Despite its overwhelmingly somber tone, the third season of The CW’s Arrow ended on a relatively happy note for all involved – except for Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). While everyone on Team Arrow received some sort of a happy ending, Mr. Palmer was seemingly killed unceremoniously in an explosion while tinkering with his Atom suit. Despite the magnitude of the blast, Arrow seldom allows death to become a permanent condition – and now we know when we'll find our what's actually happened to Ray Palmer.
The CW recently released the official logline for Episode 6 of Arrow’s fourth season – titled “The Lost Souls” -- that will deal with how Palmer will be brought back into the fold:
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is frantic when she learns that Ray (guest star Brandon Routh) is alive and being held by Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough). Felicity’s guilt over not finding Ray sooner causes tension between her and Oliver (Stephen Amell).
So Ray is not only alive, but a captive of Season 4 big bad Damien Darhk. It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that Ray survived the blast; his involvement in Legends of Tomorrow has already become fairly common knowledge over the last year. However, up until now audiences have been pretty much completely in the dark – or Darhk -- as to how he would come back. There have been a range of theories regarding how he's currently alive, with only his vague phone messages to Felicity to telegraph his return. What relevance Ray has to Darhk’s scheme remains unclear unclear at this stage, but this season of Arrow has so far revolved around the theme of people who embody hope for the city – something Ray was, and Darhk despises.
It will certainly prove interesting to see how the revelation of Ray’s survival will factor into Felicity and Oliver’s relationship. The love triangle between Oliver, Ray, and Felicity provided some of the more compelling human drama when compared to much of last season’s melodramatic spectacle, so despite the good terms Olicity currently finds themselves in, Ray’s return will almost certainly create some friction. Another issue his return will raise should come in the form of his death’s effect on the city, as Starling City became Star City to honor his contributions and sacrifices.
Arrow has already been doing quite a bit of legwork to get Legends of Tomorrow’s ensemble ready for action. While Felicity is still trying to work out Ray’s situation, Thea and Laurel recently travelled to Nanda Parbat and used the Lazarus Pit to bring Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) back to life. Arrow’s sister series The Flash has also done equivalent amounts of work with the likes of Firestorm, Captain Cold, and Hawkgirl. It has become a common trend for The CW to us currently airing -- and popular -- programs to generate interest and lay necessary groundwork rather than banking on pilot episodes to provide exposition on the lead characters of a spin-off.
Here's the first look at the Legends team, if you haven't caught it:
Despite these pressing questions, audiences will just have to wait until November 11 to get their answers when “The Lost Souls” airs on The CW. In the meantime, new episodes hit the schedule on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.