Who's ready for some serious answers about Emiko Queen (Sea Shimooka)? When Arrow returns for its midseason premiere, we're going to get a major info drop regarding her past and what eventually motivated her to put on the hood and run around Star City. However, the New Green Arrow won't be the only hooded crimefighter on the streets this time; the last time we saw him, Oliver (Stephen Amell) was going legitimate and working with the police as the Green Arrow rather than getting back into the vigilante life that landed him in prison. Do we sense some sibling rivalry brewing here?
TV Guide spoke to showrunner Beth Schwartz to find out how Oliver will react to the news that he's got yet another half-sister, where his relationship with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) stands now and when the mystery of the flash-forwards to the future will start to sort itself out!
When are we going to find out about Emiko's backstory and how she ended up in Star City?
Beth Schwartz: We're going to find all of those answers out on Monday [Jan. 21] in Episode 10. The episode basically can be told from her perspective, and we're going to find out what her mission is, why she put on the suit, and basically everything that she's been up to so far.
Will we find out how Robert Queen (James Sheridan) fits into her life story?
Schwartz: Yeah, so we're going to find out what Robert did. Oliver's going to find out as well in this episode. And he's gonna obviously have a strong reaction to finding out he has a half-sister, another secret that his father kept, and Felicity will be there to support him in this journey.
I feel like at this point Oliver should not be surprised by any of his crazy family drama.
Schwartz: I agree [laughs]. But at the same time, it's like how much crazier can things get? And then they just keep getting crazier.
Can you speak to the dynamic between Oliver and Emiko? Is it combative or is there some understanding there?
Schwartz: It's definitely not understanding from Emiko's side, because she was abandoned by the Queen family, and Oliver's going to take it on himself to — as he does, as our hero that we love — to redeem what his father did, and want to have a relationship with her.
Now that he's officially affiliated with the police, how does that change the way Oliver operates as the Green Arrow?
Schwartz: Well, there's definitely going to be conflict there because he is not used to following rules, especially rules of the law. And so there will be conflict between how the SCPD does stuff and... growing pains of how the two differ. How he fights crime or the SCPD does.
It seems like a lot of what Oliver does could possibly be qualified as police brutality.
Schwartz: Yeah, that is definitely true, but it gets the job done, which is his point.
Oliver and Felicity went through a little bit of a rough patch in their relationship earlier this season. How are they doing when we pick back up with them?
Schwartz: They're definitely on track. They're back to, in a sense, being normal between each other. There's no friction between the relationship. They have a lot of obstacles in their way, but they'll be a team. It won't separate them. ... They'll be a force to reckon with.
Are Oliver and Felicity going to have to go through a readjustment period when William comes back?
Schwartz: Yeah. When he comes back ... he will explain a little bit. In the future we see him, [and] he feels like Oliver and Felicity abandoned him. We'll explain some of that in our present day story and just see how he's been affected by everything, not just this season. Most recently this season, but as well as just everything that happened to him as soon as he knew that Oliver was his father. He's definitely had a rough couple of years, so it will start affecting him, and we'll see that in the present day story.
Laurel's redemption storyline this year has been a nice journey for her. What can we expect from her in the back half of the season?
Schwartz: We're actually in Episode 11, which is David Ramsey's directorial debut. [It's] a fantastic episode, and he did such an amazing job. We're going to see some of Laurel's backstory from Earth 2. That will answer how she became Black Siren and the way she is. And we'll, in the back half of the season, get to the conclusion of is she redeemable? Is there redemption for her as Black Siren, or is she evil and there's no redemption for her?
Will we get to see more of that fun dynamic between her and Felicity?
Schwartz: Yes. I love the dynamic between the two of them as well. And I know the actresses love being in scenes together, and they've had a really good time this season doing that. Building their relationship, there's going to be a little bit of conflict there that they'll get into because, obviously, it's complicated when you're friends with someone who used to be a former villain.
How much are we going to learn about Blackstar and how much skin she has in the game in this future storyline?
Schwartz: We are going to learn a lot about her in the next couple episodes. And specifically, we're doing an all flash-forward episode in Episode 16. So we will be answering a lot of the questions that we have been posing in the first half of the season. So people will get a lot more information about all of our characters, their backstory, a little more information of what really went on these past 20 years and why we found ourselves in this kind of Star City.
Felicity's death in the future has obviously been hanging over our heads for a while. How much are we going to learn about that puzzle and when is it going to start coming together?
Schwartz: We're going to learn a lot about it in the next couple of episodes, but definitely [Episode] 16 is going to be the answer to that mystery and what's been going on in the Glades. In [Episode] 10, actually, we see the Glades for the first time and we meet Rene (Rick Gonzalez) in the future, which is exciting. We get to see, as terrible as Star City is, the Glades is a booming city, and that's the happy place of the future. And Rene has a lot to do with that. So we'll see that in 10 and then, yeah, the next couple episodes will start answering a lot of these questions.
Should we hold out any hope that Felicity's death just may be like a Roy Harper situation where everyone thinks she's dead, but she's actually alive?
Shwartz: Well, I definitely can't say yes or no to that, but there's definitely a lot more to that mystery that will unravel in the next few episodes, especially in 16.
What was it like shooting the 150th episode as a kind of Green Arrow documentary?
Schwartz: Everyone loved it. Honestly, it was such a great experience for everyone all around — the actors, for the writers. Glenn Winter did a phenomenal job. It's way exceeded any expectations when I saw that first cut, and it was really fun. I like to call it, when I first saw some of that footage, it was like Arrow meets The Office because it's got some of that fun of our characters being like, "What is going on?" Looking at the camera, which I love.
Arrow returns Monday, Jan. 21 at 8/7c on The CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)