David Nykl, who portrays Anatoly Knazev on Arrow, is returning for Season 6 and will possibly be included in a trio of villains Oliver and his team must face and take down. The last time Arrow viewers saw Anatoly, he made it clear that his friendship with Oliver Queen had come to an end; Oliver had betrayed the Bratva and broken an oath that he'd taken in Russia.
The only way to escape the Bratva was to kill Anatoly, who was now the Pakhan — the Bratva leader. In Season 5, Episode 18, Anatoly told Oliver that he was scared of what he would become when Oliver left Russia — and while he feels betrayed, it seemed that Oliver was still unwilling to give up on the man he'd called a friend, instead giving him time for a conversation instead of turning him in.
But face to face in Season 6, will Oliver be able to end Anatoly's life, and should he?
Bringing an end to such a richly developed character seems a shame, especially when the two men shared a bond forged through the trials of Lian Yu. If there is one thing Oliver Queen can never have enough of, it's friends. But beyond that, once upon a time, Anatoly was a mentor to Oliver, guiding him through some harsh times in Russia.
While most of the villains on Arrow either get locked up or killed, perhaps there is a gray area with Anatoly. He has crossed the line, both in Russia and in Star City, but a redemption story would offer a glimmer of hope, possibly proving that not all villains are beyond help.
In addition, Anatoly is someone, besides Slade Wilson, who knows what Oliver went through on Lian Yu. Oliver saved his life, and the two men were a great team once upon a time. Reducing Anatoly to a bad guy killed in the streets of Star City would do this character a huge disservice.
Whatever the producers of Arrow have planned for Anatoly, I hope he gets a fitting end to his storyline, one that showcases not only his friendship with Oliver but the many moments of humor and grit David Nykl brings to the character.
Do you think Anatoly can be redeemed in Arrow Season 6?