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"You didn't let me die, Ollie. You fought to save me. Because that's what you do, what you've always done. You fight to survive. I know I called you a murderer, but you are not. You are a hero."
—A vision of Tommy Merlyn to Oliver Queen[src]

Thomas "Tommy" Merlyn (February 1, 1985 - May 15, 2013)[1] was the son of the late Malcolm Merlyn and the late Rebecca Merlyn, a former billionaire "trustafarian", the best friend of Oliver Queen, the ex-boyfriend/close friend of the late Laurel Lance, and the older paternal half-brother of Thea Queen. Tommy was Oliver's best friend who helped ease back into life when Oliver returned while dating Laurel. A selfish and reckless money spoiled brat until Malcolm cut him off completely from all his money, he worked for Oliver and became more responsible.

But when Tommy discovered Oliver's secret, combined with Oliver and Laurel still loving each other, he became distant, mainly out of jealousy and anger. Tommy was killed while he was saving Laurel's life but made amends with Oliver before he died. Tommy's death served as the motivation for Oliver to become a better hero, sent Laurel spiraling into depression for a time and fueled Malcolm's determination to be involved in Thea's life.

Biography

Early life

Tommy was born on February 1, 1985, to his parents, Malcolm and Rebecca Merlyn. When Tommy was eight years old, his mother was killed by Brick as gang initiation in the Glades. This sent Malcolm into a state of depression, even leaving Tommy for two years. When Malcolm had an affair with Moira Queen, the affair also led to the birth of Thea Queen, Tommy's paternal half-sister.

In between the two years, Tommy met Oliver Queen and became best friends and hung out with Oliver at the Queen house more often than his own, and even saw Robert Queen as more of a father to him than his own father. Around that time, he also met and became best friends with Laurel Lance. In their youth, Robert took Tommy and Oliver to their first hockey game and their first R-rated movie. In their early 20s, Tommy and Oliver got up to many social scandals and media related incidents which saw them both in court more than once. At some point, he met Sara Lance. Tommy and Oliver also at some point met McKenna Hall.

Tommy once hosted a party which Sara sneaked into to see Oliver which was broken up by the cops. At some point, Tommy filled his father's pool entirely with beer and swam in it, much to Oliver and Laurel's amusement.[2] Once Oliver was presumed dead at sea with Sara, Laurel had an affair with Tommy out of anger which he would later describe as "your place, my place, my place again", implying that they slept together multiple times but both decided that it wasn't going to work, though Tommy always still had feelings for Laurel. By the time he was 27, Tommy had never worked a single day in his life.

Search for Oliver

Tommy Merlyn being asked to pay a ransom by Oliver Queen

Tommy being "kidnapped" by Oliver.

When Oliver made an attempt to send out an email acknowledging being alive in Hong Kong but was stopped by Maseo Yamashiro yet still partially successful due to a log-in setting off an account alert, Tommy took his father's jet and flew to Hong Kong in search of Oliver Queen. Oliver was surprised to learn that Amanda Waller had ordered Tommy to be executed, but Oliver and Maseo devised a plan in order to keep Tommy alive. Oliver kidnapped Tommy and claimed that he hacked Oliver's account in hope that a family member would come searching for him, satisfied that it was Tommy, the son of Malcolm, that had come. Maseo then "rescued" Tommy posing as Hong Kong police and Tommy left believing that his best friend was dead.[3]

Oliver's return

When Oliver returned to Starling City, Tommy accompanied Oliver on various car trips to ease back into city life but strongly protests when Oliver wants to visit Laurel which as expected goes very badly. Later Tommy and Oliver are both abducted by red skull wearing men and Tommy is knocked out apparently saved by a green hooded vigilante or so Oliver tells Detective Quentin Lance. Much later, Tommy holds a welcome home party for Oliver but it is cut short by Lance when he arrives and confronts Merlyn and Queen about the vigilante showing up at their club when Adam Hunt's place was just previously attacked. After the party, Tommy meets with Laurel to ask out on a date but Laurel declines though Tommy firmly states that he intends to keep trying, much to Laurel's amusement.[4]

Tommy accompanies Oliver to the courthouse, reminding everyone of the previous 4 times and is left on the street with John Diggle taking off in the limo. Later, Tommy attends Walter Steele and Moira's ceremony of the Robert Queen memorial and witnesses Oliver causing disruption before confessing not wanting to be involved in the company.[5]

When Oliver was accused of being the Hood and put under house arrest and suggested a party to ease the tensions, Tommy thought that it was a bad idea, to begin with, but Oliver eventually convinced Tommy. At the party, Oliver was attacked by an unnamed gunman and hurt but was cleared of all charges which Tommy was present to witness.[6]

Tommy arrives at Laurel's apartment with food at the same time as a pizza delivery man, leading to an awkward exchange between the three. Tommy, however, manages to win over Laurel with his dinner of Chinese food before asking on a proper date. They later go to a fancy restaurant where Merlyn confesses that he wishes that he had just met Laurel instead, so their date wouldn't be as awkward, given their history already. However, Tommy is hit with larger problems when he discovers his credit card has been declined and later finds out that his father cut him off. He confronts Malcolm about why his trust fund was shut off. Malcolm replies harshly by stating he cannot use his father's money reasonably and needs to get a job, stating that his reckless spending has lost its charm. Malcolm even stating he thinks he should have done it sooner. Tommy tries to argue his point that it is his trust fund before his father corrects him by stating that it is his money. Tommy later visits Laurel to confess that Malcolm had cut him off completely which resulted in his multiple accounts being shut down, his car being taken from him and his apartment being taken too. However, Laurel tells Tommy that he will be fine without his father's money and offers him a space in Laurel's apartment.[7]

Now living at Laurel's place, Tommy searches for a job. Laurel suggests that Tommy work in Oliver's new club. Tommy says he will but decides not to out of shame. Tommy and Laurel go to a restaurant on a date and, due to no money to bribe the officials, had to actually wait in line. But when Oliver and Helena Bertinelli arrived, they offered them space at their table. Laurel brings up Tommy's job position but Oliver wasn't told, leading to an awkward moment at the table. Helena learns about Oliver, Tommy and Laurel's love triangle position which Tommy jokingly remarks "Were just prime for a reality show." The next day, Tommy came clean to Oliver about Malcolm cutting him off and asked for a job which Oliver agrees to.[2]

On December 12, just a week before Christmas, Tommy visits Laurel and Quentin at Laurel's apartment and gives a Christmas present of a photo of Quentin, Laurel, and Sara in a fancy framework. He also invites Laurel to the Queens Christmas party which they go to.[8]

Falling out with Oliver

Tommy and Oliver's relationship begins to break down. After an assassination attempt by Deadshot on Malcolm's life, Oliver reveals himself as The Hood to Tommy so that Tommy will trust Oliver to save Malcolm's life. Although obviously conflicted over Oliver's revelation, Tommy keeps his friend's identity a secret.[9]

Their friendship continues to become more strained as Helena's return shows Tommy how dangerous it is to be around Oliver, as well as how far Oliver is willing to go to do what's right. In turn, keeping Oliver's secret is seen to have a knock-on effect on Tommy's relationship with Laurel.[10]

During the streaming of Roy Harper's capture, Tommy comforts Thea. It was hinted he seen Roy before, most likely due to hiring him at the club.[11]

When a girl dies at their club due to a Vertigo overdose, Quentin finds evidence that implies Tommy supplied the girl with the drug. Even though he is later cleared, Tommy is outraged to hear that Oliver didn't trust him enough to believe he was innocent. As a result, Tommy quits his job at Verdant, terminating their friendship. Tommy then asks his father for a job at Merlyn Global Group, which Malcolm gladly accepts with a hug.[12]

When Laurel's life is threatened, Tommy is forced to admit that Oliver's house is the safest place to be. He asks if they can stay at the Queen Mansion until Laurel is no longer in danger. But after witnessing how close Oliver and Laurel are, despite Laurel being with him, he realizes that Oliver still loves Laurel. He realizes that despite everything that had happened between them, Laurel would still choose Oliver if Laurel ever found out that Oliver is the Hood. Once Laurel is safely back home, Tommy breaks up with Laurel and moves out without explaining why.[13]

Tommy is seen as unhappy but is loyal to his father while also honoring Oliver's secret identity. When Laurel confronts him as to why he broke up, he reveals that he believes that Laurel and Oliver are meant to be together, for Oliver still loves Laurel.[14]

Oliver visits Tommy at his office in an attempt to mend broken bridges between them. Oliver convinces Tommy that his decision to break up with Laurel was his own, with Oliver having nothing to do with it, and that Oliver should get back with Laurel. But when Oliver goes to see Laurel and admit feelings, Tommy arrives outside Laurel's apartment at this point and sees Oliver and Laurel together.[15]

Death

Tommy is drinking at Oliver's nightclub and confronts Oliver about the night with Laurel, but Oliver tries to tell Tommy about the Undertaking. Enraged at Oliver's lie about Laurel, Tommy doesn't believe Oliver and wishes that Oliver had died on the island. Tommy later goes to his father confirming to Tommy what he is unwilling to believe from Oliver, that he is going to destroy the Glades to avenge his mother. Then he plays a recording as Rebecca died. Malcolm was, suddenly, shouting to his son how they deserve to die. When Moira confessed Malcolm's plan and the police arrived to which Malcolm easily dispatched, Tommy grabbed one of their guns and tried to kill Malcolm with the weapon but failed and was knocked unconscious. Later, Tommy woke up when Oliver and John arrived to stop Malcolm. Tommy asked if Oliver intended to kill Malcolm, but he told Tommy to go. Once Malcolm was seemingly killed the Undertaking proceeded because there were backup earthquake generators. Tommy headed to the CNRI to save Laurel from the rubble of the building during the earthquake, but as Laurel escapes, the building collapses with him still inside. When Oliver arrives at the building, he finds Tommy trapped inside and impaled by a concrete reinforcement bar. Tommy reconciles with Oliver and they become best friends again before Tommy dies, leaving both Oliver, who was by his side, and Laurel, who is waiting outside, in tears.[16]

Alternate reality

In the Dominators' computer simulation, Tommy was still alive and had become a doctor in Chicago. According to Malcolm, he couldn't make it to Oliver and Laurel's wedding because he was too tied up with work. Tommy had a good relationship with his father and was also apparently close to Thea.[17]

Rewritten reality

In the Legion of Doom's alternate reality created with the Spear of Destiny, Tommy and Rebecca are still alive and he presumably has good relationship with Malcolm.[18]

Legacy

Tommy Merlyn's grave

Tommy's tombstone.

Tommy's tombstone read "In Loving Memory of Thomas Merlyn, 1985-2013, Beloved Son."[1] At Tommy's funeral, his eulogy was given by Laurel, as Oliver was too guilt-ridden over his best friend's death to do so.[19]

Tommy's death in The Undertaking had a profound impact on his loved ones. Oliver initially returned to Lian Yu in a self-imposed exile, depressed over the death of his childhood best friend and his failure to prevent The Undertaking. After eventually returning to Starling City and being convinced by Diggle and Felicity to return to vigilantism, Oliver aspired to become a better hero to honor Tommy's memory, refusing to ever kill again unless absolutely necessary.

Tommy's sacrifice forced Laurel to realize her love for him, and she and Oliver subsequently chose to end any further romantic entanglement between them.

Laurel held the Arrow responsible for Tommy's death and resolved to find and arrest him.[1] However, after the Arrow saved her and Quentin from Barton Mathis, Laurel realized she was trying to blame the vigilante for something that wasn't his fault because she didn't want to face her own guilt for her inadvertent role in Tommy's death.[20] Following this, Laurel withdrew into a state of depression and became an alcoholic, resorting to drinking and taking antidepressants to cope with the pain. It wasn't until Sara's return to Starling City that Laurel finally sought help for her addiction and was able to begin moving on from Tommy's death.[21]

Oliver Queen hallucinating Tommy Merlyn

Tommy hallucinated by Oliver.

When incapacitated by Cyrus Gold, Oliver experiences a hallucination of Tommy. Tommy tells Oliver he isn't a killer, but a hero, relieving Oliver of his guilt. Tommy explains he finally understands that Oliver kills because he's been fighting for survival, which is what he has been doing that since the island. Tommy urges Oliver to get up and fight back, which Oliver does. He defeats Cyrus Gold, stopping his hallucinations.[22]

Moira was devastated that The Undertaking killed Tommy[1] and was willing to accept life imprisonment and possibly the death penalty as her penance for her role in his death.[23]

Malcolm suffered great remorse in knowing he was responsible for his own son's death. Upon discovering that Thea was his biological daughter, Malcolm strove to have a better relationship with Thea than he ever did with Tommy.

When Thea learned of her relation to Malcolm and Tommy, she was disgusted that she once tried to kiss her own half-brother.[24]

When Oliver tried to learn to use Light Magic against Damien Darhk, he needed to fight his own inner darkness; Tommy's death was one of the visions which stopped Oliver from doing so.[25]

When it was revealed that District Attorney Adrian Chase was actually the serial killer Prometheus, Adrian taunted Oliver with Tommy's death in an attempt to goad him into killing the former, to no avail.[26]

Malcolm joined the Legion of Doom, intending to use Spear of Destiny to alter his life, including bringing back Rebecca and Tommy.[27]

Tommy Merlyn (Earth-X)

Tommy's doppelgänger came to be seen as a perversion compared to Tommy.

During the Earth-X invasion of Earth One, Tommy's doppelgänger was one of the invaders to appear; the Legends believed Earth-X Tommy to be Earth One Tommy as an anachronism before they learned his true nature. Oliver attempted to get through to Earth-X Tommy, but failed and could do nothing but watch as Tommy's doppelgänger committed suicide after some malicious parting words.[28]

In May 2018, Christopher Chance disguised himself as Tommy and as Green Arrow to create reasonable doubt during Oliver's trial regarding whether Oliver was Green Arrow. Oliver later mentions him again when he publicly confesses to being Green Arrow, meaning the public now believe that Tommy is actually alive.[29]

Personality

Tommy Merlyn first appears as a selfish, reckless, light-hearted, cheerful, carefree, laid-back, fun-loving and spoiled brat individual without a care in the world and loved to party, due to his financial access being nearly limitless. Regardless, Tommy was immensely loyal to his lifelong best friend Oliver Queen. When Oliver accessed his email in an attempt to contact Moira he was in Hong Kong, Tommy immediately went to Hong Kong to find him. During Oliver's time away, despite his spoiled traits, Tommy tried to look after Thea to fill in Oliver's shoes as an older brother (unaware that he was, in fact, Thea's older half-brother). When Oliver returned after 5 years away from Starling City, he tries to get Oliver to rejoin the party scene, picking out girls for him and taking him around town. However, it becomes apparent Tommy's affection for Laurel is slowly changing him into a more responsible and selfless individual.

When his father cut off his trust fund, he became angry, but then became more resolved in his desire to change. He applied himself more in his relationship with Laurel and sought out Oliver to get a job running Verdant. Tommy took his job as a manager of Oliver's club very seriously often yelling at their contractors for lack of progress. He even came up with the idea to come up with a fundraiser ball for the family of firemen. Even coming with the idea to have the party at Verdant to keep costs low and maximize donations to firemen families. This drastic maturity made Oliver jokingly ask Tommy who he was and where's the real Tommy Merlyn. He was bitter towards his father, who he perceives as power and money hungry, and uncaring, especially due to the fact that Malcolm left him for two years after Rebecca Merlyn, his mother was killed. Their relationship improves when Tommy attends an award ceremony for Malcolm and after his father was nearly killed by Deadshot.

Tommy was thrown into a sea of confusion when it's revealed to him that Oliver is the Hood, devastated when the latter confessed that he had no intention of revealing who he really was as the Vigilante after five years from Lian Yu to his best friend, and only had to in gaining Tommy's trust to save Malcolm from a curare-laced bullet, apparently not trusting Tommy enough to keep his secret. Though he still felt loyalty to Oliver by keeping his secret identity, their friendship was shaken as he tells Oliver he was a murderer and that he has problems trusting Oliver, whom he says he doesn't know anymore. He later quits the nightclub saying that he had too much self-respect to continue running Oliver's front when his own best friend doesn't even trust him. In some ways, Tommy was a man wise beyond his years, especially regarding those he most cares about; he knew deep down how much Oliver and Laurel meant to each other and how irreplaceable they both are for the other's lives. After finding out that his father Malcolm is the Dark Archer, he turned against his father completely and their relationship is permanently broken. Despite learning of what his father was planning to do, he still retained his morals and ideals when he asks Oliver was he going to kill his father.

It was implied that his later distrust of Oliver partially stemmed from jealousy and anger, as he felt that if Laurel knew Oliver was the Hood, she would choose him over Tommy and believed the Oliver he knows now is a far better person than he thought he would be. In his final moments, Tommy showed true courage and selflessness during The Undertaking, saving Laurel's life and confessing to her he loved her. In his final moments, Tommy admitted to Oliver the inferiority complex he was feeling and reconciled with his best friend, comforted that Oliver didn't kill Malcolm, passing away in peace.

Appearances

Arrow

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6


DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 2

Comics

Arrow

Arrow: The Dark Archer

Novels

Gallery

Promotional images

Arrow

Season 1

Trivia

  • Malcolm mentioned that as a child, Tommy once wanted a puppy for Christmas, which he would have called "Arthur", to pair with him being a "Merlyn".[30] This may attribute to how Merlin assisted King Arthur, as well as subtly referencing that Malcolm Merlyn's true name is Arthur King.[31]
  • Tommy is a fan of the Super Bowl.[4]
  • He enjoys the mushroom & olive pizza from Mario's.[7]
  • Tommy's favorite wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape.[9]
  • When Thea made a pass at Tommy at a CNRI fundraiser event, Tommy turned her down, explaining he considered her his baby sister,[32] not knowing she was really was his half-sister.
  • Tommy is the first character in the main cast of Arrow to die.
  • Tommy Merlyn and Eddie Thawne share certain similarities;
    • Both characters are related to the primary antagonist of the first season of their respective shows (Arrow and The Flash), Malcolm, and Eobard, respectively, and as such, their surnames are the same as those villains.
    • Both have debuted in the first season of their respective series and subsequently died at the end of the same season.
    • Both died protecting their loved ones; Tommy died saving Laurel Lance from the collapsing CNRI building while Eddie killed himself to protect his friends (including Iris West) from the Reverse-Flash.
    • Tommy formed a love triangle between himself, Laurel and Oliver Queen, while Eddie formed a love triangle between himself, Iris and Barry Allen.
    • Both characters were considered as being failures by their respective relatives. Malcolm cut Tommy out off the family fortune and subsequently hired him in order to put his son's life in order. Eobard, on the other hand, merely split Eddie apart from Iris only to ensure that Eddie begins a long blood-line of brilliant men of science and industry, Eobard included.
  • Tommy Merlyn and Tommy Moran share certain similarities;
    • Both characters are the son of characters played by John Barrowman, Malcolm Merlyn and "Cutter" Moran, respectively.
    • Both characters were looked at disapprovingly by their respective relatives. Malcolm cut Tommy Merlyn out off the family fortune and subsequently hired him in order to put his son's life in order. "Cutter" was unhappy with him being in love with his enemy's daughter.
    • Both characters were in love with the show's main protagonist's love interest, Oliver Queen's love interest was Laurel Lance. Barry Allen's love interest is Iris West, Tommy Moran's love interest is Iris' dream world counterpart.
  • As of "Docket No. 11-19-41-73", the public now believes that Tommy is alive, however, it was actually Christopher Chance in disguise (in order to exonerate Oliver of being a vigilante) although Oliver later does publicly confesses to being Green Arrow; the public still believe that Tommy is actually alive.

Behind the scenes

  • In DC Comics, specifically the Prime Earth continuity, Tommy Merlyn was Oliver's best friend who later became a mercenary archer known alternatively as Merlyn or the Dark Archer.
    • In the Rebirth line of DC Comics, it was revealed that Tommy's father, Malcolm Merlyn, was the original Dark Archer before his son also took on the title.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "City of Heroes"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Vendetta"
  3. "Sara"
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Pilot"
  5. "Honor Thy Father"
  6. "Damaged"
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Muse of Fire"
  8. "Year's End"
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Dead to Rights"
  10. "The Huntress Returns"
  11. "Salvation"
  12. "Unfinished Business"
  13. "Home Invasion"
  14. "The Undertaking"
  15. "Darkness on the Edge of Town"
  16. "Sacrifice"
  17. "Invasion!"
  18. "Doomworld"
  19. "Canary Cry"
  20. "Broken Dolls"
  21. "Time of Death"
  22. "Three Ghosts"
  23. "State v. Queen"
  24. "The Man Under the Hood"
  25. "Genesis"
  26. "Checkmate"
  27. "The Chicago Way"
  28. "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2"
  29. "Docket No. 11-19-41-73"
  30. "Trust but Verify"
  31. Carnage
  32. "Legacies"