Arrow Post Mortem: Grant Gustin, Producers Talk Masks, Ollicity & More!

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So much came to pass in these last two episodes Arrow that we’ll have plenty to chew on until the series returns on January 15.

After an early screening of Arrow Season 2 Episode 9, the producers – Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns – along with star Grant Gustin fielded questions about The Flash, Slade being alive, Roy’s journey, the debut of the Arrow’s mask and more.

Scroll down for some serious scoop and consider yourself spoiler warned...

Barry Helps Ollie

Olicity? While there is a definite fan base wanting Oliver and Felicity to hook up, their romance – if it ever happens – is going to be as complicated as anything else on Arrow. “Oliver isn't quite sure what he feels,” Kreisberg said. “He knows he feels something for her but can't quite define it. And I think he's sort of surprised in this episode when Dig points out to him that what you're feeling right now might actually be termed jealousy.’”

Felicity’s take on their attraction is a little different. “I think she doesn't want to like Oliver in a way. You know, she finds him unattainable. And in a way, he is unattainable. Especially after you saw after episode six when he sort of said that it's probably better that I'm not with someone I care about.”

The producer added that we’ll see in the first episode back in 2014 just what kind of affect Barry’s presence has had on the Ollie/Felicity relationship.

‘The Perfect Flash.’ “He's earnest,” explained Johns. “Grant, as an actor, has brought more to Barry Allen than I think we've seen before especially seeing him in the days of when he's taking his first steps. But he's got that heart, he's humor, he's got compassion. Barry was always that nice guy. He's the guy that stops and makes sure everyone's all right and then keeps going. And Grant embodies that. He's the perfect Flash.”

Arrow’s Episode 20: What was once going to be the backdoor pilot of The Flash, episode 20, will now be a regular episode of Arrow. “In some ways, having that be the backdoor pilot we actually made things a little bit harder,” said Kreisberg, “because we were going to have to take a right turn from where we were in our ongoing story [in Arrow] to incorporate that and in some ways this has freed us to take The Flash and just do The Flash separately and stay on a straight line.”

That said, we’ll still hear references to Barry even if he’s not seen, Berlanti added. “You hear about what happened to him in the way that you’re hearing now about S.T.A.R. Labs and things like that on the periphery and certainly in terms of Felicity since she has a connection with him.”

Arrow & The Flash: Don’t expect The Flash series (God willing) be a carbon copy of Arrow. “We’ll want to keep Arrow as distinctive as possible and Flash and as distinctive as possible,” said Johns. “Part of the fun will be seeing how those two things play out in both shows hopefully if we get that opportunity but there are story reasons that Flash feels different and that he’s taking on different things.”

Berlanti also said the hope is that characters from Arrow will appear in The Flash pilot.

Roy to the Dark Side: We now know that Slade is alive and, well, he’s pissed. Roy has also been injected. “What’s fun for us as writers is that we see what Roy’s potential is to go down that dark path,” said Kreisberg. “One of the things you’ll find out as you go along is that it’s a deep seeded anger inside of you that lets you survive the transformation which something Slade had which is why he lived and it’s why Roy lived, too.

"And one of the fun things that will be happening in the back half of the year is his relationship with the Arrow and how that changes and how the Arrow basically makes it his mission to not let Roy go down the Slade path and that’s going to take some interesting twists and turns and probably, hopefully surprise people to enjoy.”

Tommy Returns! Well, sort of. In Ollie’s haze, he saw his dearly departed friend. “Colin is such a friend of the show and obviously was so important to the success of season one,” Kreisberg explained. “So much of this season is based around that character and his loss and what a hole he left in the show so it really fit with the season’s arc of Oliver’s journey from going to vigilante to hero and the person he feels that he failed.”

The Mask! Leave it to Barry Allen to be the one to question why Ollie isn’t wearing a mask as the Arrow. “A lot of conversation went into that 8-inches of material,” revealed Berlanti.

Kreisberg added on how the producers decided this was the right time for the mask to make an appearance: “If you put a mask on him right away, it’s sort of says this is cartoony or superhero-y and it also sort of fit in with his character because he wasn’t someone who ever thought he would be interacting with people. He thought he was going to be this dark sniper firing arrows from the shadows and as the story has progressed and he’s stepped more and more into the light, which is more what his overall arc is.”

Also, he added, having Barry be the one to make it for him creates a nice bond between the two.

More people will know Ollie is Arrow? Barry knows, Slade knows and if Roy had opened his eyes (maybe he did??) he would’ve seen that Oliver is the Arrow. Is there a change coming where more people know Ollie’s alter ego? “Over the course of the season, a couple of more people will find out,” Kreisberg offered. “For us, him keeping his secret identity is the least interesting part of the character…we don’t feel like our series is based on ‘oh my god we have to push off people’ finding out for six or seven years.”

Slade vs. Arrow: “That is very much the drive of the second half of the season,” said Berlanti. “Last year we had Malcolm, which was a single bad guy and twisting and turning that and this year we’ve got a two-pronged approach to the bad guy.” He added, “also because Oliver knows about the presence of one of the bad guys, it helps us change the rhythms of the back half of the year from what we may have done with something last year so for everybody who enjoys the show, we don’t feel like we’re breaking the same story and the same show and people are enjoying a different show with more evolved characters.”

More Barrowman? We know that Malcolm isn’t gone, but will he pop up again? “John Barrowman is, obviously, John Barrowman,” said Kreisberg. “There’s no way he was going to stay dead…the story works on so many different levels because, for one thing, Moira always works best when she has a deep, dark secret and last season we’re like, ‘how are we going to top this deep, dark secret?’ and in a way this one’s even better because it’s more personal so, now, again, she’s tied to Malcolm and Thea, ironically, is one of the few people who actually turned out well after last season so now you can probably assume that she’s going to get hit with a whammy as the season progresses so we’re really excited for that story, as well.”

Who’s Excited? Grant Gustin! “I’m looking forward to the whole thing at this point,” the actor said. “I think in 209, the beginning of the origin story with the lightning…I’ve watched my screener of that part, it’s not even finished yet, I’ve watched that part, like, 10 times! I’m really excited about that. I’m really excited about the whole thing. I still can’t process it.”

What did you think of last night’s episode? Are you ready for a Flash series? And how are we all going to wait another month for new episodes?!?

In the meantime, you can always watch Arrow online at TV Fanatic.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

Never meet your heroes, right?


Oliver: You told him who I am.
Felicity: Yeah, I did.
Oliver: That's not your secret to tell, Felicity. I decide who finds out my identity.