Arrow isn’t the sole series responsible for the current superhero television renaissance. Prior to it the CW/WB was essentially the only one in the superhero game with Smallville, but now these shows are everywhere. And with Arrow’s third season, and a spinoff series that’s just as (if not more) successful, Arrow’s still the king of the hill in terms of vision and quality. With Guilty, we are introduced to ever more characters from the immense DC Universe roster, and they’re put to particularly good use.
Wildcat/Ted Grant has been introduced. Although technically the actor playing Ted Grant has appeared sporadically throughout the season, this was the first time he was actually essential to the plot of an episode. On several levels this episode’s theme of being “guilty” works pretty well. The most glaringly obvious would be the fact that there are dead bodies being strung up with “GUILTY” sprawled across the ground with blood. These bodies lead to Ted Grant, former vigilante and now Laurel’s martial arts trainer. We learn that in the past Ted/Wildcat was falsely accused of being guilty of murder. As a person though, he’s certainly grown on me. He’s a great judge of character, and an excellent fighter.
It’s interesting that this iteration of the Wildcat character had been playing the role of vigilante in the Glades long before Oliver Queen came back to Starling City to become the Arrow. In this iteration we also get introduced to another of Grant’s disciples, Tom Bronson (who takes the mantle of the third Wildcat in the comics). Bronson reeks havoc on Starling – or rather reeks havoc for Grant in Starling, stringing a web of dead bodies that all lead to him. Turns out that Bronson was the true perpetrator of the murder all those years ago, and Ted took the blame for it. Throughout the episode is the theme of not assuming that one’s pupils will take the same moral code as the trainer. Just as Wildcat with Bronson, Arrow and Roy are facing a very similar scenario. Roy is having dreams of him killing Sara. Of course this is a red herring. And the over-dramatization of this herring is annoying.
But unlike Ted Grant, Oliver won’t be giving up on Roy. For the first time this season the flashbacks actually parallel the current events. With the story 5 years ago revolving around how he must remember something imperative, he uses the same tricks he used to get those memories back on Roy, to help him clear his mind.
There were a number of Easter eggs worth pointing out this episode. Although Wildcat is the most obvious, the cameo with Cupid at the end was… Interesting. This is also the first time Roy has been referred to as Arsenal. Great name. Finally! But the Easter egg to take the cake? The boxing glove arrow. Any fan of the comic book/cartoon versions of Green Arrow will have noticed the excellent use of boxing gloves in the fight with Wildcat. Overall a very entertaining episode.