ARROW Post-Mortem: Andrew Kreisberg on the Devastating Fallout From 'Seeing Red' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

ARROW Post-Mortem: Andrew Kreisberg on the Devastating Fallout From ‘Seeing Red’

April 23, 2014 by  


[Warning: this post contains major, major, major, major spoilers for the April 23rd episode of ARROW. Please do not read it until after you’ve seen “Seeing Red.”]

ARROW’s Slade has been a lot of talk and little real action in his vendetta against Oliver (revealing to Thea her true paternity and unmasking The Arrow to Laurel, aside), but in tonight’s episode, he delivered his cruelest blow yet: Slade made Oliver choose between saving the life of his mother or his sister. When Oliver struggled with the decision, Moira volunteered herself for death to spare her daughter, and Slade praised her bravery…and then killed Moira.

“The decision was, first of all, just with [losing] Colin Donnell (Tommy) [last season], was difficult,” ARROW executive producer Andrew Kreisberg admitted. “Susanna [Thompson (Moira)] has been with the show since the beginning. She was one of our big gets early on that really signaled to the audience and to the reviewers, this wasn’t your average CW show. This wasn’t your average superhero show. And like with Colin Donnell, these last few episodes were her pinnacle. This is as good as anything that’s on television. And unfortunately, because of the kind of show it is, won’t be recognized as such. And truthfully, you see all those scenes with her and Stephen [Amell (Oliver)], her importance to the show — in helping Willa and Stephen go from solid actors to amazing actors is due to sharing screen time with her. But the decision, it really was, just like with Tommy, [was] where is her trajectory going?”

“In season 1, she had this incredible secret: that she was a part of The Undertaking,” he continued. “And she suffered for it, and went to jail for it, and then we discovered she had an even better secret, which was that Thea is really the daughter of Malcolm Merlyn . And when that secret was discovered, it split the whole family apart. And obviously, we’ve been taking steps to bring people back together again, and when we were talking about the future, and knowing we had wanted Slade to — it was only going to be powerful if Slade really changed the game by doing something truly monstrous. And if Moira wins the mayorship, if she makes up with her kids, what is she? And what is Moira without a giant secret? And if they all forgive her, and there’s another giant secret, for us, it sort of felt like we were becoming a soap opera. Where it was, ‘Yes, you tried to blow up the city, and yes, you lied about this, and now you lied about this other thing!’ It really just felt like, in a way, she could die a hero’s death, and die this person who was conflicted, because even as she was saying, ‘We have to tell the truth,’ we’re seeing she’s kept this other horrible secret. You literally can’t change her. She goes to the grave, despite the fact that she sacrifices herself for her children, which is amazing, and truly is — there’s a line in the next episode where Walter says to Thea, ‘Your mother showed she loves you in a way few parents can’ — and yet she was still lying. And that was the essence of her character. Ending it at this time left you with this great feeling of what an amazing character she was, rather than let her become a caricature. And that was the math. Just like with Tommy, it was horrible math, it was tearful math, but her death — just like with Tommy — has a profound impact on everyone on the series. It’s certainly what’s going to drive Oliver in these last three episodes, and it’s going to drive Thea, not just in these last three episodes, but also into season 3. Sometimes the worst thing you can do personally is the best thing you can do professionally.”

Speaking of Moira’s latest secret, viewers learned tonight that Oliver actually has a kid out there — a storyline that won’t be dropped, despite the fact that the one (regular) character who knows the truth is now dead.

“I think that like we did with season 1, the seeds for season 2 were planted in season 1,” Kreisberg teased. “And again, the best part of the success the show has had was knowing we’re going to make more, and knowing we could drop these things in, and pay them off later…and this is something that will be paid off in season 3.”

But Moira keeping Oliver from finding out about her kid wasn’t the only secret that was revealed in “Seeing Red”: Moira told her son that, surprise (!), she actually knew he was The Arrow.

“We had always talked about the idea that Moira knew Oliver was The Arrow, and there’s actually been a couple of places where we were like, she should let him know,” Kreisberg revealed. “Because we felt like one of the great things about ‘Sacrifice,’ last year’s season finale, was that when Oliver came in to talk to her, he’s not Oliver Queen, he’s The Arrow. And she’d have to be borderline low IQ if she wasn’t like, ‘Wait a minute…’ But we always liked that she never told him. Everything felt like it all came together in this one episode how yes, secrets are a tough thing. It’s one of the most interesting things about writing this show is when are secrets good, and when are secrets bad? Even for Oliver, he hasn’t told Laurel. And he had an idea in his head that she shouldn’t know. And I think you guys will all see, he was wrong. He was wrong not to tell her, because she could handle it. But there was no reason for Thea to ever know Malcolm was her dad.”

“It’s a complicated thing,” he continued. “We love that we have a superhero show where the heroes are doing the wrong thing a lot of the time. And making bad decisions, even with the best of intentions. And I think that’s the thing about Moira: we’ve always said she’s doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. And everything she does, she does because she loves and wants to protect her children, even if that means blowing up a city, lying to them, and I think one of the most interesting things for us was realizing our villain, Moira, and our hero, Oliver, were essentially doing the same thing. And Thea called them out on it. It’s been the best part of the success of the show — not that I’m comparing us to [STAR WARS’ sequel] THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but STAR WARS introduces us to the characters and they’re very much archetypes, and EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, they’re able to go deeper and darker. That’s the fun thing of a sequel: once the characters are established, you get to take them to different places. We always looked at season 2 as the sequel to season 1. And we do feel like things have gotten richer and deeper, and these decisions that we made are what allowed that.”

As for where the characters go now, Kreisberg teased that “the next episode opens up with Moira’s funeral and Oliver’s missing.” Uh oh. And things are only going to get crazier from here.

“It’s a race against the clock, these last few episodes,” Kreisberg previewed. “Act 5 of [episode] 21, the show pretty much runs in real time from that point on for the last two episodes. For Roy, it’s will Roy be strapped to a table with snake venom in him for the rest of his life, or are they going to come up with the cure? And the cure is not only the means to salvage Roy, but it’s also the means to stop Slade…[and] maybe Slade didn’t just kill Moira to piss Oliver off. And maybe someone realizes that.”

So, does anyone else need a hug after that intense episode? Were you shocked by Moira’s death? Do you have any theories about what’s to come? Let me hear it…


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