Arrow Review: “A.W.O.L.”


Kyle’s Take

We’ve entered the dog days of Arrow, the time of year when Arrow marches in place after the mid-season break. The episodes get mired by flashbacks trying to stay relevant in the current storyline but often get the story stuck in the mud until someone gets out and pushes the show from its rut by episode 16 or 17, which is in time for a crescendo before the season finale. “A.W.O.L.” was better than some episodes of this ilk, but it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.

We got some Diggle family drama, and that’s usually a breath of fresh air, but the Diggle brothers’ arc was marred by the aforementioned flashbacks. I’m not sure I buy the militant Reiter searching for mystic power, paralleling the militant Darhk who searches for mystic power. And where was Darhk? Oh, right. Arrow had to add Shadowspire, another secret organization, to the growing hoard of secret organizations. Besides Shadowspire, the flashbacks show us the Diggle brothers’ history. This would be a great thing if we didn’t hear the two brothers bicker, telling us their history before showing us the same history. At least we should see fewer forced interactions between John and Andy after this week, and I move we make Andy’s codename “Little Diggle.”

Even though the flashbacks didn’t work, the present Diggles did work. Andy was more than the one note character he’s been up to this point, and that was refreshing. John was forced into a situation where he had to trust his brother, and his faith was restored. I don’t know if Diggle would’ve ever given his brother the chance if he wasn’t placed in a no-win scenario. It was a plot device, but it was effective in moving that conflict forward. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Andy backstabbing his kin.

It also looks like Lyla, Diggle’s wife, will take over A.R.G.U.S. because Team Arrow will need the intel A.R.G.U.S. has on Darhk and H.I.V.E. so they can take them down. This was another obvious plot device, but we’ll have to wait for Arrow to pull the trigger before we see exactly how A.R.G.U.S. helps the Green Arrow. The Rubicon might play a role in combating Shadowspire, should Shadowspire have a part to play, but they may be season 5’s big bad.

Okay, I’ve put off talking about Felicity for as long as I could. It’s official; she’s paralyzed. In a turn akin to Barbara Gordon she’s Team Arrow’s Oracle, only her codename is the cumbersome Overwatch. While I like the name change, Arrow can’t borrow everything from Batman, I don’t care for Ollie’s explanation of the name change: Oracle was already taken. Does Batman exist in the CW universe? Barbara Gordon was Batgirl before she became Oracle. Now I hear Supergirl admits that there’s a Superman because you can’t have Supergirl without Superman. But Batman still doesn’t exist in the CW shows. How is the codename Oracle already taken? Can you have a Batgirl without Batman? Getting back to Felicity’s story arc, she faced her teenage goth self in “A.W.O.L..”

I liked the idea of Felicity tripping on her insecurities, fears, and good pain meds, but I don’t know what Goth Felicity was trying to accomplish. Was she trying to use reverse-psychology to get Felicity back in action, or drive her away from her current life and back to her previous one, or send her packing to a third undisclosed life? At times Goth Felicity wanted all of these things at once and at others just one or maybe two. I get that she’s not in her right mind but something tells me Arrow didn’t give her arc that much thought. Regardless, it didn’t take long to resolve this and for that I’m grateful. I don’t know if I could’ve handled five to six episodes of GothyContin Felicity.

Do you want more Arrow? Check out our Arrow secrets page. Thanks for reading.

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