Arrow S2 Ep16 – Suicide Squad

Oliver Queen takes a backseat in “Suicide Squad”, an episode which focuses primarily on John Diggle. It’s been a while since we saw an episode devoted entirely to Diggle. Not since “Keep Your Enemies Closer” has Diggle played such a pivotal role. It’s true he’s in every episode, but usually he’s just there to deliver exposition and to show off his muscles. “Suicide Squad” not only places Diggle at center stage, but provides us with some of his untold history and progresses his character further.

“Suicide Squad” is unique in comparison to other episodes not only because of Diggle’s dominant presence, but because of the flashback scenes. Typically Arrow will use flashbacks to fill us in on everything that happened to Ollie back on the island. This episode’s flashback scenes gave us a glimpse of Diggle’s military days, when he first met his now ex-wife Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) and worked alongside Ted Gaynor (Ben Bowder). While in Afghanistan escorting a group of civilians they discover they are also escorting a wanted arms-dealing drug lord named Gholem Qadir (Lee Majdoub). After Diggle saves Qadir’s life from a terrorist attack Qadir is eventually turned in.

Arrow S2 Ep16 - Suicide Squad

Waller introduces Diggle to her Suicide Squad.

After clearing his name by turning in his criminal knowledge to the U.S. government, Qadir is now a wealthy philanthropist who Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), the head of A.R.G.U.S., suspects of carrying a biological weapon. She recruits Diggle and his ex-wife-turned-new-girlfriend Lyla to help retrieve the weapon, but they’re not doing it alone. Enter Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad, a team of expendable convicts under A.R.G.U.S.’s orders consisting of Shrapnel (Sean Maher), Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), and Deadshot (Michael Rowe). Clearly, against the idea of working alongside criminals, one of whom assassinated his brother, Diggle eventually gives in and goes along with Waller’s plan. Why would a bunch of criminals agree to work for A.R.G.U.S.? During their mission it’s revealed that everyone in the Suicide Squad has a bomb in their head that Waller can activate at any moment. Shrapnel experiences Waller’s wrath firsthand when he attempts to escape.

In “Keep Your Enemies Closer”, we learned that Deadshot murdered Diggle’s brother by the order of an organization called H.I.V.E. Since then, Diggle has not forgotten his history with Deadshot, but has more of a vendetta against the organization that hired him. Although Deadshot hasn’t been the most sympathetic of characters, “Suicide Squad” introduces the fact that Deadshot has a daughter and suggests that everything he’s been doing has been for her benefit.

As their mission progresses, Diggle and the squad gain access to a party Gholem Qadir is hosting where Deadshot discovers the biological weapon Qadir is hoarding beneath his mansion. Being that there’s too much of the weapon to make this a simple snatch-and-grab mission, Waller immediately activates a missile strike on Qadir’s mansion, telling Deadshot to remain where he is. Diggle has to act fast and successfully evacuates the mansion. He goes down to save Deadshot, who’s willing to die from the missile strike. Diggle convinces him to escape, reminding him of his daughter. Deadshot agrees and together along with Bronze Tiger and Lyla they outrun the missile that was locked on Deadshot’s head GPS (hence the reason Waller wanted him to stay put).

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