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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Arrow S02E16 “Suicide Squad”

March 20th, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

When the past comes back to haunt you, you have two options, run, or fight. Both Ollie and Diggle had to face their pasts in the latest, and one of the most highly anticipated episodes of the season, “Suicide Squad”. Sadly, at least in this reviewers mind, the episode did not live up to the hype.

Let’s get the good out of the way. For both Ollie and Diggle, this was a strong character-centric episode that showed them both at very different places on the emotional spectrum.

For Ollie, the threat of Slade is big on his mind. So much so that he’s will to do anything, and take giant risks to take Slade down. Very rarely on Arrow has Ollie been in this place emotionally. “Burned” came close, but “Suicide Squad” showed Ollie not doubtful of his skills, but afraid of what Slade might do.

His interactions with Sara, the Bratva, and Laurel were all varied, tense, and brilliant. You could see his motivations were honest and true, but he was still not thinking clearly and was driven by his demons.

Slade though, is not a fool. As he proved in easily one of the creepiest moments in Arrow history, as he killed the Bratva contact Ollie had, and played home videos of Shado……which he got from where exactly? Anyway, Ollie seems to be thinking clearly now, and willing to accept help. Which is great, because with Slade…or should I say Deathstroke? Alive, he’ll need all the help he can get.

Speaking of getting help. What started off as a good day for John Diggle, soon turned into a trip down memory lane. Amanda Waller asks him to step in to assist an ARGUS mission to retrieve and or destroy a deadly nerve gas being held by an “old friend” of Diggle’s. Waller won’t let him do it alone, so she gives him help, courtesy of Task Force X….or as Deadshot more accurately calls it…The Suicide Squad.

Now if you’ve skipped to my score and are wondering why it’s like that I’ll explain. I grew up on Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. One of my favorite episodes is “Task Force X”, because it was funny, epic, and showed the bad guys winning. For “Suicide Squad” to get a good score, they would have to live up to that benchmark. Sadly, they didn’t.

There were good points to be sure, especially when they delved into Deadshot’s backstory, and the reason he is who he is. It’s important to flesh out the villains in a superhero tale in order to make them more than paper personality players. Deadshot continues to be one of the few villains that gets such treatment.

Unfortunately, the others didn’t fare so well. Shrapnel appeared for all of five minutes before showing why no one leaves the Squad without permission. Bronze Tiger, though epic, had very little to do, and only used his claws once.

Also, as a whole, the Squad barely did anything outside of a show of force and Deadshot getting to be secret agent man. This is a far cry from other depictions where they’ve done everything from taking down heroes and villains to infiltrating the Justice League Watchtower.

The worst part of it was Waller. Yes, she’s supposed to be tough. Yes, she’s supposed to be someone you don’t mess with. But her belief in how “expendable” the Squad is was just too much. In both “Task Force X” and the comics, she may not have liked the team, but she trusted them to get the job done. Her actions in this episode bring up the question of why even have the Squad if you’re always going to go to the nuclear option?

It’s because of these failings that the episode didn’t get a higher score. Yet I need to say that there were still good moment. Diggle and Lyla getting back together was nice. John deserves some happiness too after all.

Now, the ending was amazing, and probably left many jaws on the floor. What does it all mean? And what does it mean for the future?

Some notes before we go to the summary:

– Yes, yes, and yes. That was Harley Quinn, she is in the Squad in the comics, and yes, that was Tara Strong voicing her. Awesome!

– Khandaq was referenced in the episode as well. If you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s the home country of Black Adam. Yes, THAT Black Adam.

All in all, “Suicide Squad” had good moments, but it also failed to live up to the potential it could’ve had. The Suicide Squad is loved by many fans, I would’ve happily sacrificed (as good as it was) the Ollie storyline and saved it for later, to show off the Squad truly in action. With “Birds of Prey” up next, I hope they don’t make the same mistake.

3 out of 5 nerds



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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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