Arrow: Suicide Squad

Dig: "Coffee?"
Felicity: "Hot cocoa."
Dig: "What, no marshmallows?"
Felicity: "I'm out."

This was an uneven episode, but it did pay off some of the build up towards the Suicide Squad.

I wish we had gotten to know Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel a bit better, because they really were secondary players in this episode. Shrapnel was really disappointing since he died after about five minutes of screen time (which feels like a waste of a good Firefly actor). At least we got some really good material with Deadshot. For the first time I actually give a damn about him, and in a way that gives his relationship with Diggle some weight.

I'm not sure I feel the same about Lyla or Amanda Waller, but at least Diggle got to have some quality screen time. Including a great moment with Felicity, which showed us so much in just a few short words. Felicity has accepted her role and understands the threat coming from Slade to such a degree that she knows, short of the entire group protecting her, there's no point in Diggle sitting outside her house. He wouldn't put up more than a paltry few seconds of defense before dying too. Plus, he's also a potential target for Slade.

Anyway, I don't really feel the need to go into too much involving the mission, because it was very standard espionage 101, complete with the guy who our hero 'saved' and supposedly turned over a new leaf, only to have broken bad again. The drone strike also didn't make much sense to me. Was Waller just being a bitch, because she had the coordinates? All she had to do was task the drone to that location, because to anyone with half a brain it's a waste of an asset to kill off Deadshot like that. Sure he's a liability in some ways, but he's also one of the best snipers in the world. That's not someone you want to write off unless you're sure he's going rogue, and yes I know that's the point of the Suicide Squad, but it still feels vindictive and pointless to me.

Although I wasn't super impressed with the Suicide Squad, I can say I was even less impressed with the Oliver arc. Not with the story, I think his attempts to track down Slade, leading to working with Waller was a lot of fun. We got that creepy Deathstroke mask on the roof scene, and the video with Shado (Slade must've dug up some home movies of her I guess). I just didn't care much for his personal arc. I totally get his feelings of conflict and guilt over his relationship with Slade. I just don't get why he would push Sara away.

In a very real way Sara is stronger than Oliver. She's had training he's never had, and she's dealt with death in a way that's really kind of impossible to imagine. So the arrogance of him trying to protect her when she's basically his equal is insulting. It might be a personality quirk of his, most heroes have this same issue to some extent, but this time it felt very forced. Laurel, Felicity, hell even Diggle I would understand. Doing this plot with Sara, uh-uh, doesn't work on any level.

Comic Book Bits:

Suicide Squad, or Task Force X, is a long running (1959) anti-hero/villain team that has had some notable DC Comic character names associated with it (Barbara Gordon, Black Atom, Bane, Cheetah, Clock King, Vertigo, Harley Quinn, Penquin, Poison Ivy, Power Girl, and Roy Harper to name a few). The original version was made up of replacements for the JSA (Justice Society of America) because of some issues arising from the McCarthy hearings. The concept was rebooted later on as a government-run squad made up second string villains who were mostly expendable. The point was that most of their missions were suicide runs. Of course the conceit was that for the most part they succeeded. The Squad also served as a bit of an explanation for the reappearance of villains, because service on the Squad usually came with commuted/reduced sentences.

Bits:

Katie Cassidy is looking a little better.

The scene where Deadshot opened up that concrete hallway and his artificial eye was highlighted was a stand out for me visually speaking. There's usually at least one or two of these neat looking shots per episode, which are very much in line with Arrow's comic book origins.

So Deadshot has some moral layers. That's interesting. Did we know about his daughter before? I was hoping that they would do something more with his character, and I'm glad they finally are.

Laurel gave good advice for once.

Not sure I'm happy about Amanda Waller naming Deathstroke.

Gholem Qadir was mentioned in a previous episode ("Trust But Verify"), and so was Markovia.

For the number of prosthetics and make up they have to do, Ollie has his shirt off a lot.

Quotes:

Oliver: "My mother sometimes enjoys a casual relationship with the truth."

Diggle: "There's an incoming drone strike."
Deadshot: "How contemporary."

Diggle: "Lawton! He's not answering. I have to go help him. I can't believe I just said that."

Harley: "Do you cuties need some counseling? I'm a trained therapist."
When the preview for this episode aired, people went nuts over the shot of the pony-tailed girl in the yellow jumpsuit. Why? Because she's one of the best Easter eggs we've gotten on Arrow. The first live action glimpse at Harley Quinn.

Not quite as good as I was hoping for, but not a disappointment either.

2 1/2 out of 4 Expendable Villains.
---
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.

10 comments:

sunbunny said...

Yeah the Ollie and Sara ten minute breakup thing was just unnecessary angst. It was stupid and the 'I'm leaving you for your own protection' thing has been done to death. Plus, as you pointed out, Sara's actually stronger than Oliver.

Patrick said...

Yes, the "I have to break up with you because for some reason that means Slade won't kill you" was silly, but I was expecting it to happen at some point. And given that, I thought they used it for a couple of good moments. We got some nice beats between Laurel, Ollie & Sara. And in the end, Ollie didn't have to be dragged back to Sara, he came to his senses without too much beating over the head. More importantly, in doing so he acknowledged that Slade had him at a disadvantage, having planned this for so long. And at the same time, Sara didn't go overboard trying to reel him back in. She just remained steady, not pushing too hard, but not walking away. The maturity of the characters on this show compared to similar shows *cough*Smallville*cough* is refreshing.

Freeman said...

I suppose the drone thing would make sense if you consider the possibility that an asset would have to follow a hidden tunnel to an unknown location. I dunno if that's what the writers had in mind but I could see that being a viable enough reason. Still kinda on the nose though, we already established that Waller doesn't give two figs about the Suicide Squad with Shrapnel. Though I guess it gave Lyla a chance to "do good".

Ollie went a little overboard with Sara, but at the same time I can't really blame him. If Slade gets any one of the group alone he's gonna put them in the ground. And I reckon Ollie doesn't want to lose anyone else. But if they have any hope of winning, they're gonna need to work together. What he should be focusing on is giving Roy some Martial Arts training rather than letting him flop around as a brawler.

I'm just glad this episode gave me Harley Quinn, complete with dubbing by Tara Strong. Hey, she ain't Arleen Sorkin, but Tara Strong's basically the de facto Harley now.

ChrisB said...

Although I really liked getting a Diggle story and some of the visuals were great, this episode felt a bit off to me. I think it's because this universe is expanding so rapidly.

That's not necessarily a death stroke (sorry, I can't help myself), but I would prefer a more concentrated team at times.

zapdower said...

Technically this isn't the first live appearance of Harley. There was a very short lived show called Birds of Prey where Harley was the main villain.

mazephoenix said...

Comic book bonus:They were staying in the Ostrander suite..named after Suicide Squad writer John Ostrander.
Alas poor Simon..umm..I meant Shrapnel..He'll be back though.
Great episode. Deadshot got some much needed depth here.

Patrick said...

I'm not reading too much into that last scene, am I? It seems pretty clear that Oliver and Amanda Waller have a history, and that history seems to involve Slade Wilson, since she seemed to believe he'd already killed Slade(suggesting she was on or near the island/freighter where I'm sure the big showdown toakes place). Did I just completely blank out a scene in a previous episode where they revealed that these two already know each other?

J.D. Balthazar said...

I don't think you're imagining things Patrick. That was my impression too, of course I'm a little fuzzy about when Waller was introduced. If they did have a scene together they didn't share any secrets with one another.

Patryk said...

I'm catching up on Arrow and this is the latest ep i've seen and I got the feeling that Waller was the one responsible for Fyers and that's why she's on Arrow's list.

Marianna said...

This episode made me realize how well defined Felicity's personality is in this show. When she brought Diggle hot cocoa, before either of them said anything I thought "Oh, she's bringing him cocoa." It didn't occur to me until after Diggle asked if it was coffee that coffee would probably be a more normal beverage for her to bring him, but cocoa seems like something Felicity would bring him. =)