I want to go about recap this a little differently this week. We encountered a lot of vigilantes in tonight’s episode, so I’ll talk about them and their story this episode one by one.
But before I get there, BOXING GLOVE ARROW! Wow, they pulled it off! (I feel like Ted Grant’s character was added into the show just to justify Oliver being around boxing gloves…) I think they figured out how to incorporate that move in a great way that the fans really, really enjoyed and didn’t look overly stupid or forced. Kudos to the writers and production staff for that one!
Poor Oliver has his hands full. He is trying to ignore his Felicifeelings for the time being, trying to find Sara’s killer, trying to keep Laurel off the deep end, wants to reconnect with his sister, and who knows what he does for money now? And now he’s found out that Laurel is training with a guy who’s accused of several murders throughout the city. Oliver finally meets Ted Grant and is shocked to learn that six years ago, there was another Starling City vigilante (that apparently no one talks about anymore). Ted “Wildcat” Grant is accused of killing these men using the same MO as a killer six years ago — just when he hung up his mask.
Oliver gets a bit judge-y and glass house-y with his warnings to Laurel about Ted killing a man, when Laurel and the audience know that Oliver killed a lot more than one person before he turned over a new leaf. Pot calling the kettle green. Or something.
But we learn it was Ted’s apprentice, Isaac, who was framing Ted for the murders.
Then, right in the middle of all of this, Roy confesses to killing Sara. The parallels between Oliver/Roy and Ted/Isaac are maybe a bit overdone, but provide some great bromantic scenes between Oliver and Roy. Oliver has to come to terms with his role as a mentor, both with Roy and with Laurel (though he continues to flat out refuse to train her). He hasn’t had anyone under his wing before, and he’s still getting the hang of things. As we can see in the flashbacks, only 5 years ago, he was desperately in need of constant guidance himself and it doesn’t seem like he ever got it. Now he has all these heroes and vigilante wannabes looking to his example. Maybe he needs Ted as someone who did it first to guide his way, especially as a mentor — but he’d have to take his advice first. Oliver initially seems like he wants to cut Roy after the revelation (which is what Diggle and Ted think he should do), but seeing what happened with Isaac and Ted, he instead reaffirms his relationship with Roy.
He shows Roy the truth about killing the police officer back during Roy’s Mirakuru phase, and even, finally, names him Arsenal. The mentor/apprentice relationship has been solidified!
Roy is slowly getting his vigilante legs, and he knows he’s still got a ways to go. He’s off his game and hasn’t been getting sleep because of the guilt he feels about 1.) possibly killing Sara and 2.) not telling his team about it. He finally confesses to Felicity (which was a nice moment of bonding between the two, who rarely get to interact). Felicity does her tech magic and comes to the conclusion that Roy might have actually done this. Roy confesses to Oliver and Laurel — what was with the reaching out towards her, Roy? You know how she’s been taking this — before storming out, overwhelmed with guilt.
A few things I don’t get: It’s a bit absurd how quick 1.) everyone was to believe that Roy did it, and 2.) contrastly, how quick they were to immediately believe he didn’t do it. The evidence in favor of him doing it was shoddy and circumstantial at best, but once the memory surfaces, we immediately believe that he couldn’t have done it? Like two memories couldn’t have merged? Like Roy couldn’t have killed two people? Another thing that makes little sense is why no one looked for any kind of motive as to why Roy would have done such a thing. Roy liked Sara, Roy knew her as the Canary before anyone else did. Even Mirakuru!Roy killed that cop for a ~reason~ (as loose a reason as that might be for a crazy Mirakuru soldier). Everyone, Roy included, refused to question why he might have done it. That took me out of the story the most.
But anyway, I’m glad Roy didn’t do it and they found a plausible way to explain away the dreams. In the end, they realize that he was just projecting and he can wear his (official) Arsenal suit and move forward with the team.
First off: The CW released new promo shots of Laurel as The Black Canary. I have to say, she looks pretty awesome! And if she continues on the path she was on in this specific episode, I might not dislike her character as much! (Provided her character development has her making smarter decisions).
This episode was the least I’ve disliked Laurel! Yay! Praise for small miracles. Ted seems to balance her out and make her better. Homegirl still has a ways to go though, her cockiness at the beginning when she and Ted were training was typical Laurel and needs to get knocked out of her quick. But there was something about her this week that wasn’t painfully annoying. She had focus, she kept her anger under the surface — she didn’t actually help much when the going got tough (two of y’all versus Ted’s old apprentice and neither of you make a move to stop him? That training is apparently useless) — but she didn’t make too many overtly stupid decisions. She even managed to stamp down her anger at Roy’s betrayal for a brief moment and was able to compartmentalize and redirect her energies elsewhere until they could get answers. I was proud of her for that. She still hasn’t told her father though. ::facepalm:: Laurel continues to train with Grant, despite Oliver’s many warnings.
Was Laurel trying to tell Ted she gets with vigilantes, hint hint?
Laurel is fast on her way to becoming The Black Canary, but she has a lot of lessons to learn. Despite her stupidity at times, that’s something I appreciate about her storyline: they’re not making her the BC overnight. They’re taking time to show the mistakes that one makes as a new vigilante — like we saw with Oliver. These aren’t ready made heroes, they have to go through a few fires, a few islands, before they become the stuff of legend.
Ted Grant (Wildcat)
It was really great to see more of Ted Grant and J.R. Ramirez really makes the character so likeable. His early chemistry with Laurel while they were training was nice to see and even he and Oliver’s reluctant team up (after their pretty awesome vigilante vs. vigilante fight) was great. I hope we see more of him and that he is called on to help Team Arrow when they need extra hands in the future. He seems like a good guy to have around.
Now, we can’t go through this episode without talking about the… erm, racial aspects of the episode.
There is rarely any Hispanic representation on the show — and I’m glad they cast Ramirez in a traditionally white role — but
some most of the surrounding elements to the plot were drastically eyeroll-worthy. “There are a million Pacos” line, “ese,” etc. The bad guy being a person of color… lots of cringe-worthy moments. (And we’ll throw in the Asian mystic teaches white guy how to better himself too — sigh.)
Hopefully, Ted’s inclusion will mean better representation in the future — maybe all his storylines won’t feature so many awful brown people stereotypes. Haven’t we moved past this yet, TV writers in general? Arrow certainly isn’t the only culprit, nor are the they worst at it. Get it together, media.
So: Ted was a vigilante six years ago and things went bad with his partner — Isaac. The Roy to his Oliver. After Isaac beat someone to death, Ted sent him away and shut down their vigilante business. Now, Isaac is back, trying to frame Ted for… not getting him arrested? I guess for not having faith in him — according to Oliver. Ted tries to impart his mentor knowledge on Oliver (which went in one ear and…), so maybe he will be an asset for Oliver to turn to, someone who has prior experience in the vigilante life. Ted may need to follow his own advice about dropping assistants, as Laurel is gearing up to become his. And his former sidekick, Isaac, is… prison break…ed. prison broke? By Cupid. So that mentor/apprentice dynamic isn’t over just yet.
Diggle & Felicity
Diggle needs a mask.
This ski mask thing that he barely wears (it’s probably itchy) isn’t working. Or else he just needs to be back at the foundry. He’s out in the field with Oliver and Roy more than he was when it was just Oliver! But I’m sure some of these things will get addressed as we learn who Sara’s killer is and Diggle’s “until we get justice” timeline draws to a close.
I was a bit disappointed in how quickly Diggle was ready to drop Roy and call that justice for Sara. Usually Diggle is Oliver’s soul, telling him right and wrong, but this time, I think it was wrong. Roy didn’t need abandonment, he needed guidance. I’m glad that Oliver didn’t listen for once. I hope we get more Diggle backstory and character development. He’s such a strong character and like I said, the soul of Team Arrow (where Felicity is the heart). He’s got his hands full of baby right now, but they proved he could hold his own during the Suicide Squad episode. Also he clearly needs some bonding time with Roy so that next time Roy does something stupid, Diggle has a bit more empathy towards him.
Felicity counts as a vigilante okay! She didn’t get much to do this episode (she’s still recovering from Mama Smoak’s visit last week), but it was nice she got to help Roy (even if it was a little bit burying the nails in his coffin!). She listened and was supportive and did what she could to help her friend, things Felicity does best. She’s the heart but also the Team Mom — the person everyone goes to before they go to Dad (Oliver, of course).
Y’all notice the scene in the Arrow Cave where it was just our original Team Arrow? I like Roy and am glad he’s staying on the team, but I like scenes with our original Trio. They warm my heart, even when most of the time they’re talking about sad, awful things, and revenge and the rules of their team. I need — need — Team Arrow hang out night. I need them all to go to Felicity’s place and play board games. That’s what I liked about yesterday’s The Flash — the team was hanging out. I need this with Team Arrow. I think they especially need it after Sara — a time to decompress and get to know each other again under non-stressful circumstances. And I think it’s something that would certainly represent Sara’s spirit. Here’s hoping that happens.
“Do you trust me?” Oliver has the trust, but is he actually making all the right decisions? I think this could be part of his identity journey — the amount of people who trust him and his (over?)confidence in his own decision making. Especially when he feels he needs to make decisions for other people. He needs to realize that he’s not always right and that he can’t control other people’s live the way he wants to. I am actually interested and nervous to see how he learns this lesson.
Oliver’s trunk is HILARIOUS in the way that he can pull whatever he needs out from it at a moment’s notice. How does he fit all that stuff in there? The original recurve bow was in there, the Vertigo antidote (he had way more than should have lasted him for the amount of Vertigo he’s encountered), and now candles from Honk Kong. I think it must actually be a portal to those places and he’s just pulling items from the Island.
THAT ENDING! I don’t know much about the Green Arrow comics, but I’m hearing that Cupid is a proper Green Arrow villain (rather than just a character from the general DC universe). If you were paying attention, you might have noticed her at the crime scene and walking outside Diggle’s mom-van.
I like when shows introduce an important character before they actually become important (I learned I loved that from Harry Potter though — that Sirius Black mention in Sorcerer’s Stone BLEW MY MIND). It helps keep the world full and alive and real and not made of convenience. Cupid has been here, she’s been following him around, she won’t just suddenly pop up next episode knowing all these things about the Arrow. Kudos to the writers for including her in this episode.
I don’t know that any show this season for me has had so many strong episodes in a row like Arrow has. I think The Flash has been great too, but Arrow has had some strong episodes all season, and it will only get better with Cupid next week, the Flarrow crossover the episode after, then the mid-season finale.
See you next week!