Arrow RECAP: Sidekicks Gone Wild (S1:E6)
Previously on Arrow: Laurel is not only training at Wildcat Gym, she’s telling the Wildcat himself about all of her problems; Roy is having mirakuru side effects like nightmares and murdering Black Canaries.
The Arrows are on patrol, but Roy is distracted. Oliver is unimpressed with said distraction, especially when Team Arrow is about to take down a bunch of heroin dealers. Oliver doles out positions, and Roy stupidly claims he has the east entrance, when obviously he’s on the roof. God, Roy, you’re so lame. But it doesn’t matter much, because all the entrances are unguarded, which doesn’t make sense since Felicity’s Culebra Cartel Tracking Device (I guess) places the entire group at this particular abandoned warehouse. Are you sure you didn’t get them mixed up? I mean, it’d be easy to do, given Starling City’s metric assload of abandoned warehouses.
Turns out, though, the cartel is there, just not alive. Someone has pre-killed the dealers and left the heroin. Well, that’s just a waste. Oliver and John figure somebody was sending a message, and Roy knows what it is, not because he’s smart, but because from the catwalk he can read “GUILTY” written very large in blood on the warehouse floor.
At the Arrow Cave, the team considers Starling City gang relations. In the hunt for the title “City’s Bloodiest Gang” Culebras > Los Halcones. We don’t count the Bratva, apparently, because they’re white. Oliver is gearing for another fight, but he sends Roy home first, telling him to get some rest. Of course, he just moves over to look at the monitors with Felicity while John and Oliver go out to question Halcones members.
On Island Time, Oliver is impatient that he and Maseo have been waiting a whole hour in a Hong Kong market for their target, one of Chen Na Wei’s couriers. Luckily, we don’t have to wait an hour for the guy to show, and Oliver follows him for about two seconds before the guy kicks him in the face and runs, because something this show was missing was more chase scenes through generic Asian markets. Luckily for all of us, Maseo ends this one early by hitting the courier with his car. The courier is dead, but more importantly the envelope of intel he was carrying is missing, Oliver claims he didn’t see him hide the envelope anywhere in their very brief chase scene, but Maseo insists that is inaccurate.
At Wildcat Gym, Laurel is boxing and doing pretty well against Ted, though he isn’t fighting back; he’s just being a punching bag until he abruptly takes her down with something more Judo than boxing. She gets angry, and he smirks that the lesson is you can’t get rattled when something unexpected happens in a fight. Laurel says fine, she’s getting up, but Ted is ready to shut down the gym and checks on Laurel’s dietary habits, which apparently are egg whites. Ted tells her that’s ridiculous, and the Korean tacos down the block are a much better protein-loading option.
In the Arrow Cave, Roy cautiously approaches Felicity, asking her for a blood test. He wants to know if there are any traces of mirakuru in his blood. She claims that’s unnecessary because he was cured, and he should look elsewhere for a cause to his insomnia, which isn’t a known side effect of mirakuru anyway. Because it’s so well studied, Felicity? In the end she does the test.
In a dive bar that appears to be a Halcones hideout, Oliver has left several gang members bleeding and is questioning the last man standing. He’s asking after “Paco,” which was the name muttered by a dying Culebra back in the heroin murder warehouse, and the Last Gang Member Standing reveals that Paco is the street name of Emilio Ortega.
Felicity immediately begins pinging his cell phone to get a location, and Oliver is on the way…but Ortega Is already dead, with “GUILTY” written on the floor in his blood. The lights come on, and instead of an abandoned warehouse, it turns out Ortega is hanging upside down in Wildcat Gym. And in walks Ted.
Oliver immediately begins questioning Ted in Arrow-voice, assuming that he killed not only Ortega but the rest of the Culebras, too, but Laurel comes in soon thereafter. Oliver orders her out, but she says Ted didn’t kill anybody, which, she does have him solidly alibi’d since they left the gym, eating Korean tacos and all. Oliver believes her, so it seems.
Felicity is whining about having to wait ten minutes to centrifuge Roy’s blood. Oh, wait, no, she’s whining about testing Roy’s blood at all, which she apparently did in ten minutes with a centrifuge. Okay. At any rate, Roy’s clean of mirakuru, and he’s relieved. Felicity catches that he’s a little too relieved considering he was cured six months earlier, and he finally tells her the truth: that he’s been having night terrors of being on the mirakuru and killing Sara, and that it felt more like a memory than a dream. She agrees that it’s crazy, but she looks concerned as she glances at Roy’s blood test results again.
At Wildcat Gym, Quentin is taking Laurel’s statement about Ted’s whereabouts when Ortega was murdered, which he believes, but says they have to keep Ted until the coroner’s findings confirm time of death. Laurel heads out to meet Oliver down the street to talk about the case, expositing that Wildcat Gym has a relatively rough clientele and maybe a former client was trying to send Ted a message. Oliver wants to talk to Ted, but maybe not just about the murder: he told Laurel he wouldn’t train her to fight, so she found another trainer. Yeah, what did you think she was going to do, Oliver?
On Island Time, Oliver sits in Maseo’s apartment, trying to remember anything about the courier’s envelope. Akio, Maseo’s son, is helping by asking lots of questions, and then testing Oliver’s memory with a tile-matching game, deeming it satisfactory. Meanwhile, the grownups are talking in the kitchen. Maseo needs Tatsu’s help to get Oliver to remember. She doesn’t want to because she doesn’t like Oliver, and she warns him away from Akio as she begins some procedure that will apparently help him remember where the envelope might be.
In the Arrow Cave, Oliver is asking John if he knows of Ted. John saw him in an MMA title fight a few years ago and was impressed, though obviously that’s not what Oliver cares about. Roy points out that Laurel vouches for him, and Oliver refuses to believe Laurel’s judgment because women, only thinking with their vaginas, am I right? Felicity reminds the team that in the warehouse murders, even though the heroin dealers were armed to the teeth, the killer took them all out without firing a shot, choosing instead to beat them all to death with brass knuckles. The MO matches a murder from six years prior, and since the killer was left-handed and so is Ted, obviously it’s him despite the fact that he literally could not have committed the murder in his gym. Ted is on the move according to his cell phone GPS, and Oliver takes off in pursuit.
At yet another warehouse, Oliver steps into a storage pod and finds a mini-training gym, with posters of Ted’s title fight on the walls and, oh yeah, an unidentified man hanging upside down. There are brass knuckles on the desk, and a corkboard filled with newspaper clippings of a vigilante’s exploits. There’s a ring on the floor, and Oliver bends to pick it up as Ted attacks him. They fight, pretty evenly matched, until Oliver hits him in the face with a literal boxing glove arrow oh my god.
Ted protests that he never killed anybody, and in fact he used to be a vigilante, just like Oliver; the newspaper clipping are about him.
Oliver seems to have put the trick arrows away for now and claims he doesn’t know of any other vigilante activity in Starling City. Ted exposits he worked six years ago, only in the Glades, so he didn’t exactly become headline news. Oliver points out that serial killers also use masks, and Ted thankfully observes that so does Oliver. Ted claims he doesn’t know who the body is, but that he was hung in the Wildcat Cave as part of the setup, since nobody should even know where that is; he gave up the Wildcat persona after he accidentally killed a drug dealer. Ted says that they need to be working together to figure out who the real killer is.
The victim in the Wildcat Cave is Albert Mancini, according to Laurel, and Oliver takes the opportunity to tell the assistant district attorney about an unsolved murder that Ted confessed to, which is kind of a dick move. Anyway, Mancini seems to have no connection to the drug dealers, but Ted realizes that Mancini used to work as a magician’s aide at the same bar where he’d killed the drug dealer six years ago. Oliver imparts some more unsolicited life advice to Laurel, who really needs to tell him to fuck off, and he and Ted go to follow up on Mancini, leaving Laurel behind.
Roy, Felicity, and John are following along in the Cave. Roy and Digg start to head out and provide backup, but Felicity keeps Roy behind, saying she has to talk to him. Once John takes off, she tells Roy that before they buried Sara, she created a virtual autopsy using MRI and using it she was able to tell that the arrow wounds in Sara’s torso didn’t come from a normal bow. In fact, the wound angles only make sense if the arrows had been thrown instead of shot, just like in his dream. He protests that she’d just declared him clean of mirakuru, but Felicity speculates that a last “episode” might’ve burned out what remnants were there. Basically she’s telling him he probably did kill Sara. There had to be a better way to do that.
John is watching the perimeter of the bar where Mancini used to work while Oliver and Ted investigate. As Oliver really obviously ties together the murders and asks why the hell someone wanted to get Ted into this bar so badly, a spotlight goes on above them and a masked man greets them with some inaccurate gunshots. He whines that the vigilantes always use brass knuckles or arrows, instead of guns like the bad guys. Given how he’s shooting that gun, he probably should stick to brass knuckles. Unidentified Baddie says he trusted Ted, and then Oliver has had enough and fires at him. Baddie runs, Oliver chases, Ted stands still for the police to storm in and arrest him, while Oliver looks on.
Laurel is waiting at Verdant for Oliver and John to get back, angry that Ted got arrested, but Oliver didn’t have anything to do with that; he doesn’t actually control the police. He says that he knows Ted is innocent, and at least now they’ve seen the guy actually committing the crimes. The three of them head down to the cave, where Roy is waiting to tell them about Sara, which he does, flat out. Laurel demands an explanation, and Felicity jumps in to explain the mirakuru and Roy’s lack of memory. Roy tries to apologize, but Laurel won’t let him, so he leaves quickly. Oliver hisses to Felicity that he thought he was cured, and she admits they probably didn’t know enough about the drug to call him “cured” in the first place. Laurel is struggling, but Oliver needs her to find out who the real bad guy was, because he obviously knew Ted. Laurel leaves, happier with a mission, and Felicity admits to Oliver that the evidence against Roy is pretty incriminating.
On Island Time, Tatsu is reluctantly dealing with Oliver’s memory problems. This involves a candle and meditation lessons and vaguely Asian music. While she guides him, he remembers the courier tossing the envelope into some brightly colored crates. Yeah, I’m sure those will still be there tomorrow.
At the police department, Quentin is questioning Ted, by which I mean, telling him how many murders he committed. Ted is quiet, and Laurel comes in asking to talk to him. Quentin wonders if she’s switched sides and become a defense attorney, but he allows it. Laurel demands to know who framed Ted, because clearly they had history. She offers that the DA’s office could refuse to indict him for the murders and then the police would have to let him go, which sounds like relatively serious abuse of her position, but that’s never really stopped her before. Ted finally spills: the Wildkitten is Isaac Stanzler, and he was Ted’s sidekick back in his vigilante days. He’s the one who actually killed the drug dealer six years ago. After that, Ted quit the vigilante business and ordered Isaac to leave Starling, so he blames himself for Isaac’s killings.
In the Cave, John, Felicity, and Oliver mill around, waiting for news from Laurel. John wants to go after Roy in case he’s still experiencing mirakuru effects, but Oliver doesn’t see the point and wants to know what they’d do if they brought him in. John argues that Roy has to be punished for killing Sara or they’re setting different standards for themselves than everybody else, which they already do, because Oliver’s killed more people than the Wildkitten. Oliver says it’s his fault because he let Roy be his sidekick in the first place, and John suggests that means Oliver needs to cut him loose or, as Oliver puts it, abandon him. I get that somebody has to have this position so they can talk about it, but come on. It’s already been established that under the effects of mirakuru people aren’t responsible for their actions, and it’s also obvious that somebody would’ve sent Roy after Sara, so why are we wasting energy and air time pretending Roy is culpable for this?
Laurel and Ted head out the back of the police station, musing about what Isaac will do next, and the answer is remarkably quick: he’s going to hold a gun to Ted’s head in the alley outside the police station. I guess…they don’t have cameras…out there? Turns out that when Ted cut Isaac loose, the Culebras picked him up and tortured him as payback for killing their drug dealer. Ted apologizes and says they can talk about it, but that’s apparently part of Isaac’s plan. He has a lot to say to Ted before he offs him, which is lucky for everyone involved.
Isaac has Laurel driving the getaway car, and Ted tries to convince him that she doesn’t deserve to be part of this. While Ted and Isaac argue over whether criminals are people, Laurel surreptitiously dials Felicity. The call picks up Isaac’s voice, which Oliver recognizes, and Felicity is able to track them with the phone.
Team Arrow engages, because apparently they were able to get to Isaac’s fast-moving car in literally two seconds. John starts by playing chicken with the Arrow van, but he has to swerve when Isaac won’t let Laurel. Oliver picks up the chase on his bike, and Isaac shoots and misses (we already established he has terrible aim), although eventually he’s able to jerk the wheel and cut Oliver off, crashing his bike. Roy immediately picks up the chase in Oliver’s stead. Isaac opens the back door to get a better shot at Roy, and Laurel takes the opportunity to swerve violently: Isaac is thrown out of the vehicle, but they crash into a bunch of parked cars and immediately catch fire for dramatic effect. John and Ollie drag Ted and Laurel free while Roy approaches the Wildkitten, who pulls a gun on him. Roy parkours it out of his hand and they fight. Given Roy’s distraction, Isaac gets him in a chokehold and begins to Villain Monologue about how Roy isn’t a person to Oliver, just another weapon in his arsenal. ARSENAL, GET IT?
It’s enough motivation for Roy to break the hold and knock Isaac out. He turns back as Oliver approaches and says, half-plea, half-warning, “Don’t abandon me.”
“Never,” says Oliver, vehement.
Ted is mopping up blood in the gym and talking to the shadows, where Oliver is hiding. He thanks the Arrow, who asks him for a favor: stay away from Laurel. It really bothers me how Laurel and Thea seem to be seen by the men in their live as objects to be protected and controlled. Ted claims it’s Laurel’s choice, but if she stops coming to the gym, then that’s fine. Oliver sounds very creepy boyfriend when he says she’ll stop. Ted warns Oliver that his mistake with Isaac was not cutting him loose earlier, but Ollie counters that really the issue was losing faith in Isaac, which Oliver won’t do with Roy. We shall see.
At Starling Hospital, Laurel is getting dressed after getting banged up in the car accident, and Oliver is offering her a ride home. He claims that he tries to protect Laurel because he cares, not because he thinks she’s helpless. She asks him about Roy, and Oliver asks if she trusts him. She didn’t sound accusing, though; her reaction to Roy’s being the killer was borne of grief, not anger.
In the Arrow Cave, Roy says he’s going to miss being Red Arrow, and Oliver suggests a name change. I know he was never formally Red Arrow, but now he is formally Arsenal.
Roy is confused about why Oliver would want him to stay on, but he says it doesn’t matter because he plans to turn himself in. Oliver just nods and gets his magic memory candle out of his wooden locker of Island Memorabilia. Guess we’re going to jog Roy’s memory with some good old-fashioned meditation.
Roy is skeptical, but he sits while Oliver tells him he’s been keeping something from him, trying to protect him. Roy says he trusts Oliver and closes his eyes on command. Oliver begins guiding his breathing, bringing out the memory of Sara’s death like Tatsu did with him in Hong Kong. Roy sees himself stabbing Sara, then her image changes to that of a cop. He looks up in the memory to see Oliver and Sara watching him: he didn’t kill Sara, but the manner of her death and the fact that she’d been there when Roy had killed the police officer merged together in his dreams. Roy says he needs to be alone for a while, and Oliver grimaces. The rest of us wonder why Sara’s arrow wounds were so wonderfully consistent with thrown arrows if Roy was just remembering a different killing overlaid on Sara’s.
On Island Time, Oliver and Maseo are rummaging around the colorful crates in search of the envelope, which Oliver finds immediately. All that’s inside is a photograph, but at his apartment Maseo scans the image and with some quick photoshop unearths the real message: CONTACT LI KUAN HUI. Oliver thanks Tatsu for the memory help, but she just wants him out of their lives asap.
In Wildcat Gym, Ted is hanging a punching bag where Ortega had been when Laurel comes in. Ted is glad to see her but says she shouldn’t be there. Laurel claims she definitely should be, because while in the claws of the Wildkitten, she should’ve been scared but wasn’t. She says this means that she needs to keep training. Ted reminds her that his last sidekick didn’t really work out, and she parrots his advice about getting back up and rolling with the punches from the beginning of the episode. Aww, a new Wildkitten.
At the police department, Isaac is being led out into the alley in chains, presumably for some sort of transport, when both cops escorting him take arrows to the leg. A woman wearing leather and leaving her entire belly unprotected points an arrow at him.
Her name? CUPID, STUPID. (Comic check: Carrie Cutter, a.k.a. Cupid, is a long-time Green Arrow and Black Canary villain. In the comics, she has superstrength from an Army program that also made her mentally unstable, and she developed an obsession with Green Arrow, though I hope they don’t take that route here.)