Though we are only a few episodes into Arrow Season 4, the show has already successfully shifted gears from the unrelentingly grim Season 3, fulfilling their promises of embracing a lighter tone. The focusing has been not only on this new world of magic and mysticism, but on deepening the relationships between the main characters. Last weeks episode ‘Restoration,’ saw the Original Team Arrow back in action, with Oliver and Diggle beginning to mend their fractured friendship.
Another key relationship that will be reentering the show's forefront is that of Oliver and Captain Lance, whose interactions evolved from openly antagonistic into to a grudging truce, and back to acrimonious again. Many things will be changing in the Lance family now that Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has been resurrected, and we now have more information about how Star City's police captain will continue to work alongside Oliver.
We recently sat down with actor Paul Blackthorne, who plays the gruff Captain Lance on Arrow, and discussed how Lance fared during the months that Oliver was away and the ghosts took over the city. He also emphasizes Lance's silent support of Oliver running for mayor, as this is the mask-less hero he has always wanted him to be.
"I enjoyed the first two episodes and some of those scenes with Oliver, where I believe Lance is sort of quietly urging him to step up. He missed Oliver, even as the vigilante, when he was gone because, obviously, the attack at the end of season three happened. The place has gone to pot and the ghosts are running around, etc… All this stuff’s been going on, and his relationship with Darhk is not what he thought it was going to be. So, when Oliver returns, he sees the important aspects of him. But, he’s saying, “look, I can’t do it in the way you’ve done it in the past, because that’s not working. You need to stand up, get out of the shadows and stand up in the light. That’s what this city needs.”
Oliver and Lance have always had shades of a father/son relationship - Oliver having dated both of Lance's daughters - and it sounds as though Oliver's mayoral campaign will ultimately make Lance proud, though Blackthorne was careful not to reveal the results of the election.
"I believe Lance has quietly urged Oliver to stand up and be counted as a man in the light of this city rather than just lurking around in the darkness. So, I think Lance is going to be proud of him if this whole mayoral thing turns out. "
Blackthorne dropped on last hint about the upcoming episodes, hinting at a major change on the show and in their relationship.
"For me, what’s interesting is where the relationship between Lance and Oliver is going from here. Obviously, their relationship has been pretty changeable over the years but, in these next few episodes, their history sort of comes to a head and the dynamic between them shifts considerably, and the way in which it’s written is absolutely brilliant and I’m looking forward to that sort of subtle shift in their relationship."
The fact that Lance has been working so closely with the evil Damien Darhk must come to light eventually, and this could very well be the "dynamic shift" Blackthorne is referring to. Lance has always looked down on Oliver for his methods of cleaning up the city and putting Lance in league with Darhk - willing or not - gives Oliver a tenuous hold on the moral high ground. The next few weeks should bring more occasions for the two men to relate, since they now both have loved ones returning from the Lazarus pit dramatically altered.
Season 2 of The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7pm central; Season 4 of Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8/7pm central; Legends of Tomorrow begins in 2016.