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A long-dead fan favorite is coming back to Arrow, but how exactly?

By Trent Moore
Arrow Tommy

The CW has dropped a few new pics from next week’s episode of Arrow — and they feature a cast member who hasn’t been in the opening credits for quite a few years. So how, exactly, is Tommy Merlyn back in the fold?

The episode, titled “Living Proof,” seems to show Colin Donnell’s dearly department Tommy Merlyn talking to a clearly frustrated Oliver. Though Tommy was tragically killed early in the show’s run, he’s returned plenty of time since then. We’ve seen him in flashbacks a few times, and we’ve even met an alternate-reality version of Tommy who was one heck of a bad guy in his own right.

Best guess for this incarnation? It looks to all be in Oliver’s head, likely as he works through the fact that his newly-found half-sister Emiko really is running the criminal enterprise the Ninth Circle, and is also responsible for his father’s death (not to mention the boat wreck that stranded Oliver on Lian Yu in the first place). Yeah, it’s been a busy season.

Donnell has always been game to return to Arrow when the story sees fit, even scrambling for all-nighters to fit it in. As Oliver grapples with some mind-breaking reveals this season, it only makes sense he’d turn to the memories of an old friend to try and make sense of it all. Because, well, Tommy is the OG example of a loved one Oliver couldn't save. Or, who knows — maybe Earth-14’s Tommy found a breach and popped over to lend a hand? Not super-likely, but hey, you never know?

The “Living Proof” episode of Arrow airs Monday on The CW.

Give us your best theory of what, exactly, you think brings Tommy back to the Arrowverse below.

Arrow Tommy 2
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