‘Arrow’ is Headed to an Epic Smackdown Between the Arrow and the Dark Archer

"Arrow": Stephen Amell as The Arrow -- (Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW)

Arrow” will continue to burn through story with reckless abandon for the final third of the season, according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who says it was always part of the design of the show to keep the show fast paced — and that extends to both the present day story as well as Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) years on the island.

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“Just as we are ramping up to a season finale in the present day story, we are doing the same on the island, so the island gets its own season finale,” Guggenheim said in the press room for The CW series at WonderCon. “The connections between the present and the past really become more thematic as we ramp [them] up.”

Wednesday night’s episode, “Unfinished Business,” sees the return of drug dealer The Count (Seth Gabel), who is incarcerated in a mental institute, where he has been since OD’ing on the drug he created: Vertigo. But then he escapes and once again Starling City is flooded with Vertigo-related violence, leaving Oliver and Diggle (David Ramsey) no choice but to try to put an end to The Count’s criminal activities.

“Oliver is forced to make a decision about The Count that really, I think, shows his evolution and growth as a character in that episode,” Guggenheim says. “The Count presents himself in a very unique way, and Oliver has to decide not to act the way he normally would act. He has to handle the situation in a different way than the audience would come to expect — than he would come to expect.”

Catch Up on a Recent Episode of “Arrow”:

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Here is more of what viewers can expect to see between tonight’s episode and the Season 1 finale:

Oliver has reached the saturation point when it comes to revealing his identity: Oliver has revealed himself to be the Arrow to Tommy (Colin Donnell), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle, so will the number go up?

“I will just say that the way he reveals himself in the future will be different than the way he has revealed himself in the past,” Guggenheim says. “As we saw in episodes 17 and 18 — and it really plays into episode 19 and 20 — revealing his identity to Tommy is going to play out very differently than Felicity and Diggle. Felicity and Diggle were very much, ‘Okay, we’re onboard. We approve of your crusade.’ Revealing his identity to Tommy is going to have very unintended consequences for Oliver that will take us all the way through to the finale. Wednesday’s episode, ends with a big indication of where we are headed with Tommy.”

Detective Lance uncovers incriminating evidence that Tommy is selling drugs at Verdant: Tommy goes to great lengths to clear his name, and the fallout from his actions leads Tommy down a new, unexpected path.

“People are going to see that Tommy has a very strong moral center,” Donnell says. “He is not at the center of the drug thing. What is interesting to see is how he deals with being accused, not only by Detective Lance [Paul Blackthorne], but by his best friend, and who is going to actually stand by him if his best friend is thinking he is capable of doing something like that and bringing harm to his city.

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“The thing about Tommy is he has an extremely strong feeling that what the vigilante is doing — what Oliver is doing — is a bad thing. He is taking the law into his own hands and he is murdering people. Say what you will, it is not just the fact that he has been lied to by his best friend.”

The Oliver/Laurel/Tommy love triangle will be back in place by the season finale: When Oliver returned to Starling City, knowing he was going to become the Arrow, he pushed Laurel (Katie Cassidy) towards Tommy because he felt that he couldn’t have a relationship and be a vigilante. But now he is having second thoughts about postponing his happiness.

“The truth is the end of Season1 for us relationship-wise is really the return to the Oliver-Laurel-Tommy love triangle that started in the pilot. It is bringing the first season full circle,” Guggenheim says.

“The relationship that the three of them have is going to come to a head very quickly,” Donnell adds. “It stems from the fact that Laurel has this fascination with the vigilante and now I know that the vigilante, and the man who is still in love with her, are one and the same person. It doesn’t bode well for things going well.”

The mysterious plan for The Glades will be revealed: Up until now, all we know is that the Undertaking’s big plan is something to do with The Glades. In last week’s episode, when Oliver was on the subway saving the life of Thea’s (Willa Holland) boyfriend, he recognized the map and realized the plan has to do with The Glades. In Episode 21, all will be revealed.

“In last week’s episode, we showed you that we had a plan for The Glades ever since the gliff appeared in Episode 2,” Guggenheim says. “You are going to learn what that plan is, why it is, who exactly is behind it. Everything is going to get revealed and then it is all going to be a question of can Oliver stop it in time?”

We had a taste of the Dark Archer in an earlier episode, but he will be back: Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), aka the Dark Archer, had his life saved by Arrow, who by doing so unwittingly foiled his mother’s plans to have him assassinated. Now the two will face off.

“I am not spoiling anything by telling you he is the big bad of the year,” Guggenheim says. “Where we are really headed is an epic smackdown between Oliver and Malcolm. In particular, we are headed toward the question: Is Oliver going to learn that Malcolm is the Dark Archer? And/or is Malcolm going to learn that Oliver is the Arrow? At the same time, Malcolm Merlyn has been involved in orchestrating what we call the Undertaking. What is all that about? Will Oliver find out what his mother’s involvement is. Episodes 20-23 are all about that. We are going to learn exactly what the Undertaking is. We are going to find out what has been driving Malcolm all these years and what fuels his Dark Archer-ness.”

“Arrow” airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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