If you have not yet seen tonight’s episode of Arrow, “Seeing Red,” READ NO FURTHER. You have been warned. If you haven’t seen it, turn around, go back to the home page, or come look at photos from next week’s show. Anything… just don’t read this.
Tonight’s episode of Arrow featured one of the biggest tragedies in the show’s history – which is saying something, considering the fates of people like Robert Queen, Tommy Merlyn, and Shado. This one stung greatly because most of the audience didn’t see it coming.
The Grim Reaper struck and it became time to say goodbye to another familiar face — Moira Queen, played by Susanna Thompson since the series’ pilot.
“As with Colin Donnell, it was difficult,” Andrew Kreisberg told a group of journalists last week in a Q&A after this episode was screened. “Susanna has been with the show from the beginning, and she was one of our ‘big gets’ early on that really signaled to the audience and to reviewers that this wasn’t your average CW superhero show. Like with Colin Donnell, these last episodes are her pinnacle. I think this is as good as anything that’s on television, and unfortunately because of the kind of show it is, it probably won’t be recognized as such. Truthfully, you see all of those scenes with her and Stephen, and her importance to the show in helping Willa and Stephen go from solid actors to amazing actors, is due to sharing screen time with her,” he continued.
“The decision really was, just like with Tommy, ‘where is her trajectory going’?” he explained. “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’ve discovered she had an even better secret, which was that Thea is really the daughter of Malcolm Merlyn. When that secret blew up, it split the whole family apart. Obviously we’ve been taking steps to bring people back together again, and when we were talking about the future, it was only going to be powerful if Slade really changed the game by doing something truly monstrous. 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, and then there’s some other giant secret, for us, it sort of felt like we were becoming a soap opera, where it was ‘well yes, you tried to blow up the city, and yes, you lied about this, and now you’ve lied about this other thing!’ 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, despite the fact that she sacrifices herself for her children, which is so amazing,” he continued.
Moira’s dedication to her kids will be addressed in next week’s show, which will see characters like Walter and Raisa at Moira Queen’s funeral. “There’s a line in the next episode where Walter says to Thea ‘your mother showed you how much she loved you in ways few parents can,’ and yet she was still lying. That was the essence of her character. We felt like ending it at this time left you with that great feeling of what an amazing character she was, rather than letting her become a caricature. Her death, just like with Tommy, has a profound impact on everyone in the series. It certainly is what’s going to drive Oliver in these last three episodes, and it’s going to drive Thea, not only in these last three episodes, but also into Season 3,” he teased.
As for Moira knowing Oliver’s secret, Kreisberg admitted that they had always talked about the idea that Moira knew that Oliver was the Arrow. “There’s actually been a couple of other places where we were like ‘oh, this is where she should let him know.’ We felt like one of the great things about last year’s season finale was when Oliver walks in to talk to her, he’s not Oliver Queen. He’s the Arrow. He’s like ‘we’ve got to stop this,’ and she’d be low IQ if she wasn’t like ‘wait a minute!’ But we always liked that she had never told him, and everything felt like it came together in this one episode that, again, yes, secrets are a tough thing. It’s one of the most interesting things about writing this show, is ‘when are secrets good and when are secrets bad?’ Even for Oliver, he hasn’t told Laurel, and it’s because he had an idea in his head that she shouldn’t know,” he explained. “It’s a complicated thing. We love that we have a superhero show where the heroes are doing the wrong thing a lot of the times, and making bad decisions, even with the best intentions. I think that’s ultimately the thing about Moira. We always said she’s doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, and everything she does, she does because she loves and wants to protect her children, even if that means blowing up a city, lying to them, hurting their feelings… and I think one of the most interesting things for us was realizing that our villain Moira and our hero Oliver were essentially doing the same thing, and having Thea call them out on it.”
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