The saga of Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow takes a backseat in “A.W.O.L.” as this episode focuses on the Emerald Archer’s two most trusted allies, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak. Diggle’s story begins as he and his wife, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) are drawn into a plot by a group called Shadowspire that once employed Andy Diggle (Eugene Byrd) and which is now targeting A.R.G.U.S. agents that were assigned to take them down. Initially, it appears Shadowspire is after a shipment of rail guns, but in reality, the group is going for bigger game, ARGUS headquarters itself and something called the Rubicon. In this episode’s flashbacks, we get to see John and Andy working together in Afghanistan over a decade ago. We also see how Andy came under the sway of his commanding officer, Lt. Joyner (Erik Palladino) and drawn into Shadowspire and organized crime in the military after the Diggle brothers assisted in stopping a huge opium shipment. Joyner is the man leading the raid on A.R.G.U.S. now and it is this past connection that comes into play when Andy, who is being held at A.R.G.U.S. HQ for what he knows about this criminal group, uses Joyner’s trust to help save Lyla, who is under the gun, literally after Joyner, in this episode’s first WTH!? moment, kills Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addia-Robinson). As for Felicity, she is coming to grips with her spinal cord injury and that fact that she may never walk again. Part of this includes doubts that she can be of use to Team Arrow and these doubts take the form of her hacktivist/goth version we first saw in “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” in Season Three. This Felicity chastises herself for going off and playing superhero and getting crippled for her efforts and she does so mercilessly. Eventually Felicity beats down this voice in her head and gets back on the horse, aiding Green Arrow, Black Canary and Speedy as they race in to save John and Lyla at A.R.G.U.S. headquarters. In the process she gets her own codename: Overwatch (as Oliver tells her, he considered Oracle, but that name was already taken). Speaking of codenames, and I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time we hear Diggle’s codename, Spartan. As the episode ends, both of Oliver’s friends have gotten over the doubts they have been plagued with. Felicity is determined to continue to be the person she is now, not the cynical girl she once was. She knows, at last, she can still be the woman who is working to make a difference in Star City with the man she loves. And while Felicity is accepting of her state, Oliver holds out hope that she will walk again. As he tells her, “The doctor said your condition is permanent, and I don’t think that it’s healthy or productive for either of us to live in denial, but I have seen people speed and shrink and fly. We watched a friend of ours come back from the dead. That is the world we live in now. And I will not stop searching it until we find a way to make you walk again.” As for John, he is willing to trust Andy again, enough to bring him into his home and introduce him to his niece, Sarah. We end the episode with the belief that John Diggle finally has his little brother back. Like I said, the death of the Arrow verse’s Amanda Waller was a shock and really came out of the blue (I am assuming her death was necessary so as to not conflict with Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, who will be seen in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie). While Addia-Robinson’s take on the character was not my favorite (that honor goes to C.C.H. Pounder), she made for an interesting frenemy for Ollie and his team and honestly, I expected her to go out with a bit more blaze of glory than just as a ploy to make Lyla to cooperate with Joyner and his crew. It will be interesting to see how her role will be filled at A.R.G.U.S. in the upcoming episodes. Myself, I’m pulling for Lyla to take on that position. The second WTH!? moment of this episode is contained in the flashback scenes as Andy meets the man who is behind Shadowspire in Afghanistan, Joyner’s boss, Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola). Reiter has traded the opium that was intercepted for something he believes will lead him to unimaginable power: a map showing him the island where Oliver was stranded after his shipwreck. It would appear that plot is thickening. All in all, “A.W.O.L.” is a good episode and one that was needed to move the Andy Diggle story forward after it kind of started dragging and also to fully address Felicity’s current medical situation. If nothing else, it gave David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards a chance to shine and take center stage. Ramsey is always great with Anderson and I love the chemistry they share. As for Rickards, she steals this one as the hacktivist/goth version of Ms. Smoak. In the end, I give it a solid 3. Arrow 4.11 “A.W.O.L.”Dan's Rating3.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Glenn Crouch February 5, 2016 I hope that don’t keep killing of Suicide Squad Movie dopplegangers – as we had Katana again in the most recent episode, so that would need to kill her off as well 🙁 Anyway, my son and I both think that Waller can’t be killed of that easy… 😉 Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.