'Arrow' Season 2, episode 16: Diggle and the 'Suicide Squad'

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"Arrow" Season 2 finally has its "Suicide Squad," and it's John Diggle who gets to be in charge of it! Moral dilemmas, rekindled romance and a few dangerous friendships result.

Once upon a time in Afghanistan ...

The basis for the mission in "Suicide Squad," as well as the central relationship between Lyla and Diggle, begins several years earlier in Afghanistan. Both then-soldiers are involved in moving a group of villagers to safety, but one woman informs Lyla that there is a bad man amongst them.

This would be Gholem Qadir, a businessman in the loosest sense of the word -- he's really into things like arms dealing and human trafficking. Bad as this guy may be, the soldiers still have to keep him safe and get him to intelligence officers tracking terrorists.

Diggle becomes the hero when their group comes under fire. Taking out an assailant with an automatic weapon, Diggle is horrified to realize that the "soldier" was a young boy. He killed a child to save a murderer and will never quite get over it.

On the bright side, this incident provides a classic meet-cute for Diggle and Lyla. A romance started on the blood-spattered sands would turn into a marriage and then a divorce and then ...

Meet the Suicide Squad

Both ex-spouses get called away from romance to enter the all-too-real world of special-forces operations. A.R.G.U.S. and Amanda Waller want to use Diggle and Lyla as leaders for a special mission that will inaugurate Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad.

For the mission, Diggle will have to rekindle his "friendship" with Qadir. Set free for his information on terrorists, Qadir is now supposedly a philanthropist and legitimate businessman. It's just too bad that some of his business involves dealing in super-nasty chemical weapons.

Diggle can handle the idea of exploiting his connection to a bad man in order to help save the world. But he isn't so happy about his co-workers. Who are they? The Suicide Squad is made up solely of disposable men. There's Deadshot, the assassin who also happens to be Diggle's worst enemy (because of that whole killing Diggle's brother thing and all). The other two members of the team are Shrapnel the idealistic bomb-maker and the Bronze Tiger.

Chemical weapons and cocktails

Diggle and Qadir meet "accidentally" and then the Squad fakes an assassination attempt on the men, letting Diggle save the other man's life one more time. Surely that merits an invitation to Qadir's upcoming party!

It does, and the Squad rolls out -- minus one member. You see, A.R.G.U.S. isn't too thrilled by disobedience and political rhetoric. Those two things, plus a small explosive to the brain, are what kill Shrapnel.

With Deadshot and Bronze Tiger doing the actual thieving, Diggle and Lyla are mainly at the party to divert and supervise. It all goes well until Deadshot reaches the chemical vault ... And finds out there is a whole lot more nerve agent than suspected. It's too much for anyone to carry out, so what are they to do?

Here's the thing: Amanda Waller knows everything. Always. Which is why she isn't shocked by this news and already has another plan. Deadshot is to stay in place so that she can use his tracker to guide in a drone strike.

But Amanda forgot about John Diggle. He may hate Deadshot, but Diggle is nothing if not honorable. He and Lyla blow their cover to evacuate the party -- nearly being killed by Qadir in the process and only surviving thanks to the Bronze Tiger's timely arrival (and claws) -- and then Diggle heads down to the basement to save Deadshot.

Yes, Diggle will even save the guy who murdered his brother. Nice of him, isn't it?

Alas, the drone is targeted on Deadshot and not on the chemicals. This results in a short chase down a street. Deadshot offers to sacrifice himself, but Lyla saves the day instead by removing the man's tracker implant and throwing it out the window.

Back at A.R.G.U.S., Amanda Waller isn't impressed by any of this. That's OK though -- Diggle and Lyla have reached a new understanding of and commitment to their relationship.

They won't even need Harley Quinn's couples' therapy after this.

High alert in Starling

While Diggle is off roaming the world with mean criminals, Oliver stays at home to deal with an even worse villain, Slade Wilson. We don't actually see Slade at any point in "Suicide Squad," but his presence is everywhere.

Slade's shadow is so widespread, in fact, that it brings Diggle to stake-out Felicity's house until she brings him hot cocoa (no marshmallows though -- she's out). Sara and Oliver, meanwhile, are protecting each other by sharing a bed in the lair and then arguing about safety and who gets to kill Slade.

For Oliver, this is kind of a personal thing. Not wanting to put anyone he actually likes in danger, Oliver seeks help from the Russian mob guys. They're not particularly interested, but Oliver can be persuasive and violent when he wants to be. This is too bad for the mobsters -- Slade doesn't mind killing anyone, not even a connected man, with an arrow to the eye.

Oliver then turns to an unlikely source for help: Amanda Waller. Since she **still knows everything (and also has a past with the guy?), Oliver figures that this woman can lead him to Slade. She can -- at least somewhat. It turns out that a man they're calling Deathstroke has been roaming the world for the past year, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

Now he's in Starling City.
Photo/Video credit: The CW