Arrow Season 4: Paul Blackthorne Discusses Lance's Darhk Turn

Arrow Captain Lance

When it comes to Arrow characters, there are none more dead-set in their ways that Captain Lance. However, ever since the beginning of Star City's vigilante problem, the man has slowly watched his conviction be chipped the more he realizes how much the city is in need of a masked hero.

Now, in an exclusive chat with actor Paul Blackthorne, we dive into what kind of things fans can expect to see from Lance in the current season, as well as his thoughts on his once-dead daughter being alive... again.

The most recent episode brought Sara back to life with Laurel not really caring about the consequences of that decision. Given that, do you think Lance would be as determined to bring her back to "status quo" once he learns of the news, or do you think he would see risks that Laurel perhaps doesn't? 

"Well, obviously Lance has got no idea of the nature of the Lazarus Pit, so he wouldn’t know of the risks. It’s only other people within that realm that truly know how that thing works. He wouldn’t have an opinion on that but, obviously what he does see is the result, and the result is a returned daughter in the flesh, but one devoid of soul and spirit, which he can pick up on immediately. That’s the point at which his mind comes into it, not “should it have happened? Why did it happen?” He’s like, “well, this has happened. It’s right in front of me and something’s gone horribly wrong. I can sense it.” So that’s where he comes at it from."

Captain Lance has been very openly against Oliver acting as a vigilante, so how do you think he will take it now that Oliver's going to become a "public do-gooder" through running for mayor?

"Well, 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 3 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 now 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.”

So, 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."

Speaking of that relationship with Darhk, Lance has taken many personal hits over the last few years. Do you think there's a point where he could, perhaps take too much and cross a line, or has he already taken to much given his relationship with Dahrk?

"With regard to the relationship with Darhk, after all the attacks and The Arrow being gone, Lance did what he thought would be the right thing for the city, and Darhk was selling himself as that person – the guy that just wanted to help the city. Then, obviously, Darhk went dark with his actions and intentions, which is when Lance started feeling uncomfortable about it. So, this is the point where Lance is trying to step back, but then, of course, Darhk threatens Laurel and ends up in a tight corner. And, of course, how this plays out we’ll be seeing in the next few episodes.

Initially, he was doing it for the right reasons, but it’s certainly been pretty awful for him in seeing Darhk has turned into a monster and that now he can’t go back on his relationship with the man because he’s threatening Laurel. So, he’s in a tight jam."

As we saw in the last episode, there was a meta-human running around Star City. How does Lance view the threat of super-powered people these days? Is it something he's fully prepared to fight?

"Obviously Lance would probably be the most skeptical person in Star City when it comes to someone being referred to as a “meta-human” or “magic” and such. When he had that scene with Laurel and said, “we got these crazy guys flying around this city. A guy's wearing a mask. This Flash guy,” he rattled off all the various characters and, you know, a few years back before The Arrow turned up, it was mafioso and Triads and Russian gangs, the usual things you’d expect to find in a crime-ridden city. But, obviously, the nature of crime and its characters have changed somewhat. So, it is a bit of a head shaker for Lance. He can’t quite see what’s going on.

The whole place, in his eyes, seems to have turned into a bit of a cartoon town with all these people sort of running around dressed up as they do, and I try to keep Lance on the ground in that way. He’s shaking his head as much as anyone else would be shaking their head if this was going on, and it is going on. So, he has to try and deal with it. But it is a strange thing for him to reconcile that, suddenly, there are people in tight leather costumes and doing rather bizarre things with playing cards. It’s tough on him, but if it’s happening, it’s happening."

Do you envision a day where Lance could possibly take on a mask of his own, or is he better off working in the light with the uniform he currently wears?

"I can’t see that happening in the near future. I would be surprised if Lance was to change his costume in such a drastic way. I think it’s all down to a dark blue suit or dark grey suit, at the moment. I think that’s where his tastes lie for now."

And finally, is there anything else you'd like to tease about what's coming up for Lance over the course of season 4?

"I just think that, 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."

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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