Spoilers from the season four premiere of Arrow are discussed below.
Death is a very iffy thing in mainstream comic books. Ever since the death of Superman in the ‘90s turned a fart into actual poop leaving the asshole of DC Comics, death has been cheap, played for easy suspense and tension. It’s not long until sales plummet and some magic nonsense is waved to bring that character back.
When the Legends of Tomorrow trailers (and prior to that, internet buzz) revealed Sara Lance will be resurrected thanks to Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit — and the help of one John Constantine — I partially worried superhero TV would cheapen death, not unlike its comic book ancestors. These shows are doing multiverses now, nothing is off limits.
My concern hasn’t been alleviated. In fact, it’s gotten worse. The premiere of Arrow has unambiguously told us that fan-favorite Felicity Smoak will be no more in just six months. That’s April, when Arrow calls it quits until it’s the fall once again.
At the end of last night, Felicity and Oliver were moving back to Starling City (now Star City, a tribute to departed benefactor Ray Palmer but it’s funny because, again, Legends of Tomorrow is a thing) taking residence in Thea’s loft. Oliver wanted to propose to Felicity just before he was called back to action. He left the ring in a decorative bowl of marbles or some crap.
The camera lingered on that ring in that bowl of some crap until we smashed cut “Six Months Later,” Oliver standing over a grave (the camera never lets us see what the tombstone says) some moments after the funeral. Barry Allen, The Flash, makes a cameo appearance, apologizing for being late (Get it? Because he’s fast and can be anywhere in seconds but his superheroing makes him late all the time?). As Arrow/The Flash fans remember, Barry and Felicity were an item that just didn’t work out. Alone, Oliver kneels in front of the grave shedding a tear. Cut to black. Credits.
Whose grave is it? It’s gotta be Felicity’s. The dialogue is ambiguous, we never see the tombstone, and of course it’s all on purpose. But the smash cut from the engagement ring to the grave can’t be hinting it’s Diggle’s (PSA: NEVER KILL DIGGLE. HE IS OUR ONE TRUE DIGGLE.) No one else makes sense, not with Barry’s cameo. He’s barely said two words to Laurel and Thea.
Besides killing off a major, beloved character just as we got her back the way we wanted — Felicity in season three was an unpleasant grumpy grump — I’m not looking forward to the fact that she might not be gone at all. Resurrection is a thing in Arrow because it’s going to happen to Sara Lance. Constantine might have some bullshit like “Bloody hell mate, I can only do it once, bollocks ennit?” (God I’m really excited for his guest appearance) but you can be sure there will be something that can be done.
Or maybe not. Maybe Emily Bett Rickards wants to leave and this is her six months notice. If so, then we’ve got six months to remember just how great she is and what she’s meant as the heart and soul of Arrow, how her quips have forced us to pause and rewind on occasion because we were laughing so hard.
Of course this is Arrow’s hook to keep us tuned in despite a muted season four opening. Yeah, major stuff happened, Damien Darhk etc. but it felt weightless, almost as empty as Star City (a hotbed for crime and urban terrorism, the majority of the city’s residents have skipped town).
But as agitated as I may be of Arrow, I’ll remained tuned in if for nothing else to see if I’m right (and to see Constantine). Felicity is going to die, her days are numbered, and I want to be there to say goodbye. Even if we’ll eventually see her again.