Arrow is pointed in a very dark direction when the CW series resumes Season 4 this Wednesday at 8/7c. Who if anyone will be able or willing to stop him from crossing lines in the name of revenge?
When last we tuned in, Damien Darhk had ordered a brutal attack on the limousine taking Oliver and his fiancee Felicity away from a campaign event. Oliver escaped unscathed, but Felicity took a lot of fire. With his love in no condition to quell his anger, Oliver’s want for revenge is at risk of going unchecked. Or will he receive unexpected counsel from a frenemy?
Executive producer Wendy Mericle shared what’s ahead for the superhero series.
TVLINE | What are you most excited about, from the back half of this season?
I think we’re really excited to see the final confrontation between Oliver and Damien Darhk. I mean, this is the first season we’ve launched a Big Bad in the premiere and tracked him all the way through. When we left at the end of 2015, he’d obviously done something really horrifying. One of the things we’ve been most excited about is exploring how Oliver’s going to react — What is he going to do, and will he go back on who he’s become, and become darker? Will he go back to more of a Season 1 type Oliver, who’s willing to kill, to go to those dark places to get revenge?
TVLINE | In that respect, who’s the angel on his shoulder and who’s the devil?
Felicity was always the angel on his shoulder — and whether she is or is not going forward I will leave everyone to find out when Episode 410 airs. But Dig is interestingly also someone who’s always been his moral compass, and one of the things that’s interesting about this season is that we have taken everybody who would normally rein Oliver in to their own morally compromised and dark places. So I don’t know that anyone is necessarily going to be there to stop him. Even Thea is struggling with her own bloodlust. The one person that might be helpful to him is Malcolm. What the viewers will see is we’re going to have him give Oliver some very interesting and helpful advice. And obviously we’re going to blow that up. It will bring them a bit closer together, though, which will give us some really juicy stuff when we start to break them back apart.
TVLINE | How bad of shape is Felicity in? How many bullets did she take?
She took a lot. Damien really wanted revenge on Oliver, he wanted to hit him hard and hit him where it hurts. What we saw was brutal and that’s what happened to her. It’s very brutal.
TVLINE | The trailer out there hints at complications if Felicity survives, and that of course spawned Oracle theories. And her Season 3 origin episode did for a time have the word “Oracle” in it. Is that on the table, off the table…?
It’s off the table. That’s something we definitely talked about [doing] with her in the beginning and yeah, people have to tune in to see what happens and what happened. But yeah, it will not be Oracle, sadly.
TVLINE | Do viewers have enough information yet to know exactly what Damien Darhk’s Genesis plan is all about?
No. You don’t. One of the challenges in introducing a Big Bad early is his plan has to be even more elaborate than previous supervillains, and that’s one of the things we love doing this season, teasing out little bits of cool info. So we were really excited by that subterranean [room], because it will come back. It won’t be until the end of the season but you’ll definitely know what that was for.
TVLINE | Would you call his plan insidious, misguided, Machiavellian…?
It’s megalomaniacal. He thinks he’s a new god.
TVLINE | Oh, that’s all.
Just a new god! A new world ruler. [Laughs] He’s going small.
TVLINE | You gave us a glimpse of his family at Christmastime. How will that inform this Big Bad?
What we always try to do is allow our supervillains to in some way, shape or form be the hero of their own story. Damien Darhk is nothing but evil, but in introducing his family we felt it was an interesting contrast and something that would help give him dimension. It will eventually help us understand what his uber-agenda is, but in the moment what we like about it is the visual contrast of trimming the tree with his family while his men are shooting Felicity. But also, we really wanted to give him human dimension in a way but not in service of humanizing him. His wife, we’ll come to find out, also has her own dark agenda — no pun intended.
TVLINE | What’s next for Dig and Andy?
Dig and Andy are going to have some ups and downs. There’s going to be a big wallop of a surprise coming toward the end of the season. We wanted to give Dig his own journey and give the viewers the opportunity to really see his family and dig into more of his backstory, and we are going to deliver on that. There’s going to be a lot more of Andy coming up.
TVLINE | I love that you didn’t just “flip a switch” with Andy and have him be all better and become part of the team. You’ve kept us guessing what’s going on inside his head.
Yes, and Eugene Byrd (Bones) is just a tremendous actor. He’s bringing a lot to that role, so we’re writing to that for sure.
TVLINE | The fact that Damien’s power is neutered by Thea, will that come back into play?
It will definitely be a factor — especially for Oliver. It’s going to present him with some interesting moral questions and challenges.
TVLINE | It seems like her immunity could be used as a weapon against Damien.
Yes, that is definitely an interesting way to go.
TVLINE | Though there was some confusion about whether she was reflecting his power, or blocking it.
In our mind, she was more deflecting it, basically. She is immune to it, because the Pit has given her a certain amount of power. If you want to get scientific about it with fake science, something in her bloodstream allows her to repel his powers — and that’s something that he as a former member of the League [of Assassins] is surprised by.
TVLINE | For what purpose are you bringing back Roy?
Whenever we bring people back – same with Sara — we always have a very specific character reason in mind. We wanted to see Colton [Haynes] again, we wanted to bring Roy back into the fold — at least temporarily. He’s going to have a really cool and emotional story with Oliver and Thea when he comes back.
TVLINE | Speaking of Thea’s love interests, what’s the plan for Parker Young’s Alex?
Obviously he’s got two places on the show, including as Oliver’s campaign manager, so he’ll factor into the Damien Darhk and Oliver story going forward, because Damien is not backing off of [his attacks], you’ll come to find out. But the more interesting piece for us is his relationship with Thea. It’s going to have some ups and downs, but we like their chemistry. He’s her chance at normalcy and we’ll see whether she grabs it.
TVLINE | What was the thinking behind bumping up Donna’s presence this season? What has the show gained?
A couple of things. First, the audience and us, we love Charlotte [Ross]. She brings a definite, different energy to the show. And for us, in terms of expanding the world and the goal being creatively to see more of Felicity’s and Dig’s backstories and character and explore them more, she’s crucial to that. She’s someone other than Oliver for Felicity to talk to, and she has a longer view and a deeper understanding of who Felicity is and who she was in the past, and that is extremely helpful when you’re trying to accomplish exactly that in story. She’s a great actor and she brings some fun comedy and different storytelling possibilities with her.
TVLINE | Of course, by pairing her with Lance, you’ve increased the odds of him being the one in the flash-forward grave.
[Laughs] Everyone wants to know! It’s a very good question. We shall see.
TVLINE | The last time we spoke, you said we might get another flash-forward to inform that mystery….
There will be a flash-forward sometime in the next few months, yes. It’s somewhere between [Episodes] 10 and 15, I’ll tell you that.
TVLINE | Megalyn E.K. (The 4400) is heading over as a live-action Vixen. How does she figure into things? Will it be a standalone outing?
It will be a standalone, yes. We really needed someone to come in and give Oliver some help with magic. One of the things we’ve been exploring this season is “How does Oliver deal with magic, specifically with Damien?,” and she comes in for a very high-stakes, amazing episode. She’s done a great job [voicing] the cartoon on CW Seed and she’s a tremendous actor in her own right. We’re really excited.
Want more scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email email@example.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.
I love what Wendy said about Felicity and Diggle both being Oliver’s moral compass. Those three together have always been so wonderful to watch. But it’d be interesting to see Oliver struggling on his own. He needs to find his own way now.
I love Felicity so I know whatever’s coming up next is going to hurt. I hate the injury she’s given but if it gives her character growth and storyline then I can deal.
Also can’t wait to see what happens with Olicity. I know the secret kid is gonna appear at some point which I hate but we’ll see how they handle it soon.
And finally, cannot wait to see more Diggle and Andy scenes. I’m really enjoying their dynamic.
Forgot to add that I’m very happy Felicity’s not Oracle. She deserves her own path/origin, not someone else’s.
I love what Wendy said about Felicity Smoak and John Diggle being Oliver Queen’s moral compass, it’s so true!
Also hate that Felicity is hurt but excited for Felicity to get a big arc. Felicity Smoak is the best!
Excited for more focus on Diggle too! John Diggle is also awesome!
I really hate that Felicity will have a permanent injury. HATE hate hate. But if this means she gets a storyline that’s about her, I can come to terms with it. And I am all about the focus on Diggle. I’ve waited over 3 seasons for something more for him.
Pretty sure it won’t be permanent. They won’t want ti limit themselves like that. And sustaining that with a huge character like her for the remainder of the series is very complicated and difficult. Plus there are so many things in play that could help her recover. So yeah very confident it won’t be permanent. Wouldn’t worry about that.
But yay for more focus on Felicity and Diggle!
Hmm. I’m not so sure yet. But I’m gonna believe it’s permanent until they say otherwise because I can’t get my hopes up!
I am absolutely loving this season so far. It’s time for the jolt that Arrow gives us. Felicity and Dig getting huge story arcs is a long time coming! And, very grateful that Felicity won’t turn into Oracle. She deserves her own destiny. Loving how Oliver is challenged with revenge again. This is where his character growth will just bust at the seams. Thanks for the great article.
So happy Arrow’s back this week. I need to know what happens to Felicity Smoak! I want to see how Oliver reacts and what Diggle’s reaction is. I miss Oliver/Felicity together, and I’m super excited to see how this impacts the trio Team Arrow going forward. Damien Darhk’s been a lot of fun so far, so I’m ready to start seeing more of his diabolical plan take shape. Thrilled Donna Smoak’s been around more and I’m hoping they add her to the show on at least a recurring level because I enjoy Quentin Lance, too, and hope the show keeps Paul Blackthorne. I’d also like to see Thea and Felicity’s friendship renewed this season. You know, if Felicity lives.
I’d love some Thea/Felicity scenes. The last we had from season 3 just wasn’t enough. I think they have a lot in common and there’s potential for a funny scene where they’re both teasing Oliver or something. I’d love that!
Yes, we so need more Thea/Felicity scenes! The love and friendship is there and they are going to be sisters! We need so much more Thea/Felicity! We need more Diggle/Felicity and OTA too. OTA is the heart of this show and I love them so much! And yes to more Donna/Lance too! Love them both! Can’t wait to see where Olicity goes in 4b. Olicity is the best!
If Felicity lives, lol. We all know she’s going to live, it’s Felicity. Love this post! Says all the right things! I so agree! Bring on more Olicity, Thea/Felicity, OTA, and Lance/Donna.
I am so ready for the second half to start. So excited for Arrow to return because I’ve been terribly missing Oliver, Felicity and Diggle (and Thea, Quentin and Donna, too). Excited for Felicity’s and Diggle’s respective arcs and for Oliver to be the focus of his show again. Maybe this “dark,” revenge-y” phase will give me back those exciting and awesome stunts from seasons 1 and 2 when he kicked everybody’s ass.
You asked about everyone but Laurel!?!? WTH. Seriously I’m so over her being ignored by interviewers and this show!
I’m done with Arrow.
Ooooo I hit a nerve. Lol
if you don’t love “Olicity” you tread on dangerous ground with this fan base.
that being said, I’m still hoping that Felicity is the one in the grave.
Do you actually watch this show? Because if you did you could very easily tell Felicity is not in the grave. Besides the fact that she already just almost died and the death isn’t coming until much later. It makes no narrative or business sense to kill her. She couldn’t be any safer unless she was Oliver himself.
Also everything is not about shipping. LL is widely disliked, not just by Olicity fans. She’s an awful character written terribly with a BC arc that was rushed and makes her skills make no sense and played by a not very good actress.She’s easy to dislike. And also couldn’t be less of a threat to Olicity (they got engaged and she cheered for them). So yeah it’s not about shipping but nice try.
Seems like it was your nerve that was hit and is being hit everytime laurel is ignored LOL
Exactly, she’s a part of the team and desveres to be treated that way, in fact Laurel was the one who saved Thea, Diggle and Felicity in 4.09, just because she’s not that popular dosn’t mean that she should be ignored.
Think of all the times the team has saved Laurel! Just because she did it one time doesn’t mean she should get a special thank you. The fact that they had to essentially put 3 main characters into a gas chamber just so Laurel had the chance to be a hero says a lot. Plus you’re forgetting that Laurel had her big arc last season. It’s other characters turn now.
Tommy died so she could get story then sara even Oliver had to leave for 3 episodes so laurel could shine yet she never did …..it’s time to give other characters chance
Oh shut it! Laurel has saved Oliver numerous times. And has been there for her team members. This is S4 not S3. And she deserves her own arc!
The hypocrisy in this fandom
No I won’t ‘shut it’ as I am entitled to my opinion.
Looks like Lizzie hit a nerve! LOL!
Marc Guggenheim tweeted that Laurel was going to be back in the courtroom. I’m sure we’ll hear about that.
She didn’t save them, her collar that anybody can wear cracked the glass and Oliver broke it fully. Her presence there didn’t really matter. Malcom could’ve borrowed the collar and done the same thing on his own. But more or less it was Oliver, MM, LL, and eventually Lance working together that saved them. She wasn’t the hero of the day at all. She’s just just that important, simple as that.
Just not important, no just just.
Exactly! And you can see KC’s stunt double doing most of the fighting. It’s not even KC, except for the close up when she uses her collar.
Well, she’s been one of the most widely despised characters on TV for thee and a half years, so I guess I’m not really surprised she doesn’t get much play in articles about Arrow.
Exactly RCM! Plus she’s become super irrelevant to the story of the show. So she’s probably the one dying and that’s why she has no storyline and no promotional attention. Think about it, they are wrapping up all her storylines and relationships, she’s got nothing new on the horizon and in the episode in which WM promised hints to the death, Lance foreshadowed a bad reaction to something happening to her plus all the weird little comments like very other episode about how she can take care of herself. The signs are there. I think she’s the death. It makes so much sense.
Maybe if her (minimal) fanbase had bothered to tweet the interviewer questions about her he would’ve asked about her. That’s how it works. Clearly nobody gave a crap about her when they had the chance. Although what is there to ask about her? She’s got no storyline of her own. She’s just an unneeded member of TA. Her personal life is basically DOA. Haven’t seen her at work in forever. Seems like a character they are done with imo.
Her acting is awful that scream is well lame. She looks so ridiculous
Great interview! Sad U didn’t ask anything about Laurel, hope she still gets a mini arc for the rest of the season.
Very excited for back half of the season – looks like lots of exciting stuff for Oliver, Felicity, Olicity, Diggle & Thea.
Damien is “killing” it as the big bad this season (I almost hate to see him defeated). Very curious as to his diabolical plan & how Oliver is going to fight back!
Bring it on!
After the Darhk arc is ended, I would love to see two singing cross over episodes with Flash. I know that Grant (Flash) can sing from his appearances on Glee, so I’m wondering if any/all of the two casts can also sing well enough to pull this off. Usually actors performed in their formative years at least some musical theatre, at least in high school musicals, and I would love to see if they could pull it off like Buffy did on that one amazing episode (poor Willow couldn’t carry a tune, though). The music for Oliver could be dark and operatic, while that of Flash could be lighter (think Astaire/Rogers films). I know this idea will be anathema to purists of the Arrow/Flash mythologies, but I think it would be fun, and promoted well, could bring more people to view these terrific shows.
No.. Just no.
FYI, the Flash singers are Grant and Jesse L.Martin (original Broadway and film cast member of Rent). The Arrow singers are John Barrowman and Charlotte Ross. Ooh, I wonder what Michael Sacal thinks about this idea…just kidding, I KNOW.
John Barrowman posted a clip of himself, Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes and Willa Holland singing Summer Nights, and there are a few of Stephen Amell singing too so I think they could do it. And it would be a great time to bring back Colin Donnell.
Great idea, although I’d like to leave both shows doing light songs rather than heavier ones.
(During a season one taping, Barrowman and Donnell burst out in “You’re The Top” from a role they had both done on Broadway. I really wish someone had recorded that.)
Several can sing; however, Arrowis not the place. Emily, Colton, Stephen, John Just to name a few.
I really hope we never get a musical episode. Please god no.
This is the best TV Line article on Arrow that I’ve read in a really long time. It’s actually perfect. You asked she got answers on questions I’ve wanted to know and stuck to characters I actually care about. I’m so excited for Arrow’s return and a continuation of Diggle and Felicity’s character arcs. I’m also looking forward to seeing Oliver interact one on one with characters like Vixen and Damien.
So basicly you asked about every character but Laurel, that’s rude, it’s really annoying how she basicly gets ignored.
Actually, I thought the questions were asked about characters currently “in flux”, but Laurel is stable now. Just be happy because when she was “in flux”, she was a hot mess.
Liked this response.
Couldnt agree more with this response. So on point.
Wendy’s interview was fabulous. Felicity Lives and OTA is back. Can’t wait to see 4B. Excited.
I’m so excited for Arrow to come back. This season has been amazing. Thea’s dark side and fight to over come it has been great. Poor Diggle has his brother back, but what’s happened to him is hurting Diggle even more. So happy Lance got the stick out his butt and is helping the team and happy with Donna. And of course seeing Olicity as a team is wonderful. I’m so sad that Felicity will be hurt and go through a dark period in her life, but she is surrounded by people that love her. Also can’t wait to see Oliver really step up to the plate to take care of her.
Disappointed there is no talk about Laurel Lance.
That was the best part of the interview!
If there is something in Thea from the Lazarus Pit that enables her to deflect Darhk’s powers, wouldn’t DD and Malcolm/LoA already know about that?
I’m curious as to Mrs. Darhk’s agenda is.
While I’m very happy to have Donna on my screen, there’s nothing keeping Felicity from talking to Thea or Diggle other than the writers. I miss the Diggle/Felicity conversations from the first two years.
If there is something in Thea from the Lazarus Pit that enables her to deflect Darhk’s powers, wouldn’t DD and Malcolm/LoA already know about that?
Not necessarily. Remember, Thea was the first person brought back from being “almost dead” in centuries. Even Ras (the other one, not Malcolm) admitted that he didn’t know the full extent of the pits powers.
Great Interview! So excited for the season to start again!
Great interview!!! I can’t be more excited for Arrow coming back. People on hiatus tend to going crazy with many theories, so i’m glad that Felicity is following her own path not Oracle’s.
And course… Oliver turns on all grrrr in seek for revenge?! bring on 😜
I’m not really into this season..my favorite part was definitely Sara resurrection storyline but I just feel like Damien Darhk isn’t really an interesting villain and so far he’s just another megalomaniac with superpowers.
I think its obvious that Felicity is not dead lol
To me Lance is definitely in the grave..i think his storyline has been done and know that he is in a happy place everything will go wrong with him leading to his eventual dead.
You can say the same about LL. Actually even more so. There’s lots to tell with Lance finally being a true ally to TA. He’s like their Commissioner Gordon now. LL has nowhere left to go at this point. All her storylines are wrapped up and she’s been rushed into a good place with everyone. And she doesn’t even have a love interest while Lance does. Lance is too easy and predictable and also doesn’t make sense on a lot of levels. I think LL is the one in the grave.
I’ll say that it’s ROY who got planted in the ground. Why? He’s mentioned above as coming back “temporarily”. Nobody’s really gonna miss him. The presence of both Oliver AND Barry (but no one else) suggests it was someone they both worked with but didn’t have any family. AND, quite possibly, it might be the convenient reason for a future schism between Ollie and Malcolm (if Merlyn IS the one who offed him) because those two have been getting too buddy-buddy lately and I reeeally want my Dark Archer back.
Barry was there because they wanted to keep everyone on Arrow as a possibility for the death. And the flash forward is clearly after the funeral. There’s no way to know how many people were actually there to begin with. And plenty of people would miss Roy. Felicity, Diggle, and Thea would all be there to say goodbye to Roy. Also they’ve said they want to use Roy on all 3 shows. They have more plans with him or they just would’ve let his death be real last season. It’s not Roy. Colton likely won’t even be back except for his one known appearance, they aren’t going to kill someone who isn’t even on the show anymore, that makes no sense. It’s not Roy.
You bring up a lot of excellent points I hadn’t considered. Personally, so long as it isn’t Malcolm (and Oliver sure wouldn’t be crying/mourning over HIM) I don’t really care who’s taking a dirt nap in that grave…
So excited for the new season to start! Can’t wait for more Olicity and OTA! So happy Felicity and Diggle will get more focus! Hoping for more Thea/Felicity and Diggle/Felicity. Excited for more Donna and Donna/Lance too!
Really enjoyed the 4A and everything I’m hearing about 4B has me equally excited.
Thanks, Matt for a great interview. Your Arrow articles/interviews/recaps have always been fair and unbiased. I feel like you have promoted & presented information on all the characters in the past. Sorry, you getting heat now…long hiatuses make some people crazy.
Good preview about new episodes from the showrunner. Excited to see new episode on Wednesday! Hope Felicity will be okay!
Great article!! Can’t wait to see more Olicity, OTA and Donna Smoak! And Darhk is such a great villain this season. Interesting to learn he has a family.
I know some are upset that there isn’t a mention of LL but to be honest, I’m glad. She’s had 3 seasons of arcs, it’s finally time for the other characters to shine. Felicity/Diggle, as loved as they are, still remain to be the most underdeveloped characters on the show. They’ve had zero independent arcs unlike LL and I’m GLAD they’re getting their due. I hope the show does them justice because after 3.5 years of supporting other characters, it’s finally their turn :)
I’m looking forward to seeing what the show does with Felicity/Diggle/Olicity/Oliver!
I agree with all you said. OTA!!!
This. I think Laurel fans should just be glad she’s not dead and is actually BC. This show isn’t even about her. She’s a supporting character. It’s time for other character’s to shine now. I’ve suffered through the terrible Laurel rise to BC arc last season and countless repetitive Lance family crap and I’ve been waiting 3 seasons for more development on Felicity and Diggle. It’s about damn time.
Green Arrow is always,to me,a batman with a lot more darkness and yes of course background. I like the spins. At the same time why weren’t his parents killed by a lion Ollie couldn’t shoot. Plus why didn’t he end up on star island like the comics. You’ve made him morally unstable and always broken. Now you give him some peace and pulled it away. In the comic he took up the bow because of Robin Hood and ended up at star island when a drunk frat kid knocked him off the boat. He killed only to survive. Plus somebody has to agree that helmet on Diggle is awful. You put a lot special effects into Flash,he’s a spinoff from Arrow that took the money from arrows success. At least give him felicity