Way back when we were on set for CW's Arrow last year, Colin Donnell was really pleading his case for "Team Tommy", and wouldn't you know it? It worked! A good number of fans felt pretty much from the beginning that his relationship with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was the one they wanted to root for, and they eagerly awaited seeing him get more involved in the action as his childhood BFF ran around Starling City saving (and sometimes killing) people. It took just over half a season, but Tommy learned Oliver's (Stephen Amell) secret and came thisclose to learning his father's secret, as well. But perhaps ignorance really is bliss, because having the knowledge is about to send Tommy-- and all his relationships-- spiraling.
"Everything is going to change. I mean, that’s a broad strokes statement, but it really is! Now that Tommy knows, it has immediate and big [consequences]," Donnell told LA TV Insider Examiner over the phone today.
"His relationship with Oliver is strained; it’s hard; they can’t avoid being around each other, but they don’t necessarily want to be around each other. And knowing this and not being able to tell Laurel, and being so distracted that he’s not able to give her the attention she needs because of her own stuff going on, that’s a problem!"
Tommy's problem with Oliver as a vigilante is most people's problems with a vigilante in general: the moral line he crosses when he plays God, attempts his own personal sense of justice, and kills people in the process. But it's a heightened issue here, as Tommy is feeling the sting of realizing the guy he thought he knew best was actually keeping a pretty big secret from him. The combination of those two things are about to provide some on-screen tension between the (dare we say former?) friends and business partners.
"To say that it would be all about Oliver lying to him, I think would be trivial, and to say that it would be all about him being a murderer, which he essentially is, would also not [be it]. One feeds the other. Tommy sees that Oliver is willing to cross not only a moral line but he’s also willing to stick his own head out and he seems to have a total disregard not only for other people’s lives but his own life. It’s that, coupled with this person with whom you shared every major experience growing up now has one major experience that he wouldn’t share with him," Donnell said.
While many would just throw themselves into their work to avoid obsessing over such a secret, Tommy can't do that and really be rid of the secret since he co-owns this new club with Oliver.
"The club, all along, has been sort of incredibly important to Tommy. It’s been this one opportunity for him to really step up as a man to prove he’s capable of doing something. And when people see what the club actually looks like, they’ll understand it really is this beacon of achievement for Tommy. And by that same token, it’s totally tainted now," Donnell said.
And of course, things only get worse when someone distributes Vertigo in the club and a patron actually dies, forcing Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to look into Tommy as a person of interest in the case.
"I think the biggest thing about Tommy being accused of all of this stuff—of dealing drugs out of the club and being responsible for people dying—is that nobody who he think would stick up for him, and who would have in the past, does. Like his best friend," Donnell said.
This becomes a defining moment for Tommy. A man who has such a problem with his friend enacting his own sense of justice has to go out looking for a way to clear his own name. He could ask his friend, the vigilante, for help; he could tap into his inner Dark Archer within himself, or he could simply throw his friend under the bus.
"It’s unavoidable in that Tommy has to interact with not only Oliver but also the vigilante, as well. Sometimes it happens outside of his control, and sometimes he kind of begrudgingly admits that interacting with the vigilante is the right thing to do," Donnell said of upcoming episodes.
"Tommy’s put in a really sensitive position, and it’s very possible he could just say ‘No, and guess what, Oliver’s the vigilante—PS!’ It probably wouldn’t work out well for anybody, but he could. Why is he holding so tight to it? There’s always the danger. There’s always the issue of it becoming too much for Tommy to keep this in. It is affecting every aspect of his life, knowing this one, not-so-tiny thing. It would be a lot for anybody to carry, let alone somebody who doesn’t approve of what it is."
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Want more Arrow news and interviews? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!