Well, the time has finally come: Arrow returned tonight for its sixth season premiere, and the answer to the question that has been hanging over Star City for months: who lived, who died, and what was the fallout from the events of the season 5 finale, "Lian Yu?"
As producers had promised, the true cost of the final showdown with Prometheus on Lian Yu went well beyond a question of just a bodycount: even those who survived were left with a significant cost.
We will get into that as we go, but let's just say that while there might not have been as many fatalities on Lian Yu as audiences might have guessed back in May, that does not mean there were fewer casualties.
...But, hey! Raisa the Maid is back, right? She hasn't been here since the pilot, so that has to count for something.
Let's take a trip down flashback-memory lane with Oliver and company...!
First thing's first: everyone on the internet was right.
Poor Samantha Clayton died in tonight's episode, making Oliver a single father of a pre-teen who blames him, at least in part, for his mother's death.
That will be the biggest impact that Samantha has on the story: she leaves behind her son, who will be a permanent part of Oliver's life now and who will be threatened whenever baddies come to Star City.
Alas, poor Samantha. We didn't know you very well, but here's hoping you show up in flashbacks!
Her long-term fate uncertain, Thea survived tonight's episode but is in a coma.
Near the end of season 4, actress Willa Holland asked producers to reduce her role on the series, and for the last season and change, that has happened. In many ways, she seemed like an obvious choice to go...except for the part where executive producer Marc Guggenheim has repeatedly said he does not want to kill Thea since she is the last remnant of Oliver's family.
If Thea survives (which seems likely), then they got a twofer out of this one: the agony and drama of seeing her "death" coupled with the elation of her survival and whatever long-term storytelling potential comes out of the situation.
John Diggle didn't die -- but he's clearly got something in his head.
Is it just his near-death experience? Is it physiological? Is it tied to trouble with his wife, with whom he had been fighting even before the finale?
Lance has fallen back into old habits, but not off the wagon. He is not drinking but instead torturing himself with alcohol that he won’t drink.
Why? Well, he seems pretty convinced that he killed Black Siren, the Earth-2 doppelgänger to his dead daughter.
We find out pretty quickly he did not, but it seems unlikely that will be an immediate fix to his mental state.
Canary is off the streets at the start of the episode, but instead she is back at the police department, being aggressive to the point of cruelty with suspects.
The same rage that drove that also pushed her into costume and into action against Black Siren after the attack on the police department.
Actor availability, budgeting, and storytelling constraints may prove the end of the story for the daughters of Ra's al Ghul.
Even if that is not the case, there is the outside chance Gotham could play hell on the availability of those characters.
In any event, we don't know what the verdict will be for these badasses. It does not feel like the island explosion is enough of a blaze of glory to send two such awesome characters out in, but on the other hand, their fight in the season 5 finale may have been the logical endpoint of their arc in Arrow.
Another villain who might or might not make the grade: Artemis.
Evelyn Sharp was a big part of Arrow season 5, but once she joined the dark side we never really saw much of her. She would occasionally pop up as part of one Prometheus plan or another, only to get manhandled and make her escape.
In the season finale, she was one of the villains who was defeated but not killed on Lian Yu, suggesting that anything is possible for her. Was there an exit strategy, or did Prometheus simply think that she and the others were expendable? If there was a strategy, did it work?
Whatever their fates, expect these to hang over the fandom for a bit.