Ras al Ghul sure doesn’t handle rejection well. Actually, he doesn’t handle it at all. Despite the happy occasion of Diggle’s wedding, Ras is on a mission to turn the entire city against the Arrow. With shocking deaths and secrets revealed, the Arrow’s days in Starling City might be coming to an end. So let’s take a closer look at this week’s episode “Suicidal Tendencies” and see what’s coming next.
The Meaning Behind “Suicidal Tendencies”:
By now you should know that each episode of Arrow/The Flash has a carefully selected episode title that is explored through the episode, and “Suicidal Tendencies” is no different. For starts, this of course refers to the return of Deadshot and the Suicide Squad; but this can even be explored a little further considering Deadshots ultimate sacrifice as well as his early opinions on how ‘love is a bullet to the brain’. Though ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ isn’t just limited to Deadshot and the Suicide Squad as we see Palmer continue his wannabe hero crusade and take on the Arrow.
In an interesting twist of events, labeling this episode ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ can also characterize the writing team behind Arrow itself. This episode had Diggle’s Wedding, the return of the Suicide Squad, the city turning against the Arrow and the long awaited Arrow vs Atom showdown. Each of these could have very easily been it’s own episode and trying to cram all of this into one episode just sounds suicidal. Though despite this seemingly poor choice of overstuffing an episode, the writing team did a fantastic job. Yes there were a lot of different major plot points; but they all flowed together well and nothing seemed rushed. Everyone was given proper attention and thanks to this writing gamble, this was one of the greatest/most heart-racing episodes of Arrow yet.
Arrow Vs Atom:
From the moment Ray Palmer arrived at Diggle’s wedding, the battle between Palmer and Queen was on. Oliver, the hero who always arrives in the knick of time, is late for photos and becomes quite the lackluster Best Man. Palmer on the other hand arrives as a virtual unknown to Diggle and single-handedly swoops in and is able to perform the ceremony when the minister is a no-show. To make matters worse, Palmer is actually quite funny. Oliver might have his work cut out for him; but it’s not until the Arrow is wanted for murder that the true gauntlet is thrown down.
Though before Palmer can take on the Arrow, he must go through the Black Canary first; and Laurel brought her A game this episode. From reminding Palmer that Oliver was already tried as the suspected Arrow (Season 1) to threatening him with the knowledge that Oliver could sue for deformation of character and potentially win his company back, Laurel was on fire!
Sadly, Ray was too as he quickly realizes that Laurel is covering for Oliver because they used to date, the original trial was a plant by Oliver for just such an occasion, and that due to her former training with Wildcat (a former vigilante himself) Laurel must be the Black Canary that has been seen around with the Arrow recently. With any legal means barred, Palmer is ready to give the vigilante life a try and set up the Arrow for a trap of his own.
With Palmer’s armor rendering him invulnerable, the Arrow’s normal means fail much like they did against the mirakuru soldiers who killed Palmer’s wife. Though just as Arrow did against those soldiers – and the Flash – he adapted his strategy with flash-bang and explosive arrows to keep the Atom at bay until he could severe the suit’s power.
Choosing Palmer’s Path – Malcolm Or Oliver:
Initially this season, Palmer was brought into the fold as a foil to Oliver – obviously – ;but as the season developed and his true plans were revealed, we started seeing a parallel to Malcolm Merlyn. As the man who is trying to strengthen himself and avenge his wife’s murder, Palmer always had the potential to go down Malcolm’s dark yet well meaning path; and this episode showed a hint of that.
With all this power at his disposal yet none of the responsibility nor sense of mind to go with it, he was very quick to choose the path of confrontation and take down the Arrow – especially now that he learned that he and Felicity used to have a history. Palmer was only seeing Oliver/the Arrow as a killer and ignored anything else – similarly to how Malcolm saw the Glades as only rotten and murderous – though when Oliver refrains from killing Palmer and reminds him that he (Palmer) still has something to prove to Felicity, Palmer snaps out of it and relinquishes the irrational rage that blinded him.
He no longer sees the Arrow and his crew as those who stand against justice and his pursuits, but rather as those who are good meaning. He remembers that he still has Felicity and should honor his word to her about trusting her opinion. This is what ultimately turns Palmer back on the path of Oliver, and away from the path of Merlyn. Palmer’s allegiance now lies in Felicity and thus supporting the Arrow; but sadly even his help might not be enough to reconcile Ras latest attempt to ruin the Arrow’s reputation.
To Force His Hand – Framing The Arrow:
As if making it look as though the Arrow has returned to killing wasn’t enough, now the league has made it look as though the Arrow has killed the Mayor of Starling City. Such a bold move such as this should surely strike true observers as odd and uncharacteristic of the Arrow; but sadly Captain Lance is still blinded by rage and grief. Despite working with him for Seasons, Lance is quick to jump on the ‘blame the Arrow’ bandwagon and things are only going to get worse next episode.
What makes the murder of the mayor and these persuasion tactics even more unsettling to Oliver is how Maseo is not only aware of these methods; but is now openly taking part in them. He’s completely in the service of Ras al Ghul now and that is all that matters. With the entire league taking turns as the Arrow and even able to replicate his arrows, Ras is sparing no expense to make sure Oliver accepts his offer.
Flashbacks & Honeymoons – Deadshot & Diggle:
Earlier this season we got the first completely non-Oliver related flashback with Malcolm Merlyn. This episode gave us another first with a relatively minor/occasional character getting a dedicated flashback – Deadshot. So what was the point of this flashback? Simple, to bring his character completely full circle and not only make up for his past and reveal possible future paths.
For starters, Deadshot’s flashback serves as a contrast for Diggle as both now – and then – have a wife and daughter. Through the course of the episode, Diggle and Lyla realize that they can no longer do these missions and their family has to come first. While Deadshot’s life – back when he was still Floyd Lawton – was ruined due to PTSD, Diggle and Layla run the risk of not coming home to their daughter at all. So in the end, Deadshot’s sacrifice was to give John Diggle and his new wife a chance at a happily ever after.
The second reason for Deadshot’s flashback was to remind us of his history with the Diggle family, and how John’s brother Andy was the first on his kill list as Deadshot. Deadshot and John Diggle have had this long-standing dynamic between the two where they’ve had to help each other despite one being responsible for killing the others brother. When John saw his brother’s name tattooed on Deadshot’s chest, he could have very easily just let Deadshot die; but he didn’t. Deadshot sacrificing himself was additionally the only way he could make it up to John for what he’s taken from him.
As for the flashback, we got our first look at H.I.V.E, the organization responsible for Andy Diggle’s death. There’s more to this story, so I don’t think Diggle will leave Team Arrow completely yet; but we’ve brought the story full circle from when we first learned about H.I.V.E. back in Season 2’s episode “Keep Your Enemies Closer”. Once matters are settled with Ras, I wouldn’t be surprised if H.I.V.E. is the next undertaking.
Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & More:
- Diggle to Palmer: “You hurt her [Felicity], they’ll never fin your body” – Quote of the night
- We might not have seen much of the Black Canary this episode; but Laurel really owned it by doing damage control for the Arrow and threatening Palmer. Guess all the “enthusiastic” training with Nyssa is paying off.
- While on the subject of Laurel, I’m glad we finally mentioned how at some point Oliver has to get his company – and money – back, considering he is still technically unemployed and broke.
- Apparently everyone on Team Arrow has their phones/Google Alerts set for news regarding the Arrow.
- Come to think of it, why didn’t Felicity tell Oliver that Palmer was building a super-suit?
- Kasnia is a reoccurring country located in the Balkans in the DC universe. It seems as though this country is always in Civil War. In fact, this is even the country in the first episode of Batman Beyond that wishes to use the Wayne-Powers nerve gas, which eventually poisons Derek Powers himself – again all due to their continuing Civil War.
- Senator Joseph Kray remained true to his comic origins as a corrupt senator who sometimes tried to use the Suicide Squad as his own tools for Presidency. With so much drama and tension this season, I’m glad he revealed his true colors within the same episode – rather than wait for a later episode.
- In the comics, Deadshot’s relationship with his daughter and fractured home life is a big part of his story and why he is how he is. This episode did well to set that up. Hopefully he is somehow still alive so we could see some more.
- Additionally, I hope Deadshot is still alive because his dynamic with Cupid was awesome. From hating each other to Cupid now fancying him, this is a story I think we’d like to see pop up once in a while as well.
- If you’re wondering how the Fake Arrow’s arrows were identical, then remember that Oliver used those arrows on his assault on the league. Additionally, the League could have picked up an arrow or two from crime scenes while in Starling. Either way, the league has unlimited resources with which to use on anything – even replication flawless arrows.
- As for why Palmer is sitting in on the Mayor meeting, remember this isn’t the first time – or even the second as he attended both meetings with Brick. Palmer was leading the charge to rebrand the city, so he’d definitely have the funds and pull to remain a major player in city dealings.
Wait did Maseo take the shot on Felicity? Is Roy still alive after he got blasted by the Atom? Well judging from the trailer for next episode as well as one of the upcoming plotlines for The Flash, both are fine. Though how will the Arrow get out of this mess Ras has put him in; and what else could Ras have in store?
You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!