Arrow recap: 'Guilty'
Ted Grant becomes Oliver's main suspect when a body is found in his gym, and Roy tries to get to the root of his dreams.
Brandon Routh is off this week, leaving space for tonight’s episode to focus on another Arrow newbie: Ted Grant. After dancing around the outskirts of the show since his introduction, tonight’s episode finally brings him into the main plot and gives the audience an opportunity to learn more about him. For the first 20 minutes, it feels like a typical standalone Arrow episode that’s merely focused on Ted. However, somewhere around “Guilty’s” halfway point, the main plot converges with the B-plot, which concerns Roy and his murder-filled dreams, and tonight’s theme becomes clear: the bonds between mentor and mentee, or in superhero terms, between hero and sidekick. It’s a nice idea to explore since Roy is finally a full-fledged member of Team Arrow this season. Unfortunately, it never quite clicks because the episodes leading up to tonight—by being preoccupied with so many other things—have done a poor job of setting this dynamic up.
Flashback — Hong Kong
This week’s flashbacks find Ollie and Maseo tracking down someone who can lead them to China White. Unfortunately, their source dies while running away from Ollie. Before the chase, they saw that he had an envelope on him, but when they find his body the envelope has disappeared, which means he hid it while fleeing. Ollie says he didn’t see where he hid it, but Maseo insists that he did, but just doesn’t remember it.
Later that night, Ollie is still trying to remember what he saw, but ends up playing a game with Maseo’s son. In the other room, Maseo is begging his wife, Tatsu, to help Ollie with his memory problems, however she refuses because she believes Ollie is trouble. But, Maseo needs her help. If he helps Waller capture China White, his debt will be paid and he and his family will finally be able to return home. Tatsu finally gives in and decides to help Ollie, but not before telling him to stay away from her son. With Tatsu’s guidance, Ollie is able to remember where the source hid the envelope.
Maseo and Ollie recover the envelope, and find a picture inside and nothing else. Back at home, Maseo scans the picture because he believes someone has hidden a message in it. His computer decodes the image and it reveals a name: Li Kuan Hui.Ollie tries thanking Tatsu for helping, but she doesn’t want his gratitude. All she wants is for him to leave her and her family as soon as possible.
PRESENT — STARLING CITY
We open with Roy zoning out as he thinks about his dreams of killing Sara. However, Ollie quickly snaps him out it because they’re in the field and are about to take out a drug cartel. Once they infiltrate the building, they are surprised to find almost every member dead, with some hanging upside down from the ceiling. One of the cartel members uses his last breath to tell them that whoever did this kidnapped one of them before leaving. Roy, who entered via the roof, draws Ollie and Diggle’s attention to the word “Guilty” scrawled in blood across the floor.
Convinced the murders were committed by a rival gang, Ollie heads back out on the street to do some interrogating. Before going, however, he sidelines Roy because he thinks Roy needs to catch up on his rest.
Elsewhere, we see that Laurel has improved a lot in the boxing ring since we saw her last week. Once their training session is over, Ted treats Laurel to some Korean tacos.
Back at the lair, Roy asks Felicity to test his blood. Naturally, Felicity asks what he wants her to test for, but warns him not to say STDs because “that would be crossing the line.” She’s surprised to learn that he wants her to test his blood for mirakuru since he was cured months ago. But she does it anyway, and as she predicted, finds no trace of it in his bloodstream, which Roy is relieved to hear. He tells her about her dreams/memories of killing Sara, and this brings a worried look to Felicity’s face. Has she suspected hm all along? Does this possibility answer a lot of her questions?
NEXT: Arrow vs. Fist
We have to wait for those answers because Ollie is able to track down the kidnapped gangbanger’s phone. Ollie finds him murdered and hanging upside down in none other than Ted’s gym. It’s right at this moment that Laurel and Ted decided to come back to the gym after their post-workout protein-load. Ollie immediately assumes that Ted is the killer and pulls his bow on him, however Laurel talks him down by telling him that Ted was with her at the time of the murders.
However, Laurel’s alibi doesn’t hold much water with Ollie. He says it’s because he doesn’t trust or know Ted, but the audience and Laurel know that he’s also upset that she found a trainer after Ollie refused to do it himself.
Upon his return to the Arrow-cave, Felicity and Diggle clue Ollie into Ted Grant’s past as a professional boxer who went by the name Wildcat. After hacking into the police database, Felicity learns that all of tonight’s victims were beaten to death by a left-handed assailant wearing brass knuckles, and this M.O. matches the murder of a drug dealer from six years ago. Can you guess who was known for being a skilled left-handed boxer? Yep, Ted Grant.
Using a tracker placed on Ted back at the gym, Ollie follows him to a storage unit where he finds another victim strung-up like a punching bag, knives, several sets of brass knuckles, a mask, and newspaper clippings about a vigilante. While he’s distracted checking the place out, Ted comes up behind and tries to take him out, which leads to a brawl. This sequence is a great way to both show off Ted’s skill, as he’s able to keep up with Ollie, and show us how their fighting styles differ: Ted’s all about the fists, whereas Ollie uses most of his body. Ollie brings the fight to an end when he grabs a boxing glove laying on the ground, attaches it to the end of an arrow and fires it at Ted—and finally giving us the beloved boxing glove arrow!
In defeat, Ted continues to insist that he’s being set up and tells Ollie he should believe him because he too used to be a vigilante. Six years ago, Ted became a vigilante to help the Glades, but never made too many headlines because no one really cared about that part of town. He gave up vigilantism after the death of the drug dealer and has lived with the guilt over that death ever since. Now that we know Ted isn’t behind these murders, Ollie’s disdain for him is only based on the one murder he committed, which doesn’t work and makes Ollie look like a hypocrite. It’s okay for Ollie to spend a year killing people, but it’s not okay for Ted to have killed one person?
Laurel is able to identify the latest victim as a magician’s assistant at the bar where the drug dealer was murdered six year ago. To Ollie’s dismay, finding out that Ted beat a guy to death does not convince her to stay away. As the two are bickering, Ted interrupts and asks how they know each other, and Laurel casually says they used to date, which phases Ollie briefly as he’s more concerned with keeping Laurel out of the action. Not only does he not approve of her mentor, but he doesn’t believe she’s ready because she still views this as a game, which for all of his hypocrisy elsewhere, makes some sense.
After receiving an update from Ollie, Roy and Diggle start to head out into the field, but Felicity stops Roy from going out. Before burying Sara, she scanned her body, so that she could continue to examine the evidence. Up until now, some of the forensic evidence didn’t make sense, however residual mirakuru in Roy’s system would explain everything. If this is the case, why didn’t Felicity find any evidence of the drug in his system? Well, Felicity suspects Roy killing Sara burned off any residual mirakuru in his blood.
Meanwhile, Diggle, Ollie, and Ted infiltrate the club. After entering, an assailant wearing Ted’s old vigilante gear opens fire on them, and it’s clear that Ted definitely knows who’s behind the murders. Unfortunately, Starling PD shows up to arrest Ted, which allows the assailant to escape.
Ollie and Diggle return to Verdant to find Laurel waiting for them. When they head downstairs to the lair, Roy chooses this moment to confess to killing Sara, which shocks everyone. Felicity tries to explain Roy’s memory problems, but it doesn’t help a visibly upset Laurel, who rejects Roy’s apology. After Ollie instructs Diggle to let Roy leave, he tells Laurel that he’ll handle Roy and that she should focus her efforts on helping Ted. Diggle is not happy with Ollie letting Roy walk away, as he believes that they can’t have a double standard; they need to bring to Roy to justice as they would anyone else. Ollie’s problem is that he took Roy under his wing and doesn’t want to abandon him, which is understandable until we remember that Ollie’s spent most of this episode giving Ted a hard time for killing someone.
At the precinct, Laurel interrupts Quentin’s interrogation of Ted and convinces him to tell her who the murderer is, and here’s where Arrow patented lack of subtlety shows itself. Turns out that Ted, like Ollie, had a side-kick, whose name was Isaac Stansler. One night they were supposed to go after a drug dealer, but Stansler got to him first. It was Stansler, not Ted, who killed the drug dealer. Disgusted with his sidekick’s action, he cast him off and told him to never come back to Starling City.
Thus, we have our parallel between Ted and Isaac and Ollie and Roy, and it doesn’t work well because we’ve seen very little of Ollie and Roy’s relationship. Yes, in the past few weeks, Roy has shown himself to be competent in the field, but that’s about it. The show has been too preoccupied with Sara’s death, bringing Thea home, Malcolm Merlyn, and Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins to really explore and give us insight into the dynamics of Ollie and Roy’s partnership, which works against the episode.
Again, not one for subtlety, Arrow knocks us over the head with the parallel during the episode’s climax, where Roy shows up to help Ollie save Ted and Laurel, who have been kidnapped by Stansler. While Ollie and Diggle are helping Ted and Laurel out of a car crash, Roy is going up against Stansler, who basically yells everything we already knew the show was trying to get at; he tells Roy that Ollie is only using him as another tool in his arsenal and after one mistake, Ollie will abandon Roy like Ted abandoned him. Thankfully, Roy breaks free from Stansler’s grip and knocks him out. When Ollie shows up at his side, he turns to him and says “Don’t abandon me,” and Ollie says, “Never”—a moment that’s supposed to make us catch feels, but doesn’t because the show hasn’t give us reason to care very much about their partnership other than the fact that Roy is a loved character.
Later, Ollie pays Ted a visit and asks him to stay away from Laurel because she’s in a vulnerable place and he doesn’t want her getting hurt. Not easily intimidated, Ted says he’ll stay away if Laurel stops coming. Before Ollie leaves, Ted advises him to cut Roy loose before it’s too late because playing judge and jury will really mess with his head. Ollie rejects this and says that Ted’s mistake wasn’t cutting Isaac loose, it was losing faith in him.
We find out, as many of you suspected in the comments last week, that Roy didn’t kill Sara. Through a meditation exercise similar to the one Tatsu did with him in Hong Kong, Ollie helps Roy remember the cop he killed with an arrow last season while in a mirakuru induced rage. Although, Ollie’s willing to let Roy off the hook for this murder, Roy isn’t and can’t handle knowing he was a murderer.
Meanwhile, Laurel, not deterred from Ollie’s hospital visit where he said he’s only looking out for her because he cares, returns to Ted’s gym and blatantly asks him to help her become a vigilante so that she can avenge Sara’s death and get justice outside of the courtroom.
The episode ends with Cupid, played by Supernatural alum Amy Gumenik, shooting and killing Stansler while two policemen escort him out of the prison. Is this the person who killed Sara?
Wall of Weird:
— The ending definitely supports the theory that Cupid is the one who killed Sara, which is something some of you guessed in the comments back in the season premiere. To learn more about Cupid, checkout the piece EW‘s James Hibberd wrote when it was announced the character would be appear this season.
— Have you guys seen the first photo of Katie Cassidy in costume as the Black Canary yet? From reading the comments, I know some of you weren’t happy to see her assume the mantle so quickly after Sara’s death.
— Does having no Thea tonight mean we’ll get more of her next week?