On the D/L – Arrow
Season 3 Episode 6 – “Guilty”
Arrow takes a detour from the hunt for Sara’s killer by investigating a collection of other murders with evidence that seems to point to Ted Grant.
Following Roy’s unsettling dream where it appeared as if he had killed Sara, the episode starts as if it were going to be a Roy centric story. This would be welcomed as Roy has had next to nothing to do this season other than support Oliver in whatever he’s up to so it would have been good to see him take the spotlight for an episode.
Sadly, this is quickly abandoned in favour of a story focusing on Ted Grant and Laurel. It makes sense to give Ted lots of time in the episode as the killings were initially linked to him but I think there was plenty of scope to connect this to Roy and his internal struggles. Instead Roy fades in and out of the story without really contributing much to it. The scenes he shared with Felicity where he feared that the Mirakuru was making an unwelcome reappearance didn’t quite work for me as there was an uncomfortable neatness to it. The constant repetition of Roy having trouble sleeping really didn’t work dramatically and just stood out as some kind of obvious consequence of emotional trauma. This could have been handled with far more subtlety.
The revelation that Roy was reliving the repressed memories of killing a cop when he was on his rampage and his mind wrongly connecting that to Sara’s murder due to the similarities in cause of death was far too clumsily handled. Oliver coaxing this memory out through guided meditation that took a matter of minutes was entirely too convenient and it robs the show of potentially promising theory that could persist for a few more episodes. The meditation scene did make the flashbacks somewhat relevant if not terribly interesting.
I did think that Ted Grant was used well in this episode but having it turn out that he was a vigilante before Oliver started doing it didn’t make all that much sense. Even if he did stick to the Glades like he said there would probably be a vague newspaper article or some other evidence as to his efforts. That being said it was interesting to see Oliver interact with someone who used to do what he does and was able to walk away from it. It’s been a point of contention for Oliver this season that he fears he will die forgotten as the vigilante so it must be encouraging to see someone who has managed to walk away from that life.
Oliver was really confusingly written this episode. What gives him the right to judge Ted Grant for accidentally killing a man years ago when he lost control. In season 1 Oliver was killing people mercilessly almost weekly so really is in no position to judge here. I really couldn’t accept Oliver taking the moral high ground here. If anything he should be sympathetic to Ted given how similar their vigilante careers have been.
The story concerning Ted’s former partner trying to frame him for murder was an ideal opportunity to compare Oliver and Ted’s decisions to take an apprentice and have Oliver learn from Ted’s example to become a more effective mentor. I feel that the antagonistic relationship should have been between Roy and Ted’s former partner Isaac Stanzler. The episode did have them fight it out at the end but it didn’t feel earned by this point. It would have been interesting to really explore how Oliver and Roy’s relationship could end up the same way but instead it became something of a missed opportunity.
Laurel’s development continues to be gradual and interesting but I didn’t really believe that she suddenly decided that she was ready to become Ted’s apprentice and work up to being a vigilante. I liked the idea that she was being trained as a substitute for her desire to abuse alcohol or pills and I feel there was a bit more mileage in her learning to focus her anger.
I do have to commend this episode for finding an organic way to introduce the boxing glove arrow. It’s always been among the most ridiculous weapons in Green Arrow’s arsenal but it’s fairly synonymous with him for better or for worse so it’s great to see it used here. It made for a really cool action scene and it was lots of fun to see.
An uneven episode that seems to have the wrong focal point. The focus of the episode should have been on Roy and Oliver’s mentor/student relationship but instead bounced between Ted and Laurel and Oliver on his own.
Oliver comes across as being a complete hypocrite in judging Ted for accidentally killing a man years ago. Oliver’s personal body count is quite substantial so he has no right to judge anyone else especially when it’s an accident.
Laurel’s decision to train to avenge her sister rather than as a substitute for alcohol and pills was interesting enough to be sustained for another few episodes so an evolution wasn’t really needed at this stage.
Props to the episode for giving a believable excuse to have the boxing glove arrow but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the episode from the extensive missteps made.