With only two episodes remaining in Season 1 of "Arrow," the stakes are higher than ever for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) -- both personally and professionally -- as the most recent episode saw him admit his feelings for ex-girlfriend Laurel (Katie Cassidy) after her relationship with Tommy (Colin Donnell) ended.
Meanwhile, as Tommy's father Malcolm (John Barrowman) grows closer to implementing his plan to decimate The Glades, Oliver's vigilante alter-ego will face his toughest challenge yet, since the last confrontation between The Hood and Malcolm's Dark Archer left our hero battered and broken.
To prepare for the final two episodes, "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "Sacrifice," The Huffington Post caught up with Cassidy to find out how Oliver, Laurel and Tommy's love triangle will play into the last two hours, how her relationship with her father Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) will be tested, and whether Laurel has any suspicions about Oliver's secret identity. Read on for more!
Last week's episode was a pretty big deal for Laurel, given that she now knows that Oliver still loves her. Where does she go from here?
I think that’s the question she’s asking herself. [Laughs.] There’s always been this push and pull between Laurel and Oliver, but then, ultimately, she ended up with Tommy. After these last couple of episodes that we’ve seen, I think that she really loves Tommy and she really cares for Tommy, and there is love for Oliver as well. He’s always been the one for her, like they’re star crossed lovers ... but she’s obviously feeling confused [and] overwhelmed. I feel like she’s been overwhelmed a lot. [Laughs.] But I do really think that she loves Tommy and certainly these last two episodes play with the love triangle that’s been going on.
Her love for Tommy has been pretty well-established this season, but ever since finding out Oliver's secret, he's also had this darker side building. How concerned is Laurel about the recent changes we've seen in him?
She is concerned, because Laurel cares for other people immensely and she’s extremely sensitive to other people. I think she feels as though he’s not being honest to himself. She feels as though he’s putting on a facade and it’s time to break down this barrier, this guard that he’s put up. It’s frustrating for her.
That's somewhat true of Oliver too, considering how much he changed on the island, compared to the guy that she used to date. Have her feelings for him changed at all?
I feel as though Laurel, at this point, has always seen Oliver for who he is, and although he put on this [facade] of being a playboy and a bad boy, I still think she is trying to see the good in him. Obviously, she does get to see a side to him that has changed since the island and she may take that into consideration, but at the same time, she is in love with Tommy. And she’s seen that side to him too, so she is definitely caught between the two of them.
What's her take on Malcolm? She's always wanted Tommy to have a solid relationship with his father, but she's probably intuitive enough to have noticed that he doesn't exactly seem like the most decent or reliable guy, given her encounters with him.
Laurel feels as though Malcolm isn't necessarily the greatest. [Laughs.] I think she also knows everyone has his or her flaws. She’s a big supporter of family and she’s a big supporter of Tommy having a relationship with his father; he may have made mistakes -- she believes everybody makes mistakes at some time -- but maybe he can change, or maybe this is him changing. I think she knows that there definitely is a darker side to him. I don’t know if she wants to go there with Tommy. She wants to be the supporter for him and with him when it comes to family, although it is sort of a slippery slope with who Malcolm really is.
How's her relationship with her own father in the next two episodes? Things have been a little tense between them recently ...
[Laurel] and her father, they definitely rely on one another. Their relationship gets challenged at times ... Paul Blackthorne and I speak a lot off set about character and backstory and it’s interesting because I feel as though ... Quentin gets so frustrated with Laurel because of her actions and what’s she’s doing when really, she’s just doing what Quentin has raised her to do. She’s actually becoming better at it ... at her job and the reasons [for her actions] and during the season, he has pulled away from what his morals and values are.
And for her, she just likes being the best at her job, the best at what she believes in, and you’ll definitely get to see their relationship in jeopardy in these last two episodes. But then you’ll also see them being there for one another in tragedy and in drama; there’s a lot of conflict. But they truly love one another and the family lives and dies between the two of them and so they only have each other. That relationship is so important to her and there’s certainly moments coming up that are heartbreaking ... The relationship is definitely challenged, but then you see them as a family [being] there for one another and taking care of one another.
In last week's flashbacks, we got a little more insight into Oliver and Laurel's earlier relationship and what might have prompted him to invite her sister, Sarah, onto the boat with him. The audience now has that context, but Laurel doesn't yet, so are we going to see her having an honest conversation with Oliver about their past relationship and some of the things he's been keeping from her?
I definitely think that there are moments coming up in the next two episodes where you’ll get more backstory on their relationship and you’ll see them both be a little bit more open and honest and communicate about things that happened in their past that damaged their relationship, that damaged one another. But that may not necessarily be something that pulls them apart -- it may bring them closer together. But there certainly is that vulnerability that they can share with one another, but there’s also so much going on in the big story with the action and the production. There’s [so much] happening in the last two episodes that they almost don’t even have the opportunity to go that far.
Do you think there's any part of her that suspects that Oliver could be The Hood at this point?
I don’t think that she’s even thinking about that. I don’t think that she sees Oliver as The Hood at this point, but I don’t even think that she’s given it much thought in these last two episodes. There are things at stake that she is fighting for, so that has been on the backside of her brain. I think it’s more just fighting for things that are important to her, things that she needs; fighting for herself; fighting for her friends; fighting for her family; fighting for Tommy.
What else can you preview about the finale, "Sacrifice"?
Malcolm is continuing with his plan to level the Glades. Laurel has put her heart and soul into so much ... and you’ll definitely get to see her experience some of those things being jeopardized. The stakes are so high in this episode that I can’t even believe we shot it … you’ll see her [and] everyone at some point in danger. Everybody has to fight for themselves and everyone is experiencing something close to them or something that has been important to them that is in jeopardy. You’ll see sacrifice. You’ll see drama. It’s heartbreaking, but then there are moments that are so beautiful, that are so special. They did a really nice job with the last two episodes in covering the action side of it all and covering the character side of it all. You’ll see families come together.
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
Share your predictions and hopes for the final two episodes below!