The midseason finale brought huge changes for "Arrow." Slade Wilson is alive, Roy gets injected with Mirakuru, and Oliver gets a new mask. Plus, some guy gets electrocuted during a particle accelerator accident, which probably doesn't mean anything, right?
Roy discovers that Brother Blood was using a charity to cover up his supersoldier experiments and gets injected with the Mirakuru serum for his trouble. If the teaser for upcoming episodes is any indication, the serum worked and has given him powers much like those of the comic book version of the character.
Producer Andrew Kreisberg talked to reporters a couple of weeks ago about the writers' approach to that development. "It's a deep-seated anger that lets you survive the Mirakuru transformation," he said. It's how Slade survived, and "what's fun for the writers is we see what Roy's potential is to go down that dark path, too." The rest of this season, we'll get to see "how the Arrow makes it his mission to not let Roy" end up like Slade.
Oliver blows up the cabinet full of serum, both incapacitating Gold and leaving him covered with the stuff. In the comics, Cyrus Gold is the name of the supervillain Solomon Grundy, so that makes three Mirakuru survivors.
The serum came from the blood of Slade, who, though Oliver thinks he's dead, is very much alive and pulling Brother Blood's strings. And the real-life Slade is just as pissed as the ghost version. He promises to "tear everything he cares about away from him, destroy those who choose to follow him, corrupt those he loves," meaning Quentin Lance, Roy Harper, and Felicity Smoak, respectively.
And, of course, Barry Allen ... well, the network liked Grant Gustin's portrayal of Allen so much that it greenlit a standalone pilot for a new "Flash" series. It found the actor during "the largest search I've ever been a part of for a TV show," according to Kreisberg. "If I were a kid and I got to watch the living embodiment of the Flash, this is who I'd want to see do it."
"A lot of conversation went into that eight inches of material," said producer Greg Berlanti ruefully. "We saw 50 or 60 different designs," followed up Kreisberg. "Some of the earlier ones were crazy."
The mask represents the progression of the character from a "dark sniper in the shadows," as Kreisberg called him, to a hero. And of course the change was spurred by Allen, who embraces the superhero idea much more than Oliver does.
The Rest of the Season
"The Flash" was originally going to be a backdoor pilot in Episode 20 of "Arrow," but even though it's now its own thing, the character's fanboy adoration of Oliver and deeper connection with Felicity probably mean Allen will be back.
That new show, by the way, will be in the same world but very much distinct from "Arrow." Berlanti said, "With 'The Flash' there's a way to bring on some of the more fantastical characters" from the comic book world. "We can tackle some of the bigger villains and possibly heroes." More DC heroes, you say...?
Allen also complicates the show with that aforementioned deeper connection. There are a lot of people attached to "Olicity."
Kreisberg won't say how much trouble it would cause, but did confirm that the idea was there from the beginning. "The fact that Barry and Felicity are so similar and they're both a little uncomfortable in their own skins and both very likable and very personable. It just seemed like they would instantly hit it off, which would just complicate things for Oliver, and it just felt like the right way to go." "Flashicity," anyone?
Berlanti revealed some of their plans for when the show comes back in January. "Last year we had Malcolm, which was a single bad guy," but now "we've got a two-pronged approach." One prong is almost certainly Slade's supersoldier army. We'll see, in the island flashbacks, how Oliver and Slade's relationship disintegrated on the island and how that affects them both in the present.
Katrina Law will portray Nyssa al Ghul from the League of Assassins, no doubt the second prong. Law had actually auditioned for the part of Shado, but Kreisberg said they were afraid the scenes between her and Slade would lead to "'Spartacus' overkill" (Law and Manu Bennett, who plays Slade, were both in the cast of the now-defunct Starz series).
And the mysterious actor that Stephen Amell mentioned in this tweet?
Working with an actor for the first time today. @nataliemorales will be pleased.— Stephen Amell (@amellywood) December 2, 2013
It's Alex Kingston, who will be back as Laurel and Sara's mother, Dinah Lance.