Arrow Boss Talks Dark Archer's 'Epic' Master Plan, Tommy's Twisted Loyalty and a Spilled Truth
This Wednesday at 8/7c, The CW’s Arrow pulls back far on his string and lets fly with the first of Season 1′s final four episodes.
When last we tuned into the hit freshman drama, Tommy Merlyn — the only person not on Team Arrow who’s privy to Oliver Queen’s supersecret — had broken things off with his bud and joined up with his father Malcolm, who unbeknownst to anyone is the Dark Archer.
Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg shared with TVLine an overview of the final hours to come, which feature a lot of infighting, much ruminating about The Undertaking and a season-ending “Sacrifice.”
TVLINE | For starters, with Tommy aligning with his father, are we heading into a Harry/Norman Osborn-type thing?
[Laughs] There are definitely seeds of that. There’s a lot of tension to be mined now that there’s a rift between Oliver and Tommy. Everyone else who knows Oliver’s secret is on board with him and is part of his team, and now you have this “rogue” element. Where Tommy’s loyalties lie and how that fits in with Laurel, and his father, all comes to a head at the end of the season. This season has been all about change, how no character is who they were at the start of the season — Tommy more so than anyone.
TVLINE | Is it accurate to say that the Dark Archer is your big bad for the remainder of this season? No more weekly villains?
There’s one more big villain, in Episode 20 – [an assassin named] Mr. Blank, played by J. August Richards from Angel. But yes, Malcolm Merlyn and the Dark Archer take over as our big bad for the season.
TVLINE | Just how tense will things get between Oliver and Diggle as they disagree over handling the Deadshot situation?
It’s going to get very tense. It’s going to create a big rift between the two friends. This is Dig’s new raison d’etre, finding out that the man who killed his brother is out there and still killing. He’s hell-bent on getting justice, and that’s not always going to jibe with Oliver’s mission. There are a lot of rifts in these last few episodes, between many of these main characters.
TVLINE | Talk about Roy Harper’s journey. Colton Haynes told me he’s determined to ally with The Hood.
Everyone’s been changed by Oliver’s return, Roy Harper included. He was a street hustler, somebody who didn’t think he would live past his 25th birthday. His goal in these last few episodes is to hook up with the Arrow. He brings Thea on board, and that puts Thea on a collision course with finding out her brother’s true identity.
TVLINE | You recently introduced Shado to the island flashback story. In your mind, what does she bring to the table that’s different?
For one thing, she brings a woman’s touch, which is something the island has been entirely lacking up to this point. We feel like Oliver had many fathers, going from who he was to who he is now, and Shado is one of them. We’d always intended that; that’s why we gave him Shado’s tattoo in the pilot. And when we were trying to come up with a reason why Yao Fei would be going along with Fyre’s plan, we realized, “Oh, what if we gave him a daughter… and oh my god, his daughter could be Shado!” Plus, it’s just fun. There’s no surprise that Oliver survives the island, so the only surprises are who we bring onto the island for him to meet and how we change things up there. The show had been very much Robinson Crusoe, very Kung Fu with him and Yao Fei. Then we brought on Slade, which completely changed the dynamic. And now Shado has completely changed the dynamic again. It also adds a little bit of romance to those scenes.
TVLINE | What new information will we get from the Starling City flashback episode, “The Undertaking” (airing May 1)?
We’re going to see an Oliver that we really haven’t seen since the first act of the pilot, which is the Oliver before any of this stuff had happened — which is yet another character that Steven [Amell] is now playing. It’s really fun, because this episode was designed to fill in a lot of the blanks that had been left throughout the season, so that when we get to Episodes 122 and 123, it’s really a roller coaster.
TVLINE | And we’ll get the full 411 on The Undertaking?
Yes. Everything you’ve wanted to know about The Undertaking but were afraid to ask. The Undertaking obviously has two meanings, and it felt like it fit on nicely with what we were trying to do — especially when you discover what The Undertaking is. [The episode] is also filling in some relationship stuff, explaining some of the behaviors that we saw in the pilot and the early episodes, why people are the way they are.
TVLINE | The synopsis for that episode also says, “Tommy stuns Laurel with the truth” — care to elaborate? Or should we be wondering what “truth” is at hand?
People should be wondering what that truth is. Again, not every truth is about the plot. Sometimes these truths are emotional, and they can be just as powerful as the mechanics of what’s happening in the episode.
TVLINE | The May 15 season finale is titled “Sacrifice.” As such, one of our readers wants to know if someone’s gonna die.
You know, The Undertaking is epic, and it is scheduled to happen in the finale. Stopping it — or not stopping it — will prove to be a monumental challenge, so… I think everybody just needs to watch and find out what it’s going to take to stop Malcolm.
TVLINE | You’ve got me wondering there, with a seismologist cast in the finale. I’m picturing Lex Luthor and Otisburg….
“Otisburg? Otisburg?!” “Miss Teschmacher, she’s got her own place!”