ARROW Post-Mortem: Marc Guggenheim on the Premiere Shocker that Will Serve as 'The Engine That's Driving the Whole Third Season' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

ARROW Post-Mortem: Marc Guggenheim on the Premiere Shocker that Will Serve as ‘The Engine That’s Driving the Whole Third Season’

October 8, 2014 by  


[Massive spoiler warning: if you have not see ARROW’s season 3 premiere, “The Calm,” go watch it ASAP. This post has massive spoilers for the hour and shouldn’t be read before you watch the episode.]

ARROW kicked off its third season with one heck of a shocker — after Sara returned to town to help Oliver (and had a lovely chat with her sister, Laurel), she was killed by an unknown assailant.

“It was hard,” ARROW executive producer Marc Guggenheim acknowledged to reporters, about the decision to kill off the youngest Lance sister. “Every time we kill off a character on the show, it’s always incredibly hard. We’re not GAME OF THRONES. We’re not SONS OF ANARCHY. It’s really, really, really difficult. We’re very lucky. Our cast and our guest cast are always wonderful people…We don’t screen people for their personality, but we have this great group and a really wonderfully welcoming cast, and Caity Lotz (Sara) completely fit into that family. So it’s always really hard to kill of someone who you just really enjoy working with and you really love writing for and love seeing on the screen. But as with Tommy’s death, as with Moira’s death, the story implications for this development are so far-reaching for the show and affect all of the characters. We always call it…the terrible story math. It kicks off, obviously, a mystery that will drive us for at least the first half of the year. It will set Laurel on a trajectory that she’s never had before on the show. It will create all these other complications and dynamics that I can’t talk about because it would spoil stuff. It buys us a lot of story, and it speaks to all the things that we wanted to do this year in terms of Laurel’s character, in terms of Oliver’s character, in terms of Felicity’s character. It’s always a hard thing to do, but it is really the engine that’s driving the whole third season.”

And while ARROW has been no stranger to killing off characters, this will serve as the first time the ramifications of the death will really play out on-screen.

“When we killed off Tommy in [episode] 1×23, we went to a season finale end and a hiatus,” Guggenheim pointed out. “So we never really dealt with the repercussions of his death. With [episode] 2×21, after Moira’s death, we sort of dealt with the repercussions of that by taking Oliver out of the show, essentially, for an act. This episode is sort of the first time we’ve actually really taken our time and really spent time with these characters in the wake of a major character’s death. As a result, I wouldn’t call [next week’s hour, ‘Sara’] a departure episode, but it’s definitely an episode with a different spin to it, for sure.”

As for where the show goes next week, well…expect some pain.

“[Episode] 3×02 is probably our most emotionally gut-wrenching episode – as it needs to be, as it should be because this character’s death affects all of the characters on the show,” Guggenheim teased. “It’s kind of brutal. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but we chose the title ‘Sara’ because it has a double meaning. I really don’t want to say more than that, but it does have a double meaning.”

“It’s harsh,” he continued. “There’s the question of what should be done with Sara’s body. There’s the question of, who do they tell? Do they tell Lance, for example, that his daughter died a second time? There’s the emotional repercussions for everybody, but it definitely has repercussions for Oliver and Felicity. And it has repercussions for Felicity and Ray Palmer. And obviously, for Laurel. Laurel’s very much at the center of that episode. We’re also going to turn to a suspect in the killing. With us, you never how soon things will get resolved or in what way they’ll get resolved. I have to say, I think it’s one of our best episodes. I’m really, really happy with it because everything is laid bare and it’s all out there. Everyone’s raw and naked. It was a really hard episode for the cast to shoot, particularly Emily [Bett Rickards (Felicity)], Stephen [Amell (Oliver)], and Katie [Cassidy (Laurel)]. And Caity Lotz, who, basically, has to lie on a slab and not breathe and actually does a very, very compelling job of being dead. It’s really, really powerful stuff. It’s a hard episode to watch. If you’re prone to tears or capable of crying during watching a TV show, you’ll probably be crying during this one.”

In the center of some of the episode’s highly emotional moments will be Oliver and Laurel, who will fight — and bond — in light of Sara’s death.

“I think Sara’s death probably pulls them closer together than pulls them apart,” Guggenheim said. “That’s not to say there’s not significant moments of conflict between them, also. That’s one of the reasons we killed Sara off: the amount of story and richness that we get out of it. There’s a scene in episode 2 where [Oliver and Laurel are] going at it and can’t stand each other. And there’s also a scene in episode 2 where they’re the closest they’ve ever been. And that’s all in the same episode. And it doesn’t feel schizophrenic, it doesn’t feel inconsistent. Every moment feels earned, because of the emotional roller coaster these people are on.”

Not quite ready to say goodbye to Lotz’ Sara? The good news is she will pop up in at least once more after next week’s swan song for Sara.

“You’re going to see her in the next episode, and then you’re going to see her in at least a third episode,” Guggenheim previewed. “And the truth is we have stories that involve Caity Lotz. One of the beautiful parts of the show is we do flashbacks. We still want to tell the story of what happened when Sara washed up on the shores of Lian Yu, after the events of 2×23, the sinking of The Amazo, and how she met Nyssa and how she joined the League of Assassins. There’s still a lot of story left to be told with Sara. But we did make a contract with Caity for three episodes…you certainly haven’t seen the last of her.”

Were you shocked by Sara’s death? And do you have a theory about who did it? (Ra’s al Ghul is probably way too easy, right?)

ARROW airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on The CW.


ARROW Season 3 Poster
ARROW: Matt Nable Joins as Ra’s al Ghul
ARROW Season 3 Premiere: ‘The Calm’ Photos

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2 Responses to “ARROW Post-Mortem: Marc Guggenheim on the Premiere Shocker that Will Serve as ‘The Engine That’s Driving the Whole Third Season’”

  1. Kate on October 8th, 2014 9:46 pm

    This may be the stupidest move a show-runner has ever done, and I’ve seen a lot of stupid moves.

    It may drive the storylines of season three of the show, but it will also solidify anyone who was already iffy about Laurel into hatred of the character.

    All the good stuff that went before this — the date, Diggle’s baby, Roy in the field, Ray Palmer taking QC — all that worked in the episode went poof! as yet another popular character gets killed off so Laurel can be anointed Black Canary.

    Stupid, stupid move.

  2. Olivia on October 9th, 2014 12:44 pm

    Unless they “fix” this (Lazarus pit? But it seems unlikely), then these people are just lazy writers/creators who just accidentally struck gold in a character that made such a presence.
    Why even make her go through a hero journey only to make her be happy to return to the league – WTF? – and then sacrifice her unceremoniously as a plot device?
    Arrow is a very enjoyable show on the surface. Go all deep about the writing, and dare to love a secondary character, and you have one less show to feel excited about every week.