Warning: spoilers for the Arrow episode “The Fallen” are ahead!
Arrow fans have seen the Lazarus Pit several times, but it was in last night’s episode “The Fallen” that its true potential was revealed. After Thea was horribly injured by Ra’s al Ghul, she was brought to Nanda Parbat by Oliver, Team Arrow and Malcolm Merlyn to be healed in exchange for Oliver accepting Ra’s’ offer. After being submerged in the Pit briefly, Thea bounced out of it in full health. Season 3’s final episodes will explore both the lingering effects and consequences of it being used on her. However, despite how the Pit has functioned over the years in the comics, fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for it being a way for major deceased characters to return to the show.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim clarified to THR that even though Thea miraculously recovered after being put in this strange pool, viewers shouldn't expect the show to start bringing fan-favorites back to life. Here’s how Guggenheim described it:
Now that we've got it in our world, and we have a lot of dead characters in our world, we will be addressing how it works and the circumstances and things of that nature. I know that is something our fans are going to be very interested in. I'm sure after the events of episode 20, there will be a lot of, 'Get Tommy in the pit. Get Moira in the pit.' We don't have any plans to do that, but we have an explanation for why that is the case.
Although Guggenheim didn’t say outright that Arrow’s Lazarus Pit can't revive the dead, it sounds like he and the rest of the creative team don’t want to use it in that capacity. It’s worth noting that while the comic version of the Lazarus Pit can bring the deceased back to life, Arrow made a point to emphasize that Thea was near death, not actually dead. It’s possible the Pit may only heal injuries. However, if we assume that the Arrow version can revive the dead, there may be a time limit by it only working on the recently deceased. Meaning that in Tommy and Moira’s cases, they’ve been dead for so long that the Pit’s effects might not work on their corpses.
This adds another degree of mystery to how actress Caity Lotz is involved with the Arrow/Flash spinoff. Her character Sara Lance was killed in the Arrow Season 3 premiere, but many have suspected that she’ll somehow be revived and serve on the team as The Canary. Maybe Sara will be the exception to the no-revival rule, but we might want to consider other forces at work. Perhaps Lotz is simply playing another character, or with Rip Hunter’s involvement, maybe time travel is plays a factor and we’ll see a past version of Sara.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.