Last Night on “Arrow”: Sometimes Bad Guys Make the Best Good Guys

Digg finds himself in charge of the Suicide Squad. Oliver hunts for Slade Wilson, all the while being hunted himself.

You have to admire an ensemble show that lets other characters shine. That’s what Arrow did with last night’s episode. John Diggle took the lead, both in present day as well as in flashbacks. Lucky for Arrow, David Ramsey is a fantastic actor and he was ready to shoulder the weight of the show. Then again, he does have arms like bowling balls….

Oliver’s part in the story is him trying to find Slade Wilson. To that end, he goes and bullies the local Russian mafia guy, whom I still can’t take seriously. He just seems too affable to be a ranking member of one of the world’s nastiest crime organizations. In any case, Oliver gives him his marching orders and sends him on his way.

Diggle has set himself up in front of Felicity Smoak’s house to guard her against crazy killer Australians. Felicity thinks that’s super sweet and all but she rightly points out that if Slade wants to kill her there is bugger all anyone can do about it. I am glad we got to see Diggle putting in the effort, though.

He gets a booty call from Lyla, his ex-wife turned girlfriend and member of the mysterious A.R.G.U.S.. And though he insists he doesn’t have time for it because he’s really busy with Oliver, she persists and Digg relents.

Afterwards, their happy-couples moment is shattered by the arrival of Amanda Waller. Talk about a mood-killer. Yikes. One icy stare from her would be enough to make anyone swear off sex forever. Though it must be said, her frosty expression doesn’t hold a candle to C.C.H. Pounder’s epic glares.

Waller doesn’t care about their afternoon delight. In fact, it’s convenient for her as she needs them both for a mission and it saves her the trouble of having to hunt them down. As a rule, I recommend against doing anything to inconvenience Amanda Waller. She is one serious H.B.I.C.

She needs Diggle to track down Gholem Qadir, who happens to be that amoral jackass that Diggle saved back in the ‘Stan. It seems that, surprising no one, the little slime ball has gotten into the chemical weapons business. Given that Diggle killed a kid to save the guy’s life, you can guess how John feels about the way things have turned out.

Waller introduces him to the team she has assembled. Given the title of the episode and the fact that they’ve been hyping this for weeks, it’s not a big shock to see The Suicide Squad. But hey, it’s pretty cool. I love the fact that the show got to bring in a pretty prime DC property. Certain other studios don’t let their TV shows have any of the good toys. I’m just saying….

Speaking of good toys, there was a wee cameo of someone who just has to be Harley Quinn. If they actually let her loose in the Arrow universe, I will be completely overjoyed. Though it will be hard to make her work without the Joker, and I don’t think Berlanti will ever get his hands on that famed lunatic.

Diggle’s day is just getting better as he is being told he has to work with Frank Lawton. He makes it really clear that he wants nothing to do with any of Amanda’s little psychopaths, but he is overruled.

What really got under my skin was when Lyla insisted there was nothing different between these killers and what Oliver and Diggle did. I think there’s a tiny difference between killing for fun and profit and, you know, trying to stop crime.

The team heads off to Markovburg, Markovia, which is located in the Markoverian region of the Markovalia continent. It has to be a really confusing country to live in.

Diggle manages to make contact with Gholem and then things go wrong. Shrapnel has had enough of being a flunky for the fascist government dictators and he makes a break for it. Waller gives him two chances to reconsider, but he refuses. So she makes an example of him.

I really like Sean Maher. But I’m not sorry to see Shrapnel go. It was obvious the writers never had any use for him and the character was really just silly and pointless. He was actually so shallow and cartoonish, in fact, that he seemed really out of place on Arrow. I think the only reason for his existence was for this moment, to show everyone how far Amanda was willing to go.

Afghanistan Time!

Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue….

I gotta say, this flashback just kind of confused me. Part of that was because I spent the whole time trying to mesh what I was seeing with the story Diggle told Felicity in season one’s The Odyssey. And the simple truth is that this story does not match. At all. No, really, I finally went back and rewatched that scene in The Odyssey and the only detail that matched up was that Diggle killed a kid.

So, that had me scratching my head. I just didn’t even get why they changed the story. It wasn’t like the story of the refugees was one of the great Arrow vignettes. It seemed sort of, I don’t know, clumsy.

The one thing I want to say here is everyone should applaud Ben Browder. The Arrow producers wanted him back for this, but they were so over budget they really couldn’t afford it. So he did the episode for far less than his usual salary because, as he said to them, “they’re cool guys.”

Major respect, Mr. Browder.

In the modern day, Oliver sulks and broods and pouts about Slade’s Evil Scheme of Evilness. Sara tries to get through to him, but he is in one of his moods. Oliver gets really cranky when people he kills refuse to stay dead. When he goes to the trouble of putting an arrow in your eye, he thinks you owe him the courtesy of staying dead.

He’s gone so far off the deep end that even Laurel is all, “Hey, crazy person, knock it off, will ya? You’r being kinda obnoxious.”

Of course, Oliver is too busy brooding to listen. His mafia contacts come up with some info, which comes at the price of them telling Oliver they are done helping out. They’re all bent out of shape over him beating them up. Some people can be so unreasonable.

His cat and mouse game with Slade continues, and Oliver is not at all comfortable with being the mouse. Slade sends him this little message:

Which is both creepy and awesome. Okay, maybe Slade will rival Malcolm Merlyn yet.

Meanwhile, in Markovia, Digg and his team infiltrate a party where Gholum is pretending to be a humanitarian. Everything goes just swimmingly until Floyd discovers that the vial of killer goop he was sent in to nick is actually a massive vat of death.

Waller is unfazed. She tells Floyd to stay put and then orders a drone strike. Diggle doesn’t like the idea of dozens of party goers getting blown all to pieces. And to his surprise, he also doesn’t really want that fate to befall Lawton.

So he intervenes, because he is Diggle and he is fantastic. I love what this episode has done to deepen and complicate his relationship with Floyd. That’s the sort of storytelling Arrow does best, getting to the humanity of these characters.

Waller is displeased with the results of the mission. Things got messy and uncomfortable explanations were required. Fox News now how another six months of Crazy Conspiracy Theory material. It’s a bad scene. Much better, in her mind, that scores of innocent (and not so innocent) people died. This is why Waller is just disturbing. She is cold as ice.

Oliver goes to Slade’s lair, but the bad guy isn’t home—which is good since we all know that at this point Slade would turn our hero into cutlets. Alexi, the mafia guy, is there, and he’s very dead. One wonders if the Bratva will now be after Slade. Not that they can do anything against him, but it’s an open question.

There is a movie playing, just for Oliver. It’s a Shado home movie. So, Slade broke into her family home and stole some video? Creeeeeepy…. The guy really needs to look into the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals. Though there might not be enough Prozac in the world for his issues.

Oliver goes to Sara and tells her he has no idea how to stop Slade. He’s terrified of losing her, but Sara reminds him she’s a bad ass in her own right now. Please oh please show, don’t kill her. I won’t be able to take it.

Amanda Waller walks into the A.R.G.U.S. offices and finds her people have been tranqued with green darts. I’m prepared for Oliver to warn her to not co-opt his people anymore, a bluff that Amanda would certainly call. She doesn’t yield to threats, after all.

But no, instead they greet each other like old friends!


And she knows about Slade!


Amanda’s unflappable cool is somewhat flapped at the news that Slade isn’t quite as dead as they had hoped. She brings up some footage of a merc they’ve been tracking—someone they call Deathstroke.

So now A.R.G.U.S. is involved with the fight against Slade. So, that means the Suicide Squad is on the case too? And maybe the Clock King can replace Shrapnel? Or Harley?

So much good stuff ahead!

What did you folks think? Sound off in the comments!