Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you have not watched all of Arrow Season 3, you may not wish to keep reading.
Stephen Amell is known for his incredible presence on social media, and can often be found interacting with fans and answering their burning questions (while giving away as little as possible). Earlier today, he decided to get even more interactive, with a Q&A session via twitter, which you can find under the hashtag #AskAmell.
While there were various great moments in the Q&A, including the discovery that he may not be attending SDCC this year, that he doesn't play video games, and that he's a ridiculously early riser (5am today, apparently), one Tweet stood out among the rest.
The question posed by @SundayTrain was "Three words describing 401" (as in, Season 4 Episode 1 of Arrow).
While it's worth noting that this theoretically applies only to the first episode of the new season, there is plenty here to get fans thinking about what, exactly, Mr. Amell means.
Speedy/Thea Will Be the New Central Superhero
Obviously, one of the major questions for Season 4 is whether/when Oliver Queen will return to Starling City. At the end of Season 3, Ollie drove off into the sunset with Felicity, and theoretically he could take some time to return. Assuming that we spend at least the first few episodes in an Arrow-free city, we could easily see Speedy/Thea as the focus until his return.
After all, Felicity is off with Oliver, Malcolm Merlyn is in Nanda Parbat with the League, Roy Harper faked his death and left Starling, and Diggle has a baby to take care of. This still leaves us with an impressive roster of hero-types, but given that Ray/ATOM will be spending less time with Arrow and more with the upcoming spin-off Legends of Tomorrow, I doubt he'll be taking main stage, leaving us primarily with Thea and Laurel (and possibly Nyssa) to take care of the city. We've already seen Laurel develop into her super-self over the past season, complete with Canary Cry, so it only makes sense to set up Thea as the major player for Season 4.
Not to mention, of course, that Thea has the money, the Arrow cave, the free time (Laurel is still a lawyer, and that has to take up a significant part of her life!), and better training. Thea was trained by Malcolm Merlyn as well as Oliver, whereas Laurel did hers in the boxing ring. She may have been training with Nyssa recently, but I would still put my money on Thea in a fight.
So much for the "Speedy" part of the Tweet - what about "what's wrong"?
Well, it's no secret that Thea isn't always the happiest of characters. We first met her as an angry teen with a liking for narcotics (not hugely surprising when she was trying to deal with the death of half her immediate family), and since then she's been lied to by essentially everyone around her, that her mother was conspiring to blow up the city, was kidnapped, had her mother murdered in front of her, was cheated on, discovered that her boyfriend has a secret life as the Red Arrow, discovered that Malcolm Merlyn was actually her birth father, was brutally trained by him in Corto Maltese, was drugged and murdered a close friend, had her DJ attempt to assassinate her, thought her brother died (again), was actually assassinated, was brought back from the dead in Nanda Parbat, thought she lost her brother yet again (to the League), and finally came home, only to have everyone in her life leave.
Really, with a laundry list of trauma like that, it's no wonder that something is wrong with Speedy! Right now she is largely alone in Starling, her father, brother and boyfriend are alive but out of her life (for now), and she is fighting crime alongside the sister of someone she murdered. The question isn't why something is wrong, it's what shape that will take.
Option 1: Lazarus Pit Hangover
It's no secret to comic book fans that a return via Lazarus Pit is not usually a good thing. Throughout it's history, the Lazarus Pit has led to madness, aggressive insanity, and even zombies - I doubt that Thea is done with the effects of her time in the pit just yet.
We already saw her furious leap from the pit itself, some of the aggressive rage that comes with it, and finally, some confusion and memory loss. Since she got back from Nanda Parbat, however, she has seemed entirely back to normal. I wouldn't be surprised to see her start to have nightmares, black outs, and potentially anger issues. For someone who murdered a friend while blacked out under a drug, episodes like this would undoubtedly terrify Thea, leading to more issues in and of themselves. Might she return to Nanda Parbat to try and learn more about the pit, or will she feel unable to leave Starling City now that Oliver is gone?
Option 2: Addictions (Again)
Arrow has repeatedly dealt with addictions as a theme - both Laurel and Quentin Lance struggle with alcoholism, and we've seen Laurel abusing prescription medication to try and cope with her life. On top of this, the drug culture in Starling (and especially in the Glades) has been a recurring theme throughout the series - from Thea's addiction to the use of Vertigo, it's been clear that drugs are something the writers are not afraid to broach.
It would be an easy move to have Thea relapse and turn back to drugs now that most of her family has left her in Starling, but I truly hope this doesn't happen. For one thing, it's becoming something of a tired story arc in the show - it worked wonderfully for Laurel, and her growth into a vigilante helped to give her purpose and pull her away from her addiction. However, if Thea goes through the same issues, it wouldn't add much to the show. It may give her and Laurel something to connect on, but having them fighting to keep the city safe should be more than enough to do that.
Option 3: Issues from Thea's Comic Book Origin
I would be most interested to see a nod to Thea's comic book origin (although she is Mia in the books). The original Speedy was a teenage prostitute, saved by Oliver and trained by him before becoming his legal ward. Due to her history, she is one of the few comic book heroes who is openly living with HIV, and I would love to see something related to this very dark origin come up in Season 4.
While it would make little sense to have Thea, having finally really become comfortable in herself and taken on a mask, suddenly turn to prostitution (especially as she has plenty of money from Malcolm Merlyn), but perhaps she could infiltrate a trafficking ring to try and take them down? Perhaps her past drug use will catch up with her, and she discovers that she is HIV positive (although the Lazarus pit would presumably have healed that when it returned her to life)?
However it happens, I think that it would be an incredible topic to cover. The show has the right balance of drama and action to take on serious topics (like alcoholism) and it would be an incredible way to spark discussion and awareness of the issues that the character copes with in the comics.
Wait and See
While I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for hints as to what's "wrong" with Speedy, we won't actually find out until Arrow returns in October... but that doesn't mean that we can't keep guessing!
What do you think is wrong with Speedy in Season 4? Comment and let me know!