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Malcolm Merlyn

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For the Arrow episode of the same name, see The Magician. For the comic book series based around Malcolm Merlyn, see Arrow: The Dark Archer.
"I thought of you as a son once, Oliver. I had more in common with you than my own blood, but that's not the reason I'm not going to kill you. Neither is the fact that you are my daughter's brother. The reason you get to live is because death would be a mercy compared to the debt I now owe you!"
—Malcolm to Oliver Queen[src]

Malcolm Merlyn (born c. 1966[1] as Arthur King[2]) is the father of Thea Queen and the late Tommy Merlyn, and the husband of the late Rebecca Merlyn. He is also the archenemy of Oliver Queen. He was trained by the League of Assassins, taking the name Al Sa-Her ( الساحر Arabic for The Magician). For a period of time, he became the leader of the League, but Nyssa al Ghul soon disbanded it.

Malcolm is a formerly wealthy and successful businessman who was CEO of Merlyn Global Group, and was a prominent figure in Starling City. Fueled by the death of his wife during a mugging in the crime-infested area of "The Glades", he secretly plotted "The Undertaking". After The Hood began to intervene in his plot Malcolm donned his league uniform and became The Dark Archer, an assassin who defeated the Hood twice in combat. He eventually succeeded in his plan, though only partially, but was believed dead when Oliver struck an arrow through his heart.

He eventually revealed himself to be alive to Moira when he discovered he was Thea's biological father and he sought redemption with her. Instead, Moira revealed to the League of Assassins that Malcolm was in fact alive. After some time, he was no longer hunted, due to Oliver helping to wipe out his blood debt. He later became an uneasy ally of Team Arrow, despite their constant qualms. After Oliver defeated "Ra's", he gave Ra's ring to Malcolm, making him the new Ra's al Ghul. However, Nyssa soon disbanded the League, and this power struggle cost Malcolm his left hand. In his anger for Oliver, he joined forces with Damien Darhk, whom he originally fought with as a temporary Green Arrow.


Early life

Arthur King was born sometime around or before 1966.[1]

As a member of The Hidden

While serving in the Air Force Academy, Arthur was recruited by The Hidden, initially believing it to be a modern-day crusade. He developed a romance with another member, Lourdes, despite her being betrothed to another man. Due to this, their leader Ibadan sent Arthur and Darius out on a mission in the Hindu Kush mountains to retrieve a stone marker, in order to prevent tribal wars. However, only five miles from the camp, they were forced to duck behind their Jeep to protect themselves from a sandstorm. Once the sandstorm cleared, they noticed the League of Assassins approaching by horseback in the distance.[1]

Sometime after, Arthur legally changed his named to Malcolm Merlyn for unknown reasons.

Living in Starling City

Eventually, Malcolm fell in love with a woman named Rebecca. In 1985, Rebecca gave birth to a son, Tommy.[3]

In 1994, his wife was murdered in the Glades section of Starling City. Earlier, Rebecca tried to call Malcolm for help, but he was busy and turned his phone off, unaware of the nature of Rebecca's call.[4] Later, after Malcolm turned it back on, he received a call from a businessman who he negotiated with until he was done, then Tommy woke up in a nightmare. Malcolm comforted him, performing a vanishing coin trick, and promised he wouldn't leave or let anything happen to him but then two S.C.P.D. officers, including a friend of his, showed up at his door step to inform him Rebecca had been murdered.[5] After the death of his wife, Malcolm had a brief affair with Moira in his grief who was deliberately cheating on Robert out of spite with his best friend but Malcolm felt immense guilt for betraying Rebecca's memory. However this encounter would result in the birth of their daughter Thea, though Malcolm would be unaware of this for almost 20 years.[6] After the funeral Malcolm sat at Rebecca's burial spot for hours after the event until his cop friend gave him information on the killer. He later tracked him down, pretending to be lost, and pulled a gun on him trying to understand his motives and scolding him for his pain. However, the punk fought back and severely beat Malcolm, but as he walked off Malcolm fatally shot him in the back and killed him. Malcolm heard of Nanda Parbat, a place to deal with his pain and despite the insistence of his cop friend, Malcolm was set on leaving and explained to Tommy that he would return. He found his way to Nanda Parbat and was brought before an 8 year old Nyssa al Ghul, member of the League of Assassins, whilst she trained but she immediately believed him to be the League's next victim, but Malcolm clarified and told her he wasn't there to fight her but to train. As Nyssa demanding explanation Malcolm performed the same coin trick on her and impressed her, she gave him a new name for the League, "Al Sa-Her" (The Magician).[5]

He served with them for two years [7] and was trained by Al-Owal under supervision of the League's leader Ra's al Ghul, who guided him and helped him see the world for how cruel it truly was, helping him find purpose. He was trained in all manner of combat, including the ability to withstand immense pain.[8][9] After training and serving with them for two years, he became the first person to ever be released,[10] on condition that he follow the League's codes.[11] As a result of his time with them, Malcolm also became more calculating.

After returning to Starling City, he then gathered with various people including his best friend, Robert Queen and Frank Chen and started a plan to rebuild the Glades and free it of crime, first by forcing criminals to give up their wealth and give it to the needy, keeping their names on a list.[4] However Malcolm was estranged from Tommy and took little involvement in his upbringing leading Tommy to believe he cared for no one but himself,[7] spending most of his time at Oliver's house where he saw Oliver's father Robert as a surrogate father figure. Despite this however Malcolm did bail Tommy out when he got into trouble with authorities.[8]

In late 2007, Malcolm meets with various associates dedicated to fixing the Glades of crime, these included Robert and Frank. Malcolm told them of his plan to level the Glades using an Earthquake device made by Dr. Markov at Unidac Industries. Though some were persuaded, Robert was wary of Malcolm intentions. Later, after everyone had left, Robert met with Malcolm to question his plan where Malcolm revealed the unthinkable circumstances of his wife's death to Robert. Later, Malcolm had Frank rig Robert's boat with explosives to kill him to keep his plan in motion.[4] This would inadvertently cause the eventual creation of Oliver Queen and Sara Lance's respective vigilante identities "The Arrow" [12] and "The Canary".[3] After the boat was sunk and Robert was dead, Malcolm continued his plan and used the criminals on the list to instead buy sections of the Glades and hired other criminals and mercenary's to complete his mission. He also had Moira approve all scientific developments through Queen Consolidated and sub companies Tempest and Unidac Industries. He also had Moira personally visit anyone working in the Glades who had plans that would endanger the Undertaking, all of this while using her own life and Thea's as a threat to keep her in line.[12]

In 2010, Tommy used Malcolm's jet without his permission to head to China to search for Oliver acting on a tip that he may still be alive, and Malcolm yelled at Tommy on the phone for taking his jet without his consent before Tommy hung up on him.[13]

The Undertaking

Malcolm Merlyn confessing

Malcolm talks about Oliver's situation with Moira.

Moira met with Malcolm, informing him that Oliver knew nothing of his father's involvement in the plan or that the Queen's Gambit was sabotaged, before he looked in his own version of the list.[14] Malcolm is seen for the first time in person and met with Moira to discuss The Hood. He expressed that he was uneasy about him. At first Moira expected this was because he had a large amount of wealth, but he replied that it was because the Hood was targeting "The List".[15] When Oliver was accused of being the vigilante, Malcolm later invited Moira to talk with him upon short notice. They discuss whether Oliver might actually be The Hood, and he holds up his end of the argument that he strongly believes that Oliver is, due to the suspicious timing and unexplained absences, along with numerous officials submitting hard evidence. After this, he sends a man to kill Oliver based on his assumption but he failed when Detective Lance killed him. After the chaos cleared, Moira went to consult with him. Moira threatened to ruin his life if he ever tried to hurt the Queen family again. Though Malcolm listened he still appeared to have his suspicions.[16]

When Moira was almost shot and hospitalized, Malcolm visited her during this time, much to her distaste. He offered her friendship as they previously had, but she was hesitant. Later, his son Tommy came asking why his father cancelled his credit card while the elder was practicing fencing. Malcolm replied that he had permanently cut Tommy off from his trust fund because of Tommy's constant laid back attitude, which had grown tiresome. Tommy then argued with his father that it was his trust fund to which Malcolm further reminded him is comprised of his money, before resuming his fencing. [7]

Tired of the Hood's interference, Malcolm took up his own vigilante persona, the "Dark Archer", and killed Adam Hunt to lure him out before attending a party at the Queen Mansion where the Hood was the topic of discussion and the killing of Adam Hunt. Malcolm also appeared to still have suspicions as he asked Oliver a few questions of the Hood and his nickname, even suggesting "Green Arrow", and looked at him with suspicion when he left the room the same time as the cops after they reported Hunt's murder to party attendee Commissioner Nudocerdo. Later Dark Archer killed Nelson Ravich to again lure out the Hood and set up a trap in a warehouse which failed. Later Malcolm was informed that Walter had more information on the list and consulted with Moira about the predicament and stated that action needed to be taken. Desperate to lure the Hood out, Dark Archer took hostages in a factory and fought with The Hood but Dark Archer came out on top, informing The Hood that he knew he was targeting the list, and almost killed him but the Hood managed to stab him with an arrow and get away. Malcolm later had Walter abducted and informed Moira that he wouldn't be harmed and would be safe until the Undertaking was over.[17] Oliver's defeat at the hands of Dark Archer gave him nightmares and scared him so much that he refused to suit up again fearing for leaving his family should he be killed. However Diggle was finally able to snap him out of his fear before Oliver became Hood once again who later became the arrow.[18]

Malcolm invited his son and Laurel to have dinner with him. At dinner, Malcolm quite openly mentioned to Laurel how his wife was killed, though not before trying to getting Tommy to sign over his mother's clinic, so it could be shut down. Tommy then felt betrayed again and stormed off as Laurel directly confronted Malcolm about the cut off but he told Laurel that he needs it to be stronger just like he was forced to after his wife's death. Malcolm also met with Moira to discus Carl Ballard's endangerment of the Undertaking and she agreed to handle him but demanded proof of Walter's survival first. Malcolm later came to Moira at Thea's birthday party to give her a photo of him and gave her a re-assuring touch on her shoulder, unaware Thea was watching who believed them to be having an affair.[19] Moira met with Malcolm to inform him Carl won't be a problem anymore but Malcolm then reveals that he learned from Walter that Moira had the Queen's Gambit salvaged and orders Moira to destroy it, unaware that Diggle is spying on them in the other room. However Malcolm appeared to have voice amplifiers in the room as when Oliver and Dig played it again Malcolm's voice was cloaked.[20]

Without knowing, Moira, tired of being used, hired China White to assassinate Malcolm.[8] Malcolm visited Tommy at Laurel's apartment on his 28th birthday and invited him to an awards ceremony where he was to receive the humanitarian award but Tommy refused. Later though Tommy did attended, albeit reluctant. Frank Pike read out Malcolm's award announcement before handing it to him before Malcolm gave a speech his philanthropy and charitable nature to making Starling City better, but noting that he hasn't done enough but one day he will. As he was giving his speech, the lights were turned off by the Chinese Triad. Malcolm quickly exited and found Tommy, and the two made it up to his office. Malcolm explained to Tommy about his safe room, and proceeded to open the door to it. However, before he could admit to his son his alter ego of the Dark Archer, Malcolm was shot from afar by Deadshot, who had been assigned to his assassination. Before Malcolm could die, The Hood arrived and was able to convince Tommy to give his father a blood transfusion, in order to rid his body of curare poison laced in the bullet. He woke up in a hospital bed some time later and talked to Tommy and confessed his guilt for letting him down as a child. Moira visited, and Malcolm asked her to find his would-be killer, unaware it was actually Moira.[8]

Malcolm began a vengeance mission to find who was responsible for paying Deadshot to kill him and met with a member of the Chinese Triad to find out, promising him a reduced prison sentence. Moira, with no choice, pinned the blame on Frank Chen and gave evidence that he was the one who ordered the kill. Dark Archer later killed Frank as he met with Moira and wanted to kill his daughter but Moira begged Dark Archer not to which Dark Archer agreed.[21] After quitting his job at Verdant, Tommy visited his father at Merlyn Global Group and asked for a job.[22]

Brion Markov is killed by the Dark Archer

Dark Archer kills Dr. Markov to cover his tracks

Malcolm received word that the Markov device is ready and celebrates with Moira in honor of Robert and Rebecca. Later Moira storms into a meeting Malcolm has with his Chinese employers about Walter apparently being killed but Malcolm shows her that he is alive, unaware that the Hood is listening in. Later when Walter was rescued by the Hood, Malcolm talked to Oliver about Walter if he knew anything but he didn't and told Malcolm that those who nabbed him would pay.[4] To tie up loose ends, Malcolm, as Dark Archer, visited Unidac Industries and eliminated Dr. Markov and his team, including two innocent young scientists for being witnesses, before destroying the labs to eliminate evidence before speeding off in his car. The following day, Malcolm ran in to Oliver in his company's building, while Felicity Smoak attempted to hack the system. Later, when Malcolm realized that Felicity has hacked into his system, he removed the device and had it hidden. Malcolm later paid Walter a visit at the Queen Mansion until Moira returned and accused Malcolm of wanting to kill him to tie up more loose ends, given Dark Archer's massacre earlier, which Malcolm admitted was true. Later Diggle found the device's empty container while Malcolm was personally visited by The Hood. The vigilante attempted to shoot Malcolm with an arrow, but Malcolm caught the arrow before revealing to him that he is the Dark Archer, also noting the irony of Malcolm trying to kill him at Christmas, The Hood saving Malcolm a few months before and now The Hood trying to kill him. The two of them engaged in hand-to-hand combat, Malcolm ultimately coming out the victor, knocking The Hood out. He lifted his hood and discovered his true identity - Oliver Queen.[23]

Oliver is chained up by Malcolm Merlyn

Malcolm with Oliver chained up.

Malcolm had Oliver tied up before he could regain consciousness. Oliver was awoken, and Malcolm explained to him why he had done what he had before leaving, awaiting the destruction of the Glades. Later Tommy visited Malcolm to tell him that Laurel and he were over and that Oliver believed he wanted to destroy the Glades but Malcolm confirmed it much to his shock. Malcolm then played a recording of Rebecca's death to Tommy before violently yelling at him "They deserve to die! All of them!" However then Moira confessed the plan on TV and three cops arrived but Malcolm easily dispatched them and Tommy tried to kill him but Malcolm knocked him out. After this he waited, geared up in his safe room, and The Hood and John soon found him. Dark Archer fought them both simultaneously, despite being on the losing end. He threw a throwing knife at John and managed to escape to the roof. Hood and Dark Archer squared off on the roof, shooting arrows at each other, before engaging in hand-to-hand combat. He managed to get Hood in a choke hold, telling him that he would soon be joined by his mother and sister in death, remembering the last words of his his father Oliver managed to stab Malcolm through the chest with one of Malcolm's arrows, by stabbing himself through his shoulder. Oliver rose from the ground, and after receiving confirmation from Felicity that the device was disarmed, told Malcolm that his plan had failed. Injured, Malcolm revealed he had a second device stationed in the Glades. Believing he had won, Malcolm fell on his side and succumbed to his apparent demise.[24]

Despite everyone's assumptions, Malcolm had in fact survived his brush with death[25], and had coroners make the police believe he was dead[11] and had left Starling City. However he still had associates in the D.A.'s office including someone close to A.D.A. Adam Donner.[25] The League also learned of his Undertaking which violated their codes but since they also believed Oliver to have killed him they considered the matter settled.[11]

Pursued by the League

Malcolm Merlyn reveals himself to be alive

Malcolm makes his return to Starling City.

5 months following his apparent death, it is now public knowledge that Malcolm was responsible for the Undertaking and he was the Dark Archer.[3] When Moira was in danger of being prosecuted Malcolm returned to Starling and used "a little persuasion" to make sure she was acquitted of the charges of being associates with him. After she was acquitted, her driver brought Moira to a remote location where Malcolm was waiting, killed the driver and revealed himself to Moira. Using resources in Starling Malcolm followed Donner's investigation of links between Moira and Malcolm and became suspicions she had kept secrets even from him. A genetics test confirmed his suspicions - Thea is his daughter.[25] Malcolm continues to privately confront Moira at the Queen household and even revealed the guilt he had towards inadvertently killing Tommy and insisting that she owes her life to him after acquitting her. Determined to play a part in his daughter's life, Malcolm demands that Moira tell Thea of her true parentage. Moira refuses and contacts Ra's al Ghul, informing him that Malcolm is alive. She reveals this to Malcolm, advising that he run since Ra's wanted to kill him personally which he did but said the matter wasn't settled.[6]

When Malcolm heard what happened to Moira he made his way back to Starling City to check up on Thea.[26] Dark Archer arrives just as Slade's Mirakuru army lays siege on the city, just in time to save Thea from being killed by one of the henchmen and reveals himself to her before killing him. Thea out of shock and panic ran away into the subways before Malcolm catches up to her, insisting he wasn't going to hurt her begging her to come with him to safety but she refuses before being attacked by another minion. After he manages to kill him, he temporarily loses consciousness, and when he comes to, Thea is pointing a gun at him. Malcolm tells Thea that he understands her pain as he has endured it too - with Rebecca and Tommy's deaths - just as Thea did with her loss of Moira and Robert. Suddenly Thea fires two shots in his direction.[27] As Thea feels guilt ridden for killing her real father, Malcolm comes to and reveals that he was wearing a kevlar vest. Malcolm, to Thea's disgust, told Thea that she had more nerve than Tommy. When Thea left to find Roy, Malcolm compared Roy to Moira and Oliver: they were all liars. Later, after Thea found out Roy's identity as The Arrow's accomplice, she went back to Malcolm, waiting in his limousine.[28] She requested that he teach her how to suppress her emotions, as she never wanted to feel the same way again, and they soon departed from Starling City.[9]

War with League of Assassins

Following them leaving Starling City, Malcolm and Thea left for Corto Maltese. The two took up residence in a mansion owned by Malcolm. He decided to train her by pouring boiling water on to her hand, to teach her that "pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional". However, she was unable to stand it, and Malcolm decided that he had to train her the same way he had been trained, by physically hurting her to the point that Thea retaliated, pointing a sword, allowing him to determine that the training had began.[9] During this period he trained her in martial arts, sword fighting, stealth and archery. Somewhere during this period he drugged her with a plant votura that made her follow orders without remembering it. He and Thea took a plane to Starling City where he made her kill Sara Lance on a rooftop by shooting three arrows in her chest. The two then flew back to Corto Maltese where they kept training while Thea did not realized about what had happened.

Malcolm Merlyn confronts Nyssa and Oliver

The Dark Archer confronts Nyssa and The Arrow.

After 6 months Malcolm saw his daughter able to take down multiple trainers and congratulated her.[13] When Oliver arrived looking for Thea and arrives at the mansion Malcolm readied his bow but Oliver was called off. Malcolm later spied on Thea as she talked to Roy. Thea later requested to head home and proved her training's worth by fighting Malcolm with swords and disarmed him, but Thea implied that he let her win.[9] Malcolm returned to Starling City after Thea in order to watch over and protect her. He also bought shares for Verdant and the nearby foundry (the Arrowcave) to help Thea put it back in business, which makes Malcolm the owner of Oliver's base. Nyssa also informed Oliver of Merlyn's survival after believing him to be Sara's killer. After following leads Nyssa tracks Malcolm and fights him and Oliver tags him with an arrow but doesn't kill him much to Laurel and Nyssa's anger. Malcolm later privately contacts Oliver and pleads his innocence in Sara's death knowing that killing her would only provoke Nyssa and Ra's and Oliver believes him. Laurel however begs Nyssa to kill Malcolm at any cost but she kidnaps Thea to lure him out where Dark Archer, Arrow and Nyssa fight each other and Dark Archer manages to defeat Nyssa but Arrow holds an arrow to him. Malcolm admits his high body count but protests that he didn't kill Sara and Arrow contemplated killing him for his past crimes but was unable to due to his vow and let him go and proclaimed Malcolm to be under his protection until Sara's true killer was found. Later Malcolm contacted Thea to tell her that he would protect her at any cost.[11]

Malcolm continues to train Thea without Oliver's knowledge and allows her access to his wealth so that she could buy herself an apartment while rebuilding the club, much to Oliver's chagrin. He later spied on Thea and saw Oliver at her apartment, much to his annoyance.[29] Malcolm was later contacted by Thea after Oliver visited her loft as the Arrow to find out if she was responsible for Sara's murder, he later confronted Oliver in Verdant and after being attacked, he revealed that he had Thea kill Sara through a plant called votura which thrives in Corto Maltese which was used to erase her memory of the incident. His whole plan was to make Ra's al Ghul focus on the killer and force Oliver to confront Ra's as he did not want to put Thea in danger, his aim that Oliver would kill Ra's al Ghul so he would no longer be hunted by the League.[30]

Malcolm continued to train Thea in her apartment but she expressed worry over Oliver for not calling as it had been days since he did so, but he promised her to look into it as he regarded Oliver as family. Malcolm then visited Felicity, Diggle and Roy in the Arrowcave to ask them if they'd seen Oliver which they denied and Malcolm suspected Oliver's death at Ra's hands. Malcolm then visited the site where Oliver and Ra's had dueled but only found a sword with Oliver's blood and returned to Starling in the Arrowcave to inform the team of the news and present the sword. Though Malcolm offered his condolences but Felicity and Diggle scolded Merlyn for getting Oliver killed. Malcolm then arrived in Thea's apartment where she threw a letter opener at him (which he caught). He informed her they were leaving Starling forever, but decided not to reveal her brother's fate to her.[31]

He later visited her at her apartment expecting her to be packing. However she was gone and he found her at Verdant. He asked her why she was not packing and she told him he did not explained why they had to leave, and said she wasn't leaving unless he told her why. He later went to her apartment were Roy confronted him who told him to stay away from Thea and said he would not allow Thea to go with him. Roy also scolded him for manipulating her into killing Sara and told Malcolm he would lose her forever, but Malcolm told him it was a family matter, and he wasn't family. Malcolm later met her at her apartment and apologized to her, and told her the truth. He explained Ra's wants to kill him and his family for the undertaking, but later Thea told Malcolm they weren't leaving and told him not to be afraid of Ra's just like he taught her not to be and to face Ra's together. Malcolm agreed and they decided to stay.[32]

Malcolm continued to train Thea using even more brutal methods and insisted that she needed to be willing to kill in order to beat Ra's but she asked how he is so willing to kill, and he told her that it started when he killed the man who murdered Rebecca. Later Malcolm spied on Team Arrow in the cave, via hacked webcam, and learned that Danny Brickwell/Brick killed Rebecca. as Arsenal and Black Canary pursued Brick into a police precinct Dark Archer followed and arrived in time to save them from Brick executing them as Dark Archer stated he needed to talk. In the Arrowcave Malcolm proposed an alliance with Team Arrow, as they have the same enemy. Laurel and Roy, despite still resenting Malcolm, where willing to consider but Felicity and Diggle were not and declined Merlyn's offer. Later Malcolm prepared to kill Brick himself despite Thea begging him not to trying to see a goodness inside. As the people of the Glades fought back against Brick's army, forcing Brick to flee, Brick ran into Dark Archer again in the ally and was easily subdued by Dark Archer who revealed his identity and prepared to kill him. Brick revealed that he murdered Rebecca not just to join a gang but because she was weak angering Malcolm more but before he could pull the trigger Arrow, very much alive, arrived and begged him to spare him for Thea's sake. Malcolm was persuaded and spared Brick so he would face court justice. As Malcolm told Thea the new choice he made Oliver walked in and was ok with Malcolm's presence, despite Thea being aware of their distaste for each other. Though Oliver admitted to Malcolm that he still despised him for having Sara killed and committing the undertaking, he asked Malcolm to train him to face Ra's al Ghul.[5]

A week later, Malcolm visited Team Arrow and told Oliver if they were to survive he needed to tell Thea the truth, though Oliver believed telling her would shatter their relationship forever. Malcolm visited Thea at her apartment after Oliver told her the truth but she became distrusting of him for not telling her and left, determined to avoid the issue of Ra's al Ghul. Later when Chase, a League agent, ambushed Thea in an attempt to assassinate her. Malcolm and Arsenal arrived to stop him after which he committed suicide with cyanide. As Oliver arrived to see what happened Malcolm, despite knowing Thea's new found scorn for him, informed them that to be Ra's they needed to purge their fear and the only place on Earth capable of doing that was Lian Yu.[33]

Unbeknownst to either, Malcolm visited Lian Yu and freed Slade Wilson promising him a chance to escape via the plane Oliver and Thea used. After learning that Slade escaped, Oliver called Malcolm who admitted his actions and informed him Slade's release is a test to help him regain his killer instinct and disabled their cellphones. After Oliver and Thea narrowly escaped Slade on the island and returned home, they confronted Malcolm about his actions and when Malcolm insisted his actions were out of love, Thea scorned him for making her kill Sara. Malcolm was highly enraged that Oliver told her and she insisted that though she was still Malcolm's student she was no longer his daughter, highly irritating him.[34]

He started training Thea and Oliver in sword fighting. He easily beat both of them at once in a practice fight as he stressed the importance of fighting in unison. Thea remarked that it is his fault the League is after them. John tells them that the club is now highly secured and Malcolm told Oliver it might be wise for him and Thea to stay here. He explained that the only reason the League has not killed him is that they do not know where to find him. Oiver says they will stay at the loft, after which Malcolm says they clearly have their stubbornness from their mom. Malcolm later got followed as he realized it is Laurel. Laurel attacked him, but he easily fended her off. He says she has an identity crisis and that she could never beat him with just a stick. A furious Laurel pulled a gun on him and Malcolm said he will find out if she is a truly a killer. Suddenly they got surrounded by assassins who disarmed Laurel and held her back. Nyssa told Laurel to stand back and Malcolm engaged her in single combat. After a short fight, Nyssa quickly overpowered him and knocked him out. Malcolm gets tied up and brought to a chopper as Nyssa tells him he will face torture for what he did. Although this was only becuase Nyssa was extremely enraged and Malcolm didn't try his best during that battle. Malcolm told her that he would only be punished for the Undertaking and that she will never succeed her father after her relationship with Sara. Oliver attacked them and Nyssa fights him while Malcolm gets dragged to the chopper. Malcolm attempted to fight back, but got pulled in the chopper and flew away. Nyssa was defeated by Oliver and did not make it back to Nanda Parbat. He later gets brought before Ra's Al Ghul who told him about how he once met an amazing magician who was a shade of himself as he met him nearly 25 years later. Ra's said magicians can cheat many things, but not death. Malcolm begged him for mercy to which Ra's replied that he should die at least with some dignity. A screaming Malcolm got dragged away to be tortured. Barely conscious after the torture, Malcolm gets hanged above a fire. He woke up as Oliver and Diggle came to save him. He tried to tell them it was a trap, but Ra's quickly captured them.[35]

It is later revealed that Ra's want Oliver to take his place as the head of the League of Assassins. Oliver refuses and returns to Starling City with Diggle and Malcolm. Malcolm, still suffering from his experience at Nanda Parbat, is confined to the couch in Thea's loft. Thea, enraged over recent events, approaches and berates her father, and Malcolm apologizes for being a poor father, and allows Thea to kill him if she believes it is necessary, although she declines the offer. He is later seen in Thea's loft, recovered from his wounds, watching Captain Lance´s press conference revealing the identity of The Arrow, looking slightly concerned.

He meets with Oliver in Verdant, at his own request, where Oliver claims he´ll break Roy out of prison. Malcolm responds that Ra´s wouldn't stop until Oliver accepts to become his heir and that his days as The Arrow were finished. He further points out that he hasn't lost anyone yet and that leading the League of Assassins would be preferable than falling for more of Ra´s schemes. Oliver leaves shortly afterwards, claiming once again he would break Roy out of Iron Heights.

Malcolm cries over Thea who is on life support

Malcolm breaks down over Thea.

Malcolm is later seen in the hospital, where he saw Thea laying in bed, connected to life support due to injuries she suffered on the hands of Ra's al Ghul. Upon seeing this, he went next to her and broke down in tears. In Thea's apartment, he revealed that the Lazarus Pit is what allowed Ra's to live for centuries and, on rare occasions, could be used to bring the dead to life. However, he also said that the Pit drastically changes one's personality and that the Thea Oliver knew may not be the one he gets back. Despite this, Oliver decided to accept Ra's proposal. Malcolm and the rest of Team Arrow are later seen in a hangar, where Malcolm tried to convince Oliver to take Thea to S.T.A.R Labs, which he refused. Malcolm then stopped Oliver, claiming that, despite his actions, he loved Thea and that he'd rather lose her than to use the Pit to resurrect her. Oliver ignored this and ordered Malcolm to get on the plane, which he does. Malcolm is later seen when the League and Ra's welcome Oliver to Nanda Parbat. He, along with Oliver, Diggle, and Sarab, join the ritual to resurrect Thea. A few moments after she enters the Pit, Thea jumped and kicked Oliver to the ground, releasing an animalistic growl afterward. Malcolm, despite knowing the effects of the Pit, is horrified to see this. He later is seen with Oliver, next to Thea, who had been sedated after kicking Oliver. She doesn't seem to recognize Oliver, claiming he is dead but he seems to recognize Malcolm has her father. Malcolm reassures her, telling her that she is in a safe place and is speechless when she asks where her mother was. He avoids the question, simply saying she isn't there and tells her to rest. She complies and tells Malcolm she loves him. He is briefly happy but this changes after she goes to sleep, and he berates Oliver for using the Pit. Oliver claimed she is fine, but an angry Malcolm said she thinks Moira is alive and that he doesn't know if she'll be fine. Later that night, he met with Diggle and Felicity, where he sees an unconscious Oliver. He stated Felicity committed suicide by doing this and that if they are found trying to escape with Oliver, Ra's would kill them all. He still picked up Thea and aided the group in their escape to the catacombs. He effortlessly defeated a member of the League and took his sword. Shortly afterwards, he met three others, whom he kills quickly with the sword and proceeded to the temple. They are aided by Maseo, who shot three other members of the League. Although they do reach the catacombs, Thea's hallucinations delay the group long enough for them to be surrounded by the League. He advised the group that they don't want to be taken alive, from past experience. They are saved at the last minute by Oliver, who ordered the League to put their weapons down, claiming to be the new Heir to the Demon. Malcolm is later seen when Oliver bid farewell to the group, charging Malcolm to take care of Thea. The following day, Malcolm greeted a confused Thea, to which she responded negatively. Seeing she doesn't seem to remember what happened, Malcolm explained how Ra's nearly killed her that, in order to save her, Oliver had to join the League. She panicked upon hearing this but Malcolm tried to assure her that he will make up for this and everything else that happened before. Thea said that is impossible but Malcolm happily stated it is and he is now a free man and that he could go anywhere in the world, but he wants to take care of her, just like she did when he was injured.[36]

A few weeks later Thea asked Malcolm if it was true Oliver was hunting down Nyssa. Malcolm mentioned that he learned from his sources that he wants to kill her to protect his reign as Heir to the Demon. Thea told him he should be stopped and that he should not be a killer. Malcolm told her Oliver is now the Heir to the Demon and that he will be a killer for them. Thea mentioned he had been brainwashed to kill just like Malcolm did to her. Malcolm said he did not sacrifice himself for her so she could risk her life fighting the League. Thea mentioned she could not stop him trading his life for hers however she can stop this. Malcolm mentioned she is a warrior even before he trained her and her brother is aware of this as well. He then asked Thea how he could help her.[37]

Dark Archer later traveled back to Nanda Parbat where he was intercepted by Oliver Queen who was revealed to be working with Malcolm in order to bring the League down from the inside who was shocked to not only hear that Ra's had the alpha-omega virus but Oliver was ascending to the title of Ra's so quickly, he anticipated it would take months, Oliver gave Malcolm the name of someone who could help them, that person was Tatsu Yamashiro, Oliver's friend and wife of Maseo Yamashiro. He later contacted Team Arrow and brought them to an unknown location where he revealed to them of Oliver's hoax but to their anger and upset, Malcolm introduced them to Tatsu who revealed the alpha-omega virus and Ra's plot to poison Starling City. The team travelled to Nanda Parbat to stop a plane from spreading the virus, they stopped the plane and engaged a huge group of assassins. During the fight Malcolm took out dozens of assassins and saved both Laurel and Felicity. They killed many members of the League but were eventually over run by Oliver and Ra's and were captured. Malcolm begged for his life with Ra's, exposing Oliver's deception in exchange for joining the League again but Oliver kept the ruse up and Malcolm was returned to prison where Ra's exposed him, Felicity Smoak, Ray Palmer, John Diggle and Laurel Lance to the virus and was sealed inside their cell and left to die. Tatsu was removed from the cell since her inoculation during the Hong Kong outbreak.[38]

After Felicity Smoak, Ray Palmer, John Diggle and Laurel Lance and Malcolm woke again without being ill Malcolm revealed to them he had inoculated himself by Oliver's blood before going to Nanda Parbat to make himself immune to the virus. He explained that he had vaccinated them as well and that their plan was to deceive Ra's to make him believe Oliver is committed to his cause. As the group wondered how they could get out Malcolm told them they would have to wait for the thunder. The Flash burst into Nanda Parbat and overpowered the assassins. After Barry was annoyed that Felicity mentioned his name in Malcolm's presence, thus revealing the speedster's identity to the villain, he quickly freed them. The group retrieved their weapons and Barry told them Oliver would need them even if he did not realize it, Barry then left to attend his own matters. The group went to the plane, however Tatsu did not join them as she wanted to return to her life in solitude.

Arriving at Palmer Technologies Malcolm told them they had to get ready for a virus attack in case Oliver failed to kill Ra's. Oliver and Nyssa came in and the team learned that their attempt to crash the plane to kill Ra's had failed. Palmer went to work to get the antidote. The group tried to find Ra's but was unable to find any leads of where he could be. Malcolm noticed an entire hotel floor had been hired and the group learned Damien Darhk was in town. The group realized that Ra's his goal was to kill Damien. Oliver told them they could capture Damien and trade him with Ra's for the virus. Malcolm was impressed with Oliver by the ruthlessness of this plan.

The group went to the hotel and quickly took out his bodyguards. Oliver confronted the assistant of Damien and learned that Damien had been aware and left in time. Ra's called him and told him he would spread the virus in Starling. The team eventually narrowed down the locations of the league agents dispersing the virus and Dark Archer partook in the effort to stop them, killing at least one though Felicity begged him not to kill anyone else in the process. Oliver managed to kill Ra's after a duel, and they managed to contain the virus. The group reunited at Palmer industries. Oliver talked to the group and thanked all of them as together they had managed to save the city, he then revealed he would leave the city for a while.

Malcolm later visited Thea and told her he would leave Starling as well, he told her he loves her and that he would always be there for her. Thea kept cold at him but told him that he did make her strong as he had promised. Oliver came in and the two talked while Oliver gave Malcolm the ring Ra's al Ghul. Malcolm thanked him and commented on how he always had looked at Oliver like a son, and that he was glad for working together. Oliver mentioned that he would never forget what Malcolm had done to Sara and Thea. Malcolm asked him if they would be enemies and Oliver mentioned that depended on what he would do. At Nanda Parbat Malcolm wore the custom of Ra's al Ghul and wielded the ring. Nyssa came in and told him this was his goal all along. Malcolm told her he just wanted to be free from Ra's just like her. Malcolm told her that when he was captured Ra's had tortured him with his sword but he had survived, like the prophecy. Nyssa told him she would make him pay for what he had done. Malcolm told her she was welcome to try and then ordered her and the assassins to kneel. After a brief moment Nyssa kneeled before him.

Being Ra's al Ghul

Ra's al Ghul (Malcolm Merlyn)

Malcolm Merlyn as Ra's al Ghul

6 months afterwards, Malcolm and Nyssa were engaged in one of their sparing matches, which Malcolm enjoys. Nyssa inflicted a minor cut on his neck before Malcolm disarmed and defeated her. Nyssa reminds him that she will kill him if she gets the chance. Malcolm mentions he takes care that she never gets the chance to kill him in their fights. He used Lazarus pit water on a cut in his neck, healing it in seconds. A member of the league comes in telling them that Thea Queen and Laurel Lance have arrived. They welcome them and ask why they have arrived, and laurel says to revive Sara. Malcolm quickly refuses, knowing it will do more harm than good. Laurel says after killing her, it is obligation, but Malcolm still refuses, saying Thea never died, and the pit has never been recorded on use of a Person that has been dead for an extended period of time. He apologies to laurel saying it will not be Sara who comes out of the pit.

That night he meets Thea in her room to question her about how she is coping in the aftermath of going into the pit. He then explains that the pit contains traces of all people who have ever been in it, and that the only way to slow it down is to embrace her killer instinct, which would make it temporally slow down. Thea refuses to go onto a killing spree, and complains that he is not a normal father and he really isn’t helping her. Malcolm says that there is a man high in the mountains, who has a power of healing and can possibly help. He says they will leave at sunrise and leaves to let Thea rest. Sometime during that night he told 2 league members to go into her room and attempt to kill her. The next morning he opens up Thea's room to find the league members killed by Thea. She realizes there is no cure and Malcolm confirms this, saying he helped her by calming the killer instinct inside her, and that the only way to stop it is to slay the one that hurt her, the original Ra’s al Ghul. However, he is dead so there is no way to stop the blood lust fully, though she will not feel it for weeks. Thea then walks into laurels room and tells her that they are leaving immediately with Sara, that the Lazarus pit will never help her only turn her into a monster, then tells Malcolm she will refuse to kill people. He only then lets Sara into the Lazarus pit. After Sara rises everyone, himself include, is shocked that it worked. After she jumps out of pit, 2 League Members hold her down and Malcolm tranquilizes her. Sara is later tied up and Thea, laurel and Malcolm visit her, Malcolm says that they have no idea what is happening to her and that she should prepare for the worst. A league member walks in on them telling them something happened and they all walk toward the Lazarus pit, with Nyssa standing towards it. She then goes on to say that she used a technique her father invented to destroy the power of the pit in it were to fall into the wrong hands. Nyssa then swears to kill Malcolm and says when she does, the will be no coming back. Malcolm orders guards to take her away as she says that what is now happen to Sara is now Laurel's fault.

Knowing that Thea's bloodlust was close to it's peak Malcolm attempted to contact Thea but she continually ignored him. Later he arrived at her apartment to discus her bloodlust but she claimed to have it under control but Malcolm offered an alternative, Lawrence Tanner, a pedophile that lives 3 blocks away as a potential kill for her but she declined. Before leaving she told Malcolm to be gone before she gets back or the police will know he's alive. Later Thea called Malcolm back to her apartment to tell him she won't be taking his advise and has an alternate means of stopping her bloodlust; Damien Darhk. Thea explains that Damien attempted to use his powers on her but it backfired and her bloodlust was gone and she asked Malcolm to help her find the means to make it permanent.

Later when both Team Arrow and Team Flash had a close encounter with Vandal Savage seeking to kill Kendra Saunders, Malcolm and several league members appeared in the Arrowcave to inform both teams of their nemesis and his abilities. Malcolm explains that Savage is immortal, having served as one of the right-hands of both Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar in their war efforts and there is no means to stop him. After capturing Carter Hall and interrogating him Malcolm reappeared again and revealed that Savage has left Star City and will be after the Staff of Horus, an object previously used to kill Carter and Kendra in their past lives. [39] After Savage escapes again Malcolm organizes a meeting between himself, Oliver and Barry with Savage to negotiate a truce, explaining to a skeptical Oliver that negotiation is the only way to stop him killing them all. At the meeting Savage demands Kendra and Carter but informs Flash that if they refuse Central City will be leveled, then informs Green Arrow that he'll then travel to Star City and level it soon after and leaves. Malcolm stresses to Green Arrow and Flash that delivering Kendra and Carter to Savage is the only way to save both cities, but they tell Malcolm that they will stop Savage without sacrificing them. Malcolm however, still skeptical, makes it clear to Green Arrow that if they fail and Thea is harmed in any way, he will come for him. After the team is able to destroy Savage with his own staff, reducing him to ashes, Malcolm secretly collects what's left of his remains. [40]

Malcolm Merlyn as Green Arrow

Malcolm Merlyn fought against Damien Darhk as the Green Arrow while Oliver was unable to.

Malcolm visits Thea after Damien Darhk's latest attack to check up on her and wish her marry Christmas, but to also inform her that he has been looking into Darhk's powers and discovered that they do not originate from his use of the Lazarus waters. Later Thea, John and Felicity are abducted by Damien's men and Malcolm obtains a secure-encrypted phone from one of his men and arrives at the Arrowcave, indirectly exposing his survival to Quentin who he quickly disarms when Quentin pulls a gun on him. Despite having acquired the phone Oliver states that his only option is to turn himself in but Oliver injects himself with the same nano-technology used on Malcolm before, and Laurel and Malcolm find Oliver's location and head out to find him. As Thea, Felicity and John are about to be gassed to death Black Canary and Malcolm, dressed as Green Arrow, attack H.I.V.E.'s men and free the team. As the rest of the team tries to escape Malcolm goes after Damien himself. Using a explosive arrow Malcolm knocks down Damien. However Damien uses his powers and Malcolm is soon levitated and almost chocked to death, until Oliver distracts him allowing Malcolm to shoot Darhk with arrows and leaves behind an explosive arrow which destroys the facility, though Darhk is still able to escape. [41]

Betraying Oliver

When Thea's health begun to take a turn for the worse Malcolm returned to Star City and explained to a confused Oliver that because she has resisted the bloodlust, it is beginning to kill her instead. And unlike Sara whose soul was restored by John Constantine, Thea's is still incomplete and if she doesn't indulge it she will die but Thea regardlessly insists that she won't and it's her choice to make. Later when Oliver returned he thanked Malcolm for taking care of her while he was busy but Thea's health takes a darker turn and is hospitalized. Oliver later approaches Malcolm and informs him that Nyssa has obtained the Lotus from Tatsu, and that it can heal her but only if Oliver kills him or if Malcolm surrenders his ring. However Malcolm isn't convinced but after Laurel obtains a sample of it from Nyssa and Malcolm sees the effects himself, he agrees to Nyssa's terms.

However at the meeting Malcolm double crosses Nyssa and instead arrives with an army of league members, just as Nyssa also does and both sides of the league begin fighting each other in a fight that leads onto the streets and sees several bystanders killed in the crossfire. Later Malcolm returns to the Arrowcave to say goodbye to Thea and remarks to Oliver of the first time he met her when she was 4 months old, and how he always sensed a deeper connection to her. With no options left Oliver suggested an option where Malcolm could keep the ring and obtain the Lotus and suggested he challenge Nyssa to a trial by combat. At the location of their fight however before they could begin Oliver stepped in and volunteered to take Nyssa's place, which she agreed to. Oliver and Malcolm then fought but after a brief but intense fight Oliver subdued him and demanded her hand over the ring but Malcolm insisted that he'd have to kill him. But Oliver instead cut Malcolm's hand off and gave the ring to Nyssa. After getting his amputation healed Malcolm visited Nyssa, now Ra's al Ghul, at her request but she took off the ring and threw it into a fire. She also informed them that she had disbanded the League of Assassins and released it's members from their vows. Malcolm then became engulfed in anger towards Oliver and promised retribution. Later Malcolm requested a meeting with Damien and offered a deal in exchange for information on who Oliver loves most. Damien however was uninterested as he believed it was Felicity and they'd already taken care of her but Malcolm told him it wasn't Felicity that Oliver cares for most. Damien's attention now piqued Malcolm revealed that the person Oliver loves most is his son William.[42]

Having told Damien about Oliver's son, Damien makes Malcolm part of his consultant team and a H.I.V.E. board member. At a meeting to discuss Genesis, and the need for Ruvé Adams' mayoral campaign, and Malcolm upon Damien's request confirmed that Quentin was indeed a mole for Team Arrow. Later as part of Damien's plan to force Oliver out of the campaign race Malcolm abducted William from his house, and brought him to Damien.

Appearing in Thea's home, he adamantly denied his involvement in William's kidnapping and commented that Thea should know him better than to ask that question. Later, after learning that Malcolm was the one responsible for kidnapping William all along, this proves to be the last straw. Enraged, Thea told him that the days of his lies when he drops into her home and his lies about how everything is for them was over. Malcolm ranted and told her that she would have been dead ten times over had he not raised her from a spoiled rich kid into a warrior and that all he has gotten from her was venomous spite. This decision would cost Oliver his mayoral campaign, a relationship with his son, and the breaking of his engagement.[43]

Malcolm visited Damien in prison to inform him that H.I.V.E. wasn’t going to rescue him as they’d grown tired of his tendency to kill fellow members whenever he gets miffed, but they do wish him luck in the trial. Damien in anger attempted to use his magic on Malcolm but to no avail and Malcolm simply laughed and sarcastically reminded him that performances issues are common for his age. However Malcolm had secretly made a deal with Damien to return his destroyed idol to him and break him out of jail in exchange for sparing him and Thea from Genesis. Malcolm later met up with Damien’s "ace in the hole", Andy Diggle. At some point soon after Malcolm somehow had his left hand restored.[44]

To obtain the idol Malcolm had several of his league followers to hijack a missile shipment into the city as a distraction for Oliver and John but had Andy go with them undercover to ensure they remained away from the Arrowcave. While this occurred Dark Archer breached the Arrowcave with several of his followers and stole the idol but was briefly stopped by Thea, but when she had him dead to rights she hesitated and Dark Archer knocked her out and fled with the idol. Malcolm sneaked in to see Damien in prison and presented the idol to him but Damien revealed the idol is missing a piece and surmised that the team must have kept it hidden separately in case it was stolen. Later Dark Archer lured Team Arrow into a trap seemingly to kill Green Arrow but was really a set up for Andy to take a bullet for him, thereby gaining their trust enough to give up the last idol piece’s location. Thanks to a prison break caused by Michael Amar/Murmur Team Arrow was divided among the prison trying to contain it, allowing Dark Archer to slip back in unnoticed. However he ran into Speedy and Black Canary and fought Speedy alone yet again and succeeded again, reminding her that her hesitance to kill will always stop her from beating him. Dark Archer caught up to Damien after his powers had been restored and insisted they go before the police arrive but not before Damien fatally stabbed Black Canary with Green Arrow’s own arrowhead. Malcolm escaped with Damien, Andy and Michael soon after.[45]

Malcolm was present together with Michael Amar and Brick while Damien resumed control over H.I.V.E. When two members resisted Damien used his powers to kill them both.

In Tevat Noah Malcolm spoke with Thea who had been kidnapped and brought into the safehaven. He mentioned that the idea of Genesis from Darhk was not much different from the undertaking he had tried himself. He believed the world to be dying and Genesis would be their best option. Thea told him he was insane and demanded to be brought to Alex. Malcolm brought her to Alex where he learned Lonnie Machin had entered Tevat Noah and was killing men of Damien while threatening to destroy the air supply which would kill anyone. Alex asked who Lonnie Machin was and Malcolm jokes he was like a former boyfriend of Thea.

Malcolm and Thea went to the building which controlled the air supply. Thea demanded a weapon but Malcolm denied it and told her to go to hand to hand if needed. As Thea tried to talk Machin down Malcolm noticed multiple explosives in the building. He shot Machin in the shoulder and stopped him from blowing the place up. Machin managed to escape.

Malcolm later found Thea over Alex who had been killed by Machin. Malcolm asked where Machin was but he had vanished. Malcolm ordered his soldiers to take her away. Malcolm demanded her to comply with her but as Thea remained stubborn he forced her to swallow a pill that would make her obey him.

He then talked to Ruve Adams who scolded him for not having dealt with Lonnie Machin. She learned Oliver Queen and John Diggle had entered Tevat Noah and ordered Malcolm to take care of it. Using his drugged daughter as bait Malcolm managed to capture Oliver. Malcolm taunted Oliver that he had the inability to do what is needed. As Diggle bursted in and took out his soldiers Malcolm and Thea were forced to flee. He talked to Ruve Adams who had ordered all the citizens to kill Oliver and Diggle on sight. As Malcolm questioned this Adams told him if he could not take care of this he might have no purpose in H.I.V.E.

Malcolm, Thea and a group of soldiers managed to find Oliver and Diggle and attacked them. Malcolm fought Diggle but was forced to give up as Thea overcame the drugs and she and Oliver cornered Malcolm. The group then saw Machin on TV who demanded Damien to show up or he would kill his wife and daughter. Malcolm informed them about Machin and as Thea criticized him he told her they could discuss his parenting philosophy later. Oliver told him they would go after Machin and Malcolm would lead the evacuation if they would be unable to save Tevat Noah.

As the place got blown up Malcolm evacuated the people. He then informed Damien that his wife had been killed by Machin. He told him that their plan had failed and that even if he managed to destroy the world there would be no Ark to stay safe. Damien told him that if there is no place to be safe he would let it all burn.


Before his wife's death, Malcolm was a caring man who loved his wife and son very dearly, and was a devoted businessman and humanitarian, striving to save Starling City just like his wife, Rebecca. After his wife's death he became heartbroken and was haunted with guilt that he had not been able to help her. Malcolm's love for his wife was so great when he confronted the man he thought killed Rebecca, he told him he had taken everything from him. During his mourning period he also had an affair with Moira, which guilt riddled him even more. He was shocked and confronted the (presumed) killer which ended with Malcolm killing him. Unable to live with what he had done he left his son and went to Nanda Parbat. Training there he changed his perspective on the world and how he could help his city. He returned as an apathetic, calculating, and ruthless man. He began to develop a plan to destroy the Glades completely, believing that this way he could help the city. He believed what he was doing was right and is for the greater good, and was willing to do anything, regardless of the number of lives he ruins and will kill anyone who gets in his way to see his goals fulfilled, which makes him somewhat of a sociopath. He truly believed in the righteousness of his cause, projecting this in his acceptance speech for "humanitarian of the year". He also truly loved his wife, still wearing his wedding ring so many years after her death.

Malcolm is a charismatic person, able to project his own beliefs and self-righteousness into his words. He seemed to have something of an ego as Robert Queen said that Malcolm had "something of a God-complex" and had a hostage read out that he will kill them if the Arrow "doesn't surrender to his authority". He blames all the people living in the Glades for his wife's death, not just the person who killed his wife, but also the ones who walked past his wife while she was dying which unfortunately results in his own son's death. Like Oliver, he is prone to emotional outbursts, although this rarely happens due to him being calm and level-headed. Malcolm also has no guilt or remorse for using people for his personal gain and then killing them once they became loose ends to keep them from going public with information he wouldn't otherwise want to be public information. Likewise when he had drugged Thea with Vitura, he had her kill Sara Lance to force a reaction from of the League of Assassins. Knowing Oliver would try to protect his half-sister, he used this to create a duel between Oliver and Ra's. He truly believing Oliver's desire to save Thea would have been enough to kill Ra's which would make the League stop hunting him. In the process he had lied to and manipulated everybody including his own daughter. Malcolm is also tactically intelligent, as once the Undertaking was nearing, but the Arrow was endangering his mission, he began his own "anti-Arrow" persona as the Dark Archer knowing that the police would blame the Arrow and people would lose faith in him as well as releasing Slade Wilson from his cell on Lian Yu to have Oliver re-awaken his killer side. He was shown to be quite if not absolutely confident in his fighting skills as he beat the Hood multiple times in combat. He mentioned the reason he came out on top was because he knew what he was fighting for. Malcolm is calm in battle and willing to fight anyone that is a threat to himself or the ones he cares for. So far, the only two people he is afraid of are Ra's Al Ghul and Vandal Savage.

Despite his insanity, selfishness, ruthlessness, and cold heart he still loves Tommy dearly and wants what's best for him. He has, however, a rather harsh way of showing it which often forces Tommy away. For example, Malcolm cut off Tommy's trust fund and harshly told Tommy he was worthless in order to "jolt him into adulthood". After Tommy is killed during the undertaking, Malcolm is sad and regretful, and he begins searching for ways to be a part of Thea's life. Further, he began to pressure Moira into telling Thea that he is her biological father. When Moira was murdered Malcolm swiftly returned to Starling City to watch over Thea, despite still being hunted by the League of Assassins. Malcolm loves Thea as much as he loved Tommy, and with similar harshness. When Thea requested he teach her how to fight he gave her no special treatment. It should be noted his regime was effective, since he made Thea a capable fighter within 6 months. Malcolm strong parental instincts displayed themselves when he shot the assassin Chase for attempting to kill Thea and when he made Tommy's safety his priority during the attack on his humanitarian ceremony. Some however, question whether Malcolm's ambition does not sometimes overpower his love for his children, since despite his grief over inadvertently causing Tommy's death, Malcolm manipulates Thea into killing the Canary so that the League will mark Thea for death and Oliver will be forced to fight and kill the League's leader Ra's al Ghul. If Oliver could kill Ra's, then Thea and Malcolm would both be saved from the League. This scheme is risky and places Thea in danger, indicating that Malcolm might not have learned everything he could from Tommy's death. Or it might show that, despite having inadvertently killed his son, Malcolm remains daring enough to take the drastic, manipulative steps he thinks are required to beat an international organization of assassins.

Despite his ruthlessness it should be noted that Malcolm's parental instincts extend in a limited way to Oliver Queen, Tommy's best friend. After beating the Hood Malcolm unmasks him and exhibits regret upon learning his enemy is Oliver. He also seemed devastated for Oliver´s apparent death at the hands of Ra´s. Still, Malcolm's love remains centred on his two children, and his apparent affection for Oliver does not prevent him from manipulating Oliver into fighting Ra's al Ghul, even though he was absolutely confident Oliver had what it took to beat Ra's. Malcolm´s paternal instincts for Oliver have however, been destroyed after the latter´s betrayal cost him his leadership of the League and, soon after, led to its disbandment

Some time after this, however, Malcolm learned that the man he killed to avenge his wife was not his wife's killer. In truth, Brickwell murdered her. In "Uprising" Malcolm expresses to Oliver his belief that all his decisions and the deaths he caused could have been avoided if he had not killed the wrong man. He seemed set on redeeming himself, since he spared Brickwell and was willing to train Oliver.

After this he started to work together with Team Arrow. While he maintained a sarcastic and cold persona, he seemed to respect and even care for them. During a battle with the League he saved both Laurel and Felicity's lives. He later saved the entire team and Oliver from the Omega Virus and worked with them to keep the virus from destroying Starling City. It was revealed, however, that Malcolm still had an angle since he had agreed with Oliver that when Ra's was dead, Malcolm would be his successor. Malcolm also participated in the rescue mission to retrieve Oliver, Felicity, John Diggle and Thea from Damien Darhk's headquarters and even saved Oliver from being beaten to death by Damien by shooting him with arrows. Despite his fallout with the Team after the League Civil War, he lingered after Damien stabbed Laurel with an arrow, indicating shock or even regret over his role in her death, a few moments later. 

Malcolm is shown to have a deep interest in various warrior cultures. His office was decorated with Asian statues and Japanese swords. In a secret room adjoining his office he kept racks of swords and other weaponry from multiple cultures. He supported the Buddhist monk Ken Zhi Jansen and spend time meditating in his temple.

Since he became the new Ra's al Ghul, Malcolm has displayed an authority demeanor, when Laurel request that he use the Lazarus Pit to bring back her sister Sara, he refused, telling her that in thousands of years they never had resurrected a dead person with the pit and that it might have horrible consequences. When she kept insisting he told her he does not have obligations to anyone, and she does not get to ask a request like that. Laurel and Thea did manage to convince him at the end, but this might partially have been because he wanted to prove his love for his daughter, since it was he who had made her kill Sara.

Malcolm became quite convicted of the importance of the League of Assassins. He refused to give up the position as their leader even if it would cost the life of his daughter. He mentioned the League was larger than him or Thea, as the League was a invisible force that can influence the entire world for the better and therefore he refused to hand this responsibility to Nyssa al Ghul.

Malcolm can be quite vengeful, after he lost his left hand and was removed as the leader of the League of Assassins, by Oliver, he revealed the existence of the latter's son William, to Damien, to get revenge on Oliver. This also caused a severe strain in his relationship with his daughter, William's aunt. Despite this, his love for her remains unscathed, since his alliance with Damien Darhk is based on the latter sparing him and his daughter from H.I.V.E.'s endgame, Genesis.

However, despite his love for Thea, Malcolm has no tolerance for being disrespected by his daughter, as he coldly reminded her of how she was a weak spoiled brat, and he turned her into a strong warrior, as well as pointing out her shortsightedness. Despite being a parent himself, Malcolm is not above kidnapping innocent children, like he did with William (off-screen), in order to help Damien get leverage over Oliver, that would force the latter to stop running for mayor of Star City.


  • Peak of human physical condition: As a highly skilled assassin, Malcolm is in top physical condition. In the first three confrontations with Oliver, Malcolm was able to defeat the younger man, fought as an equal if not superior fighter to Oliver. In their first confrontation, Malcolm was strong enough to severely injure Oliver and was able to break three of Oliver's ribs by kicking him in the abdomen repeatedly. He has also demonstrated enough strength to break Oliver's bow in half with one strike and knead a steel beam with a single kick. With only a few strikes he was able to topple the highly durable Danny Brickwell. His reflexes have allowed him to dodge or catch an arrow shot at him by Oliver Queen, (a feat that only highly skilled individuals have accomplished). Despite defeating him twice, Malcolm says that Oliver, due to his youth, is faster than he is. Malcolm is one of the most dangerous fighters in the Arrowverse. Even after losing his left hand, he remained a formidable fighter, able to best Thea with little effort. However, he now has a prosthetic left hand, which allows him to compensate for his lost one.
  • League of Assassins training: Malcolm has gone through the training all League members have. He likely possesses skills with a variety of melee weapons, including swords.
  • Master archer: As the Dark Archer, Malcolm showed he was an expert archer. Oliver respected how tightly grouped the arrows shot to Adam's body were. He was able to shoot three arrows at once and pin Nyssa to the wall by her clothing without injuring her. He was successfully able to catch Oliver off guard and wound him. Because of this, Malcolm's archery skills can be considered equivalent if not superior to Oliver's before the young man's own training with the League. He uses a customized compound bow. He uses a prosthetic left hand after losing his real one, allowing him to still be able to use a bow.
  • Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Malcolm is shown to be a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, molded by the League of Assassins in Nanda Parbat and by training he received elsewhere. He was able to incapacitate two Chinese Triad members (disarmed one and kill the other with his own gun). Malcolm was able to best Oliver in hand-to-hand combat once in their second encounter, even knocking him out after a brutal fight in their second encounter. His skill in combat seemed to have surpassed most, if not all, members of the league, as it has been stated Malcolm is so skilled that Ra's chose him to be his right-hand man. Oliver Queen, after being personally trained by Ra's, later manages to subdue Malcolm and cut off his left hand. Even without his left hand, he overpowered Thea in a sword fight with little effort.
  • Stealth: As a highly trained assassin Malcolm was shown to be highly skilled in stealth. This was shown as he was able to approach and kill targets without being noticed. Malcolm easily breaks into secured buildings without being detected. After his first fight against Oliver he escaped the scene without being seen. He also managed to infiltrate Nanda Parbat undetected, which Malcolm claims to be hard. He also seems to be able to easily infiltrate the Arrowcave, much to the chagrin of the members of the Team Arrow. He even claims that the newest Arrowcave is even easier to break in than the one before, even after John Diggle upgraded its security. John mentions that Merlyn's ability to break into buildings and disappear without a trace is the reason why he is called "The Magician" by the League of Assassins.
  • Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen/Master tactician: In his daily life, Malcolm was the CEO of Merlyn Global Group, overseeing its daily activities and ensuring its success as a multibillion-dollar corporation. Malcolm has proven himself to be remarkably clever when it comes to devising plans and battle strategies, He even managed to catch Oliver off guard on at least 2 occasions and was almost able to kill him. After faking his death he managed to avoid being discovered by the League of Assassins. Malcolm later devised a plan to deceive Ra's al Ghul, save Starling City and become Ra's al Ghul himself.
  • Indomitable will/High tolerance for pain: Malcolm can ignore pain; once he poured hot water over his hand without flinching. Despite his high tolerance for pain, after he was captured by the League, Malcolm was badly tortured by Ra's al Ghul (off-screen), to the point that he was barely conscious afterwards.
  • Network: Malcolm has a dense network of contacts all over Star City, including one in the coroner's office, which he used to fake his death. After becoming Ra´s Al Ghul, his network greatly increased, to the point he seems to be able to enter Iron Heights Prison and leave at will, as if he was never there. Even a highly powerful and influential individual like Damien Darhk is shocked when he finds this at first and even asked how Malcolm pulled this off. His only answers were "I used to be Ra's Al Ghul" and "A magician never reveals is secrets". This shows that despite losing his status as Ra's, he still possesses his former contacts.
  • Master swordsman: Malcolm is trained and highly skilled with a variety of swords. In "Muse of Fire", Malcolm was shown fencing with experience, also in "Trust but Verify", Malcolm's secret room where he kept his Dark Archer equipment was shown to house several racks of swords of various kinds. He was able to outduel Nyssa during their sparring sessions. He could even still best Thea in a sword fight with his left hand cut off.
  • Master of deception: Malcolm is very talented in the art of deception, showing no physiological sign when lying that could expose his deception. He's skill in this art is so great, he can even trick other experts in this art, like Oliver Queen, and even Ra's al Ghul. However, this causes people to be highly distrustful around him and avoid working with him, like when trying to recruit Team Arrow to stop the Alpha-Omega Virus and trying to convince them that Oliver was undercover in the League. He was also able to effectively impersonate Green Arrow in battle, leaving no doubt to H.I.V.E. and Damien Darhk that Oliver and the Emerald Archer are two different people.
  • Toxicology: Malcolm was able to use votura to create a drug that made Thea kill Sara without remembering it.
  • Multilingual: Malcolm is capable of fluently speaking English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic.


  • Customized PSE X-Force Super Short Short Draw LF Compound Bow: While the rest of the League primarily uses modified PSE Chaos AD compound bows, as the Dark Archer Malcolm uses a similar bow as his signature weapon of choice: A customized compound bow.
  • Quiver: A black arrow container strapped to Malcolm's back. He uses it to carry his arrows as his villain alter-ego, the Dark Archer. 
  • Dark Archer suit: Malcolm wears a protective suit, as his villain alter-ego of the Dark Archer, to hide his identity from his victims. It is similar to the suits used by members of the League of Assassins, aside from some minor differences. It is unknown what materials it's made out of, with the exception of Kevlar.
  • Customized hunting arrows: Malcolm creates and designs his arrows himself. The arrows he used have arrow heads with three "Teflon-coated titanium blades" on each arrow, with the blades serrated for splitting bones, and the shaft itself is made of "specialized polymer stronger than typical carbon fiber". As such, it is safe to assume that the arrows he uses are deadlier than those used by The Arrow.
  • Trick arrowsIn "Streets of Fire", shortly after his return, Malcolm uses an explosive arrow to save Thea and seemingly kill one of Slade's Mirakuru henchmen.
  • Throwing knives: When fighting Oliver and John, Malcolm utilized double bladed throwing knives.
  • Swords: Malcolm uses a huge variaty of swords from different cultures. He first used a league of assassins scimitar to kill two police officers, during his third fight with Oliver. Malcolm was shown using the league of assassins scimitar against Oliver, though he was very quickly disarmed by Oliver. While training Thea they used both Japanese and Chinese swords. When preparing to kill Brickwell he carried another style of scimitar, similar to the one used by Nyssa al Ghul.
  • Voice filter: Malcolm uses this device to change his voice regardless of who he spoke to as the Dark Archer. This could be for the purposes of intimidation as it changed his voice to a deep, low growl.
  • Smoke bombs: After incapicating Nyssa, he threw a smoke bomb to quickly escape the scene.
  • Prosthetic hand: Malcolm acquired a prosthetic hand of unknown materials and origin while planning Damien Darhk´s prison break. He used it for the first time when stealing the idol from Team Arrow and has been wearing it ever since. This allows him to use a bow and complete various other tasks that would be impossible to complete one-handed individuals. This prosthetic is specifically built for his left hand, which was cut off by Oliver during their duel at the end of the League Civil War.

Former equipment

  • Demon's Head ring: Malcolm wore a particular ring which symbolized his position as the Demon's Head. As of Sins of the Father, Malcolm no longer wears it, as it was destroyed by the last Ra's Al Ghul, that promptly disbanded the League of Assassins.



Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

The Flash

Season 1

Season 2



Arrow: Season 2.5

Arrow: The Dark Archer



  • Prior to "Muse of Fire", Malcolm was simply known as the "well-dressed man". His identity as Tommy's father was discovered in that episode while he was practicing fencing. Malcolm, at the time, was masked, when Tommy confronted him about his empty credit cards. Malcolm took off his mask to reveal his face to the audience, confirming his identity. His first name however wasn't revealed until "Trust but Verify".
  • In "Year's End", after Oliver claimed that the vigilante needed a new nickname other than "The Hood", Malcolm suggested the name "Green Arrow", a clear reference to the vigilante's original DC comics name. However, Oliver disliked the name, stating that it was lame. Ironically, Oliver later uses the alias "Green Arrow" after The Arrow's unfortunate "death".
  • The arrows Malcolm uses resemble the ones used by Smallville's version of Green Arrow, portrayed by Justin Hartley.
  • In DC comics this character's real name is Arthur King who uses the name Merlyn as his super villain alias. 
  • His first name may be a reference to Malcolm McDowell who voiced the Merlyn character in the Green Arrow animated short film.
  • Alongside Billy Wintergreen and Helena Bertinelli, Malcolm Merlyn was one of the only three characters in season 1 shown to be swift enough to catch an arrow in mid air. However, while Helena and Billy only performed this once, Malcolm performed this feat twice.
  • It was revealed in the end of "Dead to Rights", Malcolm spent two years in Nanda Parbat when Oliver was around 9, and Tommy was around 8 where he received mentorship from another individual. It is most likely (confirmed in the DC comics) that it is where Malcolm learned archery and how to fight. This would explain why he was able to almost best Oliver in their first fight and defeat him in their second fight as he has been training a lot longer. Therefore, he has at least 20 years of experience on him.
  • Malcolm is the first main antagonist of the Arrowverse, and the first Arrow main antagonist.
  • Malcolm is one of the only characters to have bested Oliver in combat more than once, and one of even fewer who have managed it without the aid of Mirakuru. The only other characters who have accomplished this feat without Mirakuru are Ra's al Ghul in "The Climb" and Slade Wilson in "The Return."
  • Malcolm was the only person able to defeat a Mirakuru injected person without the aid of trick arrows or antidote.
  • While training Thea he was seen wearing a hakama and Japanese clothing. He also referred to Japanese philosophy. This implies he probably has had training in martial arts outside the League of Assassins.
  • While a member of the League of Assassins, Malcolm was known as "Al Sa-Her" (in Arabic: الساحر), which in Arabic means (the) Magician. Nyssa Al Ghul first called him like this after he performed a magic trick. This name was possibly also chosen as a play on his surname "Merlyn," (which is a variant form of the name Merlin) due it coming from the legendary figure, Merlin, who is best known as the wizard (or magician) featured in Arthurian legend. It's also a reference to the comics, since Arthur King (the Dark Archer's civilian identity) presents himself as "Merlyn the Magician" during his debut.
  • He is the second main antagonist to be credited as a main character followed by Slade Wilson.
  • Though not having necessarily survived Ra's al Ghul's blade, Malcolm dodged the League's death punishments, making him some kind of the prophesied successor. Also, through the Undertaking, Malcolm also destroyed part of his home city, but since it wasn't his entire town that was destroyed, Malcolm is the first person to ascend to Ra's without completely destroying his home.
  • He also survived his fight with Oliver in season one, who ironically was prophesied as Ra's al Ghul before Malcolm.
  • In "Sins of the Father", Malcolm is aware of the existence of Oliver's son, William.
  • Somehow the only two fights he has lost were against Oliver and Nyssa, despite that he has dispatched both of them on numerous occasions in combat.


Concept artwork

Promotional images


Season 1
Season 3


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Confession"
  2. "Carnage"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "City of Heroes"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "The Undertaking"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Uprising"
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Scientist"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Muse of Fire"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Dead to Rights"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "Corto Maltese"
  10. "Heir to the Demon"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "The Magician"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Pilot"
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Sara"
  14. "Honor Thy Father"
  15. "An Innocent Man"
  16. "Damaged"
  17. "Year's End"
  18. "Burned"
  19. "Trust but Verify"
  20. "Betrayal"
  21. "Salvation"
  22. "Unfinished Business"
  23. "Darkness on the Edge of Town"
  24. "Sacrifice"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 "State v. Queen"
  26. "City of Blood"
  27. "Streets of Fire"
  28. "Unthinkable"
  29. "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"
  30. "The Climb"
  31. "Left Behind (Arrow)"
  32. "Midnight City"
  33. "Canaries"
  34. "The Return"
  35. "Nanda Parbat"
  36. "The Fallen"
  37. "Al Sah-him"
  38. "This Is Your Sword"
  39. "Legends of Today"
  40. "Legends of Yesterday"
  41. "Dark Waters"
  42. "Sins of the Father"
  43. "Taken"
  44. "Beacon of Hope"
  45. "Eleven-Fifty-Nine"

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