One of our favorite new games is to watch Arrow and then, right afterwards, do a tally of all the DC Comics references we were able to spot in the show. This one, having been set in Russia, probably had a few background gags that we didn't catch because they were written in Russian--but even with that going for it, there was still plenty to pick from. Aside from the return of a few characters we'd never really talked about before, there was a new introduction this week who is potentially a major DC Universe player. As in, executive producer Marc Guggenheim had already written her into the Green Lantern movie big. So we'll do it like always: Here's what we spotted, and you let us know what we missed...!
The Wall This week marks the introduction of Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Amanda Waller. So far, she's only confirmed for this episode, but since rumor has it there will be a Suicide Squad being put together this year, The Wall seems as likely a candidate as anyone else in the DC Universe to become a semi-regular recurring character in the series. Here, we see a pragmatic side of Waller; she's tough but fair, and doesn't seem like the kind of borderline-unhinged personality who would do something like throwing together a Suicide Squad populated by ruthless, powered villains. Maybe we're a ways off of that, or maybe she's putting on a show for Diggle. Either way, this svelte and charming Waller is more in keeping with the New 52 iteration of her character than the one we saw on Smallville, based on her "classic" heavyset look and no-nonsense persona.
The KGBeast We've seen David Nykl as Anatoli Knyazev already--but only in the flashback sequences, where he shared a cell wall with Oliver. Here, we see him in his glory; he's a man who can get things done, a member of the Russian mob who brags that there is nothing in Russia that cannot be bought. He's powerful and esteemed and while so far he hasn't turned on Oliver and company, it's worth noting that in the comics, he's a former KGB operative known best as the Batman villain KGBeast. Will he go that route in the show? The producers have been careful not to use that name...but then, they've avoided talking other things that later came to fruition, too, like Black Canary.
Lyla Michaels Another character who's appeared before (in a couple of season one episodes, as well as briefly in "Crucible" two weeks ago), but whom we hadn't really paid any attention to at the time. That's right--Diggle's old pal Lyla is actually Lyla Michaels, a name that's familiar to comic book fans as Harbinger, she who's always around when there's a Crisis about to kick off. Fun fact: Audrey Marie Anderson, who plays Lyla Michaels on Arrow, will star in this Sunday's episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, titled "Live Bait." She'll play a survivor named Melody who, based on previews, may wish she didn't stumble across a certain stranger in the wilderness. H.I.V.E. We finally get a resolution on the question of what happened between Deadshot and Diggle's brother: Deadshot was contracted to kill him, not the person he was protecting, thus reinstating his schtick as the guy who never misses (except when it's Oliver). According to the DC Comics Wiki, "The original H.I.V.E. was a mysterious organization that specialized in high-level contract assassinations and mercenary acts of terrorism. The original leader of the H.I.V.E. was an unidentified individual who once discovered an alien and used the being's technology to build his empire. The H.I.V.E. Master took a mistress and established an inner circle of seven hooded administrators known as the Council of Seven. The identities of the Council of Seven were likewise unknown, save that they were a coalition of important underworld figures. To date, the only Inner Circle member who has ever been identified is Professor Torgo, an old foe of Wonder Woman. Like many secret organizations, the H.I.V.E. used its power and influence in a bid to acquire complete global domination." In order to strengthen their reputation amidst the underworld, they decided to make a name for themselves by eliminating members of the super-hero community. In the comics, they were the ones who hired the son of Slade Wilson (Deathstroke, currently one of Oliver's friends in the flashbacks) to kill the Teen Titans, giving him a serum to enhance his abilities along the way. Given the fact that this issue revealed the Japanese "Miracle" drug would have similar effects on those treated, don't be surprised if there's a version of that story that plays out over the course of the season. With H.I.V.E. and the League of Assassins both in play this season, and teases of a Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey to come, Arrow is becoming very much a team-centric series. How long before we see Ollie starting to gather a League of his own?