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Arrow – 2.16 – Suicide Squad – Review: It’s a complicated world, Johnny.


‘It’s a complicated world, Johnny.’

‘We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.’
- William James


Prologue
Well, Arrowheads, they finally gave us what we wanted, an episode that was truly Diggle centric, I mean even the flashbacks revolved around him. While I enjoyed episode 2x06: Keep Your Enemies Closer, which was another Diggle centric episode, it really only served to whet my appetite whereas this one satisfied me fully at the end of the hour. Do you know what an episode that is character centric is supposed to do? It’s supposed to make all the other storylines feel secondary and boy was that the case this week, more so than usual.

Kudos all around, we’ve finally got a good head start on fixing the Diggle conundrum. But now, I’m ready to see a true partnership between Diggle and Ollie as well as some more screen time between Diggle and Felicity. Felicity doesn’t really seem to have anyone outside the Arrow Cave and even if she did she doesn’t have anyone she can talk to about the vigilante stuff, so that should naturally fall to Diggle.

Well, enough squawking, time to get to the meat and potatoes of this review….
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Title: Suicide Squad |Writers: Bryan Q. Miller & Keto Shimizu| Director: Larry Teng

Synopsis: AMANDA WALLER SENDS THE SUICIDE SQUAD OUT ON THEIR FIRST MISSION — Following Slade’s (Manu Bennett) return and his promise to make good on his threat to destroy Oliver’s loved ones, Oliver focuses all his energy on preparing for battle with his former friend. Sarah tries to help but, fearing for her safety, Oliver pushes her away. Meanwhile, Diggle is recruited by Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. to stop a warlord he knew from his time in Afghanistan. Always the solider, Diggle agrees to help. However, he’s not prepared when Amanda introduces him to the rest of the team – Deadshot (guest star Michael Rowe), Bronze Tiger (guest star Michael Jai White) and Shrapnel (guest star Sean Maher), all criminals he and Arrow helped put away. Lyla defends the team and explains the world is a complicated place, but Diggle isn’t sure he agrees. When the mission takes a dangerous turn, Diggle is forced to make a difficult decision. =====================================================================
My thoughts about the writers behind this episode…
I like this writing duo. I want them to be the go to team when it comes to writing for the character of Diggle. Please make it so, Andrew, Greg and Marc. This episode had it all, action, comedy, relationship check-ins, trauma and drama. I liked all of unexpected the positive character interactions that were featured in this episode. I also like the trend of streamlining the story down to an A and B story with glimpses of the other stories in very small doses simmering in the background. I loved that the flashbacks belonged to Diggle. But at the same time I want the writers to know that it’s OK to not have flashbacks in an episode. I think for a lot of fans it would be a welcome relief. I know it would be for me. Just going to throw that thought out there…

My thoughts about the director of this episode…
All I have to say is welcome aboard, Larry Teng. I really loved this guy’s directorial aesthetic. He had a long list of interesting and unexpected shots. The scenes actually had time to breathe. This episode had really good transitions as well. The tracking shots were seamless and smooth. He pulled fantastic performances from everyone involved. Can’t wait to have the guy back.
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Yeah, for me! I said it was all connected when we got a flash of Amanda Waller’s shoes in episode 2x12: Tremors, when she offered Bronze Tiger an out and I was right. Amanda Waller is the woman in the red shoes from the last flashback scene of season 1. And Amanda and Oliver seem to have past partnership of some sort. I’m guessing Diggle doesn’t know that just yet. Also, Diggle hasn’t told Oliver that someone he doesn’t believe Oliver is aware knows about his secret, he’s been sitting on that for months. Turns out, that doesn’t matter much.
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Character Contemplations

Amanda Waller – Are we sure she wasn’t suppose the villain of this week’s episode? For a ‘good guy’ she sure was making some questionable choices. You know the old saying, ‘Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.

Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger – I guess he was just an ace in the hole to have. I hope they invite Michael Jai White back for some solo action one of these days because he is a fantastic martial artist and we have yet to see him unleashed. He does gets bonus points for saving Lyla though.

Floyd Lawton/Deadshot – Anti-heroes make the best heroes, especially when the world is becoming more grey by the day. Deadshot is honest, sassy and as Diggle mentioned showed more honor than a woman who is in charge of the saving the world. Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

John Diggle – Poor Diggle! His super cool code name is not so cool or so super, it’s just Freelancer. But I love how the writers managed to give me all of things that I have been missing about Diggle, such as him being a moral compass, a strategic and tactical planner and an honorable man who still struggles with hard choices every day. I also liked that they allowed him to be funny, soft and charismatic. I really hope this character development doesn’t cease or get lost in a barrage of big action sequences and empty gestures that are sure to come during the spiral of insanity that they are pushing all the way up until the season 2 finale.

Felicity Smoak – Felicity is almost back to her old, spunky, competent self. We haven’t really been seeing a lot of her since Sara showed up and let’s not even go there with how out of character they been having Felicity acting since Sara showed up. But I must say whenever Emily Bett is called on to bring out the adorkable charm, she delivers. Though her screen time was minimal, her impact in the episode was definitely maximized.

Laurel Lance – Funny, likable and being the bigger person. I like this Laurel. Can this be the Laurel we keep? I’m not so sure that alcoholism was the culprit or root of her problems but I suppose the tenets of AA might help Laurel get a fresh perspective and cope with the crazy situation that is her life. I’ll take it if this gives me a more in control Laurel who has finally seemed to come across as relatable and likable to her haters.

Lyla Michaels – I don’t know what to make of Lyla. It seems as though she was almost a bit of honey pot to lure John into mission. I like the chemistry between Aubrey and David. I also like that Lyla and Diggle have a mature love as well as a relationship that is honest and open. But it is very obvious that they see things from two drastically different points of view and would probably best be suited for a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship over any other kind, as the line ‘when we talk we tend to get divorced’ was clearly shown to indicate. Lyla isn’t the one’, or ‘the one that got away’’, she is just a detour, a lovely, fun detour but a detour nonetheless in Diggle’s love life.

Mark Scheffer/Shrapnel – He was about as useless as his first appearance. I’m glad he’s dead and we never have to see him again. He will definitely go down in Arrow history as one of the most useless and lackluster villains in the Rogue’s Gallery.

Oliver Queen – Angry, impulsive and on a rampage. I see Oliver is regressing back to all his old ways that I absolutely hate. Not only was he pushing away the people that love him the most he was burning bridges with dangerous (but more importantly, interesting) people. Oliver has a thick skull and doesn’t appear to be learning from past mistakes. I’m losing my patient with Oliver. I want to root for him and just when I think I can do it he goes off and does something that I can’t get behind. I need Oliver to grow up and soon. I thought Oliver has learned, on more than one occasion that love is THE most powerful weapon in a hero’s arsenal so just embrace it, let it wash over you and let it make you invincible already.

Sara Lance – I’m interested and invested in Sara and Laurel reconciling. I’m not really interested in the love saga of Sara and Ollie. I’m barely interested in the crime fighting partnership between Black Canary and The Arrow. When is the last time Sara even suited up and took it to the streets and kicked a little butt? I like Sara best when she’s trying to be a hero, I don’t care much for the interpersonal mingling between her and Team Arrow. If anything she and her father and her sister should be in counseling together. She should not be in a romantic relationship with Oliver; if not out of respect for her sister then out of respect for herself. Sara is starting to look suspiciously like a user and an abuser and it’s a shame…

Awards


Character of the Night
• Diggle (like duh, how could it not be?)

Most Improved Aspect
• The writing of Deadshot as well as Michael Rowe now having something to sink his teeth into and really help audience connect and care and root for him.

Best Character Interactions
• 1st place – Diggle and Deadshot
• 2nd place – Diggle and Felicity
• 3rd place – Laurel and Oliver

Scene of the Night
• Diggle saves Deadshot

Line of the Night
• Harley Quinn: Do you two cuties need some counseling? I’m a trained therapist.

Most Memorable Moment of the Night
• Felicity in her PJ’s

The Stalker of the Week
• Slade Wilson/Deathstroke

The ‘Wait, Why Are We Supposed to Care?’Award – Any and all scenes Oliver was involved, they fell super flat for me this week. I don’t like ‘on the rampage’ Ollie or when he acts before thinking.

That awkward moment when the online fandom begins to turn on you… – This one goes to Sara Lance/Caity Lotz. Shippers going to ship and no one likes Sara and Ollie together, apparently.

Fan Girl Squee of the Night – The Harley Quinn cameo.
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The Basics

Villain – Another underwhelming, under developed baddie. If I hadn’t read the tie-in comic books I would have completely disengaged on this front. Let’s just be honest, it was basically the only way to tie Diggle into the Suicide Squad’s mission and we all just went with it.

Theme – Dangerous liaisons in a grey world.

Recurring Elements
• Oliver pushing people away.
• Oliver making not so smart decisions.
• The Moira/Oliver feud.
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Highlights


Memorable Moments
1. Deadshot blows a kiss at Diggle.
2. Deathstroke stalking an oblivious Oliver.
3. Laurel looking for a job in retail.

Notable & Quotable
1. Felicity: We are still in the
2. Deadshot: Give me a break. This ain’t no taskforce. Let’s just call it what it is. Welcome to the Suicide Squad.
3. Laurel (Filling out an application): Do you have previous experience in retail? Does shopping count?

Super Scenes
1. Laurel gives Oliver some helpful advice.
2. Diggle confronts Lyla about the team A.R.G.U.S. has put together.
3. Felicity brings Diggle some hot cocoa (without marshmallows,)
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Miscellaneous


Fun Facts: The Ostrander Suite is named for John Ostrander who is an original and well known writer for the Suicide Squad title.

Tasty Tidbits: We got our first Captain Marvel/Shazam reference of the series in the form of Khandaq. Khandaq is a fictional Middle Eastern country ruled by the Captain Marvel/Shazam villain Black Adam. Black Adam was born in Khandaq and first gained his powers while a prince of the country in ancient times.

Style Spotlight: Lyla’s blue dress (to quote Diggle: Well, damn…)

Side Notes: Don’t expect to see Harley Quinn again. The voice was provided by Tara Strong and the silhouette was provided by model/actress Cassidy Alexa.
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Grade: A
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Plugs & Shameless Self-Promotion
ArrowCast on iTunes
ArrowCast on Facebook
ArrowCast on Twitter
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Well, that’s all she wrote! I look forward to reading the comments and learning what my lovely readers thought about this week’s episode of Arrow.
I’m always open to making new internet friends so don’t be shy, go ahead and contact me.

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