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[WARNING: Spoilers from last week’s episode of Arrow.]
Will Laurel rebound?
Arrow opened its third season the way it normally ends one, by killing beloved character Sara Lance. Her unexpected death stirs up big questions for everyone in Starling City on Wednesday’s follow-up episode, the emotionally charged “Sara,” most notably the Lance family. The decision to kill Sara (technically for the second time) didn’t come easily, but as executive producer Marc Guggenheim said, “It really kicks off a mystery that will drive us for at least the first half of the year.”
As expected, Laurel’s journey will be dramatically affected by her sister’s death. Guggenheim has hinted that this new development, which begins an intensive search for the assailant, sets off an entirely new “trajectory” for Starling City’s assistant district attorney, one “she’s never had before.”
Actress Katie Cassidy talks to The Hollywood Reporter about Laurel’s renewed focus, the role Ted Grant (aka Wildcat) plays in her journey and whether she’ll be fighting alongside Team Arrow sooner rather than later.
At the start of the season, Laurel is in the best place she’s been in a while, both in her professional and personal lives. Then she witnesses Sara’s death…
Or is she dead? You never know, it’s television… (Laughs.)
What’s Laurel’s mindset like after Sara’s death?
Her sister is a huge part of Laurel’s journey from season one to season three. The thing that is so great about our show is that it takes place in different times. We have characters like Colin Donnell, who we bring back sometimes in flashback episodes [as Tommy], and Caity Lotz [who plays Sara] is a wonderful actress and very much a big part of this season. Laurel is growing and becoming stronger, and I think that there is a possibility she may pick up a few characteristics from her sister. Or who knows, her sister may be alive, I don’t know! (Laughs.) Having said that, it’s television, anything can happen.
Who does Laurel turn to for emotional support?
A lot of it is internal. She does have a lot of anger. She has a lot of issues. Laurel does end up interacting with and training with Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez), and he is there for her to get some of that physical rage and emotional side of her that she needs to release.
What is their dynamic like when they first meet in episode three?
They butt heads at first, but I do think he sees a survivor and a warrior and an athlete in her. Being a fighter, you have to have a certain mentality and I definitely think that Laurel has that. For the most part, he takes her under his wing. “I can help you but you’re going to have to learn the basics. You can’t just start lashing out at people. If you really want to do this, you’ve got to really train.” It’s been really, really exciting and fun for me because I’ve taking up boxing and I have a boxing trainer. Who knew that it was another form of therapy? (Laughs.) It’s so much fun, and it’s cool to know that I can kick some ass if need be.
Laurel has been on the periphery for the first two seasons and it seems like with the death of Sara, she is forced to take on a more active role in carving out her future. Now that she’s in on Oliver’s secret and integrating herself into Team Arrow, do you see Laurel being an active participant in future missions?
Yeah, absolutely. As an actor, season two was emotionally draining on me, but it’s why I love to do what I do. It’s what I’m passionate about, it’s what I’m excited about. This season, Laurel’s arc and journey is something I’m extremely excited about. Initially when Greg Berlanti, Andrew [Kreisberg] and Marc [Guggenheim] had come to me to pitch the show to me, I was itching to get in on the action. For me, I really wanted to be a part of that and this season there will be Laurel more involved in the action aspect of [the show], but you can’t become a superhero overnight. It’s not how it works. I think Laurel has earned it. She’s gone through really, really hard times, and she will dig deep and rise above.
In the premiere, Oliver and Laurel had established the perfect system, working in tandem to put away the bad guys. I imagine with Sara’s death, that threatens that. Where do they go from here?
The thing I’ve always felt and thought about Laurel and Oliver, since we shot the pilot, and this is just my take on it, they’re soul mates. To me, she knows him better than he knows himself and vice versa. Yes, she was not clued in on the whole Arrow thing [at the beginning], but at the same time, she had a thing for the Arrow, and as Tommy says in the end of season one, “Oliver is the person you think he is.” She always tried to see the best of him and always thought the world of him, though there was the playboy side that she struggled with. It’s interesting because Stephen [Amell] and I have this relationship. The thing that I love about Laurel is that she’s so strong and she’s not afraid to stand up to Oliver or the Arrow. She’s very firm and she’s very straightforward. Stephen and I are good friends, and for whatever reason, that’s the relationship [we have] offscreen and onscreen. I don’t want to say that [Oliver and Laurel] are equals, but there’s a certain amount of respect there. I don’t know necessarily if Oliver will be on board with Laurel transitioning and going on this journey of fighting and training. You’ll have to watch. But he’ll see the warrior in her that Ted Grant sees in her.
Does the Arrow meet his match should Laurel continue on her trajectory?
I literally was texting with one of our producers today. I was telling him about this thing that I’m training for, which I can’t say exactly what it is, but I said, “I’ll send you a video in a bit,” and I jokingly said, “The Arrow has got nothing on me.” (Laughs.) But [Stephen’s] very competitive. He’ll eventually see that in her and be supportive of it.
Could there be a friendship between Laurel and Felicity?
I’m not exactly sure where the writers are going to go with that but I do know that Laurel has respect for her because she’s so smart and she’s so good at what she does and she’s part of Team Arrow in keeping Oliver’s secret. It’s an interesting relationship and dynamic between the two of them that I think we’ll explore more this season, especially now that Laurel is involved in more of the action. But I’m not sure, that’s a good question for the writers.
Last season, it was revealed that Oliver may have fathered a child, and Stephen hinted at New York Comic Con that it will be mentioned this season. Hypothetically speaking, if Laurel were to come across this piece of information how would she take it?
It depends on what stage they’re at in their relationship. If they are not romantically involved… she’ll take it differently. Either way, she’s going to be pissed. (Laughs.) Because of how she is. A.) She has been kept in the dark about something else; and B.) That he could be so irresponsible, she would take that into consideration. At the end of the day, if anyone can forgive, Laurel has the strength to do that and she’s a good person. She wants to see the best in everyone. It’ll be another card she’ll have to deal with. But having said all of that, the Arrow does need a Canary in some aspects.
Arrow airs 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The CW.
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