Suicidal Tendencies sees the return of everyone’s favourite ragtag bunch of rogues: the Suicide Squad. It also sees Ray Palmer’s (Brandon Routh) further emergence as The Atom. Oh, and the second wedding of John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson). As ever with this type of show, though, the big day doesn’t go off without a hitch; this time being that ‘plus one’ Palmer just so happens to be a minister and so ends up having to oversee the vows.
Continuing from the final moments of the previous episode, it also quickly becomes clear to Team Arrow that somebody is impersonating The Arrow (Stephen Amell) and leaving arrow-filled corpses across Starling City. As well as Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) pulling this rouse, it seems as if Maseo (Karl Rune) is now also hands-on with the job. That particular thread of the episode is handled by the Diggle-less Team Arrow, with Digg again tied up with Suicide Squad business. This time the squad is made up of him, wife Lyla, the always-welcome Deadshot (Michael Rowe) and new-to-the-team Cupid (Amy Gumenick) as they wind up embroiled in the rescue of a US high-up which is soon revealed to be smoke and mirrors. Key to this strand of the episode, and key to the success of the episode as a whole, is the use of Deadshot, or Floyd Lawton if you want to go by his birth name. This is a villain who was introduced early on in Arrow’s run and has gone on to take giant steps with each episode he’s appeared in since. Whereas his last couple of appearances have seen him as an almost anti-hero of sorts, Suicidal Tendencies again explores this angle a tad when in his Suicide Squad days, but we also get to see into Lawton’s past, returning from war and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder as he battles to adapt back to everyday family life. It really makes for tragic viewing and makes you again want to see more of this character – it’s just a shame that the finale of Suicidal Tendencies suggests that Deadshot went ‘boom’. Still, we’d bet on a return again at some point.
Back in Starling City, the big development is Ray Palmer pledging his vast resources to tracking down The Arrow (based on the recent city-wide deaths). Whilst to the general public that means financial support for the police force, the wider spectrum means that Palmer suits up as The Atom and tracks down The Arrow. As such, using advanced tech when he does find the Emerald Archer, he easily obtains the face under the hood: Oliver Queen. With Ray and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) now an item, this causes huge tensions between the pair as we get to see a rare glimpse at the serious side of Ray Palmer. It also leads to a good use of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), with Palmer’s claims of ‘Oliver Queen is The Arrow, I tells ya!’ shot down and covered up by DA Laurel. Of course, Ray is fully aware that this is a cover-up and pretty soon realises the whole Team Arrow operation that is in place. Furthering tensions, Felicity actually stands up for Ollie to her beau, although she essentially gets it from both ends (ooh err) as both Ray and Oliver peck at her head about the whole thing. And so we get to see it – The Arrow vs The Atom.
After several teases, the two heroes finally butt heads in all their suited-up glory. As well, it has to be said that The Atom looks mighty badass when floating. Sure, he’s just a tad Iron Man-lite and not quite the familiar Atom that many have been used to over the years in comic book form, but for his purpose here he looks rather impressive. And then he gets totally schooled by The Arrow. Atta boy, Ollie. The two essentially work out their differences as the penny drops with Palmer that it really isn’t actually Oliver Queen putting arrows through Starling City criminals. Has to be said though, when Ollie does leave the scene of the battle he totally forgets all about Arsenal (who’d had his arse handed to him by The Atom). Good mentoring, Mr Queen.
As the episode draws to a close, it seems as if The Atom is now on board with The Arrow’s fight, at least in terms of bringing down this latest impersonator, and then there’s the change in directions for Diggle and Lyla. Lyla has quit her role with A.R.G.U.S. and Diggle is seemingly set to do the same with Team Arrow so that the pair can focus on being parents. It makes sense, it really, really does, but we all know it’s never that easy in comic books. Expect some further twists and turns on this front down the line. Then there’s the still-stewing Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), always one of the most engaging and interesting facets of Arrow and one who seems bent of bringing down Team Arrow once more. That’s if Felicity makes it, of course, as the closing moments of Suicidal Tendencies sees Maseo line her up in his sights. Dun, dun, dun, dun.
Final thoughts of the day (think of like Jerry Springer), but how easily do these characters fall head over heels in love? Sure, Cupid is Cupid, totally unhinged and as clingy as can be, but Ray and Felicity have only really been together a matter of weeks yet are all super serious and embroiled in each other forever more, apparently. Maybe it’s the cynic in this particular writer, maybe it’s just the way things go in these type of stories, but it all just seems a little bit forced and unnatural. That said, they’re not the ones who live alone and spend their time writing episodic Arrow reviews…
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