In Review: Arrow, Episode 80 “A.W.O.L.”

Two deaths, a character changes, and Felicity X 2!

Arrow, Episode 80 “A.W.O.L.” Broadcast January 27, 2016

Written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich

Directed by Charlotte Brandstrom

“Previously on Arrow,” John doesn’t know if his brother Andy is still a good man and Felicity is shot by Darhk’s goons and will never walk again.

John and his wife Lyla are out for the evening when Alan Chang appears, saying Argus has been compromised. Lyla says she quit Argue and can’t help him. A van load of ghosts pull up, shooting down Alan and John. They drag Alan into the van and John is able to grab onto the open back door as the car takes off. He can’t maintain his grip and tumbles to the street. Cue opening title card.

Oliver carries Felicity downstairs at their place and into an awaiting wheelchair. Their upbeat banter is brought down when she says she might be unable to help him stop Darhk because of her injury. She’s also afraid that she could distract him in a life or limb situation. A text from the Diggles end their conversation and has him leaving to see them. He asks her to come along, but she declines. At Arrow headquarters, Ollie, Thea, and Laurel are brought up to speed. Naturally, Oliver votes to go looking for Chang. John leaves the group to give his brother a cheeseburger he bought for him. The little brother realizes John’s been asking him questions since he’s been incarcerated and he’d like to ask his older brother a few questions, such as why work for a guy in a green hoodie? “We’re taking a city that’s been holding itself together and we’re helping,” John says. “Remember when that was your mission?” Cue a flashback of the brothers volunteering for a mission in Afghanistan in 2005. Their vehicle comes under fire and Andy does something rash. In the present, Felicity is taking some extra pain medication, and she hears a familiar voice that says she’s not good enough to help Oliver. Felicity thinks she’s losing it. “Not exactly,” says a Gothed out version of herself. At a crime scene, Laurel scares off the police with her ID so that John can look at the body that’s been discovered. It’s Chang, who’s been tortured and his left eye torn out. Cue first commercial break.

I’ve been done with Andy stuck in his cell for some time now, so I was glad to see that Eugene Byrd got out of that space. I’ve also been over the whole “Is he good or evil?” dialogue between the characters, with this episode looking like a decision has been made. Having the Diggle brothers work together, in the past and present, was good to see, and I hope there’s more to come at some point. The action sequences in the episode were also really good tonight, with the final fight looking like a real free for all, so big kudos to the fight choreographers. As with The Flash’s episode from last night, it was the relationship between two of the leads that really stole the show. Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell had some great scenes, with the “Good speech” being not good, but great. Watching Rickards play against Rickards was also good, with the actress looking as though she was having a good time acting with herself.

The good: Stephen Amell being angry, Emily Bett Rickards stealing the show, David Ramsey and Eugene Byrd together, the dramatic entrance/escape for Arrow, a terrible book choice by Felicity, a cameo by Kord Industries, a good Demolition Man moment, a really surprising death, and someone finally gets a code name.

Fun lines: “You think being cute is going to distract me?”, “Ha-Ha! Oopsie,” “I knew you were gonna say that,” “Now’s not the time to not trust me!”, “That was a good speech,” “Good times,” and “Wow!”

The bad: Please, stop the flashbacks! Yes, they focused on the Diggles this time, but stories can be told without them! Not enough Laurel and Thea this week.

The final line: Two deaths, a character changes, and Felicity X 2! A fun episode. Overall grade: B+ 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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