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Arrow: How Paul Blackthorne Justifies Lance's Relationship with Damien Darhk

Plus: Find out how Lance reacts to Sara's return

Sadie Gennis

Arrow fans were shocked to discover in the Season 4 premiere that perennial good guy Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) has been working with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), possibly the most dangerous villain Star City has ever seen.

So how did Lance get involved with Darhk? And why does Blackthorne say Lance doesn't need to forgive himself for his deal with the devil? Check out our full interview with the actor below:

How did you feel when you first heard Lance was going to be working with Damien Darhk?
Paul Blackthorne:
Well, he seemed like a nice enough fellow to begin with. From my point of view, when you find your character working with someone like that, who's quite opposite in nature of my character, it's interesting. But of course when Lance went in with him, from his point of view, Darhk was offering great things for the city. He was a positive force. He wanted to help the city out and clean up the mess in the Season 3 finale. So in Lance's eyes, Darhk was a very positive presence to begin with. Of course, things shifted a little bit. His actions shifted. His intentions shifted. And as soon as Lance called him out on that, he was going to kill his daughters if he did otherwise. So Lance dug a bit of a hole.

What can you reveal about exactly how Lance got involved with Darhk?
Given the state the city was in and in the absence of the Arrow after the Season 3 finale and the limited resources that Lance was working with, Lance was approached by Darhk and considered it thinking out of the box and used this man's resources in exchange for a few favors here and there. One of which particularly laid heavy with him.

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Lance has always been the moral center of the show. So how is he handling this position he's now in?
Once he's confronted on that, it's a struggle. But as villains often do, they will do bad things for what they identify as good reasons. Lance thought he was doing a good thing here because that's how Darhk presented himself at first. That he would be a positive force for the city and all he needed was a few favors here and there in various areas. Sort of gray stuff, shady stuff, but nothing life-threatening or destructive. And yet that's the area that Darhk went into ultimately. And when Lance started questioning Darhk on what he was truly doing, he threatened his daughter. And he's already been through the middle of that with his other daughter Sara, so the last thing he wanted to do was be the reason for Laurel (Katie Cassidy) being killed.

Lance finds out that Laurel resurrected Sara (Caity Lotz) this week. How does he react to this?
In good old-fashioned Arrow style, there's lots of neurosis going on with it. Because of course it's an incredible thing that he's seeing his daughter in front of him, returned from wherever she may have been, but he can detect instantly she's not there in spirit. And what a dreadful thing for a father to realize that his daughter's there, but not there. All he can see is the pain and suffering that's going on with her. And if that's the case, then what could you do? Do you keep this girl alive in this state with the pain she's in? Or do you do something about it? And that's what we see in this forthcoming episode.

Is Lance angry at all with Laurel for resurrecting Sara?
I don't think angry is the right word. He's mystified as to what's happened here. This supernatural world is not one that he's familiar with and not one that he's able to understand. So whether he's angry with Laurel is probably not the case, but certainly mystified and obviously frustrated that here she is back like this. And yes, Laurel, you've brought her back, but what the hell is this? You've brought her back, but you haven't brought her back. What's going on, you know? And it's interesting the places Lance turns to in order to resolve the situation because Laurel doesn't seem to know what to do with it at this stage.

How would you describe the Lance family dynamic going forward?
The family dynamic's great because there's so much baggage now. ... Laurel and Quentin are getting to this point now where both of us have done so many things over these recent years, some negative things and desperate things, and kept secrets from each other. But I think they're reaching a maturity in some way that they can understand, given the complexity of this city and the characters in it, that it's just the corners they've been forced into. It's almost like they're in this new place now, the situation with Laurel and Lance. It's not necessarily that they'll take things personally.

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Lance and Oliver's (Stephen Amell) relationship is already fairly contentious. So what happens when Oliver discovers Lance has been working with Darhk?
It's a bit of a moment in their relationship. Obviously the tables have turned somewhat. Lance has taken the moral high ground for much of their relationship and at this point, Oliver finds himself in this position. To me, it's been one of my favorite scenes actually, given three and a half years of history culminating in this particular moment when everything between them shifts.

Will this shift open up room for a better relationship between Lance and Oliver?
It certainly changes the dynamic. It's just a case of whether what has happened can be forgiven. And that's up to Oliver, really. So we'll see about that, whether Oliver can reconcile with what Lance has done here with Darhk.

Can Lance forgive himself for working with Darhk?
Totally, yeah. Because he had to think outside the box. The city was in a mess. The Arrow was gone and Darhk stepped up as a positive force. Yes, he wanted a few favors and shady stuff in there. But Darhk was going to do right by the city. And certainly, the things that Lance cares about the most in the city are his daughters. ... He was led to believe by Darhk that this would have a positive outcome. Of course that started changing, at which point Lance called him out on it. But at that point, Darhk was then threatening Laurel.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)