Update: As of the most recent episode, we have our answer! But don’t worry, we’ll keep that spoiler for after the poll.
When Cayden James, hacker extraordinaire, was first introduced on Arrow, he was a mysterious almost God-like figure with an incredible amount of smarts, money, and resources. But for whatever reason, he decided to put his trust in a Legion of Doom-like cabal of bad guys (and one bad gal) to take down the Green Arrow. In “We Fall,” it was revealed that Cayden’s reason for hating Oliver was that Oliver killed his son — something Oliver could have easily done, but was essentially something the same family dynamic that fueled Prometheus to bring Oliver to account in Season 5. But this time, it turns out that Ollie didn’t actually do it. He was in Hub City at the time that a fabricated video shows him as the killer of Cayden’s son elsewhere.
In “All for Nothing,” we get to see that video (which made it even more improbable that the brilliant Cayden would actually believe it, as it’s not the best doctored video, but perhaps he’s been blinded by grief) and find out that the anonymous person who sent it did so in order to set Cayden on a rampage against Oliver. Further, this mysterious person was likely the one who also released the doctored photo of Oliver as the Green Arrow.
What this means is that, ostensibly, Cayden is not the Big Bad of Arrow Season 6 — he’s either a pawn in someone else’s game, or he’s just been easily duped by another bad guy, possibly one in whom he has recently placed his trust. Keep in mind, by the way, that he’s also not just going after Oliver and Team Arrow, but killing off a lot of innocent people and draining the funds of an entire city to strike back at him. So his motivations as a bad guy aren’t particularly clear outside of being a psychopath who’s bad at coming up with security codes, but it’s also Michael Emerson so I think we’re all willing to forgive a lot.
Still, the question remains: who is pulling the strings for Cayden in regards this photo and video? (Assuming of course that the video isn’t some weird trick that Cayden is playing on Team Arrow). Below are a few possibilities, and why they may or may not be the mastermind. At the end you can vote in our poll with your pick, and for anyone not mentioned, let us know your guess in the comments!