'Arrow': Oliver's biggest threat, Olicity, mirakuru and more coming in Season 2

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"Arrow" Season 2 picks up Wednesday (Jan. 15) with "Blast Radius." But what is coming after that explosive return? Executive producer Marc Guggenheim had plenty to share with Zap2it on the season's threats, the characters' journeys and more.

Warning: There are some minor "Arrow" spoilers in this interview. Read at your own peril.

Zap2it: What sort of episodes are we going to get when Season 2 returns?
Marc Guggenheim: The first half of Season 2 ended with a lot of cliffhangers, a lot of hanging chad. Barry Allen was struck by lightning, just as he was developing a flirtation with Felicity. Slade, back in the past, was injected with mirakuru, the miracle drug that turns people into sort of human weapons, while we revealed in the present that he is alive and well, and he has a vendetta against Oliver. Oliver learned that there was a force within the city that's trying to take mirakuru and raise an army with it.

All of these things are sort of floating around, spinning around in a bit of a tornado as we pick up with episode 10. Our goal with this episode -- like any episode when you come back -- is to reset the players, ratchet up the tension, create a story that moves us forward. [It] also gives the Arrow a pretty cool villain.

Who will Oliver have to face in the new year?
We've actually got a lot of pretty great antagonists coming up in the early goings of the second half of the season. We've got Sean Maher, who plays Shrapnel in episode 10. Robert Knepper plays the Clockmaker in episode 14. Katrina Law plays Nyssa al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, in episode 13. Michael Jai White returns as the Bronze Tiger in episode 12.

That's not even taking into account the fact that Sebastian Blood is still out there causing mayhem. As Oliver discovered in episode 9, there's a man out there in a skull mask who's sort of behind a lot of what's going on in Starling City. Meanwhile, you've also got Slade in the present day and we haven't seen the last of him.

With so many villains, who is the biggest threat to Oliver and the Arrow?
For Oliver, the biggest threat is always in his own mind. The biggest challenge that Oliver deals with as a hero is how is he going to respond to all these different challenges? What is he going to do to achieve his goals of becoming a hero? And at the same time, what is he not willing to do? Can he stay on the no-killing bandwagon, as we say in the writers' room? Can he manage to be the Arrow and not push everyone away as Oliver Queen? As the pressure begins to boil over for the Arrow, it tends to have an impact on Oliver as Oliver. That's one of the through-lines in each of these episodes: How is Oliver affected by whichever villain of the week happens to come to town in that episode?

How bad are things going to get for Laurel?
From [episode] 5, Officer Lance learned that his other daughter, Sara, was still alive. As we often do on the show, that itself is a bit of ticking bomb. Because while Lance knows it, Laurel does not.
 
As we will see, starting with episode 10, she is going to continue this downward spiral that we started in episode 4 -- really since the beginning of the year, since Tommy's death. Her spiral is going to get much worse before it gets better. And all the while Lance is struggling with the fact that he knows -- or at least senses -- that were he to tell Laurel her sister is still alive, that would give her the hope that she has been lacking ever since Tommy died.

Will Laurel ever learn the truth about Sara?
I don't think it's spoiling it to say it's just a matter of time before Laurel learns the truth that her sister is still alive. We're looking forward to showing you that moment. Because, like most things on the show, things do not go down just as you expect them to.

Just how much trouble is Roy in, now that he has the mirakuru in his system?
Episode 10 begins to explore -- it's something that will take us at least through episode 17 -- the past with Slade and the present with Roy. What are the pros and cons of the mirakuru?

We've seen in episode 9 that mirakuru gives you incredible strength and the ability to heal a lot faster. But starting in episode 10, both Slade in the past and Roy in the present will start to learn the downsides of that power as well. It's going to complicate Roy's life significantly. This is a large part of his ongoing arc for the year -- we said that Roy would go through a crucible this year, and the crucible is the mirakuru.

Since there have been some hints of movement in that area, what are the plans for the relationship between Oliver and Felicity?
I would say we have a short-term plan and potentially a longer-term plan. The short-term plan is more likely to be followed than the longer-term plan. That said, there is no way I can answer this question without being in trouble with somebody!

"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW
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