What's in Store for Arrow Season 3.5?

1/08/2015 Stephen Colbert 6 Comments


Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Arrow up through Season 3, Green Arrow Volume 3 comics, and minor spoilers for The Final Night crossover event.

Many Arrow fans were stunned by the cliffhanger ending to the Arrow midseason finale, where Ra's al Ghul drives a sword through Oliver's chest and dumps him off a cliff.  Now, while this is a TV show--based on a comic book, no less--I'm willing to wager Oliver Queen is actually dead.  Super dead.

Sure, that sword through the chest didn't necessarily kill him, and it's possible he survived the fall, but there's not exactly easily accessible emergency care (remember, it took him the whole episode to climb to the top of the mountain), it's also really cold, he's bleeding profusely, and he likely has a broken back/neck.  I think he's dead.

However, as I already mentioned, this is a show based on a comic-book, and the only person that stays dead in comics is Uncle Ben.  There was a convenient aside from Ra's al Ghul earlier in the episode suggesting he could be dozens (or centuries) old.  This is accomplished in the comic books through Lazarus pits, which can rejuvenate the bather, or even bring them back from the dead in some cases (thus the name).

Oliver's death in Arrow is not the first time the character has died in Green Arrow lore.  There have been several moments where he has both died and come back from the dead, as well as cheated death.  Taking a look at those storylines, a narrative for the second half of Arrow Season 3 seems to emerge.


The first time Oliver Queen died was in the arc "Where Angels Fear to Tread," in 1995.  In that story,  Oliver sacrifices himself to save the entire city of Metropolis, and the character actually remained dead until 2001, when Kevin Smith was commissioned to bring him back from the dead, in what I consider one of the best written stories I've read in comics, Quiver.

In Quiver, Oliver Queen returns from the dead with complete amnesia when it comes to the events of the 10 years prior to his death.  The story uses several flashbacks to add minor details from previous comics (specifically The Final Night), where Hal Jordan (as the crazy Parallax) is revealed to have brought Oliver back from the dead as one final act of redemption before his own death.

The story chronicles Green Arrow's return to form, where he also meets Mia Dearden (who eventually becomes his sidekick, reviving the moniker "Speedy"), and regains the fortune he'd lost prior to the events of his death.

Before Quiver, the character of Green Arrow was a far more fun loving and not nearly as serious.  Kevin Smith uses Oliver's resurrection as a means to reshape the character into someone that takes many matters (especially social issues) far more seriously, although he is still far more lighthearted than Stephen Amell's portrayal in Arrow.

Needless to say, Quiver is one of the most defining moments in all of Green Arrow comics, and re-established the character for a new generation of comics.


The second time Oliver (apparently) died was at the end of the storyline "Heading into the Light" in 2006.  In this story, Malcom Merlyn and Dr. light team up to emotionally terrorize Oliver and the rest of the Arrow family, before (apparently) blowing up the "arrow cave" with his son, Connor Hawke (the second Green Arrow), and Mia Dearden (the second Speedy) still inside.  After this, Oliver gets 2 arrows in his chest, and (again, apparently) dies, and it remains that way for the crossover event Infinite Crisis.

After the Infinite Crisis crossover, all DC timelines jumps forward a full year, at which time the Crawling from the Wreckage  arc, by Judd Winick, takes place.  Through flashbacks, we discover Connor Hawke had in fact survived the blast (along with Mia Dearden), and they had rescued Ollie and taken him to an island.

Having been utterly humiliated at the hands of Merlyn, Oliver decides he needs a complete redux.  He needs to be faster, stronger, smarter, and have better resources.  He spends a year on the island, bringing in grand masters in nearly every form of combat, fitness trainers, dietitians, and technical instructors, and even professional assassins (such as Deathstroke's original instructor), in order to learn from every angle how to fashion himself into a more perfect tool for justice.

During this time, Star City has fallen into even further disarray.  In Merlyn's attack on Oliver, a good chunk of the city had been destroyed (much like at the end of season 1 of the show), and a wall has been built, separating the poor class that lives in The Glades from the rest of the city, causing living conditions on the Glades side of the wall to plummet.

The wall infuriates Oliver, and leads to him planning his return to Star City to run for Mayor.  In order to gain enough capital to run for office and maintain his efforts as Arrow, Oliver also participates in some dirty stock market trading, ruining several weapons companies in the process, and when the dust settles, he has multiplied his own fortune many times over.

Oliver returns to Star City and becomes Mayor, where he stands as a very flamboyant and controversial figure.  His efforts to save The Glades even anger some of his political enemies even go as far as hiring Deathstroke to assassinate Oliver, but when Deathstroke shows up, he is shocked by Oliver's new found skill and is easily outsmarted and defeated by a well prepared Oliver.

Later on, Deathstroke (who is scheduled to reappear this season), has recently escaped from prison with Constantine Drakon (who was unfortunately underutilized and killed off early in season 1),  and the two of them team up with Malcom Merlyn and the mobster Danny "Brick" Brickwell (who is scheduled to appear this season, played by Vinnie Jones) to exact revenge on the Arrow Family.  They are about to have their way, when they are interrupted by Superman and the Justice League at the last moment.

So, which version will Arrow season 3.5 draw from?  Likely a combination of both.  Drawing some inspiration from both stories, and some clues from some already confirmed events coming up in the show, it's fairly easy to connect a few dots to make some major plot predictions.


First, Green Lantern obviously isn't going to revive Oliver as he did in Quiver, and it's very unlikely that he will cheat death as he did in Crawling from the Wreckage.  The most likely resurrection will come from the hinted Lazarus pits.  Some people think it will be at the hand of Malcom Merlyn, but more than likely, it will be Oliver's friend from the flashbacks, Maseo Yamashiro, who has been revealed to be a member of the League of Assassins (hey, those flashbacks have to pay off sometime, right?).


Second, Oliver will hopefully sit out several episodes.  TV shows often have a bad habit of rushing the return of characters like this, but Arrow is unique in that it has enough side characters to deal with for some time.  Likely, Oliver will be slightly crazy upon emerging from the Lazarus pit, and will then hopefully spend time training to be strong enough to defeat Ra's (or at least get strongger).


Third, Oliver will get his fortune back.  He will either use what capital he has left--or is otherwise able to attain--to make some investments and gain millions back.  His defeat by Ra's has shown him not only that he is physically weak, but that he is no longer able to be the change he wants to be in Star(ling) city.  This can happen before or after he returns.


Fourth, Oliver will return to Star(ling) City as a new man.  This is fairly obvious.  Death tends to be a fairly transformative experience, after all.  He will return with new vision, new skills and abilities, and possibly a new fortune.  Before the end of the season, he will run for Mayor.  I can see this happening at the end of the season and stretching into season 4.


Fifth, Thea will become Speedy.  Roy was called Speedy once, so I don't know if that was ever officially his title, but he's "Arsenal" now.  Thea Dearden Queen is clearly inspired by Mia Dearden, so I think she will fill those shoes.  While Oliver is gone, there will be a vacuum created, and I think Thea will rise to the occasion.  She did receive the proper training, after all.


Sixth, Deathstroke will return.  This is basically confirmed by Manu Bennet.  Not much to say here.  I don't think he'll necessarily be a major villain.  Oliver will either enlist him for training on the island, or he will simply be used as a temporary villain to demonstrate how much Oliver has improved.


Seventh, Oliver and Laurel get back together.  The show really needs to put an end to the love dodecahedron it has going on with Oliver and every other woman in the show besides Thea.  We know Lauren becomes Black Canary already, and Arrow Volume 3 ends with Oliver proposing to Dinah (Laurel's name is Laurel Dinah Lance in Arrow, and Dinah Laurel Lance in the comics, for the uninformed).  I don't think Oliver will necessarily propose at the end of season 3, but I think they will be an item (and Felicity will be with Ray Palmer).


The only thing that isn't exactly clear at this point is what they intend to do with Ray Palmer.  He is clearly on his way to becoming The Atom, but his purpose is cloudy.  The character is so strong, it seems like he has to either be killed off, or spun-off.  I'd personally prefer a spin-off.  Between him, Firestorm, Arsenal, Speedy, Black Canary, Wildcat, Flash, and Arrow, they have a mini b-squad Justice League.  It seems like Ray Palmer may actually fill the shoes of Superman for this version of the team (which is pretty ironic).

Based on the current direction of the show, a lot of these predictions do make a lot of sense, but who knows what direction it will actually take.  One thing is for sure, it's a good time to be watching DC television.  Let me know what you think of these theories in the comments section!

Arrow will return January 21st at 8/7c.  You can follow my weekly reviews at Watchtower of Babel News.

6 comments:

  1. I agree with most of what you've predicted here, I've been saying myself that Oliver Queen will come back a changed man from the experience of near death, how could it not. And for me the romantic interest in Felicity is only a passing phase, that once Green Arrow and Black Canary are working together (they first met in the JLA), and that is when they will slowly drift back to one another. This should start to come together I as Oliver gets closer to leaving the "island" in flashback mode.


    They've already hinted at Slade's return and I think Brick will be around for awhile. As you say what to do with Ray Palmer, I think they will make him a reoccurring character and always connected to Felicity, he's too good a character to throw away the same with Wildcat. The careful trick will be to balance this all out so there is proper character development and not just heroes and villain in fight scenes every week.

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  2. Wasn't it the force awakens ? The Force unleashed is the videogame series

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  3. Whoa! You're very right. Don't know how that got through. Fixed, thanks!

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  4. Yeah, TV is difficult, because they can't just infinitely spin characters off like a comic. That means characters like Ray Palmer and Ted Grant have some sort of shelf life before their continued presence becomes problematic to a show titled "Arrow."

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  5. Errors/Corrections:
    Merlyn from the comics is not the same person as Malcolm Merlyn from Arrow.
    Dinah/Laurel is named Dinah Laurel Lance on both the comics and the show.

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  6. I guess I could be a little clearer around Laurel's name. She obviously goes primarily by Laurel, which is the point. Obviously Malcom isn't the same, though. Nobody really is. He is another archer that happens to bomb out Star(ling) city in both though, so...

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