(Spoiler Alert: This story contains major plot details from the Wednesday, April 23 airing of “Arrow.” This is your last chance to stop reading and bookmark this link to visit later if you want to watch the episode first.)
In a sad twist, “Arrow” killed off one of its main characters on Wednesday night’s episode.
When Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) gave Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) a choice of deaths – his mother, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), or his sister, Thea (Willa Holland) — he once again, chose not to choose. So, his mother did it for him, offering herself, and Slade brutally cut her down.
Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg told TV reporters it was a tough decision to kill off the Queen mom, and ultimately it came down to a few factors, including showing that Slade’s moves against Oliver were game changing and “truly monstrous.”
“The decision, it was really — just like with Tommy [Meryln] — where is her trajectory going? And in Season 1 she had this incredible secret – that she was part of The Undertaking, and she suffered for it and went to jail for it and then, we discovered she had an even better secret, which was that Thea is really the daughter of Malcolm Merlyn and when that secret blew up, it split the whole family apart and obviously we’ve been taking steps to bring people back together again,” Kreisberg explained.
“And when we were talking about the future, and knowing that… it was only going to be powerful if Slade really like changed the game by doing something truly monstrous, it was, ‘Well, if Moira wins the mayorship, if she makes up with her kids, what is she? And what is Moira without a giant secret, and if they all forgive her, then there’s some other giant secret.’ For us, it sort of felt like we were becoming a soap opera,” he continued.
Instead of coming up with a new secret for Moira, the writers chose to end her arc. Moira sacrificed herself and died to save her children.
“It really just sort of felt like, in a way, she could die a hero’s death, and also, die this person who was conflicted, because even as she’s saying, ‘Hey, we have to tell the truth,’ we’re seeing that she’s kept this other horrible secret. You just literally can’t change her and she literally goes to the grave [with it], despite the fact that she sacrifices herself for her children, which is so amazing.”
Kreisberg said it was the right time to say goodbye to Moira, and in a way that honored Susanna’s character.
“We felt like ending it at this time left you with that great feeling of what an amazing character she was rather than let her become a caricature,” he explained. “ And that was the math. And… just like with Tommy, it was horrible math and it was tearful math, but… also, her death has a – just like with Tommy, has a profound impact on everyone on the series. It’s certainly is what’s going to drive Oliver in these last three episodes and it’s gonna drive Thea, not only in these last three episodes, but also, into Series 3, and… sometimes the worst thing you can do personally is the best thing you can do professionally.”
But saying goodbye to the celebrated actress was tough.
“Susanna has been with the show since the beginning, and she was one of our big gets early on that I think really signaled to the audience and to reviewers that this wasn’t your average CW show, it wasn’t your average superhero show,” Kreisberg said. “And, like with Colin Donnell [who played Tommy], these last episodes are her pinnacle. This is as good as anything on television and unfortunately, because of the kind of show it is, probably won’t be recognized as such.”
As for the episode’s big secret that Moira took to her grave – Oliver Queen has an illegitimate child somewhere out there with a young woman — Kreisberg said fans should not expect that storyline to continue immediately.
“I think that like we did in Season 1, the seeds for Season 2 were planted in Season 1 and again, the best part of the success that the show has had is knowing that we were going to be able to make more and knowing that we could drop these things in and pay them off later.,” he said.
“Arrow” continues Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.
-- Jolie Lash