After last week’s shocking cliffhanger, in which Roy Harper had a very vivd dream/memory of throwing arrows into Sara’s chest, it looked like we were going to be in for some answers this week. And with an episode title like “Guilty,” it looked like we already knew what was going on and that Roy was indeed the murderer. But, Arrow is a television show wrought with canards, so we were probably being sold a bill of goods. Plus, it’s only the sixth episode of the season; there’s no way we were going to find out the truth about who killed Sara so soon.
Roy’s lack of sleep and disturbing visions are making him a bit of a liability for the Arrow team, or at least it’s making it annoying for Oliver who has to repeat himself a lot. Ollie, Roy, and Diggle are trying to catch up with three drug dealing gang bangers, and Roy doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do when they get there. Oliver tells Roy to go to the roof, presumably to think about what he’s done, while he and Diggle get into the warehouse. Felicity on the ol’ computer says the three guys are in the building, but Oliver and Diggle can’t find them… until they walk into a room and see the men they’re looking for plus a whole bunch of others, dead – beaten to death, in fact – and hanging upside down from the ceiling. The heroin is left on the floor, so it’s definitely personal. Why would they do this? Roy, who’s on the catwalk after coming inside, sees why… on the ground, written in blood, is the word “Guilty.” Ominous.
Elsewhere, Laurel is continuing her training with Ted Grant. He’s teaching her to box, yes, but he’s also throwing her some curveballs. Like today, for example, when he suddenly tosses her to the ground with a sweeping leg flip thing (I don’t know technical terms for anything). He asks if she was rattled, and she says she’s angry, and gives him a kind of “The Hell, bro?!” look. Ted says she needs to be prepared to roll with things as they happen and not get caught up in it being different than what she expects. Good advice. They finish and Ted says she needs to eat some protein, like this place he knows with great Korean tacos. What exactly is in these Korean tacos is never explained, and it’s going to be one of the biggest unsolved mysteries on the show.
Oliver is following up a very vague lead with Diggle, but he tells Roy not to suit up. They’re looking for a Paco, seeing as one of the almost-dead gang members said that in the warehouse. Oliver starts busting heads, and putting arrows in shins, until he finds out who Paco is… a nickname for Emilio Ortega, a badass gang person. Roy, back at the Foundry, asks Felicity to do a blood test on him to see if he’s got any residual Miricuru in his system. She thinks that’s a bit weird, but he’s worried about something.
Oliver tracks Paco’s whereabouts to a place in the Glades, and when Oliver gets there, he sees Paco also dead, strung up by his heels, and the word Guilty written on the wall in blood. Just then, the lights flick on and we see that this whole grisly scene is inside Ted Grant’s gym, and he’s just walked in, making Oliver believe he’s the prime suspect. Laurel quickly comes in and says Grant was with him for the last two hours, and the body definitely wasn’t there when they left. Oliver is still skeptical, especially because he said he wasn’t going to train Laurel and here she is being trained by someone else. Someone is trying to send a message to Grant, it seems, and to make him look guilty, which also worries Capt. Lance since Laurel’s spending so much time with him.
Unsurprisingly, Roy’s blood test comes back completely negative, and he’s very relieved. Like, too relieved. Felicity wants to know why and Roy tells her about his dreams, or visions, or memories, or whatever they are, of him killing Sara, throwing the arrows into her. This is slightly worrying to Felicity because of science, but she hides it well.
It seems Ted Grant was involved, though never charged, with a murder six years ago when a man was killed with brass knuckles, which looks pretty similar to the way these new guys were killed. Arrow still isn’t convinced Ted isn’t involved in these murders (double negative) and tags him with a tracker and follows him to a storage locker. When Oliver enters, he sees some disturbing stuff, like masks, knives, brass knuckles, news clippings about murders, and, perhaps most incriminating, another dead body. Oh no. Ted is there, however, and begins throwing Arrow to the ground with his patented leg maneuver and attempts to put him in a sleeper hold. Oliver gets loose and the two spar a bit before Oliver sticks a boxing glove on the end of an arrow and shoots Ted in the face with it, knocking him out. TRICK ARROW YOU GUYS!
That’s when he reveals that he used to be a vigilante, just like Arrow, but gave it up six years ago after the death of that guy. Believe it or not, Oliver STILL isn’t convinced that Ted isn’t killing everybody, but he goes with Ted to an abandoned club following a lead for a former magician’s assistant. Wouldn’t ya know it, Ted was being framed and they see the actual culprit, a man wearing one of Ted’s old masks and firing a gun, saying how dumb it was that nobody ever just shoots people anymore. A fair point. Oliver goes after him but he gets away, and the cops burst in and arrest Ted. Laurel thinks Oliver tipped off the police, but he says they were just following up on what is clearly pretty strong evidence.
Now, we get some bad news. Felicity tells Roy that the forensic evidence surrounding Sara’s death would be a little more conclusive to someone throwing arrows than firing them. It’s highly probable, or at least a possibility, that Roy is remembering what really happened and that he did indeed kill Sara. He’s devastated and confesses to Oliver, Laurel, and Diggle when they return to the Foundry. Obviously, Laurel doesn’t know how to handle this, and isn’t prepared to just let Roy off the hook because he was apparently in a Miracuru relapse. Roy leaves, and Oliver tells Laurel that they’ll deal with this but for now they have to do what they can for Ted. Laurel hunkers down and focuses and goes to see Ted at the police station.
Ted tells Laurel that the man who is framing him is Isaac Stanzler, who was once Ted’s Roy, the sidekick for his vigilantism. However, one day six years ago, Stanzler killed a man, and Ted abandoned him, told him to get lost, and Ted hung up his brass knuckles. So Ted didn’t kill that guy at all. Laurel has the charges dropped and they decide to go after Stanzler themselves. They catch up with him and he takes them hostage, saying how he was tortured for months by the gang of the man he killed. He blames Ted for not being there for him. In a car, while Stanzler’s saying all these things, Laurel casually calls Felicity so they can get a track on their whereabouts.
Before Oliver and Diggle head out, Diggle tells Oliver that he thinks they ought to just cut Roy loose if he did indeed do what he says or thinks he did. A big chase ensues with Oliver on his motorcycle and Diggle in the van. Stanzler is not afraid to shoot at them and while Laurel drives, she attempts to help Oliver, but ends up getting him knocked off his bike. Diggle stops to pick him up, but they aren’t the only ones giving chase. Roy, in full red costume, joins the fracas on his motorcycle and when Stanzler opens the door to shoot, Laurel swerves and throws the gunman from the car, unfortunately causing them to crash into parked vehicles.
Roy fights Stanzler, who cautions the young crimefighter that Arrow’s just going to leave him behind, that he’s just another weapon in the arsenal. Roy eventually knocks him out, and when Oliver comes over, Roy flatly pleads “Don’t abandon me,” to which Oliver replies firmly, “Never.”
The Arrow pays Ted Grant a visit at the gym later and tells him to quit training Laurel because he doesn’t want her to get hurt. Ted counters with asking if he’d ever asked what Laurel wants. Novel idea. Later, Oliver goes to see Laurel at the hospital as she’s getting released and is much less dogmatic. He says he just cares about her and doesn’t want her anger to get in the way of her life, like it did him. They ultimately return to good terms, but Laurel isn’t likely to give up training (in fact, she goes back to Ted pretty much immediately). Laurel asks what they’re going to do with Roy, and Oliver asks if she trusts him.
Oliver has a trick up his sleeve to help Roy, who is planning to give up crime fighting and turn himself into police. Oliver learned a trick back in Hong Kong to help people remember things they think they can’t. Through some guided meditation, and a red candle for little to no reason, Roy is able to parse out his memories, thinking back to when he was deeply effed with Miracuru and killed a police officer by stabbing him with an arrow, something he had no memory of for months. Oliver didn’t tell him because he didn’t want the boy to be ruined, but now it’s important. Though he’s Arsenal now, and didn’t murder Sara, he DID murder someone and has to leave to figure it all out.
We end with a teaser for next week, in which a young lady with a bow and arrow (of course) kills the two corrections officers transporting Stanzler. When he asks who she is, she says she’s Cupid, stupid. Oh goodie.
HONG KONG FLASHBACK
Oliver and Maseo are tracking a guy who has a piece of paper they need, but Oliver is spotted and a chase ensues. The guy gets knocked out, but there’s no paper on him anywhere. Maseo says he must have stashed it, but Oliver says he didn’t see anything. Maseo tells him he did, he just has to remember. Easy, right.
Back at the house, Maseo’s son attempts to help Oliver with a game of memory, but Tatsu tells the boy to go away. She wants Oliver to have nothing to do with their son. She eventually helps him by doing the same meditation trick he would later use with Roy and Ollie remembers seeing the man stash the piece of paper in a crate. Oliver and Maseo go back and find it, but it’s just a picture of a beach… or is it? Using Steganography, they see the hidden message with a name on it, presumably who they will follow.
I so couldn’t care less about these Hong Kong flashbacks. I know they’re to illustrate all of Oliver’s nasty deeds when he wasn’t on the island, but I feel like we get it. He did some bad stuff, and it was for Amanda Waller that he did it. Anyway, I know this is the throughline of the season’s flashbacks, but I feel like I’m done with the flashbacks and the audience doesn’t really need them anymore. They’re always so secondary to what’s actually happening, even if they are thematically linked.
Next week, help us all, it’s an episode featuring an obsessed, love-sick serial killer who calls herself Cupid. The name of the episode is “Draw Back Your Bow,” and here’s the promo! See you next week!