Let’s Play a Round of “Who’s in the Casket?”
Thus far I have floated peacefully above speculation about which character Arrow intends to off by the end of the season. I saw myself as the dispassionate fan who would not take the bait writers so generously offered beginning with the Season Four premiere. I, as an enlightened and seasoned television viewer, would not lose sleep over the loss of what would probably be a minor character. The writers’ little graveyard game would not draw me in. That is, until “Blood Debts.” Consider this post my white flag of surrender. Arrow has dragged me kicking and screaming into a round of “Who’s in the casket?” concluding with a devastating outcome.
Skillful editing in the season premiere pointed directly to Felicity as the body moldering in the grave at Oliver’s feet. It seemed silly, however, to even imagine that fan and network favorite Emily Bett Rickards would be leaving Arrow for another Oscar-nominated film so soon. Seeing Felicity sitting in the limousine next to Oliver in “Blood Debt,” with an amazing hairstyle by the way, brought a twinge of relief but little surprise. As an original member of Team Arrow, and simply as Felicity, her character is too integral to the heart of the series to eliminate.
Oliver reveals his anger and bitterness over the death in question at the grave during his conversation with Barry Allen. His reaction, first six months into the future and then in “Blood Debts” four, suggests that the headstone does not belong to Thea either. Moira’s death at the sword of Slade Wilson sent Oliver into a catatonic state of self-loathing. His sister’s death would presumably do the same. Besides, Thea’s battle with Lazarus Rage makes her a character worth writing for the first time in ages. And how many family members can Oliver lose and still remain whole?
Barry’s presence at the cemetery raises a few flags and made me shift in my seat before I knew Felicity survives. For example, Barry has a strong connection to Team Arrow, Felicity in particular. Certainly Barry would console Oliver if Felicity died. His own relationship with Felicity suggests that Donna Smoak might be in the casket thus warranting his albeit tardy presence at her funeral. Though, if that were the case, Barry’s condolences would be better placed with Felicity and not Oliver. Barry’s behavior along with the obvious luminescence of one Charlotte Ross, appear to keep Donna from the morgue.
Barry does not have much of a relationship with Quentin Lance. The two have shared little screen time other than the roadside discovery of Harrison Wells’ body. Unless Arrow is sending deliberate mixed signals (and that would never happen), Barry’s presence at the graveyard suggests that Quentin is safe. Moreover, the writers have already tormented Quentin with the death, resurrection, second death, and second resurrection of one daughter. Putting him through even half of that trauma again would feel redundant and more than a little cruel. Laurel is safe, as much as it pains me to say.
I suppose it would be too much to ask for Miss Ukraine to jump from mind-numbing flashback sequences straight into the casket. Her death would solve a lot of problems for the actress who wanders through a thankless role week after week conjuring eyebrow scrunching looks of concern. She has little to say to Oliver or the Neanderthal carting the two of them around the island, yet she lives on. Will these flashbacks ever end?
With Felicity, Thea, Donna, Quentin, Laurel, and flashback woman in the clear, our list of casket fillers runs dangerously short. Felicity’s visceral anger at the cemetery in “Blood Debt” concerns me. Certainly her mother’s death could generate that kind of response, though one would expect more tears from Felicity if Donna had died. Lyla’s death, on the other hand, might prompt Felicity to that kind of anger since her absence would leave Sara motherless and John a widower. Lyla’s appearance in “Blood Debts” reminds audiences of her existence and, thus, that her days could be numbered. And, let’s face it, that character has had the word “expendable” tattooed on her forehead since the moment we met her. Could Diggle gain a brother yet lose a wife? One can hope, because if not Lyla then we are left with only one alternative, and that my friends is an alternative I will not accept.
There is only one person whose death would generate a level of anger in Felicity so intense that she would say to Oliver, “You know what you need to do,” giving him her approval, no, her instruction to kill Damien Darhk.
And that person . . . is John Diggle.
Allow me to reference my favorite auteur in an attempt to send Arrow a clear message. Joss Whedon’s sacrifice of beloved characters (Tara, Fred, Serenity crew members too sacred to name) for the sake of story knows no bounds. Yet even he had the good sense, no the common decency, to keep the Scooby Gang alive through the Buffy series finale. Mounting evidence suggests that Whedon needs to visit the Arrow writer’s room and give the folks inside a little talking to about just how far they can push fans before otherwise sane adults stomp their feet and yell, “That’s it! I am never watching this show again!” and actually mean it.
In that spirit of petulance, writers, heed this warning – keep your action-packed, drama-loving mitts off of John Diggle. The man carries a card in his wallet that reads, Team Arrow Charter Member Since 2012. That card stands as bullet proof insurance that Diggle makes it through Arrow’s series finale. Period. Take Lyla, take Laurel, hell, you can even take Donna, just leave Diggle alone.
While I prefer to hang out in Star City a little while longer, I could use some extra time in my week to write about House of Cards [she threatens ominously]. Speaking of which, did anyone else get a Frank and Claire Underwood vibe off of Damien and Mrs. Darhk?
I am talking to you Mericle and Guggenheim. Stay away from Diggle, or it will be to the train tracks with you.