Roy Harper’s long-awaited return to Arrow is overshadowed by the true resurrection of Thea Queen. In the newest episode of Arrow, the cobwebs of the troubled first half of Season 6 are shaken off in favor of a more compelling, more interesting back half, with the future of Thea (Willa Holland) being the center of focus.
In “Doppelganger,” the latest episode of Arrow, Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) continues to play a convuluted game with Mayor Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Meanwhile, Earth-2 Laurel Lance (Katie Casidy) makes her own play, posing as Earth-1 Laurel and revealing herself to the world. This puts pressure on Mayor Queen, who is just barely able to keep the charges of being the Green Arrow at bay. Remember how Mayor Queen made that Black Canary memorial and all that? Yeah, Queen’s got ‘splaining to do.
As the charges against Oliver pile up, a surprise witness “with enemies on both sides” (which doesn’t make sense) shows up, and it’s Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). Retirement has been good to Roy, too; not being Arsenal hasn’t gotten in the way of getting swoll. Seriously, the dude is a lot meatier than his last guest appearance in Season 4.
Sadly there’s no action for Roy. For most of the episode, Roy gets his ass kicked by Diaz and his goons, so it’s Thea who steps up as her old alter-ego, Speedy. “Doppelganger” may be the last hurrah for Speedy, too, as Ollie gives his sister advice to leave Star City for good so she can be happy again with Roy.
To Ollie, Thea hasn’t been the same since Roy left years ago, and she deserves happiness like he has with Felicity (which, LOL, sure, let’s call it happiness, Ollie). Several lingering shots of Thea strongly suggest that the hardened Queen heiress is considering her brother’s advice — which makes her action scenes later laced with tension not felt in the show in years.
“Doppelganger” is a good episode if you don’t look too closely. The plot is all over the place, and the reason for Roy’s return is not only hazy at best, it’s also never really explained how he was found. We’re supposed to assume Diaz is just that good, but previous bad guys like Damien Darhk and Prometheus were way bigger threats than Diaz. If Roy was so easy to spot, he would have shown up much earlier by the show’s internal logic.
Still, Arrow is gonna Arrow, and “Doppelganger” is at least exciting during the good parts. Several of the pseudo-long take fight scenes (masked by close-up shots where an edit was clearly made) show that Arrow is taking the competition of superhero TV seriously. While Daredevil remains off the air, Arrow is doing its best to show what it can do in the limits of network TV.
Arrow once again enters hiatus until March 29, where Thea’s story will continue as her forgotten status as the heir to Ra’s Al Ghul comes back, along with Nyssa. Roy Harper may be sticking around for at least one more episode. It seems Thea is gonna have to make a serious choice in the next few weeks.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.