Love is in the air as the Suicide Squad reassembles and Oliver takes on the Atom.
As Deadshot so appropriately says during “Suicidal Tendencies”: “The Suicide Squad rides again.”
Well… a significantly pared down Squad, but a Squad none the less.
The team has lost a couple of its members since its eponymous episode in season 2, leaving Diggle and Lyla to team up with Deadshot and the newest member of the Squad, the lovesick Cupid on a new mission.
“Tendencies” splits its time between the team’s mission in the fictional Republic of Kasnia and Oliver’s search for his new League of Assassin imposters. Oddly, pervading both story lines is love. Love is in the air from the episode’s opening and through nearly every major character interaction. For some, that means heartbreak, and for others, love brings the promise of a new phase in their lives.
But before Diggle and Oliver part ways and grapple with their respective relationships, the episode begins on what the happiest moment the show has enjoyed in recent memory. Diggle and Lyla are getting married—again—and not even late best man Oliver Queen and a missing officiate can delay that.
Ray Palmer, Felicity’s date, steps in to wed the two, and while I half-expected an enemy of someone in the room to come barging in, Diggle and Lyla’s ceremony goes off without a hitch. The good mood is only broken when everyone receives a phone notification with a news headline, ”Arrow Returns to Killing.” (Does everyone has an “Arrow” Google alert?)
Oliver needs to stop Arrow imposters killing in his alter ego’s name, but he’s going to do it without Diggle and Lyla. Oliver sends them off on their way while the rest of the team looks into the new Hoods in town. Unfortunately, their marital bliss is not long for this world, as the old-but-new-again couple steps into their limo to find Deadshot waiting for them. It seems Amanda Waller has different plans for their honeymoon.
Return of the Suicide Squad
Waller informs Lyla and Diggle that Senator Cray (who has to spin at Verdant under the name DJ Cray Cray) has been taken hostage by terrorists at a hospital he was funding in Kasnia. The couple decides to go with Deadshot and Cupid in tow to save him.
Throw a husband and wife, a woman who falls in love at a moment’s notice, and a man who sees love and family as a distraction together on one mission and heads will undoubtedly butt. Deadshot’s dour opinions are quickly revealed to be a coping mechanism, however, as the show’s flashback mechanism offers insight into Floyd Lawton before he had the impressive eyewear.
Lawton is shown coming home to his adoring wife and a daughter who initially fears him. While all seems otherwise well, his troubles immediately rise to the surface. He’s suffering from PTSD, plagued by everyone he killed, and it pushes him to the near murder of his wife. This altercation ends in a restraining order against Lawton and a stint in jail.
And it’s in jail where he’s approached by a mysterious woman. She reveals his bail has been paid, and he’s free to go so long as he uses his weaponry skills to kill for her and the “hive” she works for (More on that in the Wall of Weird). She calls love and family a distraction (sound familiar?) and offers him his first target, Diggle’s brother Andrew.
Deadshot’s present is obviously shaped by his lost connection with his wife and daughter. So when their Kasnia mission puts Diggle and Lyla’s lives at risk, he does all he can to protect them. The Squad successfully makes their way into the hospital to save Cray, only to discover that Cray didn’t really need saving at all. It was all a ruse, a publicity stunt with hired mercenaries intended to boost his place in the polls when he eventually runs for president. Of course, the Squad has turned these hostages into witnesses, so he has to kill them and the Squad.
The Squad devises a plan to stop him, but Deadshot adds a secret wrinkle to the plan. Cray has outfitted the hospital with explosives set to go off. If Deadshot stays behind and snipes enemies from the roof, he can ensure the team and the innocent bystanders make it out in time. Deadshot sacrifices himself so that they all may live—so that Diggle and Lyla can be with baby Sara—and grips a picture of his own wife and daughter as flames engulf him.
And while Oliver and Diggle later honor his memory back in Starling, it’s still a bittersweet end to one of the show’s best villains-turned-heroes.
NEXT: The Arrow and the Atom face off.
Back in Starling…
Oliver goes out on the hunt for his imposters, realizing Maseo is leading a group of Assassins to soil the Arrow’s good name. They want Oliver to return and accept Ra’s al Ghul’s succession offer.
What Oliver doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one looking for the murderous “Arrow.” Ray is flying around in the Atom suit and happens to find Oliver. Ollie is alone, save for a group of drug dealers the now-disappeared Maseo and his men killed, making Ollie appear to be the culprit. The situation worsens when Ray’s facial recognition software identifies the one and only Oliver Queen.
Ray admits he knows the Arrow’s identity to Felicity, throwing an arrow-shaped wrench into their budding relationship when he realizes she knew this whole time as well. He doesn’t believe he can trust her anymore, but he does believe he can stop Oliver.
He realizes he has to take matters into his own hands even when Laurel blocks his attempts to have Oliver officially locked up. Ray tricks Ollie and Roy into following a 911 call, trapping them and showing off what his Atom suit can do.
And, honestly, it’s impressive. Considering this is a television show on the CW, Atom’s flight capabilities and energy blasts look authentic for this scale. Sure, he’s basically Iron Man in a differently colored suit at this point, but the effects team does a great job of making his moments in the suit count and, simply look cool.
Of course, Oliver saves the budget himself by disabling the Atom’s suit. He proves to Ray that he’s not a killer but tells the Atom he has to prove himself to Felicity. She chose him, and Oliver wants her to be happy, even if that means being with a guy who acts almost exactly like Oliver.
Ray takes Oliver’s words to heart, apologizing to Felicity and earning back her trust. Their romance is rekindled, and Ray does what he can to clear the Arrow’s name. He tells the mayor he no longer believes the Arrow is behind these killings. As luck would have it, though, the mayor is the next victim to one of these Arrow imposters. Maseo shoots her mid-meeting through the window. With his bow then trained on Felicity, he takes aim, and the screen cuts to black as the sound of an arrow being shot rings out.
Let’s hope that cliffhanger is all smoke and mirrors and not, well, an actual sign of Felicity’s impending doom. I don’t think we’re prepared for that.
Wall of Weird
- Lyla’s friend Rick was supposed to officiate the wedding. Might that have been Rick Flag who couldn’t make it?
- Roy may be Team Arrow, but even he has to admit Ray’s super suit sounds pretty awesome.
- Felicity caught the bouquet, and while she ends the episode in a good place with Ray, something tells me she’ll face several more relationship issues before she ends up at the altar.
- Cupid, though holding her own, is left with comparably little to do among the four-member Squad. But her progression from loving the Arrow to immediately falling for Deadshot when he takes a bullet for her is an amusing arc. It also leads to a great line from Deadshot about preferring to die rather than endure her intense affection.
- I enjoyed the show taking this opportunity to expand on Deadshot as we know him, which made it all the more a shame he dies in the end. Michael Rowe gave the character a fitting send-off with his strong work, and I wouldn’t be opposed to a miraculous revival somewhere down the line.
- The aftermath of the Squad’s mission: Floyd Lawton’s death is reported on the news, but Senator Cray has paid the hostages for their silence, allowing the despicable man to remain free. Diggle, wary after the job, discusses leaving Team Arrow (as he has in the past), but Lyla reveals she’s resigned, ensuring Sara will have at least one parent not risking his or her life for work every day. Hopefully this puts to rest Diggle’s back and forth about quitting the team.
- In Deadshot’s flashback, the woman mentions a “hive”—which is, more specifically, HIVE. We already knew from season 2 that they contracted Deadshot to kill Diggle’s brother, but it seems that isn’t HIVE’s only move. The name drop is a helpful reminder of their existence for the viewer as the organization presumably takes on an expanded role. And if there’s any doubt about HIVE popping up, Diggle himself, David Ramsey, has teased that very possibility.