As the second season of Arrow nears its conclusion, tonight's "Suicide Squad" installment saw the series pick up speed in a big way.
Slade Wilson's plans went on hold -- at least apparently -- for a week while Diggle took the spotlight in a story that revolved around he and his ex-wife making their way to Markovia in the hopes of capturing a terrorist that the pair had already captured back during their military days. He'd been released after playing ball with the U.S. government -- just one of a number of such shady doings in this episode.
The whole episode, in fact, was pretty morally gray:
"I think that by the time this story ends, he’s been manipulated by A.R.G.U.S. with strong-arm tactics to combine forces with quote-unquote bad guys in order to take out a bigger bad guy," star David Ramsey explained to ComicBook.com in an interview. "That, to him, is dishonorable. To Diggle, it’s not an honorable code but by the time the story ends, we’ll see that he and Oliver have realized that they’re going to have to look at the decisions that they’ve always made — you know, this being the honorable thing and that being the dishonorable thing — and they’re going to have to re-examine that. And if it means to work with the quote-unquote bad guy to bring down the bigger bad guy, then maybe we have to do that."
And so the episode ends with some characters pulled closer together by the experience while others seem to have parted ways more or less for good. And all of it is building toward Slade Wilson.
But we had to wonder...
In the photo at left, you can see longtime comic book Suicide Squad members Deadshot and Bronze Tiger front and center with Amanda Waller, while Shrapnel -- who has served in the Squad in the comics, but not particualrly often, and whose only previous appearance on Arrow was the "Blast Radius" episode -- is kind of hidden out of view.
That's likely not accidental, given the fact that by the time the mission is over, Shrapnel has died at Waller's hands, a victim of his own attempt to escape. Will they replace him? If so, who with? Obviously, there are a number of solid candidates who have spent time in the Squad throughout the years in the comics.
Meanwhile, Diggle is told in fairly uncertain terms that he's not welcome back on the next mission, while Lyla "Harbinger" Michaels is seemingly on thin ice. Bronze Tiger and Deadshot are in it for keeps now that they have bombs planted in their spines...but what role will they play going forward? Well, it's been hinted that this episode, and perhaps A.R.G.U.S. and/or the Squad, will play a major role in the season finale.
“There’s a bigger story with the Suicide Squad and … their involvement perhaps with Team Arrow in the future," Ramsey said in an early promotional interview for the episode. "There’s a lot of set-up for the season finale…. Big stuff.”
What's the deal between Oliver Queen and Amanda Waller?
Before Oliver goes to see Amanda Waller in the waning moments of the episode, he tells Laurel that he has to see "an old friend."
While obviously he could have just been saying that so that he didn't have to explain to Laurel what was really going on, her shock and disbelief at hearing that Slade Wilson was alive seemed fairly out-of-character for Waller...and anyway, how did she know that Ollie killed him to start with?
Combine that with the fact that she knows who he is -- something we had previously chalked up to just Waller being Waller, a hyper-capable intelligence operative, and we've got an interesting dynamic forming.
Fox's President has already said that Gotham won't share a universe with Arrow and The Flash, so we know that the upcoming James Gordon-centric series on Fox won't be set in the same world as the CW shows.
That said, the presence of Harley Quinn certainly implies the existence of The Joker and, by extension, Batman.
Will we see any of them, or is this just a nod to the fans? It's hard to ignore the fact that she's not named, and we don't get a good look at her face. Obviously those in the know, knew what they were seeing/hearing...but does that mean it's canon?
What role will H.I.V.E. play going forward?
Ramsey also told us that the H.I.V.E. plot -- the question of his brother's relationship to the organization and why they hired Deadshot to kill him -- is something that's being seeded for the future. What's their deal? In the comics, of course, Deathstroke has a relationship with H.I.V.E. Could it turn out that he's been working for, or with, them all along and that the finale will see the Suicide Squad, H.I.V.E. and the League of Assassins all working at cross purposes?
What happened to Qadir? In the panic and with their cover obviously blown, nobody got a chance to take Qadir in. It's hard to imagine he didn't get away -- and if he did, we've got a guy with a pretty good reason to come after Team Arrow and the Suicide Squad in Season Three.
EDIT: That was an epic brain fart. Bronze Tiger did indeed kill Qadir, as noted by Alex Lynch and probably a dozen people on Facebook already.
The Geopolitics of the DC Universe0comments
How much of the whole Qurac/Markovia/Khandaq thing should fans take seriously? Within the DC Universe, these places may be made up, but they all serve fairly specific purposes...some of which could prove to be really interesting to Arrow.
The fact that we now have Waller and A.R.G.U.S. means world events are (as we saw in "Keep Your Enemies Closer" not totally outside of the show's purview--or Oliver's, for that matter. So...are these just names, like the throwaway Extremis soldiers used in Iron Man 3 who shared names with classic Marvel villains? Or is it something more being put together here?