So much has happened already on the first season of The CW's Arrow, but as the freshman series heads into the final half-dozen episodes of the season (or "Chapter 3," as executive producer Marc Guggenheim called it when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with him at the Paley Center for Media's PaleyFest event celebrating the series in Los Angeles this weekend), things are only going to get bigger, better, and yes, more explosive. The cast of characters surrounding Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has already grown quite widely, with three of his circle becoming his inner circle and learning his secret identity, but the show isn't stopping there. With the return of brand new episodes, we will see the return of The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw), and we will get introduced to a new character, played by a well-known actor from a well-known genre series that executive producer Andrew Kreisberg didn't want to spoil by naming. But two fan favorites in Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Tommy (Colin Donnell) will also be expanded.
We caught up with Guggenheim and Kreisberg before the PaleyFest panel to get some scoop on how all of that will play out.
- TOMMY WILL BE TORN BETWEEN HIS DAD AND HIS BEST FRIEND. "When you tune into episode 17 after we come back on March 20th, you’ll see how Tommy really responds to Oliver’s secret. We didn’t have time to really get under it in episode 16, but now we do. The way he deals with the secret is a great story. He knew Oliver for a long, long time—before the island, after—now he’s looking at him differently," Guggenheim said.
We had to point out that though Tommy learned who Oliver really is, his father closed the door before revealing his own Dark Archer suit. Whether or not he will find out about who his father is hangs over as a major question for the last six episodes, per Guggenheim.
"You’re always going to be looking at Tommy as right in the middle of Oliver and Malcolm. He’s the fulcrum around which all of this revolves, and he’ll be torn. You’ll be very surprised which way he goes. We’re also fond of picking a side and then changing and then changing again. That’s the fun of those last few episodes: What’s going to happen with Tommy, and we’ll hopefully surprise you—and do it more than once," Guggenheim said.
And yes, Oliver will come to regret letting Malcolm (John Barrowman) live.
- THE HUNTRESS IS A WOMAN SCORNED. "The genesis of this story is what happens when you’re dating someone and your crazy ex-girlfriend comes back?" Kreisberg said of The Huntress' return. "Oliver is in this great relationship with McKenna Hall, and when the Huntress comes back, her desire to take down her father is still very much alive, but as are her feelings for Oliver. She both needs Oliver’s help to eliminate her father, but at the same time, she’s not too happy to find out she’s moved on to somebody else."
Unfortunately Jeffrey Nordling was not available to actually appear in the episode with his on-screen daughter, but Kreisberg still felt the scenes where she explains her intent on revenge come across strongly, and they hope to have him back later. But Oliver may be clamoring to help the mob boss after what goes down with his daughter. During a key interrogation by Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne), he commands her to name The Hood, and she actually does. Whether he believes her remains to be seen, but Guggenheim noted that since so many people have already learned Oliver's secret so early in the series, let alone the season, they are being very careful with the whos, hows, and whys of more being clued in.
"We don’t want Oliver to look dumb, you know? We don’t want him to look casual with his secret. It’s still a very important thing. That’s our guiding principle more than anything else," Guggenheim said.
- MRS. LANCE KNOWS MORE THAN YOU MAY THINK. Though she popped up unexpectedly, and some could argue with an agenda of saying whatever possible to get her daughter not to slam the door in her face, Mrs. Lance (Alex Kingston) actually has done her research. Guggenheim said her arc is a three-part story in which she will challenge Detective Lance and manage to convince Laurel (Katie Cassidy) to see new angles to a story that was clouded by grief. By the end of the third episode, Guggenheim said the audience would know "definitively" what the deal with Sara is, though he was reluctant to say whether that means she is dead or alive.
"Every theory is wrong. Seriously," Guggenheim teased. "The reason I say that is people think ‘Well, she’s either alive or she’s not; it’s a binary thing.’ But I’m a believer that the best surprises are the third option, the fourth option, the option you didn’t expect."
All we could think of there was a robot or cyborg, which we hope the show doesn't do. As Kreisberg pointed out, having the characters within Starling City stay grounded and human is an important part of the show. The minute you start giving them powers, you can find a lot of easy outs of hard scenes and scenarios.
- FELICITY WILL GET A TASTE FOR BEING A HERO. Although Felicity has been focused on what happened to Walter (Colin Samuel), as time goes on, she is getting brought further and further into Oliver's world, and she will find she likes it more than expected-- more than previously expressed.
"She's really the conscience for Oliver, and as things move forward, we really see this great relationship between her and Oliver and her and Diggle, and it really takes three of them to do this," Kreisberg said.
- MOIRA MAY HAVE TO GO DARK AGAIN TO THROW MALCOLM OFF HER TRAIL. When Malcolm entrusted her with finding the person who tried to have him killed, it didn't seem like he was testing her. It seemed like he genuinely trusted her and wanted her help. But regardless of whether he's trying to entrap her, she knows she has to get herself, and her family, out of yet another potentially deadly situation, and she's willing to do anything to do so. Even if it means throwing another member under the bus.
"I think what’s so interesting about Moira is you look back at the pilot, and she had her son tortured to find out if Robert had told him anything about the undertaking; that’s how far she would go to keep Oliver safe. So what Moira is willing to do is why she’s such an amazing character. She’s the ultimate mama bear, and when she’s backed into a corner, she can be quite deadly. She’s working with somebody who’s obviously capable of a lot of destruction," Kreisberg said.
"We’re going to see more of the genesis of how Moira came into the undertaking moving forward. I think people are going to be surprised and develop a level of sympathy for her they weren’t expecting."
Arrow airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. All-new episodes resume on March 20 2013.
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