Arrow Postmortem: Is Oliver Done Being the Vigilante in Season 2?
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Arrow's season finale. Read at your own risk!]
The Arrow season finale literally and figuratively rocked viewers' expectations after killing off a major character and destroying half of The Glades.
In Wednesday's episode, Oliver (Stephen Amell) was able to defeat the Dark Archer (John Barrowman), and Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) was able to disable the Undertaking device. However, Malcolm Merlyn had a backup plan. As the second device leveled half of The Glades, Tommy (Colin Donnell) lost his life, Roy (Colton Haynes) tried to be a hero and Oliver lost his reason for being a vigilante. What does this mean for Season 2? TVGuide.com turned to executive producer Marc Guggenheim to get the scoop:
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Everyone assumed that you would have Tommy eventually become the Dark Archer. Why did you decide to kill him off instead?
Marc Guggenheim: It really had nothing to do with his trajectory as the Dark Archer. It really had to do with the fact that we wanted Oliver to suffer a loss at the end of the season. When we thought about the characters that he could lose who would have the biggest impact not just on Oliver, but on the show, Tommy was the name that rose to the top very quickly. Tommy's death impacts pretty much every member of our cast. Obviously his death impacts Oliver and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), but there's a closeness between Thea (Willa Holland) and Tommy that we've established on the show, Lance, obviously because of the connection that Laurel has with Tommy and Moira (Susanna Thompson) because of her responsibility with Tommy. He's the one character whose death would have the biggest impact.
Will Laurel feel a sense of guilt over her role in Tommy's death and possibly second-guess her decision to choose Oliver over Tommy?
Gugggenheim: Definitely she's going to feel some fairly overwhelming guilt because people, particularly like Ross and Rachel, can argue whether or not [Laurel and] Tommy were on a break when Laurel slept with Oliver in the penultimate episode. The thing that's pretty much indisputable is the fact that Laurel, by sleeping with Oliver, chose Oliver over Tommy and yet it was Tommy who came to save her. She feels an enormous amount of guilt over, "Did I pick the wrong guy?" These will all be things we're exploring in Season 2. The reason we did it wasn't just to end the season on an impactful note. It really was to create all sorts of different stories and dramatic conflicts in Season 2.
Do you think this could be a catalyst for Laurel to maybe put on a pair of fishnets?
Guggenheim: [Laughs] It's a catalyst for her to do a variety of different things. It's going to drive a lot of what Laurel does in Season 2, both good and bad. Tommy's death will reverberate through the cast of characters and will affect the changes and choices that Oliver makes and that Thea makes. It's going to affect everybody. It's not like you'll never hear Tommy's name never uttered again. If anything, Tommy is a larger presence in death than he was in life.
Is Malcolm Merlyn actually dead? It seemed like his fate was left up in the air. Was that on purpose or do you want to set the record straight?
Guggenheim: I never want to set the record straight. We have a moment in mind for the Season 2 premiere that should give you an answer to that question, but the thing that I always do say — and I said this to John Barrowman and to Colin Donnell — this is a show that does flashbacks. So just because a character is dead doesn't mean we've necessarily seen the last of them on this show.
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Oliver thought that defeating Malcolm's plan was his way out from being the Hood. What galvanizes him now to continue to be this vigilante?
Guggenheim: I want to answer this question without spoiling our plans for Season 2, so the best way to answer it — and this will be one of those things where you'll go back to this interview after you watch the season premiere to see what I mean — is that I think he's pretty much done being the vigilante. The question is: What happens now? Come October, that statement will make a lot of sense.
How does Starling City start picking up the pieces after The Glades was destroyed? Will there be a time jump to skip the initial aftermath?
Guggenheim: There will be a time jump, not really to skip over anything, but rather it's just consistent with the choice we made early on with the show. We always try to pass time naturally. For example, there was a six week break between Episodes 9 and 10 and we wrote that break into the show. That said, The Glades and the Undertaking was a big piece of our engine that drives us forward in Season 2. If the story engine of Season 1 was this notebook of names, I think the story engine of Season 2 is the destruction of The Glades and the impact not just on The Glades, but all of Starling City. You've got Merlyn Global and Queen Consolidated both not in The Glades, but the two biggest employers of people in Starling City and those companies are in some dire straits. We're going to see in Season 2 that the economy in Starling City is pretty decimated.
The other thing I will say is that we're going to continue to publish the Arrow digital comic for the next few weeks into June. I wrote a two-parter that closes out the finale. It's really meant as a companion piece for the season finale. It takes place during the finale and in the week following the finale. You'll actually get a chance to see some things that happened in Starling City after the events of the finale exclusively in the comic book.
Since such a dark thing has happened with at least half The Glades being leveled, does the city need someone like The Hood now?
Guggenheim: That's one of the themes that we're exploring for sure in Season 2. There are some people who feel that before there was this hooded guy in the city, there weren't earthquake devices either. There are other people who feel that if the police aren't going to step up to the plate, someone needs to. There will be a variety of different points of view held by not just the citizens of Starling City, but our characters as well, which is where we'll get a lot of interesting debate and conflict.
Will we see Moira on trial next season for her role in the Undertaking?
Guggenheim: All I'll say is that I'm an attorney and the easiest thing to write for me are courtroom scenes. I think I deserve at least one episode where it's an easy thing to write.
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Roy and Thea both showed very heroic sides in the finale. Is that a sign of things to come?
Guggenheim: Yes. Thea's line about, "I have wicked aim" was meant to be a little foreshadowing and certainly, Roy's heroics in the alleyway with his red hood is similar. Our game plan with respect to Thea and Roy pretty much remains unchanged. We're going to keep pushing them both in the directions that destiny is drawing them. The nice thing for us in Season 2 is Colton Haynes becomes a series regular so it'll allow us to tell a lot more Roy stories, which we're really eager to do.
What are the consequences of Detective Lance working with the vigilante next season?
Guggenheim: He probably went through the biggest change of anyone — except for Tommy who went from alive to dead. We're really excited about where we're taking him in Season 2. Season 2 begins with him under very different circumstances both personally and professionally. It's a fun thing for us to play with the real world consequences of all the choices that he made in the season finale. People will be surprised what Lance is doing the next time we see him.
Will he continue to be Oliver's inside man in the police department?
Guggenheim: Our long-term goal with Lance has always been to make him the show's Commissioner Gordon, but do it in our version of Commissioner Gordon. In the Batman mythologies, Batman and Commissioner Gordon are partners fighting crime. Obviously we went a different way with Lance starting out hating The Hood and now begrudgingly accepting that The Hood has a real role to play. We'll be both continuing that trajectory for him in Season 2, as well as dealing with the real world consequences to making that choice. In the Batman mythos, rarely do they ever call Commissioner Gordon out on the fact that he's working side-by-side with this vigilante. We'll take a different kind of approach and a slightly more realistic one to the realities of what Lance has elected to do and is going to continue to do.
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What will the flashbacks to the island look like next season?
Guggenheim: Things will at first appear to proceed the way you're expecting, but then in pretty short order, we're going to reveal that things are a little bit more complicated than what you're expecting.
I can't imagine that Slade (Manu Bennett) is happy that Oliver chose Shado (Celina Jade) over a way off the island.
Guggenheim: That is certainly something that we're going to be exploring in the second season premiere.
Stay tuned for more Arrow scoop on Season 2 from Guggenheim in next week's Mega Buzz!
What did you think of the Arrow finale? Hit the comments with your thoughts and check out the cast's reaction to Tommy's death and what's in store for Season 2 below:
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