Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has created quite the team around him on The CW's Arrow. On the island he has Shado (Celina Jade) and Slade (Manu Bennett), and in Starling City he has Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and in both cases, those around him become a surrogate family of sorts as they work together against outside forces but also lean on and understand each other as no one else can because of their shared experiences.
"This world that the three of them are in has become just such a family because they can't talk to anybody about it...There's this expectation that they will see each other tomorrow, and it's nice, and it's friendly, and they're getting to know each other more, and they're working side-by side; they're equals," Rickards said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with her on set in Vancouver*.
But the fact that they are now equals with their own individual skills and special parts in the team changes the dynamic a bit for the second season. Felicity started out as an IT girl who proved her hacking ability, but quickly moved into the field, a direction that put her in more danger and will continue to do so as the second season unfolds.
"It puts a reset button on the team of how we're going to start, what we're going to do tactically different, what's going to happen, and how we have to tell each other more things because we can't have any more backpedaling and we can't have any more mistakes," Rickards said of the shifting dynamic and shifting style of execution for the team.
"And if there are more secrets-- which there are; trust me, there are tons more secrets!-- they need to be so thought out on when they're going to be revealed because of [the] fear of breaking apart the trio."
Felicity's importance within Oliver's world is not limited to setting up his lair or getting him information in his line of work as the vigilante, but she also has more to do at her day job within Queen Consolidated, too. The company may not be in great standing after the events of the first season finale, but it is still standing, and she is very much an important part of it-- mostly because of her connection to Oliver.
"She's been promoted, for lack of better word, just because Oliver needs to communicate with her more so she's more hands on within Queen Consolidated...She has just become more accessible where she was just working in her own little office before, we just get to see her in Queen Consolidated and have it as like her secret identity," Rickards said.
Working so much more closely with Oliver of course brings up the question of whether their chemistry will carry over into anything romantic, past the crush she clearly has and the friendship that has evolved into a mutual respect.
"She's still super awkward and super hopeless and it's just like 'Felicity, come on! Dude, put on some army boots or something', but it's her first kind of social club or having a family, that sort of thing, and she really doesn't want to ruin that. I think that's the fear...We get to see her still play with Oliver and still be awkward and weird but also reach to him on a friend level as well and give him sort of an emotional depth and purpose," Rickards said.
"But there's chemistry there and you can't ignore it. There's potential there, and we've all been there. That's what makes it so relatable, too...Is the next step really going to ruin it or make it better?"
At least in the early part of season two, so much is going on with the vigilante work that there isn't time to go home with Felicity or get a sense of who she was before Oliver, other than being a "lonely" person. So Rickards would like to see Felicity have a romantic life this season, though, even if just to give her someone else to lean on and to bring out additional sides to her personality.
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* Travel and accommodations provided by WBTV