The war rages on.

In this week’s installment of “Arrow” we were given some much-needed development with wheelchair-bound, tech-genius Felicity Smoak [Emily Bett Rickards] as well as the relationship between John Diggle [David Ramsey] and his younger brother Andy [Eugene Byrd].

Star City has been introduced to a new mercenary operation known as “Shadowspire,” who have been operating for years within the military. Their target is A.R.G.U.S., the covert organization led by Amanda Waller [Cynthia Addai-Robinson] who notably deploys the Suicide Squad on extremely dangerous missions to avoid any loose ends. However, don’t confuse this ‘squad’ with the movie coming out later this year, the movie and TV universes for DC comics are still two separate entities… for now.

Felicity, stuck in her loft for the majority of this episode, is berated by a drug-induced hallucination of her past self, complete with the pitch black hair and excessive amounts of eyeliner she used to don.

“I used to be you — or you used to be me,” her hallucination mocked. “Strong, confident, brunette… but you wasted all that away to go play superhero, and look where that got you.”

After putting herself back behind the computers of Team Arrow’s base, Felicity soon found her strength returning to her, no longer allowing herself to live in the shadow of her own guilt. I found the sharp contrast in Felicity’s former self to be a refreshing addition to her as a character. Rather than being Team Arrow’s resident tech wiz, I feel this was a necessary step for Felicity’s character to take, having her deal with internal conflict on top of the physical.

John Diggle, meanwhile, continues to think of his little brother as more criminal than human, having been affiliated with the H.I.V.E., a villainous syndicate operating within Star City. John still holds his brother in a prison cell in A.R.G.U.S.’s headquarters for good measure while Shadowspire infiltrated the facility, only finally letting his little brother come to his aid when John’s wife Lyla [Audrey Marie Anderson] is held at gunpoint after Amanda Walleris executed by Shadowspire’s leader.

Sometime after a dramatic intervention from Team Arrow to take down Shadowspire, John and Lyla welcome Andy to live in their home, no longer as a prisoner or a criminal, but as family. Perhaps near-death experiences in “Arrow” are the best way to further someone’s character development, but I find that this episode gave us a much-deserved happy ending for Diggle and his family.

Addressing Felicity in the midst of their mission, Oliver [Stephen Amell] refers to her by her new codename “Overwatch.”

“I was gonna go with Oracle but it was already taken,” he says alluding to the vigilante formerly known as Batgirl.

I’d like to take a moment now to apologize for blasting Arrow last week for making Felicity too much like the Dark Knight’s former sidekick.

Not only did the CW manage to sneak this reference in with such expert precision, but it made the hardcore comic fan in me squeal with delight. This subtle nod is enough to give fans something to yearn for in the coming episodes, and with the heavy rumors that DC’s movie and TV universes could potentially coexist still being on the table there’s plenty for us to be excited for.

– Featured image: In this episode of “Arrow” we find out how Felicity deals with her new condition. -Photo Courtesy the official Arrow Facebook Page

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