John Diggle’s relationship with his brother Andy is taking center stage onArrow.
On tonight’s brand-new installment, titled “A.W.O.L.,” Arrow dives deep into Diggle and Andy’s relationship before things went downhill, flashing back to their time in Afghanistan and shedding light on why Diggle revered his younger brother. It’s a stark 180 from their ice-cold relationship in present-day Star City, one, we’ll come to find out, that just may be salvageable. After all, blood is thicker than water.
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Ahead of the big episode, Arrow star David Ramsey jumped on the phone with ETonline to talk all things Diggle, the significance of Felicity's injury on the team (spoiler: it won't be pretty!), the looming secret of Oliver's son and going up against King Shark in Central City.
There is a big change afoot for Team Arrow, especially with Felicity adjusting to life in a wheelchair. How is Diggle coping with their new reality?
Logistically, there will be some challenges because she’s meeting a personal challenge she’s never met before, and that will affect the team -- Diggle will feel some of that. I think for Diggle, the writers will explore some of this -- not so much in this episode, but in future episodes before the end of the season. He’s always been a protector, he’s always been protective of Oliver and that doesn’t just stem from the physical protection but also the emotional and psychological protection that he offers. We’ll see some of what he can offer to Felicity in terms of that. This will obviously rattle the whole team. His heart goes out to Felicity. As much as she’s not available to the team as much as she used to be, it’s much less of a logistical concern than it is an emotional concern.
One of my favorite friendships on TV is Diggle and Oliver’s bromance, and Diggle’s innate ability to give his pal the perfect piece of advice. Are there any words of wisdom that Oliver can use right about now?
I can tell you this, there are some words of wisdom that Diggle can and does offer to Oliver. But I can bet you good money that he won’t listen to it. (Laughs.) Oliver does his own thing, and I say that in jest to some degree because there is a great deal where he does listen to Diggle. It’s been a long road. But Diggle’s advice to Oliver on the challenge that he’s facing now with Felicity, I would think his advice would be, “You have to be there.” Even if that means letting us carry that out for half a day, you have to be there [for Felicity].
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As an observer, how does Diggle see Felicity's paralysis affect her relationship with Oliver and what does he do about it?
The reason why Diggle has been behind Oliver and Felicity, has been a cheerleader of it and has been a champion of it is because for him, part of his arc has been to help the hero, Oliver, accomplish his mission: ultimately, to be a well-adjusted human. Like the Bruce Wayne character, he’s almost beyond repair in terms of the damage that the island did to him. His advice to Oliver was, “Put the mission aside and give into the man, to the husband, to the lover and go be by her side.” That will be his advice to him, but I’m betting you good money he won’t listen.
There seems to be a step forward with Diggle and his brother Andy. How far will Diggle go to bring Andy back to before things went haywire?
We haven’t reached the limit when it comes to Diggle’s compassion for his brother yet, even though his trust has been severely challenged and damaged. When we met Diggle in season one, he had a huge backstory, in terms of what his brother’s death did to him emotionally, and so there’s a lot of love there -- tough love. We haven’t seen the extent of it yet. There is a lot of story left to be told. What I do like about this upcoming episode is we do get to see a different side of Andy where we’re really playing with the differences between Diggle and Andy, how they’re dramatically on two sides of the law, and their similarities.
In this episode, Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) also returns to the fold. Give us an idea of what we can expect.
Any time Amanda Waller shows up, it’s always great. The A.R.G.U.S. story is a great addendum to the A-story of Team Arrow. It’s a great distraction from that for a while. But yeah, Waller shows up and she’s very much involved with what Andy is involved with and what the brothers have both done in their past military lives.
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What is Diggle and Andy’s biggest challenge moving forward in order for them to get back to a good place?
I think that’s the goal. H.I.V.E. has something planned and Diggle’s approach has been to reach the Andy that he loved -- the human. He’s tried to dig through the dirt of Oliver to get to the heart, and it’s the same thing he’s trying to do with Andy. Hopefully they can make that repair before H.I.V.E. and Damien Darhk does what they plan to do with the city, but there’s a lot of story left. When I read the script for this episode, I thought Andy was going to be a H.I.V.E., brainwashed Damien Darhk stooge, but he ends up having a lot of colors that Diggle doesn’t know about and it ends up being a much richer story. I don’t know exactly where they’re taking Andy. He hasn’t approached his wife yet, his child; there’s a lot of story left to tell with Andy.
Oliver is hiding the fact that he has a son, William, though not by choice. How do you think Diggle will react if and when the truth comes out?
That reaction that you’re asking about, we just shot. I can tell you this -- without giving you too much, Diggle is the most mature and the most evolved character. He’s been married twice to the same woman, he’s been in the military, he’s been in civilian life, he’s been through wars, he’s seen death, so if anyone’s going to understand where Oliver is, it’s going to be Diggle. Diggle, for the most part, doesn’t have a visceral, emotional responses; he weighs what’s going on and then responds, so I think you’ll see a level-headed Diggle.
Lastly, you were recently on The Flash set filming a future episode, which will have Diggle facing off against King Shark. What can you tease about the crossover?
Yup, King Shark -- a 14-foot half man, half shark, yup, that’s Diggle. You know Diggle’s reaction to these supernatural things, he just doesn’t get it. Now, he has to chase a mutant shark -- I mean, give me a break! Any time Diggle gets thrust into metahuman, supernatural situations, it’s always funny because Diggle is a black-and-white type of guy, so this just isn’t his M.O. and there’s always humor in that type of encounter. He’ll also see Flash again, which he never gets used to and it's a lot of fun. The Flash, true to its form, will be fun and Diggle’s going to provide a lot of that fun. We’ll see the humorous side to Diggle again.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.