The man who brings DC Comics’ emerald archer to life on the small screen has also been an ace ally for LGBT people, often taking aim at antigay attitudes and promoting equality through his active social media presence. While promoting Arrow via a Facebook post in February, Amell called attention to the fact that the Winter Olympics was taking place in a homophobic country where discrimination against LGBT people is the law of the land. He told fans the superhero show would be taking a “mini hiatus so people can grit their teeth and suffer through an Olympic games marred by homophobia and mediocre levels of public interest.”
Amell also spoke passionately at Comic-Con International in July about Arrow breaking new ground for LGBT people in entertainment when the series introduced its version of DC Comics’ martial arts master Black Canary (Sara Lance) as a kick-ass bisexual — a first for a superhero series on TV — who had been in relationships with both Oliver Queen (played by Amell) and the daughter of the villainous Ras al Ghul. He was also clear homophobic reactions to the storyline were not welcome. “It’s 2014, [homophobes] need to get over it,” he told The Advocate. “The thing that I liked most about [the reveal of Sara’s sexuality] is that we didn’t make a big deal of it. We didn’t say, ‘This is a special episode of Arrow.’ We didn’t put a parental advisory before it. Sara and Nyssa have a relationship like Sara and I have a relationship, and that’s all it was. So I hope we get the opportunity to do more of that because we can and we should.”
FLASHBACK — Hong Kong, 3 years ago
This week, Oliver and Maseo are trying to get their hands on a deadly bioweapon called “Omega” before China White does. Apparently, one vial of this stuff has the power to take out an entire city. Oliver isn’t any more comfortable with torture than the last time we saw, but he’s closer to accepting it as a necessary evil. Maseo and Oliver find the lab that makes the virus and try to steal it. However, by time they get there it is gone.
Turns out, China White had a man on the inside who stole it for her. They capture him, but after hours of torture, they realize he doesn’t know anything because he was under the control of Vortura, a plant that makes a person susceptible to suggestion. Basically, it’s mind control, and Oliver’s reaction to finding out was priceless. Unfortunately for them, China White decides to visit Maseo’s home and has a nasty encounter (katana fight) with Tatsu. By the time Maseo and Oliver get back, China White has taken Tatsu.
Boy, does the League of Assassins know how to make an entrance. The Arrow is casually minding his business on this December night—you know, dropping gift-wrapped bad guys off at the police station for Quentin—when the League ambushes him in an alley. Outnumbered, Oliver is captured and dropped at Nyssa’s feet. Nyssa al Ghul, a.k.a Daughter of the Demon, a.k.a. The World’s Deadliest Glorified Messenger, has come to Starling City to deliver a message for the Demon himself: Oliver has 48 hours to find and deliver Sara’s killer or else the League will start killing innocent people in Starling City, because that’s apparently a thing the League does when it grows impatient. (ASIDE: I may be wrong, but didn’t Nyssa tell Oliver earlier in the season that the League was after Malcolm because his Undertaking, the nonchalant killing of hundreds of innocents, violated their code of honor? If that’s the case, how is the Undertaking not okay, but being ready to kill innocents over Sara’s death make sense? )
OK Arrow fanatics, that midseason finale covered a lot of ground — and it ended with a literal cliffhanger.
Let’s try to deal with our collective adrenaline rush (and impending Arrow withdrawal) by unpacking the episode’s major events.
The Sara death secret is out of the bag
Mrs. Lance (Alex Kingston) and Thea (Willa Holland) know that Sara (Caity Lotz) is dead, thanks to a breakdown from Laurel (Katie Cassidy), who has understandably been having trouble with her sister’s murder and the fact that she can’t tell her dad because … he’ll have a heart attack if he finds out. So now they know. But that small comfort doesn’t last long, because Sara’s death is bringing the vengeance of The League of Assassins, who promise 50 Starling City residents will die until the killer is brought to justice.
Thea killed Sara!?
It turns out dear old dad Merlyn (John Barrowman) drugged Thea in order to get her to commit the murder — and he’s going to tell R’ahs unless Oliver takes the blame himself. “You’ve given her a death sentence,” Oliver says.
“No, I’ve given you an incentive,” counters Merlyn. He wants Oliver to kill R’as during a trial by combat.
The League of Assassins has been hunting Merlyn, so presumably he hopes to wipe the slate clean.
Read more ‘The Flash’ EP on Reverse-Flash Mystery and Upcoming Supervillain Team-Up
Felicity has another superhero love interest.
Yep, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) revealed to Felicity that he’s got a plan to help the city. “Not again,” she says of being involved with a crime fighter. Felicity, this is your destiny. Embrace it!
Oliver is dead!?
Well, obviously not for good. But the man did look pretty dead after a badass duel with R’as. We’re guessing that Oliver really did die, and he’ll be resurrected using methods that you might call supernatural. R’as said a prayer before delivering the final blow, which just smacks of resurrection.
“Forgive and have mercy on him. Excuse him and pardon him,” he says. “Protect him from the punishment of the grave. And the torment of fire.”
We know Merlyn once conquered death, so why not Oliver?
Arrow returns Jan. 21 on The CW. Until then, let’s theorize. Is Oliver dead? What’s Merlyn’s plan? Is Thea a hero or a villain? And how many times can one man die and still return on Arrow?
hough we still don’t have an answer to who would win in a fight between Arrow (Stephen Amell) and The Flash (Grant Gustin), Arrow fans will get to see whether Ollie can hold his own when he faces off against Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) in the winter finale.
“Ra’s has grown tired of waiting to find out who killed Sara Lance,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells EW. Therefore, the two will come to blows in the final moments of the episode that will lead to a surprising cliffhanger. “This is one of the most epic fights we’ve done on the show in a locale that we’ve never been to, fighting like we’ve never seen on the show before with stakes about as high as they’ve ever been. It’s an incredibly intense fight.”
But, as Oliver has evolved over the seasons, so has his fighting style, namely that he no longer takes a life. “There’s a very specific scene between Oliver and Felicity about his humanity and how that potentially is a liability in his duel with Ra’s,” Guggenheim says, teasing that it’s safe to say Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) won’t be happy with Oliver’s choice to battle the Demon.
“That’s a tricky scene to write because the traditional version is she says, ‘Don’t go, don’t you love me?’” he says. “The challenge of that scene is, how do we come up with a way of doing the scene that’s realistic and true to the characters, but at the same time is a bit surprising and is unexpected and not the cliche that you’re anticipating? I think we came up with something in that scene that is very unexpected. It’s intentionally out of character, but I think very much in line with her emotions.”
As for the fans wondering why Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) doesn’t come to Oliver’s defense, “Oliver is going to give her a really, really, really good reason,” Guggenheim teases ominously.
Find out who will win when Arrow’s midseason finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
The CW’s Flash-Arrow crossover event finished up with Wednesday’s Arrow hour. While the biggest Arrow moment occurred during The Flash hour (as Oliver ran into his ex/baby), a few important things went down in “The Brave and the Bold.”
Here’s what the Arrow cast and producers had to say about some of the crossover’s biggest moments.
Diggle is engaged!
After Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) survived the attack against her, Diggle (David Ramsey) decided to make things official with his ex-wife/baby mama, so he popped the question to her — again.
And while happier moments are fairly hard to come by on Arrow, Ramsey confirmed viewers will get to actually see a wedding onscreen, though he was hesitant about whether the newlywed (and new father) bliss will be long-lasting. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “That was softer … the stakes are high. Diggle’s working, and he has a wife and daughter to protect.”
Oliver is going to a dark place.
Oliver (Stephen Amell) may have loosened up a little bit at the end of the crossover to take on Barry (Grant Gustin) for a playful one-on-one fight, but the lightness will vanish almost immediately in the next Arrow episode. “The smile you saw on Oliver’s face? It lasts for about four seconds in the next episode, and then it’s gone,” Amell teased.
The impact from the crossover will continue to play out.
Not only is the STAR Labs team now actively helping Team Arrow with the search for Canary’s killer, but Arrow and The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg previewed that “there’s a couple of big STAR Labs inventions that will be coming Team Arrow’s way.”
“Flash vs. Arrow,” the first part of the The Flash/Arrow crossover event, was a fun and action-packed hour. It was basically everything I could’ve hoped for. Tonight’s episode of Arrow, the crossover’s second part, was a decent enough episode, but definitely wasn’t as good as the first installment. Whereas The Flash’s episode felt like it was moving many of its ongoing stories forward, the same can’t be said of “The Brave and the Bold,” an episode that felt very much like a crossover episode. “The Brave and the Bold” tries to service Oliver’s identity issues and character development, but it ends up doing a lot more for the away team.
That being said, there were still plenty of fun moments in the episode, most of them coming from Cisco fanboying all over the place—Cisco is this episode’s Diggle. Team Flash brings so much needed levity to Arrow’s typically dour proceedings. (The sassy and smiling Oliver we saw last night also makes a welcome return tonight). Also, Captain Boomerang (Nick E. Tarabay) is one of Team Arrow’s most formidable and compelling opponents this season as he is someone who appreciates the art of strategy and plans multiple steps ahead. But, enough setup. Time to dig into “The Brave and the Bold.”
The eagerly awaited Flash vs. Arrow crossover led to a ratings spike for The CW.
Tuesday night’s Flash had 4.2 million viewers and a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, up 7 percent from last week and marking the show’s biggest audience since its second episode (and here’s some scoop from last night’s hour). It’s the first of a two-part crossover that concludes on Arrow tonight.
On Tuesday, Team “Arrow” — Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and John Diggle (David Ramsey) paid a visit to Central City for the first part of The CW’s ambitious two-night crossover between “The Flash” and its gritty antecedent. On Wednesday, Team Flash is returning the favor by heading to “Arrow’s” Starling City, where Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) will experience the harsh realities of what it means to be a hero in the Arrow’s world.
On “The Flash,” we saw Felicity ask Caitlin for help in solving the mystery of who killed Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), as well as the brief return of Caitlin’s fiance Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) — now imbued with meta-human abilities that will transform him into DC Comics hero Firestorm. Though we didn’t see a reunion between the pair in last night’s episode, Panabaker previewed, “Having Ronnie come back is very challenging for Caitlin; she’s been grieving the loss, and then she has to grieve him all over again because he’s not at all who she remembered him to be.”
The episode’s final few minutes also brought Oliver into contact with an ex-girlfriend (as yet unnamed on the show, but our money’s on Sandra Hawke), last seen pregnant with Oliver’s child in season two of “Arrow,” when Oliver’s mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) paid her two million dollars to tell Oliver that she’d lost the baby and leave Starling forever. While Oliver is still unaware of that child — who should now be around seven — executive producer Andrew Kreisberg promised that reveal “is going to have major repercussions on ‘Arrow’ down the road.”
We kick off tonight’s episode with another one of Barry’s opening monologues. As The Flash is speeding around town like an omnipresent Hitch, Barry is talking about what it’s like to a catch a major case of the feels. Actually, I liked his opening speech so much that I’ll quote it here instead of ruining through a reductive summary:
Everyone on this planet, at some point in their lives, has had a major case of the feelz; Those days when your heart is just too small to hold the big things you’re feeling. Today is one of those days. We think of our emotions like they’re these unique, personal phenomena—that no one has ever felt what we have felt. There is a basis in science for every emotion we feel… As a scientist, I know there’s nothing magical about what makes us feel something for someone else, and then I see her smile [At this point, he’s standing outside of Jitters watching Iris]… Man, that cannot be science.
Maybe it’s because of how excited I am about the prospect of this episode, but I found that last bit about Iris super charming, in spite of the seemingly lack of chemistry between the two characters.
(ASIDE: It makes sense that an episode about feels features the master of feeling all the feels, Oliver Queen. END ASIDE)
Comic book fans’ dreams are about to come true when two superheroes face off—no, we’re not talking about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Arrow‘s emerald archer and The Flash‘s scarlet speedster will face off during an epic two-hour, two-night crossover event.
But why, oh why, would allies Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) go toe-to-toe? You can thank comic book villain Roy G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony) for that. To get the scoop on the crossover event, EW caught up with executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg: