'Arrow' Season 2, episode 20 post mortem: Why Moira had to die in 'Seeing Red'
Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg had some answers on the subject when he spoke to reporters the week before.
Moira's death wasn't taken lightly
"It wasn't something we were talking about last year. I don't want to give the impression that we go, 'Oh, someone has to die! Let's spin the wheel! Bad luck, Moira!' The decision was first of all, just as with Colin Donnell, it was difficult. Susanna was with us from the beginning, and she was one of our big 'gets' early on that I think signaled to the audience and to reviewers that this wasn't your average CW show or your average superhero show."
"Like with Colin Donnell, I think these last few episodes are her pinnacle. This is as good as anything that's on television. And unfortunately, because of the kind of show this is, it probably won't be recognized as such."
Why it was time for Moira to die
"The decision, it really was just like with Tommy: Where is her trajectory going? In Season 1, she had this incredible secret, that she was part of the Undertaking and she suffered for it and went to jail for it. And then we discovered that she had an even better secret, which is that Thea is really the daughter of Malcolm Merlyn."
"When that secret blew up, it split the whole family apart. Obviously, we're taking steps to bring the family back together again. When we're talking about the future, we knew that ... it was only going to be powerful if Slade changed the game by doing something really monstrous. Well, if Moira wins the mayorship, if she makes up with her kids, what is she? What is Moira without a giant secret? And if they all forgive her and then there's some other giant secret, for us it sort of felt like we were becoming a soap opera."
How the death fit the character
"It really just sort of felt like in a way, she could die a hero's death and also die this person who's conflicted, because even as we're seeing her saying, 'Hey, we have to tell the truth,' she's still got this other horrible secret! You just literally can't change her and she literally goes to the grave [with the lie], despite the fact that she sacrifices herself for her children."
"She was still lying. That was the essence of her character and that was what was so great. We felt that ending it at this time left you with that great feeling of what an amazing character she was instead of letter her devolve into a caricature."
"And that was the math, like with Tommy it was horrible math and it was tearful math, but also her death has an impact on everyone on the series. It's certainly what's going to drive Oliver in these last three episodes, and it's going to drive Thea, not only in these three episodes but also into series 3. It's sometimes the worst thing you can do personally is the best thing you can do professionally."
Of course Moira knew about Oliver
"We had always talked about the idea that Moira knew that Oliver was the Arrow."
"We felt one of the great things about 'Sacrifice,' last year's season finale, when Oliver walks in to talk to her, he's not Oliver. He's the Arrow. He's saying, 'We've got to stop this!' She'd be borderline low-IQ if she wasn't like, 'Wait a minute!'"
"But we always liked that she never told him, and everything just sort of felt like it came together in this one episode."
In the end, Moira was both a hero and a villain
"That's the thing about Moira: She's always said she's doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. And everything she does is because she wants to protect her children, even if that means blowing up a city, lying to them, hurting her feelings. One of the most interesting things to us was realizing our villain, Moira, and our hero, Oliver, were essentially doing the same thing."
What comes next?
Moira's dead, but that's hardly the end of the story. For one thing, there's that rather important secret about Malcolm Merlyn that Moira failed to tell her children prior to her death. "I think what she was about to tell them will play out sooner than you might think," Kreisberg hinted.
First, however, is the funeral. And there may be some surprises at it: "The next episode opens with Moira's funeral, and Oliver's missing."
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.