ARROW Post-Mortem: Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, John Barrowman and Katrina Law Weigh in on Relationship Shifts and that Big Offer | Give Me My Remote

ARROW Post-Mortem: Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, John Barrowman and Katrina Law Weigh in on Relationship Shifts and that Big Offer

February 25, 2015 by  

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[Warning: this post contains spoilers for ARROW’s “Nanda Parbat.” Please do not read this article until you’ve watched the episode.]

ARROW went into its mini-hiatus with its central character getting quite the proposition: after Oliver and Diggle made an attempt to save Malcolm from Ra’s al Ghul, Ra’s, instead, asked Oliver to take his place as the head of League of Assassins.

So what comes next?

ARROW executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim, as well as stars John Barrowman (Malcolm) and Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul) spilled a bit of what’s to come to reporters…

On the next episode:

Though ARROW will be off the air for a few weeks after tonight’s hour, when the show does return, fans won’t have to wait long to get the rest of the scene where Ra’s unexpectedly asked Oliver to take his place.

“[The next episode] picks up literally 10 seconds before the end of this episode [ends],” Guggenheim said. “We do one of our direct pick-ups, where we go straight into catch you up a little bit and then go straight into 16.”

“You want to keep that conversation going,” Kreisberg added. “Obviously Oliver — as hopefully the audience is — is completely taken aback, because he’s not expecting that to be the case. It’s something Greg [Berlanti], and Marc, and I had talked about: it was important to have a different villain this year. And somebody who was going to be doing something completely different. In season 1 we had the incomparable John Barrowman who had his mission, and last season, Slade’s mission was one of vengeance. For this year, to have Ra’s who is presented as this malevolent force, and then have him come up and offer the keys to the kingdom to our hero — it just felt like a different way to go and a different relationship for Oliver to have with the villain. What Oliver’s reaction is to the offer — the next episode is actually called ‘The Offer’ — what Oliver’s reaction to it is, what Nyssa’s reaction to it is, what everyone’s reaction to it is, makes up the next run of episodes. And what his answer is, and what that prompts all the other characters to do.”

And yes, Nyssa won’t be pleased by this turn of events.

“Nyssa is the heir to the demon, so you can imagine how she feels when she finds out what she considered to be her birthright is being handed to Oliver,” Kreisberg said.

There’s also the lingering question of how much of a role Nyssa’s love life (AKA her relationship with Sara) impacted Ra’s decision.

“There’s a scene in 16 between Nyssa and Ra’s that addresses that,” Guggenheim teased. “From Nyssa’s perspective, it has everything to do with Sara. From Ra’s perspective, maybe, maybe not.”

Either way, Nyssa will have to rediscover who she is in light of her life plans going so far off-track.

“Nyssa’s journey going forward is going to be really interesting, because she was so dead-set on who she was, who she was going to be in the future — how she had laid out her future for herself,” Law acknowledged. “Now everything’s been thrown up in the air. She’s no longer heir to the demon, she no longer has her lover, who I’m sure she was thinking about keeping around forever. She’s essentially, at this point in the story, lost everything. I think for the first time in her life she feels vulnerable and weak and useless, and doesn’t know where she stands or who she is at the moment. I think it’s very jarring for her, because she’s aver had to go through that, ever. I think you’re going to see Nyssa try and figure out who she is and what she stands for now.”

But she will find an unexpected ally: Laurel.

“I feel like, journey-wise, between the characters, the two of them might have more in common than Nyssa had originally thought,” Law said. “I think the Laurel character had lived a semi-smooth life…and then she lost her sister, and her father, and she’s trying to become something she’s not necessarily good at, which is the Black Canary. But she will be. I think Nyssa’s going through the same journey now that she’s lost everything — trying to figure out how to be a softer human being, with compassion and sympathy, and all these things she didn’t have to think about before. And making choices on her own without her father and the league’s guidance.”

On Malcolm’s strained relationship with Ra’s and Team Arrow:

For one of the first times in the series — at least, present ay — viewers saw Malcolm genuinely terrified, and willing to beg for his life.

“The one person you fear is Ra’s,” Barrowman said. “[Malcolm]’s touched on that fear prior…but to finally see him in front [of him], he knows he’s not in control at that point. He has to face the maker…and he knows what [Ra’s] can do, because he was one of his assassins and doing his dirty work for him. He knows what he’s capable of and what he can do. I think it’s important you see the fear in Malcolm…it’s important the fans connect with that so you see it’s not just a villain, there’s something right behind it and a reason he’s doing what he’s doing. There’s a reason he’s scared, you’re finding out.”

Of course, Team Arrow was also only working with Malcolm as a means of protection from Ra’s. Now that Ra’s has offered Oliver the power, his choice will impact the relationship the rest of Team Arrow (and Thea) has with Malcolm.

“Part of it is how it plays out for the rest of the year,” Kreisberg said. “What [is] Oliver is willing to do to end the threat of the League? And now it’s a different kind of threat, because they’re asking him to join up. As Malcolm tells him in a subsequent episode, he’s not really asking. That leads to all sorts of interesting combinations and paradigms.”

(And, it seems like we’ll also be getting more insight into the League in a future episode: “One of the things we reveal in 3×20 is where the name ‘League of Assassins’ came from,” Guggenheim previewed. “And what it means to be a quote-unquote assassin. If you’re a historian, you’ll know it has a different meaning from what it’s become in the modern day.”)

On Laurel’s growing pains:

Laurel, grief-stricken over learning that Malcolm coerced Thea into killing Sara, attempted to take him down. It didn’t work.

“Watching Laurel with more nerve than skill, think for one second she could take on Malcolm — it’s just another example she’s not the Black Canary yet,” Kreisberg said. “Sara might have gotten him, but there’s no way Laurel can; but she gets knocked down and gets right back up again. That’s what we really loved about Laurel.”

And Laurel’s tension with her father will be continuing on for the foreseeable future, too.

“One of the things that happening on the show — and it’s going to continue for a while — is they’re not in a good place,” Kreisberg said. “She really, like he said to her in episode 14, ‘It was always you and me’…we don’t solve that. We’re writing episode 21 now and it’s still not solved. Yeah, Laurel made a really bad decision, and it’s going to haunt her and her dad for a really long time.”

On Thea’s guilt:

Thea — unable to stand the guilt of killing Sara — told basically everyone…even after being told to keep quiet. But this is just a step in her evolution, Guggenheim teased.

“Episode 15 was Thea acting at her most impulsively,” he shared. “We’re working towards telling a different story with Thea. It’s not just her acting out. She’s processing a huge amount of guilt and a huge amount of regret. At the end of 15, she’s essentially attempting suicide by Nyssa…so, this is a continuing progression. It’s not going to be a repetition of her acting out. But certainly in 16, she looks for closure in another way, because, spoiler alert, Nyssa’s not going to kill [Thea].”

On Ray/Felicity:

On a lighter note, Ray and Felicity took the next step in their relationship. And, yes, the producers are aware it might cause some fan angst.

“We often talk about what life would be like in the days of CHEERS or MOONLIGHTING,” Kreisberg noted. “Part of the fun of watching couples on television is keeping them apart and watching how other people come in and out of their lives. There are a lot of people who believe Oliver and Laurel should be together, and people who believe Oliver and Felicity should be together, and we’re not sure how it’s all going to end up — we just do what’s right at the time…for right now, Oliver has decided, ‘I’m not going to do this.’ And Felicity’s not going to just sit around waiting for him. I think she’s probably the most healthy of all of them. He’s the one shutting himself down emotionally when he has this amazing person who is offering him hope and guidance and friendship and love and everything. He doesn’t feel he deserves it and he doesn’t believe that’s best for her.”

“And you’ve got Ray who in a lot of ways is a real analogue to Oliver: he’s had a tragedy, and he’s trying to do right by it, but he’s opening his heart to her,” Kreisberg continued. “And he’s Brandon Routh (Ray) — how can you blame her?”

On a non-romantic level, Ray’s success with the Atom suit will cause some potential conflict with Team Arrow.

“3×17 is the episode you’ll want to check out first in terms of that question, because, obviously, it’s not just the Felicity/Ray/Oliver love triangle — there’s a new superhero in town,” Guggenheim teased. “And he’s going to go about things in a very different way than the Arrow does. And he’s not a part of Team Arrow. Right now, he’s just a smart guy in a very, very powerful suit. Oliver’s definitely going to have an opinion, and the first instance of that will be 3×17.”

What did you think of tonight’s episode of ARROW?

Related:

ARROW: Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim Tease a ‘Crazy’ Cliffhanger, Finally Seeing the Atom Suit
ARROW: Brandon Routh Suits Up as The Atom
ARROW and THE FLASH at TCA: Live-Blog

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