The last new episode of Arrow ended with two major shockers as Tommy learned about his best bud's penchant for hoods and Dinah Lance returned to Starling City with the mother (or, sister) of all secrets!
VIDEO - Stephen Amell Twists Comic Book Expectations
To help make sense of it all, and find out what lies ahead, ETonline hit up the Arrow panel at the Paley Center for Media's PaleyFest on March 10 to chat with the stars and producers about the final chapter in their thrilling first season.
Oliver's Under The (Tommy) Gun
"Oliver had absolutely no intention of ever telling Tommy his secret, Stephen Amell told me. "The danger is now very real for Oliver. Ultimately, for Oliver, it all kind of begins and ends with Laurel and he had a nice buffer up until now. Diggle and Felicity have no reason to tell Laurel the secret, but Tommy can just turn to her at any point and say, 'Oliver is the vigilante.' From this point forward, that's hanging over his head at all times."
Telling Tommy also has unintended ramifications in Oliver's relationship with Diggle. "He's absolutely threatened by Tommy knowing," David Ramsey tells me. "That leads to a major rift between Oliver and Diggle, who has always maintained that there are lots of ways to save Starling City, but all of them involve being as covert as possible. But Oliver hasn't been as covert as he should be about keeping his identity secret. Not only is Oliver threatening his own life, but also Diggle's and there's eventually an ultimatum given. But through that process, these two men grow into heroes. And that's what this first season is all about: the creation of a superhero."
With the cliffhanger reveal that Laurel's presumed dead sister Sarah could be alive, all eyes are on the newly returned Dinah Lance when the action resumes. "Laurel can't wrap her head around what her mother is saying," Katie Cassidy tells me. "She just thinks it's insane, which only messes her up more." And how does Oliver react to the news his former fling might not have drowned? "Laurel actually brings it up to Oliver kind of casually, but he's positive Sarah is not alive," Amell says, before quickly adding, "but he's been wrong before."
So what's the real deal behind this storyline? Executive producer Marc Guggenheim explains, "In episode 17 you find out that Dinah assumes because Oliver survived in an area where there are so many other islands, that maybe Sarah did too. What's great about the story is it almost has nothing to do with The Vigilante, it's a pure family story that's really about survivor's guilt and being unable to accept the truth. For Laurel and her father, when this tragedy happened, they didn't come together, they fell apart. And if this whole season has been about people healing, this is The Lance family's chance to recover from a tragedy most families can not come back from." Although Cassidy hints that Dinah may keep opening the wound. "Her mother has more information than we think. There are lots of twists and turns and shocking reveals. It gets pretty crazy."
Insane is As Insane Does
One thing revealed in an amazing Arrow sizzle reel is that Vertigo (played by Seth Gabel) returns in an upcoming episode, which reinforces how important The Glades are to this final string of episodes. "Ultimately the whole first season is about Starling City, specifically the state of The Glades," Amell says. "That's going to come into laser focus soon. If the first season is Batman Begins, we need to make the second season The Dark Knight, which means the scope needs to be bigger, but it also needs to be a more personal story."
More Familiar Faces
In addition to Vertigo, The Huntress returns in this Wednesday's episode, which "twists things in a whole new way," according to EP Greg Berlanti. "One thing we like to do on the show is get ready for a takeoff, but then something jettisons in from the side and in the case of the next episode, that's The Huntress. The final stretch of episodes is like the third act in a film. A lot of things we set up in the winter episodes come into focus in unexpected ways."
Arrow returns March 20 at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.