[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Arrow ahead.]
As Arrow's third season continues to pick up the pace and up the ante with the finale drawing nearer, no character is safe - from death or contract expiration. Last week's episode saw Colton Haynes' Roy Harper fake his own death in prison, before wishing his fellow vigilante friends farewell and driving off (presumably for good).
For weeks, the series' showrunners and stars had hinted at an emotional shake-up to Team Arrow in Episode 19, but what was expected to be a major death turned out to be a good-bye. Or, perhaps more accurately, a 'see you later'.
While Haynes' status as a regular on the CW series is indeed over - as confirmed (via Bleeding Cool) by co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim - that is not to say he won't make a few surprise appearances in the future of the Arrow/Flash DC universe. Recently, the star took to Twitter to thank his fans and tease an eventual return:
— Colton Haynes (@ColtonLHaynes) April 17, 2015
However, viewers shouldn't get too excited just yet for Arsenal in season four. The 'see you soon' nod could simply be referring to the actor's guest role in the May 16 episode, "This Is Your Sword", in which he comes back to wrap up things with Thea (who will indeed survive Ra's al Ghul's sword thanks to the Lazarus Pits). The final encounter between the on-again, off-again couple will undoubtedly provide some closure to their series-long love story and cement Roy's departure.
In terms of TV character departures - especially those on dark, trigger-happy shows like Arrow - Roy's was arguably one of the more neat and satisfying (and less fatal). Whereas Moira Queen's tragic demise in season two and Sarah Lance's shocking fate at the beginning of this season felt premature for both characters' respective arcs, Roy managed to absolve himself of his past crimes and guilt - bringing his character full-circle.
That being said, there's still has plenty of room for growth for Roy, beyond the guise of Oliver's red sidekick. In the comics, Roy Harper eventually leaves his mentor's side and becomes his own hero, as a member of both the Teen Titans and Justice League of America. The Arrow/Flash spinoff in the works will bring together a team of heroes a la the Justice League - so it would be fitting for Roy's Arsenal to join their ranks as a part-time member. (That, or he could join the Titans TV series that's in the works - or even become another city's resident vigilante, as Nightwing does in Bludhaven after shedding his Robin alter ego.)
Whatever the case, Roy's absence leaves a space to fill on Team Arrow's roster. Could Thea finally live up to her nickname 'Speedy' and assume a sidekick role next to her big brother? Or, following her exposure to the mystical Lazarus Pits, could she take a turn for the worse and become a season four villain?
With the guaranteed explosive finale only a few episodes away, viewers won't have to wait long to find out...
Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW.
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