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‘Arrow’ Producer Teases Laurel’s Return, Introducing Talia al Ghul Ahead of Midseason Premiere

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By the end of “Arrow’s” midseason finale, Team Arrow had taken quite a few licks. Diggle (David Ramsey) had been apprehended by the law after spending the first half of the season as a fugitive, Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) boyfriend was killed, and Curtis (Echo Kellum) was given an ultimatum by his husband. The one light at the end of the tunnel was Oliver (Stephen Amell) finding Laurel (Katie Cassidy) had returned after being killed by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) last season.

Variety spoke with executive producer Wendy Mericle about Laurel’s return, the team’s current state, and more…

What kind of condition is Team Arrow in when the season starts back up?

With the death of Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter) at Oliver’s hand, they aren’t happy. That said, at the end of the season we saw Laurel come back which has given them a small ray of sunshine. Coming into the back half of the season the team is really feeling that Prometheus is more formidable than they thought.

How does Oliver react to Laurel’s return? Is he skeptical?

He’s happy. We wanted to keep everybody true to their character for how they would react to that, and Ollie has seen things — certainly more than the rest of the team — and even though he’s skeptical he’s more willing to embrace that type of hope. There are other members of the team who are a little less enthusiastic.

He’s not keeping this to himself then?

No, this is something that gets out pretty fast.

Does her return affect Oliver’s relationship with Susan Williams (Carly Pope)?

I think the short answer to that is no. Any sort of romantic relationship between Laurel and Oliver we pretty much put to bed in Season 2.

The members of Team Arrow are nearly professional at sweeping their personal issues with each other under the rug when they need to, but does Felicity struggle working with Ollie since he killed Billy?

I think we’ve explored Felicity being mad at Oliver for his role in things she didn’t agree with. Nothing has happened to this extent, or this personal, but she knows the circumstances. We did not want to do a story where Felicity was mad at Oliver again. For her, she understands that the blame really lies with Prometheus.

Curtis was given an ultimatum by his husband: stay on the team or stay with him. How is that weighing on him?

For Curtis, as torn as he is, the thing that Paul (Chenier Hundal) tells him — that he’s never seen Curtis happier — is true. It’s going to carry Curtis through the back half of the season, with the hope that he can

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