Arrow Boss Talks Dark Archer's 'Epic' Master Plan, Tommy's Twisted Loyalty and a Spilled Truth

Arrow Season Finale PreviewThis 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.”

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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 noHome Invasion 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.

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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 Home Invasionon 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. The UndertakingIt’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.

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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!”

Want more scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Great interview! Can’t wait for more Arrow!!!!

  2. Alan says:

    i didint know we were going to get a starling city flashback episode, that should be interesting and if its anything like the odyssey then we are in for an excellent episode.

  3. PPPG says:

    I like this show, but I’m getting very tired of Oliver killing everyone. I remember the Green Arrow getting enough evidence to have the baddies be ‘put away’. While the show’s budget wouldn’t allow for the extreme arrows like the comics, ex. the kind that explodes mid air and releases a giant net, we did see a bit of the weird arrows when Oliver recorded that confession of one of his targets.

    • Alan says:

      he hasnt killed anyone unless it was absolutely necessary since the very early part of the season, if anything i think there have been cases where he would have been justified in killing and he chose not to.

    • brb123 says:

      Oliver hasn’t killed everyone in a while now. If you saw the last episode, then you should know Diggle and Felicity’s words got to him and he is starting to see the villains as human instead of just targets.
      The fight regarding Deadshot also revolves around that, Oliver doesn’t want to kill him but wants to capture him while Diggle seeks for blood.

  4. brb123 says:

    Great interview, I can’t wait for the rest of the season and I hope they don’t kill any of my favorite characters.
    I hope the rift between Oliver and Diggle doesn’t last long and that Diggle will come back once Oliver finds out what The Undertaking is about.

  5. LA says:

    I have noticed that a lot of the stunts in the fight scenes look a lot like Nikita’s. For example the girl he rescue from the island, did one of Nikita’s signature moves which was the wrapping legs around the neck thing. It a shame Nikita doesn’t get better ratings.

  6. Beth says:

    I figure Tommy’s going to call Laurel out on her unresolved feelings for Oliver.

    And anybody who can quote “Otisburg” is obviously a genius! :)

  7. j says:

    This whole season I’ve been feeling like Detective Lance is gonna die in the final..

    • Alan says:

      ive been saying that to anyone i know who watches the show for months, it seems like the perfect motivation to get laurel to start her vigilante career; the only downside is that paul blackstone would be our if another job and that guy deserves a long running job.

      • brb123 says:

        I don’t know, Paul seemed pretty happy about the season finale and season two in twitter. If he was let go, I don’t think he would’ve been as enthusiastic.

    • luvmypup says:

      Even though Malcolm is an interesting character, I think he is going to die. This would spur Tommy on to take over as the Dark Archer and take over his dad’s business. In response to PPPG, Arrow has always given the people on the list a chance to right their wrongs and he only kills in defense of someone else or in self-defense. Love this show.

  8. Jack R says:

    So are they ever going to address what happened to his step father? Or did I miss that? or doesn’t anyone actually care? lol

    • brb123 says:

      We’ll see Walter in the flashbacks and he’ll be mentioned in the present again in the next episode. I hope we see him returning in the present in one of the last 2 episodes, the actor was in Vancouver next to Arrow’s set to film another pilot, and could’ve stopped by,

  9. Pingu says:

    So now we have Diggle,Tommy Felicity almost Roy Harper and Thea who know the true identity of Oliver. And now the only one not knowing is Laurel.

    • brb123 says:

      Thea and Roy still don’t know though and it could take a long time before they do. We don’t know if they will be the next to find out his secret.

  10. Dorothy Richards says:

    Do not let Diggle go. I would be upset. He is awesome and someone for Black Arrow viewers to enjoy as well as looking at Arrow himself (he’s really sexy).