Arrow: 4.11 A.W.O.L
Well things certainly started to get interesting towards the end, didn't they? Which was definitely needed. I don't know is it is to do with the over-saturation of comic-based TV shows taking up my viewing schedule. Or just whether some like Agents Of SHIELD are firing on all cylinders while favourites like The Flash haven't quite risen to the occasion but much of this week's episode felt like Arrow biding its time. But then A.W.O.L pulled out a couple of surprises at the end and got me eager to see more.
Let's start with Amanda Waller. Cynthia Addai-Robinson has been absent from the show for some time, but her head of ARGUS (The DC's SHIELD) has been a thorn in Oliver's side both in the past and present. Cold and ruthless without overplaying it, she has certainly proven to be a very grey character in this world of heroes and villains but she has ultimately been an ally when needed. So to have her summarily executed by Shadowspire was a shocking move. Yes, some fans might have found it a little underplayed by I liked the almost dismissive way Lieutenant Joyner shot her in the head when he realised she would not give up ARGUS's secrets. In truth, Waller was most likely written out of the show due to her big-screen presence in the upcoming Suicide Squad (who also stopped appearing after season three) but I think this move opens up some interesting possibilities for the show - Lyla and Diggle running ARGUS instead?
On a side note, I continue to love Lyla, going on a date with Diggle and make pork roast one minute and then kicking ass with the enemy the next. I would have been more annoyed if she had died this episode.
And yes Shadowspire appear to be another military organisation out to upset the balance of power. While I found Diggle and Andy's flashbacks to Afghanistan nice but uneventful, the twist that the organisation was led by Baron Reiter, complete with a map of the island Lian Yu, adds some well needed depth and intrigue to Oliver's on-island flashbacks.
I have to say though, I'm glad we seem to be done with the whole angst between Andy and John Diggle; perhaps it is because of the mid-season break in between but it feels like conflict between them has been going on forever. Now that he has joined the good guys and been welcomed into the Diggle home, I hope he can prove to be a good ally in the war against Damien Darhk.
The other big theme of the week was Felicity's recover. Once upon a time it used to be mesmerising to watch a character suddenly confronted with a facet of their own personality - I assume in this instance it was as the result of being high on medication. But it's been done so many times on TV now that I just wanted the banter between Felicity and her former dark-haired hacker self to be done. At least she came out of it stronger with the new name Overwatch and her return to the team wasn't dragged out over multiple episodes. I love Felicity, but not when she is consumed with angst. She works best when she gets to use her skills, banter with the team and generally save the day from her computer screen.
A.W.O.L started off slow but it really was about resetting the pieces after what happened in the first part of the season. Felicity found her role, the Diggle brothers finally reunited and the flashbacks gained purpose. Darhk was absent this week after giving Oliver a reprieve for saving his family but I expect things to pick in the weeks ahead