Obligatory spoiler warning: don't read on unless you're completely caught up with Arrow; those spoilers are sneaky!
Last night's episode of Arrow: 'A.W.O.L.' was a delightful change of pace, in fact it felt like a return to classic Arrow storytelling. 'A.W.O.L.' was a strong episode which furthered a few storylines without feeling over-encumbered. Felicity's personal narrative overarched the episode without distracting from Diggle and Andy's brotherly troubles or Amanda Waller's grand return...
As I said: a strong episode, but as is becoming common, a strong episode means less DC or intertextual references. I did spot a few which I'll graciously share with you, but did I miss any?
1. Amanda Waller
Let's talk about Amanda Waller, who we've seen several times on Arrow, but we should take the time to note her as a reference one last time, because... well, she's unlikely to appear again.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson delivered a characteristically strong performance before intensifying the plot with a bullet to the brain... no more Waller!
Waller's comic book counterpart was depicted much like her character on Arrow, a top-ranking government agent and feared as a brutal and ruthlessly efficient leader. Over her years in DC comics, Waller had associations with groups such as Agency, Checkmate, the Shadow Fighters, and of course the Suicide Squad.
R.I.P. Amanda Waller; but here's a theory, do you think Lyla Michaels will be taking the vacant role at A.R.G.U.S?
2. KORD Industries
I've mentioned KORD Industries a few times before, as it appears regularly on Arrow.
In the comic book source material KORD Industries was founded by Ted Kord, also known as the Blue Beetle. Kord was the second incarnation of the Blue Beetle persona and unlike his predecessor, Dan Garrett, used a combination of martial arts and technology.
Interestingly, Arrow Season 3 was close to including Blue Beetle, but instead chose to introduce us to Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom.
Last night, 'A.W.O.L.' introduced us to Shadowspire, the heavily-armed criminal organization which tied in current events with our latest flashback storyline. In some ways I found Shadowspire to be the weakest aspect of the episode; the organization caused a surprising amount of trouble for A.R.G.U.S. in a storyline which implied A.R.G.U.S. is a little less well-protected than previous episodes have implied.
I mean... the Spadowspire agents managed to creep up on A.R.G.U.S. central just because Waller's people we're distracted by false intel... it seems a little convenient. Anyway...
Shadowspire appeared briefly in DC comics in opposition to Deathstoke, but has been far from fully-explored as an antagonistic group. The organization is headed-up by Baron Blitzkrieg, known as Baron Reiter in Oliver Queen's flashback storyline on Arrow.
Fans have been speculating for months as to whether Felicity will become the DC character, Oracle. We now know that Felicity is definitely not Oracle, although she does have a nickname which I'll discuss below.
As a not-so-subtle wink to the fans, Stephen Amell's character, Oliver Queen, did say that the name Oracle is taken. This was of course directed at the many fans who have been arguing for and against the notion that Felicity should take on Barbara Gordon's Oracle identity, however, it also implies that Oliver Queen has come across Oracle somewhere in his past.
Assuming Oliver Queen hasn't adopted a Deadpool-esque approach of tapping against the fourth wall, the logical assumption is that somewhere in the Arrowverse exists a Barbara Gordon-Oracle figure.
Right, now let's get to the juicy details of 'A.W.O.L'... Felicity now has a codename: 'Overwatch'. This is of course a very suitable nickname for a hacker who overseas the activities of team-Arrow. Felicity filled this role perfectly in 'A.W.O.L', when she became more than a convenient means of side-stepping plot holes; this episode Felicity became an overseeing tactician.
Whilst we're discussing tactics, it's worth noting that the term 'overwatch' derives from U.S. military tactics. 'Overwatch' is a protection tactic in which a unit covers offensive forces as they engage in a firefight. I'm guessing Oliver Queen knew this, and figured Felicity's new role should be solidified.
'Arrow' returns to The CW next week with Season 4, episode 12 'Unchained'