“There was a time I would have thought this was my fault, that I brought this darkness upon us. Now I know it’s not my fault. It’s my responsibility.”
The first episode of Arrow Season 4 threw audiences a curveball in the form of a flashforward to six months later with Oliver Queen and Barry Allen at a grave following a recent funeral. Oliver resolves to kill the man responsible for filling the grave, but the question remains:
Who is in the grave?
The question was teased throughout the first half of the season, culminating in Felicity Smoak being gravely injured in an attack perpetrated by Damien Darhk’s Ghosts. The opening of Season 4’s second half revealed one more piece of information — Felicity was not the victim.
With several candidates, the only evidence to hand is that the victim is someone close enough to Oliver and Felicity to devastate them both enough to recant Oliver’s no-kill rule. Additionally, the arrival of Barry at the funeral indicates that he knows the victim well enough to attend.
Ray Palmer and Sara Lance
Let’s get these two out of the way to start with since they both have virtually zero chance of filling the grave. Ray Palmer, the billionaire technologist with an armored exosuit known as Iron Man the Atom, and Sara Lance, a former member of the League of Assassins resurrected via the Lazarus Pit into the White Canary. Both are members of the main cast on Arrow‘s new sister show, Legends of Tomorrow. Their story arcs are now tied to that show, and while the fallout from either character’s death on Legends would be appropriate to explore through the relationships the characters have on Arrow, it should not be the main focus of the original parent show. Either Ray or Sara’s death would affect both Oliver and Felicity emotionally, but Barry is another matter. Barry met Ray on several occasions over the course of the two shows so attending his funeral would be appropriate, but he has never interacted with Sara at all.
THE RANK OUTSIDERS
Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, was Oliver Queen’s first “sidekick,” training witch him after falling under the effects of Mirakuru in Season 2. Roy left the series in Season 3 by faking his own death after declaring publicly that he was the Arrow to ensure that Oliver remained free. Roy is set to return for at least one episode in Season 4, and while it is not inconceivable that this appearance will be his last, it is unlikely. Roy’s arc from street thug to hero is pretty much complete and his main storylines have more often tied into Thea’s rather than the main plot. Roy’s role should be more akin to an Arrowverse version of Nightwing – striking out on his own after his tutelage under the vigilante hero of Gotham, err, I mean Star City.
Ra’s al Ghul, the Magician, the Dark Archer. Now the leader of the League of Assassins, Malcolm Merlyn‘s season arc is far from clear. He’s Oliver’s sometime ally and enemy, only seeming to remain on “friendly” terms with him for the sake of his daughter, Thea. But at the same time he is playing his own game, such as collecting the remains of Vandal Savage with the implication being that Merlyn will somehow resurrect the immortal tyrant. One thing is certain – Merlyn’s death would not leave Oliver grieving in the way he is at the graveside unless something extraordinary happens in the back half of the season in their relationship. In fact, if Malcolm is in the grave, it’s a good bet that Oliver would have put him there himself.
The second Black Canary and sister to Sara Lance. This season, Laurel Lance’s main arc was the resurrection of Sara which was completed early in the season to allow her to be used on Legends. For the remainder of the season, she has so far been used in an increasingly supportive capacity to her father, Captain Quentin Lance. Currently she is the only member of Team Arrow without a clearly defined storyline this season, making her the most likely “expendable” member of the team although the death of her father would bring her to the fore once again as the show explores the emotional impact of Quentin’s death. The only reason her death seems unlikely is because she is the canonical Black Canary — killing her off would be a bold move for the show.
Oliver Queen’s sister, Thea Queen goes by the codename “Speedy.” Resurrected from near-death by the Lazarus Pit towards the end of Season Three, she is filled with a blood-lust compulsion to kill as a result of the magical healing hot tub. The only way to abate the bloodlust is to either kill the man responsible for the need to take a plunge into magical healing waters which would remove the feeling permanently, or to constantly kill others to keep the compulsion at bay. Since the man who almost killed her was Ra’s al Ghul and he’s (currently) dead, the latter is the only option for her – until Damien Darhk tried to kill her with his magical powers and it ended up curbing her compulsion for the present.
Removing the last of Oliver’s family would be a cruel blow in a show that killed off his father and mother, and could serve as the last straw that sees him fully commit to the vigilante path, cutting off personal ties such as love and family completely. However, Thea has a lot of potential in future storylines going forward which have only been solidified by tying her into Anarky’s evolving storyline.
Former soldier, bodyguard, and sometimes member of the Suicide Squad, John Diggle recently took to concealing his identity and going by the name “Spartan.” Now a family man reconnected with the brother who he long thought dead, will John take the ultimate sacrifice on the show in a season that has brought Diggle to the fore in a way it hasn’t since Season 1? Andy’s reappearance and ties to HIVE place Diggle squarely in the middle of any developing storyline that has the potential to end in a death. As a member of the original Team Arrow, Oliver and Felicity would be devastated by his death. There is also the fact that John is the only original character on the show, and his comic counterpart was only introduced into comics after the show aired.
THE LIKELY CANDIDATES
No married couple lives happily ever after in the Arrowverse. Robert and Moira, Moria and Walter, Caitlin and Ronnie, Joe and Francine. Will John and Lyla Michaels be any different? Diggle’s season arc has revolved around Andy as previously discussed; will he lose his wife in the season he regains his brother? AWOL brought one shocking twist – the death of the Arrowverse’s Amanda Waller since apparently DC thinks we can’t handle two versions of the same character on the big and small screens (I fear for Barry Allen on Flash as I type this). With Waller removed as the head of ARGUS, will Lyla step into the breach to craft a newer, friendly agency since the main reason she left was Waller’s disregard for human life? And will that move paint a massive target on her back?
Quentin Lance has had a target painted on his back for a while, ever since the end of Season 1 when he was ground zero deactivating the earthquake device. The end of Season 2 had him suffer bad injuries during the siege of Starling City while his main arc in Season 3 was centered around his weak heart being the reason Team Arrow kept Sara’s death from him. Season 4 places him in unwilling league with Damien Darhk playing the inside man for Oliver at the same time. Sooner or later, Darhk will learn of Lance’s betrayal and the consequences.
But would Lance’s death carry the emotional weight with Oliver and Felicity that the scenes convey? They would grieve obviously, but their concern would probably be more for Laurel. And Barry’s presence at the funeral is a little weird; he met Lance once and they both served in law enforcement, but that’s the extent of their interaction. Of course, with Quentin being on the verge of being bumped off most season and missing the cut, his chances for survival are pretty high.
While Samantha Clayton is the most removed from Oliver in terms of his circle of friends and allies, Samantha does have one unique trait that makes her the most likely target: she is the mother of Oliver’s child, William. Darhk may not be aware of the Green Arrow’s true identity, but he is personally invested in destroying Oliver himself. Targeting his son and former lover is not beyond the realms of possibility for a man trained by the League of Assassins and willing to kill to achieve his aims.
At the end of the episode Green Arrow, Oliver is alone at the graveside before Barry arrives. On the face of it, Oliver is alone to preserve the suspense of who is in the grave — by placing anyone else in the scene, it narrows the list of possible candidates. But what if the lack of other mourners is intentional for another reason — the funeral takes place in Central City where Samantha lives and none of the regular cast were in attendance because they were unaware of her or William’s existence. Only Barry knows the truth after finding out about it in the two-parter crossover episode Legends of Today/Legends of Yesterday.
Dark Waters reveals that Felicity was present as well, but minus any engagement ring. Since Oliver and Felicity broke up in the timeline that was erased by Barry’s time-travel in the fight against Vandal Savage over Oliver not telling her the truth about his son, then it stands to reason that Felicity at some point discovers the truth about Samantha and William leading to their break-up.
We’ve listed the possible victims, but what about the killer himself? All we know is that it is a him; Damien Darhk is the obvious perpetrator since he is the season’s big bad, but the Arrow producers have teased an early end to Darhk’s storyline hinting that the man behind the killing might be someone else entirely. Two other obvious choices are Malcolm Merlyn, long a thorn in Team Arrow’s side but seemingly on friendly terms with them at the moment, and Anarky who apparently poses enough of a threat to be able to do what Team Arrow couldn’t; track Darhk to his home. Of course, there might be another player waiting in the shadows to take on Team Arrow …
Mike “Cavalier One” Delaney is an administrator at Wookieepedia on Wikia. The closest he’s come to archery is playing darts at the pub and people find it strange if he wears a facemask and a green hood while doing it. He is can be found on Twitter @Cavalier1979.
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