Tonight’s episode of “Arrow” — “A.W.O.L.” — featured some startling revelations. Andy Diggle’s past with Shadowspire was revealed, Felicity adjusted to her new life as a paraplegic, and Amanda Waller was ambushed at A.R.G.U.S. Felicity also had to overcome some personal demons as she wrestled with coming back to Team Arrow so soon after her surgery.
Diggle (David Ramsey) and his wife Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) finally got a night off, but work wouldn’t stay away, and they were caught off guard by one of Lyla’s old A.R.G.U.S. colleagues, Alan Chang (Kevan Ohtsji.) Chang needed Lyla’s help, but was abducted before he could say why. Later, when Chang was found dead, Lyla and Diggle went to A.R.G.U.S. for answers. Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), being the secretive woman that she is, denied any involvement, but she secretly passed Lyla a thumb drive. The information on this drive revealed what Chang was investigating: the covert government contract agency, Shadowspire. As it turns out, Diggle and his brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) worked with Shadowspire back in Afghanistan. This connection inspired Diggle to let Andy help with the case. Andy’s insight sent Team Arrow to a free port, but Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Oliver (Stephen Amell), and Thea (Willa Holland) come up empty. The free port was a diversion from the real hit: A.R.G.U.S.
Once Shawdowspire broke into A.R.G.U.S., Lieutenant Joyner (Erik Palladino) held Amanda Waller, Lyla Michaels, and all of A.R.G.U.S.’s employees hostage to gain access to something called “Rubicon.” Joyner believed he could use the hostages as leverage against Waller, but that’s not Waller’s style. In a shocking twist, Joyner executed Waller at point blank range. This move may or may not confirm rumors that the DC TV universe may be closing the door on side characters who are going to be heavy hitters in the DC films. Amanda Waller, while playing a huge role in season two and three of “Arrow,” will now get to lead the “Suicide Squad” on the big screen. Diggle and Andy were able to take back A.R.G.U.S., but only with the help of Team Arrow and Felicity.
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) was having a hell of a time adjusting on “Arrow” tonight. She spent weeks in the hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries and presumably hard physical therapy. She was released and sent home, but she still had not recovered from the mental or physical trauma that she experienced. While Diggle, Andy, Lyla and Team Arrow were off investigating Shadowspire, Felicity was battling a demon of her own: herself. This self-personification appeared to Felicity as her former, gothic-hacker persona, complete with black hair, black clothes and an ankh necklace (shout out to Oracle.) Throughout the entire episode she had to combat the voice that said, “Look at what being a superhero got you. This is what you get for trying to help people. This isn’t you. Give up.” Felicity was able to overcome this self-loathing and pity by getting back to the Arrow cave and helping her team. This is where Felicity shinned the most — navigating Team Arrow through A.R.G.U.S., helping them protect the “Rubicon,” and rescuing Diggle, Lyla, and Andy. At one point Oliver even let Felicity call the shots. Felicity sent Black Canary and Speedy one direction, and the Green Arrow in another. This is where Oliver coined her new code name: Overwatch. Overwatch clearly defines her role on the team, and is a nice callback to “Arrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim’s book of the same name.Having Felicity battle herself was a powerful metaphor for anyone who suffers a great trauma: sometime’s the only person holding you back from getting back to your life, is you. Felicity burns the image of her former self, and fully decides to come back to Team Arrow.
The episode concluded with Team Arrow toasting the memory of Amanda Waller, and deciding what to do with Andy, now that he’s playing for the good guys. The final flashback of the episode revealed that while Andy was working with Shadowspire back in Afghanistan, Shadowspire was on the payroll of Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola,) Oliver’s captor on the island five years ago. Reiter was hell bent on discovering the mystical powers of the island, and this flashback is where he acquires the map to find it. Diggle and Lyla agree to let Andy live with them. He gets to meet their daughter, Sara, which is a first step to reconciling with his own wife and daughter. Lastly, Oliver promises that he will stand by Felicity no matter what, and that he will find a way to fully heal her.