When Roy shows up in Star City as Richard Dragon’s hostage, Thea quickly jumps to action as Speedy. Viewers were pleasantly surprised given Thea has given up life as a vigilante and hasn’t suited up in quite some time. In fact, actress Willa Holland’s decreased presence on the show and Thea’s decision to leave Team Arrow has resulted in the character not being seen much on Arrow. Should the show just make it official, and have the youngest Queen leave Arrow for good?
Given her decreased presence and the addition of more heroes to Arrow, the current season seems like the perfect opportunity for Thea to make her exit. She has had an excellent character trajectory, but unless she jumps back into the vigilante game a compelling end for the character just makes sense.
Currently, Thea’s story is stagnant, but she had an incredible character arc over the course of the series. Starting out the seemingly vain teenager sister of Oliver Queen, Thea became a lethal fighter and mature adult who is often seen taking care of her brother. It may have been her evil-adjacent father who got her into the world of fighting and death, but it thrust the character into new territory on the show. She was able to get involved in the high-action sequences Arrow is known for and closer to the core of the story on a weekly basis, but when she gave up crimefighting, things started to change.
While Thea’s choice to leave Team Arrow made sense, it took her further away from the center of the series. Thea’s bloodlust, courtesy of the Lazarus Pit, made it difficult to fight crime without losing control. It’s understandable, but when a hero gives up crime fighting for good you lose one of the ways the character is useful storytelling-wise. She didn’t join Felicity at the bunker, she became part of Oliver’s staff at the Mayor’s office. Add in Dinah, Curtis, Oliver’s son, and a group of villains and it becomes hard to fit Thea into Arrow Season 6. Part of that may stem from Willa Holland’s decreased commitment for the season, but for the viewing audience, it just means Thea’s storylines are not as good as they once were.
If Arrow is done with Thea, as it seems to be the case, then they should rip away the bandage and just write the character off the show. Normally, on a superhero series, that’s a death knell, but killing Thea wouldn’t be satisfying for her story ar or for Oliver’s. With Oliver’s parents and best friend dead, Thea is the only family left that he shares a past with. Killing his sister could be a step too far, even for Arrow, a show that has never shied away from killing off characters. What the show needs is an exit that sends Thea off happily and alive, which fortunately Season 6 is set up to do.
Roy’s return provides the perfect opportunity for Thea to get a happy ending. She was technically dead when he left town, so joining him wasn’t an option for her. Since then her life has been rough, first the bloodlust that compelled her to kill then her ruthless actions in the Mayor’s office, and she made the choice to go away and figure out what is next for her. Thea seems to want a calmer life and a second chance with Roy could be just the thing.
It might also be the best option for her when the League of Assassins returns to Arrow. Thea is in trouble when the show returns on March 29, 2018, with Episode “The Thanatos Guild” because members of the League are after her since she is the heir to the demon. Malcolm Merlyn’s trouble, and legacy, seem to be permanently tied to his daughter Thea. In the end, she could end up finding a way out of this mess or she could end up on the run. If Thea is tired of her life, then this could be the last straw. Roy knows how to make a new life for himself and he could certainly help Thea do the same.
Season 6 had been a new chapter for Arrow and this could be part of that. Oliver is a more understanding and reasonable team leader and there are more heroes around Star City. Like Laurel before her, maybe it’s time for Thea to make way for a new Speedy. She gets a new life and Oliver gets another shot at being a good mentor.
Arrow airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m Eastern on The CW.