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Here’s the thing about Arrow during the second half of this season: it consistently feels as if the show is simply running in circles without an end point in sight. Time and again we hear from Oliver how he can’t love Felicity because his duty to the city is so great (we were given a bit of twist on it this week with Oliver deciding that Ray can’t love Felicity for the same reason – because apparently only Oliver gets to decide who can love Felicity and on what terms). We see Oliver make idiotic decisions regarding the League – from choosing to rescue Merlyn to, this week, thinking he could stop the guy pretending to be the Arrow. Of course there are a whole slew of League members impersonating you, Oliver! Come on. Team Arrow’s inability to actually come up with a plan before running into harms way works just fine when there’s a lesser thug of the week. But I’m amazed at how poorly these guys plan things after nearly three years of crime fighting.
And that’s the crux of the problem. We are rehashing old ideas and being told to see them as either on-going issues or new threats. The Oliver-Felicity relationship continues to spiral in a never-ending whirlpool of angst and annoyance. Just when it looks like Felicity is taking steps to move beyond Oliver, something always comes up to allow him to butt into the new relationship. I completely understand that Oliver and Felicity appears to be the show’s endgame, and I’m fine with that. But the audience isn’t stupid. We can understand that broody and tortured Oliver cannot handle the relationship right now, and that Felicity has every right to want to be with someone who does. Having Oliver throw out a line saying that Ray shouldn’t date Felicity for the same reasons he can’t is a bit ridiculous. Oliver hasn’t been telling Diggle he should leave Lyla because he fights on Team Arrow. Or tell Roy to stay away from Thea. It’s getting really old to hear Oliver whine about not being able to have Felicity. He made a choice and has to own it.
As for Oliver’s penchant for thinking he and his team can take on the League, well, that’s just dumb as well. Sure, Team Arrow is solid. But against a team of trained assassins with nothing to lose? That’s never going to turn out in their favor. I think Oliver thinks that because he came back from Ra’s killing blow (through no work of his own, mind you, something he keeps forgetting), he’s able to fight on the same level. Well, he can certainly handle one or two from the League. But Roy? Diggle? Not so much. Going up against the League requires planning and forethought, not rushing headlong in battle. Heck, it might even require Merlyn and it will certainly require Nyssa. I hope that this week’s message that Oliver cannot fight the League alone actually resonates with him and he tries to expand his reach a bit more in coming weeks.
Finally, I want to touch on what I found the most disappointing about this week’s episode: the state of the Suicide Squad. Now, I loved the past Suicide Squad episode. It was a strong hour that blended comedy and drama well and brought back some awesome villains. This outing was a mess. Deadshot was his usual amazing self, and having the flashbacks was a nice touch. But Cupid? Really? She was, by far, one of the worst villains Arrow has ever churned out. Annoying and shrill, I was hoping against hope that she would be the one to bite the dust. Moreover, why bring back the Squad if you aren’t going to add a few more members – particularly in light of DC’s upcoming film version. Throw in Boomerang to remind the audience who he is. Saddling the story with Cupid made me mentally tune out when the team was onscreen, which is not what the show was going for, I’m sure. I was also quite disappointed to see the show kill off Deadshot. He was one of their premiere villains and Michael Rowe did excellent work portraying the character.
Overall, “Suicidal Tendencies” was one of the season’s weakest outings. Nothing really happened, save for Ray finding out Oliver’s identity (which, considering Lance is the only person who doesn’t know, doesn’t even matter all that much). The League still very much has the upper hand, Team Arrow lacks a real plan for defeating them, and innocent people are dying. Just another day at the office for Oliver Queen.
— I’m thrilled Lyla quit ARGUS. Having her there allowed the show to have a clear out when Team Arrow got in over their heads, with Lyla riding to the rescue. Now, I have a feeling Waller will be less than thrilled to help the gang out when they run into series trouble. On the flip-side, this seems to indicate the end of Suicide Squad episodes, which I suppose is just as well. I doubt DC wants two Squads in the TV/film universe.
— Ray is really insufferable. And, as many have pointed out, he’s supposed to shrink. Not fly around the city like Iron Man.
— I’m strangely comforted that Nyssa is teaching Laurel to fight. Also, they mentioned Wildcat, so I assume he’s still alive. Yay!