'Arrow' star Stephen Amell talks finale death: 'I had panic attacks and nightmares about that scene'

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cw-upfronts-stephen-amell-arrow-2013.jpgWe've been extolling the virtues of "Arrow" since the very beginning of the season, but even we weren't prepared for how huge the season finale, "Sacrifice," would be. With all the production value of a big action movie and all the general emotional devastation that fuels zillions of Tumblr posts about "feels," the episode pulled no punches.

The most powerful scene wasn't an action sequence or a romantic reunion, though. It was the horrifying moment when Oliver ( Stephen Amell) said goodbye to his childhood best friend, Tommy ( Colin Donnell). After learning that his father, Malcolm, had plans to destroy the rough part of the city -- The Glades -- with a man-made earthquake, Tommy rushed to the epicenter of the danger to save Laurel, despite everything that had come between them. He saved her life, but was trapped beneath the rubble, speared by the debris. Oliver got there just in time to watch his friend die.

To say that the moment was heartbreaking is a vast understatement. Amell and Donnell left it all on the table, really pushing themselves to deliver vulnerable, painful performances. "It was really sad. It was really nerve-wracking because, to my mind, I wanted to give a performance that would honor the character and honor [Colin] as my friend," Amell tells us. "There were parts of that scene that didn't make it to air, that I had nightmares [about]. I don't get stressed, but I had full-on panic attacks and nightmares about that scene."

Luckily, it was one of the last scenes they shot for the season, so they were able to go out and toast the character with a drink or two. ("Or ten," he jokes. "We drank it off.")

Having lost one of the people closest to him to what he perceives to be his own failure, we'll see Oliver at a very different place in Season 2. "They pitched to me where the first scene of Season 2 takes place, and my hope is that because we find everybody in a different spot, and Oliver basically with no desire to be the vigilante at this point ... it'll be our second season, but almost like a new series."

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images/Zap2it