How Much Did Amanda Waller Orchestrate Events? (The Suicide Squad)
By now you should have seen The Suicide Squad…or not, looking at box office numbers. Why didn’t you watch The Suicide Squad?
Look, we’ve seen it a few times because…it’s awesome. There’s one question floating over the whole set-up for us, and it involves the first squad of Task Force X deployed to the mission. As we all know, from supporting film-makers by seeing this through paid channels, that the first team of operatives get absolutely massacred within a few minutes. Rick Flag and Harley Quinn survive as captives of opposing factions in the destabilised nation. Initially this seems to be caused by Blackguard’s attempt to contact the Corto Maltese army and betray Task Force X.
Of course, there’s one thing we know about the brains behind Task Force X: Amanda Waller keeps everything under her control. She’s characterised as holding the Squad in her hands in the earliest marketing. The idea that the majority of Task Force X would be ambushed and obliterated within minutes of their deployment seems unlikely, especially since it served as a distraction for the second, more competent team to infiltrate Corto Maltese undetected. It’s hard to imagine the first squad managing to complete the mission with operatives like Weasel and Javelin along for the ride.
So we’re going to make the argument that Amanda Waller intentionally sacrificed the first team simply to give the real team a better chance to sneak in. She seems the type. She brags about the horrors she would commit to get what she considers important.
Right off the bat we have to consider how this happened. There doesn’t seem to be much time between recruitment and deployment for members of the Suicide Squad. We follow both Savant and Bloodsport from recruitment into the mission. The mission is so urgent that they don’t wait for Savant to finish his last 15 minutes in the yard. Bloodsport goes straight from taking the deal to meeting his team, and is already kitted out in costume by the time they learn of their target. Now let’s consider how Blackguard managed to contact Costo Maltese before they wound up on the helicopter, face to face with the rest of the team for the journey. Blackguard doesn’t seem like the most competent or collected character, yet he yells to the army that he ‘called them’. It feels more likely that Waller gave him the opportunity to betray his team to the Costo Maltese army so they would be ambushed.
Waller didn’t seem fussed about blowing Blackguards head off with his skull-bomb when he went traitor. And when Col. Rick Flag tells Waller that they’re facing down an entire army and need to retreat, she rejects this request and tells them that they are a tough group who can ‘make it’. Command gives them useless orders, like dispatching T.D.K’s useless power. It takes only minutes for the entire group to be wiped out. Flag and Harley Quinn don’t get their bombs detonated after being captured by the enemy, only Savant when he attempts a retreat.
After all is said and done, Waller is sitting back and smiling to herself. More than half of the team on this super important mission have been killed and she’s not bothered in the slightest. If the mission had been compromised it would be a very different reaction.
The biggest problem with this theory is that Rick Flag was leading the team sent to the slaughter, while Bloodsport went in with the second squad. You wouldn’t expect Waller to be sent to his death. Unless Flag had started to become a liability. He certainly becomes one, it’s possible that Waller knew he could no longer be trusted. This isn’t his first mission, so who knows how many secrets he was privy to. In the last mission we saw him on, he was romantically involved with a person possessed by a witch-god who attempted to destroy the city. Perhaps Task Force X operatives have an expiry date and eventually they get sent to their doom, explaining why Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn were also sent in.
After Quinn and Flag are captured by the military and rebels respectfully, Waller leaves them alive. Keeping two more competent agents behind enemy lines certainly is an asset. If Waller knows of Luna’s obsession with Harley, and knew that Flag was captured by the rebels, these are both situations she can turn to her advantage. When they find Flag, Waller sends the team in to wipe out his captors, which they do. Sol Soria could be even more damaging to the mission than Luna and his generals running the country, as she wouldn’t see Starro as a weapon but a monster. Taking her people off the game board works to her advantage.
This may seem like a bit much, but not only did Waller send in a useless and a competent team at different points, but she put a sleeper agent in Bloodsport’s group. The Peacemaker is the back-up plan, given specific orders to ensure that all the data from Project: Starfish is destroyed. Cleary Waller thought that when confronted with the truth of the operation, some members of Task Force X may try to do the right thing, and Peacemaker is ready and waiting to put a bullet in their heads on behalf of Waller.
In total fourteen operatives are dispatched on this mission. They were split into two groups with neither aware of the other, not even the field commander Flag. It makes more sense for Waller to have orchestrated Blackguard’s opportunity to sell them out, putting the entire Costo Maltese army on the south shore waiting for them while Bloodsport’s team make land further up the coast – just far enough to be undetected. Waller only detonates the team-members who leave the mission, not those who are compromised. When given the chance, Waller has the rebel faction eliminated before they can get to Project Starfish.
Flag, Harley, Boomerang, Savant, Weasel, T.D.K., Javeline, Blackguard and Mongal were meant to be killed. That was the plan. It’s by chance that Flag and Harley survived to join the second group, and Waller took advantage of the changing circumstances. Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.