Last week's "Arrow" (Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW) Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) met Helena Bertinelli (a.k.a. comics antiheroine Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw), another troubled vigilante with an uncompromising method of delivering justice. Though her ideologies may differ from Oliver's, he found that he had a lot in common with Helena, and the final moments of "Muse of Fire" saw our hero getting up-close and personal with his new lady-friend.
But their story doesn't end there. As Amell previewed in Part 1 of HuffPost TV's exclusive set visit interview, "all the plans that the Huntress has in [Episode] 7, tie directly into [Episode] 8."
Naturally then, this week's episode (Wed., Dec. 5) will bring simmering tensions to a boil and place Oliver at odds not just with Helena's mobster father (Jeffrey Nordling), but with his own crime-fighting partner Diggle (David Ramsey).
In addition to our on-set interview with Amell, HuffPost TV caught up with Ramsey earlier this week to find out what he could tease about tonight's episode and next week's Christmas-themed installment, which also serves as "Arrow's" midseason finale. Below, find Part 2 of our conversation with Amell, and the first part of our interview with Ramsey -- and start preparing yourself for "Year's End" in advance.
In Episode 6, Thea [Willa Holland] certainly didn't handle Tommy's [Colin Donnell] "rejection" well. It seems as though she's going down a darker path and challenging Oliver more directly.
Amell: Our dynamic is coming to a head sooner, with Oliver and Thea, because she hasn’t trusted me since the end of the pilot and it hasn’t really gotten better. I mean, she made an effort enough; she asked me, she said, "I don’t care if you do it with me but you have to do it with somebody -- you’re going to have to tell me what happened. Tell them what happened. Tell someone what happened." And she’s at her wits’ end with me and this situation with being rejected by Tommy and feeling threatened by Laurel [Katie Cassidy], it’s not making it any easier. She and I are going to have to have a head-to-head pretty soon.
Not to get too literal with DC Comics' various iterations of Speedy, but I know that choice of nickname was deliberate for Thea, and comics fans are aware that Green Arrow's first "Speedy," Roy Harper, struggled with drug addiction. With the impending introduction of "Arrow's" version of Count Vertigo [Seth Gabel] and all that entails, I'm guessing that Thea might be heading down a similar road?
Amell: Vertigo is a drug [and Seth Gabel is the dealer] and from a deductive logic standpoint, that would be a pretty good path to go down ... You know, just because her relationship gets better with Oliver, it doesn’t mean that she gets better overall ... it has an opportunity to get better with Oliver because it gets worse with someone else.
What can you say about the midseason finale, "Year's End," which has a Christmas theme?
Amell: There is some big stuff. The whole idea of doing this superhero and doing a superhero without super powers is that he is vulnerable and he is fallible and he can be hurt. And as much fun as it is to take down Adam Hunt and take down Jason Brodeur, if Oliver is just dominating the bad guy of the week, if there is a bad guy of the week, that’s not dynamic. That’s repetitive. If we were really going to do this show, we’d have to run him up against somebody that was his equal or that was better than him and that was always my hope for the show. After I read Episode 9, I have never been happier after reading a script.
Does that involve Deathstroke [Manu Bennett] in any way?
Amell: I actually do believe that Deathstroke is in Episode 9, possibly. That’s the other thing too, is that we’re about to take a little bit of a break from the island, I believe. I mean, we left it in a very interesting spot with him finding [his father's] book; but when we go back to the island, there’s no more sitting around in the cave. The cave, I’m sure, will stick around, but we’re going outside and in much the same way that you ramp toward the midseason finale, I believe that we are ramping toward the moment on the island right now. Because the scenes have become more intense, the stakes are a little bit higher ... I thought that we saw it just for a second at the end of Episode 6, but we are starting to see this first little inkling, this twinkle of transformation in Oliver -- or at least a separation of the person that he was before, relative to the person that he is when he comes back.
I will say this. I will tease one thing about Episode 9: I really think that we’ve moved forward with the series, that we’ve continued to raise the stakes and 9, right at the beginning, does a great job of illustrating just how much higher the stakes have gotten since the pilot. There is a quick scene where something that was a big deal in the pilot is just dispatched and that, to me ... it’s not hitting the viewer over the head with saying, "This is how far we’ve come," but me reading it, I went, "Oh, wow," because this was a meaty part of the pilot and now it’s just an afterthought in Episode 9.
Diggle expressed more than a few reservations about Helena in last week's episode. I'm guessing he's not going to react too well when he discovers how deeply Oliver's involved with her?
Ramsey: Your instinct is correct. We made no secret of how Diggle sees justice being distributed in Starling City in general, as opposed to how Oliver sees it. They both agree on the larger point that Starling City is dying, but it’s worth redeeming, and there are people that deserve justice aren’t always getting it, and the people that deserve to pay don’t always pay. They both agree on the larger story ... We see they already have conflict, and they will continue to have conflict. Helena fits right into the philosophical challenges that these two men have in terms of who deserves justice and who doesn’t. Helena is another lightening rod between these two gentlemen. Diggle will have a problem with her presence in Oliver’s life, and he will make that known.
Stephen did tell me on set that Diggle was due for an "I told you so" moment, although not in a vindictive way. Will that have something to do with Oliver's new relationship?
Ramsey: I think so. The thing that’s great about these guys [is that] Oliver suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and I don’t really think anyone knows that except for Diggle. Oliver is smart enough to know he does, but he’s on a mission, and that, many times, clouds his judgment. But I think Diggle’s the only one that really sees that and really knows that Oliver needs help to see things from every angle. I think as a soldier, Diggle sees that. He sees the advantage of seeing things from every angle, as many angles as you can, and that makes your kill smarter. When you do decide to kill and execute that capital punishment, you are in a moral position to do it, and I think Diggle gets there through close evaluation of every situation.
Oliver gets there by seeing a name on a list and distributing justice, and so, they don’t meet eye-to-eye on that, but then on the larger issues, I think they agree. Anyway, I think in terms of Helena, Diggle has his own idea about who Helena is and how she should be dealt with. Oliver, because of where he is in his life, what he’s suffering from -- and we saw in the last episode how kindred of spirits they are -- I think Diggle sees that as clouding his judgment.
Does Diggle have any scenes with Helena specifically this week?
Ramsey: Yes, you will see them engage. They will have some words. [Laughs.]
A little further down the line, we know that Diggle is going to start keeping a closer eye on Oliver's mother, Moira [Susanna Thompson]. What can you tease about that arc?
Ramsey: Well, he’s going to have to. I think that Diggle, again, is looking at everything, everybody. He’s checking them all out, as a good soldier should. As a person who’s looking at every single angle, as anyone would if they’re a soldier on a recon mission on a battlefield. The Queen family, by the way, is part of that one percent. If there’s anybody to really keep eyes on, it’s the Queen family. Diggle’s eyebrows are raised in terms of the Queen family, and just a little hint, they will get even higher as the season goes on. You will see some major developments with the Queen family.
Next week's episode is the midseason finale. What can you reveal about it?
Ramsey: It is going to be jaw-dropping ... It’s going to be like, "I can’t believe they just did that." It’s going to be huge. I can’t give too much away, but some episodes are setting up for bigger episodes like this past episode we saw it was really more of a setup for what’s happening in the [Oliver/Helena] relationship, and then, you have other episodes like [3 and 4] when Oliver had that big reveal. This episode coming up with Christmas is bigger than both of those. It’s huge. It’s really, really big.
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
Do you think Oliver and Helena will last? What are your predictions for the midseason finale? Weigh in below!