[Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Arrow‘s midseason finale]
As far as gambits go, killing off the main character of a TV show (the title character, no less) is one that’s sure to get people sitting up and paying attention. Joss Whedon enjoyed it so much that he did it twice in the same show. In the context of a comic book universe, where death is notoriously impermanent, the death of Oliver Queen in last year’s Arrow midseason finale probably didn’t convince many viewers that he would be gone from the show for good. It probably made a few jaws drop, though.
Arrow has now returned for the second half of its season and has already answered the question of if and how Oliver will manage to get back up, but in his absence Starling City still needs a protector. Luckily Oliver has long since gotten over his insistence on working alone, which means that there’s now a whole team of vigilantes ready to cover for him.
Taking away the Arrowcave’s namesake means a shift in the dynamic of the show as Arsenal, Black Canary, Diggle and Felicity get to spend more time interacting with one another rather than being focused on Oliver. Speaking in an interview with Collider, actor David Ramsey explained that Oliver’s apparent death and resulting absence will actually help his friends to become stronger as a team.
“It’s odd, as an actor, doing so much with Stephen, and then he’s not there. You miss him, as an actor, obviously. But outside of that, me, Colton [Haynes], Emily [Bett Rickards] and Katie [Cassidy] really got to work together in ways that we weren’t able to work together before. There are some great scenes between me and Katie, and we never had scenes together before, like that…
“We’re finding our feet. It’s a little bit of fish-out-of-water. It doesn’t go smoothly, at first. Our head is not quite in the game, as it should be. The man who was running point is now dead, so someone else has to run point. It doesn’t go smoothly, but we find our legs. We find out why we’re working for the city and why we’re here, and we end up being okay. Team Arrow is more than just Arrow, hence the team part. There is no Arrow in team.”
Diggle might be out on the streets with Arsenal and Black Canary, but the character is notable for being the only member of Team Arrow (with the exception of Felicity, whose work is a bit more cerebral in nature) who doesn’t wear a costume and mask when he’s on the job. Ramsey admits that his lack of flair ends up making Diggle stand out even more than the guys wearing eyeshadow and domino masks.
“I get it. We’re in a big warehouse, the crime is going on, there’s fire, you see Canary run in and she’s clad in black leather, Arrow has got his bow and green leather, Arsenal has got his red leather and mask, and Diggle comes in, in a bomber jacket. Yeah, I get it!
“There’s a great line that Oliver had where he said, ‘The mask isn’t just to protect you. It’s to protect the people you love.’ If there’s anyone who has people he loves, with a potential wife and child at home, it’s Diggle. If anyone has something to protect, it’s him. So, the writers aren’t blind to this, nor is the audience, or the critics, or myself. We see it. I think it will be addressed.”
When asked about which other DC superheroes he’d like to see Oliver team up with, Ramsey immediately named Bruce Wayne with the caveat that “it’s never going to happen.” He then listed a series of ways that Bruce could be incorporated into the show, such as being part of the League of Assassins, being present during the fight between Oliver and Ra’s al Ghul, or just visiting Starling City in his playboy billionaire guise.
“I would just love to see Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen together,” Ramsey admitted. He’s definitely alone in that sentiment.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Midnight City’ @8pm on The CW.