Ben Lewis Breaks Down a Beautiful Father-Son 'Arrow' Scene (VIDEO)

Damian Holbrook
Exclusive The CW

Move aside, This Is Us. Because Arrow is giving you a run for your money in the tearful TV department.

Ever since it kicked off its final season, the show that gave The CW the world's largest leather costume collection has been injecting each episode with the kind of emotion that only comes when the actors are as affected in the moment as their characters. Knowing he's destined to die in the upcoming crisis, Oliver has borne the weight of what he needs to accomplish first while a parade of returning guests have allowed Stephen Amell to deliver one poignant scene after another.

His alt-universe reunion with late mother Moira (Susanna Thompson), working together with Thea (Willa Holland), even seeing former bestie Tommy (Colin Donnell), despite his heel turn, they have all carried the bittersweet subtext that their Arrow experience is in its final days. And in tonight's "Present Tense," we get another reminder of what the end means for Oliver/Amell as he shares some time with the son he never got to see grow up.

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Will Oliver and Felicity live happily ever after?

Thanks to last week's twist that zapped the surviving members of Team Arrow 2040 — William (Ben Lewis), Mia (Katherine McNamara) and Connor (Joseph David-Jones) — into the current timeline, the remnants of the Queen family can finally reconnect. And while Mia may be a bit of a holdout, this exclusive preview from "Present Tense" is a true standout.

 

Obviously, this just killed us. "Felicity and I knew." Cue the ugly cry, right?

We loved this moment so much, we reached out to Ben Lewis to talk about this lovely, impactful exchange and, like his on-screen alter ego, he proved to be both insightful and delightful.

How was it shooting this coming out scene with Stephen? He seems to be legitimately emotional.

Ben Lewis: He was! We never discussed the weight or significance of the scene beforehand, but once it came time to shoot it, we went deep very quickly and it was clear that it meant a lot to both of us. I was actually blown away by how emotionally dropped-in he was, not only in this scene, but in all of the parent-child scenes that Kat and I got to play with him. It’s obvious how important the role of “Dad” is to him in his real life — he’s always FaceTiming his daughter between takes and she’s come to set, as well. So clearly these scenes resonated with him in a really special, personal way.

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The pieces are falling into place for the five-part event.

And it was obviously resonant for me, as well, as a gay person. When I first read the ending of 803, where Mia and William are face-to-face with Oliver in 2019, I realized, “Oh my God! William never got to come out to his dad before he died.” So I immediately emailed Beth [Schwartz, showrunner] and expressed how coming out to your parents is such a formative experience for any LGBTQ person. It can either be so healing or so traumatic, but either way, it’s a rite of passage.

For William to lose his dad at a young age and be robbed of that — that he might feel like his dad died without really knowing him — was so heartbreaking to me. And then to have the opportunity in his 30s to go back and come out to his dead father? As an actor, I was like, "Holy s**t, that has to happen." [Laughs]  Luckily, Beth responded immediately that she agreed and that they would work it in. So receiving that script, which was written so beautifully by Oscar Balderrama and Jeane Wong, and getting to play that scene opposite Stephen, was literally a dream come true.

Katie Yu/The CW

What does William's arrival in this timeline mean for Team Arrow?

I think it’s very meaningful to William to get to show his dad how far he’s come and how he’s personally able to contribute to Team Arrow. And for me, I think it’s important for young boys watching to see that you don’t need to be physically dominating—or be able to do a salmon ladder—to make the world a safer, better place. [Laughs] Like Felicity before him, William really shows that there’s more than one way to be a hero.

And in the same way that William takes after Felicity, Mia obviously takes after Oliver. As we saw in 803, Mia struggles with teamwork and allowing William to play his role if it means putting himself in harm’s way. As a result, they lost Zoe, so now the challenge becomes, how do OTA and FTA work together to protect and possibly rewrite the future of Star City?

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How long should we expect his crew to stick around?

I can’t say an exact amount of time or how many episodes, but it’s enough to make a really dramatic impact on everyone involved. I can’t wait for the fans to see these next few episodes, because every one of them feels so vital and important. Beth and the writers are really not f**king around. [Laughs]

Arrow, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW