Priorities are about to shift on Arrow – and fast!
The CW’s comic-book drama airs its last original episode tonight before heading into a brief break, and boy, is it a doozy. (Mark our words: You’ll be talking about this one for a while.) Filled to the brim with tangled romances, surprising truth bombs and game-changing propositions, “Nanda Parbat” – marking the return of Nyssa and Ra’s al Ghul – is the ultimate winter capper. Oliver (and Diggle)’s mission: Travel to Nanda Parbat, land of Ra’s and the League of Assassins, to rescue Thea’s father Malcolm Merlyn.
“It’s designed to be this crazy cliffhanger with all this amazing stuff in it,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said of tonight’s episode. “Seeing what [Thea]’s willing to do and seeing what Oliver’s willing to do for her soul. … Seeing what happens to Malcolm after these episodes – it’s the most screwed-up family show we can possibly think of.”
It’s also the first moment we’ll see the Atom suit “in its full glory – and the first time Ray [Palmer] flies,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim reveals. “It’s a big moment for us because, aside from The Flash, we don’t traffic in these visuals. It was a big deal to get the character looking the way he does.”
If that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, Arrow star David Ramsey – the man behind fan fave Diggle – gives ETonline the scoop on what’s coming up!
In tonight’s episode, Diggle and Oliver go to Nanda Parbat to save Malcolm Merlyn – someone Dig isn’t fond of – from Ra’s. How does Diggle reconcile that?
Diggle is a very interesting character because he probably sees all the angles better than any other character. You’re absolutely right. That’s one way Diggle sees it – that this is a horrible man and maybe he deserves everything he’s getting. But at the same time, Oliver’s trying to save his sister Thea and if she loses her biological father and her mother, he sees that as a devastating blow that she can’t recover from and he’s partially responsible for that. Diggle buys into that because he’s always been about Oliver maintaining and developing his humanity. He sees Oliver on the quest to embrace that – he’s trying, he’s fighting.
What’s Diggle’s reaction to Ra’s?
Not as over-the-top as with The Flash!
Last week’s episode marked the first time we met Andy, Diggle’s younger brother, in the flesh! Will we see more of Andy in flashbacks moving forward?
You will. The writers have a tendency to let something linger out there and then five episodes later, they’ll jump back to that story. As you know, Andy Diggle was killed by Deadshot and the super-evil group H.I.V.E. From my understanding, that’s something the producers will get into next season; they’ll be one of the big baddies. You’ll see a good more of Andy Diggle in flashbacks and what exactly he was into, how he was related to H.I.V.E. and why Deadshot was hired to kill him.
Even though that scene between John and Andy was brief, it gave us a good idea of what their brotherly bond was like. Have you entertained what their sibling dynamic was back then?
What’s funny is that we talked about this more back during seasons one and two – back when Deadshot was really on Diggle’s most-wanted list. Andy was the one Diggle couldn’t save and part of Diggle’s attraction [to Oliver] is just that. He’s like a younger brother and hopefully he can save him. My guess is that Andy probably leaped before he looked a lot more – a lot like Oliver – and Diggle’s more cerebral, cautious.
When Oliver was away from Starling City, Team Arrow really came into its own. How has the team dynamic changed now that he is back and seeing that for himself?
I’m not going to speak too much for Oliver but judging by the upcoming episodes and the arc that the producers have [mapped out] in general, that’s something that Oliver deals with. What you found out with Oliver’s supposed death was that we really are in this crusade for ourselves as well. This is our crusade as much as Oliver’s. Even with that, it’s tough for Oliver to allow himself to get help, to allow himself to receive [help]. It’s hard for him to allow himself to be vulnerable to allow himself to get help. That’s going to be something that we’ll be dealing with throughout the season, particularly when we start dealing with Ra’s [al Ghul], who totally has Oliver’s number, and the League of Assassins, who is too big for him to handle by himself. Like with the Mirakuru soldiers, he’s going to have to rely on his team, probably more so with Ra’s. The Mirakuru soldiers had weaknesses, but Ra’s al Ghul doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses – he’s far more formidable a foe.
Is this where new superheroes start to come into play in saving Starling?
You’ll start to see other heroes take shape: the Atom, Canary, Diggle with A.R.G.U.S. and other allies for Starling City besides Oliver and the Arrow that can just as efficiently protect the city as he can.
Since Oliver’s been back, it seems like he’s in a weakened state. Is Diggle taking notice?
That he’s not at 100 percent? I think so. Even now, he’s realized that he hasn’t fully recovered, not just physically but also psychologically. There’s a great scene with Diggle and Oliver where Diggle says “I understand that this guy [Ra’s] took something from you that you didn’t think could be taken. And if it means losing your life, you have to find out if you can take it back.” Otherwise when Oliver’s jumping off those buildings, he’ll wonder if he has it in him to face whatever’s on the other side – he’ll keep second-guessing himself – and you can’t do that in the business he does.
How has Laurel’s addition to Team Arrow and decisions as Black Canary changed Diggle’s outlook on her as a person?
Everyone’s still reeling from Sara’s death and he’s learned to respect her grit and he respects her spirit. But he still recognizes that she still needs training, as everyone does. But she’s just not going to stop – kind of the same attitude Oliver had. He was going to do this crusade whether Diggle joined him or not. That’s the same attitude Laurel Lance has – she was going to do this whether we helped her or not. Diggle admires that to a great degree. She’s proving herself out in the field. She’s taken her [hits], and she’ll take more but Diggle respects that.
Diggle has continued to be a huge supporter of Oliver and Felicity as a romantic pair.
Part of the reason why Diggle wants Oliver to allow himself to express his feelings for Felicity is because that is one more step to him regaining and embracing his humanity.
Oliver’s going through quite a lot at the moment – he’s trying to save his sister, he’s training to beat Ra’s and there’s the Felicity situation. What’s one piece of advice Diggle can give Oliver for him to get to a better place?
There’s a moment when Oliver comes to the hospital [in the season three] episode ["The Calm"] after baby Sara is born, and there’s a look Stephen [Amell] gives that’s of longing. Like, he really does want that – a normal life. Diggle’s adjusted; he can be a vigilante and a husband and a father and eat a TV dinner at night and fight crime tomorrow. Oliver hasn’t made that jump yet. I don’t know if there’s any one thing Diggle can tell him. Diggle has said it all, and it’s a cumulative effort in forming this person that is Oliver Queen post-island. I think it’s Diggle’s presence. Oliver will come around and Diggle will be there to see it.
The fans dig Diggle and Felicity’s friendship. More moments between the two?
Those are nice, aren’t they? The writers have been playing with a lot of different combinations. I have a nice scene with [Katie Cassidy], and there are some nice scenes with Colton [Haynes]. You’ll be seeing more of Diggle and Felicity for sure.
What are you most looking forward to in tonight’s episode? Tell us your thoughts by tweeting Philiana Ng at @insidethetube, and don’t forget that #ETnow hashtag!
And don’t forget to come back after the East Coast airing for scoop on what’s coming up next for Oliver and Co. after tonight's episode!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.