Arrow Review: Task Force X

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The very best aspect of Arrow Season 2 Episode 16 was John Diggle. He was also the worst.

Before you punch through your computer screen, let me explain...

The more time David Ramsey spends on screen as John Diggle, the less I like it when he's not there. There isn't another character on Arrow with as much emotional strength, compassion and conviction as Diggle, making his presence undeniably enjoyable.

Knowing that the next installment won't feature Diggle with as much prominence made me yearn for the next Diggle-centric episode before this one was half over. Am I alone here??

Because it was Diggle's episode, by default Floyd "Deadshot" Lawton was the preeminent member of designated Task Force X.

Gimme a break. This ain't no task force. Let's call it like it is. Welcome to the suicide squad.


Diggle's struggle coming to terms with the members of the Suicide Squad being the very criminals he and Oliver had put behind bars wasn't nearly as interesting as his conversations and interactions with Deadshot. 

Lyla kept telling Diggle it was a complicated world, but he didn't want to think about it like that. It's easier to think in terms of black and white, right and wrong. Until he was thrust into a situation where he got to know the man who killed his brother. A man who had a daughter for whom he was living and putting first above all others. 

It opened Diggle's eyes enough to care about getting Deadshot out of the line of the drone strike after Amanda Waller planned to take out an entire mansion full of people with Deadshot as the target, thanks to an implanted explosive device/GPS in his head. 

Deadshot wasn't going to move -- it's a suicide squad, he tells Diggle. What did you think was going to happen? He had his orders and wasn't leaving his post. Not until Diggle reminded him of his daughter, Zoe. 

Waller, on the other hand, is a cold-hearted bitch. She has little in the way of benevolence toward the men (and woman) she has chosen for her squad. She didn't hesitate to blow up Shrapnel (he picked his name well) when he made a run for it. When Lyla took out Deadshot's implant, Waller decided they would now go in their spines to ensure they'd stay in place. She's ice.

It's difficult to root for Waller and easy to care about hard criminals. Who expected that? Diggle certainly didn't.

Last night the man who killed my brother showed more character than the woman charged with protecting the world. Good and bad is not so clear to me. One thing I do know for sure, black and white, is that I can't ever lose you again.


Felicity had very little to do in the hour, but her interaction with Diggle when he was watching over her in anticipation of a Slade attack gave me hope for the weeks to come. We'll need more of that to keep me satisfied. Lyla will be busy with A.R.G.U.S., so great friends Felicity and Diggle can keep each other company and us entertained.

As Diggle was busy stealing the show, Oliver was attempting to push away Sara because, like many of us, he believes that Slade will be going after Sara either just to hurt her or as a way to get to him. I still believe that. 

Laurel and Sara are not only on speaking terms, but friends and sisters again. So much so that Laurel was giving advice to both Sara and Oliver on how to remain close despite obstacles they encountered in their relationship. That's difficult to believe, isn't it?

Oliver thought so, but Laurel told him giving advice about two people she cares about was the easiest thing in the world. 

It's difficult not to read foreboding into all of this, but I'm beyond trying to predict what will happen. Whether Slade will lash out at Sara, Felicity, Thea, Moira, Laurel or all five of them -- I have no idea. I only know they are his targets. If Slade were an equal opportunity kind of guy, he'd toss in Diggle and Roy. Oliver loves other people out there, too.

It seems we'll see more of the Suicide Squad as Oliver went to Waller for help in tracking Slade. They had someone in their sites alright, and they were calling him Deathstroke. We're just warming up.

This installment proved, again, how incredible Diggle is as a character and how much he can bring to the Arrow world. Let's hope we'll see more of him as time goes on. If you want to see more, you can watch Arrow online for the latest.

Hit the comments and talk about the Suicide Squad. Did anything surprise you? Are you happy Lyla and "Johnny" are in it for the long haul? Keep an eye out for the Arrow round table later in the week!

Did the Suicide Squad meet your expectations?

Here is your first look at Arrow Season 2 Episode 17, "Birds of Prey."


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (68 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


The suicide squad rocks


Great episode ! Loved Diggle in it. AND, I found myself liking Deadshot. Probably wasn't the only one. I cannot wait to see more of them !
Now, Waller was def cold but what's her connection to Oliver ?
Also, I didn't get to comment on the previous episode as I read a few comments about Slade and I agree. He needs to let go ! The woman didn't even love him ! Sure he did but move on ! This is very strange !
Felicity and Diggle were great as usual.

@ Emy

I also found myself liking Deadshot, so you were not the only one.


How awesome would it be if slade wilson and Malcolm Merlin team up to destroy oliver queen

@ Adnan

Slade alone is formidable force against Arrow. If Merlin joins then it will be too much bad.


This was a great eppi. I love, love John Diggle, and just because he has muscles. I love how he takes care of Felicity and his ability to care for the very man who killed his brother. The latter was difficult, and something not so easy to do. It was great seeing more into his past with Lyla. I loved his description of Amanda Waller. Speaking of Ms. Waller, she is a cold, cold piece. I sat with my mouth open for a few seconds when she showed just how much she did not care about placing the implants in their spines. To Amanda Waller... you are a cold piece lady. We did not see much of Felicity, but that scene with Diggle was so sweet. Her telling Dig that if Slade wanted to kill he would was just so Felicity. Although she has some growing up to do, that was my Felicity, not the one was we saw in Time of Death. As for Sara and Oliver not much to say, but I hope we don't see much more of Oliver and Sara in bed together. I like Sara, just not with Oliver. They are better as friends.


I like Diggle, don't get me wrong, but I did not enjoy the episode focused on Lyla, the suicide squad...Amanda...
I didn't care that much. and I want Laurel gone, now what, she's the therapist for everyone????

@ Fra

I agree Diggle is fantastic. Laurel has got to go. Its like the writers don't actually know what to do with her. She is all over the place and the only thing she is good for is destroying a good episode.


I really loved this episode. And I really felt sorry for Deadshot to be used like that. Oh and Diggle, he's so great!
If only I would care for Sara, I don't. If it was Felicity I would. I missed more Felicity and I really hope Oliver stops crying and finds his lost balls for the next episode.

@ Cece

Ha ha ha, I agree. I don't mind the Sara pairing at the moment, she is a big step up from Laurel. But I do miss Felicity, and Oliver needs to man up tell her he loves her.


Darn I dont rememebr the woman in red shoes in Season 1 in the island flashbacks. What episode was that one? There were other women in teh island besides Shado and Sara? How come I only remember seeing men.


Did anyone else notice who that was who was offering couples counseling to Diggle & Lyla? -Harley Quinn

@ Michael (not Westen)

OMG Yes <3 Harley. I know Arrow is taking some crap for its "Batman" references/villians, but to me its really cool to see the in universe crossovers.


Excellent episode. The last scene answered some questions and opened more speculation. It seems that Amanda Waller was indeed the woman in the red shoes in Season 1 and Fyers' boss. It also seems she was present in some fashion when Oliver "killed" Slade on the island. So, maybe that confrontation doesn't happen until Season 3, rather than the end of this season. It also seems that it's going to be Deathstroke versus the DCU in the finale. We know Nissa is coming back, and this episode hints that the Squad will be involved. Having Sara recommit to the League in exchange for help in defeating Deathstroke would be a way of moving her out of the Black Canary role without killing her, and allows her to return periodically. I still hope Caity Lotz is a regular in Season 3, but at least that's a possibility I could accept. And having Slade fitted with an ARGUS bomb implant and committed to the Suicide Squad would keep Manu Bennett around as well.

@ BBussey

I think Sara should remain as the black canary and Laurel should move to the other side of the world, I don't know, do international relief in Africa. The show is better without her. She had not positively benefited the show in any way, her character is annoying and the idea of her and Oliver having a relationship is laughable.

@ BBussey

One of the many ironies not touched on: Bronze Tiger kills the person who had contracted his services to steal the prototype earthquake machine earlier this season.

Sarah silva

This was a really good episode.
The one thing I am confused about: How do Oliver and Amanda Waller know each other?
I loved the amount of Diggle as well. His scene with Felicity was super cute,
It is nice seeing Sara and Laurel being closer again. I am not a fan of Sara's but it was sweet that Laurel gave advice to both her and Oliver and said she wants them to be happy.

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

Waller must be the "Woman in the Red Shoes" from the island flashbacks in Season 1, given that she also knew (firsthand it seemed) that Oliver had "killed" Slade on the island. This was hinted at earlier this season when she met with Bronze Tiger at the prison when the camera first focused on her shoes.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 16 Quotes

Gimme a break. This ain't no task force. Let's call it like it is. Welcome to the suicide squad.


I know exactly how this brotherhood works and right now it works for me.