Arrow: The Cast Teases Oliver and Thea’s Reunion, Malcolm’s Manipulation & Laurel’s New Questby Clarissa / October 22, 2014
Tonight’s Arrow marks the first real appearance of Thea since the season began and, as it turns out, she’s been very busy since she stepped into Malcolm Merlyn’s limo and drove off with her biological father. During a recent visit to the set of Arrow, we spoke with stars Stephen Amell, Willa Holland and John Barrowman about Oliver’s quest to bring Thea home and the strange new father-daughter dynamics that have developed between Thea and Malcolm. In addition, Katie Cassidy gave us a peek at what’s next for Laurel in the wake of her sister’s death and Amell also talked about where Oliver and Felicity go from their aborted attempt at a relationship in the season premiere.
The Quest to Find Thea. “He knows very little about what she’s done other than she’s lied about where she is,” Amell explained. “We find out very early on in episode 3 that she’s been saying she’s in the Amalfi Coast and she’s not. And Oliver calls her on that immediately, but Oliver comes to the realization that the only way to bring her home — when it was lies that drove her away — is to tell her the truth. How much truth he has to tell her is one of the crucial points of the episode.”
A New Thea. “You guys saw a little bit of the place that Thea’s been, Corto Maltese,” Holland said, addressing the surprise reveal of a katana-wielding Thea at the end of episode 3.02. “She’s been there since she hopped into that limo with Malcolm. As you can see, he’s been putting her under his wing a little bit for the last five months. She’s been up to….not necessarily no good. She’s just been up to something a little bit different for Thea.”
How Much Truth Will Oliver Reveal to Thea? “He does definitely start to open up to her a little bit more because the main reason why she had to leave was just because of all of the lies and everything that she’s just been battling for the last two seasons,” Holland explained. “In all honesty, Malcolm, yes, he is who he is, but the one thing that he hadn’t done to Thea was lie about who he is. He’s very open and honest about it. I think that’s something very interesting about their relationship. But pertaining to Oliver and Thea, you’ll see in the next episode, he definitely tries to open up to her and be more honest with her. It may be in the way that we think, but it also might not be.”
Malcolm and Thea’s Relationship — Thea’s Perspective. “I think that there is weirdly some trust there between Thea and Malcolm because, obviously, they have this blood relation and Malcolm has proven that he wouldn’t want to put Thea into harm’s way really. He does actually care for her because he does know that she is his blood and the last living [family member] that he has right now. Knowing Malcolm’s past, it’s definitely hard for Thea to trust him, but I think over the last five months, she’s kind of gotten to known Malcolm in a different way than everybody else has seen him. They have a different type of relationship than you would expect from them off the bat,” Holland explained. “You’re going to see a very interesting father and daughter relationship. The Thea Queen and Malcolm Merlyn relationship is not going to be anywhere near normal, and I don’t think anybody would expect it to be. You’ll definitely see in the next episode, it’ll pretty much explain their relationship the way that it is right now in the next episode.”
Malcolm and Thea’s Relationship — Malcolm’s Perspective. “He’s happy that he is in control of the situation,” Barrowman said. “I’m not going to spoil anything that’s coming up but how he does control is pretty vicious. In the past, Malcolm has always used is money and power to manipulate people. The one thing he was never able to grasp was because he lost his wife, she was emotionally connected to changing the city. He lost Tommy who was emotionally connected to Laurel. He lost Moira because Moira emotionally connected to her children and she always sacrificed herself. So Malcolm has never been able to emotionally get to somebody. So I think that’s his question. To emotionally manipulate people now rather than, he still sues physicality, but it’s a new twist. It’s the most dysfunctional, brutal father daughter relationship. The type that you’re going to watch, when you watch on television, you’re going to look at it and you’re going to go I can’t really, this is too uncomfortable, but I really want to stay watching it because it’s like a car crash. It is. It’s going to be, but again he loves her, he really cares for her. It’s his daughter and he’s kept this secret for a long time and again manipulated somebody else with it, as you do. But I think there is a genuine love there and caring for her but he wants her to be strong. He wants her to be able to stand on her own two feet.”
What Could Pull Thea Back to Starling City? “I think the one thing that could always pull her back is Oliver and her love for him and that side of her family, as well as Roy,” Holland said. “She has a lot in Starling City, of course It’s her home. But right now, I don’t think she has anything in her mind to go back. I think she’s kind of found a new Thea Queen and is very happy with who she is at the moment.” As for Thea’s recently deceased relationship with Roy, Holland clarified that “There is always going to be a lot of love and a huge bond between Thea and Roy. They definitely shaped each other into the people that they are right now. I think they grounded each other in amazing ways and are very aware of that with each other’s relationship. I don’t think that they’re going to be rekindling any time soon, but there’s definitely always that hope in the future.”
What Are Thea’s Goals Right Now? “Thea’s goals are just to be whole again,” Holland said. “That’s something that she continuously has always tried to find, and I feel like the moment that she’s gotten to a good place, something just knocks her back down again. She’s just kind of in a place where she doesn’t ever want to be hurt. She won’t really let anybody hurt her. So she’s in more of a stronger place with herself. But out of life, I think she might be a little torn and a bit lost at the moment with that, trying to figure that one out, having those whole Malcolm Merlyn discovery and now having this new relationship with him and not being in Starling City. There’s definitely a lot of things that are up in the air for her at the moment. She’s one of those people that are right now taking everything day by day.”
Roy and Oliver’s Budding Partnership. “In the early going this year — and we see it in episode 3 and certainly into episode 6, that’s a really cool Oliver/Roy episode — I’ve enjoyed their dynamic as much as I’ve enjoyed anything on the show this year,” Amell said. “And I wanted to make sure — and we wanted to make sure — that we fleshed out what’s happened over these last five months. A lot of water has been slapped over these five months, but at the same time, I saw a comment the other day that ‘Oliver spent five years on an island to hone his archery skills and now Roy is in the same spot.’ That’s not necessarily true. We see real differences in skills and style when they’re in the field together this year. So they are partners but they are certainly not the same character.”
Felicity’s New Job and Awkwardness with Oliver. Felicity agreed to work for Ray Palmer over at Queen Consolidated, but this twist won’t be kept from Oliver. “[Oliver] knows [about her job],” Amell said. “She announces it at the beginning of episode 3 that she has to go work at Queen Consolidated. Oliver pauses for a second then keeps going and changes the subject. [On this show] I’ve always strived for, on the show, making sure relationships are adult relationships. You can kiss someone and you can profess something to them but that doesn’t mean you avoid eye contact with them. There is a bigger goal and a much bigger circumstance in play, so I’m sure things are awkward but they’ve got work to do.”
Diggle Back on Team Arrow. “He’s on borrowed time a little bit,” Amell explained about Diggle’s decision to rejoin the team at the end of the last episode. “I think he respected what Oliver said during 3.01, once he saw Baby Sara. We haven’t really dealt with the repercussions of him being back on the team yet, because we haven’t caught the person that’s killed Canary, so until that happens, we need to put all those dynamics on hold. It’s very much status quo. Although this coming episode is very fun, a little bit similar to 2.06 last year when we went to Russia. It’s a boy’s trip. You know? Going off. Finding Thea. Fun dynamics.”
Laurel’s New Trainer. “Laurel trains with [newcomer] Ted Grant,” Cassidy said. “If you look back at, obviously, the comics, Wildcat trains Laurel – Dinah Lance – Black Canary. Whether that actually happens, I don’t know that aspect of it. But yes. Laurel does get involved with boxing.”
Keeping Secrets from Lance. Laurel has opted not to tell her father about Sara’s death, and while Oliver wasn’t happy about it, Amell says that he plans on respecting Laurel’s wishes. “As the Arrow, we played it a little bit in the second episode of him being worried. There’s only so much you can do with a voice modulator when you’re getting information quickly. Oliver’s not happy about it. That being said, much the same way that Oliver stood here while Diggle flailed his arms at him and said ‘This is my decision, this is not yours,’ it is Laurel’s decision, it is not Oliver’s. And he’s not gonna step out on that. He has the ability to disagree without taking matters into his own hands. He’s certainly not happy about it. I think there’s quite a respect between Oliver and Mr. Lance.” Cassidy admitted that “[the choice not to tell her father is] definitely weighing on her. I mean, I think throughout these episodes, you can feel that, and you can see that, and she is struggling, but whether she does decide to tell him or not, you have to watch season 3. Continue watching. But she does definitely continue to get stronger. You feel that internal struggle, that she’s not really sure – she doesn’t know what to do.”
Tension Between Laurel and Oliver. “The dynamic has been very adversarial, actually,” Amell said. “What she wants and what he’s prepared to reciprocate are at odds with one another and that carries through certainly the fall run of the show.” Cassidy explained that “Oliver isn’t necessarily very supportive of Laurel. Laurel, she is very…she’s obviously angry and lashing out, and she wants to find out who did this to her sister, and I don’t necessarily think that Oliver is too supportive of that. But, having said that, Laurel is very strong, and I think that she stands for what she believes in, and she’s a warrior. She’s a survivor. And I think hopefully, she will be able to prove it to him, and I think hopefully, he will be on her side, and support her, but who knows.”
Don’t miss an all new episode of Arrow tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.