Warning: You’re about to head into major spoiler territory for the Arrow season four premiere. If you haven’t watched the episode, do not go any further!
Arrow gave its fans a collective heart attack with a shocking jaw-dropper in the final moments of the season four premiere: One of the characters will die, and it will stick.
The show broke tradition, flash-forwarding six months and settling on a cemetery just outside of Star City for the episode’s last scene. A distraught Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is seen kneeling in front of a freshly dug grave unable to contain his grief – it’s clear the victim is someone he intimately knows.
“I'm going to kill him,” Oliver coldly says, possibly referring to Damien Darhk, as a tear trickles down his face with his mentee Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who raced in after fighting Zoom, looking on.
“It’s not a fake-out. That’s not how we roll,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim says of the season opener’s dramatic reveal.
“They will stay dead,” executive producer Wendy Mericle confirms, adding that the glimpse ahead is a way “to bring stakes back to the show.”
Even so, Guggenheim assures that the death will be handled with care.
“It’ll feel organic and very earned,” he promises. “It’s actually very elegant.”
If Guggenheim and Mericle know which Arrow character will eventually find themselves buried six feet under, they aren’t letting on.
“We don’t necessarily know who it is right now,” Mericle claims. “We’re still figuring the plan out for the season, but we want it, obviously, to have resonance. If it doesn’t mean something to the characters, it won’t mean anything to the audience either.”
Fortunately, there will be time for the characters and audiences to grieve, though Guggenheim was mum on when in the season the death will occur – only to say that “there will be time afterwards” to deal with the aftermath.
But the final scene did offer up clues on who may be the unlucky victim. Let’s dig into our theories, shall we?
We can take Felicity off the list! On the Jan. 20 winter return, it was revealed in a flash-forward that Felicity is alive and well. Whew. This is what Mericle had to say following the episode to ETonline: "It was important to us to show that this loss that we’re headed for has an impact not just on Oliver, but on a lot of people. It’s going to be a big shock and a big game-changer, and it’ll have an impact on Felicity as well."
The easy pick would be Oliver’s possible future fiancée, but frankly, we think it’s too easy of a choice. Plus, would the writers really dare tear Oliver and Felicity apart after they established a season-long engagement mystery? We don’t think so. “When Oliver hides the ring, we’re also dramatizing the fact that, ‘OK, he’s with Felicity, they’re together, but things are not the same as they were back in Ivy Town,” Guggenheim says. In the end, Barry’s reaction -- he wasn’t exactly crying -- may be the most telling sign. If it really was Felicity, wouldn’t he be just as devastated as Oliver? Following the Arrow season four fall finale on Dec. 9, once Felicity officially got engaged to Oliver, several of Damien Darhk's minions shot dozens of rounds into the limo the couple were in. After Oliver drove the gunshot-riddled limo to safety, it was revealed that Felicity was unconscious, bleeding and badly injured. All signs seem to point to Felicity in the grave -- for the moment, at least.
With the younger Queen going down the same dangerous path as Oliver when he first became a vigilante, it would make sense for Speedy to fall victim to her ways. And, as devastating as it would be, it would create so much drama and conflict that the possibilities would be boundless. But how much familial loss could Oliver really deal with?
Mericle hints of Thea’s journey, “Our intention for her this season is not only the side effects of the Lazarus Pit, but also to talk about her life as Speedy and how does she balance a personal life with being a vigilante.”
Star City’s Assistant District Attorney has gone a long way since season one, and at the start of the new season, she’s fully embracing her role as Black Canary. With her father making a deal with Damien Darhk and her sister Sara coming back from the dead (again), it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Laurel.
“She’s really going to be dealing with Sara coming back, but also … her dad and what’s in the premiere,” Mericle hints, adding this ominous tease. “There are going to be ramifications for her and him, as well.”
Could this be it for Captain Lance? All signs are pointing to a very strong maybe. He’s working with Damien Darhk in secret and it’s bound to cause problems for him, his family and his relationship with Oliver. Once the moral compass of the show, Lance’s dance with the devil may serve as the character’s be all end all – though we’re just not buying that Oliver would be crying over his demise. But, a lot can happen in six months.
We really hope Oliver’s brother from another mother isn’t the one buried six feet under because that would be a loss so great we’re not sure how Oliver could ever recover. Unfortunately for him, Lance isn’t the only one keeping secrets, as Diggle has decided to keep his family’s H.I.V.E. connection from the team.
“It’s cool to see Oliver finally have a little moral high ground to stand on and it’s also interesting to see both those characters go to a dark place,” Mericle says of Diggle and Lance. “We haven’t really seen Dig, for lack of a better term, dig deep to find out what he’s capable of in the name of finding his brother[‘s murderer].”
Oliver and Malcolm always did have a tricky relationship, and it seems a far stretch to think Oliver would shed a tear over the new Ra’s al Ghul.
Sara Lance (Again)
If Sara dies, it’ll be the fourth time she’s bitten the bullet – and hey, she’s certainly survived before!
Six months is a long time for someone else to rise to the top of the victim list. Could it be Lyla, or Nyssa, or worst yet, Mama Smoak? What about a new character we have yet to meet, like Felicity’s new employee Curtis Holt, or political consultant Alex, or mayoral candidate Jessica Danforth? We wouldn’t put anything past the Arrow producers!
UPDATE: As the conversation continues about who the possible victim is, more theories have surfaced. Could it be Oliver's son he doesn't know about, or even the ex-girlfriend he bumped into in Central City?
Early predictions: Our money’s on Thea or Laurel.
So, tell us Arrow fans, who do you think is dying this season? Tell us by tweeting Philiana Ng at @insidethetube, and don’t forget to use the #ETnow hashtag!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.