AVClub: Well, how the hell else was Arrow going to bring back Roy Harper? By not having him do parkour?
“Unchained” is a grand cavalcade of returning guest stars, with one very addition to the show’s mythos. Roy is the star attraction here, considering he was once a series regular and all. The episode recaptures precisely what Roy represented for Arrow during his tenure, all of which boils down to three key elements. First, there’s the parkour, now and forever, and I deeply appreciate Arrow going to the trouble of giving us the most Roy Harper-ish reintroduction possible with his various chase sequences. Second, there’s his relationship with Thea, which was one of the show’s strongest elements when it was still finding itself back in the first season and gave both Willa Holland and Colton Haynes space to define their performances and create a compelling subplot that had little to do with Oliver’s activities. And that leads into the third thing about Roy: He was always kind of superfluous as a member of Team Arrow. He was only ever really there because canon demanded it, but the show could never effectively position him as Oliver’s trusted sidekick when John Diggle had already forged a similar, stronger relationship. Roy was never a bad character, but there just wasn’t much purpose to him once the Mirakuru wore off and he transitioned into the Arsenal role.