Is this the end of Starling City?
Or will Oliver Queen and his crew be able to stop Slade and his Murikuru-induced army on tomorrow night's Arrow Season 2 finale?
Moreover, Slade said he had one more person to kill in his revenge plan against Oliver. Will we find out on Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 if that person is none other than Felicity Smoak?
And, finally, Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg told us a few weeks ago that Season 3 will look very different from the first two seasons of the series. Will we what he means in the finale or will we have to wait until the fall?
Kreisberg jumped on the phone with me this week for an exclusive preview and one thing's for certain: the finale is set to change pretty much everything we know and love...
TV Fanatic: There’s so much going on heading into this finale but has it been a challenge to keep everything on track?
Andrew Kreisberg: Yeah. We’ve thrown a lot of plates into the air and it’s always been a challenge to catch them all. That being said, it’s not like we finished episode 22 and set out to write episode 23 and said, ‘Oh great. How are we going to do all this?’ We’ve had a long term plan, which I hope shows because we really pride ourselves on playing the long game and thinking long term.
The addition of the League of Assassins this season and the addition of the Suicide Squad, these were things we knew we were going to revisit later in the season so they weren’t done as one-off, quickie shout-outs to the comic book fans. We really wanted them to be a part of our on-going Universe.
TVF: I feel like Moira’s death was a big marker that changed so much leading into these last episodes. Is that how you and your writers see it?
AK: Yeah, the death of any of the main characters is always a turning point. It certainly was with the death of Tommy. It really changed the trajectory of the show and in the same way Oliver’s mother died and as we’ve seen in the past his greatest fear was that he wouldn’t get to go home and see his family and how much family meant to him and how much protecting his family meant to him and now his worst nightmare has come true.
This season Oliver’s journey has very simply been ‘am I a killer or am I a hero? Can I leave the island behind? Can I erase these five years and become something better?’ It really all comes to a head in this episode as he’s facing what seems to be an insurmountable enemy and his only allies are the League of the Assassins and, as Nyssa says in the finale, ‘The League does not take prisoners.’ It’s really up to Oliver to figure out how he’s going to stop Slade [and] if he can stop Slade while still maintaining his no-kill rule. I think the way it transpires will be both exciting and surprising for everyone to watch.
TVF: Is conquering Slade the true end game or is there maybe something behind that that we’re not aware of yet?
AK: Well, [Oliver’s] up against Slade’s army tearing up the city, Slade has promised to kill the person Oliver loves the most and Amanda Waller wants to launch a drone strike against the city so he has a lot to contend with. First and foremost, if he can defeat the army and stop Slade, he hopes Amanda will call off the drone strike. He’s got a busy day ahead of him.
TVF: The fact that it seems Felicity is in danger and last week Isabel said she was specifically looking for Felicity Smoak, my question is are we going to see some things rise to the surface between Felicity and Oliver that we have only hinted at in the past?
AK: I think there are the most Olicity moments that there have ever been in the series up until now. I think it will surprise people. I think Emily and Stephen have some of the best scenes they’ve ever had together and…I’ll leave it with that.
TVF: Laurel is in the mix a lot differently lately than we’ve seen in the past. I mean, she shot an arrow last week and did a pretty good job. Is that a foreshadowing to where we’ll see her in the third season?
AK: I think for all the characters including Laurel…everyone is presented with a choice in the episode to decide who they want to be. Everyone makes that choice in this episode. Some people will be making the wrong choice and I’ll leave that to the audience if they appreciate the choices everyone has made.
We really wanted this finale to really feel like the completion of season 2 but also the launching pad for season 3. We didn’t want it to feel like ‘I’ve been watching this show all year and I’m not going to get any answers until next year.’ Just as viewers, I tend to find those are the most annoying season finales. There’s definitely a sense of closure to season 2 and everyone in the show takes a giant step forward in their journeys as characters, whether that’s emotionally or towards a comic book destiny or away from a comic book destiny, so that I think you’re left with a great sense of where season 3 is heading.
TVF: Katrina Law is back in the finale. Is there any more touching on the Nyssa/Sara relationship? Is there time for any of that in this episode?
AK: It’s not really touched upon that much. Sara, obviously, went to go get Nyssa – that was the friend she talked about in episode 20. Nyssa has come at her behest but it’s really much more about Nyssa and Oliver in a way because Nyssa represents how Oliver used to do things. Kill or be killed and, like I said, she says in this episode to Oliver, ‘The League does not take prisoners.”
For somebody who’s struggling with whether being a hero also means being a killer he is really presented with an ally who is not necessarily fighting by the rules that he is setting for himself. I think that’s where the majority of the tension comes from with her.
TVF: You said a few weeks ago that Season 3 would look different and how those changes were a big part of changes we saw in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and series like that. Will we see shades of what Season 3 will look like in this finale?
AK: I think that there is a scene in the finale that is going to shake the show to its core at least in terms of what we’ve been doing up until now. I think you’re going to get a real glimpse of just how different season 3 is going to be while at the same still being Arrow and still continuing the storylines that people have come to appreciate up until now.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.