The very first time we interviewed “Arrow” star Stephen Amell after filming on the show’s began, he told us that the villain he was most looking forward to seeing was Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), Oliver’s best friend. In the comic books upon which “Arrow” is based, Merlyn is Oliver’s arch-nemesis, a formidable archer with a deep vendetta against the Green Arrow.
“I hope to see Tommy’s transition, just because Colin and I have become
such good buddies, and I know that he has a total kickass villain in
him,” Amell told us back in August. “The thing that I really like about my character
is that he’s not perfect. He kills people. He has made mistakes. He’s
responsible for Laurel’s sister’s death. That’s on him. So if and when
Tommy turns against him, there would be a lot of points that Tommy as
Merlyn could make that people could be like, ‘Oh, he’s kinda right,
isn’t he?’ He’d be like Gus on ‘Breaking Bad.’ I feel like Colin has
that capability in him, and that’s the one that I’m most excited to
Over the course of the first season, “Arrow” has planted the seeds of rivalry between the two men, by stoking a growing bitterness in Tommy toward Oliver. It began when Tommy’s father cut him off and Oliver gave him a job — a move which came from good intentions, but ultimately put Tommy in a difficult position once tensions grew at work. Tommy finding out that Oliver was The Hood certainly didn’t help, since Tommy has always been firmly against the vigilante’s particularly brutal brand of justice. And in last week’s episode, when Tommy went to Laurel’s apartment, presumably to try to get her back after Oliver’s feelings for her came between them, things got even worse. Through the window, Tommy watched Oliver and Laurel’s (naked) reunion, and a dark cloud settled over his face.
It certainly sets up some interesting possibilities for the former best friends in this Wednesday’s Season 1 finale, “Sacrifice.” It would seem that Tommy is ready to join the fight against the vigilante, and Tommy doesn’t even know that Oliver and his father are about to have a pretty epic battle of both wits and weapons.
“There are two very powerful scenes for Tommy and Oliver coming up in the finale,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg teases. “Fans of the comic book feel like they know where Tommy’s story is going, and then there are other people who had no expectations of Tommy until the show was on the air. One of the trickiest things that we had to do as writers was satisfy both parts of our constituent. I think people will be shocked and satisfied at the direction of the Tommy and Oliver relationship at the end of the season.”
And if Tommy does turn against Oliver — how far would Tommy have to go to get Oliver to turn against him? Amell tells us that despite the love triangle and the clash of ideals, Oliver would still do anything to keep Tommy safe.
“[If they were to go] mano-a-mano, Oliver just wouldn’t want to hurt him,” he says. “Oliver never wanted Tommy to be involved … Telling Tommy [about The Hood] was a life-or-death situation where Oliver didn’t want to sit with the guilt of letting Tommy’s father die on his hands because he needed to protect his secret. Split second decision, he did it, and he’s paying the piper for that, unfortunately.”
Tune in to the finale Wednesday, May 15 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW to see how it all goes down.