‘Arrow’: Red Herrings

Please note, this article has spoilers for Arrow the episode “Eleven-fifty-nine.” Read at your own risk.

While everyone is talking about the death – you know the one – I wanted to take a moment to talk about my third favorite badass on the show. There was a pretty big moment with Thea Queen that left a lot of questions.

Thea has had daddy issues for quite some time. She’s waffled back and forth, aware of Malcolm’s truly awful and sociopathic way of thinking about the world. When he isn’t sure he’s entitled to everything, he’s looking out for himself, begging for his life (when Oliver Queen begs for John Diggle’s by contrast.) He is not a good man, and I’m not entirely certain that his love for Thea, as unhealthy, egomaniacal, and twisted as it is, can really certify as love. Which is made all the more clearer by this episode.

Thea makes the decision that she’s triply done for good. After everything, she can no longer have a relationship with him. There will be no more hanging out with Papa. No more early morning brunches, where they talk about boys and then try to kill each other with swords.

That’s lucky, because the back half of the episode includes Malcolm stabbing Thea through the gut in true Ra’s Al Ghul stabbiness. Thea seems done for, the death we’ve all been warned about over the past month. But she is the literal red herring it seems, because in the next scene she pops out like, “Psych, suckers!” and saves the day. Mostly.

This is the root of all my questions. How did she survive, and what will be the repercussions? (If we know anything about Arrow at his point is its fondness for complicated repercussions that make Oliver Queen more Grumpy Cat than the actual Grumpy Cat.)

I have a few theories that you are welcome to disagree with in the comments below.

The first is that the hot tub of souls unleashed something in Thea that will be a big plot point in season 5.

The second is that she is somehow being affected by the totem, because of symmetry with Oliver’s island…whatever. And that being affected by the totem means that she will be the key to defeating Dhark for good. She’s a reflection of the spirit that possessed the two dudes on the island, and it’s slowly crawling its way to the surface, meaning that she may just become the big bad of season 5 after Dhark and company is dust. Unable to control her actions, this would make for some good drama with Oliver moving forward.

My third theory is that Malcolm isn’t helping Dhark for simple reasons. Malcolm always has about a dozen things juggling in the air at once. It’s what magicians do – keep you distracted while they do something sly that makes you think something else really happened. Perhaps stabbing Thea had a purpose that the cut away didn’t show. Perhaps he healed her. The answer is unclear at this point. But we can depend on Malcolm to be up to something.

The fact that Malcolm looked so freaked, so desperate to get away from his daughter, made me think it was either the first or second option. Not much rattles Malcolm. He is ice in the face of a storm. He is the chill of winter. He’s…other metaphors that make him sound badass and scary. Seeing him freaked means that we should probably be freaked. Whatever is going on is not good.

My hope is that we get to see evil Thea before she’s brought back to Oliver. It fills that Buffy-sized hole of the hero fighting against a loved one possessed by evil.

Thoughts? Let me know below!

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