Episode Title: A.W.O.L.
Original Airdate: 1-28-2016
Two longtime Team Arrow members finally received code names while a major supporting character was killed off in another episode that had a bit too much going on to adequately juggle.
The focus this week was squarely on the senior members of Team Arrow — Felicity and Diggle.
Felicity had to confront her insecurity about her contributions to the team now that she’s paralyzed. Her insecurities were brought to “life” by her old DC Comics Death inspired goth persona. The writing was uneven here as at times the goth persona mocked Felicity for her pity party while other segments she tried to convince her she wasn’t a hero. Ultimately, Felicity worked through it to recommit to the team. This probably would have been more meaningful if Felicity was a physical member of the team as her character hasn’t been written as someone prone to questioning herself especially when she could still contribute with her alpha level hacking talents.
For Diggle, the episode was far more personal as he confronted Shadowspire, a shadow organization of ex-military war profiteers. And Andy was involved with them as well. As we’ve seen with Sara, the show is not afraid to completely ret-con a sibling for the sake of a storyline. Diggle and Lyla had to help Amanda Waller and ARGUS track down Shadowspire, but in the end, the group managed to ambush ARGUS HQ and kill Waller.
You had to think killing off Amanda Waller was slightly influenced by the character’s upcoming appearance in Suicide Squad. Like Deadshot before her, a random episode cameo only to kill them off lacks any real impact. It seemed like a waste of one of the characters the series could always benefit from their involvement. One commentator suggested Waller might be pulling a card from the Nick Fury playbook and used a Life Model Decoy, but for a show that frequently cheats death that might be one fake out too many.
This seems to set Lyla up as the new head of ARGUS, which could help Oliver even the odds with Damien Darhk and HIVE so that could prove to be an interesting development. Also of note, Diggle finally got a codename — Spartan — while Felicity got Overwatch, since Oracle was already taken — a fun wink to fans who note all the Batman similarities in the Arrow universe.
More importantly, this led to Diggle deciding he can trust Andy again thanks to his assist in taking down Shadowspire. This felt way too accelerated to me considering their relationship just a few weeks ago. I still don’t feel all that satisfied with Andy’s sudden about face in providing intel to Diggle.
During the flashback, we learned Andy’s involvement with Shadowspire put him in direct contact with their boss — Baron Reiter. That was an interesting development and one I’m curious to see how it’s played out over the course of the rest of the season.