Arrow Thoughts: S4 EP11 “AWOL”

By: Annie Shean (@Isaymeow)

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WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Arrow

The Story
The story focuses on both the Diggle brothers and Felicity. A crime organization has come after Agent Chang who runs to Lyla and Diggle for help before being captured and killed. We also watch Felicity struggle with her new life, and also fight with herself which I’ll get into later. Overall it has a lot of good action scenes and moves the storyline along without seeming like a filler episode.

Shadowspire
Shadowspire is portrayed in Arrow as a group of military war profiteers. They were a crime organization featured in the Deathstroke comics, who tried to unleash the “Borgia Plague” on Washington DC. They were stopped by Deathstroke, but there were still casualties. In this episode they appear to be after a shipment of Railguns (aka huge projectile electromagnetic guns) to sell, but this is all a deception; instead their true target is ARGUS and the rubicon codes. Thankfully their evil plot is foiled by a cunning set of brothers and team arrow…

Diggle Brothers
We finally get some more backstory with John and Andy fighting the Taliban during their army days together. It shows how Andy went dark in Afghanistan by buddying up with a war profiteer in the army, deceiving his brother. Unlike in Afghanistan though, when push comes to shove Andy finally does the right thing and takes down the leader of Shadowspire, saving both his brother and Lyla. We get a heartwarming scene at the end when Andy is permitted to visit their home and meet his niece. Now will Andy continue to walk the light path or will her return to Darhkness (bad pun I know)?

Felicity Smoak
Felicity is having a hard time adjusting to her new life which is to be expected. Oliver has to carry her down stairs, she can’t drive, and she is feeling suffocated by her lack of mobility. This parallels Barbra Gordon a bit with her inner struggle to remember that she can still be a hero.

This struggle comes to life when (surprise) goth Felicity appears in a hallucination throughout the episode! The “strong, confident, brunette” mocked her new self, forcing Felicity to acknowledge the pity party she had fallen into. By the end of the episode though we hear a moving speech from Felicity before rejoining the team.

Thankfully the codename “Hotwheels” didn’t stick, she’s now known as “Overwatch” which is the name of the Marc Guggenheim’s spy-thriller novel. We do get our nod to Gordon however when Oliver says “Oracle was taken.” At the end of the episode we see both Oliver and Felicity in bed, and she burns away a picture from her past. Judging by the look on Oliver’s face he probably wishes he could burn part of his past away as well.

Miscellaneous Odds & Ends
Amanda Waller ended the episode pushing up daisies, putting an end to her reign at Argus. Both Casey and I commented tonight that the timing with the Suicide Squad movie and Waller’s death is oh so typical DC; Let out TV and Movies never cross! Frankly now that the endless Earth parallel universe possibilities have been brought into play I don’t see what the big deal is, but then again that’s DC.

Did anyone else catch the humor in Felicity reading Stephen King’s “The Shining” while being stuck in the loft as she’s hallucinating? Thankfully nobody ended up breaking through any doors yelling “here’s johhhnnnyyyy”

We also see Laurel and Oliver bonding a bit more in the boxing scene. Personally, I have been tired of them constantly being at odds with each other, so this was a nice relief from that usual conflict.

Also we finally see a link between Shadowspire and Baron Reiter, showing where his hunt for magical objects began and how he acquired his bloodthirsty crew. We still don’t know exactly how Reiter ties in with Darhk, but we have one more clue to the puzzle.

Next week we get to meet “the calculator” who has been rumored to be Felicity’s father, but in reality it could just be another rival for her to tackle!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more Arrow chatter with you all in the upcoming weeks!