Warning: Spoilers ahead. All kinds of spoilers. Spoilery spoilers. If you aren't caught up with Arrow, you probably don't want to keep reading.
Arrow returns to the CW this Wednesday, and everyone tuning in has one question: What will happen with Oliver Queen? At the end of the mid-season finale, we saw Oliver battling Ra's Al Ghul on the top of a mountain, and it didn't exactly end well for him.
Of course, most fans are refusing to believe that Oliver could actually be dead. Comic book readers are somewhat used to seeing major characters bite the dust, only to return somewhere down the line, and the show itself has already seen the return of quite a few "dead" people. (Oliver himself, Malcolm Merlyn, Sara Lance, etc etc). It even looks like we'll see the return of Tommy Merlyn, who had seemed quite convincingly deceased after a building collapsed on him. (Apparently getting stabbed through the chest just isn't a killer blow in Starling.)
The immediate assumption for most people was that Oliver would be brought to the Lazarus Pit, revived, and carry on his merry way. There were various theories about who would be doing the reviving (Malcolm and Tommy Merlyn were big contenders in the speculation I read, as were Nyssa Al Ghul and Maseo), but the method of his return was universally assumed to be by the pits. A reference to the pit in the episode itself, and a photo posted by Stephen Amell after the airing seemed to confirm this (although he vehemently denied that this was the case), but now he has spoken out again to put these rumors to rest.
Collider, at the TCA Winter Press Tour, spoke to Amell and he revealed that while the pit does exist in the Arrowverse, it will not be used to bring Oliver back from the dead.
We’ve seen a Lazarus Pit, although that’s not something that’s going to be used for Oliver.
Well then. While it is possible for Amell to be lying to try and keep fans guessing, I don't think that this is the case. Usually, when an actor is trying to avoid giving away the secrets of upcoming episodes, they are much cagier, and dodge the question. They "can't say," they use words like possibly, maybe, and often ending with a "who knows!" In fact, Amell uses just this kind of avoidance when talking about Oliver's future, refusing to state outright that he is or isn't dead.
I hope he survives. I like playing him.
So, let's assume that he is telling the truth, and that Oliver will not be joining Ra's for a steam to restore his life (presumably the bath we saw Ra's emerge from is, in fact, the Lazarus pit - as we've "already seen it," this seems the most logical explanation to me). How else could Oliver return? Amell has a couple of ideas for that, too.
We just saw him fall. We’ve seen Oliver survive. So, [we don’t know] whether he went straight off the cliff, whether something broke his fall, whether he hit the ground. We have mystical herbs on the show that have healing powers.
Combine this with the synposis currently viewable on IMDB for episode 15, "Nanda Parbat," and a new possibility emerges.
It seems likely now that Tommy Merlyn, who was revived by the Lazarus pit (thanks, Dad), has spent the time between his "death" in Starling and his resurrection hanging out with the League, and learning from them. After finding out about Oliver's upcoming battle with Ra's, he follows them up the mountain, and saves Oliver after his fall, bringing him back to Nanda Parbat and healing his wounds with knowledge he has gained from the League. It may even be that Ra's or Nyssa knows that Oliver took the fall (see what I did there?) for Thea, and is in on the plan to revive him.
So what does all this mean for the show as a whole? Well, I am still convinced that Oliver will return, one way or another. IMDB aside, I just cannot believe that a hugely popular series would kill off their title character in the third season. As for not using the Lazarus pit...I'm on the fence.
On the one hand, [Arrow](series:720988) has always been a bit more grounded in the real world than many superhero shows or movies. It's been, thus far, magic-free - extreme training and the powers of science and botany have formed the basis for Oliver's world. Having him healed by herb rather than magic fountain-of-youth is in-keeping with this theme, and it could be argued that this will keep existing fans happy with the tone. (That said, if the Lazarus pit was used to revive Tommy and keep Ra's himself young, then it wouldn't make much of a difference to toss Ollie in there too, would it?)
On the other hand, The Flash, with it's slightly more "out there" lab accident, meta-humans and time travel has been staggeringly popular - what's to say that Arrow wouldn't be even better with more elements of the fantastic added? In fact, some may argue that healing him any other way would be less realistic. While people throughout history have, miraculously, survived some impressive wounds (including steel rods through brains, crushed skulls, etc. etc.), many people may not buy the idea that it's possible to recover from a sword through the chest simply by using herbs.
What do you think? Could Oliver actually die? Is Amell leading us astray while Oliver bathes in the Lazarus pit, or will be be healed by the power of herbs? Comment below and let me know!