Season 5 of ARROW has brought a new vigilante team to the forefront. After the loss of Laurel and the retirement of both Thea and Diggle, Oliver only had Felicity left as he continued his mission as the Arrow. But the recent attack on Star City by Damian Darhk inspired a new group of vigilantes and after a few false starts Oliver agreed to train them as his new team. Things also changed when Oliver helped break Diggle out of prison (after he was framed for a military crime) and he rejoined the team, at least as a vigilante, even if he can’t show his fugitive face in public.
During a recent visit to the ARROW set in Vancouver*, the cast sat down to talk with journalists about the new team dynamics and how Diggle’s return melds the old and the new.
It’s Going to Take Some Time. Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen) reiterated that everyone still has a ways to go in terms of properly gelling as a team: “Everyone has their thing, if it’s Rory having guilt; if it’s Evelyn having not yet a complete trust in Oliver – which is something we examine very soon for very cool reasons — if it’s Rene just not doing well with authority figures… I think that we’re pushing towards all the different backstories that exist for these characters and one thing that we’re not gonna get over – Oliver says to Curtis in, I think the second episode this year, ‘of all of these people, you have the furthest to go,’ which is also something we stick with through the first part of the year.”
Curtis as the Weak Link? He might have the longest to go for now, but he’s working on getting to the finish line. Kellum explained that “Curtis’ biggest issue will kind of play to his own weaknesses and [him] trying to really fight through those hurdles. But that’s really going to be something that he delves into within the season [as well as] what he can really do to be a productive member of the team — someone that they can really count on and depend on.”
Diggle’s Return to the Fold. “When I first saw him get back in the field I called up Marc and Wendy and I was like, ‘You know, I think Diggle really has to be the sh*t when he gets back out in the field,” David Ramsey (John Diggle) laughed. “And the new recruits need to know that. They need to come correct and recognize, you know what I mean? Recognize the juice. And I’m completely serious. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, you’re right. They do.’ So they rewrote the scene and it’s so funny now. The new recruits are like, ‘Oh, he’s so badass’.” Echo Kellum (Curtis Holt) said that there will be “stress on new Team Arrow versus old Team Arrow. You’ll see some blowback from that a little bit, you know, but I think that they’ll realize what’s best for the city and put their differences aside [and] push through.” Finally, Amell said that the relationship between Oliver and Diggle is going to be as strong as always and Oliver is very happy to have his old friend back: “He had stuff to deal with, but that relationship between Oliver and Diggle has been very solid this year. I want him to be back full-fledged in the world, which obviously means he can’t hide out in HIVE forever, which is something that we acknowledge in a couple of episodes. It’s great having him back on the team because I think the recruits have been great, but Diggle’s Oliver’s guy, and he needs him there, he’s needed him there since the beginning, so it’s good to have him back.”
The Bond is Getting Deeper. They may not be at their peak performance quite yet, but we will see the team coming together more in the coming weeks. In fact, Kellum said that “I think you start seeing a lot of characters kind of gel that you wouldn’t necessarily see with each other and that’s something I think they’re playing with, just the different mixes and matches of who goes out on what missions and what not and seeing them really learning about each other and each other’s background and really starting to have a deep bond and really caring for each other as people, as well as team members. But it’s a really interesting dynamic to see how they mix and match.” In a continuation of the scenes from last week’s episode, Ramsey said that “Wild Dog and [Diggle] form a special relationship. He’s a former military guy like I am. He has also some post-traumatic stress as well. There’s kind of a similarity in their background.”
(Note about the video below: the interviews took on November 2, so last week’s episode is the one being discussed when someone refers to “tonight’s episode”)
*Travel and accommodations provided by Warner Bros. Television