WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Arrow. Read at your own risk!
Oliver Queen is no longer the Green Arrow.
During Thursday’s episode of Arrow, Oliver (Stephen Amell) decidedly relinquished the role of Star City’s savior, passing the torch to Diggle (David Ramsey) for two big reasons. First, a photo of Oliver as the Green Arrow had leaked, and though the photo ended up being fake, it probably wasn’t going to be easy to navigate the FBI investigation while suiting up as the Emerald Archer. And second, Oliver’s son William had expressed fear that his father could be killed by any number of bad guys, meaning he’d truly be orphaned.
The question remains: Has Oliver really given up his vigilante life? EW sat down with Amell to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Oliver actually gives up the mantle of being the Green Arrow. Game changer! Can you talk about how that might affect him moving forward? Does he still get the urge to go out there?
STEPHEN AMELL: That’s been the cool thing about this season is that he can’t. You say him giving up the mantle is the game changer, but William is the game changer. The father-son dynamic can’t possibly can’t get any stronger than that. For all of the things that Oliver’s dad did wrong, and for all the things that we have since learned about him, Oliver still reveres him and holds him up to such a high standard, so that relationship is so important. I give it to Diggle; I don’t give it to him with a heavy heart, I give it to him with a full heart. I give it to him expecting him to be able to handle it. I like the idea that I give it to him because the city needs a Green Arrow, right? The Green Arrow can be more than one person. The Green Arrow is a symbol and his team is a symbol. The fact that we are pushing Star City in the right direction is something that is important to me because I don’t want the city to get destroyed every year, because then what’s the point of what we’re doing? We’re a team of vigilantes that are the definition of insanity, because we’re just doing things over and over again and hoping for a different result. Obviously I don’t know what’s going on with Diggle, but I give it up and there’s not a lot of angst.
It’s been a very strange time for me on the show, because we’re talking about going on four episodes now where I’m really out of the mix, and that’s been challenging for me, because I prep myself to work all the time, but we had — without getting into details — a story line last year where in the aftermath of Oliver being tortured by Chase — the big torture, making him reveal his animal instincts and that he enjoyed killing at one point — the producers and I had a lot of back and forth after that about how long that should affect him, because in one iteration, he just jumped right back on the horse. I was like, “Well, if we don’t follow the through line of that affecting him, then what was the point? What was the point of it happening if it doesn’t have consequences?” So I like that he’s given the mantle to Diggle and that’s been the show since then. That, to me, is really cool.
Realistically, do you see Oliver really never suiting up again?
No. Look, I remember one season of 24 when Jack Bauer had been taken prisoner, Jack was in China. They’re like, “Well, how long of this season is Jack going to be in China for?” and the producers were like, “He’s landing like six minutes after it starts. The show is the show.” Our show’s the show, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t surprise people. If he suits back up again, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden it goes back to the status quo.
Is Oliver prepared to take a step back as a leader or is he still active with Team Arrow in certain ways?
He’s out. He’s totally out. We have an instance where he has to hop back in, but it’s not in the capacity that people would expect him to. It’s in an episode called “Reversal.” He does have to hop back in, but other than the occasional visit, he’s out.
Because of his 10 years of experience, how do you think Oliver is a different leader this year? Is it more about offering advice?
He gives some advice to Diggle and a little bit with Felicity, but I can’t remember the last — there have been major characters on the show that I have not interacted with for several episodes. It’s really different, it’s been an adjustment for me.
Oliver and Felicity are on the road to reconciling. What can you tease of what their relationship looks like this season?
It looks good. We had a nice moment between them in the premiere that set the table — they pushed the pause button because Oliver’s relationship with William was more important, and the immediate aftermath of Samantha’s death was obviously very traumatic for him, so it’s Oliver’s responsibility to make sure that William getting comfortable with Oliver was the most important thing. But there are flickers. They’re obviously in love with one another, but they just haven’t pulled the trigger on the full-fledged back-together let’s-go-for-it.
Is there more trust there after everything they’ve been through?
They have so much history together that it’s just a matter of when’s the right time? There’s a dynamic that cannot be ignored with William. Oliver loves Felicity — and I think he hopes she loves him — in a way that they will always be there for each other. It’s been five months since Lian Yu, so if it takes another five months, or another five years, then hopefully they’ll still feel the same way.
Even though he’s no longer Green Arrow, what kind of pressure does Samanda put on him moving forward?
At the end of 602, I wanted to play it where I deny this, but then I also politely threaten her. I’ve had this done to me in business before, where someone says something nice to you, but then you step back for a second and go, “Wait a second, did that person just threaten me?” I’m not going to say who did it, but they’re really excellent at it, so I wanted to bring that same feeling into that scene where I sit down and say, “Look, you’re wrong. What you’re doing is, you’re barking up the wrong tree, but if you’re right, how far do you think a person like that would go to protect the people closest to him?” So we’re playing real cat and mouse, but I haven’t really dealt with her since. What I like is, she’s starting to poke at other people on his team. She’s on absolutely everybody.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.