|“||You know I want one of those shirts that says My friend was a castaway and all I got was this crappy shirt.||”|
Thomas "Tommy" Merlyn (February 1, 1985—May 15, 2013, 2016-) is the son of Malcolm Merlyn and the late Rebecca Merlyn, and the biological older brother of Josh Grayson, a 28 year old former billionaire "trustafarian", the best friend of Oliver Queen, the ex-boyfriend and the close friend of Laurel Lance, and the former crush and the paternal older half-brother of Thea Queen. Tommy was Oliver's best friend who helped him ease back into life when he returned while dating Laurel. Tommy was a selfish and reckless money spoiled brat until Malcolm cut him off completely from all his money and worked for Oliver, and became more responsible. However, when Tommy discovered Oliver's secret, combined with Oliver and Laurel still loving each other, he became distant, mainly out of jealousy and anger. He was killed while he was saving Laurel's life but made amends with Oliver before he died. His death served as the motivation for Oliver to become the hero he can be and also sent Laurel into a state of depression and she subsequently became an alcoholic. His death also fueled Malcolm's determination to be involved in Thea's life upon learning that she was also his child.
When Tommy was fairly young, Rebecca was killed by Brick, as gang initiation, in the Glades, sending his father, Malcolm, into a state of depression, even leaving Tommy for 2 years. It was later revealed that Malcolm had an affair with Moira Queen, which Malcolm felt extremely guilty for and left. The affair also led to the birth of Thea Queen, Tommy's half sister. In between the two years Tommy met Oliver Queen and became best friends with him and hung out with Oliver at his house more often than his own and even saw Oliver's father Robert as more of a father to him than his own father. In their youth Robert took Tommy and Oliver to their first Hockey game and their first R rated movie. In their early 20's Tommy and Oliver got up to many social scandals and media related incidents which saw them both in court more than once. At some point he also met Laurel Lance and her sister Sara. Tommy and Oliver also at some point met McKenna Hall. Tommy once hosted a party which Sara sneaked into to see Oliver which was broken up by the cops. At some point Tommy filled his father's pool entirely with alcohol and swam in it much to Oliver and Laurel's amusement. Once Oliver was presumed dead at sea with Sara, Laurel out of anger had an affair with Tommy which he would later describe as "your place, my place, my place again" implying that they slept together multiple times but both decided that it wasn't going to work though Tommy always still had feelings for her. By the time he was 27 Tommy had never worked a single day in his life.
Search for Oliver Queen
When Oliver made an attempt to send out an email acknowledging that he was alive in Hong Kong, he was stopped by Maseo Yamashiro but was still partially successful due to his log-in setting off an account alert. Tommy took his father's jet and flew to Hong Kong in search of Oliver Queen. Oliver was surprised to learn that Amanda Waller had ordered Tommy to be executed, but Oliver and Maseo devised a plan in order to keep Tommy alive. Oliver kidnapped Tommy and claimed that he hacked Oliver's account in hope that a family member would come searching for him, satisfied that it was Tommy, the son of Malcolm Merlyn that had come. Maseo then "rescued" Tommy posing as Hong Kong police and Tommy left believing that his best friend was dead.
When Oliver returned to Starling City Tommy accompanied him on various car trips to ease him back into city life but strongly protests when Oliver wants to visit Laurel which as expected goes very badly. Later Tommy and Oliver are both abducted by red skull wearing men and Tommy is knocked out apparently saved by a green hooded vigilante or so Oliver tells Detective Quentin Lance. Much later Tommy holds a welcome home party for Oliver but it is cut short by Lance when he arrives and confronts Merlyn and Queen about the vigilante showing up at their club when Adam Hunt's place was just previously attacked. After the party Tommy meets with Laurel and asks her out on a date but she declines though Tommy firmly states that he intends to keep trying, much to her amusement.
Tommy accompanies Oliver to the court house, reminding everyone of the previous 4 times, and is left on the street with John Diggle who takes off in the limo. Later Tommy attends Walter and Moira's ceremony of the Robert Queen memorial and witnesses Oliver causing disruption before he confesses that he doesn't want to be involved in the company.
When Oliver was accused of being the Hood and put under house arrest, he suggested a party to ease the tensions. However Tommy thought that it was a bad idea to begin with but Oliver eventually convinced Tommy. At the party Oliver was attacked by an unnamed gunman and hurt but was cleared of all charges which Tommy was present to witness.
Tommy arrives at Laurel's apartment with food at the same time as a pizza delivery man, leading to an awkward exchange between the three. Tommy however manages to win over Laurel with his diner of Chinese food before asking her on a proper date. They later go to a fancy restaurant where Merlyn confesses that he wishes that he had just met Laurel instead, so their date wouldn't be as awkward, given their history already. However Tommy is hit with larger problems when he discovers his credit card has been declined and later finds out that his father cut him off. He confronts his father about why his trust fund was shut off. Malcolm replies harshly by stating he cannot use his money reasonably and needs to get a job stating that his reckless spending having lost its charm, and Malcolm even states that he thinks he should have done it sooner. Tommy tries to argue his point that it is his trust fund before his father corrects him by stating that it is his money. Tommy later visits Laurel to confess that Malcolm had cut him off completely which resulted in his multiple accounts being shut down, his car being taken from him and his apartment being taken too. However Laurel tells Tommy that he will be fine without his father's money and offers him a space in her apartment.
Tommy is now living at Laurel's place and is searching for a job to work. Laurel suggests that Tommy work in Oliver new club, though Tommy says he will he decides not to out of shame. Tommy and Laurel go to a restaurant on a date and, due to no money to bribe the officials, had to actually wait in line. However, when Oliver and his date Helena Bertinelli arrived they offered them a space at their table. Laurel brings up Tommy's job position but Oliver wasn't told leading to an awkward moment at the table. Helena learns about Oliver, Tommy and Laurel's love triangle position which Tommy jokingly remarks "Were just prime for a reality show". The next day Tommy came clean to Oliver about Malcolm cutting him off and asked for a job which Oliver agrees to.
On December 12, just a week before Christmas Tommy visits Laurel and Quentin at her apartment and gives her a Christmas present of a photo of Quentin, Laurel and Sara in a fancy frame work. He also invites her to the Queens Christmas party which they go to.
Falling out with Oliver
Tommy and Oliver's relationship begins to break down. After an assassination attempt by Deadshot on Malcolm Merlyn's life, Oliver reveals himself as The Hood to Tommy so that Tommy will trust him to save Malcolm's life. Although obviously conflicted over Oliver's revelation, Tommy keeps his identity a secret.
Their friendship continues to become more strained as Helena Bertinelli's return shows Tommy how dangerous it is to be around Oliver, as well as how far Oliver is willing to go to do what's right. In turn, keeping Oliver's secret is seen to have a knock-on effect on Tommy's relationship with Laurel.
During the streaming of Roy Harper's capture, Tommy comforts a worried Thea. During this time it was also hinted he seen Roy before.
When a girl dies at their club, due to a Vertigo overdose, Detective Quentin Laurel's father finds evidence that implies Tommy supplied her with the drug. Even though he is later cleared, Tommy is outraged to hear that Oliver didn't trust him enough to believe he was innocent. As a result, Tommy quits his job at Verdant, also, terminating their friendship. Tommy then asks his father for a job at Merlyn Global Group, which Malcolm gladly accepts with a hug.
When Laurel's life is threatened, Tommy is forced to admit that Oliver's house is the safest place to be. He asks if they can stay at the Queen Mansion until Laurel is no longer in danger. However, after witnessing how close Oliver and Laurel are, despite Laurel being with him, he realizes that Oliver still loves her. He realizes that despite everything that had happened between them, Laurel would still choose Oliver if she ever found out that he is The Hood. Once she is safely back home, Tommy breaks up with Laurel and moves out without explaining why.
Tommy is seen as unhappy, but is loyal to his father, while also honoring Oliver's secret identity. When Laurel confronts him as to why he broke up with her, he reveals that he believes that her and Oliver are meant to be together, for Oliver still loves her.
Oliver visits Tommy at his office in an attempt to mend broken bridges between them. Oliver convinces Tommy that his decision to break up with Laurel was his own, with Oliver having nothing to do with it, and that he should get back with her. However, when Oliver realizes that if he took down Malcolm then his work as The Hood would be done, he goes to see Laurel and admit his feelings to her. Tommy arrives outside Laurel's apartment at this point and sees Oliver and Laurel together.
Tommy is drinking at Oliver's nightclub and confronts him about his night with Laurel, but Oliver tries to tell Tommy about the Undertaking. Enraged at Oliver's lie about Laurel, Tommy doesn't believe him and wishes that Oliver had died on the island. Tommy later goes to his father who confirms to Tommy what he is unwilling to believe from Oliver, that he is going to destroyed the Glades to avenge his wife. Then he plays a recording of Rebecca as she died. Malcolm was, suddenly, shouting to his son how they deserve to die. Later, when Moira confessed Malcolm's plan the police arrived and Malcolm was able to dispatch them easily. Tommy, however, grabbed one of their guns and tried to kill Malcolm with it, but failed and was knocked unconscious. Later, Tommy woke up, when Oliver and John Diggle arrived, to stop Malcolm. Tommy asked if Oliver intended to kill Malcolm, but he told Tommy to go. Once Malcolm was killed the Undertaking proceeded because there were backup earthquake generators. Tommy headed to the CNRI to save Laurel from the rubble of the building during the earthquake, but as Laurel escapes, the building collapses with him still inside. When Oliver arrives at the building, he finds Tommy trapped inside and impaled by a concrete reinforcement bar. Tommy reconciles with Oliver and they become best friends again before dying.
Following his death, Tommy was buried in Starling City, and his tombstone read "In Loving Memory of Thomas Merlyn 1985-2013 Beloved Son". Tommy's death had many effects on both Oliver and Laurel. For Oliver, Tommy's death at first sent him into depression and he even re-exiled himself to the island for a time and refused to become the Hood. However, when he finally did he was unwilling to ever kill again in Tommy's memory. Meanwhile, Laurel began blaming the Arrow for Tommy's death (as shown in "Identity", and began a mission to find him and bring him to justice; in "Broken Dolls", It is revealed that she was actually trying to blame the Arrow for something that wasn't his fault, because she didn't want to face her own guilt, for being partly responsible for Tommy's death) and also resorted to drinking and taking drugs to ignore the pain.
Oliver hallucinates about Tommy, who tells Oliver that he isn't a killer and that he is a hero, relieving Oliver of his guilt. He also tells that Oliver that he finally understands that he kills because he fought for survival and that is what he has been doing that since he was on the island. He tells him to fight back, which Oliver does and defeats Cyrus Gold stopping his hallucinations.
Tommy's death during The Glades Earthquake had a profound impact on those closest to him. Oliver Queen, devastated by the notion that his best friend had died believing him to be little more than a murderer, chose to honor him by abstaining from the use of lethal force, though this rule has been broken on occasion. On a less positive note, Laurel determined that her romantic attachment to Oliver had represented a betrayal of her relationship with Tommy and subsequently chose to end any further entanglement between the two. She withdrew into a state of depression and, like her father following Sara Lance's apparent death on the Queen's Gambit, turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the loss. Tommy's father, Malcolm, suffered great remorse in knowing that he was responsible for the death of his own son. When he discovered that Thea Queen was, in fact, his biological daughter, he strove to have a better relationship with her than he ever had with his son.
When Tommy first appears, he comes across as a selfish, reckless, spoiled brat, a lighthearted, cheerful, carefree, and laid back individual without a care in the world, due to his financial access being nearly limitless. Regardless, Tommy was immensely loyal to his lifelong best friend Oliver Queen. When Oliver accessed his email in an attempt to contact Moira he was in Hong Kong, Tommy immediately went to Hong Kong to find him. During Oliver's time away, despite his spoiled personality, Tommy tried to look after Thea to fill in Oliver's shoes as an older brother. When Oliver returned after 5 years away from Starling City, he tries to get Oliver to rejoin the party scene, picking out girls for him and taking him around town. However, it becomes apparent Tommy's affection for Laurel is slowly changing him into a more responsible and selfless individual.
When his father cut off his trust fund, he became angry, but then became more resolved in his desire to change. He applied himself more in his relationship with Laurel and sought out Oliver to get a job running Verdant. Tommy took his job as a manager of Oliver's club very seriously. Often yelling at their contractors for lack of progress. He even came up with the idea to come up with a fundraiser ball for the family of firemen. Even coming with the idea to have the party at Verdant to keep costs low and maximize donations to firemen families. This drastic maturity made Oliver jokingly ask Tommy who he was and where's the real Tommy Merlyn. He was bitter towards his father, who he perceives as power and money hungry, and uncaring, especially due to the fact that Malcolm left him for two years after Rebecca Merlyn, his mother, was killed. Their relationship improves when Tommy attends an award ceremony for Malcolm and after his father was nearly killed by Deadshot.
Tommy was thrown into a sea of confusion when it's revealed to him that Oliver is the Hood. Though he still felt loyalty to Oliver by keeping his secret identity, their friendship was shaken as he tells Oliver he was a murderer and that he has problems trusting Oliver, whom he says he doesn't know anymore. He later quits the night club saying that he had too much self-respect to continue running Oliver's front when his own best friend doesn't even trust him. In some ways, Tommy was a man wise beyond his years, specially regarding those he most cares about; he knew deep down how much Oliver and Laurel meant to each other and how irreplaceable they both are for the other's lives. After finding out that his father Malcolm is the Dark Archer, he turned against his father completely and their relationship is permanently broken. Despite learning of what his father was planning to do, he still retained his morals and ideals when he asks Oliver was he going to kill his father.
It was implied that his later distrust of Oliver partially stemmed from jealousy and anger, as he knew if Laurel knew Oliver was the Hood, she would choose him over Tommy and that the Oliver he knows now is a far better person than he thought he would be. In his final moments, Tommy showed true courage and selflessness during the Glades earthquake saving Laurel's life, confessing to her he loved her and admitted to Oliver the inferiority complex he was feeling, reconciled with Oliver, comforted that Oliver didn't kill Malcolm and passed away in peace.
- Malcolm mentioned that Tommy, as a child, wanted a puppy for Christmas, which he would have called "Arthur", to pair with him being a "Merlyn". This may attribute to how Merlin assisted King Arthur, as well as subtly referencing that Merlyn's most commonly assumed alias in the DC comics is Arthur King.
- Tommy Merlyn and Eddie Thawne share certain similarities:
- Both characters are related to a major antagonist, Malcolm and Eobard, respectively, and as such, their surnames are the same as those villains.
- Both have debuted in the first season of their respective shows, and subsequently died by the end of the same season.
- Both died protecting their loved ones. Tommy died saving Laurel from the collapsing CNRI, while Eddie killed himself to protect his friends(including Iris) from the Reverse-Flash.
- Tommy was introduced in order to facilitate a love-triangle between him, Laurel Lance and Oliver Queen, while Eddie formed a love-triangle between himself, Iris West and Barry Allen.
- Both characters were considered as being failures by their respective close relatives. Malcolm cut Tommy out off the family fortune and subsequently hired him in order to put his son's life in order. Eobard, on the other hand, merely split Eddie apart from Iris only to ensure that Eddie begins a long blood-line of brilliant men of science, Eobard included.