Achieving a balance between romance and action, plot and heart isn’t the easiest thing for a show to do in its freshman season, but “Arrow” has surpassed all of our considerably high expectations this year. So much so that we pretty much despise every time the show goes on hiatus. And we’re not alone.
“Breaks are terrible,” Stephen Amell agrees. “I understand why they’re necessary, but I’m so proud of the last four episodes, and the last two in particular, that I just want everyone to see them.”
While we’re not particularly looking forward to a summer of reruns, Stephen tells us that the end of the season will leave us so overwhelmed we might welcome a break. (We have our doubts.) In the meantime, here are ten awesome things he has to say about the final four episodes of this chapter. New episodes return this Wednesday, April 24 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
1. The love triangle isn’t over. The scene between Laurel and Oliver outside of Verdant from a few weeks back made it pretty clear that Oliver misses Laurel… and that she misses him. This week, Oliver and Tommy will start to confront their shared affection for Laurel. “We’re actually going to get some clarification as to how Oliver feels [about Laurel] this week. I would expect to see my character and Katie [Cassidy]’s character together a lot more toward the end of the season,” Stephen says. “And that’s not good for Tommy.”
2. Oliver’s issues with his mom will resurface. “Oliver said specifically at the end of Episode 14, we don’t know what the undertaking is and until we do, she’s off limits. Well, we’re going to find out what the Undertaking is soon, and if she’s involved, it’s not going to go quietly into the night.” The tension could potentially lead to Oliver moving out of his mom’s house next season. “God, I hope so,” Stephen laughs. “Even if the season ends with them skipping down the yellow brick road together, I mean, he’s like 30 years old! He needs to get his own apartment. Quote me on that one.”
3. Other heroes will start to come into play. We know that there are other DC Comics heroes in the “Arrow” universe, but Oliver’s connections to those heroes might surprise us. “There’s a wonderful tease at the beginning of the finale, with respect to origins that Oliver has that we don’t know about yet,” Stephen says cryptically.
4. Stephen has been doing more and more of his own stunts — which means more elaborate action sequences for us to enjoy. “We’ve been making fun of my stunt double [Simon Burnett] because for the past three or four days of the finale, he didn’t do anything,” Stephen says (rather gleefully). He’s particularly proud of the scene that opens the season finale, in which we find Oliver chained to the ceiling and left for dead. “He didn’t do a thing, and that’s an incredibly physical sequence. I’m getting better, and the stunt coordinator and the fight choreographer are getting more attuned to what I’m able to do, so when they design these sequences … they are starting to play to my strengths a little bit, so I’m getting to do a ton.”
5. Pre-Island flashbacks in Episode 121, “The Undertaking,” will show a new side of Oliver. “I’d never really played that guy before except for one real quick scene in the pilot, and it went really well … I get to shoot some stuff with Katie, and it was just fun to play that character, to be carefree,” he says, referring to Oliver before the Island. The flashbacks reveal why Oliver brings Sara on the Queen’s Gambit instead of Laurel, and when he does, we’ll get a glimpse of Oliver’s relationship with his father. “His father’s kind of saying, ‘That’s not the best idea,’ but also giving him the secret high-five,” Stephen jokes.
6. A meaningful scene between Oliver and Roy is coming. Stephen tells us that we can look forward to Oliver confronting Roy in a scene with Thea, which will establish their relationship. Expect to see much more of their connection next season. “While we are servicing a lot of our storylines for Season 1, you do start to see Easter eggs for Season 2,” he says. “Thea and Roy are on the trail of the vigilante … and if the police can’t just up and catch him, they’re not going to just up and catch him, but Oliver does catch wind of this before the end of the season, which leads to some interesting interaction between the three of them.”
7. The second-to-last episode is so good, people might confuse it for a finale. “I’m going to have to do a very good job letting people know that Episode 22 is not our season finale,” he laughs. “Because there’s enough in Episode 22, both in the present and on the island, that you could just say ‘Okay, that’s it. I need a break until October.'”
8. We may be looking at an equipment upgrade. The wooden bow that Oliver fashioned on the Island has taken quite a beating this year. “He’s living in the year 2013 and he’s using a wood bow that he made on the island. Things are going to change with him as time goes on. We’ve always got to introduce new gadgets. [Felicity’s] going to research some cool new thing that I’m going to use,” he says. That could include his costume — while there are no firm plans for Oliver to ditch his green make-up for an actual mask, it may be in the cards down the line.
9. Diggle and Oliver take a break from the bromance. “Oliver and Diggle have a little bit of a falling out, because Diggle is really after getting Floyd Lawton, and is becoming a little bit obsessive. Oliver doesn’t share the same commitment, because there’s still an overall goal,” he teases. It bothers Diggle that Oliver isn’t dedicated to his cause, given how much Diggle has given to helping Oliver’s mission this year. The good news? The clash is only temporary. The other good news? Diggle doing his own thing means there’s an open position. “He’s not at my disposal, and I have to send young Miss Smoak into the field,” Stephen says. And speaking of our favorite IT girl…
10. Oliver doesn’t see Felicity as a little sister figure in his life. We’re hoping that sparks eventually fly between these two, and judging by the #olicity Twitter tag, we’re not alone. “I think that every day that he sees Felicity, he finds out how capable she is. They have to work very closely together in Episode 21 and in Episode 22. Emily [Bett Rickards] and I get very close in both of those episodes,” says Stephen. “Just based on her knowing more about me than anyone at this point in my present day life, she can probably challenge me in ways that other people can’t, and that’s always attractive.” When asked whether Oliver sees Felicity as a little sister or as a woman, Stephen says definitively, “I think he sees her as a woman.”