Arrow season 2, episode 15, “The Promise,” aired tonight, featuring a look at how Oliver and Slade’s relationship went bad on the island.

Present day

The episode picks up just after Slade and Oliver have been introduced. It seems that Slade made a generous contribution to Moira’s campaign and plans to continue supporting her. The three share a drink, and Slade toasts to friendship.

As the three talk, Slade makes references to the island that only Oliver understands. When Moira asks if Slade has someone special, he replies that there was someone but she passed away a few years earlier. Oliver retorts that he and his mother have dealt with loss and learned to just move on.

After Moira leaves the room, Oliver tries to stab Slade, but Slade stops him just as Thea arrives. Moira, Thea, and Slade head off to look at some of the Queen family art collection, while Oliver trails behind furiously. Thea gives Slade a bit of a tour of the collection while Oliver dials Felicity’s number.

Arrow season 2, episode 15 recap Queens and Slade

In the Arrow cave, Sara is training Roy with a bow. Felicity answers Oliver’s call and puts it on speaker. Sara recognizes Slade’s voice and realizes Oliver needs help. Diggle pulls out their biggest gun while Sara enlists Roy’s help, as he has mirakuru in his system like Slade.

Diggle lines up a shot outside the Queen mansion. Sara sneaks into the house while Roy enters through the front door, calling for Thea. Roy and Slade shake hands while Sara comes downstairs, much to Slade’s surprise — and maybe a bit of hurt.

The moment is fraught as Roy, Sara, Oliver, and Slade face off, but Slade eventually bids Moira farewell. Oliver volunteers to walk Slade to his car, but Diggle is knocked out at his post. Oliver realizes Cyrus Gold and his ilk were working for Slade. Slade replies that he has his own allies.

When Oliver asks Slade what he wants, Slade replies, “Five years ago I made you a promise. Do you remember? Well, I’m here to fulfill it.”

Back in the house, Moira calls Oliver out on his rude behavior and tells him not to come by the house with that attitude.

Cut to a shot of three monitors filled with camera feeds from the Queen house — Slade planted them during his tour.

Arrow season 2, episode 15 recap Oliver, Sara, Slade

The island

The island flashbacks open with a (mostly shirtless) training montage as Oliver prepares to take Ivo’s freighter. As Slade makes plans, Oliver takes Sara aside; he wants to destroy the mirakuru so Ivo can’t have it. Slade, surprisingly, agrees, so they burn the crate.

Meanwhile, Sara warns Oliver that Ivo will try to blame him for Shado’s death to turn Slade against him. She tells him that he he has to kill Ivo before he can do so and cause Slade to snap again.

That night, Slade, Oliver, and Sara share a drink. Oliver asks Sara to tell his family that he’d changed if he dies. Sara, in turn, asks Oliver to tell her family that she died on the Gambit so they’d remember her the way she was.

After a guilt-fueled nightmare about Shado, Oliver dons the hood for the first time while Slade puts on the Deathstroke mask.

On the beach, Oliver ignites a bonfire with a flaming arrow, catching Ivo’s attention on the ship. He sends a couple of his men to the island. Before they split up, Slade reflects that when he and Oliver first tried to get off the island together they were strangers, but now they are brothers.

Arrow season 2, episode 15 recap Oliver, Slade

When Ivo’s men reach the beach, they find Oliver waiting. He runs from them but trips in his escape, and he’s taken back to the ship. In his cell, Oliver befriends Reverend Thomas Flynn before being taken to Ivo. Oliver is strapped to a chair and injected with sodium pentothal (truth serum).

Oliver answers Ivo’s questions, admitting the bonfire was a distraction. He tells Ivo that Sara and Slade are in the engine room, so Ivo sends his men after them. However, we discover that Sara had given Oliver a counter agent to Ivo’s drugs — he was acting.

Sara and Slade, meanwhile, use the parachute to launch themselves onto the freighter’s deck. Oliver gets loose from his captors and, in the ensuing panic, meets Sara and Slade. The three split up, and Sara frees the prisoners. One of them tries to kill Sara, but she’s rescued by Flynn.

Meanwhile, Slade wreaks havoc on everyone he comes across, and Oliver makes his way across the ship. He enters the cabin in an explosion and holds Ivo at arrow point. Ivo, as promised, puts the blame for Shado’s death on Oliver — and Slade overhears the whole thing.

Arrow season 2, episode 15 recap Slade

Furious, Slade takes out his rage on Oliver as the ship explodes with fires, gunfire, and violence. Oliver uses the riot as a distraction and meets up with Sara and Flynn. Sara convinces Oliver they need to get back to the shore, so several prisoners jump overboard. But Slade stops Oliver, locks him in a cell, and takes control of the ship.

Those who jumped overboard make it to the beach while Slade has Oliver dragged out of his cell. Slade reveals that he saved some mirakuru then gives Ivo a gun. He demands Ivo show him how he killed Shado, so Ivo points the gun at Oliver while Oliver pleads with Slade.

But before Ivo can shoot, Slade cuts off his hand and has him taken away. He tells 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.”

Watch a promo for the next episode

Arrow returns with a new episode on Wednesday, March 19.

What did you think of ‘Arrow’ season 2, episode 15, ‘The Promise’?

Veronica Roth’s upcoming science fiction novel is titled Carve the Mark, and hits store shelves on January 17, 2017.

An official website (complete with a countdown clock!) launched Thursday morning. It reveals the cover (above) and synopsis for Carve the Mark, which will apparently appeal to “fans of Star Wars and Divergent.”

The cover is interesting, as it appears to show cuts made in stone, with something like gold seeping out of the openings. “Honor has no place in survival,” the book’s tagline reads.

Here’s the full synopsis:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Intriguing! I’m liking the sound of these currentgifts and their influence on this science fiction world.

Previous reports have described Carve the Mark as the first part in a duology, with part 2 getting a release in 2018.

This will be the first book published since Roth wrapped up the Divergent Series. Although Allegiant was released in 2013, a book with short stories about Four arrived the following summer.

You can pre-order Carve the Mark here. Do you think you’ll be reading it?

Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle may have only just crash-landed in a dumpster near you, but we’ve already got information on the second book!

According to his newly upgraded website (hey! us too!), the second book in Rick Riordan’s latest Greek mythology series will be released on May 2, 2017 and is titled The Dark Prophecy. That doesn’t sound ominous at all.

The synopsis reads, “Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered 16-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride.”

Riordan’s fancy new website has a cool feature where, as you scroll the page, the dotted yellow line is replaced by a solid red one, like you’re really seeing yourself exploring the world as you venture through his books. (Accurate.) The Hidden Oracle took place in New York City, but our map tells us Apollo will be venturing into the unknown for the second book. Or has that bit of information just not been set in stone yet? There was something about Indiana…and bananas.

The Trials of Apollo is already off to a fantastic start. Check back later for our review of The Hidden Oracle and other in-depth coverage.

What did you think of ‘The Hidden Oracle’?

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ originally opened with Luke Skywalker’s hand

The space ship giving the finger to the audience wasn't how The Force Awakens was meant to open at all.

8:53 am EDT, May 5, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens made us wait until the very end before they revealed Luke Skywalker. But that wasn’t always the plan, according to Mark Hamill.

The opening shot of The Force Awakens is pretty iconic, and (unintentionally?) hilarious: A giant space ship blocks out our view of a planet, and for a second, J.J. Abrams is almost definitely giving the audience the finger.

Star Wars opening

Perhaps that finger says, “Suck it nerdz, I’m gonna make you sit through this whole film before revealing Luke Skywalker!” Because, as it turns out, we almost saw a bit of him right at the very start of the film.

Mark Hamill, speaking to The Sun (via Collider), has revealed that the original opening shot was a teaser of sorts to the scene at Maz Kanata’s castle, in which Rey finds the lightsaber:

“I can tell you now that in the original opening shot of 7, the first thing that came into frame was a hand with a lightsaber, a severed hand that enters the atmosphere, and then the hand and bone burns away and goes sticking into the surface of Jakku, and this alien hand comes in, don’t know if it was Maz but it was an alien hand who takes the lightsaber way, and then the movie proceeds as you see it.”

So basically we were meant to believe that Luke’s hand fell from the Cloud City tower on Bespin in the Outer Rim Territories (where he battled Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back), into space, and somehow found its way to Jakku?

Gotta say, as cool of an image that would have been, it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.

It does help to fill in some of the gaps about just how Luke’s original lightsaber came into Maz’s possession, however. How do you think she got her hands (too soon?) on it?

Would you have preferred ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opening with Luke’s hand and the lightsaber?