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Now that Oliver has returned from the dead, Arrow‘s emerald archer will come to a starling realization: He’s actually no longer the boss of Team Arrow.

As the group comes into their own, Oliver (Stephen Amell) will face new challenges with the way things are run—though he will decidedly make a few decisions of his own, like letting someone new in on his secret. While Marc Guggenheim is shy to confirm exactly who will join the inner circle—there’s video proof below—the executive producer did provide scoop on Oliver’s Black Canary conundrum, returning villains, and the future of Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).

Now that Oliver is back, how does that change Team Arrow? The logline for the episode says he’s no longer calling the shots, so how does he feel about that?

MARC GUGGENHEIM: Not well. This is very much the subject of “Canaries.” Over the course of episodes 10, 11, and 12, the team had to basically change the crusade to operate without Oliver. Oliver is going to discover that the machinery that he’s built went on without him; it doesn’t turn back, it doesn’t have a reverse gear. Oliver is going to have to figure out much of what the team had to figure out, which is how to proceed in a brave new world. That’s very tricky and interesting because it puts people like Felicity, Roy (Colton Haynes), and Diggle (David Ramsey) in a position where they’re acting less like employees and more like partners.

Oliver is not a fan of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) being Black Canary, so what is he dealing with there?

If the premise of the episode is how Oliver deals with the new team dynamic post-his return, that issue really gets joined in the form of Laurel. Over the course of episodes 10, 11, and 12, she eventually won over every member of the team. They’re basically supporting Laurel’s journey to becoming the Black Canary in a time when Oliver is incredibly against it. I don’t want to spoil the end of the episode, but Oliver’s reaction to not just Laurel being the Black Canary, but his team’s apparent support of that makes up a bulk of his story arc for episode 13.

We will see Sara (Caity Lotz) back in this episode as Laurel is dosed with Vertigo and imagines fighting her sister. But will we ever get to see Sara back in the flesh, possibly to tell the story of her time on Nanda Parbat?

The hope is yes. That’s a story that we’ve been dying to tell. We really, really want it. I put it under the category of Felicity’s parents. We’ve always had this backstory for Felicity and we’ve always wanted to do it. It’s funny how even when you’re doing 23 episodes a year, things don’t time out necessarily how you’d like to, but that’s definitely on our bucket list of stories to tell. We have a lot of great things planned for Caity that we just didn’t have time to do in episode 13.

Lance (Paul Blackthorne) got his first hint that Sara is not actually the Black Canary. Can you give any hints as to how he’ll feel when he finds out the truth?

Given the show’s dynamic of characters keeping those secrets, those secrets eventually coming to light and the characters who kept them having to deal with the consequences of their actions, I don’t think it’s spoilery to say that, at some point this year, Lance is going to find out the truth and he’ll have an appropriate reaction to the fact that this information was kept secret from him. I never like to say when these things are going to happen, but I’m definitely aware of the growing chorus of voices who are saying, “Wow, Lance better find out soon or there’s really going to be hell to pay.” I can pretty much guarantee that when Lance does find out, there will be very big hell to pay.

Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) is still coming after Malcolm (John Barrowman) and Thea (Willa Holland). Can Oliver protect them?

Ra’s is a pretty tough guy and he’s got a lot of resources at his disposal. It’s going to be very, very interesting. The season is really going to take a few hard left turns before it’s over. It’s not just things people are not expecting—I think the reason people are not expecting them is really no showrunners in their right mind would do half the things we’re going to be doing. That said, I’m probably more excited about the episodes from 13-23, these last 10 episodes, than of any 10 episodes of the show we’ve ever done. It’s some very, very big, exciting things that really no one is going to see coming.

What does Oliver’s training with Malcolm look like?

That’s a lot of fun. That’s a dynamic that we will get to see really in full in episode 15. It’s something that we set up in episode 12, and it will absolutely get its due. People are going to have to wait a little bit for reasons that will become clear when they watch 13 and 14. It’s a lot of fun to see that dynamic, particularly since it also involves Thea as well.

What can you tease for Oliver going up against Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) on Lian Yu?

It feels like a coda to season two. It’s not just the final battle, but the final interactions between Oliver and Slade that we didn’t have the screen time to do at the end of season 2 because you’re racing to the end of the season. It’s nice to be able to write a little bit of an epilogue for these two characters. It’s not to say it’s the last time we’ll ever see Slade again, but certainly the story of Oliver versus Slade, the revenge for Shado’s death, that’s the kind of stuff this puts a nice capstone on. When we see Slade again, he’ll be in a different headspace. We’ll take his character in a new and different direction.

It looks like Thea finds out about Roy being Arsenal. Will she also learn Oliver’s big secret?

The answer to that really depends on whether or not you watch Canadian television. I’m not going to compound it by confirming that here, but the internet is a big place, so I’ll just leave it at that. [Ed. note: Watch the Canadian promo for this week’s episode of Arrow, which reveals some major spoilers.]

Felicity essentially pushed Oliver out of her life romantically, though they’ll still be working together. How will that work out?

That’s the thing: How do they work together despite these real significant romantic setbacks that they’ve had? How does Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) complicate that? It’s going to be some interesting times for Oliver and Felicity both as friends, former romantic interests and co-workers. It’s an opportunity to move their relationship—lowercase r—into some new territory and get some scenes between Oliver and Felicity that are different than the ones we’ve seen on the show to date.

Stay tuned for more Arrow scoop in this week’s Spoiler Room.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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