On the last episode of Arrow, titled "Human Target," Oliver Queen has yet again faked his own death. One thing this show and anything comic book-related in general has a problem with is killing off characters and then bringing them back to life over and over again. While we have seen many characters fake their deaths on the popular TV series such as Sara Lance, Thea, Felicity, and others, it is the show's main protagonist, Oliver Queen, that has died and came back to life repeatedly. Let's look back at every single incident where Oliver Queen or the Green Arrow was pronounced "dead" but wound up surviving.
On The Queen's Gambit Along With His Father
Even the Green Arrow's origin story revolves around the assumed death of Oliver Queen but in reality, he was surviving on Lian Yu for five years straight (at least that's what he tells people). Oliver Queen was a billionaire playboy that took Sara Lance, the sister of his former girlfriend, Laurel, on his family yacht along with his father Robert Queen.
As we all know, there was an accident and Oliver wound up surviving (along with Sara) on Lian Yu for five years. He returned home with a mission to right his father's wrongs and to become the Arrow— and we all know what happened after that.
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Killed By Ra's Al Ghul
One of the most shocking and brutal episodes from the entire show was when Oliver Queen battled Ra's Al Ghul in the Season 3 mid-season finale and the battle did not end up in Oliver's favor as he is stabbed in the torso and is pushed off a cliff into what the viewers believed to be his icy demise.
However, less than two episodes later, we find out that Oliver actually survived the fall thanks to Maseo, who returned for Oliver and took his body to a cabin in the mountains where his wife Tatsu revived him after being dead for four days on a cliffside. Oliver eventually got his strength back and returned to his city to finish what he started.
The Arrow Is Dead, Green Arrow Is Born
Back in Season 3, Roy was captured and arrested by the police and he declared himself to be the man behind the mask of Star City's vigilante while wearing the Arrow costume itself, which lead the world to believe that he was the Arrow and not Oliver Queen.
In prison, Roy had "died" and the world had all believed one thing: The Arrow is dead. Oliver was not able to handle Roy's death as he felt responsible and it began to get to him. Eventually, Diggle and Felicity reveal to him a very much alive Roy as he faked his death with some help from a friend who aided him in slowing his heart rate. Since the world believed Roy Harper, he leaves town to “start a new life.”
The rest of Season 3 dealt with Oliver Queen and the League of Assassins. Star City was being protected by the rest of Team Arrow while Oliver had some fun overseas. After the events of the Season 3 finale where Oliver betrays and kills Ra's ah Ghul, he and Felicity take an extended break from crime fighting until the Arrow mantle is renewed and the Green Arrow is revealed to the world at the beginning of Season 4.
Of course, Oliver Queen wasn't the one to die in this scenario but the Arrow mantle itself died and as a result, a new hero rose (who's practically the same hero with a bit lighter morals which are debunked in Season 5 and an upgraded suit with a lighter green coloring), but the people of Star City don't know that... right?
Murdered By Tobias Church's Assassin
This past episode, we saw yet another "death" of Oliver Queen at the hands of Tobias Church's bodyguards. However, this was all apart of the plan as Team Arrow hired the Human Target to disguise himself as Oliver when they discovered Tobias Church was going to assassinate him.
The team needed Tobias to think he was dead so he would go along and execute his plan without thinking of any vigilantes would get in his way. It wasn't even five minutes before we found out that Oliver was sitting safe and sound in the Arrow-cave and he revealed himself to be alive to the city at the end of the episode, apologizing and revealing his motives. All in all, it was very obvious to viewers that Oliver Queen was going to fake his death even before the episode came out!
Do These Fake-Out Deaths Lessen In Impact Every Time They're Used? Does it Matter?
Like I mentioned earlier, Oliver Queen/the Arrow isn't the only character to fake his death on multiple occasions. In fact, most of the cast on Arrow has faked their own deaths on the show at least once before. Also, this isn't just a problem on Arrow but on The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and even other television series — but mostly comic book TV shows.
Why is it that way with superhero TV shows the most? The reason is because that's what happened in comic books — characters who die and then find a way to come back and the cycle repeats. Every comic book fan knows that when you die in a comic book, it's never permanent. Besides from the occasional ones here and there, the deaths in comics that actually stick are the ones that coincide with the hero's/titular character's origin story (e.g. Uncle Ben).
Do these fake-out deaths lessen the impact every time they're used? What used to be a surprise when a character turns out to be alive is now expected. If next week on Arrow, we see Diggle get shot in the chest by Prometheus, we wouldn't be shocked but we would be waiting to see how he survived. In my opinion, this is the biggest flaw with comic books and consequently, it carries over to the movies and TV series based off of comic books.
There are no stakes on Arrow because every season the same exact scenarios play out and it's beginning to get tiring. Comic book series need to stop "killing" off their characters and use that extra time to developing their characters and adding in other ways to shock their audiences. At the end of the day, does this matter? The answer is yes.
How many more times will Oliver fake his death? Is the "fake-out deaths" on comic book TV shows a problem? Tell me below!