Arrow “Suicide Squad” Episode Review
Since “The Promise” was one of the more stressful days of Oliver Queen’s life, the Arrow writers have let the hooded one take some much needed hero down time, and instead handed the crime fighting duties for this week over to Diggle……and the Suicide Squad. Yup, everyone’s favorite comic book team of villains forced into high risk government black ops missions, has finally made their way into the DC television universe. For the last two years Arrow has been slowly laying the foundation for this group of homicidal manics to at some point become a team, and given that this weeks episode was in fact called “Suicide Squad”, it seemed like this was just the right time for them to make their Arrow grand entrance. This week the writers put the Deathstroke situation on the back burner and instead give us a fun episode that comes in guns blazing, with head exploding action……oh wait, that was just Shrapnel.
John Diggle has been one of the best characters created on this show, unfortunately with so much going on this season, he hasn’t had as much to do this year but stand around in the background. Luckily the Arrow writers decided it was time for a little change of pace, and gave Diggle his chance to headline another episode; and yes, it also stared Deadshot. At this point it doesn’t look like you can have one without the other, but fortunately its also becoming a fun team-up to watch. Honestly the whole team-up with the rest of the Suicide Squad was also actually pretty fun to watch, except for Shrapnel.. I hate Shrapnel, more on that in a minute. Now I wasn’t sure at first about the idea of Diggle leading the Suicide Squad(considering its always just been made up of villains), but the way their mission was tied to Diggle’s past really made it work. It was nice to see him fall back into the special forces trained soldier we always hear about, and the flashbacks being all about him when he was still in the military really helped flesh out his character even more. Honestly Diggle really carried this episode well, I could watch a weekly hour long show staring Diggle and the Suicide Squad and be perfectly happy.
The Suicide Squad themselves came pretty much as advertised. The Squad was overseen by Amanda Waller and Diggle’s ex-wife Lyla, and its members consisted of Deadshot, Shrapnel, and Bronze Tiger. Now before I say anything else, I want to say thank you to the Arrow writers. Shrapnel was one of the worst villains this show has had, and when he was included on the Squad I was not happy. That was until Amanda Waller exploded his head. That was simply awesome. Amanda Waller is really starting to grow on me, and not just because she killed Shrapnel. The ruthless way she runs the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S, and the presence she brings to the show really gives me high hopes for her character going forward. This was also a good episode for Deadshot. Every time he is on an episode, he becomes more and more likable. Giving him a daughter and a small sense of honor, gave him much more depth and I started really hoping he was going to make it. By the end of the episode, he starting to steal the show. Its starting to look like he might have a bright future on Arrow. As for Bronze Tiger, well he is there to stab things. I guess some things never change. Overall the Suicide Squad stuck pretty close to it’s comic roots, and hopefully will be making many more return appearances.
Even though Oliver was relinquished to mostly side story status this week, we still got a good look at the effect that Slade Wilson’s reemergence is causing. In short, Oliver is losing it. He doesn’t sleep, he has nightmares, he’s distancing himself from his team, and he has become obsessed with finding Slade. Honestly, these are all pretty normal reactions given his particular situation. I know I’d be a little on edge if a crazy, super-powered killer was after me. Unfortunately, all Oliver is doing is playing right into Deathstroke’s hands. I was happy Oliver came to his senses fairly quickly and realized that he was going to need help if he wanted to stop Slade. I wasn’t surprise he went to Amanda Waller for that help though, considering all the previews leading up to this week made it obvious that the Suicide Squad would eventually be helping with the hunt for Deathstroke. I was a little surprised though to see that Oliver and Waller clearly had a past, and that she was also aware of Slade Wilson. It seems she knows how dangerous he is, and throw in the fact she also thought he was dead, my guess it that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Waller in flashback scenes. I’m also anxious to see what kind of previous history Oliver and Amanda have, especially since she doesn’t seem to really like him all that much. For the present though, it would appear that Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S will be joining the fight in the inevitable Deathstroke showdown.
One of the things Arrow has done an excellent job of this season is expanding the DC television universe past just the show. This week we obviously got the Suicide Squad(which really does open the door for a ton of different villains to make appearances on the show), we also got references to three DC comic locations, Kahndaq, Qurac, and Markovia(fictional cities with ties to Deathstroke, Teen Titans, the Suicide Squad, and Black Adam), and then we got to hear a voice that could change what we expect from the DC universe Arrow has built. That voice only said one line, but to anyone who grew up watching Batman:The Animated Series, you immediately knew it was Tara Strong, better known as the voice of Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn has been a frequent member of the Suicide Squad, so it’s not a huge leap for her to make a cameo as one of the prisoners of Amanda Waller. It’s also not the first time that Arrow has had a villain that has also been linked with Batman, but this is the first time Arrow has used a villain that is directly tied to Batman. If there is a Harley, then there’s a Joker, and if there’s a Joker, then there’s a Batman. So I’d say the question wondering if the Dark Knight exists on Arrow might’ve just got answered, it looks like Arrow and Batman do in fact share the same universe. Now this doesn’t mean that Ben Affleck is going to be busting through the Arrow cave doors anytime soon, but this does open some real exciting possibilities going forward. Nightwing anyone?
Following up one of the best episodes that Arrow has ever done was going to be a tough go, and smartly the writers decided to go in a completely different direction and give us more of a stand alone episode that gave a great supporting character a chance to shine. We also finally got to see the Suicide Squad come together, adding another fun comic element to the show that should also help Oliver in the impending fight against Deathstroke. For the most part “Suicide Squad” plays as advertised, delivering a fun change of pace episode that managed to give Oliver Queen and the rest of us a little breather, all while continuing to expand the ever growing DC Universe on Arrow.
I give “Suicide Squad” 8/10 for killing Shrapnel….I really did seriously hate that guy