After last week's Arrow cliffhanger, in which the next generation of Team Arrow was unceremoniously dropped into current Team Arrow's bunker in the year 2019, fans were understandably stoked to find out how the family drama would unfold when Oliver (Stephen Amell) realized he'd come face to face with his grown-up children. And the Queen family did not disappoint!
After the necessary "what the actual hell is going on?" moments of disbelief passed, Oliver reunited with his two kids. William (Ben Lewis) was obviously an easier nut to crack than Mia (Katherine McNamara), who had no memories of Oliver thanks to his upcoming and untimely death. The episode did, however, allow for William to have an important conversation with Oliver that he never got to have as a child. In a touching, standout scene, William came out to his dad and received nothing but love and support and acceptance from the father he'd lost 2o years earlier.
TV Guide spoke to Ben Lewis about this major milestone in William's life and how he and Mia will move forward now that they've got the opportunity to work hand in hand with their father.
In that first scene seeing Oliver again, what in the world do you think was going through William's head?
Ben Lewis: I think, obviously, a lot of weird shit has already happened to William in his life, but I would say that this tops everything, tops all of that. I think he's just trying to make sense of what's happening, trying to grasp if it's even real. William is always sort of like gathering information. His brain is going a mile a minute, trying to take in his surroundings and figure out what the f--- happened. But then also, beyond the intellectual understanding of it, there's just seeing his dead father, who he hasn't seen in 20 years, standing right in front of him. That has a huge emotional impact. And also getting to see his sister really meet his father for the first time, not as a baby, I think it's a lot going on.
Why do you think it was so much easier for William to dive headfirst into reuniting with his dad than it was for Mia?
Lewis: I think that you see in this episode, and you will see in the coming episodes, that Oliver and Mia butt heads a lot just because of how similar they are. I think they see a lot of themselves in each other. I think because Mia never really got the chance to know Oliver, there's just been a lot of confusing mythology that she's grown up with, if that makes sense. She's really struggled with a lot of the different narratives that she's been told about her father. I think, more than anything, she really is deeply wounded and traumatized by her feelings of abandonment. Whereas William, he didn't have a lot of time with his dad, but he knows his dad. He knows who he is and the type of guy he is. Of course, they haven't always seen eye to eye themselves, but I think that losing his father at such a young age and, as we see in this episode, not having the opportunity to come out to him for example before he died — William's probably harbored a lot of regret about things left unsaid to Oliver, never imagining that he would have an opportunity to see him again. So, I think for William, I think he feels more purely grateful for the opportunity to see Oliver again, whereas for Mia, it brings up a lot of hard feelings.
Speaking of that coming out scene, what was your initial reaction when you found out that Williams was finally going to get to come out to his dad?
Lewis: Well, my reaction upon reading it was just gratitude that it was in there because it was a scene that I actually, specifically requested. After I read the ending of 803, I emailed Beth Schwartz, the showrunner, right away just because I had this realization, which is something I'd never really thought much about before, the fact that William had not had the opportunity to come out to his dad before he died. So yeah, I emailed Beth and she wrote back right away and said that she thought it was a great idea and they were going to work it in, and then sure enough when I got the script it was in there. Oscar [Balderrama] and Jeane [Wongand], who [wrote] the episode, did such a good job, such a beautiful job with it.
Then it really became about, I asked for this scene, so now I really have to — I really want to make sure I can do it justice, because I knew how meaningful it was not only to me but to the Arrow audience and fanbase who've watched William grow up, many of whom are LGBTQ-identifying themselves. So the significance and the importance of it was certainly not lost on me. And the most sort of surprise of the whole experience was getting to set and realizing it was equally meaningful and emotionally impactful for Stephen as well. We didn't really talk about it before, but as soon as we got to shooting it, he was so dropped in emotionally and so affected by it that I just had to sort of respond to what he was giving me and say the words that Oscar and Jeane wrote.
There was a lot of talk in this episode about changing the future. Will Mia and William see this as an opportunity to try to save their dad's life?
Lewis: I think that particularly where they're at in 804 — I think anything seems possible. If it's possible to travel back in time 20 years and see your dead father, the sky's the limit. You know? So I think of course they are hopeful there might be a way to find a better outcome, not only for Oliver but for Zoe (Andrea Sixtos), for JJ (Charlie Barnett), and for the entire future of Star City. I think this development, going back in time, sort of blows the lid off of anything they really thought was possible before.
What can you say, if anything, about why the Monitor may have dropped them in the past?
Lewis: I don't know that I can speak for the Monitor's motivation, but I think from a creative perspective, I think giving Oliver this opportunity to reunite with his kids and giving them the opportunity to reunite with their father is something that I think the fans have clearly expressed that they wanted to see. Even just since the ending of 803 last week, the response has been so amazing. Even people who are a little skeptical about the future storyline just in general... I think a lot of people who were critical of that, their feelings have sort of shifted because now there's hope for Star City again.
Arrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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