Who betrayed Oliver?
That’s the pressing question in Arrow‘s midseason finale, because someone on Team Arrow has come forward as a witness to testify against Oliver (Stephen Amell), who is being investigated by the FBI. As Rick Gonzalez recently told EW, everyone on the team is a suspect because they all have something Watson could use as leverage against them. For example, Rene is still trying to regain custody of his daughter Zoey. Whomever the traitor is, we know that his or her unmasking will have a profound effect on the team and show going forward.
To help prepare you for this eventful midseason finale, EW hopped on the phone with Gonzalez to talk about this new mystery, Oliver and Felicity’s wedding, and more. Gonzalez also commented on Arrowverse executive producer Andrew Kreisberg’s recent firing. Read on below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can we expect from the midseason finale?
RICK GONZALEZ: The crux of the episode will be Oliver finding out that someone on the team has basically [betrayed] him. Someone on the team has given up information on Oliver for the investigation. That will kind of shift the balance and rock the foundation of the group, of the entire show, in terms of where this team is, how Oliver feels about this team, everything that they’ve gone through, and how that’s going to change things moving forward. I think this episode is going to be the beginning of a paradigm shift in terms of how we’re going to set up the rest of the season. There will also be revelations that are going to affect our trajectory and our journey in terms of handling our villains of the season. So, this story line and what’s happening here with Oliver being under investigation and him possibly losing his ability to be the Green Arrow will change a lot of things.
When I watched the promo for the episode, my first suspect was Rene because you can definitely imagine Agent Watson (Sydell Noel) offering to help him get his daughter back if he cooperates with her investigation.
Absolutely, I think there’s the potential for someone of the agent’s caliber to have the ability to control that scenario that means so much to Rene. So, him wanting to have custody of his daughter is absolutely a perfect, viable avenue for him to kind of want his footing and to hold onto it. It all depends on Rene’s perspective: Does he value the integrity and the loyalty of the team, or does he care more about getting Zoey back and protecting that and honoring the promise he made to her? If you look at it from other perspectives, there’s things, I’m sure, Agent Watson [could go] after the Black Canary [Juliana Harkavy] or Mr. Terrific [Echo Kellum] for. I think we’re all pretty vulnerable in certain ways that can be leveraged. From the perspective of Wild Dog, I totally see the possibility that his daughter is a sore spot for him to be taken advantage of, but I think we also have to understand who Rene is. We’ve established someone who is street savvy, but also [has a] military background, has built a lot of loyalty, is a person full of integrity, and he wants to protect his friends and be a team player.
Speaking of the relationships Rene has built since joining the team: The logline of the episode also teases that Black Siren kidnaps Quentin, a.k.a. the person to whom Rene is the closest. How does Rene deal with this situation?
I think that’s something that lends itself, again, to who Rene is. He’s someone who cares about his friends, so it’s going to be personal for him. It’s going to be something where he needs to act upon these things because he cares about protecting his friends, he cares about being loyal. I worry about the person who stands in the way of Wild Dog and the people he cares about. He’s just that kind of character. That’s why I love playing him. He has so much savagery when he goes out into the field as a team member, but at the same time, he does have a lot of heart, a lot of vulnerability, and there is something inside of him that wants to connect and to love. So, when it comes to anyone, especially someone like Quentin Lance, that hits home.
At this point, everyone on the team has a nemesis: Dinah has Vigilante and Black Siren; Felicity has Cayden James. Who is Wild Dog’s arch-nemesis, or will we see him get one this season?
Without giving away too much, I think we all do have a nemesis, but not in the way that you would think it is in terms of “Okay, his nemesis is a bad guy.” Last season would about legacy, and this season is about family. I think what we’re trying to tackle in the 23 episodes of this season is the theme of family and how we can shift that, rock that, create a story line from beginning, middle, and end that kind of rotates the idea of what family feels like, all the struggles a family can go through, especially in this universe. So, I think in understanding that theme and what we’re trying to build this season, it’s more about how we approach the hostility in terms of being in a family, how we approach the hostility with people we know very well, that we love and that we care about. Not to get cliché or sappy about it, but I think that’s a natural progression. When you look at a really good basketball team that wins a championship, I think the biggest hurdle for them once they win it all is: Can they continue to function as a unit? Can they continue to communicate and be a team that cares about each other so that way they can continue to win? We’ve seen that in other championship teams where they dismantle as winning it all because the relationship isn’t as strong as it should’ve been.
What can we expect from Oliver and Felicity’s wedding in the episode?
I think you can expect the warm fuzzies, the love that they have for each other. I think one of the most iconic things about Arrow is that organically, Felicity Smoak, a really smart, techy, nerdy, cute girl who was just there to help Oliver find out some information, all of a sudden became the love of his life. I think that was a surprise to the writers. I think it’s also kudos to Emily Bett Rickards, who took a small character and made it amazing. I think she’s just an amazing actress. Every day when I see her work and the stuff that she creates with this character, she just makes it look so effortless — just the small quirks and the love that she displays for Oliver. I think what we can anticipate is [the culmination] of that relationship and seeing how much they care about each other. So, I think ultimately, that’s the important thing there, in terms of the writers showing the amazing and organic chemistry that Felicity and Oliver have and how well it works. I think she’s an amazing character to the universe because she’s just as important as Oliver to the team, the city.
On another note — EP Andrew Kreisberg was recently fired from WB after multiple allegations of sexual harassment [which he has denied] came to light. I know he wasn’t as involved with Arrow as some of the other shows, but how did you and the cast react when you first found out about the allegations and his subsequent firing?
I think it’s an unfortunate situation that happened. First and foremost, I want to say my heart goes out to any women who have gone through sexual harassment. I’m an advocate of women. I think women are special creatures and beings and people we should respect and love and laud and uphold. I don’t have much to say about the situation. I didn’t really know Andrew, so there’s not much I can say about it, except that I think it’s unfortunate that this situation came out and it’s out there. But I love women and women are so important in this world, and I think it’s important for us to protect them and respect their feelings and what they go through and to uphold who they are, and I champion women.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.