This review contains spoilers.
3.17 Suicidal Tendancies
It feels almost unfair to complain about Arrow’s ongoing Diggle problem this far into the series because, let’s be fair, he’s never been given much in the way of focus and, as much as we may want it to happen, Arrow isn’t really deviating from its original stance on giving its supporting cast much to do outside of Oliver’s mission.
Then again, if Diggle was going to get a season three episode in which to shine, it should have been this one. It was his wedding day, it was Deadshot’s last hurrah (although, no body means no proof of that) and it was seemingly also the conclusion to his background struggle between being on Team Arrow and keeping himself safe for the sake of his wife and new daughter.
But instead of pushing all of that great stuff to the front of Suicidal Tendencies, the show instead decided to make it the episode’s B-plot, backing up an equally strong episode about Ray Palmer and the birth of The Atom. That’s important too, of course, given that we know he’ll get a spin-off of his own very soon, but screen time was split between the two, serving neither.
In retrospect, I would have traded one of those angsty Oliver instalments to split up the duelling storylines into two separate episodes. It’s been an ongoing problem with this third season – too much Oliver moping around, and not enough of anything else.
So Diggle got married in the first ten minutes of the episode, and his and Lyla’s honeymoon was hijacked by Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad, consisting this time of Cupid (ugh) and Deadshot. Anytime we get to see more from Lyla is extremely welcome, and the dynamic between Diggle and Deadshot has been one of the show’s secret weapons for a while now, but I’m not entirely sure the flashbacks were necessary.
It was nice to get some sort of backstory for Floyd Lawton, especially if this was indeed his final appearance on Arrow but, in an episode as crowded as this, it felt squashed in.
I guess if you wanted to string the two together somehow, you could say that Diggle’s struggle of having a family while also fighting the bad guys is an example for Oliver, but the issue is that Oliver never learns from anything outside of his own ego.
We see Ray begin a relationship with Felicity despite his superheroic tendencies, and Diggle and Lyla effectively balance it all without complaining, but Oliver can’t see past his angst long enough to realise that he’s not so different from them.
It makes a certain kind of sense, given all we know about the character and his arc so far, but it’s also incredibly frustrating to watch week after week.
Thankfully, Ray has finally become a character worth rooting for, just in time for the rev up to the unnamed spin-off in which he’s set to star. This could effectively be called his backdoor pilot (assuming there’s not another big Atom episode coming up), with an impressive showcase for the suit and a little more light shed on his attitude towards Team Arrow and vigilantism in general.
What intrigues me the most is that he’s effectively what Malcolm Merlyn was in the first season – someone becoming a superhero as part of a revenge plan after losing his wife in tragic circumstances.
And besides this, Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to turn Starling City against Oliver is seemingly working out in the baddies’ favour. My guess would be that this is where Oliver’s story was meant to be heading all along, with first season circumstances getting in the way of his third season ideologies, and having Ray (and Laurel, who’s been training with Nissa off-screen) around to protect the city gives him an out.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Offer, here.
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