Arrow shocked its audience in the Oct. 7 season premiere when the episode’s final scene showed a distraught Oliver Queen standing in front of a grave six months into the future. But of course the camera never panned to the shot of the front of the gravestone revealing who was in the grave. It’s a mystery that has taunted the fandom for two months: who’s in the grave?
While the producers and Stephen Amell have remained mum on the subject, the producers did say that the person who is dead and in the grave is significant and not some random character. But more importantly, they noted that the person who is in the grave is most definitely staying dead. That means no resurrection, which explains part of the reason why Arrow opted for the Lazarus Pit to be destroyed. This would return Arrow to a show with high stakes that can’t be fixed by mystical forces. Anyone is fair game, well, almost everyone. We all know who’s not at risk. (You’ll read who and why).
Following Arrow’s season premiere, Fangirlish writers discussed the probability of each of the five main characters being in the grave (read our responses here). With nine episodes passed since then, we decided to revisit the subject and weigh in with our thoughts about who and who’s not in the grave considering the events and evidence from the first nine episodes of season four starting with least likely through most likely.
Definitely Not In The Grave (Arrow Ain’t Stupid)
ALYSSA: The fact that Felicity Smoak ended the midseason in critical condition is the best thing that could’ve happened as it all but confirms that she isn’t the one who faces certain death in the grave some three months down the road. Plus there’s the obvious reason, actually two reasons: 1) she’s a fan favorite character behind probably only Oliver in popularity, and 2) Felicity is essential in Oliver Queen’s hero journey. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’ll preach it til I’m in my own grave, there is no Green Arrow without Felicity Smoak. If the shows intends to send Oliver back down the already-played-out path of darkness then killing Felicity is definitely the way to go. Only they’re no stupid enough nor ignorant enough from a showrunner perspective to do so. Make no mistake the producers want you to think that Felicity is the one in the grave. They want you to think that she died in the midseason finale, but we all know she didn’t They want you to think that she’s the one who dies some three months in the future, but she doesn’t. Why do they want that? Because they want the fandom to talk. Talk is good. Talk keeps the buzz about the show going even through hiatus. Also because Felicity is a fan favorite, which means that those that love her will react and, once again, talk about the show. Arrow didn’t start until Felicity joined the show, the cast and producers have said it themselves. So suffice to say if Felicity is gone from the show then essentially Arrow will cease to be the show that we’ve known it to be, what it was meant to be, and what it deserves to be.
LIZZIE: Not Felicity. Never Felicity. Because yes, this show is called Arrow, but it doesn’t work without her. Because she’s too entwined in the endgame. Because she’s the leading lady. And just because it makes no earthly sense, not story-wise, and certainly not money-wise. Arrow will always have its comic fans, and it’s certainly true that some people watch for the action, but the biggest thing that’s pushed Arrow from another comic-book adaptation to a media darling, and a show with a very diverse fan-base is Olicity. Or, at the very least, the character of Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen as they have been written, as separate entities that have now come together. Can they break up? Yes. Can she die so the possibility of them getting back together is eliminated for good? No. No. No.
LYRA: Least likely to die because her story is still wide open. There are so many avenues to explore with her new relationship with Oliver, her career, her mother, and her journey as a hero. She’s an integral part of Team Arrow and Palmer Industries. They would be lost without her.
BETH: Once again, theory speculation circling Felicity range from the hmmm… interesting — she has to fake her death, Oliver knows and he’s playacting for sake of an audience — to the rather morbid and uhm, no — she miscarried and its their child Oliver is not losing his mind over; which I am sorry but Oliver and Felicity would be raging and Barry would not fly in even with what all he has going on and be so flippant with his “sorry for your loss” response if either of these were true. Nope… no. Again, ugh… can we please quit killing off baby and child in this theories? I really do not like thinking about such young deaths. Even while watching Damian Darhk with his family, it’s scary to think anyone would think children should be collateral in any battle. Yes, I know it happens, but I really don’t think Arrow wants to go that dark. I dunno… could be denial on my part, but I’m done contemplating it. As for Felicity, nothing in me truly believes that the light of the show, the darling love of Oliver’s life who keeps him sane, happy and whole is dying anytime soon. Now will they stumble out of these messes being made left and right, wholly and without heartache, break-ups and make-ups? No, but that’s what we’re here for… growth of characters and triumphs. At least I am. There’s only so much angst I can take before I’m done.
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So Not In The Grave (Been There, Done That)
ALYSSA: When it comes to characters that are the least likely to wind up in the grave, Thea ranks near the top. It just isn’t plausible from a story standpoint. Would Thea dying be a shock? Hell yes. Do I see it happening? Hell no. Arrow has already traveled down the Thea dying road only to be resurrected with the Lazarus Pit, which is why we find her in her current situation where she’s battling bloodlust. Plus Thea is in the midst of a new journey – dealing with darkness and learning to find light and be a hero. It’s a journey that her brother Oliver has gone through, and we all know it’s a journey that takes multiple seasons. There’s still a lot of story to be told for Thea Queen. Plus, Thea’s already died, why would Arrow recycle a storyline less than a season later?
LIZZIE: Been there, done that. In fact, aren’t we still dealing with the repercussions from Thea coming back from the dead? There’s no new story to be told here. We already know how Oliver would react, what Malcolm would do. We haven’t had time to forget. So where’s the emotional impact in Thea dying again? Shows don’t usually kill characters just because, and Thea still has a lot of potential for growth. We’re only just getting to see Thea as Speedy. The relationship with Alex can still be milked. And we know Roy is possibly coming back for a bit. There’s just a lot they could do with her. So the only upside in getting rid of Thea would be to shake things up. Except, at this point, that would just be recycling storylines.
LYRA: Been there done that. Thea died last season. They wouldn’t pull the same thing again this season because…they already did it. Also she’s still got plenty of screen time left with her resurrection and anger issues.
BETH: Suddenly, Thea’s storyline just got a bit bolder, a bit more mysterious. Her bloodlust sated by counteracting Damian Darhk’s mystic powers. Hmmm… yeah, and the fact that Merlyn keeps showing up the oddest times to hound her to play out that bloodlust on admittedly bad guys, but nonetheless, he’s egging his daughter to commit murder seems suspect. The Arrow writers have plans for her and I’m pretty sure those don’t include dying. She’s already had her death scene anyway, right?
We Pray Not In The Grave (They Wouldn’t Do That)
ALYSSA: When it comes to characters that if they were killed would send me off the emotional deep end and into riot territory, John Diggle ranks near the top of that list right after Felicity. You also have to consider where Diggle is at in his life. We’re finally delving into a Diggle-centric storyline – only took four seasons – where he’s learning to deal with learning that his brother Andy is not only alive but an evil man who is loyal to Damien Darhk. Arrow has also set up a nice parallel for Diggle and Oliver. Diggle is Oliver a couple years in the future, and it’s something the show has made a point to abide by whether it’s as an individual or being in a relationship. Could you realy see Arrow killing off Diggle, who is a fan favorite and who we’ve only begun to explore his past in depth? Diggle is such a vital part of this show, Team Arrow, and Oliver that it would be downright stupid to kill off a beloved character who we’ve only begun to tap into his story. Much like why it’s definitely not Felicity in the grave, it’s not Diggle either.
LIZZIE: Just because it’s a bit more likely that they’d off Diggle that they’d off Felicity or Thea doesn’t actually make it likely. There’s a wide gap between 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6, 7. The first three are so unlikely I wouldn’t even put them on the list of possible suspects. But since people seem to need reassurance, here they are. They’re not dying. Diggle is not dying. Like Felicity, he’s one of the more beloved characters on the show, and an original character at that. Like Thea, he’s got untold potential. We’re just getting to see Diggle with a mask. The Andy angle hasn’t been properly dealt with. Killing Diggle would just leave a lot of loose ends and though it would undoubtedly cripple Oliver (and Felicity), there are some characters you can kill off without making viewers turn off the TV and pushing the hero too far from the path you have planned. Diggle is not one of them.
LYRA: Still has an essential role to play in Team Arrow as hero out in the field and confidant to our male and female leads, Oliver and Felicity. The story line with his brother and HIVE is not even half way done. His life outside of Team Arrow affords him the ability to be written off as driving into the sunset instead of being killed.
BETH: Uh… just no. Oliver Queen might not be as shattered to the core as if he lost Felicity or Thea; however, he would not be able to sustain himself in a way that was healthy. His relationship with Diggle, like rocky road ice cream cannot be replaced by a forgery. And Diggle’s got Oliver’s back as a peer, badass, brother-from-another-mother who cannot be replicated. Their bond in arms extends beyond the usual code between fighters who’ve survived together. Their faith in each other gives them hope and drive, even as they have to perform their good deeds in the shadows of the night. Oliver would’ve never overcome his vigilante attitude to become the hero he has without Diggle and no one’s going to be doing away with that dynamic between them anytime soon.
Probably Not In The Grave (Why Would We Care?)
ALYSSA: The main reason I don’t believe that it’s Baby Mama in the grave is because what happens to William if she dies? Honestly I can’t see a child becoming a regular part of Arrow. It’s much too dark for that and it doesn’t align with Arrow’s storytelling. Sure, we can’t wait for Oliver and Felicity to have a child, but that’s different. It’d probably happen further down the line near the show’s end, which wouldn’t require the addition of a child actor to add to this world. Or hell, maybe that is the reason why. Perhaps Arrow could use her death to create a relationship between Oliver and his son until the time comes when Oliver realizes that he doesn’t want to subject his son to the dangerous type of life he lives and William maybe goes off to live with his grandparents or something.
LIZZIE: This is where the whole thing starts to get more likely, even if Baby Mama is not my first choice. But what she is that none of the other three characters who got lower numbers than her are is expendable. Extremely so. She was never introduced as a potential love interest; she was just there as William’s mother. And, as cruel as that sounds, that makes her someone you don’t actually need for any other reason than to create drama. And, well, her death could be used to create even more drama. My only hang-up is that I don’t get how Oliver could stand there and say it wasn’t his responsibility if it was her. Oliver Queen is certainly much more emotionally mature than he was a year ago, but he’s nowhere near the “I barged into my child and his mother’s life after all this years and now she’s dead, but this is the bad guy’s fault, not mine” mature. I’m not sure anyone is.
LYRA: Her death would push Oliver to go after Darkh without breaking him. He has no connection with her besides their brief past and their child. If she died William would stay with Oliver and further shift him into a family man. He’s in a new phase in his life and a family of his own is the next step.
BETH: Honestly, no I do not think they will kill off the mother of Oliver Queen’s child. However, I feel like these writers have a tendency to minimize females’ roles until they know what to do with them. At this point, Baby Mama hasn’t really done anything but be the “dream” Oliver once hoped for a long time ago. Now she is one of the last few people who stood up to his mother and did the right thing. Also, she’s being ridiculous in her demands just as much as Oliver is being ridiculous in acquiesing to them. All these complications and drama for nothing, in my humble estimation and so while I cannot rule her out as one of the persons possibly in the grave, my gut tells me she’s around for awhile longer. Also, I don’t like the potential she has to wreck Felicity and Oliver’s trust in each other and what the writers might do with that power when they’ve played fast and furious with our emotions before.
Possibly In The Grave (They Wouldn’t Kill a Child, Would They)
ALYSSA: At first thought killing Oliver’s son would be an absolute shock. Arrow wouldn’t kill a child, right? Or would they? When you take into account the whole “baby mama drama” storyline, as we’ve dubbed it, you have to wonder where this whole thing is going. Are we going to get occasional glimpses at Oliver in Central City or William in Star City at random times that really don’t align with Arrow’s overall story direction? So how could they wrap up this storyline? Sure, they could have Oliver walk away, but wasn’t it set up during that crossover episode that that’s the last thing Oliver would do? Could Baby Mama flee the city with William never to be seen again until the producers want to rehash a hated storyline? Or could Arrow go incredibly dark and kill Oliver’s son? If anything the unlikelihood that William would become a focal part of Arrow is a big reason why he could be the one in the grave. With Oliver wanting to be a part of his son’s life it doesn’t seem possible that the show would ignore that or have it happen off screen. There needs to be a definitive endgame for this arc. Is William going to be a part of Oliver’s world or isn’t he? Perhaps William is being used as a means to show us that Oliver is struggling with accepting that he can be a father and be the Green Arrow, much like he grappled with being in a relationship with Felicity because of the dangers that the life entails? Perhaps we’ll see Oliver understand that he can’t control what happens no matter how much he thinks he can, including being a father, just in time for him and Felicity to have a child. While initially I didn’t believe it was a possibility that Arrow would kill Oliver’s son, it’s definitely more likely than we’d believed.
LIZZIE: William only gets a 5 instead of a 4 because his death would certainly be more devastating than his mother’s. Losing a woman who gave birth to your kid but who you never had a relationship with is not the same as losing the son you never knew you had. So, of course, killing William would be a big blow. It would send a message. Logistics aside, I’m just not sure it’s a message Arrow writers want to send. And that’s not even mentioning that I have the same hang-up as before, only this time augmented by ten. Oliver would certainly blame himself.
LYRA: More likely to die because he’s a nuisance. He’s just something that was thrown in to shake things about. Plus if Darkh finds out about him he’ll totally make a play to kill him. It would shake Oliver as a person as well if he died. It’s a new beginning that he would be deprived of…until he has kids with Felicity.
BETH: To be honest, I think “Who’s in the Grave?” speculation leads to all kinds of paranoia especially in me, which is exactly what the creators of Arrow wanted. Looking at it from that angle, I’m not even sure we get the whole picture with Barry zooming in and Oliver looking way too stoic for someone who has lost the love of his life, his sister and especially his child with whom he would’ve just started developing a relationship. Frankly that leaves, a disturbing amount of leftover possibilities that aren’t cool either. From Felicity being pregnant and losing the baby to Diggle’s brother, the theories are running rampant from what I am reading. The majority though seem to think Baby Mama and William being high on the list which just breaks my heart, because I’m a mom and that’s awful. Although make no mistake, Damien Darhk is pure evil in its most horrible form. His horrific acts of terrorism against the city, against Oliver, and especially against Felicity are “rip your heart out” terrifying; yet I cannot imagine Arrow having a child killed on their show in such a confrontational, in your face manner. Just typing these thoughts out give me the heebie jeebies.
Likely In The Grave (The Set Up is There)
ALYSSA: I’ve come a long way from my post-season premiere certainty that it’ll be Quentin Lance in the grave. But can you blame me? Everything was being set-up to be so, which is exactly why it’s not Quentin. If something is coming across as obvious than more often than not that’s because that’s what the producers want you to believe. They want you to have these preconceived ideas about what’s going to happen before they completely shock you – within reason – and present you something you didn’t see coming from the beginning. But even with that said, Quentin remains high on my list of those likely in the grave. At this point, for me, it’s a definitive “it’s a Lance in the grave” kind of thing. While I’m leaning more toward Laurel, Quentin still remains a viable suspect. There’s one reason to support both why it’s him in the grave or why it’s not him in the grave. While Quentin has been a reliable force on Arrow since its inception, he has taken a back seat of sorts as Arrow has taken a more superhero route following The Flash’s addition to the universe. While he was a part of the story he didn’t really have his own arc. But things have changed this season as Quentin has a focal storyline alongside big bad Damien Darhk, acting as a double agent for Oliver and Team Arrow as they try to take down Darhk. Darhk has threatened Quentin on more than one occasion, as well as threatened Laurel, so it wouldn’t be a complete shock if Quentin was the victim in this grave mystery.
On the one hand, Quentin is being given this incredible arc where he’s being redeemed only to sacrifice himself for his daughter and the greater good. But then something changed once Arrow introduced the SmoakNLance dynamic. Suddenly Quentin wasn’t a sure-fire grave victim so much as he was being given a second chance. We know that Quentin’s had a rough go of it in his life: losing Sara, falling victim to alcoholism, divorcing his wife, losing Sara again, learning Laurel is the Black Canary. It’s a lot for someone to handle, but Quentin has somehow managed to come through the darkness still fighting for a better life. With the introduction of Donna Smoak as his love interest, perhaps we’re seeing Quentin given a new start. If it’s Laurel who ends up being the one in the grave, Quentin would have a support system to help him despite the insane rampage he’d go on. But then there’s also the fact that Quentin is a valuable asset to Team Arrow. They rely on him to be their eyes on the inside of the police force. They couldn’t some of the things they do without him. So if Quentin were gone, who would be their connection? That’s the role Joe serves on The Flash and Quentin serves on Arrow. It’s one of the reasons that Oliver needs Quentin just like he needs Felicity, Diggle, and Thea.
LIZZIE: You did it, Quentin! You made it from the most likely to the second most likely! You should be proud. I mean, that is until you realize who’s overtaken you in the Most Likely to Kick It sweepstakes. But that’s a story for another day.
Arrow Season 4 started with a very clear misdirect to Felicity being the one in the grave, and then, it went on to firmly establish why Quentin was an even better option than Felicity. The man has a target painted on his back, isn’t exactly doing what the bad guy says, and most importantly, his character is in a place where you really, really don’t’ want him to die. So it makes sense that he would be the one to go.
I’m not saying I’m going to be shocked if he dies, but after examining all the evidence, I have to say that, as likely as it sounds, I just don’t think he’s the one. No, I think he’s another misdirect. A less obvious one, if you want. Because yes, the show could probably make it without Quentin. He’s not expendable per se, but you can write around his absence. But he’s also a character you could still get a lot out of. The romance angle is just starting to be explored, and there’s comedic gold to be had in the Oliver/Quentin and Felicity/Donna interactions. He could crossover to Legends for the Sara angle. So, why get rid of Quentin when you can off….
LYRA: His death is being set up. I can feel it in the way that he’s put in an advantageous spot next to the villain Darkh. He changed his outlook on the lengths he would go to save his city for his daughters life. Quentin is a changed man who is becoming stronger and more fulfilled with his life (new relationship with Donna) after years of tormented drinking because of the lose of his daughter. He’s being set up for a beautiful death where he sacrifices it all in a valiant effort to save his loved ones.
BETH: I truly believed he was headed to the grave until he started fighting with words with Laurel. His quiet exchanges with Oliver and then even more menacing exchanges with Damien Darhk made me think his double agent status was going to lead to a knife in the back. Oliver finally seeing him as an ally and possibly even part of Team!Arrow though sort of made me go, “Now, really?” Quentin is a good guy who much like Oliver thinks irrationally when threatened and definitely acts rash if anyone he loves is in danger. How Quentin has survived this long, in a higher up position on the police force, can only be because no one else wanted the job. The dude’s an explode-y emo bomb in tense situations. And this time around knowing how Damien Darhk likes to torture his enemies by not attacking them directly but taking their loved ones — I do believe Laurel will pay the piper this time for him.
Most Likely In The Grave (How Is It Not Her At This Point?)
ALYSSA: As far as I’m concerned when it comes to a sure thing as to who’s in that grave, Laurel Lance is it for me. No it’s not because she is my least favorite character (although that certainly helps with any coping I assumed I’d need) but because of the way Arrow has set her up this season as someone who fought their way to the top only to be struck down. Laurel’s destiny on Arrow was to become the Black Canary. And she has. This season on Arrow we’ve seen Laurel come to full fruition as the costumed hero. She’s grown into her superhero persona becoming a better fighter and convincing that she can hold that role. But that’s exactly why I believe her time has come to an end. Laurel has lived up to everything she was destined to. She became Black Canary, but there’s something I couldn’t help but notice it’s that she doesn’t have a significant connection to our titular hero. Sure, Oliver and Laurel mended fences in “Haunted,” but perhaps that was delivering some closure for what’s to come. When you look at everyone on Team Arrow and what they mean to Oliver – Felicity his fiancée, Diggle his brother, Thea his sister, hell even Quentin has become a bigger asset as his relationship with Oliver is on the mend – Laurel is the odd man standing. Sure, she’s his friend, but is she an invaluable part of his life? If Arrow is going with killing off a main character then she is the one that fits the bill no doubt.
It’s no secret that Laurel has been the most criticized character during Arrow’s now-four seasons. Even with Laurel at her best in this fourth season you can’t help but see that the producers didn’t handle her arc well on this show. Whether it was introducing Sara’s Canary – who most of us felt like was a better Canary than Laurel – or not really knowing how to get Laurel to her destined endpoint (Black Canary), there’s been more done wrong than right with this character. But as someone who isn’t a fan of Laurel because of that disconnect that I’ve felt from the start, I admit that I’m beginning to see the redemption of Laurel Lance. And what better way to send Laurel out than with some dignity?
There have been several instances through these first nine episodes that indicate that Laurel is the one in the grave. They weren’t so prevalent early on in the season, but that would’ve made it too obvious too soon. But especially considering where Laurel is at this season as a character and taking into account all of the not-so-subtle foreshadowing that she can “take care of (her)self” – seriously she repeated it several times during that episode – or Quentin telling her that he doesn’t know what he’d do if something were to happen to her, and to me it’s not a “maybe,” it’s a definitive “yes” when it comes to Laurel being the one in the grave. Laurel’s death would free the character of that criticism and set up some great arcs for Quentin and Sara (on Legends of Tomorrow or a crossover appearance). Quentin has already lost Sara twice, it sounds like he might just lose Laurel this time. Only there’s no Lazarus Pit to bring her back.
LIZZIE: To me, everything about the death screams Laurel Lance. Now, I’m not one of those people who hate Laurel. I don’t particularly enjoy her, but I don’t hate her, and I don’t spend even one second of my time wishing she were gone. The writers have treated her character horribly, and I don’t think she adds anything to the show at this point, but I won’t necessarily be throwing a party if I’m right. Especially because, well …I’m right. And parties are expensive.
All joking aside, Laurel is the most expendable main character on Arrow right now. She has no romantic entanglements, and the family connection angle adds more to Quentin than it adds to her. This, to me, has to do with the fact that the writers have no idea what to do with her character. There’s no direction, no plan, no story. She’s a vigilante. She’s grown. She’s not the Laurel from Season 1. She and Oliver have made peace with each other. She got Sara back. What else is there for Laurel to do? Just stand around forever being a) Not the leading lady or the romantic interest and b) Not the only superhero around?
I don’t think so.
So, let’s recap. She’s expandable. She’d leave no storylines hanging. She’s made her peace with everyone. Her sister is alive. And, more importantly, her death would have both an emotional significance and if done right, could certainly lend itself to Oliver saying “It’s not my fault, it’s my responsibility.” That’s not a knock on Laurel, but a sign of respect. Laurel’s a big girl. She can go out a hero, and the show would go on. Maybe we’d even remember her fondly.
Let’s hope so.
LYRA: The most likely to die because her story line has dried up. Everyone around her is still moving forward to grand and new things while she stands in place (Her father in a relationship and pushing forward for control of his life. Her sister venturing off to find out who she is with a new group of heroes and a new show.) She’s reached the final point in her journey. After years of her not finding where she fit in with the show she’ll sacrifice herself for something bigger than herself and to protect the loved ones in her life.
BETH: Here we are back to Laurel Lance and where does she go from here? Her character refined again, and finally someone worthy of this character’s growth. She has survived a huge hell of a lot of abandonment. Loved ones torn from her in death, lies, resurrection and tiny betrayals. She deserves better but sometimes, the apex of a character’s existence, is in how it’s extinguished. Laurel’s father, Quentin, basically bargained with the devil, who was already using her as collateral to make him behave. Now that Quentin isn’t, and yeah, Damien Darhk isn’t stupid… Quentin is about to face that man’s wrath. An attack below the belt should be expected. Just as Quentin exclaimed, “I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you” — I think the next few episodes are going to reveal to us just what that “anything” will be. My only wish is that Laurel gets a chance to hurt Damien so freaking much and leads to the rest of the team finally coming up with a plan to remove him permanently from their lives.
Arrow returns Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 8/7c on The CW.