Category Archives: john diggle

Arrow: Sacrifice

Finally we’re at the season finale of “Arrow.” It’s been a long road, sometimes bumpy, sometimes kinda cool. We enter shortly after we last left our hero. Stephen Amell’s Oliver was unmasked and unconscious, and at the mercy of John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn. Amell’s chest makes a welcome return as Barrowman plays Bond villain and gloats a bit before leaving our hero hanging chained and flashbacking.

After a pretty dynamic escape, wishy-washily aided by Diggle, Oliver jumps from character to character playing emotional catch up. There’s a real sense of finality to it all. Tommy to potential villain, Laurel to potential girlfriend, Quentin to potential ally, everything but Arrow to the rescue. There’s a nice bit while Felicity is taken in for questioning, and she channels “Smallville”‘s Chloe to Detective Lance, saying maybe The Hood is a hero.

As the gears begin to click together, it seems that Moira Queen is more of a hero than anyone else in the cast. She calls a press conference, revealing The Undertaking and naming Merlyn responsible. The problems? You can’t stop John Barrowman, and Thea goes to The Glades to get Roy. Meanwhile Oliver and Diggle go after Merlyn while Felicity and Quentin look for the Markov Device. Why do I get the feeling someone’s not making it out of this alive?

I have to say I was surprised who it was that wasn’t going to make it. I have to wonder if it was a last minute decision by the showrunners as well. In hindsight, it seems to be more tidying up than anything else. I liked Tommy a lot, and would have dug his young, hip, and vengeful Merlyn the Magician.

The one thing that really bothered me about this episode was the lack of resolution, both on the island, and in the present. While the thinking behind Merlyn’s redundancy plan is sound and logical, it’s very unsatisfying storywise. I don’t want to see the hero lose. Maybe that’s something they can work in next season…

Arrow: Home Invasion

Deadshot has been a growing threat in the world of “Arrow.” While a minor Batman villain and Suicide Squad superstar in the comics, here he is a one-eyed super-assassin for hire. His most twisted attribute, besides the weird red eye piece, is his penchant for tattooing the names of his victims on his body.

His biggest claim to infamy on the series is that he killed John Diggle’s brother. Diggle is now obsessed, perhaps ever more so than Oliver. Not only is revenge biting his ass, but Diggle’s can’t really move his relationship with his sister-in-law (his late bro’s wife) until Deadshot is dealt with.

We open on Diggle training with Oliver, while Deadshot makes another hit. Felicity has hacked into ARGUS and is tracking Deadshot. I really have to wonder where this is going with ARGUS. Is there a Justice League in Oliver’s future? Probably not, as this ARGUS acronym isn’t the same as the comics.

Diggle’s contact in ARGUS has a little more fire. Named Lyla in the show, she’s given the surname Michaels in the Arrow companion comic. Lyla Michaels is the real name of Harbinger, a power player in DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths way back in 1985. Harbinger was missioned with the task of collecting the superheroes who would then save the universe/multiverse. Harbinger is even her codename in the show. What an interesting connection.

The opening shoves a whole lot of plot, subplot, and information into a very short amount of time, so much so, my head began to spin a bit. The current dynamic of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity is counterpointed by the flashback dynamic of Oliver, Deathstroke, and Shado. We also learn Oliver is lunchdating Laurel even though he’s on the outs with Tommy. Bad, Oliver, just the first of many bad decisions this episode.

This is all under eight minutes, before the credit sequence. We are also introduced the main plot/subplot of this episode. Laurel is working with a family who were testifying against a bad man, List-worthy, but surprisingly not on it – it could be his dumb name, Edward Rasmus. His hired killer, Mr. Blank, gets the parents but misses the seven year old son. Laurel takes the kid in. Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that most times when you add a kid, you’ve jumped the shark.

This is all in about ten minutes. The episode hasn’t really even started. It doesn’t get less complicated as the episode continues. After a few awkward moments between ex-friends Oliver and Tommy, some bonding between Tommy and the kid, and a fairly cool scene where Mr. Blank attacks Laurel, the couple and the kid move in with the Queens to enjoy the heavy security there. I found that puzzling. Besides Diggle, Queen security has seemed extremely lame. Obviously it’s The Hood who will protect them, but Quentin Lance shouldn’t have agreed to it.

It gets very predictable at this point. There are newborn kittens who knew Oliver will be distracted with Deadshot the next time Mr. Blank attacks, letting everyone down, duh. Or the other way around, although it should have been the former. As one would expect, Oliver makes the bad choice. The worst choice, and we lose Diggle over it. At this point, the only thing that could make this worse would be an appearance by the Huntress.

Speaking of bad choices, on the island, while being trained in archery, Oliver kisses Shado. For comics fans, we know how that works out. The cliffhanger here finally means forward motion on the island at least.

Mr. Blank is an intriguing villain, played by J. August Richards, formerly of “Angel.” He reminds me a lot of Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative in Serenity. He’s very calm, very precise, and likes to make conversation with his prey. He was a very suitable foe for this version of Green Arrow. His clash with Oliver is perhaps one if the best of the series so far.

As if there’s not enough going on, Roy Harper, who is apparently dating fellow Speedy, Oliver’s sister Thea, is trying to track down The Hood. There is a good scene where finally it’s addressed that The Hood is a murderer. Finally. Thea agrees to help Roy find The Hood. More shark jumping in the form of idiotic 1950s secret identity protection? I hope not, cuz that’s what breaks up Tommy and Laurel. Worst case scenario – Oliver takes on a teenage sidekick (or two) to replace Diggle. I know it’s the natural progression, but damn it, I liked David Ramsey’s Diggle a lot.

This was a very uneven episode, save some great character bits, a throwaway Wonder Twins reference, and of course, Mr. Blank. Only three more episodes to go, I wonder how it’s going to go…

Arrow: The Odyssey

We had a pretty fierce cliffhanger last time, the Hood confronted his mom, and with arrow nocked, he says his trademarked line, “Moira Queen, you have failed this city.” Da da dum.

We pick up this episode exactly where we left off, and find Moira rather resourceful. She uses her family as a shield, begging for her life as a mother. When the Hood lowers his bow and drops his guard – she shoots him in the chest. Damn… it would seem Mom is a bit more proactive than Vanch, Bertinelli, China White, or The Count. She’s hardcore.

Oliver escapes and finds Felicity, who after another identity reveal, takes him to Diggle at the Arrowcave. I guess now we not only officially have our Alfred, we have our Oracle. Oliver is hurt bad, and unconscious, so what better time for an island flashback, right, or even an all island episode?

Last episode, in “Betrayal,” it was established that Slade Wilson, at least one of the Deathstrokes in the TV continuity, trains Oliver to fight. Their goal is to take an airstrip on the island where a supply plane lands. That’s what he trains Oliver for.

We also get a bit of background. Slade is Australian special forces, and his partner, Billy Wintergreen is the Deathstroke who tortured Oliver. He was also the godfather of Slade’s son Joe. In comics, Wintergreen is the butler/valet of Deathstroke, essentially his Alfred. And Joseph Wilson is the Teen Titan known as Jericho, frequently in opposition to Deathstroke.

We get some nice albeit brief scenes with Diggle and Feicity, but we all know two things. One, Oliver will survive the bullet, and two, Oliver is not getting off the island this time, at least not in this flashback. Diggle tries to rationalize Oliver’s murders. I feel him, but it’s still not enough.

In the end, we learn a bit more about Yao Fei, one particularly juicy bit I’ll get to in a minute, Oliver goes up against Eddie Fyers and his men, and, yeah baby, Deathstroke vs. Deathstroke. What’s keeping Yao Fei under Fyers’ thumb is a young lady (his daughter?) named Shado, who is Fyers’ prisoner. Oliver and Shado share the same tattoo, and comics fans know who Shado is. This should be very interesting…

Arrow: An Innocent Man

Right off the bat, I have a problem. Perhaps it’s been in the first three episodes as well, but this is the first time I’ve noticed it. In the pre-credit, pre-opening intro sequence, Oliver refers to his father’s ‘dying wish.’ The dude took his own life, how it that a dying wish?? Oliver must have some psychological damage if that’s how he’s remembering that incident. Creepy.

Anyway, when last we left our anti-hero he had saved bodyguard Diggle from poison and brought him to his underground hideout. Oh, screw it, let’s call a spade a spade – it’s the Arrowcave, and we all know it. There he revealed he was Arrow. Diggle appears to be less than cooperative.

Curious. In the previous episode I was almost positive Diggle knew this already, and Oliver must have as well. Miscommunication. Between the writers? Or mischaracterization for Diggle? I find it makes him seem not as bright as I thought him, troubling. And disappointing. For most of an episode at least.

When Oliver meets with him later in the episode at Big Belly Burger, he offers up the explanation that he believes his father shot himself to atone for his crimes. This boy needs a therapist. In the comics, there has always been the joke that Green Arrow was a wannabe Batman with a bow. Now, psychologically, the show has made him Batman. Not happy.

The Big Belly Burger chat also connects Deadshot to Diggle’s brother’s shooting, and in another nice nod to the comics, the brother is Andy, Andy Diggle being a former Green Arrow writer. Well, John Diggle has made a decision. We’ll see how that works out. One thing is for sure, he’s no Speedy.

The Monument Point, Iron Heights, and Bludhaven name drops were also nice. But I have to say, much like the home city’s name change, I don’t care for the newspaper’s either. Although, really, who reads newspapers any more? But still, the Daily Star has a lot more pizazz than the Starling City Star. Awkward, and silly. What was so wrong with the name Star City?

Despite the subplots continuing to move along the ongoing storyline, this episode has the icky feeling of a fill-in issue in the comics. The main plot of this episode seems much less important than those subplots. This isn’t a lawyer show with a vigilante in it, this is a vigilante with a lawyer in it, ya know? I don’t like being strung along.

Hopefully next week’s episode with possibly Deathstroke will be a step in a better direction. Of course that’s if Oliver gets out of jail… ah, that would be telling. Maybe we’ll also find out what’s up Tempest. See you next week, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel. Hmmm… Scratch that, I just got carried away after that Arrowcave comment. 😉