Arrow knows how to throw a wedding: short, sweet, and expensive. Ray Palmer, who attends the Diggle wedding with Felicity, not only ruffles Oliver’s feathers as his former flame’s date, but as the officiant of his best friend’s ceremony. Ollie’s in for an awkward evening as Laurel also shows up dressed to the nines and outshines his other lady love. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the team gets reports that the vigilante known as Arrow has returned to his murderous ways. Quentin Lance appears on TV to condemn the Arrow’s attacks while Felicity does her best to pacify the situation; Palmer, surprisingly, publicly throws his support behind the police.
Team Arrow decides that Diggle and Lyla deserve to go and enjoy their honeymoon, but Amanda Waller, Deadshot, and the Suicide Squad have other plans. Waller tasks Lyla with extracting a U.S. Senator from a hostage situation in a rogue nation. Guess who else is joining the team this time around? Carrie Cutter, for one. (I love that she’s continuing with her obsession over Arrow.) Deadshot tries to give the newlyweds some advice about trying to make a romantic relationship function with their line of work, which leads to a pretty interesting flashback sequence.
Having just returned from his military tour of duty, Floyd Lawton arrives at home to surprise his wife. He gets a surprise of his own when his young daughter barely recognizes him. She also isn’t a fan of her father’s alcoholism, anger, or his cooking, apparently. His PTSD gets the best of him as he threatens his wife at gunpoint, which leads to the cops being called in. Long story short, Lawton gets hired, not by A.R.G.U.S., but by H.I.V.E. The organization’s representative gives Lawton his first target: Diggle’s brother, Andrew.
After locating the Senator and leaving Deadshot to take out any guards on the outside, the remaining trio storms in and attempts to execute their mission. The tables turn when Senator Cray pulls a gun on them, clearly upset that they’re there to rescue him. (There’s quite the funny moment between Deadshot and Cupid when the former rescues her and the latter becomes smitten.) Deadshot takes a hit and Diggle patches him up, though he hesitates upon seeing the assassin’s tattoos. Cray reveals his plan to them over the radio: It’s a bit of a wag the dog scenario in which the terrorists are actually mercenaries hired to make Cray appear as a political hero; the hostages were never in any danger, at least not until the Suicide Squad arrived. Lyla and Diggle worry about orphaning their daughter, but Deadshot is hellbent on getting them home. It soon becomes clear that Waller’s team of mercenaries easily outmatches Cray’s own hired hands. Deadshot stays behind to make sure the others can get out safely, along with all of the hostages (and man are there a lot of them). Lawton takes one last look at a photo of him posing with his family before explosives detonate the building, blowing it out from under his feet. The salt in the wound is that Lawton is publicly blamed for the hostage crisis and Cray ends up paying the survivors for their silence.
Back in the Starling City, Felicity and Roy are trying to track down the impostor archer while Oliver’s busy fine-tuning his swordplay. Oliver follows the fakester to (where else) an industrial warehouse and ends up engaging in a fight with four masked vigilantes masquerading as the Arrow. Maseo appears from the shadows to warn Oliver against his continued resistance to Ra’s offer, before disappearing behind a smoke bomb (as you do). In a fun moment just outside of this scene (though not a terribly convincing one as far as the visual effects are concerned), Palmer is zipping around the city and tracking the Arrow. He uses his suit’s facial recognition ability to ID Oliver Queen as the vengeful vigilante. So … he’s technically right, but in this particular case he also happens to be wrong. He shares this revelation with Felicity, along with the fact that he knows that she’s obviously in on the secret. While she tries to divert him by focusing on the fact that he got his suit working, she soon resorts to trying to convince him that Oliver’s not a killer (at least not for the last two years). Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to work, as Palmer is committed to bringing the Arrow to justice.
Felicity warns Oliver and Roy about the newly arrived danger of Palmer and his supersuit. They quickly get Laurel in place to head Palmer off at the police station. He’s smart enough to realize that he’s being played, but Laurel has the upperhand as far as the legal system and the media are concerned. Palmer resorts to street-level justice, so it won’t be long until Arrow and the Atom square off, although the first time they meet face to face, it’s without either of their flashy costumes. There’s a pretty good conversation between Oliver and Felicity that delves into the dual nature of being a superhero, but it’s soon interrupted by a reported disturbance to which Arrow and Arsenal respond. Too bad the whole thing was set up by Palmer. He flies in and takes Roy out of the equation, but Oliver manages to neutralize the supersuit and holds him at arrow point. He threatens to kill him, but obviously doesn’t. Instead, he tasks Palmer with living up to Felicity’s expectations. (I love that Oliver just walks away, presumably leaving Roy laying unconscious on the pavement.)
Tonight’s closing moments were more about relationships than action beats or comicbook Easter eggs. At Palmer Technologies, Ray and Felicity patch up their rocky partnership, which is a little less cryptic now that everyone’s identities are out in the open. In the Diggle house, John tells Lyla that he’s quitting Team Arrow, but she counters by saying that she’s left A.R.G.U.S. so he can stay on and protect the city. John and Oliver then share a drink to the deceased Lawton, and resume their search for the Arrow impostor. All well and good until Maseo kills the police captain with a signature green arrow, and then puts Felicity square in his sights.
While this was by no means a bad episode of Arrow, it did feel a little disconnected, which has been my main complaint with this season. It was great to see Palmer actually get in on the superhero side of things, even if his motivation was a little misguided, but pairing that with a watered-down Suicide Squad storyline just felt mismatched. However that takes nothing away from Lawton’s excellent arc in a sub-plot that’s spanned multiple episodes; I’m sure we’ll see him again soon, somehow and some way. It simply feels as if the Arrow writers are spinning their wheels on the same relationship storylines over and over again, to the point that I’m not sure there will ever be any resolution as long as one half of a couple is still breathing.
Rating: ★★★ Good
(An explanation of our ratings system follows here.)
— Diggle: “You hurt her, they’ll never find your body.”
— Deadshot: “Suicide Squad rides again.”
— Roy: “This is exactly the kind of thing that Fake Arrow would go after.” Felicity: “We really need a better name for him.”
— Only a 140 IQ for Palmer? Curious.
— Roy: “Ray built a supersuit? That’s kind of awesome … and reckless.”
— So Senator Cray and Ray Palmer appearing in the same episode? Interesting.
— Palmer: “The Arrow.” Oliver: “Super Suit.”