Stephen Amell talks 'Arrow': Oliver's facade is starting to crack

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arrow-stephen-amell-shirtless-again.jpgWe've already made it abundantly clear that we're loving The CW's new action-packed hit "Arrow" -- and judging by the stellar ratings, the fans are loving it, too. This week, we'll see one of the most high-stakes episodes yet as one of Oliver's targets gets Oliver's stepfather, Walter, in his crosshairs.

We visited Stephen Amell on set in Vancouver last week to get the scoop on what's to come for Oliver as he simultaneously gets deeper into his Arrow persona and makes an attempt to reconnect with his loved ones.

Oddly enough, we can include his new stepdad Walter on that list of people Oliver cares about. "He likes Walter. He respects Walter, he respects what Walter has brought to his family in terms of stability," Amell tells us. "Whether he shows this outwardly or not is another matter. We see in Episode 3 that if Walter is put in any danger, Oliver reacts to much the same way that he would react if it was his mother, or his sister, or Laurel or Tommy or anyone that's important to him."

Speaking of Laurel and Tommy, in tonight's episode, we'll see them learn that Oliver has known about their clandestine relationship all along. "Eventually the three of them are going to end up in one spot and that's not going to work well at all," Amell teases.

Even as he's trying to create distance between himself and Laurel for her sake, Oliver can't help but reach out to her on occasion -- and to the other people who he left behind. "Increasingly, whether it's him being lonely or whether it's him legitimately missing the people that were a part of his life before he went to the island, he tries again and again to take these moments away from his mission and start interacting with these people again," Amell tells us. "And it seems like every time he does that something bad happens, or there is some unintended consequence."

This week, he'll try to get through to his sister, Thea, who kicks off tonight's episode being dragged home by police after breaking into a store and lighting up a breathalyzer test. She's not interested in Oliver's excuses or his secretive behavior, and she continues to act out in an attempt to get him to respond.

"She's taking him to task," Amell says. "If someone is away for 5 years, you replay how it'll be when they come back, over and over and over in your head. You create a scenario that is way more fairy-tale than reality. She was twelve, and she's 17 now. I don't know a lot of patient 17 year old girls. She's being selfish, but I think it's relatively rational. I think it can be excused. She wants her brother back and she's not letting him skate by."

One person who is letting him skate by? Tommy. We saw that Tommy's eyes were open in the pilot when Oliver jumped up to fight their assailants -- but he's not going to pry into Oliver's secrets for a while. Right now, he's truly just glad to have his friend back. As Amell tells us in the video below, any of Tommy's distrust will be put on the back burner as we explore the brotherhood and history that these two men share -- but of course, even without Tommy sniffing around, Oliver's playboy facade can't last forever.

"We've already seen a crack in it. He's putting it out there and his mother is more or less furious. She's not mad, she's disappointed. It's like when your parent used to say 'I'm not mad, I'm disappointed.' Thea meanwhile wants little or nothing to do with him and Diggle all of a sudden stops him in the hallway and goes 'Uh huh. Yeah. Nice throw with the knife.'"

As for what he's most excited for fans to see, make sure to tune in to Episode 4 next week, when Oliver is able to truly be himself for the first time in one of Amell's favorite scenes so far. "Bits and pieces of it have been popping up in previews: 'If it's not going to be the courts, and it's not going to be the cops, it's going to be me.' ... That was my first opportunity to play a scene to somebody as Oliver with no mask on. I'm really proud of that scene."

Don't miss our video interview with Amell below for much more insight into Oliver's mindset (and what it's like to have your torso plastered on the side of every bus in Los Angeles). "Arrow" airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW/Zap2it