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Arrow S3.06 Guilty Review

Who’d be a boy wonder? That’s the theme powering this week’s Arrow, an episode that wants to talk not just about the responsibilities of being a sidekick but the wider issues of vigilantism. Oliver earns the hero shot at the end, carrying Laurel from the flames, but Lance tells us there’s a perilously fine line between masked do-gooders and serial killers. So where does the truth lie? Maybe in the hazy, troubled space inside Roy’s head right now…

It’s a clever script, rigging up all sorts of oppositions and contrasts. Isaac mirrors Roy (he was “My guy in red,” says Ted), Ted mirrors Oliver and the Hong Kong flashbacks smartly counterpoint modern day events, addressing the fine art of remembering. The direction’s in synch with this – a close-up of a light in present day Starling transitions to a shot of a candle in Hong Kong, five years previously. There’s solid thematic construction here.

Arrow Trivia

Ted Grant had a pay-per-view bout with Ken Rabehl – coincidentally a member of the art department on such other Vancouver-friendly genre shows as Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1.

You have to wonder how Oliver can be quite so judgmental about Ted’s failings as a hero. Sure, he killed a man by mistake, but can Oliver really call him out on it, given the death-count that has to be on his conscience from season one? Still, he shows a welcome amount of compassion for Roy – “I wouldn’t be much of a teacher if I let you get killed because your reaction time was slow” - and notably tells Dig to let Roy go when he’s clearly all for grilling his ass. The pay-off to all this, where Oliver promises to never abandon Roy, feels genuinely earned.

In a way it’s a shame that Roy isn’t responsible for Sara’s death. That would have provided an intriguing twist to his dynamic with Laurel. Roy always seems to be the character most in danger of slipping to the sidelines in Arrow – let’s hope the writers keep him front and centre in the mix.

Not sure what to make of Cupid’s intro. Isn’t Arrow beginning to feel a little overloaded with hooded, bow-wielding bad-asses?

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Did You Spot?

This week’s street name shout-out is 9th and Hasen, location of Ted Grant’s gym. That’s a tribute to artist Irwin Hasen, who co-created Wildcat way back in 1942.

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She's Cupid, Stupid

So who’s that popping up at the end of the episode? The creation of Arrow writer Andrew Kreisberg, Cupid’s an insane former special ops agent obsessed with Green Arrow. She was introduced to the DCU in Green Arrow/Black Canary 15 in 2009.

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Did You Also Spot?

Now this is glorious. Long enshrined as the daftest item in Green Arrow’s quiver of gimmicks, the Boxing Glove Arrow finally makes it to the screen, albeit as a piece of improvisation on Oliver’s part. This season’s introduction of Ted Grant and his gym now feels like the set-up to the gag – here’s the punchline. Well played.

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What's In A Name?

“Maybe that’s what we should call you, then… Arsenal!” Oliver’s christening of Roy is a nod to his post-Speedy alter-ego in the comics. What a stretch. This exchange feels just a little too cute…

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Best Lines

Roy: “I need you to test my blood.” Felicity: “For what? And don’t say STDs because that would be crossing a line.”

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD on Thursday nights, and in the US on The CW on Wednesday nights.

WritersBen Sokolowski and Brian Ford Sullivan
DirectorMichael Schultz
The one whereAs a murderous new vigilante goes to work in Starling, Roy must confront the truth about Saras death

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Available platformsTV