Oct. 10, 2012
60 min.
The CW TV Network

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After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While he hides the truth about the man he's become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was.

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Malcolm Merlyn Arrow
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Malcolm Merlyn

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  Played by:
John BarrowmanJohn Barrowman
John Scot Barrowman, MBE is a Scottish-American actor, singer, dancer, presenter and writer who holds ...

Character Bio

Malcolm Merlyn photo
"There are parts of the world where death is an illusion. I've been to one. I learned to be very convincing".

After the death of his wife in around 1993, Malcolm Merlyn began an affair with Moira Queen, who consequently gave birth to Thea. As he felt bad for betraying his wife's memory, he left Starling City for two years and visited Nanda Parbat. While there, he trained under the mentorship of a man, and is implied to have learned his fighting skills from the man in question. This man was later revealed to be Al-Owal, a member of the League of Assassins.

In late 2007, Malcolm met with a number of associates, among them Robert Queen and Frank Chen. He discussed his plan to level the Glades, with a particular device. Later, when Robert questioned him as to whether it was a good idea or not, Malcolm revealed his wife's horrible death whilst in the Glades.


It is unknown what his personality was like before his wife's death, but it can be assumed that he was probably once a good person, kinder and caring as well. After his wife's death, he shut his son out and went away for two years. He returned as an apathetic, calculating, and ruthless man. He believed what he was doing was right and is for the greater good, and will 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. Having slept with Moira Queen some time after, Merlyn felt so guilty he fled the country; eventually going to Nanda Parbat.

Malcolm is a charismatic person, able to project his own beliefs and self righteousness into his words. His acceptance speech for the humanitarian of the year award was so compelling it even managed to catch the attention of China White.

He also seemed to have somewhat of an ego, choosing not to let the public blame The Arrow for the murders he committed and announcing himself as a different person, possibly to lure The Arrow out. It was even said by Robert Queen that Malcolm had "something of a God-complex". He had a hostage read out that he will kill them if The Arrow "doesn't surrender to his authority". When asked what he wanted by luring The Arrow out, by The Arrow himself he simply answers that he "wanted to know who is the better archer". 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. Sadly during the undertaking his own son died in the process.

In Season 2, he is shown to be still alive. He is deeply upset about causing the death of his son making him desperate to have a relationship with Thea.


* Peak of human physical condition: In all three of his confrontations with Oliver, Malcolm has demonstrated to be quite a match if not a superior fighter. 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 sufficiently high enough strength to break Oliver's bow in half with a single strike and knead a steel beam with a single kick. His reflexes allowed him to catch an arrow shot at him by Oliver during their second confrontation (a feat only the highly skilled Billy Wintergreen, Slade Wilson, Al-Owal and Helena Bertinelli have demonstrated). He was also shown himself to be able to dodge an arrow and fire one directly after Oliver tried to shoot him in their first confrontation. Despite defeating him on two occasions, Malcolm claims that due to his youth, Oliver is faster than he is.

* Master archer: As the Dark Archer, Malcolm proved himself as an expert archer with astounding archery skills, a feat acknowledged by Oliver seeing how tightly grouped the arrows shot to Adam's body were. 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. He uses a customized compound bow as opposed to Oliver, who uses a customized recurve bow

* Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Malcolm has shown to be a highly skilled martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant. 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, even knocking him out after a brutal fight in their second encounter. In a third encounter he was able to fight both John and Oliver at the same time. Based on what has been shown, his style seems to be a mix of martial arts similar to Oliver's, but with a more grounded focus on close combat. It should be noted that in the situations where he had bested or almost bested Oliver in combat always take place in tight quarters, suggested he was a superior fighter in terms of technique. This is possibly due to training for almost 20 years

* Skilled tactician/Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen: In his daily life, Malcolm was the CEO of Merlyn Global Group, overseeing its daily activities and ensuring its success as a multi-billionaire 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. One of Malcolm's plans involves the deaths of thousands of people living in the Glades, However, after he found out Oliver is The Arrow, and that he knew about The Undertaking and the Markov Device, he accelerated his plan to level the Glades that same night. As a fail-safe for his master plan (and in an attempt to maximize devastation upon the area) he had a second device placed in the east sector of the Glades, devoted to leveling this sector. After being injured in his final confrontation with The Arrow, he faked his own death and left for three months.

* Master swordsman: Malcolm might be trained and particularly skilled with swords. In "Muse of Fire", Malcolm was shown fencing with experience, also in "Trust but Verify", Malcolm's secret room where he keeps his Dark Archer equipment was shown to house several racks of swords of various kinds. Furthermore, In "Sacrifice", he was able to easily dispatch 3 heavily armed police officers using a scimitar.

Episode Screenshots

02x01 - City of Heroes
Season 2, Episode 01
05x12 - Bratva
Season 5, Episode 12
02x23 - Unthinkable
Season 2, Episode 23
02x13 - Heir To The Demon
Season 2, Episode 13
[More Episodes]

Malcolm Merlyn Photos

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