We've known since we first met John Barrowman's Malcolm Merlyn that he was pretty awesome. From being trained by Ra's al Ghul himself to having archery skills to rival even Oliver Queen's, Merlyn was interesting enough. But Barrowman brings a gravitas to the character and gives depth to his motivations - full credit to the writers for the latter, also - than even his comic counterpart might have. So, while we were delighted for his return last season, and his regular status now, a few have been disappointed that we haven't seen much of him in action. But according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, that's all set to change.
In an interview with All Access Hollywood at the Arrow and Flash crossover screening, we learned a few things about what's to come in the new year. Have a watch here - or, if not, I'll break it down below.
Ra's al Ghul will literally change the show forever
If you've seen the trailer for next week's 'The Climb' - or have watched it countless times like I have - you know Matt Nable's Ra's will fully be on showcase for the first time next week, clearly dueling Oliver in a scene paying homage to the classic Batman fight from the comics. More than that, you can see him seemingly fighting multiple assassins, and beating them, before probably executing one. This scene may be when we learn just how incredibly powerful and skillful Ra's is. He's not a guy to be trifled with.
When asked just how Ra's would literally change the show, Guggenheim dodges the question, particularly at the notion of people dying. Is it possible - even with the future aid of a Lazarus Pit - that Oliver could truly live his last day this week, as Ra's threatens? We'll have to wait and see.
Merlyn will have a key role to play this week
In the trailer, we can clearly see Oliver grabbing Malcolm by the neck and brutally slamming him into a table. To guess, as I honestly have no idea, Malcolm will be the one who directs Oliver to Nanda Parbat, or gives him information on one of Ra's' weaknesses. I think it's no coincidence his sudden very big role Guggenheim teases in the mid season finale coincides with a League of Assassins centered episode.
Merlyn will have a substantial part in time to come
While he hasn't played a huge part this so far, the midseason finale may set up his arc for the remainder of the season. Guggenheim promises Barrowman will be back in full force in 2015, and for Merlyn fans it's "their year." For you Doctor Who fans, you'll appreciate that Barrowman seemed to want scenes with Captain Boomerang, Digger Harkness - you know why. But, most interestingly, he confirms:
A Merlyn-centric episode with Merlyn flashbacks
Guggenheim confirmed that not only will 2015 be "his year" and he'll have a big role from episode 10 and on. Merlyn will have an episode revolving around him, with, of course, Arrow style flashbacks centered on right back when he began down this dark path. The possibilities are endless as to what we'll see: his wife's murder, his arrival with the League of Assassins, his desertion of the League. At any rate, I can't wait.
His interactions with Ra's also seem promising. The two share very similar motivations, with the awesome hinted at quote from a Ra's monologue in episode 9 being, "I replace evil with death," which sums up Ra's quite perfectly. Just as they perfectly summed up Amanda Waller last week: "there are some people in this world who deal only in extremes. It's naive to think anything less than extreme measures will stop them."
So, that's that for now! We have a lot to look forward to, starting this week. Here's the tense, awesome trailer for Arrow's midseason finale, 'The Climb.'