Rather than tease the mystery for a couple of episodes, Guilty gets straight on with the business of deciding whether or not Roy actually killed Sara, as was hinted at by his cliff-hanging dream sequence last week.
After he tells Felicity, she runs some tests and quickly concludes that he did not, in fact, kill Sara, at which point Oliver works out that he’s probably suppressing some memories from his Mirakuru-addled period. He then teaches Roy amemory recovery technique he learned during his time in Hong Kong (shown in this week’s trip to Flashback City), at which point Roy remembers, to his horror, that cop he killed.
There are several misfires in Episode 6 of Arrow Season 3, and Oliver’s method of dealing with Roy’s trauma is one of them. He essentially tells him “Hey, it’s okay – you didn’t kill Sara, you only killed a cop”, a consolation that Roy quite rightly rejects. Oliver’s rather weird morality issues surface in the plot’s main story, too, when he learns that Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez) used to be a vigilante named Wildcat in Starling City before he quit – after his sidekick Isaac Stanzler (Nathan Mitchell) accidentally killed a drug dealer. Oliver attempts to claim some dubious moral high ground over Ted, conveniently forgetting about all those people he killed in Season 1.
The writers of Arrow have never been afraid of painfully on-the-nose parallels, often using the flashback sequences to reflect the action in present day. This week, however, they take that tendency to embarrassing extremes, using the reappearance of Ted’s ex-sidekick to clumsily comment on the relationship between Oliver and Roy. At one point, Stanzler has Roy in a hold and taunts him with “He’ll leave you, you know! They always do!”, which is ridiculous on a number of levels. (If the episode had actually been commenting on the homoerotic nature of hero / sidekick, it would have been a lot more fun.) In the end, the story only serves to highlight how much work still needs to be done on Roy’s character, since it ascribes an emotional depth to his persona that we just haven’t seen. Part of that is the fault of Roy Colton Haynes, who has admittedly been badly served by the scripts thus far, although you also suspect that his acting capabilities are not up to the heavy lifting.
On the plus side, we do get a few nice moments this episode, chief among them the delightful appearance of the boxing glove arrow (a cheesy comics staple and a fan favourite), which happens when Oliver is fighting Ted and he scoops up a boxing glove and pops it on the end of a bolt. (We don’t mind telling you we leapt for joy at that point.) It’s just a shame the rest of the episode is so disappointing.
Elsewhere, we get the first hint that Roy’s superhero name will indeed be Arsenal in a pointed line from Oliver towards the end. We’re not actually sure the show can sustain Roy as a central character for a fourth season (especially now he’s no longer Thea’s love interest), so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him strike out on his own / try to “find himself” towards the end of this year, only returning for future guest appearances.
There is one nice touch this week, in that the actress playing next week’s villain – the red-headed, Arrow-obsessed Cupid – makes a series of unnoticed appearances in scenes throughout this episode (like a particularly attractive extra) before appearing in the closing moments of the cliff-hanger.
But Guilty’s biggest asset is giving us some more progression on Laurel’s character: it’s getting to the point where her gradual transformation into Black Canary is more compelling than the season’s supposed main storylines, such as the mystery of who killed Sara or whatever Malcolm Merlyn, Amanda Waller and Ra’s al Ghul are up to.
Season 1, 2 and 3 of Arrow are available on Amazon Prime, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription – or, for free next day UK delivery on Amazon items, as part of a £79 annual Prime membership.
Where can I watch Arrow Season 3 online in the UK?
Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.