We still may not know who’s in the grave that was teased in “Arrow’s” Season 4 premiere, but after the flashforward we saw in the Jan. 27 midseason return, at least we know who’s not: Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), who survived a shootout with Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) Ghosts, but may never walk again as a result of her injuries. Still, that bombshell didn’t stop Oliver (Stephen Amell) from reaffirming his commitment to his new fiancee, giving her back the engagement ring that the nurses dared to take off while she was in surgery in a heartfelt hospital scene. (A ring that later seemed conspicuously absent from Felicity’s finger in the episode’s final flashforward.)
The show easily could’ve kept viewers in the dark (no pun intended) about Felicity’s ultimate fate, but executive producer Wendy Mericle told Variety, “we wanted to put some questions to bed and raise the stakes about who it could be. We now know for sure that it’s not her, but that just shifts the focus to a whole host of other characters. We’re lucky to have a big ensemble and it’s still a big question mark, so we got a chance to have our cake and eat it too, and we took it.”
The recently released midseason sizzle reel offered up a few potential alternatives for the identity of the casualty, including Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland) and Diggle’s wife Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), and although Mericle told Varietythat we’ll have to wait until “the last few episodes of the season” to know for sure, she believes that the ongoing mystery will be “organic to the story,” teasing of the possible victims, “Thea is dealing with this bloodlust which has not gone away, and with the Lazarus Pit, there’s no way it can’t be serious.”
Said teaser also gave a glimpse of Felicity back in her gothic hacker gear from her life before Oliver, and Mericle offered one hint about how this previous iteration of Felicity might make an appearance: “In the wake of this injury, she’s going through a little bit of a dark time of her own; she’s questioning some of her earlier decisions and when she encounters that version of her old self, it’s going to be in a very emotional and grounded context about how she got where she got to with the team and working at Queen Consolidated and, like anybody would after going through a tragic event like that, really looking back at her life choices and doing some hard thinking and reevaluating.”
“Blood Debts” also introduced Damien Darhk’s wife, who was revealed to be in on her husband’s plan to bring “this world to its end” through a plan ominously called Genesis. “We really wanted this season to have a Big Bad that we see from the beginning, and really explore his world. Bringing in this character, his wife, was part of that plan,” Mericle said. “We always knew we wanted to see Damien’s family, and having her be an equally evil part of this plan and have her own drive and her own agenda just felt really cool and dynamic and interesting and something we hadn’t seen on the show before.”
Before we get to the death and potential destruction of this season’s final episodes, we can also expect the return of Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper, who left town after pretending to be the Arrow in order to protect Oliver’s identity.
“The real impetus is that we wanted to see where he’s landed, what has happened to him,” Mericle said. “And when we find him, just like Oliver in 410, we find him slipping back into some old habits, but with some surprising reasons for why he’s doing what he’s doing.”
Comic book fans can also look forward to more of Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt (aka the future Mr. Terrific) in the back half of the season, per Mericle: “We saw him in action in 406 and I can tell you we’ll probably get a little bit more of that sometime in the next seven episodes or so,” she teased.
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Who do you think is in the grave? Weigh in with your theories below.