Evil Copycats and Complicated Rivalries: A Recap of ‘Arrow’ S03E17

Posted in TV, TV Recaps by - March 26, 2015
Evil Copycats and Complicated Rivalries: A Recap of ‘Arrow’ S03E17

Wedding bells are ringing in this week’s episode, Suicidal Tendencies, as Diggle and Lyla recite their vows and tie the knot. The episode begins with a lavish gathering that Diggle (David Ramsey, Dexter) and Lyla supposedly planned together, between nights of fighting criminals and running covert ops. When Diggle receives a call that his Minister won’t be able to conduct the marriage, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns) volunteers as a fill-in, leaving Felicity and Oliver surprised. Although their romantic relationship has hit a dead end, Oliver and Felicity share a few comforting words while Diggle and Lyla have their dance – only to be interrupted by a news bulletin of the latest Arrow related killings.

The episode continues from last week’s review, Daddy Issues and Telling Super Hero Melodrama, where Ra’s Al Ghul made Oliver the offer of the Demon’s throne. When Oliver respectfully declined the offer, Ra’s planned ahead to force the citizens of Starling City to turn against their beloved green hooded vigilante. Members of the League of Assassins disguised themselves as the [Green] Arrow, and went on a criminal-murdering spree to frame Oliver. Knowing that the media will use this opportunity to point fingers and start a witch hunt, Ra’s hopes of forcing Oliver to reconsider taking the offer. Unexpectedly, Palmer joins the witch hunt by promising to utilize his company’s resources to apprehend the Arrow – which drives an even bigger wedge between Oliver and Felicity.

Meanwhile, Diggle and Lyla are abducted by Floyd Lawton a.k.a Deadshot (later to be played by Will Smith in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie), who has been sent by Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Spartacus) to lead the rag-tag Suicide Squad on a mission in Kasnia. To keep true to his vow to never let her go, Diggle joins Lyla in their mission that interfered with their honeymoon. The suicide squad for this mission consists of Deadshot, Cupid (Amy Gumenick), Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Diggle.

During this side story, there are no flashbacks to Oliver’s past in Hong Kong. Rather, the flashbacks are of Lawton`s life before becoming one of Waller`s hired marksmen. Unfortunately, the sad nature of his past could not help the sad over-acting performance of being a shell-shocked soldier struggling to cope with life at home. It was probably just barely enough to humanize Lawton, just before he sacrifices himself for the good of the mission, although it is uncertain whether or not he bit the bullet.

Back in Starling City, Oliver confronts his evil copycats on their prowl for more murder victims. After defeating them with ease, Oliver stands in the crime scene long enough for Palmer, using his A.T.O.M suit, to graph a facial recognition of the man under the hood. With his new found information, Palmer seeks the help of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), the city`s District Attorney, only to discover that she has aligned herself to the Arrow. Without the help of the justice system he aims to aid, Palmer deduces that Felicity has known about Oliver`s alter ego all along, causing them to face their first real bump in their new relationship.

Cue the adolescent battle between the two boys over the heart of a girl – and that girl is Starling City. It’s always a grand spectacle when two good guys get into a fist throwing altercation, especially when they’re comic book superheroes. Zipping through the night sky, A.T.O.M confronts Arrow and Arsenal, ready to apprehend them both himself. Set upon a path of misplaced vendetta, Palmer aims to rid the city of injustice and crime. However, his perspectives on right versus wrong are too binary and premature, that he is unable to see the necessary role the Arrow plays. Following the show’s tradition of making its sidekicks useless, Arsenal is sadly taken out seconds after the fight begins, leaving Arrow and A.T.O.M to face each other. After a few failed attempts, Arrow disables the A.T.O.M suit using some wonder gadget from his quiver, that he should have used to begin with, and then tells Palmer to trust Felicity’s instincts.

The problem with the introduction of Ray Palmer a.k.a Atom, is that it doesn’t really mesh well with the rest of the show – and as you’ll hear from the fans, he looks too much like a certain Marvel character to gain his own recognition. It’s bad enough that DC and Warner Bros. are losing the cinematic universe battle, but the Atom they have delivered in Arrow is a far shot from gaining more serious ground. They would have benefited from using the character in Flash, where the reach for such a character is grounded in the fantastical world the Flash series has developed. Although Routh plays a perfect Ray Palmer, his drive to save the city from crime is a bit more than a slight detour from the Atom of the comics. Hopefully, by losing the fight against the Arrow, the writers can bring Ray back to his rightful place in the lab, surrounded by science!

Before the episode ends, Lyla and Diggle discuss they’re obligations to their family over their jobs, Felicity and Ray patch things up, and Maseo assassinates the Starling Mayor with his next arrow targeted at Felicity. This is no doubt an elevated attempt to provoke Oliver into accepting Ra’s offer – but will probably force Oliver into retaliation against the League of Assassins in upcoming episodes. 

Overall, this week’s Arrow was much better paced and focused. Honing in on themes of duty, ideologies of justice, and relationship struggles, the episode was more about the main characters and their conflicts without the brief interjections of each of the show’s side characters. If more of the episodes were closer to this week’s in terms of pacing and content, the series would feel less rushed as a whole.

Next week’s episode is titled ‘Public Enemy’.

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