Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Arrow. Read at your own risk!
Apparently, Cayden James was not Arrow’s big bad, but a pawn in someone else’s game.
During Thursday’s episode, Oliver (Stephen Amell) was finally able to prove that he was not responsible for the death of Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) son. The former head of Helix charged OTA and NTA with tracking down who was actually responsible, which was either Anatoly (David Nykl), Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) or Black Siren (Katie Cassidy).
While the trio of criminals all eventually escaped — with Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) taking Laurel on a ride to redemption — Cayden decides not to blow up Star City, returning the ransom money and turning over evidence to help find the others. But the true culprit who has apparently been pulling the strings this season made himself known: Ricardo, a.k.a Richard Dragon, was the one who had Cayden’s son killed, and he plans to take over the city in its desperate time of need. He even unceremoniously kills Cayden, to boot.
Why? Well, it’s pretty unclear. It seems like a really roundabout way to take over a city, leaving a lot up to chance, particularly because Ricardo doesn’t seem to actually have beef with Oliver in particular, he just wanted him out of the way. So there has to be a second layer that has yet to be revealed, especially since someone was disabled the cameras when Dragon slaughtered Cayden. Could that someone secretly be Alena (Kacey Rohl)? The former Helix operative knew where Cayden would be the night ARGUS came to arrest him, so she could’ve tipped them off. Cayden also threatened to kill her, so pitting him against the Green Arrow would be an easy way to steer Cayden’s attention elsewhere — much like Malcolm (John Barrowman) did in luring Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) to Star City in order to protect Thea (Willa Holland) all those years ago.
Otherwise, it seems like Richard Dragon hasn’t really asserted himself enough to be the season’s big bad. We don’t know much about him other than he’s a crime lord and drug kingpin who slings a drug that’s basically steroids — he was providing said drug to Diggle (David Ramsey) when the hero was dealing with nerve damage at the beginning of the season. But does the Dragon actually warrant a spot among Arrow‘s greatest villains like Ra’s, Malcolm, Deathstroke, and Prometheus? Only time will tell.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.