By Josh Axelrod
“Guilty” felt like an episode that was meant to be a set-up for bigger things to come. We got some character development for Ted Grant, confirmation that Laurel could actually make a believable Black Canary and the introduction of a villain that can’t possibly translate well to TV. Then again, I didn’t think Laurel could pull off Sara’s Black Canary costume, but the Internet proved me wrong on that one:
The episode began with Oliver, Roy and Diggle on the tail of a gang of drug peddlers. Instead of a fight, Team Arrow finds a bunch of dead gangsters dangling from the ceiling with the word “Guilty” carved into the floor. They find something similar in Ted Grant’s gym, which puts Laurel’s new trainer and (possible) love interest in The Arrow’s sights.
Even though Laurel gave Ted an alibi, Oliver didn’t trust this new man in his ex-lover’s life. He claimed he didn’t like the fact Laurel was actively trying to take over for Sara as the canary, and that Grant was facilitating some delusional vigilante dream of hers. I detected a few hints of jealousy here from Oliver, so I really hope the show doesn’t go down that road again. He should mourn Sara for a little longer before he jumps in bed with her sister…again.
While Oliver tracked down Ted, Roy dealt with those dreams he’s been having where he kills Sara. He asked Felicity to test him for any remaining shreds of mirakuru in his body, and the test came back negative. He told Felicity about his dreams, and she showed him a scanned autopsy she took of Sara (because of course she did). Based on the angles the arrows entered Sara’s chest, it was more likely that they were thrown than released from a bow.
While those two dealt with Roy’s issue, Oliver tracked Ted down to a storage locker where another body was strung up from the ceiling. We learned that Ted used to be a vigilante in the days before The Arrow showed up, and that locker was his Arrow cave. Ted and Oliver followed the messages on the bodies and found Isaac Stanzler, who was Ted’s sidekick during his vigilante days. After a short shootout, Stanzler got away and Ted was arrested for the murders.
Back at Verdant, Roy confessed to Oliver and Laurel that he might’ve killed Sara. They let him go because, frankly, neither of them knew what to do with that information. Diggle, weirdly enough, was the one that told Oliver it might be time to abandon Roy. That would make sense coming from Laurel, but Diggle? The family man? That was a strange moment for a character who hasn’t had much to do this season.
Laurel went to talk to Ted, who was being held by her father. Ted told her about a drug dealer he supposedly had beaten to death years ago, a murder for which he was never convicted. It turned out Stanzler was the one who did it, and Ted took the fall for him. That’s what ended his vigilante career. Rough stuff.
As they leave the police station, Stanzler kidnapped the two of them at gunpoint. Laurel, acting weirdly calm for Laurel, alerted Oliver to their location while Stanzler cleared the air with Ted. Considering he was just an angry guy with a gun, Stanzler wasn’t too difficult for the team to take down. But the reappearance of Roy made life a little easier. Seeing the clear parallels between himself and Stanzler, Roy asked Oliver not to give up on him. To which Ollie replied: “Never.” It was cliched as hell, but a sweet moment between teacher and pupil.
With that whole thing taken care of, Oliver went to Ted and told him to stay away from Laurel. He did the same to Laurel, though I sincerely doubt either of them listened. He did remind Laurel how much he cared for her, which again led me to believe these two are going to get romantic again. Barf.
Oh yeah, there were also more Hong Kong flashbacks. This week, we learned about a candle that can release repressed memories, which was used by Matseo and his wife to jog Oliver’s memory about the location of an envelope that Amanda Waller wanted. Oliver used that candle to make Roy realize he didn’t kill Sara, but it did remind him of the police officer he killed last season while under the influence of mirakuru. Roy was obviously quite disturbed by this and left in a huff, something he does a lot.
The episode ended with the introduction of another archer: Cupid. I know just enough about the comics this show is based on to get by, but I had no idea DC had a villainous named cupid who was also an archer. Based on the previews, it looks like she’s going to be overly cutesy and possibly seductive. She did shoot Stanzler, but I’m not optimistic about next episode with her as the main villain.
So the three big takeaways from this episode:
- Roy didn’t kill Sara. Thank god.
- Ted Grant is pretty cool, and if they want J.R. Ramirez to stick around as Wildcat full time, I approve.
- More importantly, his vigilante roots are going to be what allows Laurel to transform into a believable canary. Her calmness in the face of danger this week was an important step in that process, and now we know where she is going to learn to fight like Sara and Oliver. Katie Cassidy is slowly starting to make Laurel into less of a nuisance and more of a badass.