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In the flashbacks this season on Arrow, we’ve watched Oliver go undercover back on Lian Yu as part of Baron Reiter’s operation. Originally believing that Reiter was on the island simply to grow drugs, Oliver has since learned this year’s flashback antagonist has more mystical schemes afoot. However, thanks to visitor John Constantine in the episode “Haunted,” Oliver now has a mysterious Chinese symbol tattoo with mystical properties, and now we know how it’s going to be put to good use.
Since Oliver got the tattoo, we haven’t see it in action yet, but executive producer Wendy Mericle informed EW that it’s going to come in handy when Oliver finds himself in a tough spot later this season. As she explained:
It’s going to help Oliver when he’s in a very dark place and time when he has no other way out. It’s going to be the thing that pulls him out of a very dark spot and literally saves him.
Fans have seen the Chinese symbol tattoo every time Oliver has been shirtless on Arrow (which is at least once an episode mandatory, right?), but it was only in “Haunted” that its origin was finally explained. After securing the Orb of Horus from a hidden area on Lian Yu, Constantine used the spell book to transfer the tattoo from his own arm to Oliver’s torso. The snarky occultist called it “insurance” against Reiter and told Oliver he would know how to use it when the time comes. Unlike Constantine, Oliver has no experience harnessing magic, so it will be interesting to see what situation arises where Oliver’s only way out is to rely on the tattoo’s unknown power.
As for what’s happening in the present day, viewers will remember that Oliver had that dragon tattoo (a replica of the one worn by his deceased lover Shado) removed from his back shortly before the Season 4 premiere, but Constantine’s tattoo managed to avoid the cut. Unfortunately, its magic may not be helpful battling Damien Darhk, the leader of H.I.V.E. who has been harnessing his own brand of dark magic. Mericle said:
The mysticism that Reiter is practicing may or may not sync up with what Damien Darhk is doing.
So far, most of Darhk’s attacks throughout Star City have been easily dealt with via punching and shooting, but with Darhk able to do things like telekinetically control objects and kill someone just be touching them, eventually Team Arrow is going to have to do more than just rely on their usual crimefighting methods. Since Constantine isn’t coming back anytime soon, we’ll have to wait and see what Oliver will do to up his magic game.
You can watch Arrow Season 4 unfold Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.