It's not a corner. These show runners know what they're doing. They know this character's progression season by season. They didn't just go, "huh, lets make him his friend." TV show creators absolutely need a 'bible' that they stand by and have written which fully explains how they view how each character will progress and how their arc will go. They know the ending, they know what got him there, now it's just the timing - if that.
I wonder if he might end up more like Rhodey in Iron Man.
One thing I did notice, the first episode when they were kidnapped - he wasn't unconscious when Ollie checked him. Eye opened pretty quickly after Ollie checked him. Do you think that might have just been a pilot thing? Initially setting him up to be Merlyn-Dark Archer before Barrowman's character? Or something in that?