On the surface, this week's all-new episode of Arrow teases Bronze Tiger's (Michael Jai White) plan to sell Malcolm's (John Barrowman) earthquake machine (the one that decimated The Glades at the end of Season 1) to the highest bidder. But the installment, titled "Tremors" and written by executive producer Marc Guggenheim and co-executive producer Drew Z. Greenberg, also slyly sets up seismic events that threaten to shake up the foundations that The CW superhero series is firmly built upon.
But first, to recap: Roy (Colton Haynes) been injected with a mysterious serum called Mirakuru (roughly translated as "The Miracle") that kills 99.9% of dosed subjects. But, if a subject actually survives the transition, they're imbued with superhuman abilities: strength, endurance, durability, reflexes, healing, and speed. In short, they're superhero ready.
However, Oliver (Stephen Amell) learned the hard way that Mirakuru channels itself through rage, so he's begrudgingly taken Roy under his wing after watching his former ally, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), succumb to the serum's side effects. "Through Roy's training, Oliver has a chance to revisit some old sins," Guggenheim told BuzzFeed, not just referencing Slade, but also The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw).
"He failed miserably to be a guide for The Huntress, so now he's setting out to do this right," Guggenheim added. "We always want to be consistent with what we've already established for any character that has a superhero destiny. If it was as easy as putting on a costume and fighting crime, then anyone could do it. It took five years of hell to turn Oliver into The Arrow. It took five years of hell, and The League of Assassins, to turn Sara [Caity Lotz] into The Black Canary. It's not that Roy couldn't be a member of Team Arrow without the Mirakuru; it's that he couldn't do these things without going through the crucible the Mirakuru establishes."
But don't expect Roy to enter Oliver's Arrow lair — or take a crack at his salmon ladder — just yet. "To preserve his secret identity, Oliver is talking around a lot of things because the more information he gives Roy, the closer Roy gets to figuring out that identity," Guggeinheim revealed. "That's why the training doesn't take place in the lair. We can't bring Roy in without revealing Oliver's identity since it's right beneath his club. So, it'll be a while before we get Roy in there. Or on the salmon ladder."
Thankfully, that doesn't mean a partnership between Roy and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) — or, Rolicity, as enthusiastic fans have anticipatorily dubbed them — is entirely off the table for Season 2.
"The main drive for us as storytellers is to keep things new and fresh and exciting, so watching Oliver, Diggle [David Ramsey], and Felicity interact with these new people coming into their world is fun," Greenberg said. "I think one of the great joys of this season has been Felicity and Sara getting to know each other. It's opened up new aspects of each character, and I love that we've been able to do that."
And the writers are mindful of how much truly hinges on Oliver maintaining his secret identity. "We address that head on in the episode when someone asks Oliver how many people know his real identity and he replies, 'Too many,'" Guggeinheim noted before Greenberg added, "We always have to be cognizant of keeping Oliver's secret identity. We've limited it to the people who need to know for the time being."
Haynes, however, is holding out hope that becoming Oliver's mentee will mean that Roy is finally integrated into Arrow's overall mythology. "I'm not excited about the possibility of giving up McDonald's, but I'm excited to potentially work with more of the cast and to hopefully become a superhero," the actor told BuzzFeed.
Which begs the question: What is the secret to successfully punching a bowl of water (a task Oliver asks of Roy in BuzzFeed's exclusive clip)? "You gotta close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and imagine you're in a rap video," Haynes revealed. Watch below!