It seems safe to say that The CW's "Arrow" is one of the biggest freshman hits of the new season. The series is coming off one of its best episodes to date, featuring the introduction of The Huntress and the revelation of John Barrowman's character identity. The star of the show, Stephen Amell, spoke with IGN on what's to come for the second half of the first season.
The upcoming episode will follow up directly where last week left off, with sparks flying between Amell's Oliver and The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw). Expect part two to expand on the relationship while also giving viewers a healthy dose of the action they've come to expect. "It’s a really cool episode. It looks like a movie. Our director Ken Fink... there are cameras in low levels, there are a lot of circular shots. It’s like nothing we’ve had so far on the show, visually. The thing that I like about our show is that we get right into it. Her secret came out. She and I started smooching, and we pick up the episode right where we left off -- well, not right where we left off, but a short time cut, and we get right into the action," Amell said. "We’ve seen her in the Huntress costume, and we don’t fool around. I’m trying to show her a different way. She is resisting, and she vacillates between being on board with trying things my way and just being too hell bent on revenge. So we flip flop back and forth the entire time."
One of the biggest revelations in the latest episode was the reveal of John Barrowman as the father of Tommy Merlyn, causing some to speculate whether the father or the son would eventually become Green Arrow arch-villain Merlyn. "[Tommy's] father could certainly be Merlyn. One of the things that I really like about this episode is we start off with the pilot, with Tommy... He sort of catches me as I’m running away and is a little bit suspicious. We hadn’t seen that in a long time, and we’ve seen him break in a very good direction, to become a character with a lot of soul and a lot of integrity. We see that more in episode eight. If he were eventually going down a darker path, this is a nice way to take a character to sort of push you in one direction and then maybe take you back in the other. But I’m interested to see it," the actor explained.
Still to come this season are recently booked characters in the villain Count Vertigo and Janina Gavankar ("The League") as a potential future love interest. "I actually have some questions for the producers, because I was reading Andrew Kreisberg’s piece in The Hollywood Reporter, and he said the Count has the opportunity to become a supervillain of my making, which having shot the episode, makes a lot of sense," Amell said. "I would love to have Seth back, because he’s a wonderful actor, the character’s really interesting and he’s a departure from any of the villains that we’ve had so far. But that episode is interesting because I spend a lot of time as Arrow, going after him, and it’s personal for me -- for reasons that I can’t explain. But I’m slightly handicapped while I’m going after him."
As for Gavankar, the actor appears to be almost as in the dark as fans of the series. "They have a past. I think there might have been a bit of romance in there, but there are no hard feelings. He goes to the police station looking for something and runs into her, and she is now vice. I know that Laurel and I had a brief moment, and I am having my time with Helena right now," the actor explained. "Oliver, it’s one of the things we establish in seven and continue to establish in [episode] eight, and I think we did do a good job of hammering home in the last scene of seven; he’s clearly lonely. As driven as he is and as interested in cleaning up the city as he is, he’s not really taking any time for himself, and that’s starting to weigh on him a little bit. I’m under the impression that I’ll be spending more time with Janina’s character in future episodes, and the reason that I end up doing so will surprise everybody. The persuasion comes from an unlikely source."
The actor is currently shooting episode 13, in which a recently released criminal bent on taking the reins of the fractured criminal underworld sets
"Episode 13 is all about me investigating something that’s very personal to me, and we have Cyrus Vanch played by David Anders, who is a different kind of villain. If the Count was very diabolical and scheme-y, this guy is sort of reckless and incredibly confident. I don’t go after him, he comes after me, which is a change for us... He tries to flush me out by figuring out who is close to me and if I have any weak spots, and he tries to exploit them," Amell said. "What we have in Starling City -- and this is, again, one of those things where it’s my creation – is we have a power vacuum right now. All the heads of organized crime and all the people that were kind of running the show before I came to town, they’ve all been taken care of. So he comes out of Iron Heights Prison, and he wants to assume control. He goes after the person everybody is scared of, and that would be me."
He continued, teasing, "I will say this. The ending of episode 13 is season finale worthy. It comes out of nowhere, it’s something people have been waiting for, and it is one of those moments that ends with people screaming at the television and clamoring for next week. On a personal level, I think that episode 14, which will pick up immediately after it, is a radical departure for the series, based on how most of the episodes have been structured. It will probably be the toughest episode for me to shoot. John Behring, who directed our sixth episode with the Royal Flush Gang is coming back for that one and that is going to be incredible. But episode 13 is the most '[Gasps]!' ending of the entire show so far."
Amell insists that the steady influx of characters from the DC Universe will not lead to oversaturation, but rather a toy box that writers can raid for future potential stories. "Why hold back? I think that we’ve done a really good job of introducing people, but I also don’t think that we’re doing too much too soon. The story is moving fast, but if anything, we’re throwing a lot of balls in the air. The Huntress exists in this world, and there’s still a surviving member of the Royal Flush Gang, and we didn’t see Deadshot’s body, and we have Barrowman’s character and my mother, and China White. I just like how they brought China White back for episode seven, and she’s also in episode eight," Amell said. "We have Deathstroke, we have Edward Fyers on the island -- he’s coming back. He was around in episode five when we saw Yao Fei rescue me, and he’s back, Sebastian Dunn, who is a wonderful actor. I like working with him. We’re introducing all of these people, but we’re just populating the universe. I don’t think that we’re going too fast, I just think that we’re putting in options for the show. We know that our viewers are smart. We’re not spoon-feeding people. When China White came back, she was just back. I know that Andrew talked about the idea of supervillains, or villain team-ups as the case may be. That’d be exciting, because we haven’t cross-pollinated yet."