The deck is stacked against Team Arrow in the latest season of the series, with many of the heroes' greatest enemies uniting to take them down.
But while everyone has their own reason, Helix leader Cayden James, played by Michael Emerson, recently admitted he's simply out for revenge. And Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim teased a controversial development with the character in the near future.
"He's a much more cerebral bad guy than we've had. We've got some plans for his character that I think are very unconventional," Guggenheim said. "One of the things I was saying to the network and the studio… was because Arrow is in its sixth season and is the longest in the tooth of all the [Greg] Berlanti shows, we kind of feel an obligation to do things that the other shows haven't done before. Also in part because by the time we're in season 6, there's a lot of stuff that we've already done. So we're constantly trying to surprise ourselves."
James has hardly been a sympathetic villain since he's started wreaking havoc on Oliver Queen and his allies, though fans did get a glimpse into his motivations before the winter break.
"We've got some very, I think, unexpected things coming up with Michael's character," Guggenheim said. "But I think the key to any villain is their motivation. I think you'll start to see, in the early episodes once we come back from the break, a little bit more about what Cayden James is motivated by. You learned a bit about his son. There's more to that story. There's actually a lot more to that story."
But since Arrow is going on six seasons and is likely to continue for at least another year, Guggenheim and the others in the writers room are able to take chances with the storylines in the series.
"I think it's going to unfold in a way that will really surprise people," Guggenheim said. "I actually expect it to be controversial because we're doing something that's so different than what we've done in years past. There's one particular hard right turn that we've got up our sleeves that we've never done before. So I'll be curious to see what people think of it."