On The CW series Arrow, the theme of legacy is running strong and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is learning that there are times that his Mayor Queen persona can be just as valuable as that of the Green Arrow, when it comes to changing things in Star City. His goal is still making the city a better place and he has new team members that are really proving themselves, but the threat of Prometheus is still ever-present and must be dealt with.
Thankfully, executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle were recently available to chat with a handful of outlets about what’s to come, in this latter half of the season. During the interview, they talked about how the events of this last episode will affect Oliver’s approach to violence, how Rene’s backstory evolved, Dinah Drake’s place on Team Arrow, Felicity’s hacking, Susan’s suspicions, where Thea goes next, Vigilante, and the Prometheus reveal. Be aware that there are some major spoilers discussed.
Question: How will the events of this episode affect Oliver and the way he approaches violence, in the future?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: One of the things you’ll see in the second half of Season 5 is that the grey area becomes a lot more grey. We’re really delving into the complexities of Oliver being a killer, in a way that we’ve never done on the show before. There’s a lot more nuance. In the past, it was like, “I’m a killer,” or “I’m not a killer.” It was very binary. This season, it’s super grey and it’s really messy. This is a component of that. This is a piece of it, for sure. Wendy and I were just talking about a storyline that continues to make those waters muddier because it is a complex moral decision. Oliver killing is, in many ways, the seminal moral quandary of the show. That was something that spoke to us, as writers, and spoke to the audience, back in Season 1. This guy kills people. Part of the original pitch was, “At the end of Act 2, he’s going to break someone’s next.” One of the things that we’re doing in the back half of Season 5 is really getting underneath that and what that means, not just in terms of morality, but in terms of psychology, and specifically Oliver’s psychology. There are things about Oliver killing that you have yet to learn.
Oliver and all of Team Arrow are enacting vigilante justice, so will we see these new regulations come into conflict with what they’re doing?
GUGGENHEIM: Not the regulations, specifically, but in the very next episode, you’ll see Team Arrow come up against the police for a very different kind of thing.
WENDY MERICLE: Oliver’s decision to kill or not to kill has huge moral implications, not just for the team, but for the rest of the people who work with him. For the rest of the season, we’ll definitely be exploring the ramifications of that decision, not necessarily with respect to the gun control laws and what that means for the team when they’re out in the field, but definitely with respect to Felicity and, to some extent, Curtis, as well.
As Oliver keeps exploring what his legacy is, will we see him handle things more, as the mayor?
MERICLE: I think so. It’s different and the show has to evolve. I like that part of the episode, and I think Stephen’s performance was great, basically talking a guy off the ledge. He has this other place where he can do this, in his role as the mayor, and take that stand and have an impact. I don’t see why we wouldn’t go in that direction.
Oliver’s goal, from the beginning of Arrow, was to make Star City a better place, and as mayor, he’s had some opportunities to do just that. Will the city be in a better place, by the end of this season?
MERICLE: I think so.
GUGGENHEIM: One of the things we went into Season 5 with the mind-set of, Oliver is mayor, so without it turning into The West Wing, how do we find ways to have Oliver be active as mayor. To everyone’s surprise, he’s ended up being a good mayor. You’ll see in Episode 514, Thea is going to make a good case, to Oliver, of all people, for all of the things he’s accomplished as mayor. And he’s not done yet. We definitely went into the season with the goal of showing that Oliver is actually much better at this job than you might expect.
Were you aware of Rene’s backstory when you had him arrange for John Diggle to see his son, earlier this season?
MERICLE: We definitely talked about the tragedy with his daughter. We knew that, and that was part of setting that up and foreshadowing. He has a stake as a family man, and he understood that moment with John and what he was going through. But in terms of this particular storyline, no. We knew he had a family and that something tragic had happened, but not specifically what.
Will we see more of Rene’s backstory, this season?
GUGGENHEIM: We know, very specifically, what each episode’s flashback content will be, and we’re not going to see another Rene-centric flashback this season. Maybe Season 6. We have a lot of ground to cover still, with Russia.
Now that Dinah Drake is staying and putting down roots, how will her dynamic evolve with the team?
GUGGENHEIM: What’s interesting to us about Dinah is that she offers this fresh perspective to the team. In many ways, she’s almost acting like our Greek chorus. She comes to the team without the burden of having been trained by Oliver, or dealing with all of Oliver’s secret and, in some seasons, lies. She has a nice, clean perspective that isn’t so much about where she’s living, as it is about what she’s been through and her backstory. But her backstory is also not being someone who was a member of Team Arrow, who comes to the team without the baggage of the past four seasons.
Oliver doesn’t know yet that his girlfriend, Susan, is on to him. How will that affect their relationship, going forward?
GUGGENHEIM: I’ve been trying to avoid online, but it’s impossible to completely avoid stuff. It seems like the prevailing theories about how we’re going to play that subplot off are wrong. That’s my impression. Every is expecting something that we’re not doing, for better or for worse.
We’ve seen more glimpses into Felicity’s dark side of hacking. How deep will she continue to get into that?
MERICLE: We really started this season wanting to have her go through some version of her own island, in some ways. So, I would say it’s going to get very interesting and the team is going to definitely have very strong opinions about it. We really wanted to take her to a place where she would understand Oliver in a more profound way. Without giving too much away, that’s what I would say about her and Helix.
Where will Thea be going next?
MERICLE: She’s headed in a direction that’s very similar to where he mother was, before she was killed in Season 2. I’m actually really excited about the storyline because we’re taking her to a place where she’s been dealing with all of these issues with her bloodlust and other elements of her past, and this season is going to find her in a similar place, but for very different reasons. There’s a great scene coming up, between Oliver and Thea, that’s one of my favorites on the show.
GUGGENHEIM: There are some really terrific Oliver and Thea scenes in next week’s episode, and beyond. It’s been so much fun to have her in the mayor’s office. We’ve really been enjoying writing for that.