Arrow Season 3 lets loose its 17th installment of the year with “Suicidal Tendencies,” as the Suicide Squad‘s return complicates Diggle and Lyla’s wedding, while Oliver uncovers a rash of Ra’s al Ghul’s copycats archers, forcing him to square off against Ray Palmer in his A.T.O.M. suit.

Last week’s “The Offer” saw Oliver returning home to consider Ra’s al Ghul’s proposal, while Laurel bonded with Nyssa, and Quentin broke away from the Arrow, so what does the 17th episode of Arrow Season 3 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about Arrow Season 3, episode 17, “Suicidal Tendencies!”

Last week I made a point about Arrow and its many spinoffs pulling focus toward a larger DC universe, leaving Season 3 itself somewhat adrift and rudderless, for all its talk of identity issues. We’ve already reached the 17th episode of the season, decidedly late in the game to have Starling City start hunting its own framed vigilante as a major endgame, while “Suicidal Tendencies” had enough going for it as is, between Diggle and Lyla’s wedding, the Suicide Squad’s return, and Oliver’s big throwdown with The Atom (I’m tired of typing A.T.O.M.). At the very least, tonight’s myriad stories proved pretty effective on an individual basis, just a bit scattershot together.

Likely the most tangential point of the hour came from the titular squad’s return, which itself weighed in a little light with only Deadshot and Cupid joining Diggle and Lyla, Cupid acting mostly as a Harley Quinn stand-in, with Floyd Lawton providing flashbacks, an admittedly surprising choice. Including a bit of Deadshot’s past seemed just jarring enough to liven things up, though apart from the functional Wounded Warriors promo, a bit of Season 4 H.I.V.E. setup and an unconvincing death, most of the Kasnia mission served to get Diggle and Lyla aimed at thoughts of retiring the spy life.

The idea of Diggle leaving Team Arrow behind is a major one at least, one that could potentially connect to the episode’s overall emphasis on crimefighters losing their chance for loved ones and a happy life. Of course, “Suicidal Tendencies” seemed to table the thought when Diggle and Oliver share drinks without discussing their experiences, a nice bookend to their bond in the cold open’s wedding (which itself seemed to go by too quickly), but ultimately one that fell a bit short of its buildup.

Despite Diggle and Lyla’s parallel adventures in Kasnia, Starling itself didn’t lack for eventful action, Oliver suddenly needing to clear his name against Ra’s copycat vigilantes, and finding himself in conflict with Ray, both in and out of costume. The Arrow world itself feels a bit claustrophobic these days, with so many in on Oliver’s secret, and the city’s infrastructure so laughably nepotistic as to have Laurel cut off Ray’s attempts to expose Oliver or defend the vigilante to her father, while the mayor herself largely nods along. Still, as a means to an end of Ray using his ridiculous super-tech to uncover Oliver’s identity and provoke a super-showdown, it’s difficult to deny the excitement of seeing the two square off, effects and all.

Boxing glove arrow to the chin would come in mighty handy right now.

In particular, the human side of Ray and Oliver’s fight threw fireworks in every direction, especially as both men learned that Felicity had attempted to keep their secrets from one another. The betrayal in Brandon Routh’s (curiously pink) eyes made the character seem more human than any past exposition of his wife, while Felicity and Oliver put in some of their strongest work all season in struggling to support the other. Considering how under-utilized Felicity’s independent streak has seemed all season, it was nice to see her standing up to both heroes, simultaneously feeling the weight of having inadvertently pit them against one another.

In the meantime, it’s of interest to see Quentin so seemingly hellbent on condemning the Arrow, which looks to get much worse next week after Maseo takes a shot at the Mayor (three for three, Starling!). I have a feeling that Arrow Season 3’s final six installments will build to another Iron Man (or Civil War)-cribbed moment, now that Oliver finds his identity confronted on all sides, which could very well change the series as fundamentally as producers claim. Trouble is, Arrow Season 3 seems more to have backed itself into a corner at this point, than organically crafted a resolution of Oliver’s identity crisis to better the series.

“Suicidal Tendencies” made clear that Oliver still has more to learn in balancing his heroic nightlife with his loved ones, the two couplings of Diggle and Lyla or Felicity and Ray seeming the opposite poles of that spectrum, though the distant threads of either story never quite wove together as needed.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Seriously, did Brandon Routh have pinkeye?
  • Double seriously, did anyone check on Roy?
  • At least Ray pointed out that the Arrow not having killed anyone for years wouldn’t undo his murderous past. One wonders if the show ever really plans on Oliver atoning for those.
  • Billing the hour as a Suicide Squad return would have worked much more effectively with an actual focus on the team itself, and with more members than tonight’s skeleton crew.
  • Considering the suit runs off her software, wouldn’t Felicity find it reasonably easy to impede Ray from attacking Oliver?
  • Deadshot never even got to share any further H.I.V.E. insight, so I’d be shocked if we’ve seen the last of him.

Well, did Arrow hit the mark with its 17th Season 3 installment? What did you make of the Suicide Squad’s return? Stay tuned for the latest, and check back next week for our review of Arrow Season 3’s “Public Enemy” on The CW!