While I’d like to say that the return of Malcolm Merlyn was a surprise for me, unfortunately, it was not. The episode description for Streets of Fire literally told us, word for word, that Thea would come face to face with her father. That being said, I still enjoyed this interaction. Yes, he’s a psychopathic murdering terrorist (Thea’s words, not mine) but he also saved Thea’s life…so now what?
As any reasonable person would, Thea goes with the defensive route and chooses not to buy in to his charm and attempted explanations. But that’s what interested me. For so long we’ve seen Malcolm as “the bad guy”. The guy who killed Oliver’s father. The guy who kidnapped Walter. The guy who almostÂ destroyed the city. And through all that, he’s always justified it because he was “cleaning up the city” by taking out those who murdered his wife and everyone like them. But he’s always owned it. Never apologized. Never attempted to help others understand. Until now.
Malcolm: Thea, I’m not here to hurt you.
Thea: Why should I believe you, you’re a murderer, a terrorist, a psychopath.
Malcolm: I don’t expect you to understand what I’ve done. Not now. Not without more time to explain.
Thea: How are you even alive? Why are you here?
Malcolm: I heard what happened to your mother. I needed to make sure that you were alright. I needed to see my daughter.
Thea: I am not your daughter. You’re nothing to me. And I want nothing from you. Do you understand?
Malcolm: Yes, but right now you need my help. My protection. You have no idea, Thea, how dangerous it is out there. The city is falling. At least let me take you to safety.
I love the irony that its Malcolm Merlyn, the man who attempted to destroy the city last season, who is the one to deliver this information. Obviously I refuse to see him as a good guy, but its clear that his feelings for Thea and desire to protect her are his driving force. That being said, I don’t quite know how he got suited up and arrived at the train station so quickly, but I’m willing to overlook that for the sake of the story.
So what does Malcolm really want with Thea? Just some daddy daughter bonding time? Is this attempt to make up for the fact that he wasn’t there to protect his wife and son? Or is there more to it? I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty solid story arc for season 3 to me. It keeps the focus on family issues while bringing the vigilante showdownÂ full circle. But for the time being,Â Merlyn does do an awfully convincing job of trying to empathize with Thea and identify with what she’s going through.
Malcolm: If you’re gonna use that, you’ll wanna click the safety off.
Thea: I’ll shoot you, I will.
Malcolm: I can see it in your eyes. My eyes. They’re just like mine. Both of them filled with pain and anger because those we loved were ripped from us. I lost my name, my wife, Tommy.
Thea: Shut up!
Malcolm: You’re all I have left in this world and you’ve lost everything too, Thea. You still have a father. You still have…
The episode ends with what appears to be Thea shooting Merlyn. Of course, I don’t believe that for a second. I can’t imagine that after all this time, they’d bring Malcolm Merlyn back for such a brief appearance and menial purpose. Thea could have been saved a thousand ways…or she easily could have already boarded the train, but to bring Merlyn back suggests there must be something more. On top of that, after all that he survived last season, including numerous brutal showdowns with the Arrow, I have a tough time believing that two bullets from his gun-novice daughter will be what takes him down for good.
If Merlyn does survive and return next week, part of me would be interested in seeing him pair up with Oliver to save the city. I can’t imagine Oliver will accept the aide willingly, but he needs all the help he can get and Merlyn is definitely a formidable opponent, as we witnessedÂ when he took down not one, not two, but three Mirakuru soldiers. What do you think? Is Merlyn still alive? Will Thea listen to what he has to say? Will he now be the city’s savior instead of its destroyer?
Be sure to tune in to the season finale of Arrow next Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW to find out!
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