‘Arrow’ Star Paul Blackthorne Talks Sara’s Resurrection, Constantine’s Arrival

Arrow’s” Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is back from the dead, at least in body — but like everyone who takes a dip in the Lazarus Pit, she’s been irrevocably changed by the experience. In this week’s episode, “Beyond Redemption,” everyone will have to deal with the repercussions of Sara’s return, especially her sister, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and father, Captain Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).

The embattled cop will also have to deal with his grudging alliance with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), especially once Oliver (Stephen Amell) discovers his deal with the devil. Variety caught up with Blackthorne to discuss what’s ahead for the Lance family and Quentin’s shifting relationship with Oliver.

What’s going through Lance’s mind when he lays eyes on Sara again?

A lot of neuroses, obviously. A father seeing his returned daughter is obviously an amazing moment for him, but at the same time he can immediately sense that something’s completely off with her and is wracked by that and can’t accept that she is truly back — which is pretty horrifying, when you’re seeing her back in the flesh but not really in spirit. So, a lot of sadness.

Laurel didn’t keep Sara’s return a secret from him again, at least, but she also made the questionable choice to resurrect Sara in the first place – how is he dealing with that aspect of it?

As the show moves into that kind of tone, it’s interesting, because obviously the most skeptical person on the planet would be Lance, in regards to any of that mumbo-jumbo, as he’d call it. So in his mind, he almost has to skip past that; he can’t really reconcile that there’s a thing called a Lazarus Pit that returns people from the dead, particularly in this rather skewed fashion. So when I was thinking about that at the time, part of him is skeptical that she was ever dead in the first place, or maybe she was just extremely sick or something — he can’t reconcile that there’s a pit that brings people back to life. However, as things do move along through the season, there is more of this element that takes place in front of Lance’s eyes and it is starting to shift his world that maybe there is some supernatural element to it, but at this stage, it almost seems ridiculous that this could be the case. But whatever it is, that’s almost unimportant in his mind – he can see that she is back in body but not in spirit, and that’s what he needs to deal with in this episode and the forthcoming episodes.

The promotional trailer heavily implies that once he finds out that Sara is back but in this skewed form, he feels the need to put her out of her misery…

It’s a dreadful moment for a father to have to realize. It’s taking the dog down to the vet to put it down. He’s already lost her once, she comes back, off she goes again, now she’s back but now he’s gotta take her down the vet and get her put down. It’s terrible, it’s an awful moment, it goes against Lance’s instinct to kill anybody, but particularly your own offspring.

Obviously, we know that he doesn’t go through with that, and next week Constantine (Matt Ryan) will show up to try and work his magic on her — does Lance still hold out hope that this mystical mumbo-jumbo could work, or is it more that he has nothing to lose by trying?

At this point, Lance would try anything, and if there is such a thing as magic or supernatural power going on out there, supernatural elements, I think any father would try anything to bring the spirit of their daughter back. Happy to give anything a whirl, really, whatever it takes.

The episode description hints that Oliver will come to Lance to ask for a favor – can you expand on what that entails?

The relationship with Oliver and Lance has obviously been a shifting one throughout the seasons, and in particular in this episode, with all that’s going on with Sara, with Damien Darhk, it does lead Oliver to ask for a favor, come the end of it. We’ll leave that to the episode to find out how that plays out.

How does it feel for Lance to have to cede the moral high ground to Oliver after years of judging him for his actions, once Oliver finds out Lance is working with Damien Darhk? It seems like Oliver might want to do some gloating.

You can’t blame him, can you? “Alright Oliver, I’ll let you have this one – I messed up, I’m sorry!” It’s reasonable that he takes this one on the chin for Oliver, but in true “Arrow” fashion, these things take their various twists and turns and turn out in a rather interesting way. But yeah, he had to eat humble pie on that one. It was a great scene, actually — that scene with Stephen was one of my favorite scenes in any of the “Arrow” seasons. It was very, very intense, the whole thing. Stephen was great in it.

That’s what’s so great about these writers, they come up with this stuff, take the characters on these twists and turns, who’s good, who’s bad, who’s doing good things for bad reasons, who’s doing bad things for what they think are good reasons — it’s constantly playing out, all the secrets. There’s such great conflict between the characters and subtleties written into it, it’s a joy to play from an acting standpoint. It’s all coming to a head in terms of defining their relationship.

He also goes to Damien for help with Sara, which must add insult to injury — what’s their dynamic like in this episode?

“Hello, Mr. Darhk, I know you’re a rather dastardly villain, but would you mind doing me a favor?” Like with the Oliver and Lance scene, this is another scene where relationships are turned on their head. There’s the dynamic that’s existed so far between Darhk and Lance, where Lance is trying to resist Darhk, but on this occasion, he’s aware that if this supernatural world is something that is going on, this is the man who might be able to help him. So again, having to eat a little humble pie and go to him and ask “please, how do you deal with this stuff?” was another strange moment for Lance.

Poor guy…

I know, he’s always in a hole, isn’t he? Let’s hope he gets laid; if Mama Smoak comes along and he gets laid, it’ll all be worth it.

Anything you can say about the impending “Arrow” and “Flash” crossover?

It’s great, it’s another feat of writing and of production to get the thing happening. It’s incredible, you bring the casts of three television shows, ostensibly helping to launch the new show — it’s fascinating stuff.

What does Lance think of Oliver’s decision to run for mayor?

Lance sees that Oliver is a changed man these days, he’s not what he used to be — obviously Lance knew Oliver since he was a kid, through his playboy days and all the rest of it, so in those first few episodes, he’s quietly urging Oliver to step up, step out of the shadows and into the light. You can only do so much in that position as the Arrow, lurking around in the shadows. I believe that Lance is urging him to do this properly, because he recognizes that he does have qualities. So for Lance to see Oliver stepping up into that mayoral capacity with the campaign, he has a quiet pride about it; he’s quietly happy — the kid could be turning out okay after all.

“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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