Arrow Review: A.W.O.L

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

After a misfire in the midseason premiere, “Blood Debts,” Arrow returned to form in the character-centered episode, “A.W.O.L.”

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

There’s a clear pattern on Arrow. Whenever the series decides to let Diggle have an episode of flashbacks, or one that’s just centered around him, the episode is solid. Some of the best character work on the series is Diggle. In its simplest form, “A.W.O.L” was an episode about characters wrestling with their pasts.

Up until this point, almost all of the Diggle storyline has been about Andy (and by extension Deadshot) and ARGUS, so it isn’t a surprise when Arrow decides to use the same winning formula with one small change: this time Andy is alive and well.

When Arrow was forced to dismantle their Suicide Squad and kill off Deadshot (and in this episode Amanda Waller), I was concerned. One of the most interesting parts about Diggle’s story was his relationship with Deadshot, the man who supposedly killed his brother. All of a sudden, they weren’t able to go back to that. So they revived his brother instead.

Up until this point, Andy’s return hadn’t been interesting. He was locked up in the Quiver while Diggle interrogated him. It was a storyline that was going nowhere, and it even got to a point where Diggle was doing uncharacteristic things like beating up Andy in “Blood Debts” to get information. Thankfully, they turned the storyline around in “A.W.O.L.” The episode gave Andy more backstory that made the audience connect with both him and the relationship between the two brothers.

Now, I’m once again concerned for Diggle’s storyline as it seems like Arrow tied up the ARGUS storyline, thanks to Amanda Waller’s sudden, and corporate-mandated, death. Even though Waller has been around long in the Arrow-verse, I was still looking forward to seeing more ARGUS and Waller related storyline in the future. Oh well.

The other major part of the episode was Felicity, and by extension Oliver, coping with her new lifestyle. Bringing back Felicity’s “old self” was a creative way for her to face her fears.

Olicity continue to be adorable. If we ignore Oliver’s lie of omission hanging over them, they have a healthy and mature relationship. And, look at that, Felicity finally got a code name: Overwatch. The Oracle joke needed to be in there to address the constant fan speculation of Felicity becoming Oracle.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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