Warning: Major spoilers for this week’s Arrow
And then there were four. This week’s Arrow was packed full of plot-twisty moments (Walter returns! Moira for Mayor! Sarah reveals herself to Laurel!), but none more focus-worthy than Roy’s acceptance to the team. He started out angry and impatient and he ended…well, a little less angry and a little less impatient, but for Roy, that is a big step. And hopefully one that leads him closer and closer to self control.
Obviously the Mirakuru messes with not only your body, but also your mind, making me think it’s some kind of ancient Japanese steroid of sort, giving the users incredible strength but also uncontrollable rage. To be fair though, Oliver was just as frustrated with the water-slapping task when he was forced to repeat it again and again on the island, but he also had an instructor he’s in love with and enough sense to realize that there was a purpose. Instead, Roy just gets angry and fed up with all the secrecy and refuses to even attempt the tasks he’s given without running his mouth and showing off his strength.
Roy: All I’m learning is new ways to get pissed off. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m already pretty good at that.
Arrow: There’s nothing wrong with anger, Roy. Anger is energy, but you need to learn to channel it in a positive way.
Roy: Like putting the hurt on guys going after the city. Let me try to hit something that’ll actually hit back.
Arrow: Too soon.
Roy: Get me out there with you, one night. All this, it’d be a lot easier to take.
I can’t help but just think of a stubborn toddler whenever I look at Roy. Sure, he’s been through a lot, but all of that seems futile because he doesn’t seem to actually learn from it. Then he gets mad and pouts. A lot. For example, when Oliver does take him out to Malcolm Merlyn’s house, Roy’s rage once again reigns supreme and he lets the bad guy get away with the big bad earthquake machine while he’s busy hitting and hitting and hitting the driver. Like Oliver said, he doesn’t know how to focus. To him, anger is anger and he’s willing to take it out on any available target rather than channeling it to feed the ultimate goal. And yet, rather than learn from this, Roy just gets even more stubborn and ornery. I was sure that his turning point would occur after he grabbed Thea’s arm and accidentally squeezed too hard…I was nearly yelling at my TV, “See! You have to learn to control it! Just like the Arrow said!” But once again, this obvious sign goes right over Roy’s head.
Roy: How do you do it? How do you keep secrets from people in your life?
Arrow: By remembering it’s the only way to keep them safe.
Roy: No, keeping them safe is what keeps them safe. Telling people the truth, but you, you won’t tell me anything…not about the Mirakuru, this other guy. You’ve got me slapping water and hitting dummies instead.
And yet again, Roy thinks he knows best. He’s been a pseudo-superhero for all of five minutes and he thinks he has all the answers. He once revered and admired the vigilante and now he looks at him only with judgement and disdain. Well, he looks at his mask, not him. And apparently for Roy, that’s the problem. When Roy comes to Arrow’s rescue at the docks and once again decides he needs to beat his victim to a bloody pulp, Oliver does something that I absolutely did not see coming. He takes off his mask. Honestly, at first I thought “how careless of him” but in realizing his intentions, I saw it was the only way. Like Roy, I questioned the Arrow and was proven wrong. Nevertheless, needing Roy’s strength to penetrate the cargo container with the earthquake device, he pleads to Roy’s love for Thea not as a stranger, but as her brother. And after a little honesty and openness, it works, which finally (FINALLY!) leads to the moment when realization makes its way through Roy’s thick skull. And that even leads to a moment of emotion…and for once, it’s not rage.
Oliver: Yeah, yeah…
Roy: Last year, you saved my life and I don’t mean from the guy who kidnapped me, I mean you saved me, you gave me purpose.
Oliver: We’re just getting started.
For all his stubbornness, this was a great moment for Roy. It was genuine. And as frustrating as it is, you can’t blame him for being a troubled kid who doesn’t know how to deal with his anger or his new-found strength. But if he can start to accept that he doesn’t know it all and be willing to learn from others and work as part of a team, I think he could become a valuable part of what Felicity occasionally calls “Team Arrow.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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