There was a lot of hype from cast and crew going into Arrow’s, aptly titled “Broken Arrow”. This was one of the rare occasions where the hype actually delivered. At the end of “Broken Arrow” one character (may have) died and another left Starling City forever. But can the show survive without them? Is this really a good idea?
Warning: This article contains major spoilers from CW’s Arrow episode, “Broken Arrow”
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Assuming you’re all still with us, you’re caught up on Arrow and we can get into the spoiler territory. So “Broken Arrow” had Roy fake his death and leave Starling forever to protect Oliver’s identity. When it was heavily hinted that a major character would die in this episode, many, myself included, thought it would be Roy. Yet in the final moments of “Broken Arrow” Thea is stabbed by Ra’s and left lifeless on the ground. But is she really dead? The promo for the next episode hints that while Thea might have been killed, she can return. This return has two possibilities.
Is Thea Being Fridged?
As of right now, Thea looks pretty dead. “Broken Arrow” seems to have killed her off and I think that’s a huge mistake. Arrow has just begun to explore this new interesting development with her. She has gone from a very passive damsel-like character to a very impressive fighter with a complicated psychology. In a short amount of time Thea has become one of my favorite characters on the show and to kill her feels like a cheap way to drum up drama.
There was a similar situation when Moira died. When Moira died her death existed for the sole purpose of affecting the hero. Strong female characters should not die so they become a plot device to further the hero’s pain and emotional arc. This, a trope called “Women in Refrigerators,” was coined by comic writer Gail Simone.
The Resurrection Wrinkle
The story doesn’t stop there. Most likely, in anticipation of such a reaction, the promo for the next episode adds a new twist to the story. There’s only so much you can judge from a thirty second clip but it appears Thea’s “death” will be short-lived. Ra’s will use the mysterious League of Assassin pits to revive the younger Queen on the condition that Oliver joins him.
This is not only likely to happen — but it’s best case scenario. Arrow gets to continue Thea’s story and develops Ra’s into an even more threatening villain. If Thea is brought back to life or saved from her mortal wound, it will be a traumatic experience for her, but her story will continue. She won’t be degraded to a plot device. Nor will she become yet another sin to add Oliver’s ever expanding list.
This move also turns out to be an incredibly shrewd move on Ra’s part. While I understand the love the fandom has for Slade Wilson, he has become a bit of mythical figure for fans. There’s a perception that Arrow will never be able to replicate that caliber of a villain. Ra’s murder of Thea, combined with everything he has done so far, succeeds Slade. His murder of Thea is not born of revenge and emotion like Slade’s killing Moira. This is a calculated move that maneuvers Oliver to exactly where Ra’s wants him in the League of Assassins. He is using Thea’s life as collateral, not a way to strike at Oliver’s emotions.
The Catch, there’s Always a Catch
In the aforementioned preview clip, a warning can be heard. Someone, likely Malcolm, says that a resurrection at the hands of the League’s pit can change someone to their soul. This audio is combined with footage of what appears to be animalistic Thea jumping towards Oliver.
Once again, this could be a terrible misfire. I’m not against seeing a distraught and violent Thea. There’s great potential for that story with tension and high emotional stakes. The risk is that they could change Thea so much that she stops being Thea. It’s possible that the situation I described above will come true. The Thea we knew will have died as a plot device and a new character will be reborn. She won’t be Thea. There is a very fine line between changing a character’s personality because of a trauma and creating an entirely new character.
This is all speculation of course as there’s nothing to suggest that Arrow won’t approach this delicate situation with the finesse needed. The prospect of a resurrected Thea doesn’t immediately fill me with joy though.
Bottom Line: I’m Hopeful
Arrow season 3 has been criticized by some for being too meandering compared to previous seasons. My opinion on the season is largely dependent on how the fallout of Thea’s possible death plays out. In the past few episodes Arrow has raised the bar incredibly high. The end of this season could be some of the best episodes Arrow has ever produced. It could also be filled with some of Arrow‘s biggest mistakes. Right now, I’m putting my money tentatively on the former rather than the latter.
What do you think will happen to Thea? Sound off in the comments.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW.
(image and video courtesy of The CW)