After sojourning in season 1-land in the season 8 premiere, Arrow is heading to another familiar location from its past.
In the final season’s second episode, Oliver (Stephen Amell), Diggle (David Ramsey), and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) find themselves in Hong Kong after narrowly avoiding the destruction of Earth-2. Alas, there’s very little time to process what they just witnessed because the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) gives them another task that reunites Oliver with Tatsu Yamashiro, a.k.a. Katana, and proves to be more challenging than the first part of the mission — especially for star Stephen Amell, who has a pretty intense fight scene.
“Episode 2 is really hard,” Amell tells EW. “[There’s an] elevator fight. It was on a hot soundstage.” Time was another factor. “This happens every year where there’s an episode built in the first three or four episodes that will be really heavy on night exteriors. [In Vancouver, Canada], the sun goes down at like 10 at night, and it starts to get light at 4 in the morning, and so it makes it very challenging.”
With “Welcome to Hong Kong,” Black Siren also officially joins Oliver and Diggle on Team Save the Multiverse (working title). Previously, Amell said that Oliver pulling Laurel into the breach was the most important moment in the last scene of the premiere because it signified how much things have changed between the two of them. Looking ahead, the show will dive even further into that dynamic.
“They’re beside one another. They’re working together with one another,” says Amell. “There’s multiple times when Oliver looks to her and says, ‘I didn’t expect to be on this mission with you, but I’m glad you’re here.’”
Having Laurel on along for the ride also gives Oliver a chance to put his belief that people — both himself and others — can change into practice. “If Oliver doesn’t believe in people’s capacity for change, then he’d be a super-big hypocrite because you look at the type of person he was in Russia, for sake of argument — which is also something we touch on this season — and the type of person he is now. If people just judged him on his actions back then, nobody would go near him. He’d be a pariah,” says Amell. “Laurel has proven herself and so Oliver is not going to sit in judgement of her.”
Arrow airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.