"Arrow" has always used flashbacks as a storytelling device, but for the last few seasons, the story of Oliver Queen's "five years in hell" has become increasingly convoluted. Originally seeking to answer a very small question (why did those Russian mobsters seem to love Oliver so much way back in the first season?) the flashbacks have become more interesting and coherent, a change owed at least a little bit to the charisma of Dolph Lundgren.
A chemical engineer and 3rd degree black belt, Lundgren is probably most famous for playing Rocky nemesis Ivan Drago and his subsequent rise to action movie fame. "Arrow" has seen him flex his bad guy muscles again, this time as the leader of the Bratva, Konstantin Kovar. We've only gotten a brief look at the depths of Kovar's depravity, but showrunner Marc Guggenheim promises more of him in upcoming episodes.
"Russia is very much in the zeitgeist these days, and coming into the back half of the year, we're doing a lot more with Russia," Guggenheim said on ComicBook.com. "We're going to do a Russia-centric episode, a flashback-centric episode like we did in the first three years of the show. We'll be doing that later on in the season and that will have Dolph Lundgren's character, Konstantin Kovar, very much front and center."
Guggenheim didn't indicate the show will become too politically explicit, but allegations of Russian interference with the American election seemed to be in the back of his mind, and he makes his political affiliations well known on Twitter. "Arrow" as a show has never been overtly political, but in the comics Oliver Queen has traditionally been a proud left-winger, carrying on a tradition dating back to his inspiration, Robin Hood.
It seems inevitable that the Russian story of the past comes crashing into the story set in the present. Given Oliver Queen's current gig as the mayor of Star City, the show is ripe with opportunity for political storytelling.
Returning Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, “Arrow’ stars Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne and Echo Callum.