7:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'Arrow' EP and Stars Preview Huntress' Stormy Return and Deadly Goal
Helena is back on Arrow, and that usually spells trouble.
In Wednesday's "Birds of Prey" episode, Helena is lured back to Starling City to exact her revenge after her father is arrested. Laurel is handpicked to serve as lead prosecutor on the case, putting her in the middle of the crossfire at the city courthouse after Helena discovers there's more to her father's arrest than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Sara risks her Canary identity to keep Laurel out of harm's way.
"We had been talking throughout the year about bringing Helena (Jessica De Gouw) back under a variety of different scenarios," executive producer Marc Guggenheim said of Helena's return. "This is the episode where Laurel gets her groove back. We knew that we wanted to return Laurel to the D.A.'s office, and we knew that Laurel by the end of the episode had to be in a good emotional place."
"When you're talking about bringing her back to the D.A.'s office, you naturally start thinking about 'Well, what case is she prosecuting?' " Guggenheim added. That led to Guggenheim, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and the other writers pitching different elements of the episode. One of those elements features Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Sara as Canary (Caity Lotz) spending a significant amount of time together after Laurel is taken hostage.
"It brings its own tension to the situation," Lotz told THR. "I think they save each other a little bit -- there's definitely that aspect of Laurel helping the Canary. There's tension with Arrow not wanting Laurel to know [about Canary's identity], in addition to Laurel battling her demons and the external situation."
It's been more than a year since Helena appeared on Arrow, and there was curiosity over what she's been up to during her time away. "What's Helena been doing for a year? What mental state is she in? What emotional state is she in?" Guggenheim said.
When Helena returns, she is more lethal and hardened from her experiences abroad. "She's been all over the world chasing her dad to no avail thus far," De Gouw said. Then she "comes back to Starling, where it all began. Not only does she have to deal with her father again, but also encountering Oliver and Laurel and this town that she was, at one point, thriving in. She's a little different this time around." The new Helena also has "an ease to her, as well as that darkness," the actress said. "She's let go of a lot. She's let go of all these complications and she's got a very focused aim."
When Sara first meets Helena, the two don't exactly get off on the right foot. "In the beginning, she underestimates the Huntress a little bit," Lotz said. "The whole situation is a little bit funny to her: 'What do you mean Oliver, there's another superhero ex-girlfriend you had?' "
Producers are already planning a Helena-centric episode for the new year. "We definitely have an idea for a season-three episode with the Huntress," Guggenheim hinted. Added De Gouw: "I think the way this episode ends puts her in such a different position and a different head space as well. It's opened up a whole new set of possibilities for her."
When asked about the realistic chances of a Birds of Prey TV series, Guggenheim joked, "Way above my pay grade." But he has his eye on a future teamup: "One of the things we would love to do at some point is do an episode where you've got Black Canary, Felicity and the Huntress working together. That's on our show bucket list."
Guggenheim believes the Huntress' temporary absence from Starling City is great fodder for for a future show: "One thing I've talked to DC Comics about is doing a Huntress series where we cover the year she spent between episodes 1x17 and 2x17 from her perspective traveling the world and hunting her father," he said. "You never know, all things are possible."
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.