In last week’s review, I posited that if it isn’t careful, Arrow could revert back to the way it was in its first season, which was uneven to say the least. This week’s episode, “Suicidal Tendencies,” succeeded at the very least in making sure the reversion in some of the characters’ mood and motives didn’t come at the expense of forward progression. As annoying as it is to see people not trusting the Arrow again, especially Capt. Lance, it’s good that other people are becoming allies, even if they don’t really have a reason to be just yet.
There are three big threads going on this week: Diggle and Lyla getting married/getting called into another Suicide Squad mission, Ray Palmer’s one-man crusade against the Arrow, and Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton’s backstory in flashback form. All of them are actually quite entertaining and further characters in a fun and meaningful way. It’s been a little while since all of the subplots had actually amounted to stuff, given how many moving parts there are in this show right now, and they were all different. As a proof of concept, a Suicide Squad show could work, as could a solo Atom show, but we already know that’s sort of happening elsewhere.
Diggle and Lyla get married right away, with Ray Palmer filling in last minute as the minister (of course he’s a minister). While there’s plenty of bad stuff to deal with, with everyone finding out someone, namely Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins, is framing Oliver for murder to try to get him to take the offer, Ollie himself insists that they go on their honeymoon to Fiji. Fiji is an island in the South Pacific, which means it’ll take them only 3 hours by airplane from Starling City since it’s probably only a little further away than Nanda Parbat. Unfortunately for the newlywedagains, Deadshot is waiting for them in their Just Married Mobile and they go to ARGUS where Amanda “The Bane of Everyone’s Existence” Waller tells Lyla of the kidnapping of a U.S. Senator in Fake-Eastern-European-Country and a hostage situation. Diggle refuses to let his wife go alone and so they only need to bring two members of Task Force X, Deadshot and the newest recruit Cupid, still nice and insane, infatuated with the Arrow and planning their wedding and subsequent babies.
It’s a good pairing, having Deadshot with Cupid, because both have very definite opinions about romantic love — Cupid, obviously, thinks it’s a must and is sure she both has it and will always have it, while Lawton knows that in their line of work, love and attachment are dirty words. Doesn’t bode all that well for Diggle and Lyla, but we can always hope.
This storyline takes a turn when we find out, after a very successful rescue of Senator Cray, that he set the whole thing up in a bid to get returned a hero and basically ensure his presidency. However, the mercenaries got killed by the Squad and now his whole plan is hosed. Now, in order to make it out alive, the Squad are going to have to work together and smartly. Before they do that, though, Lyla and Diggle lament having come on this mission at all because they could very easily leave their daughter Sara orphaned. Lyla has the great line that some parents don’t even fly on the same plane for that reason. After their escape (more on that later) and making it home, they each decide they want to leave their respective dangerous jobs, though how Diggle still gets paid is anyone’s guess. Military pension perhaps? Anyway, Diggle says he’s done with Team Arrow but Lyla tries to get him to change his mind after she reveals she quit ARGUS because Waller blocked the truth about the Senator having been homicidal and she can’t do it anymore. A good plan, Lyla; will The Wall be okay with this?
Oliver is finding out that being a public enemy again isn’t fun at all. After giving Felicity as much of a blessing as he can with regards to her new relationship with Ray, Oliver is pretty dismayed when the billionaire usurper says he’s going to devote his time and energy to catching the Arrow. That doesn’t help anyone. Oliver next needs to figure out where the League’s next target is going to be so he can stop them; so far, the Fake Arrows are just killing criminals, but it can’t be too long before they turn their attentions to innocents — anything to make Oliver lose everything he has. After being slightly too late to save a group of heroin traffickers, Oliver finds that there are actually many Farrows and they’re being led by Maseo who for some reason STILL is drinking Ra’s al Ghul’s Kool-Aid. But someone’s watching — it’s Ray, or should I say The Atom, who x-rays the building and sees the Arrow standing over all the dead folks. He then uses Felicity’s technology to create a face match and discovers that, yup, it’s Oliver Queen.
Now, I’m going to give Ray some credit following this. He isn’t stupid. He quickly puts together that Felicity knew Oliver was the Arrow the whole time and that she lied to him about a lot of things, making it very difficult for him to trust her. She tells Oliver what happened, and that Ray’s probably going to tell the cops about it, and Oliver also isn’t pleased with Felicity. Bad week to be her. Ray goes to see Laurel who quickly begins defending the Arrow and Ray, smart again, realizes that not only does Laurel also know, given her closeness with Oliver, but that her current broken arm (from training with Nyssa) and her formerly being trained by Ted “Wildcat” Grant, another former vigilante, means that, of course, she’s the Black Canary. Ray’s actually a way better detective than I thought he’d be. But, he’s a genius, so maybe I should have guessed.
Oliver goes to talk to him to say that he’s not a murderer and that Ray should trust Felicity, but Palmer needs some more convincing. And by that, I mean he doesn’t get convinced at all. He, in fact, fakes a 911 call in order to bring the Arrow, and also Arsenal, incidentally, to a specific place. The Atom arrives, looking a lot like a motorcycle-riding Iron Man, and hovers around shooting electricity at the archers, zapping Arsenal in the process. Oliver shoots at Ray, but intentionally doesn’t hit vital areas. He does, however, disable the suit for long enough to say that he’s not a murderer and Felicity IS someone he can trust. This changes Ray’s mind and he makes amends with Felicity and goes to the Mayor and reverses his stance on the Arrow being guilty. Lance, naturally, can’t see reason, but before the argument can really begin, Maseo kills the mayor with an arrow and takes aim at Felicity.
The character who gets his own flashback in this episode is Floyd Lawton, which is great because, and I’ll say it for the 90th time this year, the flashbacks to Oliver in Hong Kong are beyond superfluous. This one, however, is not. It shows us that the man who would be Deadshot, who slowly has been made into an anti-hero during his appearances, was a war vet who came home but couldn’t cope with his family, a regular job, or his life in general after having killed lots of people. He waves a pistol around his wife and daughter and gets thrown in prison only to be recruited for assassin work by a seedy organization, the first of these jobs being to kill Andy Diggle. While these flashbacks aren’t particularly revelatory, it’s always nice to get another perspective, and Deadshot is a pretty awesome character who started out very one-dimensional and has become much more deep than his own depth perception could see.
In the Suicide Squad storyline, he acts as the voice of negativity about love and marriage in wartime, but acts selflessly when he saves Cupid’s life, taking a bullet in the arm for his troubles. She then falls desperately in love with him, because why wouldn’t she, and then he sacrifices himself so the others can get away. He was, apparently, on a building when it exploded, and Diggle and Oliver drink a vodka to his honor at the end. Cupid, too, is very sad. I, however, don’t think we’ve seen the last of Deadshot. A) he’s too cool a character to kill off in such a way and 2) this seems like the perfect way for him to get out of Task Force X. If Waller thinks he’s dead, she’s not gonna go looking for him.
Overall, “Suicidal Tendencies” was a really good episode, and it’s nice to finally have Ray Palmer in the main fold (he even says to Oliver at the wedding that they hadn’t seen each other in five months and then twice in as many weeks…obviously this is a silly thing and a nod to how he’s basically been in his own show since his introduction. Now, hopefully, everyone will be together, more or less.
Next week, though, we have to contend with Oliver being “Public Enemy.” Oh good. And just when Lance was being tolerable.