This week's episode of Arrow was a bit of a mind-bender for all of the characters. Team Arrow from 2040 showed up in the past and revealed that, thanks to political corruption and a deepening gap between rich and poor, Star City remains a hellscape in their time. In case Team Arrow Classic thought that was the end of the bad news, they learned that John Diggle, Jr. -- now the head of the Deathstroke gang -- had murdered Zoe Ramirez just before they were all transported to the present day. Needless to say, both Diggle and Rene (the parents of the murderer and victim, respectively) took this all too well.
Meanwhile, Mia struggled to connect with her emotions after meeting her long-lost father for the first time, and Oliver was faced with the ramifications of his decision to join The Monitor and sacrifice himself to save the universe. The only kid who had a relatively peaceful reunion with their parent was William Clayton, who took the opportunity to come out as gay to his father, Oliver.
“My reaction upon reading it was just gratitude that it was in there because it was a scene that I actually, specifically requested,” Lewis told TV Guide. “After I read the ending of 803, I emailed Beth Schwartz, the showrunner, right away just because I had this realization, which is something I’d never really thought much about before, the fact that William had not had the opportunity to come out to his dad before he died. So yeah, I emailed Beth and she wrote back right away and said that she thought it was a great idea and they were going to work it in, and then sure enough when I got the script it was in there. Oscar [Balderrama] and Jeane [Wongand], who [wrote] the episode, did such a good job, such a beautiful job with it.”
In the episode, the now-adult William reveals to Oliver that he is gay, and that he has always regretted never being able to tell his father. Oliver reveals that he and Felicity had always known, but had wanted to give William the chance to tell them on his own terms.
Lewis, who is himself part of the LGBTQ+ community, shared his feelings about how the scene played out on Twitter.
On a more sincere, GIF-free note: thank u @ojbalderrama @jeanedevivre & @SchwartzApprovd for letting William stand in his truth & come out on his own terms, & for letting Oliver respond in such a respectful, loving way. It's the coming out every LGBTQ+ person deserves. 🏳️🌈 #Arrow— Ben Lewis (@benlewishere) November 6, 2019
Arrow's eighth and final season is something of an oddity, with time-travel and cosmic stakes taking center stage. Ever since the launch of The Flash, those things have existed in the Arrowverse, but Arrow itself has remained relatively grounded, always citing Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy as a primary influence.
This time around, Oliver is working with (or is it against?) The Monitor in the run-up to the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event, in which Oliver has been led to believe that he will die in order to save himself. It's likely fans won't learn exactly how it will all play out until the Crisis begins next month.
Arrow airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Tuesday nights, following episodes of The Flash on The CW.