In this week’s “Arrow,” titled “Uprising,” Starling City is still trapped under the iron fist of the gangster known as Brick (Vinnie Jones), and after the bulletproof bad guy gave Diggle (David Ramsey) and Roy (Colton Haynes) a spectacular beatdown last week, it will take a fighter of immense skill to take the villain out. Could that fighter be Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell)?
“It’s not my showdown to have, it’s Malcom’s — episode twelve is his flashback,” Amell told Variety, hinting at an hour stuffed full of backstory for John Barrowman’s manipulative Malcolm Merlyn, which will feature flashbacks to almost a decade earlier in the Dark Archer’s life. “There’s a young Oliver. I met the actor too. He was such a nice young man; very, very respectful. We spoke outside of the trailers and he was asking me these very profound questions. ‘Why’d you get into acting? What was your inspiration?’ So we had a nice chat.”
And wherever young Oliver goes, it’s a fair bet that a young Tommy Merlyn is sure to follow…
Jones admitted that while it was “nerve-wracking” to join the show for his three-episode arc — “They’re all a well-oiled machine, and you don’t want to block the cogs up,” he said — he was satisfied by tonight’s denouement: “There’s a big standoff. I think they had two or three hundred extras, and it took about three nights to film it, so it’s a hell of a finale.”
No stranger to physical roles, Jones relished the opportunity to take part in “Arrow’s” ambitious fight scenes. “They gave us plenty to do and they did it in segments,” he recalled. “You practice and practice with the stunt guys for a couple of days and then you get it. They bring the stunt guy to do the big wide [shots] and you get in for the close-ups so it’s good fun. You end up with a few aches and pains and bruises but it all comes out well, and the stunt people are fantastic. They make you look so good.”
Jones is also a veteran of comic book properties, having played Marvel character Juggernaut in “X-Men: The Last Stand” on the big screen in 2006, and a villain known as Scales in NBC’s shortlived superhero series “The Cape” in 2011.
He noted that during his “X-Men” stint, the comic book genre “was just taking off. I met Hugh Jackman on ‘Swordfish’ after he did the first ‘X-Men’ and I can remember, while we were on set they’d just brought out the first blow up doll of The Wolverine, and I tied it up on my trailer and I used to bash it up, and we had a good laugh. Hugh took it in good humor, never thinking how big it would blow up. It’s absolutely gone through the roof. But it’s like the horror stuff — the horror stuff has gone nuts, the comic book stuff has gone nuts; the fans are really getting what they want to see, which is fantastic.”
As for “The Cape’s” failure to launch, Jones observed, “I thought ‘The Cape’ was a great concept; it was all magic and stuff, but I thought the timeslot was totally ridiculous. It was an eight o’clock show and they put it on at 10 p.m. on a Monday night. The rope was round the neck before we even went on air, I thought. It’s proven — look at ‘Arrow,’ eight o’clock. That’s the time; you’ve got younger audiences right up to the 50-year-olds, and you’ve got to bring in the younger audience.”
Recently, Jones’ small screen luck has improved between “Arrow” and ABC’s “Galavant,” a “Monty Python”-esque musical comedy starring Joshua Sasse as the titular knight, which saw the British thesp playing scene-stealing bodyguard Gareth to Timothy Omundson’s prissy King Richard. Jones admitted he’d be “gutted” if the show didn’t return, and hopes ABC will pick it up for 13 or 16 episodes next season. “It’s brilliant to come off ‘Galavant’ on a high with the ratings and everyone talking about it, asking ‘is there a new season?’ They’re asking the actors — the actors are the last to know,” Jones laughed. “But it was nice to come off that and get on to something else. To be honest, my friends take the mickey out of me: ‘you’re all over the TV, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, you’re on “Conan.”‘ I said ‘yeah, that’s how Hollywood is — when you’re hot, you’re hot, when you’re not, you’re not.’ You’ve got to roll with it.”
Here’s the episode description for “Arrow” episode 312, “Uprising”: Still operating without Oliver and desperate to stop Brick, Team Arrow is forced to consider Malcolm’s offer to help shut Brick down as Malcolm has a personal score to settle with the felon. Roy and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) point out that the team could use some help to save the innocents of The Glades, but Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is adamantly against it. They look to Diggle to make the final decision. Meanwhile, the flashbacks chronicle Malcolm’s descent from kind-hearted father and husband to cold-blooded killer after the murder of his wife.
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.