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Warning: major spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of Arrow ahead.
The Season 4 premiere of Arrow – fittingly entitled “Green Arrow” – was a thrill ride in 42 minutes with a kicker of an ending that is undoubtedly responsible for any gasps, squeals, and/or shrieks of obscenities that echoed throughout the country at 8:59 ET on Wednesday night. The final scene opens with a handy caption informing us that it is taking place six months in the future; judging by Oliver’s black suit and somber expression, we are not witnessing a happy event. Then, suddenly, Barry Allen zooms in for a cameo!
Oh, and somebody’s dead. But we don't know who it is!
Judging by Oliver’s wrecked expression, single tear of manly heartbreak, and vow to kill the man responsible as he kneels on the ground in a cemetery, that somebody was very near and dear to his heart.
The episode ends before the camera could reveal just who the Emerald Archer was mourning, but there are a few characters whose deaths could so utterly devastate Oliver. Assuming that Season 4 plays out with as much narrative symmetry as earlier seasons, it’s likely that a major player from the premiere will be the one to head off toward that great secret vigilante lair in the sky.
The most obvious - and perhaps too obvious - choice after the events of “Green Arrow” is certainly Felicity. The love story between Oliver and Felicity that delighted shippers at the end of Season 3 survived the summer intact, and the show sidestepped all of the convenient pitfalls to tear them apart for maximum melodrama. The lovebirds merely relocated their happily-ever-after to Star City, and it looks as though Oliver’s intentions to propose were not permanently thwarted. After Oliver, Barry’s closest tie in Team Arrow is definitely to Felicity.
A second candidate for the big death is Thea. Oliver’s concern for his baby sister throughout the episode clearly played a part in his decision to stay in Star City, and a twist of Thea spending the majority of a season fighting off the effects of the Lazarus Pit only to tragically die would not exactly be the first devastating arrow fired at the character from the show’s quiver. The last time that Oliver was seen as wrecked as he is in the flash-forward was after Thea was gutted by Ra’s al Ghul, and he even referred back to that incident in “Green Arrow.” Foreshadowing?
Of course, Arrow has never been 100% predictable, and there’s plenty that can go wrong or go right to switch up the ranking order in Oliver’s heart. Besides, what’s a death pool without a wild card for good measure? Laurel has just been elevated to Black Canary, and Diggle clearly has a H.I.V.E. storyline that should keep him out of the running.
But what about Captain Lance? Aside from the personal toll that the unnatural death of another Lance could have on Oliver, Quentin Lance being killed could put a crack in the foundation of the series. Mayors have been murdered, attorneys have been assassinated, and beat cops have been killed by the score, but Quentin has been the face of the Star(ling) City justice system from the very beginning. The symbolism of his death could easily gut Oliver to his core.
Okay, it’s probably not Captain Lance, but the three big loves of Oliver’s life throughout the series to this point have been Felicity, Thea, and his city. The loss – symbolic or literal – of any could have brought about the Oliver Queen whom we saw weeping in a graveyard, something that actor Stephen Amell hinted at last month with the image below.
Of course, Arrow is hardly a show known for keeping its dead entirely dead, and Barry’s appearance brings the potential for time travel shenanigans from The Flash into play. But executive producer Marc Guggenheim has stated that this is not a fake-out death, and that whoever it is will be gone for good. If Felicity is the one to die, I guess she won't get a resurrection in time for a ring on the finger in the season finale.
We’ll just have to wait, watch, and hope that Arrow doesn't kill off another lady for Oliver's journey.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8PM EST on The CW.