Arrow's Paul Blackthorne Talks "Canary Cry" and the Rest of The Fourth Season

(Photo: The CW/Warner Bros. Television)

Arrow returns on The CW tonight with the funeral fans have been waiting all season to see.

Paul Blackthorne's Quentin Lance will be mourning his daughter Laurel as the rest of Team Arrow mourns the death of Black Canary in action during the most recent episode of the series. Blackthorne, who has had a long and complicated relationship with the team, will be playing a man who's mourning his daughter for the third time since the start of the show -- an impressive feat, considering that he only has two daughters.'s Emily Donn had a chance to talk to Blackthorne about tonight's episode, his charity work, and more. The full interview will run over the weekend, with video, but for now, here's what he had to say about "Canary Cry."

What is Lance feeling at this point?

Well, it’s the fallout now, isn’t it? It’s the emotional fallout of the death of Laurel. Everybody’s trying to reconcile how they deal with this, and Lance is obviously walking around trying to find a way in this magical world that we live in now that we can bring her back. We brought Sara back; why can’t we do the same for Laurel? So it’s him desperately searching for any way which he could possibly bring her back from the dead. She did that for Sara; why couldn’t somebody do that for her?

So it’s a bit desperate, watching him try to pursue that course, but of course it’s only natural that he does, so it’s kind of a sad episode for Lance.

I suppose that’s going to last the rest of the season…

Probably the rest of his life, I suppose. But yes, for the rest of the season, for sure.

Because Laurel became Black Canary, Lance became much more involved with Team Arrow. Is he going to continue working with them as much as he has?

Well, I think everybody’s going to be taking stock at the end of the season in terms of where they are now. Damien Darhk is still lurking around doing his thing, and we’ll see how that resolves. Laurel is gone. The landscape has changed once more, which is what they do so well on the show. As each season starts, there’s a new landscape in which the characters are trying to pick up the pieces and work out how to live their own lives. This will be obviously a challenging time in terms of Lance’s relationship with everybody, but we’ll see how that plays out in Season Five.

He’s sort of lost everyone by this point. His wife has left, Sara has died and then left…

…The dog’s run off.

He’s a country song, isn’t he?

Yeah, he’s a walking country song. He does have Donna, and that’s his one saving grace at the moment. Laurel was the cornerstone of his life, she’s gone, and although she can never be replaced, thankfully there’s a Donna Smoak about, because she does represent some huge notion of love, hope, and that’s probably what’s stopping him from running off to the fridge with a bottle in his hand.

Do you think this might affect his relationship with Felicity, then, that the woman he’s seeing has a daughter about the same age as Laurel?

I think it would affect anybody’s relationship when you’re seeing their mother or father, right? “By the way, I’m sleeping with your mother.” “Okay, Lance, no problem.” Of course it has an effect on the relationship. When I was trying to break up with Donna because he was protecting her from Darhk, and then Felicity rolls in on her wheelchair and says “What’d you do to my mom?” And Lance says “Why do you think it’s my fault?” and she says, b”Because you’re a man.” I remember as Lance looking at her and thinking “Geez. The pain the daughter is going through because of what the mother has been through.” Seeing that transferred hurt form mother to daughter, it’s such a human sort of trait to do that.

I think that’s one of the great aspect of Arrow and the writing: it’s not just the stunts and the action. It’s about real characters with real lives who are struggling to understand each other and themselves, and that scene really encapsulated that for me. There’s some rich character stuff going on in this show.

Felicity’s father is coming back, and Dinah of course for the funeral. Are Donna and Quentin sort of dealing with each other’s exes in the next few weeks?

Yeah, a bit more drama.

We also saw you on Legends of Tomorrow last week and gave some insight into Sara and Quentin’s relationship than we’ve seen before. Did you create backstory for that?

It’s kind of weird: the wardrobe had two different costumes. It was like “Did I pack a bag for this time travel?” We always create a backstory. It’s like “How did we get here? What happened?” You always find a way to justify it. You have to, or you don’t have a scene unless you know why you’re there.

And how was that wig?

Itchy! Itchy wigs.

Do you like how you look in it?

They do a good job of it; I think it looks alright, the wig, but it’s a bit weird seeing it now. i’m used to seeing my shaven head now. It reminds me of my youth.

What’s the difference in the way you played losing Laurel versus losing Sara?

That’s a good question. Sara was the little tear-away in our family, and the little rebel. So somehow it was never a surprise that the path that she took, and losing her was huge, but somehow less surprising in a way than losing Laurel. Obviously, there was a huge bond with father and daughter with Sara, but there is a really really strong bond with Laurel.

She was sort of Lance’s protege in a way, because Lance would look at her as a child and see how smart she was and would instill in her the morals and ethics of life, of what’s right and what’s wrong. Part of our backstory was that we would play the “right-wrong game,” and she was so smart, she’d end up teaching Lance things, even when she was a kid. Her awareness was so much greater than grumpy Lance’s was. Lance could really see that she was going to blossom into something much more than what Lance ever was. And he would tell her, the more you learn about the law, the more chance you’ll have of finding justice. So there was a greater closeness in that sense, rather than Sara, who would be running off to music festivals with a guitar on her back.

As awful as it really was to lose Sara, losing Laurel cuts close to the bone.

And at some point, he’s probably going to learn that Darhk’s last words to her were blaming him for her death.

Yeah. [Pause] It’s funny, actually, because I was thinking about that a lot with the script: would the team have ever told Lance that’s what he said? And I don’t think they would. In some future way it will come out, whether it’s on the page or I bring it into backstory or something, but I don’t think any of them would have had the heart to tell Lance.


They do have a long history of not telling the truth to protect each other…

Exactly. But clearly he did what he did. Actions speak louder than words and his actions were pretty loud. It doesn’t take much to work out that that revenge had much to do with Lance’s actions in the past and testifying against Darhk in the courtroom and in a twisted way, he obviously gave her enough reason to kill her, which is something that will haunt Lance forever.