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'Arrow' Finds Direction by Focusing on its Core Characters

By Craig Wack | TV | March 26, 2015 |

By Craig Wack | TV | March 26, 2015 |

After taking some wrong turns through Lawwrel Canyon and Merlyn Gardens, Arrow has settled back down and “Suicidal Tendencies” bore a pleasing resemblance to an episode from the first two seasons.

The show suffers when it veers too far away from its core trio of characters: Ollie, Diggle and Felicity, who are the mind, body and spirit of the show. Thankfully the episode focused squarely on their ever-evolving team dynamic.

There was even a little bit of humor when Diggle made Oliver twist in the wind for being early for the wedding ceremony but late for the pictures just before threatening to snap Ray Palmer in half if he ever breaks Felicity’s heart. (Did you see how formal that wedding was? Thea even covered her midriff.)

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In the first two seasons of Arrow one of its biggest strengths was every scene had purpose. It didn’t matter if something happened on The Island in the past or in an abandoned warehouse in the present, it all moved the train forward.

Season 3 has been plagued by detours before it finally got moving straight when Ollie was told he’d been chosen as the next Demon’s Head. His refusal has put Starling City in real danger for the first time in a while, which while not making sense in a real world way, it gives Oliver something to do now that there’s no need for him to function in Star City society any more.

The focus on Diggle was a welcome return. Diggle’s dealings with Deadshot and the Suicide Squad have always brought dramatic punch and this episode was no different. Deadshot’s “sacrifice” — using quotes here because of the Hive reference and the character being generally hard to kill — opened Diggle’s eyes to the possibility that the war might follow him home one day too.

Felicity even seemed like her old self: standing up for her friends when needed or being coy and charming when it suited the situation.

The home stretch of the season is going to be interesting to follow. Oliver, Felicity and Diggle each have something new in their personal orbits that could pull them out of the basement of Verdant forever. It all may amount to nothing, but at least the illusion of a new direction is entertaining.

Craig Wack is a veteran journalist. Please follow his Twitter.

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