SPOILER ALERT: The following interview contains potential spoilers for tonight's episode of "Arrow."
"Arrow's" Captain Quentin Lance had the best of intentions when making his deal with Star City's newest devil. But with his city falling apart and Oliver Queen nowhere in sight, Lance felt he had no option but to accept help from the resourceful Damien Darhk (Neil McDonough). Unfortunately for Lance, Darhk turned out to be the leader of H.I.V.E., an organization not dissimilar to the League of Assassins, save for the fact that it appears to exist solely to carry out Darhk's wishes.
As for Darhk himself, his true colors as a man capable of tapping into some serious magical mojo and harboring a desire to destroy the city have been revealed. Now, Lance must play ball with Darhk -- or pay the price with the death of his daughter, Laurel.
Ahead of tonight's "Arrow" episode, "Beyond Redemption," actor Paul Blackthorne spoke with CBR News about Lance's questionable-at-best arrangement with Darhk and how his character could have fallen so far as to strike the deal. We also dig into Lance's reaction to his other daughter Sara's resurrection, the tables turning in his relationship with Green Arrow, and how he feels about Oliver Queen's nascent bid for mayor.
CBR News: Quentin Lance has always had a strong moral compass. Why has he made a deal with this devil, Damien Darhk? What do they both get out of it?
Paul Blackthorne: At first, Darhk wasn't presenting himself in a particularly devilish fashion. The city was in a desperate state, post-Season 3 finale and biological attacks. The Arrow is gone. Budgets are slashed. The town is in tatters and crime is rife. Here comes this man offering to help the city with his resources in exchange for a few favors here and there. He's a little bit shady, a little bit dark, but nothing destructive or life-threatening as Lance perceives it, so he's willing to do something a little bit out of the box.
Of course, once Darhk's intentions start shifting, and his actions, this is something Lance questions and calls Darhk out on. He's told if he causes any more fuss, Lance will find his daughter dead. Lance is in a particular hold at this point. It's been lots of fun to play.
What is Lance's reaction to having his daughter return to him from the dead?
It's a bit of a neurotic one. There she is, alive in front of him, somehow. He can sense right away her spirit isn't there. She's also suffering, hugely. He's in a very troubled state. He can't quite understand his own reaction because, of course, he should be delighted. But he's not. Something is off, and he can sense that. That's what he has to try and deal with.
Lance doesn't approve of Damien's tactics at this point, so why does he turn to him about Sara?
It's a desperate move, isn't it? As much as he's very disapproving of what Darhk has become in his world, Lance recognizes that he does have a handle on the supernatural. If, as Lance has been told, Sara has been resurrected, obviously he knows Darhk, as dark as he is, is the man he could turn to for answers. It's a bit like the scene with Oliver and Lance, where there's a turning around of the moral high ground. The same thing happens with Lance and Darhk. Here he is, having to go to this guy and ask him a favor.
Does Lance have to make a Faustian deal for Damien's help?
Lance would be willing to do so -- that's what it was to begin with, this sort of Faustian pact. But, as I said, it wasn't as dark as Lance thought it was going to be. As soon as it got really dark, Lance wasn't having any of that and confronted him. That's when Darhk threatened Laurel.
With regard to this situation with Sara, we'll see what comes out of that. We'll have to see how Faustian things become.
Oliver calls Lance out on this contempt that he's had for him over the years, especially now that the tables have turned. What did you enjoy about that quarrel and what it meant for the characters?
For me, that scene was the culmination of the three and a half years we've had with the show now, where you'll see the dynamic has shifted to reasonable degrees -- villainous, non-villainous or working against him. There was a huge shift on this one because it was more of an emotional twist between them. That's what was interesting about it. These two men have been running around each other in various forms, as to whether who is good, who is bad and who is doing right by the city.
There was something deeply emotional about almost being let down by what happened here. Stephen [Amell] played it brilliantly, and it was great bouncing off all that stuff. It wasn't just, "You're good. You're bad," It was like, "No, man. You let me down." "I feel bad about this. I'm sorry I let you down. I didn't have a choice. Please understand." It was a lot more personal.
What else can you preview about this tonight's episode and the ramifications it has for Lance moving forward?
Like I said, big shifting dynamics between Oliver and Lance. There's a more personal connection between them, now. What's going on with Sara -- what do you do with a daughter that's back, but not back? Then, you throw in good old Damien as well, and how that relationship shifts, too. There's a lot of interesting elements going on.
Finally, Oliver will be running for Mayor. How does Lance feel about that?
As much as Lance has been snappy with Oliver, at the same time, beneath that, I believe Lance is urging him to step out of the darkness and into the light. I think Lance recognizes that Oliver Queen is a remarkable man and how much he did miss him when he was gone.
But, if Oliver is going to come back, it's time to mature. It's time to step up and be a different man and not be running around in the shadows. It's time to be what the city really needs. I feel Lance is quietly urging him to do that. I feel there will be a little bit of pride if Oliver does actually step up into that role.