With last week bringing the revelation that Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) was seemingly the one responsible for the death of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), here we see that climactic reveal expanded on further as the Season 3 arc of Roy finally gets beefed up.
Since Arrow returned for its third season, the show has continued to hit the high standards set for it by the fantastic Season 2 of the Emerald Archer-based show. Thing is, whilst we’ve seen some much-needed development for characters such as Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Thea Queen/Merlyn (Willa Holland), Roy Harper is the one character in the show who has felt a bit left on the sidelines. Sure, he was decked out in some impressive new duds when Season 3 launched, but he’s largely been an afterthought whilst The Arrow (Stephen Amell) and others have taken centre stage. Of course, this is The Arrow’s show so he’s always going to play a pivotal role in the action, but it felt like something needed to be done in order to give Roy Harper and his red-hooded alter-ego some significance. And now, finally, we seem to be getting some new layers added to the character of Roy.
Whilst a lot of Guilty revolves around the oft-troubled Roy, there is another problem for Team Arrow. When bodies begin to pile up across Starling City, all clues point to Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez). As Laurel protests Ted’s innocence, The Arrow is not so sure. But then all becomes a little clearer when former boxer Grant reveals his past to the Battling Bowman; a past that The Arrow can relate to. As such, our titular hero begins to work alongside Ted Grant in an effort to track down the person responsible for offing so many people. Additionally, Laurel Lance’s involvement in the Ted Grant/Arrow dynamic only furthers the situation, with Oliver Queen making it perfectly clear to Laurel that he doesn’t want her training, and The Arrow making it perfectly clear to Ted Grant that he doesn’t want him training the remaining Lance sister. Still, that Laurel is a determined little thing, and recent spoilers have revealed how that may pan out.
In terms of tone and feel, it’s safe to say that Guilty offers one of the darker episodes of Arrow. Not only do we have to deal with the repercussions of Roy admitting he murdered Sara, the deaths that incriminate Ted Grant are some of the more bloody scenes that we’ve witnessed in the show. The only episode that comes to memory in terms of eclipsing Guilty in that regard is the stunning Broken Dolls episode from last season. Whereas the appearance of various corpses are quite the shocking visual, it’s the admittance of Roy Harper that leaves a sombre, bleak blanket over Team Arrow. It’s also with this reveal that the relationship of Oliver and Roy gets expanded on, with Ollie really feeling like a mentor here. Even before Roy owns up to Sara’s death, Oliver finds himself having to play the role of the stern teacher, sending the clearly exhausted Roy home. By the time the episode comes to a close, Roy has seemingly stepped away from just being the angsty teen of the show.
Another potentially big moment of note here is the expanded role of Tatsu Yamashiro (Rila Fukushima) during Oliver Queen’s time in Hong Kong. Whether Arrow’s version of Tatsu takes on the Katana mantle that the comic book version of the character does remains to be seen, although she’s seemingly already assisting Oliver, with the modern-day Ollie reverting to a trick used by Tatsu when he needs to have a heart-to-heart with the troubled Roy Harper. It’ll also be interesting to see how the flashback sequences handle China White (Kelly Hu), a villainess already seen in modern-day Starling City during the previous two seasons and someone whose arrival is imminent in the Hong Kong flashbacks.
Other moments of note, did anybody else getting a Jason Todd vibe from the early killings of those drug-runner types? Sadly, we can only dream… And finally it looks like Roy is going to take on the Arsenal moniker that has been on the horizon since Season 3 started. Still, with Oliver in his greed duds and with Roy in his red ensemble, you’ve gotta feel sorry for poor Diggle (David Ramsey) having to resort to wearing a ski-mask when out on a job.
When all is said and done, Guilty is in the books as another great episode of Arrow. We finally get to see some much-needed expansion of Roy Harper, we get our first real glimpse at Tatsu Yamashiro doing anything of note, there’s some dark moments for Team Arrow when one of their own has seemingly done something horrendous, and there’s the reveal that Oliver wasn’t the first vigilante to patrol the streets of Starling City. In fairness, some of the arcs running through this episode, mainly the abandoned sidekick element, do feel just a tad forced and a little too convenient, but it’s not enough to take away from the bigger picture, the overall arc that is running throughout the season. It also appears that we have a new prime suspect in the death of Sara Lance, given how the episode finishes with the arrival of another arrow-wielding character on the scene. What was it that Freddie Mercury sang, Too Much Love Will Kill You?
And on one final, serious note… boxing glove arrow!
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