Malcolm Merlyn is going to be a "huge factor" in the episodes leading up to this year's Arrow finale. The show has always been as much about the emotional lives and moral grey areas of the characters as it is about costumed vigilantes battling ruthless enemies. Season 5 has dug especially deep into the psyche of Team Arrow with the arrival of big bad Prometheus, aka Adrian Chase, a particularly clever villain whose machinations have drastically altered how Oliver and Felicity view their own identities.
The upcoming Arrow season finale promises a massive confrontation with Prometheus, and it looks like Oliver will be making some pretty surprising alliances in order to win. The tenuous team-up includes Nyssa al Ghul, who will be facing off against her own sister Talia, as well as former friend-turned-mortal-enemy Deathstroke. They won't be the only past foes to take part in the action, however.
In an interview with CBR, Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle has promised that Thea's father and Legends of Tomorrow's Legion of Doom member Malcolm Merlyn will bring plenty of psychological drama to the final episodes of the season.
"He’s going to be a huge factor leading up to the finale. This season is all about legacy, and when Malcolm comes into the story, it’s really rooted as much by necessity from Oliver’s point of view as it is about what Malcolm means to him and what Malcolm means to Thea. It’s a great story, because it’s going to have a lot of action but it’s also going to have this kind of emotional undercurrent that is going to lead to a really big, huge series moment for him. I think it’s a great story to tell, and it’s great stuff for John [Barrowman] to play."
The season 5 finale is also bringing the ongoing series of flashbacks to a close, finally connecting to the moment Oliver was "rescued" in the Arrow pilot. Malcolm had a brief appearance in the Bratva flashbacks with Kovar, another enemy from the past that could be seeking his revenge in the present.
It all sounds like a fantastically ambitious finale for Arrow, with so many interwoven threads between the people in Oliver's past and present. Thea has taken a big step back this season from crime-fighting, and it will be interesting to see if she's drawn back in for the epic battle against Prometheus, and what sort of interactions she'll be having with her father. Considering the "huge" and "emotional" role Mericle has teased for Malcolm, it's also a possibility he may be one of the casualties in what the EP has called a "final, big whamo at the end."
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Underneath’ at 8pm on The CW.