This Wednesday at 8/7c, The CW’s Arrow sets its sights on “The Undertaking” aka Malcolm Merlyn’s ubermysterious master plan for the sketchy Starling City nabe known as The Glades, revealing via flashbacks the well-dressed man’s previous interactions with Robert Queen and wife Moira. John Barrowman spoke with TVLine about Malcolm’s “epic” agenda, his super-tributary monogram and whether son Tommy will ever discover who is hiding beneath the Dark Archer’s hood.
TVLINE | What all went through Malcolm’s mind when Tommy came to him for a job, to finally be taken under his father’s wing?
It’s something [Malcolm] has wanted for a very long time. He sees Oliver’s push and aggression and the way he deals with things, I think deep down he wants his own son to be very much like that — to grab hold of things and do things in the right way — and not just be a trust fund boy. So when Tommy came and asked to work with him, that was like music to his ears. It was one of those defining moments between him and his son.
TVLINE | Is Malcolm determined to conceal his Dark Archer identity from Tommy?
He’s actually desperate to tell Tommy. But anytime he may go to do it, or have the inkling to say something, something happens.
TVLINE | Any more of those moments ahead?
You’re going to have to watch. We already had one of those moments when Malcolm was almost assassinated in his office; I’m sure there will be others.
TVLINE | [Executive producer] Andrew Kreisberg told us that the flashback episode, “The Undertaking,” will fill in many blanks. Can you shed any light on what’s to be revealed?
Those blanks will [include] what The Undertaking is, how it’s come about, where it’s come from, why it’s happened…. You just get to know a lot more about it. And Malcolm is pivotal in The Undertaking, as is Moira.
TVLINE | If it comes to it, do you think Malcolm has it in him to have Moira killed?
Malcolm has it in him to have anybody killed. But, from my point of view, [he] likes her too much. Also, she likes her position too much to give in. But they’re both ruthless in their own way.
TVLINE | Malcolm’s plan, The Undertaking, seems like it may be somewhat Lex Luthor-ish. The finale, after all, features a seismologist….
All I’ll say is that when I was asked to play the role, it was described to me by Andrew and the rest of the team that Malcolm Merlyn is the Lex Luthor of this world. That’s why he’s “M.M.” Again, that’s all I can say. They want him to be a big villain of this world.
TVLINE | And how are you describing the Season 1 finale (airing May 15)?
It is epic. It really is. It’s going to be massive. The cinematography, the shooting aspect of it is just…. It’s like any other episode on steroids. But good steroids, not the kind that freak you out. It’s going to be awesome. There’s lots of stuff happening.