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The Past Comes Back To Haunt, Arrow “A.W.O.L” 

The Past Comes Back To Haunt, Arrow “A.W.O.L”
Arrow -- "A.W.O.L." -- Image AR411A_0173b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla Michaels and David Ramsey as John Diggle -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

This week was all about the past. Well, okay, not ALL about the past — Felicity is still in a wheelchair and Darhk is still on the loose and A.R.G.U.S (remember them?), yeah, they’re still masterminding some seriously messed up stuff — but it had a lot to do with it. Particularly for Felicity and Andy. Felicity’s popped up in a Ghost-Of-Hacker-Past kind of way while Andy’s (and Diggle’s, for that matter) appeared in the form of a shady army Lieutenant ready to wreak havoc. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at both and how these pasts affected the present.

Let’s start with Felicity. She’s obviously had a rough few weeks, so it’s no surprise that the stress of her new situation is starting to get to her. As she said, she can’t even leave the house to get a cup of coffee…not to mention, there’s only so much Stephen King you can read before your mind starts to play tricks on you. And what better way to do that than to make you hallucinate…well, you? I’d more or less forgotten about Felicity’s “dark” past until her bad-ass former self showed up to deliver some tough love.

Felici-now: I’m here. You’re here. So why are we here? Do you have anything the least bit interesting to say to me besides the little jabs you keep making?

Felici-then: The jabs are just to get your attention.

Felici-now: So what do you want to tell me?

Felici-then: I’m not here to tell you anything, I’m here to show you. Last time we looked like this, Cooper had just fake died.

Felici-now: What does this have to do with my ex-boyfriend?

Felici-then: The day we thought he died, you pulled out the hair dye, ditched the contacts and decided you weren’t going to rely on anyone else for help every again. It was just going to be you against the world. THAT was going to be your armor.

Felici-now: Guess I should’ve chosen kevlar.

Felici-then: Stop it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop pretending.

Felici-now: Pretending?

Felici-then: Pretending that this is the real you. Blond hair. Glasses. Sensible fashion. People wear masks to hide who they are, just like you have been doing for the past 5 years. First you decide to sign up for being the world’s most over qualified IT girl then you decide to try being a hero. Look what it got you {points to wheelchair}. A ring-side seat to the rest of your life. You thought you were such a bad ass.

Clearly, her past was trying to make her feel bad for who she’s become, but in my opinion, current Felicity is just as tough and badass as old Felicity, even if it is in a sunnier, blonder and less angsty way. And fortunately, it was only a matter of time before she realized it too. Kicking Felici-then to the curb, she managed to wheel her way back to Arrow HQ (with the help of Curtis, who I hope makes an appearance again soon) and settle into her old post with a new and totally apropos nickname, OverWatch. This show is nothing if it’s not about overcoming obstacles. Most, if not all, characters have faced some kind of life-altering hurdle and learned how to continue moving forward. This wheelchair may be Felicity’s big obstacle, but it also gave her the chance to realize that she is where she’s meant to be. She’s not a hacker. She’s not a rule-breaker. She’s a fighter. And a hero. And with the burning of the picture at the end, she left no doubt that the “past to stay in the past.”

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

But as I said before, Felicity wasn’t the only one to see her past come back around. Andy and Diggle also encountered a familiar face…and organization…thanks to Lyla and the A.R.G.U.S team. I have to say first and foremost, that I loved seeing the flashbacks of Andy and Diggle in Afghanistan. We’ve hardly seen these two when they got along, so it’s nice to get a glimpse of what is it that Diggle remembers about their bond. However, I have to admit, while Andy denied the offer to go in on the opium skimming deal at first, he still didn’t exactly seem like a stand-up guy even back then. He was a bit of a smart-mouth and a little shifty, but claiming to straighten up, he and Diggle were fighting side by side and that’s a bond you can’t break. Ultimately, I love that the whole Ghost/Darhk conundrum was put aside for a week, forcing these two to come together and fight a common enemy. I also really like seeing Andy’s walls come down even as he still stood by his beliefs. He may have been chemically programmed to be a soldier, but that doesn’t mean he was changed entirely. And now that Diggle is opening up to see that, Andy is opening up as well. Plus, who can say no to a Big Belly burger?!

But back to the situation at hand. When Shadowspire resurfaced, conveniently right under A.R.G.U.S’ nose, Diggle had no choice but to call out his brother.

Diggle: Your old army buddies are in Starling City. They tortured and killed an A.R.G.U.S agent and abducted two others.

Andy: I have nothing to do with them anymore. After I got discharged, they cut ties. They only want enlisted men.

Diggle: How the hell could I not see this? You were with the entire time.

Andy: You only saw what you wanted to see. Look, you wanted to believe the army had straightened me out. Look, I’m your brother but I’m not built like you. I didn’t take to the military like you did. You saw the world as something to be fixed. I only saw it as broken. So I made sure I had enough to survive.

Diggle: So you pretended to be a completely different person around your own brother?

Andy: It spared me the look that’s on your face right now. But maybe some good can come out of this.

Diggle: What are you talking about?

Andy: The two missing agents, you assume they’re alive?

Diggle: I can hope.

Andy: And I can help.

And help he did. Knowing how Shadowspire works, Andy was able to track down the missing agents (albeit too late) and recognize their tendency for diversion. Unfortunately, that was also a bit too late. As Joyner busted into A.R.G.U.S HQ and held Waller and Lyla hostage, Diggle was forced to act and make the difficult decision to go into battle with his brother once more. I have to say though, even when Andy was pretending to cozy up to Joyner, I didn’t buy it for a second. Something about the bond he and Diggle have built these past two weeks made me think he wouldn’t turn against him…at least not for these guys.

Ultimately, Team Arrow/A.R.G.U.S prevailed and took down Shadowspire, with only one major casualty — Waller. My first thought when she got a bullet to the head was, “it’s been that easy to take her down all along?!,” followed by “who will replace her?!” Lyla, perhaps? Not sure that she’s up for it, but I can’t imagine that they killed Waller for nothing…sure, she’s been a non-entity this season, but I still expect this to come back around eventually.

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Another bit of a past-come-back-twist was the reveal that shady-Shadowspire Lieutenant was once upon a time working for Oliver’s island-flashback leader, Reiter. Again, I’m assuming this non-coincidence will come back around before the season is over.

But, back to Andy. Early on, I thought that there was little to no hope for him. And I’m still not entirely convinced that he won’t at least waiver when it comes to choosing Diggle over Darhk, but I like that this side-battle has once again given him something to fight for that is on the side of right. I also really liked seeing him and Lyla, it made him more human…and I love that he’s moving in with Diggle. It seems that Diggle treating him like a brother, rather than a criminal, and giving him the opportunity to be a family man is all it took to actually start to make him a family man again…or so we can hope.

Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

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