Arrow: AWOL

awol

Andy can’t seem to get out from behind bars.

Team Arrow largely gets distracted from their war with Damian Darhk in “A.W.O.L” Lyla and Diggle go out for a well-deserved night on the town, with some actual normal concerns like getting back in time for the sitter. Of course, that can’t last, and they get interrupted by the sudden appearance of Alan Chang, ARGUS agent. Chang then gets attacked and carried off by unknown assailants who are not Darhk’s Ghosts for once.

Back at the loft, Oliver carries Felicity downstairs. Clearly, they need to make some modifications to the place given Felicity’s injuries. Felicity is, understandably, having some issues adjusting to her new circumstances. Her attempt to adapt is a big part of the episode. Oliver is very supportive and reassuring, a big change from the brooding avenger he was when the series started.

Oliver goes to the Lair when he finds out Diggle was injured during Chang’s abduction. They compare notes on what to do next. The team runs off on various missions. Diggle, still trying to figure out what to do with his brother, brings him a cheeseburger. The brothers talk about their paths in life.

Things are looking bad when Agent Chang turns up dead. Out of options, Lyla and Diggle go to ARGUS to talk to the rarely cooperative Amanda Waller. True to form, she’s not sharing information… or so it seems. At times, it’s hard to figure out which side she’s on, aside from the obvious answer, “Her own.” Because of his ties to ShadowSpire, Waller and ARGUS take custody of Andy.

The team figures out that ShadowSpire is after a shipment of rail guns- seriously lethal hardware. They go to intercept the bad guys, and little goes as expected. Felicity is still having difficulties, and her tech support isn’t as flawless as usual. ShadowSpire is a powerful and talented organization, and they specialize in misdirection. Their real goal becomes apparent when the ARGUS office gets an unexpected visit.

Things get steadily worse as they devolve into a hostage crisis. As Team Arrow goes into action, Felicity gets a codename finally. Now, I won’t say what it is, but I will say this: it’s a confusing situation. Green Arrow makes a joke about wanting have called her Oracle, but that name was taken. Oracle, in DC Comics, is the first character to do pretty much what Felicity does- provide computer support and intel for heroes. Oracle was Barbara Gordon, formerly Batgirl, crippled after the events of the Killing Joke graphic novel. When DC rebooted a few years ago, that part of history was wiped out. If “Oracle” is taken, then it strongly implies that both the Arrow-verse has some of the Bat-clan in it, and that they’ve been around long enough for Batman to inspire Batgirl, and Batgirl to become Oracle.

The crisis is resolved with some unexpected help, an ally showing that they learned from their teammates, and a character death. On the one hand, the death was a bit surprising. On the other hand, with DC’s VERY strange (and double-standard) policy about their tv shows vs their movies, it makes a certain degree of sense. They also come up with a new approach about what to do with Andy.

Flashback Theater this week takes a rest from the Island. Instead, it shows John and Andy Diggle in the service together. They have various temptations thrown their way when they intercept a shipment of drugs. After a few scenes with the ShadowSpire military group, we see very clearly the character differences between the Diggle brothers. Eventually, Andy gets to meet the man in charge of this odd outfit, and it’s a familiar face.

What I liked: I’d be just as happy if they’d stop Flashback theater in general. Barring that, switching focus this week made sense. I like that Felicity finally has a codename. And I guess they’re sticking with “Spartan” for Diggle. I don’t love it, but it’s something. I’m very curious about the Oracle reference, unless that was just a throw away joke. The trucks that ShadowSpire were going after were from Kord Industries, a steady presence on Arrow that hints at yet another DC Character being out there somewhere.

What I didn’t: The way they addressed Felicity’s issues this week was a bit weird. Actually, very weird. The fact that she wouldn’t tell Oliver what was going on was annoying. And aside from mentioning him as the cause of Felicity’s injuries, did everyone forget about Darhk this week?

It was a decent episode. Not their best, but far from their worst. I’ll give it a solid 3 out of 5.

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