When The CW's Arrow returns for its second season, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is not the vigilante we have come to know and love-- and he hasn't been for awhile. After the events of last season's finale sent a literal earthquake through the Glades killing hundreds of people, Oliver resigned himself to the fact that he may have actually been doing more harm than good. So he shipped himself off to the one place where he got his head on straight the last time-- the island.
"The way that it was pitched to me was that the island for Oliver was kind of like his Fortress of Solitude actually in that after everything that went down with Malcolm and the Undertaking and Tommy, that there was just nothing in Starling City for him. In that case, he goes where he is most comfortable, which is the island," Amell said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with him on set in Vancouver*.
"The show is a lot freer this year...We're in our second season, we've only had one new director so far, so everyone has come in knowing the game plan and doing the things that worked for us last year and not doing the things that didn't work. I think the storytelling is tighter."
And tighter storytelling means quicker transitions for characters' states of minds, at least to launch the major themes and stories of the new season. For Oliver that manifests itself immediately when we find him back on the island but having to confront returning to Starling City again. He may not be feeling so good about his recent actions, but the city needs him more than he may realize. And he doesn't have much time to consider returning; he simply has to do it.
"We're seeing Oliver be really upset by people messing with justice and what should happen in the city... Both Diggle and Felicity have imparted some of those values on him. He learned a lot of martial arts on the island, and he learned how to use a bow and arrow, and he learned how to become a killer, but I wouldn't necessary say that he became a great person there. They've given him a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding, and there's more than one way to fight," Amell said.
When Oliver does return to Starling City, lifted up by how great his sister is doing as well as the support of his new team around him, we will immediately start to see inklings of a new man. He does become more serious when it comes to a "day job," but more importantly, he begins to look at his work as the vigilante in a slightly different light, as well.
"For Oliver, he has much less of a weight on him. There was very little that was heroic about what he was doing last year save for what he attempted at the very very end. It was all vengeance and revenge and the burden of his father. So Oliver this year is much more relaxed, much more easy-going because what he's doing-- how he's spending his nights-- makes him feel good."
Arrow returns to The CW on October 9 2013 at 8 p.m. Click here for a teaser from our video chat with Amell and stay tuned here for more (plus other cast members!) closer to premiere and throughout the first few episodes of the second season!
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* Travel and accommodations provided by WBTV