Stephen Amell previews the 'Arrow' finale: Oliver does 'the unthinkable;' plus, the ending nobody could predict

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Image Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

When we last left Starling City, it was being terrorized by Slade’s Mirakuru soldiers. Oliver and his team had injected Roy with the cure, Thea had fired a gun, and Amanda Waller had scheduled a drone strike to level the entire city. And that was just in Arrow‘s penultimate episode.

“We stretched [the finale] out this year. It was a long three episodes because essentially, our last three episodes — save for the last act of the season — take place over the course of one night,” Stephen Amell tells EW. “So the wardrobe department had it relatively easy because no one changed. But yeah we did absolutely save the best for last. This is our best episode of the season for sure.”

What exactly does Arrow‘s season 2 finale have in store for viewers? Check out our chat with Amell below:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’ve been wanting to ask you this: Slade has been playing up this one person he has left to kill. Meanwhile, Oliver has spent this entire season trying not to kill. So what’s the worst thing Slade can do at this point: Kill that final person, or make Oliver kill?
STEPHEN AMELL: It’s the latter. He’s trying to prove a point to Oliver that he’s this broken, unredeemable person, and the whole point of the finale is how far can he push me. I have to go to a place that even Slade never expected I would in order to finally, hopefully, get a leg up on him. Because he’s been four steps ahead of me at every point, because he knows, or at least he thinks that there’s a line that I won’t cross. And that’s what I have to do in the finale. I have to do the unthinkable, which is where the title came from.

Okay. If Oliver has to go to this place, is it a place you think he can come back from?
I certainly hope so, because we have more seasons to shoot. [Laughs] It’s a tough spot, but it’s something that hopefully the character can grow from.

We’re obviously moving toward this big Ollie-Slade showdown. If Ollie gets his revenge, how would killing Slade change Ollie going into a third season?
I’m extremely proud of this season. We started out with this idea that Arrow season 2, if it had a subtitle, would be “City of Heroes.” And everyone has seen the image from the finale of this flying V of heroes as they’re walking towards an army of Mirakuru soldiers. What happens between Oliver and Slade in the finale is the formative moment for my character going forward. It’s what needed to happen for him to strive for better things, and I’m very, very proud of it.

In terms of actual fight scenes, I remember you talking earlier this year about how the mid-season fight on the freighter was the show’s biggest fight scene to date. How does the finale compare?
We blow up the freighter and we flood it with water, and we have a massive fight in the middle of it. The fight sequence between Slade and I at the end of this finale, not to mention the massive Braveheart-style brawl in the middle of the finale, is by far the best stuff that we’ve done. If we can’t win the stunt Emmy for this episode, then the system is broken, for sure. I’m starting a campaign, because it’s movie s— that we do in this finale. And because of our production schedule, it had to be the actors, and we had to do it on the fly. It’s incredible. It’s an incredible sequence of events.

Semi-related to fighting, we see Roy in a red hoodie in the photo you mentioned earlier. Roy never fully achieved sidekick status this season for various reasons, but is that still a possibility?
Yeah, it is, because we hit him with the cure at the end of the last episode. And based on the preview clips that we’ve released, clearly the cure works. Roy was always a ticking time bomb when he was infected with the Mirakuru, but now that he’s not, he can try to be part of the team for the right reasons. One of the things that I like about the finale is that the situation is so dire and the danger is so close that Oliver has no choice but to delegate and rely on the people around him, and that’s never been a comfortable position for him. That’s never been something that he’s been totally open to. He’s forced to let that happen in this episode, and that brings Roy into the fold.

I talked to Katie Cassidy recently, and she mentioned how now that Laurel knows Ollie’s secret, she’s more in love with him than ever before. From your perspective, how does Laurel knowing the truth shift things for Ollie?
It’s interesting: It’s been a couple of episodes since he found out that she knows. But in actuality, it’s been like six hours in terms of time that has gone by on the show. Laurel and Oliver will have to have a moment to reconcile who he is, why he kept the secret, how her knowing changes the dynamics of their relationship. But that’s not for now. There is a clear and present danger in Starling City, and that has to be resolved before they can decide what’s next for them. But I can see how Oliver quite literally is the person that Laurel always wanted him to be, and now she knows that. I think going forward, that will be very interesting.

Let’s talk about the very exciting news that the finale has been extended 75 seconds, which is forever in TV world.
By the way, it really is forever. I’ve sat in the editing room when they’re having to cut out, like, the last eight seconds — so for 75 seconds to be added, that’s insane. I don’t know what it’s for, to be honest, but I’m very glad.

Is this finale a don’t-miss-the-final-60-seconds thing, or is it just so consistent that it doesn’t matter?
Oh man. Everything follows a relatively normal path. It’s explosive and it moves so fast, and it’s basically like a 43-minute action scene, but nobody can see the sixth act. If you were to gather every person that was a fan of the show and predict the ending of this season, nobody would get it.

Now you’ve scared me.
Yep.

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

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