As Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) sets his sights on destroying Starling City in the Arrow finale, Oliver (Stephen Amell) faces the unenviable task of beating the man that nearly killed him. Will everyone come out of the Arrow finale alive? Spoiler alert: Nope! EW turned to executive producer Marc Guggenheim to get the scoop:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell us about the season finale?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: It’s really the culmination of everything that we’ve been doing all year long. There’s obviously a fair amount of cliffhangers from the penultimate episode that need to be resolved. There are a lot of legitimate questions that people have, probably starting with, “Does Team Arrow survive?” This is a somewhat different finale than years past because it’s got a lot more character going on in it. There are plenty of pyrotechnics and two really huge sequences—one on a plane and another on top of a dam. It’s got the production value of years past, but there are a lot more character moments woven throughout here than we’ve typically done in a finale.
Oliver was able to keep his cover by leaving his friends to die. We know they’re not actually going to die, but how will this betrayal affect Team Arrow? Can Diggle (David Ramsey) ever trust him again?
The short answer is no. This is something that we really tackle head-on in the season finale. I don’t want to spoil the endgame, but I will say that the idea that Oliver has chosen to trust Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) over Diggle and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and the fact that he kept Diggle and Felicity in the dark, we hit that issue straight on. The ramifications of those decisions are going to reverberate into season 4. This is not a situation that can be easily wrapped up with an exchange of I’m sorrys. This is something our characters will be dealing with well into season 4.
When Oliver goes up against Ra’s al Ghul, what has changed this time that affords him an actual chance to win?
He’s changed. This is something dealt with very directly in the finale. When he faced Ra’s before in episode 309, that was really a lifetime ago for Oliver. He’s gone through a great deal. In the season finale, we’ll find out that Oliver was willing to make a sacrifice that hopefully is a surprise to people how far he was willing to go and what he was willing to do in order to stop Ra’s. It’s only by virtue of recognizing what that sacrifice meant and being talked through it by someone that he realizes the key to beating Ra’s al Ghul.
How much of a role does Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) actually play in the season finale?
He plays a fairly pivotal role. Barry’s arrival is very key. The whole episode couldn’t happen without him.
Oliver is technically still married to Nyssa (Katrina Law), even though he was undercover. How does that dynamic play into the finale?
It actually prompts two of my favorite lines in the episode. Suffice it to say, Felicity has some nuggets to share. Either one is really my biggest swing into trying to get into the quotes page in Entertainment Weekly. [Laughs] I’m taking my best shot here.
What will we see for Laurel (Katie Cassidy) in the finale?
A really great and pivotal scene with her and Paul Blackthorne. The relationship between father and daughter has been really fraught since episode 313 when she told Lance about not just that Sara (Caity Lotz) died, but that she’s been keeping this a secret from Lance basically since episode 301. It’s definitely a complex relationship. In keeping with the emotional reality that we’re trying to play with Team Arrow and that fact that Oliver’s decisions don’t have easy and quick resolutions, the same is true with respect to the Lance family. This is something that’s also going to have repercussions. Not as big. We’re not just putting a tiny little bow on everything at the end of this episode. There’s still a level of complexity in all the emotional relationships on the show.
Even if Oliver is able to stop Ra’s and protect the city, Starling City believes the Arrow to be dead, so what does that mean for the future?
That’s a really good question. That’s the thing that hopefully people are realizing by now, which is there is no more Arrow identity, there’s no more lair. In many ways, it feels like this is the end of the show. In fact, on a lot of levels, this episode could function as a series finale, and I think it has that feel to it by the end. With that said, we’re already hard at work on season 4, so I know that there is more going on. People ask me if this episode is a cliffhanger. It really depends on your definition of cliffhanger. If your definition is, “How can the show continue after this episode?” Then yes, this episode definitely ends on a cliffhanger.
Will we get more hints about Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E. in the finale?
There’s definitely more coming. I don’t want to spoil too much about what happens with Damien Darhk. We’ve never teed up the big bad of the following year in a season finale the way we do in this episode.
What’s going on in the flashbacks during the finale?
There are some very emotional things going on in Hong Kong in the wake of Akio’s death. We resolve the cliffhanger from episode 22. We had left Oliver and the Yamishiros in a pretty vulnerable spot as far Shrieve (Marc Singer) and his men are concerned. My hope is that this takes you on a very clear emotional journey for Oliver and you understand what’s going on with him. It’ll give you an indication as to how we’re not going to be in Hong Kong next year.
What will we see for Thea (Willa Holland) in the finale? Any chance of seeing her in the costume Roy (Colton Haynes) left behind?
She’s going to turn that costume into a wallet. That’s good quality leather. [Laughs] It’s probably the least well-kept secret ever, but you’ll definitely get a sense as to what her trajectory is going forward past season 3. I also think you get a very clear end to the story between Malcolm and her. That’s obviously another plot line that has been running throughout the entire season. It comes to a pretty satisfying close.
Should we be expecting any deaths in the finale?
There will be one death in the finale. It will definitely stick.
Arrow’s season finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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