Arrow Boss Previews 'Cinematic' Clash, Expletive-Worthy Finale Twist

Arrow Ra's al Ghul Fight Spoilers

Oliver Queen is going to need a holiday, badly, after the events of Arrow‘s winter finale (airing tonight on The CW).

Having thus far eluded the wrath of League of Assassins overlord Ra’s al Ghul (played by Matt Nable), Oliver (Stephen Amell) will be delivered a message by Nyssa: Find League member Sara’s killer within 48 hours, or the people of Starling City will be executed, one by one.

And though Team Arrow has already worked diligently to find the person who silenced Canary, this challenge is not to one shrugged off. Says showrunner Marc Guggenheim, “The thing about the League of Assassins, but particularly Ra’s al Ghul, is that when he sets a deadline, you don’t get the opportunity to dismiss it as unreasonable.”

Regardless of what if any new intel Oliver, Diggle, et al are able to turn up, it all builds to a grand set piece well promoted in teasers and photos, as Oliver and Ra’s face off atop a snowy mountain using nothing but their brute strength (and swords, for good measure).

Versus Oliver’s previous clashes with Slade Wilson or Malcolm Merlyn, “This is a very different kind of fight,” Guggenheim says. “With Malcolm, it was a battle between two archers. And With Slade, it was an archer and a killer.

“This is very mano a mano,” he continues. “And it’s a sword fight, which is not something we’ve done with Oliver before.”

Superficially, the showdown also boasts a “cinematic venue,” as Guggenheim puts it — one that Mother Nature rendered unexpectedly Christopher Nolan-y. “Obviously we picked the location for its remoteness and epic quality,” Guggenheim notes, “but truth be told, the weather was not cooperative that day. It was less ‘Nolan-y’ and less grey if the weather was cooperating, but it was incredibly rainy and foggy. But when you shoot in Vancouver, that’s the trade-off you make!”

Further surveying the aesthetics of the fight, Guggenheim points out, “Oliver and Ra’s, with their shirts off, is a very intentional nod to the Neil Adams[-created] Batman/Ra’s al Ghul duels from back in the day.”

On the far lighter side of things — yet also related to Sara’s tragic death — the winter finale also finds Dinah Lance (returning guest star Alex Kingston) paying Laurel a surprise visit, courtesy of Quentin. In other words, Laurel now will need to keep that dark secret from both of her parents.

“The look on Katie Cassidy’s face, when Laurel discovers her mom is back in town, perfectly encapsulates, ‘Oh, no. I’m in trouble now,'” Guggenheim shares with a chuckle. Is there a theoretical scenario where Laurel in fact confides the sad truth in her mom while still sparing Quentin? All Guggenheim will say is, “There’s an outcome to that story that perhaps you’re not expecting.”

As the hour fades to black, given the 59 minutes that came before it, Guggenheim says that viewers will be saying — pardon the cliché — “‘What the f–k?!’ That’s the best way I can put it. In the very final moment, we go to a place that no one is expecting us to go.”

All told, he hails the winter finale as “a really big turning point” and a “pivotal” episode, adding: “So many big things happen that Episode 10 was designed to just deal with the aftershocks. And when you need an entire episode to deal with fallout, you know that quite a bit has happened!”

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

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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46 Comments
  1. Ben says:

    My bet for the final “shocking” moment is Oliver getting killed in his duel with Ras’ and then waking up in the Lazarus Pits.

    • Kate says:

      This is something I suspect too, basically because I have heard that the first three episodes back are pretty Laurel centric about her first steps to being the Black Canary and that I imagine the flashbacks are more Sara and even Slade connected of post freighter time. Laurel takes these steps because Oliver doesn’t return and Roy is pretty certain he can’t fill the void alone and Ted is anti this whole thing. I also have a memory of hearing an interview with Stephen Amell mentioning there isn’t a lot of Oliver in these episodes. Sort of like, in Teen Wolf, apparently in an interview that the interviewer cut out, Dylan O’Brien accidentally said something to the effect that Tyler Posey spent most of the last part of the season in a particular costume and the next part of the interview was Tyler saying he can’t believe Dylan said that.

    • ANNA says:

      dang it i wish i hadn’t read this!

    • Shelley says:

      This might be what could happen and we think Oliver is dead until it resumes next year. I’m definitely going to miss Olicity banner and team Arrow. I hope Tommy returns alive, but, who didn’t kill Sara. The fights scenes are choreographed beautifully. And, I don’t mind seeing a shirtless Oliver. Thanks for the scoop.

    • GUSTAVO ALCALA says:

      OLIVER QUEEN DIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OR IS OLIVER DREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. aunni says:

    may be laurel will finally tell capt.lance abt sara. ray will tell felicity abt his tragic love story, the atom suit. and finally the olicity comfortation, i will need tisuee,lots of

    • herman1959 says:

      Sorry, but I wouldn’t bet on any of these things happening.

      • aunni says:

        why not, in comic ray palmer wife (jean) is dead which is one of the most tragic love story on comics. there is a reason ray walked out from felicity. i felt, he still is in love with jean.

  3. Katy says:

    My bet is its revealed that Tea killed Sara

  4. Trenton says:

    The episode where Sara died they did a flashback with Tommy. Sara knew and was shocked by her killer and it was a mans voice. I think Tommy like his dad lived and he killed her.

    • Mehvash says:

      I was also wondering if Tommy could come back. there was an interview at some point this fall where they said they were bring tommy back and it wouldn’t be a flashback…could it be that he’s alive? i don’t even want to hope such things…

      • herman1959 says:

        Yes, it would be an interesting addition to the Merlyn/Thea/Oliver dynamic.

      • aunni says:

        tommyyyy… i love him, bt no i don’t want arrow to be tvd. tommy’s death had a profound effect on oliver’s journey to become arrow. i did cry for him, so lets keep it meaningful.

  5. Carla Krae says:

    EEEEEEEEEEEE! Can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to this one for weeks.

  6. Azerty says:

    I really hope they will be able to surprise us either with the cliffhanger, either with Sara’s killer. So I hope everything said previously is wrong, no offense I just want something totally out of the blue that noone saw coming. Thus far the only thing that surprised me this season is Sara’s death, since then… Nothing. And people had theories about almost everyone so I really hope they can surprise us like Flash did.

  7. DonnaMaMa says:

    Can’t wait, I am still geeking out over the Flash and Agents of Shield from last night

  8. ANNA says:

    I hope tommy is alive. Even if he’s the one who killed sarah. Or that sarah is alive. Or laurel is dead. lol.

  9. Alyse says:

    Since my comments have been deleted twice in just going to assume that what I said was right.

  10. Jenay says:

    I am more excited about this one single episode then any other that has come before it. I cannot wait to see the fight sequences. It’s refreshing to see Amell/Arrow fight with swords rather then arrows because it gives us a glimpse of what he is truly capable of. As for the killer I will always believe it was Thea until I find out differently. I read another interview that Guggenheim says 10,11 and 12 are not Laurel centric but more team arrow. Since I had read a previous article saying they were Laurel centric it’s a relief to know they are not.

    I’m not a huge Laurel hater but I’m not a fan either. Hopefullly her becoming the Canary will change that for me I liked her ok in season 1. Olicity I so miss your witty banter,long meaningful looks and your constant touching why oh why have you left me. Seriously I so miss the Olicity of previous seasons. Were suppose to get an amazing Olicity scene or two cant wait for that either. Marc Guggenheim said that it will be a rather intense scene where she want’s to say “don’t go don’t you love me” or something similar but says something else I’m guessing.

    • brenna says:

      That it will be Team Arrow and not so completely Laurel centric gives me hope. I was going to watch anyway and hope for the best because I love this show, but this makes me feel better about it. Thanks!

      • Jenay says:

        Your welcome, Try to watch the episodes with a fresh look of who she will become. I don’t know if your an Olicity Shipper (I am) but I am trying to give her a chance and not look at her as just Olivers ex and I read that,that ship has sailed by Stephen Amell himself.

    • Anesu says:

      I think Arrow problem has really been not making Laurel as likeable as she probably is as a person , in season 2 they cut all of Laurel and Thea’s early bonding scenes which would have made Laurel and Thea’s scene at Moiras funeral more meaningful.
      I’ve also been waiting for Laurel and Felicity scenes which the producers teased and never came, so lm generally convinced the Laurel hate is pretty much their fault since they generally seclude the character too much from the other characters , plus the constant need especially to have characters blame Laurel for stuff shes not responsible for ,Sara saying she liked Oliver first was no excuse for the affair in fact it made me not love Sara all that much ,if she liked him first she should have told him not do that.Oliver and Sara are both 50 % to blame. I love that Laurel forgave them , how many people would do that.
      The main problem is also that Laurel is never shown in enough as a person , viewers dont really understand who she is as a person as they always usually only see grumpy Laurel, l miss Season 1 Laurel when Laurel would smile and laugh and was more happier.
      what the hell happened to Laurels best friend in season 1 , Laurel was a badass.

      • Jenay says:

        Now I blame the writers for my dislike of Laurel or rather dislike of her character during Season 2. This season it changed because I rewatched Season 2 with more of an open mind. Laurel lost so much and then Tommy and now Sarah so I think her becoming the BC will really help her character development. In S2 she was so weak and helpless and blaming everyone but in some ways she really had a good reason to. I really hated the scene when she told Sarah she was sorry and not to hate her. I really felt like that was a scene that should have had Sarah apologizing. Sarah chose to sleep with Oliver and Oliver chose to have Sarah back in his life as a GF after the island again. I think that was a bad decision that the writers made because it made Oliver and Sarah’s relationship look cheap. So I look forward now to Laurel being the BC and having more confidence and being the strong woman she was during S1. I’m still not a Laurel lover but I could be if they would just make more of an effort with her SL and character.

        • aunni says:

          tommy’s death was great for oliver bt did severe damage for laurel’s character as a person ( im not talking abt BC arc, so don’t attack). tommy was over the top and laurel is very grounded. so they used to balance each other. ted grant is not as charming as tommy.

  11. The Kaibosh says:

    Look at that. The show runners actually admitting that they have ripped off Batman. Call it an “intentional nod” if you want but some of us have been seeing the not so subtle similarities from the beginning. It’s good that there has been some acknowledgement, regardless of how they choose to give it a positive spin. If the circumstance were any closer to Batman, Ra’s would then surprise everyone by saying all of this has happened “because my daughter loves you”

    • Azerty says:

      I understand your point, I really do and as a huge fan of Batman and specially the animated series I agree with you. But with the movies coming soon there is no way that we will have a live action Batman on TV anytime soon. That’s why I enjoy Arrow as it is with not so bad opinion and I take what they can give us. You should do that too :)

  12. Briggs says:

    I still doubt we’ll see the Lazarus Pit, but I’m not ruling it out. I only doubt it because Arrow is known for it’s realism, and it’s really hard to make the Lazarus Pit realistic, in my opinion. What I want to know is if they really do reveal Sara’s killer, regardless of which fans got it right.

  13. Keenan says:

    Does that mean arrows season 3 good or will there be more shows?

  14. nancy says:

    Well i know one thing, if they kill off oliver , it will be the last time i watch arrow, i can not believe they would kill him off after getting everybody interested in this show , that would really suck.

    • Briggs says:

      I highly doubt that they’re going to kill off the main char. Even temporarily.
      .
      *Spoiler* In episode 13, Oliver is back and unhappy that Laurel has suited up.

  15. Timothy Adams says:

    Nope. Didn’t see that coming.

  16. disscussed says:

    i think i wasted my time i was waiting for closer and all i get is more drama it;s like a day time soap opra sorry I guess I’ll watch rerun’s of the Andy Griffin shows

    • Briggs says:

      You missed the memo that this was the *mid*-season finale, didn’t you? We’re not getting real closure until next year, and you darn well know it. But don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  17. ahvamaria says:

    omg he died!????

  18. Joey says:

    I don’t think Oliver is dead because if you have watched the Flash (great show) it has a newspaper from the future and if you zoom in it states: “Wayne and Queen merger sucessful.”

    • Ikilledsara says:

      What? You don’t think Oliver is dead? Way to go out on a limb. Kind of hard to continue a show called Arrow…without the Arrow. :p

      The only thing people are waiting to see when the show returns is how he survives. Kind of feels like Sherlock, if you watched that show(you should, it’s awesome!)

  19. Batman says:

    I would have used a batarang because I’m Batman!!!!

  20. Jack Bauer says:

    SPOILERS. Now that the episode aired, can we just focus on how terribly they did this fight?? I mean it was SO epic and they could have done such a good job. Instead, they make Oliver look like a bumbling buffoon who has no concept of footwork or distance. The only possible explanation I could think of was that Oliver was intentionally making it look like he was inept so he could get that last chance at the end b/c Ras might have let his guard down a little and got overcondifent when he had him at the ledge. But come to think of it…. Why did Oliver back himself TOWARDS the ledge????? And then they make Ras’s bare hand able to withstand a full force over-hand chop from a sword?? Pretty BS!!! Man they really dropped the ball on this one.

  21. lekoba says:

    My bet for the final “shocking” moment is the return of oliver queen..

  22. Can we say “Batman”? You figure it out. LMAO

  23. Cyrus says:

    I bet Oliver died in that fight. I am still wondering how they will prove to us that he didn’t. Waiting for January 21st.