This week on Arrow, Laurel’s fighting is improving, her trainer may have murdered someone, and Roy confesses to murdering Sara. Yet another lighthearted episode. Laurel gets a lot of screentime this episode, which was great. She still holds a lot of anger at her sister’s death, but Trainer Ted seems to be doing his job, as she’s more balanced and learning to channel her anger into her training. The writers haven’t forgotten her alcoholism, which is great, because too often such a story arc would be dropped once it’s played out. They continue to acknowledge that Laurel is still an alcoholic, and they do a good job of showing how far she’s come and how much stronger she is. They understand that alcoholism doesn’t go away; someone could be thirty years sober and still be an alcoholic. I really appreciate this acknowledgement from the writers, because I’ve seen these types of storylines dropped once the drama of it is all over. So kudos there.
We get to know Trainer Ted better in this episode as well. Turns out, long before Ollie started his vigilante schtick and while he was still missing, Trainer Ted was Starling City’s own vigilante. Not a news-worthy one, as he stuck to the Glades, likely where he was most needed. He was probably also way less dramatic than Ollie, and so never made the news in quite the same fashion. But we learn of Trainer Ted’s past because someone is murdering gang members and framing him. And it seems that during his vigilante days, Ted beat someone to death. He swears it was a mistake, and he seems distraught enough to be telling the truth, but he isn’t. He didn’t murder anyone, in fact; his partner did, and now his partner blames Ted for the hell he went through, blah blah blah.
Meanwhile, Roy’s a mess, and Ollie notices enough to bench him for the time being. Roy’s still not sleeping, and Ollie refuses to have him doing the vigilante thing when he’s dead on his feet. Good on Oliver; his relationship with Roy is slowly moving past the mentor and sidekick toward friendship and affection. With his concern for Roy and for Laurel in this episode (who still intends to become the Canary), it’s nice to see Oliver’s continued compassion for the circle of friends that has grown beyond just John and Felicity. Roy also gets the Arsenal name in this episode, though it’s rather a throwaway comment.
Unfortunately, Roy’s piecing together the nightmares that keep him from sleeping: the image of him brutally killing Sara. He even confesses to Team Arrow that it was him, but Oliver’s not convinced. In the end, it turns out Roy’s nightmares are just that, and not memories as he’d thought. Roy had been remembering that he murdered a cop while on mirakuru, and combining that memory with Sara’s death, causing nightmares. It’s a relief that he isn’t Sara’s murderer, but he’s extremely upset to remember that he is still a murderer.
The action picks up in this episode, with the gruesome murders and the fight between Bad Guy of the week and Team Arrow. We get to explore Ted’s character a bit, Laurel’s character develops more, and Roy brings the drama. We also go back to the Ollie flashbacks, and though personally I don’t find those as interesting, they do serve to explain Oliver’s character in the present.
Review: Peter Leto
Watch Arrow on the CW, Wednesdays 8/7c.