Thea Becoming A Villain On 'Arrow' Might Be What It Takes To Get Oliver Back To Starling City

I have been waiting for Thea Queen to take a walk on Arrow's dark side ever since she hitched a ride out of Starling City from Malcolm Merlyn back in Season 2. Oliver's sister has always been a humanizing figure for him — their bond survived his disappearance, and now, she's all the family he has left. But the show has been dropping hints about Thea's growing importance in the battle for Starling City since the very beginning. And with the events of "The Fallen" to consider, it's ridiculous to assume that Thea will stay behind the bar at Verdant and out of the fray.

With all the subtlety of a cartoon anvil, "The Fallen" teased Arrow fans about the effects of the Lazarus Pit. It brings people back, but it also changes them. I have a theory that the Lazarus Pit doesn't invent conflict, but rather surfaces the darkness you already have inside you. Thea has weathered way more storms than the average teen: her brother fell off the face of the earth and was assumed dead; her father perished in the same shipwreck; she learned of her mother's involvement and came to forgive her, right before her mother was murdered; the treacherous Merlyn was revealed to be her biological father; and her friend Sarah got a few arrow to the chests, arrows that Thea herself shot when she was drugged by Malcolm.

Kind of a struggle to stay positive, am I right?

Now Thea can add Oliver's acquiescence to Ra's al Ghul to her list of emotional stressors. Whether she wanted him to or not (and she definitely did not), Thea is the reason that Oliver walked willingly back in to Nanda Parbat. Arrow's newest episode is titled "Al Sah-Him" and will see Oliver in training to take over the League of Assassins. He is in this. He's not trying to escape, and even if he were, he wouldn't get far. The Arrow has to return to Starling City eventually — but whatever brings him back needs to be as dire the circumstances that took him away.

And wouldn't Thea turning evil be dire enough? Oliver had so many reasons to stay at home. Outside of Thea, he obviously has his Team Arrow family; he loves Diggle and Felicity just as much as he loves his sister. Their pleas failed to stop him from sacrificing himself. Not even Felicity's post-coital poisoning could keep him from what he saw as both his destiny and punishment. He's resigned himself to a life without them. Thea, however, Oliver still sees as his direct responsibility. If something goes down with her — something unthinkable — that's when we'll see him back in his hometown.

Thea is fighting whatever is inside her. In the "Al Sah-Him" clip above, she doesn't look anything like a super-villain in wait. She misses her brother and is hanging on to the few allies that she has left. But as Starling deteriorates further — as she deals with her loneliness and guilt over Ollie's fate — the Lazarus Pit will assert itself. Thea is going to turn. And that, and only that, will bring Oliver Queen back home.

Images: Cate Cameron/The CW; Giphy (2)