclava as Oliver grabs the Hood.

On the freighter Ivo asks to see one of the prisoners. He's just received a poor update on his wife's condition. He puts the man, Anatoly Knyazev in a chair and goes to work preparing to remove one of his eyes.

At the same time, from the island Oliver uses and arrow to ignite an explosion on the beach. (Similarly to how he did in the pilot) Oliver has to try multiple times as his first arrow doesn't hit the right way. When he does, Ivo sees this and orders them to be captured alive. Oliver purposely trips while running, and is taken by two of Ivo's men and put in a cell on the freighter. Oliver mutters that he said he would come back. Thomas's rat climbed over Oliver causing him to chat with a prisoner named Thomas Flynn, who is a Catholic missionary.

Ivo puts Oliver in his chair and demands to know the location of his friends. Oliver refuses to talk and Ivo injects him with truth serum (sodium pentothal).

Back in the present day Moira asks Slade about his love life. Slade mentions having children and tells her how he lost someone. They talk about moving on after loss. Slade mentions wanting to see the art and Oliver wants Slade to leave and at one point Oliver announces he'd like to talk with his mother. Moira briefly leaves the room, and as soon as she departs, Oliver tries to stab Slade. Slade is too quick and knocks the knife out of his hand. Thea arrives and walks in, and Slade introduces himself. Moira returns to guide a tour of the home's art. Oliver follows Moira and Thea in the effort to protect them.

Back on the freighter, Oliver is asked about his name and where he was born, to check that he wasn't lying. Oliver then says that Slade and Sara are on the freighter in the engine room. As Ivo rushed off with the crew, Oliver repeats his name. A flashback shows that earlier Sara gave Oliver a drug that counteracts the effects of truth serum. We see Slade and Sara paragliding on to the freighter, using the pilot's parachute. Slade goes after Ivo's men who were sent to the engine room, and sends Sara to free the prisoners with Oliver to grab Ivo.

In the present day Thea shows Slade one of their favorite paintings. Oliver quietly calls Felicity. Felicity, Roy, Sara and Diggle are in the foundry when Oliver calls. Thinking Oliver butt dialed, she puts the phone on speaker. Sara hears Slade's voice and realizes Oliver and his family are in imminent danger. She gathers Diggle, who brings his high powered sniper rifle, and Roy. She asks if she can trust him, with him responding yes. They then head out.

Back on the freighter, Slade cuts through Ivo's men. Thomas saves Sara from another prisoner who is strangling her. During the fight, Ivo calls his wife and tells her he's found a cure. She seems confused, showing signs of Alzheimer's disease. Oliver bursts in and knocks him to the ground. He doesn't kill Ivo and Slade walks in behind Oliver. Ivo tells Slade that Oliver was asked to choose (between Sara and Shado) and Slade violently attacks Oliver. Explosions on the ship save Oliver from Slade's wrath. The prisoners and guards are in a furious fire fight. Sara tells Oliver she thinks they need to get off the ship and swim back to the island. They jump overboard, but Slade grabs Oliver's ankle before he can get off. Slade throws Oliver into a cell and takes command of the ship by killing the captain.

In the present day Diggle aims from far away a gun. Sara shows up and Roy goes into the Queen's mansion. Sara climbs in from an upstairs window as Roy met up with Thea. Slade seems to realize right away that Roy is also on the drug after shaking hands with him. Sara comes downstairs and Oliver asks Slade politely for what he wants to do next. Slade tells Moira he needs to leave and says good-bye but not before saying that he looks forward to seeing Moira again. Oliver then offers to walk him to his car.

Diggle is about to take a headshot, but somebody knocks him out before he can pull the trigger. Slade mentions that Diggle was still alive despite not taking the head shot. Oliver asks Slade what he wants. Slade tells him he's there to fulfill the promise he made five years earlier.

In another flashback, Sara and some of the prisoners have reached the shore, but she realizes Oliver's not there.

On the freighter Slade has the crew bring Oliver forward and he meets up with Ivo. Slade shows that he didn't burn the Mirakuru but the box when Ivo mentions having studying it for years. Slade gives Ivo a gun and tells him to show Slade how he killed Shado, but instead shooting Oliver. Oliver tells Slade he didn't want Shado to die. Slade then cuts off Ivo's hand holding the gun. Slade promises Oliver will not die until he has known complete despair and killing him now would be a mercy.

In the present day Oliver returns to the room with his mom. She tries to stop him and berates him on his behavior and tells him not to come by if he will continue to act the way he did that evening.

Meanwhile, we see that Slade staring on a screen, with video feed from the Queen Mansion. A brief flashback shows him planting cameras throughout the house while he was on his tour.


Main cast[]

Guest starring[]



  • Much like Season 1's "The Odyssey", this episode focuses primarily on flashbacks. In addition, it is the second episode to feature a villain of the episode outside of present-day storyline, Anthony Ivo.
  • Two DC comic book artists are referenced, the first being Curt Swan, a comic book artist best known for his work on Superman during the "Silver Age" of comics. The second is Joe Cooper, a penciller best known for his work with The Flash.
  • While it's never explicitly revealed who knocked Diggle out before he could take his shot, for a split second orange accents are visible on the pants of his assailant reminiscent of Isabel Rochev's Ravager costume. Arrow: Vengeance confirms that it was indeed Ravager.
  • This is the first episode of Arrow that Oliver doesn't appear as The Arrow. The second is Season 3's "The Return".
  • This is the first not-penultimate episode of Arrow to be named after Bruce Springsteen song. The second would be Season 8's "Leap of Faith".
  • During pre-production, Stephen Amell called James Bamford at three in the morning to tell him that he's taking a brief leave of absence to be with his wife Cassandra Jean Amell, who was going into labor at the time and later gave birth to their first child.[citation needed]
  • When Ivo's men are strapping Anatoly to the chair in Ivo's quarters, Ivo himself mentions requiring an eye for his research. This is a reference to the comics version of Anatoly, KGBeast, who is missing an eye.


Preparation ran from December 12 until December 20, 2013. Shooting ran from January 7 until January 16, 2014.[1]