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- 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 Merlyn src
Malcolm Merlyn, born as Arthur King, is a former operative of the League of Assassins, a powerful and wealthy businessman and an enemy of Arrow (Oliver Queen). He is the father of Tommy Merlyn and, after an affair, Thea Queen. He was known under many names, including the Copycat, the Dark Archer and Al Sāḥir ("the Magician").
Through his family, Malcolm owned the Merlyn Global Group and was a family friend of the Queen family. Malcolm changed considerably when his wife was murdered by an unknown assailant in the Glades. There were many people who could have helped her, but they did nothing. This shattered Malcolm's faith in humanity, and he became convinced that the Glades is a cesspool of crime and filth. He disappeared for two years, traveling to Nanda Parbat and joining the League of Assassins. While there, he is trained by Al-Owal in multiple combat and assassination techniques.
After he returned, he devised a plan (the Undertaking) to destroy the Glades and rebuild something better in its place, using a device that can simulate earthquakes. He also came to believe that Tommy needed to learn the harsh realities of life. Consequently, Malcolm grew frustrated by Tommy's "chronic irresponsibility and terminal laziness."
Not long after Oliver returned from Lian Yu, Malcolm met with Moira Queen to discuss the vigilante Arrow. 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 vigilante was targeting "The List". Malcolm later invited Moira to talk with him upon short notice. They discuss whether Oliver might actually be the green-hooded vigilante, and he holds up his end of the argument that he strongly believes that Oliver is. After this, he sent a hitman to kill Oliver based on his assumption. After the chaos cleared, Moira threatened to expose him if he ever hurt the Queen Family. Not long after this, Moira became collateral damage in a drive-by shooting, sustaining a concussion. Malcolm visited her while she was recuperating, and Moira reluctantly reaffirms her loyalty to the Undertaking. It is around this time that Malcolm decides that Tommy is not fit to carry on the family legacy, and nullifies his trust fund, an act of "tough love" that ultimately leads his son to his first job.
During a Christmas party, Malcolm meets Oliver for the first time since his return from the island. Eventually, the subject of the Arrow vigilante comes up, and they agree that he needs a better cryptonym, Malcolm suggests Green Arrow, which Oliver dismisses. Not long after, Malcolm dons his League uniform and begins killing people on "The List." He eventually takes 5 people hostage, threatening to kill them unless Arrow confronts him. The Dark Archer manages to overpower Arrow and reveals that he knows about "The List," and that its author wants Arrow dead. However, he is forced to flee before he can unmask his nemesis. Malcolm later orchestrates the kidnapping of Walter Steele, using him as "collateral" to ensure Moira's loyalty. Moira reminds him that thousands of innocent people will die when the League's plans reach fruition, but Malcolm insists he will feel a sense of accomplishment.
Moira and one of Malcolm's co-conspirators, Frank Chen, decide to assassinate Malcolm, hiring China White and Deadshot to kill him at a fundraiser. Malcolm protects Tommy from White's thugs and is about to reveal his Dark Archer identity to him when he is shot by Deadshot. Though Malcolm was protected by body armor, the bullet was laced with curare, which would have killed him were it not for Tommy and Oliver's timely intervention. As Malcolm recovers, he tells Tommy about his time at Nanda Parbat and tells Moira there is a traitor in their organization. After making a sufficient recovery, Malcolm assumes the Dark Archer identity again to assassinate Chen, though seemingly remains unaware of Moira's involvement.
Not long after, Arrow receives a lead on Walter's whereabouts and discovers that Malcolm was involved in Walter's kidnapping. As the Undertaking nears its end stages, the Dark Archer kills the earthquake device's creator, Brion Markov, as a security measure. Arrow confronts Malcolm in his office, and reveals his dual identity as the Dark Archer, and overpowers Arrow. He unmasks his nemesis and is shocked to see Oliver under the Hood. Malcolm has Oliver chained up in his lair and asserts that he can beat Oliver time and time again because he knows what he is willing to give up in the fight. Believing that Oliver is no longer a threat, Malcolm returns to his office. Unbeknownst to him, Oliver escapes with Diggle's help.
While Malcolm is at his office preparing for things to unfold, Tommy pays him a visit, troubled by the "lies" Oliver has told about them. Malcolm finally reveals his identity as the Dark Archer and the Undertaking. As Tommy expresses his disgust and outrage, Moira holds a press conference, exposing Malcolm and revealing her complicity in his plans. Cops arrive not long after to arrest Malcolm. In a fit of rage, Malcolm kills the police officers and disarms Tommy who had picked up a gun from one of the fallen officers in an attempt to stop his father. Malcolm knocks him out and heads into his panic room, and dons his Dark Archer gear in anticipation for an inevitable final showdown. Arrow arrives in short order, with Diggle as his backup. The Dark Archer injures Diggle and then battles the Arrow on the building's helipad. Oliver is again overpowered but is able to stab Malcolm with one of the discarded arrows. Malcolm still claims a partial victory, as a second Markov device still destroys part of the Glades.
Reuniting with Thea
Months later, Malcolm returns, having survived his seemingly fatal injury, and confronts Moira about the revelation that Thea is his daughter. However, Moira has an ace up her sleeve; she has learned of Malcolm's connection to the League of Assassins, and that with the Undertaking, he had violated two of their most sacred tenets, causing chaos where the League preferred order and failing to kill a target (Arrow). Knowing that Ra's al Ghul would be looking for him, Malcolm was forced to go back into hiding. After Moira was killed by Slade Wilson, Malcolm returned to Starling to check up on Thea just in time to save her from one of Slade's minions and revealed his true relation to her. He urges him to join her, noting that unlike Oliver and Moira, he has never lied to her. Thea responds by shooting him. However, Malcolm had anticipated that Thea's confusion and anger would prompt her to react this way, so had decided to let her get it out of her system, banking on the body armor in his League uniform protecting him. This paid off, and Thea, once cooler heads prevailed, ultimately accepted his offer.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced)
- Tactical Analysis
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Arrow, its tie-in comic book series, and its related television series. It is an adaptation of Merlyn. The original character was created by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams, and Dick Dillin and first appeared in Justice League of America #94.
- Malcolm Merlyn is portrayed by John Barrowman.
- Before his real name was revealed, Malcolm was just known as "The Well-Dressed Man".
- 61 Appearances of Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow)
- 8 Images featuring Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow)
- 5 Quotations by or about Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow)
- Character Gallery: Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow)
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