ARROW Season 4×11, “AWOL” recap

28 Jan

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Welcome back, Arrowheads! So we came back from our holiday break to find Felicity is still alive, but paralyzed from the waist down! I suppose that’s bad news, but oh the plus side, Diggle’s making headway in reconnecting with his former HIVE employee/problem little brother Andy. So how goes things this episode?

Brother Soldiers. in this week’s flashback, we go back to ten years ago in Afghanistan, as soldiers Diggle and Andy are assigned to escort duty. They have a pretty intense fight with terrorists in an ambush, and for their reward, get to watch after some captured opium and intel. During this, they are talked up by a soldier named Joyner, who has an odd diamond emblem on his uniform. He suggests maybe letting some of that opium go to him for some extra cash, but the two decline the offer. But Diggle is suspicious when he later sees Andy talk to Joyner about something. But Andy says it was a conversation about nothing and to start trusting him.

And how does Andy repay his older brother’s trust? Well he takes Joyner’s offer, and Joyner meets with Andy to give him a bonus and get a thank you from Joyner’s boss…Reiter! And that intel sold is a map for Lian Yu!

Snatch and Grab. In the present, Dig and Lyla are enjoying a night out by themselves when a man flags Lyla down. She recognizes him as an ARGUS agent, Chang, and he tells her he needs help on a job he’s doing for Waller. Before Chang can say what that job is, a van full of masked commandos (that aren’t HIVE) grab him and take off. Team Arrow meets up, and with Felicity stuck at home, decide to split up and figure out where Chang is. And Laurel gets the first break in that, mainly by finding Chang’s corpse, mutilated and missing an eyeball. Ewwww.

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Don’t get comfortable in Felicity’s seat, Lyla.

Diggle and Lyla visit Waller at the ARGUS HQ, and ask about what Chang was up to. Waller admits she doesn’t know, but that USB memory stick she secretly passes to Lyla says different. Chang was a lead agent in taking down a corrupt organization known as Shadowspire (who were Joyner’s employers!), and him and two agents are missing. Diggle knows Andy ran into them before, and thinks he knows more about them. Well, he didn’t work for them regularly, but he knows enough about their methods that he offers an idea where they might be in Star City.

Cages. Before you think we forgot, Felicity is trying to adjust to life in a wheelchair, and Ollie is doing his best to help. When he leaves the loft, she’s all alone…except for that not drug-fueled hallucination of Goth Felicity from last season, needling her about how she screwed up. And she does her best to ignore Goth Felicity’s cutting comments about how she’s gotten soft. But it’s Ollie’s call for some tech help that causes her to think on those taunts.

Team Arrow has scouted out a Shadowspire meeting place, and Ollie asks Felicity for technical support. And she seems to be still on her game as the Team goes into the place and find the two other dead ARGUS agents, but a random security door shutting outside of Felicity’s influence leaves Dig (and oh, he has the code name of Spartan now!) surrounded by Shadowspire men, lead by an older Joyner. Before things really get bad, the Team arrives to save Dig, but not to catch Joyner. Not that Diggle is sweating this, but Felicity’s Goth devil on her shoulder isn’t letting that go. She tells Ollie she doesn’t think she can even do her job anymore, and her having to hear Ollie and Goth Felicity talking over each other doesn’t make her seem less stressed out.

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You know, running technical support for a group of vigilantes is really a job that can be done from home.

Misdirection. Ollie is back at the HQ, working out with Laurel, who can tell Ollie is taking his burden of what happened to Felicity way too hard. She tells him that he didn’t cripple Felicity, Damien Darhk did. Andy finally gets a change of accommodations, from a cell in Arrow HQ to a cell in Argus HQ. Meanwhile, Lyla questions about Waller’s need for secrecy maybe leading to her agents meeting such horrible fates. Based on what was found at the Shadowspire meeting place, it appears that they are going to steal a shipment of rail guns, which would be really bad.

But Andy warns this might be a misdirect from Shadowspire, meant to hide their true objective, and Team Arrow goes out minus Dig to scope out the rail gun delivery. But Andy seems to be right, as the Joyner and his men get into ARGUS headquarters, with a special help from Chang’s missing eye (ewwww again!) and take the control room with Waller and Lyla inside hostage. Lyla’s able to kick on monitors inside Andy’s cell to show what’s happening, just as Joyner warns Waller after shooting an ARGUS agent that if he doesn’t get the codes to something called Rubicon, more agents will die. Diggle takes some overheard stuff from Felicity to rig a way to call the Team in, but Andy insists on helping his brother stop them. How will that go?

Field Promotion. Ollie’s taking a break at the HQ from the fruitless stakeout of the rail guns, when Felicity shows up. She admits she was plagued by doubts voiced by her past self (which again, NOT drug-induced), and has started to understand she is not defined by her past anymore. Also, Ollie should let himself off the hook, because Darhk is responsible for her current predicament, and they both will stop him not out of vengeance, but because its what they do. Awwwwww, those words might ring false in a few months…

But the HQ computers ping as they receive Dig’s SOS, and he scrambles the team to help. While Dig argues over whether he can trust Andy to help, they get to see Joyner threaten Lyla with death, where she assures Joyner that Waller will never give up the Rubicon codes, because she doesn’t care about whether he kills them all or not.

So he shoots Waller. IN THE HEAD. BANG. And before you think, “oh, he grazed her”, nope, we get a close up on now dead body, with a hole in the forehead. Damn.

ARGUS Siege. Some Shadowspire agents stumble onto Andy’s cell, and find him very interested in helping out “old buddy” Joyner get what he wants. Once he gets dragged into the control room, Andy tells Joyner his brother is sneaking around and if he’s caught and threatened, Lyla will give him the Rubicon codes. And Dig got you Big Belly Burgers, bro! Meanwhile, Felicity is finally starting to believe in herself again and becoming the technical Tinkerbell again (and now she has a code name: Overwatch!), suggesting Thea and Laurel head to a vault that’s about to be accessed while sending Ollie ahead.

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“A Diggle episode? Um, okay, we’ll just be here if you need support, man.”

Back at the control room, Dig has been caught, and sure enough, him being threatened with death folds Lyla into entering the codes to that Rubicon vault. But Felicity is impeding those codes from going through, and Joyner decides to go ahead and shoot Dig…but Andy rushes in and starts fighting Joyner! Ollie arrives to help Dig and Lyla incapacitate the Shadowspire goons while Andy knocks out Joyner. Yay! Diggle brothers FTW!

Growth. Back at Arrow HQ, they take a moment to toast to the absolutely dead Amanda Waller, and wonder what to do with Andy, being he saved a lot of lives today. Well, first thing: Ollie and Felicity talk around their bed about the past and home how each of them would have handled things in their darker years. And when the issue of her paralysis comes up, Ollie says that considering all the impossible stuff that has happened to them over the years, he knows there may be a way to fix Felicity. I mean, they have resurrected a dead friend and refused to end Malcolm Merlyn, so anything is possible, right?

Meanwhile, Dig brings Andy to his home (under guard, BTW) and Lyla is there, offering up a fave dinner of both brothers. Andy is a long way from wanting to reconnect with his own family, but for now, he can settle on meeting his niece Sara. Awwwwwww.

–Comic book connections: So the humorous dropped possible code name for Felicity is “Oracle”, known in the DCU originally as the paralyzed first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. That Oracle would work with Black Canary and various lady heroes in the group, the Birds of Prey.

–Also, the codename “Oracle” is taken? Well, that is a less surprising way to save a character for the DC movie universe than the way Waller is taken out here.

–Ollie is sure confident to talk about bad fashion choices to Felicity. He’s had to wear a questionable wig in those flashbacks for the last few seasons!

–And some nice motion control CG work on the scenes with real Felicity and hot Goth Felicity there.

–Also, the HQ needs wheelchair accessible ramps now. Didn’t plan on everything designing the place, did ya, Cisco?

–“Now is not the time to not trust me!”

–“I thought ‘vomiting in my mouth’ was just an expression.”

–“Maybe my code name could be Hot Wheels.”

That’s it for now, but comment below and come back next week for the recap of “Unchained”…

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