Wildcat’s Out of the Bag
Jumping right in, the episode opens with the Quiver Crew involved in a heroine bust, and Roy is clearly distracted thinking about his dreams and his worry that he killed Sara. Not to worry, as someone had already taken care of the gang involved with the drugs, killing everyone and hanging some of them up above a pile of the unused drugs and a message written in blood saying “Guilty.” The Crew returns to HQ where they look up a name one of the dying men gave them, “Paco.” As Felicity works, Oliver sends Roy home to sleep, clearly annoyed by his inability to focus.
Laurel and Ted Grant’s story opens this week with another sparring match at the Wildcat Gym, and we can clearly see how much Laurel has improved. They briefly discuss tactics, and how picking yourself back up after being knocked down is just as important as not being knocked down, and then Ted takes Laurel to get Korean tacos. With all the good feelings and vibes here, you just knew something bad was about to happen to Laurel or Ted.
While Oliver and Diggle are out looking for this “Paco” character and the rival gang he might have been taken by, Roy asks Felicity to test his blood for Mirakuru, which she reluctantly does. And while she and Roy await the results, Oliver has found another drug gang hanging dead from the ceiling with the words guilty below it, but he also gets information that leads him to another body hanging above the bloody words “Guilty,” this time in Ted’s Wildcat gym. Ted enters and the Arrow points his bow at him, right before Laurel enters and explains that Ted couldn’t have killed the man, they had spent the past 2 hours training and eating. Oliver accepts the alibi, but he’s clearly pissed that Laurel found someone else to train her, and he doesn’t trust Ted. Laurel tells Oliver that Ted’s gym caters to a rough clientele, and Ted claims someone is trying to send him a message.
Back at HQ, Felicity finishes the blood test and tells Roy there was no Mirakuru in his system, and demands an explanation. He tells her about his dreams, which might be memories of killing Sara. Felicity is understandably freaked out, though they don’t have any evidence. Yet.
Diggle and Oliver return and the team researches Ted Grant, Diggle having seen a fight of his on Pay Per View a few years back, and the team learns of a dead drug dealer from years ago who was beat to death using brass knuckles, the killer favoring his left hand, the same hand that Ted Grant has been known to favor. Oliver goes to find Ted, who he had placed a tracer on earlier, and finds him at a storage yard. Inside one of the units. Oliver finds another dead body hanging from the ceiling, a mask, brass knuckles, and newspaper clippings about a vigilante. Ted enters and attacks the Arrow, which is a cool but brief fight highlighting the fighting styles of the two men, Ted throwing lots of punches while the Arrow uses all of his ligaments and his bow. Oliver ends the fight by grabbing a boxing glove on the floor, affixing it to the end of an arrow, and shooting Ted in the face. (Love the not-so-subtle homage to the oft-used boxing glove arrow from the comics). Ted admits he used to be a vigilante like the Arrow, and that this was his HQ, an exchange which led to my favorite lines of the night:
Ted: “[The storage unit] A safe place where I kept my stuff separate from my day job, I’m sure you’ve got one just like it.”
The Arrow: “Mine’s bigger.”
Oliver has never heard of him because Ted’s hero status occurred 6 years ago, when Oliver was on the island. The Arrow reminds Ted that he killed a drug dealer, and Ted remorsefully says it was a mistake he lives with every day. They leave the storage unit and much to Oliver’s dismay, Laurel joins the hunt. Oliver tells her about Ted’s past, and his murder, but the new information does not sway Laurel against her trainer. Ted says whoever is doing this is leaving Ted a trail to follow. Oliver attempts to send Laurel home, warning her against being a vigilante, and also angry that she told Ted about Sara.
Back at HQ they figure out a new lead and Oliver, Diggle and Roy prepare to leave to investigate the nightclub, but Felicity says Roy can’t go. After Oliver and Diggle leave, Felicity informs Roy that forensics might indicate Roy killed Sara, as thrown arrows fit much better with her digital autopsy, and explain the odd angles and height she had original noticed based on the trajectory the arrows entered Sara. She further explains that the blood test might have been clean of Mirakuru because Roy might have burned it all out of his system during one last Mirakuru episode, AKA Killing Sara.
Oliver, Diggle and Ted show up at the night club, which happened to be the same place where Ted killed the drug dealer years earlier, and they are attacked by a masked man wearing Ted’s old vigilante costume. It’s clear Ted recognizes the man, but right at that moment Captain Laurel’s policemen show up to arrest Ted, and the copycat vigilante escapes.
They return to HQ where Laurel accuses accuses Oliver of calling the cops on Ted, but Oliver explains to her that the police arrested Ted for a body they found in his locker and evidence of past vigilante-ism. However, Oliver tells Laurel that he knows Ted is innocent. Roy chooses this moment to tell everyone what’s going on with him, and admits to the group that he thinks he killed Sara. Laurel is immediately pissed, but Felicity defends Roy, and explains the mirakuru attack, which does little to placate Laurel. Roy leaves, and while Diggle tries to stop him Oliver tells Diggle to let Roy go. Felicity reminds them that they don’t know a lot about mirakuru, and that testing the blood on the arrows that killed Sara for a match with Roy’s blood proved inconclusive. Despite all this, Oliver sends Laurel to talk to Ted and find out what he knows
At the police station, Captain Lance interrogates Ted, just as Laurel walks in and asks to talk to Ted alone. Ted won’t admit who framed him at first, but after some cajoling he admits the man is named Isaac Stansler, who was Ted’s apprentice. Ted says the drug dealer that was murdered at the nightclub was actually murdered by Isaac, who got to him before Ted could stop him. Ted dropped being a vigilante after that, and told Stansler to flee Starling City, never wanting to see his face again. Ted takes blame for everything.
Which leads to the no-too-subtle theme of the episode of having faith in one’s apprentice, and not dropping them after a mistake. Which is why the episode returns to HQ where Diggle wants Oliver to cut Roy loose as a kind of justice, but Oliver still has faith in his side-kick.
Outside the police station Laurel gets Ted released, only to be kidnapped by Stansler, who informs Ted that after he “abandoned” him, he was captured by a gang and tortured. They get into a car, with Laurel driving, and Stansler holding them at gunpoint. While Ted and his former apprentice argue, Laurel secretly dials Felicity, alerting the Quiver Crew that it was time for action.
Felicity easily tracks Laurel’s cell-phone, and Oliver and Diggle head out to save the day. Oliver rides his bike, Diggle takes the team van, and they attempt to corner the stolen car, but Diggle fails to slow them down, and Oliver is knocked off his bike. Fortunately Roy shows up on his own bike at this point, distracting Stansler while Laurel managed to maneuver the car and knock Stansler out. It ends with her crashing the car and being knocked out herself, but it was still a good move by her.
While Oliver and Diggle pull Ted and Laurel out of the burning car, Roy has a show down with Stansler, side-kick versus side-kick. And in case you didn’t get the theme of the episode so far, Stansler explains it to Roy, telling him that “You’re just another weapon in his arsenal (!)” (I was wondering when they were going to get around to naming Roy). Stansler claims the Arrow will abandon Roy the same way Ted did to him. Roy ignores him and takes him out with a quick blow to the face, clearly having more faith in his mentor. He does ask Oliver shortly afterward is he’ll ever abandon him, and Oliver immediately and confidently replies, “Never.”
The flashback story this week involved Oliver and Maseo trying to meet a guy with an envelope they needed. The guy spots them and runs, and is hit by a car and dies. Maseo needs Oliver to remember where the man stashed the envelope during the chase, so he enlists his wife, Tatsu’s help in teaching Oliver to open up his memories. It works, they find the envelope, and within the mountain range picture in the envelope is a single name, “Li Kuan Hui.” Flashbacks to me have been a little slow this season, and not nearly as interesting as the present, or Oliver’s time on the island. Hope they get it together soon.
In the episode aftermath, the Arrow visits Ted and warns him to stay away from Laurel, while Ted warns him about side-kicks. Both men ignore the other, with Oliver finishing the conversation by telling Ted his mistake was losing faith in Stansler. Oliver visits Laurel as she prepares to leave the hospital, they briefly discuss her training, and she asks about Roy. All Oliver can do is ask her to trust him.
Which cuts back immediately to HQ, where Roy tells Oliver about the things Stansler told him, and Oliver decides ‘Arsenal” is a good name for Roy. Roy wants to turn himself in for Sara’s murder, but Oliver instead works with Roy to use the memory techniques he learned years ago in Hong Kong to help Roy remember. During the exercise, Roy remembers killing a police officer in similar way to Sara, but realizes he didn’t actually kill Sara, but knows he is still a murderer. Oliver and Sara knew, but were aware he was overdosed on Mirakuru, Sara’s death just stirred the memories in Roy.
Back at the Wildcat gym, Laurel comes in and tells Ted she got him cleared for the past vigilante-ism charges, and basically asks him to train her as his new apprentice so she can get justice outside of a courtroom. Ted seems uneasy, but he agrees to help.
And finally, in the last scene of the night, Stansler leaves the back alley of the police station escorted by two policemen, who are almost immediately shot down by arrows in the legs,and then we see the new character, “Cupid,” as she introduces herself to Stansler. The episode cuts to black and we hear her arrows shoot, most likely into Stansler’s body.
BOW STRING THEORIES:
* Did Cupid kill Sara then? We know she’s a die-hard fan of the Arrow, could she have killed Sara out of jealousy?
*Where were Merlyn and Thea this week? Could they be involved in whatever created/ brought Cupid to town?
I enjoyed this week’s outing for giving some backstory and depth to Ted, and finally letting Roy have something to do during an episode. Hopefully ‘Arrow’ continues its good storytelling in the following weeks leading up to the winter hiatus, and the inevitable cliff-hanger. See you next week!