‘Arrow’ Season 6: Who Is the True “Big Bad”? | Poll (Updated)
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!
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Oliver’s former Bratva brother Anatoly pulling the strings here, after he and Oliver had their break in Season 5 (which was so painful!) Bringing Anatoly back as part of Cayden’s cabal also feels like a waste if he’s not actually double-crossing his “boss.” But the major issue here is timing. Cayden’s son was killed while Oliver was actually in Hub City, recruiting Dinah Drake. And while Anatoly could have easily arranged for all of this to go down, he and Oliver’s relationship was still in flux at that point, and they hadn’t fully broken ties. It would be strange, though not impossible, for him to have set Oliver up at that point. And it would certainly solidify Anatoly’s heel turn.
As of right now, we haven’t seen this character do diddly squat. For him to rise out of obscurity and become a key player in this season’s villain arc would be pretty classic Arrow, though, and there is comic precedence for it. Richard Dragon (a.k.a. Ricardo Diaz) is a martial arts master, which we haven’t really gotten much sense of yet in the TV series; plus, we know that his relationship to Diggle will be an important one. His motivations are also currently unclear, which leaves a lot of room for the show to delve into his history and his beef with Ollie (and Diggle?) in coming episodes, whereas with the others in the cabal, well, we’ve already been there and done that.
Earth-2 Laurel has been a henchman since we first met her as one of Zoom’s lackeys, so it’s unlikely that she’s somehow masterminding Cayden James that many moves ahead. Right now her attention seems primarily focused on some conflicting feelings regarding her Earth-1 father doppleganger Quentin Lance, and perhaps some remorse for her former (and pretty current) kills. That distraction doesn’t feel like it’s part of a long-term set-up, unless she is in a plot that someone else created, like …
Maybe I just really miss Adrian Chase as Prometheus, but it would be pretty satisfying to see that he’s still playing Oliver even from the grave. All of this could have been set up by him before his death, to continue to hold Oliver accountable. The slaying of Cayden’s son is the inverse of Oliver killing Adrian’s father, so that could play into more twisted games against Oliver (and we know he was a good archer!) To know that Adrian’s machinations against Oliver could continue indefinitely is exactly the kind of haunting chaos that made Prometheus such an effective villain. It’s unlikely, but would be fun.
When Slade and Oliver went to go find Slade’s son Joe (now the leader of the Jackals), Joe revealed that Slade has another son, Grant, who Joe supposedly killed. Pause and take all of that in. This is important because in one potential future timeline, Grant became the ruler of Star City and was visited by the Legends of Tomorrow. In that story, taking place in 2031, Grant took on the mantle of Deathstroke and killed most of Team Arrow, leaving Oliver physically maimed. Though he was ultimately defeated in that episode by Oliver and Connor Hawke, there are a lot of questions about whether Flashpoint reset this potential future, since Slade’s eventual redemption was never mentioned. Still, Grant (who Slade is now looking for, last we left him), could somehow already be on his way to trying to defeat Oliver and Team Arrow.
I mean obviously it’s William. Did you not see his skills with that nerf bow? He was also about 4 years old just a few months ago — explain that! Also, how deadly calm was he in the face of a bus accident and subsequent tunnel fire? The kid is stone cold, and I’d like to think that Prometheus taught him well. What if this was Adrian’s ultimate plan, to pit Oliver’s son against him?
Yeah, there’s really no way, but … wouldn’t it be amazing?
Turns out it was Richard Dragon the whole time! Sure, Laurel may have copped to killing Cayden’s son and fudging the video to frame Green Arrow, but that was just due to Black Siren’s impatience. In the closing moments of “The Devil’s Greatest Trick”, Dragon visited Cayden in custody, admitted to orchestrating the murder, the frame-up, the whole thing in order to prime the city for a takeover. So congratulations to the 122 of you (roughly 20%) who correctly identified Kirk Acevedo‘s character as the big bad villain. We expect to see much more of him when Arrow returns March 1st!