'Arrow': Summer Glau talks Isabel's relationship with Oliver and making Felicity jealous

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Image Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

Oliver Queen is a complicated man in every sense of the word, but in Arrow‘s sophomore season, we’ve watched as things have gotten even more complicated in a usually unoccupied arena of his life: the office. The introduction of fierce female Isabel Rochev has forced the vigilante to wear more suits than usual, but that’s only the beginning of Isabel’s influence. In tonight’s episode, Isabel decides to tag along on a company trip to Russia, where all things Diggle vs. Deadshot ensue. So what does that mean for Isabel’s story and/or her relationship with pretty boy Olly?

We caught up with Summer Glau to chat about Isabel’s trip to Russia, her character’s comic book back story, and any potential for Isabel to get in on the lethal action:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what makes Isabel decide to go to Russia? I’m excited to see her out of the office. Does this mean we see a new side of her?
SUMMER GLAU: Yes. This is Isabel’s chance to show a different side and assert her control over the company. Oliver is always skipping off and skipping out of meetings and his responsibilities, Isabel feels, and when she hears he’s planning this business trip to Russia, you’ll see that she has a connection to Russia, and when she finds out that he’s heading there without her, of course she thinks that he’s hiding something. So she shows up and goes with them, and it gives her an opportunity to see Oliver outside of the office too, and the audience will find out more about her back story as well.

She’s already suspicious of Oliver, so with this trip, are those suspicions going to grow? I feel like it’s just a matter of time before she gets to the bottom of his secrets.
I think that right now she and Oliver have such a difficult power struggle, and she’s really trying to set up the boundaries of what’s okay for him to do and not do, and it is not okay for him to make business decisions without consulting her, and no matter what the audience thinks about Isabel being a new villain on the show, I definitely am playing it from the perspective that she does care about the company. She really wants this company to thrive, so she’s got to keep a constant eye on him, but one of the things I really enjoyed about this particular episode is that she and Oliver, they end up really getting to have some more conversations about themselves, about their lives, about who they are outside of the office. I think that a real mutual respect grows between them. Now where that’s going to go, it’s going to evolve over the next few episodes after this one, but yeah, one of the things that I see happening is that they’re curious about each other and they also can’t help but find respect for each other.

You mentioned getting into her back story. Is that going to come at us flashback-style? She’s in the comics, so was there anything that really shocked you about her story?
Well it’s a slow burn right now. Andrew [Kreisberg] is really, really good at keeping these things secret, because I think they’re very spontaneous and very creative about how they unveil each character’s storyline, so I don’t know exactly how they’re going to tell Isabel’s back story, because right now, we’re just starting to reveal the basic premise of her back story. I love the character from the comic books, and I hope that they incorporate some of the qualities of Isabel in the comics, but right now, we’re just now starting to unveil the beginnings of it.

I read an interview where you talked about loving the interaction between Isabel and Felicity, and Isabel maybe making Felicity jealous?
One of the things that I really enjoyed when I first signed on to play Isabel was that both Andrew and Stephen [Amell] said that they liked the fact that Isabel was going to be a really, really different kind of female energy for Oliver. He has a lot of women in his life and a lot of different relationships that he has to work on and work through and deal with, and Isabel is very different from any of the other women. When Isabel comes in to the corporation and starts feeling things out, I think she gets the sense that Felicity has Oliver’s ear and that they have a special relationship. I think she’s suspicious of it, and she kind of wants to get in the middle. Emily and I are having fun playing around with how to express that part of the story.

Do you feel it’s a romantic thing or a curiosity of what his relationship is with Felicity and how she can mess with it?
I could not say. I have my suspicions, but I don’t want to give away anything regarding romance.

You mentioned a mutual respect at this point between Isabel and Oliver, but in the comics, she wants to kill him. We know Isabel is fierce, but do you think Isabel could ever become lethal?
I think it seems that everyone in Starling City gets involved at one time or another. They end up getting into the fray. So I absolutely think that Isabel is capable. It hasn’t  gone the way that I expected it so far, so I don’t know how [Andrew] is going to do it. Right now, their relationship is getting more complicated.

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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