Suicidal Tendencies Plot Summary:
Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla’s (Audrey Marie Anderson) honeymoon is cut short when Deadshot (Michael Rowe) recruits them for another Suicide Squad mission overseas. Back in Starling City, newly-minted vigilante Ray (Brandon Routh) sets his sights on the Arrow (Stephen Amell) and things get tense when both discover Felicity has been keeping the other’s secret.
No offense to Amy Gumenick, but I hope we never see Cupid again. Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe its that the character has only been part of the B-plot round-up episodes, but she’s appeared in this season’s weakest hours. “Suicidal Tendencies” was much stronger than “Draw Back Your Bow,” but it still suffered from too many unconnected storylines and bad pacing.
Diggle and Lyla’s nuptials took up surprisingly little screentime at the beginning of the episode. They mostly seed to show us that Nyssa (Katrina Law) is as tough a trainer as you’d expect given Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) injured wrist and Oliver is still terrible at lying given the way he sounded dead inside when he told Felicity he was happy she’s happy with Ray.
Things really got going when Diggle and Lyla climbed into their limo, intent on enjoying their honeymoon, but found Deadshot waiting for them instead. Last year’s Suicide Squad episode was really fun, but this one felt like the low-rent version, not just because we got the B-team. Cupid is too comic book-y for this show. She’s a Flash villain at best and even Cisco woulnd’t take her. Admittedly, watching her transfer her obsession from Oliver to Deadshot at the drop of a hat after he saved her life was really funny.
Less fun were the flashbacks to pre-mercenary Floyd Lawton. While I’ve been interested in Deadshot’s backstory since the beginning, the flashback felt especially pointless since they offered nothing more than a thinly written soldier with PTSD story and delayed the explanation for why Shado (Celina Jade) or her lookalike was in Hong Kong five years ago. The dialogue didn’t help. Lawton’s wife’s line about him having trouble socializing sounded like it was stolen directly from a pamphlet on How to Know If Your Soldier is Clinically Depressed. Rowe isn’t a strong enough actor to pull it off, but at least he got some good clips for his reel before his character apparently sacrificed himself to save everyone.
As fun as the utterly ridiculous Hostage Crisis/Senator Making a Presidential Bid story was, the point of the episode was to finally give us an ATOM vs. Arrow showdown. Their actual battle was a typical superhero fight replete with lightning bolts or some sort of CGI junk firing from Ray’s suit, but the real fireworks happened over the affection and loyalty of one Felicity Smoak. I joked last week that this conflict would be more about two guys posturing over a girl than Ray’s discomfort with the Arrow’s murderous streak, but the show was almost laughably open about that being the driving factor. Oliver and Ray talked about her the whole time and the scene literally ended with Oliver saying, “she chose you” and telling Ray to trust her—but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Earlier in the episode, Ray’s facial recognition software rendered that horrific approximation of Oliver’s face and he finally realized why his girlfriend has always been so sketchy where Mr. Queen was concerned. She further wounded his pride when she said the fastest “yes” in the history of human speech when he asked if she had feelings for Oliver before backtracking. Girl, get it together. He left saying he couldn’t take her word that Oliver is a good guy because she’d broken their trust, but it was pretty clear he was just punishing her by going after his romantic rival. He was similarly vindictive in scenes with Oliver and Laurel and it’s shame the show took so long to give the character something to do. It was Routh’s best work all season.
Oliver’s reaction was similarly childish and he yelled at Felicity for keeping secrets without seeming to notice the irony. While he certainly felt betrayed, his anger was clearly misdirected self-hatred. He may actually believe Felicity’s best chance of happiness is with a normal guy, but the reason he’s so angry that she’s dating a guy “just like [him]” is that it proves him wrong. Ray as a vigilante dating Felicity and running the former QC is a rebuke to all the justifications Oliver made for not being with her. It just proves that the Arrow isn’t keeping him from being happy, it’s himself.
At the end of the day, though, the fight isn’t even really about Felicity. It’s about two boys with damaged egos realizing they aren’t as special or unique to the woman they love–rather idolize–than they thought. Both had to come to terms with the fact that Felicity’s strongest allegiance is to herself and they took their anger out on each other basically in defiance of her wishes or well-being. It’s kind of a crappy situation for her to be in considering she might be the only character on the show who seems to have no trouble splitting her identity. She’s really got to look for a vigilante who’s on her level. I’m just saying, Nyssa lives in Starling City now.
Rating: 5/10 (Mostly because I scored “Draw Back Your Bow” way too high and I’m taking it out on this episode.)
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.