In last week’s episode “Streets of Fire,” Starling City was literally under siege by Slade Wilson’s (Manu Bennett) Mirakuru Army. The chaos and disorder was just the beginning. Anyone and everyone was a target. It did not matter who it was. The Mirakuru infected were no longer men with the ability to reason. They just murdered everyone who happened to be in their path. Starling City’s newest mayor Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) was not even safe as he took a sword to the chest by Ravager aka Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) — as if we could even call her human anymore. The District Attorney was added to the body of the fallen before anyone could blink. Slade’s humanity is highly in doubt as he merely laughed with maniacal glee at the death and destruction his army was raining down upon the city that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) held so dear.
As also seen, everyone of Oliver’s team and those who align with him are targets. Having already taken the life of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Slade has vowed to take at least one more life — the second person Oliver holds most dear. Given that Slade had dispatched one of his nameless/faceless men to hunt down Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and another to the police precinct where Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and her father Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) were holed up, that only leaves two possible candidates of who is the person Oliver holds most dear: Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Just who will be the lucky lady? That is what everyone is holding their breaths over for this week’s momentous Season 2 finale.
In a recent exclusive interview, executive producer Marc Guggenheim talked about what tense alliances lie ahead in the finale and whether Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) will rise from the dead one last time to take a stand to protect his daughter, Thea.
This week’s episode is called “Unthinkable.” What was the thought process behind naming this episode with that ominous title?
MARC: We’d actually kicked around a bunch of different titles. Originally, a couple of titles were cool, but they didn’t really speak to the theme of the episode. Last year we called the finale “Sacrifice” because the theme of the episode was sacrifice. And just in working out the beats of the finale in the writers’ room, the word that kept coming up repeatedly was “unthinkable” — the things that were happening were unthinkable; the things that Oliver would be forced to do would be unthinkable; and the more that word came up the more obvious it became to us that it should be the title of the episode because it really encapsulates a lot of different things that are going on. I think the best titles work on several different levels.
It sends chills down our spines, which is probably what you hoped would happen.
MARC: (Laughs) That may be just a happy coincidence.
So is this going to be a cliffhanger ending, or will fans feel like they can breath a little bit at the end?
MARC: It’s a different kind of ending than the Season 1 finale, where the Season 1 finale ended and there were no codas. There were no epilogues. In this episode, we do have a nice group of codas that sort of tie a ribbon around the entire season. We didn’t want to just repeat ourselves. We wanted to a different kind of season finale than we did last year. That said, there are a few cliffhangers. There is one genuine cliffhanger and then there is a variety of other moments that hopefully will make you want to come back for Season 3.
Last year the show killed off a primary character in the finale. It scares everybody to death that the show is willing to go there. Should fans be worried this year about that kind of thing happening again?
MARC: It’s funny. On the one hand, you’d think, “Well, they’ve already killed off one of their characters earlier this year. They’d never go there in the finale.” And one of the things we pride ourselves on is that we like to do all sorts of things that people would have never expected us to do. I obviously don’t want to spoil one way or the other. The one thing I can say is my hope is that a finale such as ours doesn’t rise or fall simply on whether or not a given character is going to die. For example, my hope is that the Season 1 finale was already great for the first 40 minutes ’til you got to the last 2 minutes where Tommy (Colin Donnell) died. But I certainly wouldn’t want to disabuse anyone of the tension that not everyone could be walking out of Season 2.
After killing of Moira not too long ago, ARROW is a bit unpredictable that way.
MARC: Good. I’m glad. We want it to be unpredictable. We want people to be surprised at the places we are willing to go. We want people to be surprised about the plot twists that we are willing to do. And people to be surprised by how quickly we are willing to blow up certain things.
With the preview promotional photos out there — it’s a big spoiler showing the Dark Archer, Oliver, Roy (Colton Haynes), Sara, and Nyssa (Katrina Law) — is that an alliance? Some of these people have a hard time trusting each other.
MARC: It’s funny, that image was something we were building up the entire year. It was something that we had planned out at the very beginning of the season. It was almost literally a year ago where we started talking about the Season 2 finale in broad strokes and we knew we wanted to end with these disparate groups sort of all joining up together. There definitely are huge consequences to this alliance, or at least one huge consequence to this alliance. I don’t want to spoil, but there is no such thing as a free lunch and Oliver & Co. are going to discover that there is a cost to this alliance that they are making.
It is an incredible surprise to see Malcolm Merlyn as the Dark Archer included. I would have thought nobody wants to work with that man. But he’s right there. So it makes you wonder, “What’s the motive there?” You probably can’t tell us, but it is still very interesting.
MARC: I will say this, in that image there are quite a few Dark Archers in that shot. I’ll leave you with just that observation.
Assuming Malcolm is coming back and didn’t die with two bullets in his chest in last week’s episode, is he genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf for Thea to be her father, or does he have some other plan going on?
MARC: What’s cool about Malcolm, assuming of course that he’s not dead, is that the thing about Merlyn that we have been really consistent about is that he does terrible things for what he considers to be very noble reasons. For us, that’s what makes Malcolm such a complex character. He is not a guy who just does evil or just does good or turns over a new leaf. He has a very complicated moral system. In the event he does survive, that is not likely to change anytime soon.
So he will show his true colors eventually then?
MARC: Yeah, he’s tricky like that.
Where is Thea in all this? Everyone else is obviously banding together for the big fight, but where is Thea going to be during all the action?
MARC: Thea is really struggling with everything that’s happened this year — the loss of Moira, the sudden reappearance of her father, the loss of Roy — and in the finale, Thea will make a pretty big decision that stems from this sort of season long series of difficulties that she’s had. Actually, the way she ends in the finale is exactly what we had planned a year ago. We had specifically pitched what happens with her to the studio and the network, and we’ve actually been building up to it the entire season for this one moment.
To find out if Malcolm does indeed rise from the dead one more time and what the big moment is for Thea at the end of the Season 2 finale, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of ARROW on Wednesday, May 14th at 8:00 p.m. on the CW. This war will have an ending, but not without some dire casualties. Pray for our heroes, that may be the only thing that is left to help them.