[WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Arrow Season 3. Read at your own risk.]
The full slate of DC Comics television series has finally premiered as of last week’s Constantine debut on NBC. Though Constantine, Fox’s Gotham, and CW’s The Flash are fledgling series, Arrow is almost four episodes into its third season. The show’s star Stephen Amell teased at New York Comic-Con that Arrow would build upon its previous seasons, with one of the major continuing thread already appearing in episode 3 “Corto Maltese” - Malcolm Merlyn’s (John Barrowman) relationship with Thea Queen (Willa Holland).
In tonight’s episode, “The Magician”, both Thea and Malcolm return to Starling City and in a recent interview, the Dark Archer himself said he’d be coming back “with a bang.”
In an interview with THR, Barrowman discussed his character’s relationships with both Oliver Queen (Amell) -- who Malcolm views as a son -- as well as his biological daughter Thea and how those relationships progress over Arrow’s third season. Barrowman also said that his ties to Oliver and Thea may influence his personal agenda - which he's concealing for the moment, thanks to his being “a very good poker player.”
As to what that agenda may be -- and whether or not Malcolm is responsible for the death of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) in the season 3 premiere -- Barrowman was less forthcoming. He did reveal, though, that episode 4 will deal with whether or not Malcolm should be on Team Arrow’s list of suspects.
Barrowman had more to say about how Malcolm will influence Oliver’s season 3 arc of dealing with balancing his alter ego with his personal life. However, in terms of whether Malcolm will genuinely help Oliver, or manipulate the younger archer, Barrowman said there would be a mix of the two:
“Malcolm will play into that but again, you will have to wait and see whether it's to help Oliver from figuring it out or whether it's to deter him from figuring it out so Malcolm can control him. There a double-edged sword there and there's a dynamic that has yet to be played, if it is to be played at all. But Oliver is on this discovery path and do you think Malcolm's not going to use that to his advantage?”
Barrowman had little else to say about the Dark Archer’s role in season 3, though he did offer one interesting (and vague) tidbit for fans, hinting that his character will end up in a confrontation with “somebody he never thought he would confront.”
There are plenty of interesting aspects to Malcolm’s character arc that could -- and possibly will -- play out in season 3, but the most compelling mystery at the moment is who could be the Dark Archer’s unexpected adversary. Though THR suggests Ra’s al Ghul (to be played by Matt Nable), Thea and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) are other potential adversaries.
However, who Malcolm confronts may not be his most compelling arc in season 3 -- or an adversary at all as there are different types of confrontations (some that aren't physical). As his relationships with Thea and Oliver progress, and as the siblings attempt to navigate their own relationship in the wake of their mother’s death last season, the familial drama between these three characters could prove to be a major throughline of season 3.
That being said, many fans are sure to be excited to see the Dark Archer return to Starling City tonight, with Barrowman promising that it won't be a welcome one, stating that “the proverbial s*** is going to hit the fan.”
Arrow continues tonight with “The Magician” @8pm on The CW.