SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for this week's recently aired episode of "Arrow," "The Man Under the Hood."
As "Arrow" nears the conclusion of its second season, the pace is expectedly picking up -- contributing to that speed in this week's episode, "The Man Under the Hood," was a dash of "The Flash."
Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker both inaugurated their roles as S.T.A.R. Labs researches Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, two of the main characters of "The Flash" pilot, considered a strong contender for a series spot on The CW's 2014-2015 scheduled. In the episode, they're enlisted by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) to help find a cure for the power-giving but soul-corrupting Mirakuru serum.
"Arrow" executive producer Andrew Kreisberg sat down with select media outlets, including CBR News, to talk the debuts and the other major developments from the episode, directed by Jesse Warn with a story by Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns, and teleplay by Kreisberg and Keto Shimizu.
Andrew Kreisberg: Laurel obviously has had a very rough year. When Slade told Laurel, he thought that was going to be yet another devastating death charge into Oliver's life, and I think that Laurel's reaction to finding out the news -- for one, not just taking it at face value, but being smart about it, and then her emotional reaction -- is surprising. I think most people assume she's going to react one way, and that she reacts a different way I think is great.
It's funny, because it's sort of the same experience with Tommy -- once he knew, it changed his character so much. There was so much more you could write for him, and every scene suddenly became super-charged with him, even if it was a small scene that didn't really have much to do with the main plot. With Laurel, now that she knows, whatever she's doing, whenever she's in a scene with somebody, her worldview has shifted. I think Katie has really risen to it, and it's really exciting to see how it plays out.
On the debuts of Cisco and Caitlin, and why this episode was the right place to introduce the characters:
Kreisberg: We knew a lot of the fans had been looking forward to seeing a little bit of "The Flash" in this season, and we felt obliged to fulfill that promise. But then also for ourselves, it's been one of the fun things of the show, especially early in the season, when we were constantly mentioning the particle accelerator. It was actually Keto Shimizu, one of our writers, when we were talking about the idea of the cure, who said, "What if S.T.A.R. Labs is the one who starts trying to figure out the cure?" and it became Cisco and Caitlin coming into the show. It just felt like a fun way to bring up Barry, remember where he's at, and give a little taste of the show. Even Doctor Light's gun -- it's not something we typically do on "Arrow," it's a little bit more sci-fi-y -- but for us, it felt a little bit more like you got a glimpse into what kinds of things "The Flash" will be up against, more than it was coming into our world.
Kreisberg: Isabel was the one thing that we weren't entirely sure about as we were developing this season. Part of the reason Isabel disappeared for a while was we still weren't quire sure which way to go, whether she should be an ally or a villain. We'd kind of written it so that it could turn out either way. As we were coming down, the scene that I was picturing was Isabel, Slade and Sebastian in Oliver's office -- like the triumvirate of evil -- once that happened, there was no way she was not going to be Ravager.
When Summer took the part, I was up there on set with her, and she's like, "I've never done anything like this. I feel much better if I'm kicking somebody." And I'm just like, "You're so good. You should give yourself more credit. We wanted you because you're a good actress, and you feel amazing in this part, not because you can kick ass." Then I got to call her and say, "Hey -- we changed our minds. You get to kick ass."
On Laurel's decision to keep Oliver's secret:
Kreisberg: Laurel makes the very classy decision to keep Oliver's secret, because she knows that what he needs right now is not knowing that she knows. And she will discover later on that there is a time when he does need to know.
Given the comfort Laurel provides to Oliver at the end of the episode, is there any chance for further romance between the two?
Kreisberg: It's Oliver and Laurel. It's Lois and Clark. They can break up, get together, sleep together, get married, get divorced, she forgets him... It's always our desire to just speed through story -- I think the fans appreciate that. Not, "Well, we'll do that in season 4." No, we'll do that now. On the other hand, the one thing success has enabled us to do is to slow-play some things. We've really adapted this mantra of, "We give people what they need, even if that's not what they want." Having Oliver and Laurel get together in season one, I think that's what people needed then, but then they needed them to go on a break, so Oliver could have his storyline with Sara for this season, which is what felt right to us.
He has women in his life. He has Laurel, he has Felicity. Helena's doing a 10-to-20 stretch. I think Laurel will always be one of the closest people to him, whether that's romantic or not."
Next week's episode of "Arrow," "Seeing Red," airs 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 on The CW.