Arrow's status quo got upended in a major way in tonight's episode -- and it sounds like the effects of that are here to stay.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Arrow, "The Slabside Redemption", below!
The episode sees Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) faced with an entirely new dilemma, as Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) infiltrates Slabside prison and attempts to finally defeat Oliver. Over the course of the episode, Oliver manages to make his way to safety, and is ultimately released from prison.
While Oliver might be through with his time at Slabside (as well as the beard he sported during it), Amell hinted to reporters at a recent set visit that the ramifications of Oliver's time in Slabside will definitely be addressed.
"Yeah. I spent a lot of time talking with [showrunner] Beth [Schwartz] about Oliver when he gets out." Amell explained. "Because I felt like in the first episode this year, we were really trying to charge ahead with a lot of cool new ideas, but it didn't necessarily lend the proper weight to what happened at the end of season six in an episode that's titled "Life Sentence." You know, one of the first drafts in the first episode of Season 7 focused a lot on Oliver focusing on good behaviors so that he could get released. And I was like, 'Well, I mean, one way or the other, he's been in there for five, seven months, whatever the case may be. He's got at least 14, 15 to go if he has good behavior.' So we changed the focus a little bit."
"[The] same thing happened when I read Episode 8." Amell continued. "I know they wanted Oliver back in the world, and he is and in a new and exciting way. Concurrently, it felt like we were treating my experience at Slabside like I spent a night in county jail. In actuality, even for Oliver, it was a pretty horrific experience. So I did want a change in him. I wanted a change in him in the way that he interacts with people, with the public, and even so far as his wardrobe. I went to [costume designer] Maya [Mari], and I'm like, 'Oliver's in his mid-30s, he's a former politician. I want him to dress a little bit more like he used to dress for Sunday brunch at the Queen mansion.' WASPy's the wrong word, but it's not totally the wrong word. But that's not what we were going for. In the first episode that I'm out, we had him going to a gala, and I was in sort of like the same suit that I would wear as the mayor. I didn't like that. So we pushed that in a different direction."
Amell also teased that the effects of Oliver's time in prison will be handled in some creative ways.
"And part of the fun of this year is I've pitched a bunch of stuff." Amell revealed. "Not the opening scene of Episode 8, but the first time that you see Oliver, we came up with a really interesting way, I think, of showing what prison life did to him without really bashing people over the head with it."
Are you excited to see what's next for Oliver Queen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Arrow airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.