ARROW Sneak Peek: The Departed

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Since the beginning of this season of ARROW, much has been made of the question, “Who is in the grave?”  Producers promise that the question is going to be answered tonight.

There certainly are more theories than answers.  The producers have promised a big change..the end of an era…with this episode.

Executive Producer Mark Guggenheim is co-writer (along with Keto Shimizu) of tonight’s episode, “Eleven-Fifty-Nine,” which presumably is the time of death.

When writing for DC Comics, Guggenheim was known to make drastic changes in the canon from time to time (check out the old Justice Society), so assumedly no one except Green Arrow is safe tonight.

Here are some random thoughts about the possibilities and the relationships.

There was a flash of a name on one of the gravestones by which Oliver stood.  On some stills, the last letters on the marker appeared to be “ayton.”  Oliver’s son, William, and William’s mother share the last name, “Clayton.”

There were 3 wreaths in the cemetery.  Does that indicate that William, Samantha and a member of Team ARROW possibly may meet their demise?

While it always is sad to see a TV child character get killed, frankly, I don’t care about William.  He hasn’t been on the canvas enough for me to establish a “relationship” with him.  If he or Samantha dies, I don’t have enough invested in either character to care.

Yes, maybe it will propel Oliver to kill Dahrk as a result, but after seeing Neil McDonough interact with a little girl at a recent convention, all I will get out of that scenario is that McDonough is a really good actor if he can make me believe that he would kill a kid.

As far as killing off Dahrk, I doubt if his death would have the huge impact on Team Arrow that is promised because the bad guy generally has a short shelf life. Ra’s al Ghul is immortal, and he’s gone.  Vandal Savage is immortal, but slated to take his leave from LEGENDS OF TOMORROW at the end of this season.  Audiences expect the villain to depart, so that doesn’t feel “epic” enough to change the team.

Another person in whom I’ve not had enough time to invest emotionally is Andy Diggle.  Don’t get me wrong.  I really enjoyed actor Eugene Byrd’s recurring stint on BONES, but if he gets “his” tonight, big whoop.  I have no doubt that Byrd could bring more to the character, but that takes time.

Speaking of the Diggle family, I don’t see Lyla (recurring guest star Audrey Marie Anderson) as a possibility.  They just put her in charge of A.R.G.U.S., so Warner’s Feature Division could snag the character of Amanda Waller for exclusive use in their films.  Why bother to give the job to Lyla then kill her?

Curtis/Mr. Terrific seems safe.  Portrayer Echo Kellum just got boosted to series regular for next season.

Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) was seen after the funeral in the limo with Oliver.  Unless that was his unconscious talking to him, she’s probably safe.  Of course, if it were his unconscious and not really Felicity, his brain probably would have put the engagement ring back on her finger.

Then, there’s Felicity’s mom.  Donna Smoak (guest star Charlotte Ross) has been getting more airtime lately, and her character is more audience-connected than William, Samantha or Andy, but to tout her death as having a major effect on the team as a whole seems like a stretch.

Felicity’s dad, Noah Kuttler (guest star Tom Amandes) seems like low risk.  Not only has he not had time to develop a relationship with the audience, his death certainly would not live up to the “epic loss” that is being predicted.

Furthermore, Amandes is slated to appear in the May 11 episode, “Monument Peak,” not coincidentally the same fictional location of Guggenheim’s shakeup of the Justice Society.  We’ve already seen Guggenheim’s tendency to tie in his past work into the canon when he gave Felicity the name, “Overwatch,” the title of a novel that he had written.

Although Nyssa is not a part of Team Arrow, I would hate for her to get dispatched.  Katrina Law (and her stunt doubles) always provide great fight sequences, and she really rocks the duster coat.  As far as non-regular cast members, she’s my favorite.  Besides, I don’t see Felicity being all that upset that Oliver’s “wife” is dead.

Diggle (David Ramsey) seems like a low possibility.  He was introduced on this show as a character specifically for the TV series having never been in the comics.  Why go to all the trouble to introducing a new character only to kill him off?

Plus, Oliver needs Diggle to keep ARROW on the path of redemption, not retribution.  Besides, Ramsey is such an audience favorite that killing off the character only might work for fans if Warners gave Ramsey the John Stewart role in GREEN LANTERN CORPS.

Thea (Willa Holland) also seems out of the running for the grave.  She’s already died once.  It they wanted to be rid of her, they could have just left her dead.

Malcolm had more impact in previous seasons.  Sending him off to be the new Ra’s made him less invested in the “dad department.”  His ties to the team are weakened, so for me, his death would not be epic, just irritating. I absolutely love John Barrowman and would rather see him integrated into the team, either as the main scenery-chewing villain or as a hero.  Either option is preferable to killing him off.

Quentin Lance is a definite possibility in my mind.  He’s become the moral compass of the floundering team, even giving up his career and risking jail time to do the right thing.

My based-on-supposition-only thinking on this is that his portrayer, Paul Blackthorne, is British and has three non-ARROW projects slated for this year, all helmed by British production companies.  If he wanted to leave Vancouver for his homeland, I would miss Quentin, but be happy for Paul.  Of course, there are those pesky leaked pictures showing him in the cemetery, past and future, so maybe he’s safe.

Much has been made of those leaked photos of Katie Cassidy’s appearance at one funeral, which seems to be Sara’s in flashback (Quentin has hair in those photos).  She also is slated for a crossover with VIXEN, and has an upcoming guest shot on THE FLASH as an alternate Earth version of Black Canary named “Black Siren.”

This is where I’m going to go against fan wishes.  I love the Felicity character, and she brings a lot to the team, as does Rickards.

BUT, decades of comic books have Green Arrow linked romantically to Black Canary, except Cassidy hasn’t been given the chance to develop the “Canary-ish-ness” of her comic book counterpart.  We all know that, based on her portrayal of “Ruby” on SUPERNATURAL, Cassidy could be full-on Canary with a little character development.

It may be too late to bolster THIS Laurel Lance into the comic book version, but killing her off and importing a stronger version from another Earth could work.  It also could give Oliver a new woman to fall in love with and put the pain of his breakup with Felicity behind him.

Regardless, can the TV series continue to fly in the face of a decades-long canon without hardcore fans starting to complain?  Maybe.  If there are any plans for Black Canary to be in either of the upcoming Justice League movies, how will DC Entertainment handle competing canons on Green Arrow’s relationships?

Besides, I’m still rooting for Felicity, Huntress and Vixen to bond into the BIRDS OF PREY.

Guggenheim has done some major character redirects in the past.  Maybe it’s time for one more.

Tonight’s ARROW was directed by Rob Hardy and airs at 8:00 p.m. on The CW in the U.S. and on CTV in Canada.

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