ARROW Recap: Of Betrayals and Daddy Issues

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Tonight’s ARROW concluded an arc that had permeated the series for the first half of season 4. While “Sins of the Father” was an average episode at best, it ended Malcolm Merlyn’s reign as Ra’s Al Ghul and also destroyed the League of Assassins in one fell swoop.

These characters have some major daddy issues. Seriously, I dare you to name one character in the Arrow verse that has a good, healthy relationship with their father. The overall theme of tonight’s episode was daddy drama and the struggle for power. The entire problem they had to solve was that Nyssa offered a way to cure Thea, but she would only do that if Oliver killed Malcolm Merlyn, who is the now the leader of the League of Assassins – a place that is rightfully hers, given that her father and her husband were the last two Ra’s al Ghul. So she is more than entitled to question what the hell Malcolm is doing in her place.

However, as Laurel pointed out, that also reflects the fact that Nyssa hasn’t been able to escape her father’s grasp, even after his death. By doing what she did, holding Thea’s life hostage and inciting a war on the streets of Star City between her army and Malcolm’s, she is following right into her father’s ruthless and cruel footsteps, something that Laurel efficiently told her and that was finally what drove the point home and made her decide to desband the League altogether.

Then, on the other hand, we had Oliver, who was torn between saving his sister’s life by killing the guy he hates the most; or trying to find a way to get the Lotus potion from Nyssa without having to kill Malcolm because, despite everything Merlyn has done, he is still Thea’s father and he didn’t want his sister to lose yet another parent. So he is basically stuck between a rock and a hard place because Malcolm and Nyssa won’t compromise and Thea’s life is slipping away with every passing second. So when the battle of wills between Malcolm and Nyssa came down to a duel to the death, Oliver decided to go with a crazy idea – double cross Malcolm by stepping in to fight on Nyssa’s behalf and “kill” him. He even chopped off his hand for good measure to get the ring off.

Our Felicity aptly described what we all thought: “This is one of your craziest ideas and that’s a competitive field”. I couldn’t agree more, Overwatch. Because here is the thing, by betraying Malcolm and allowing Nyssa to end the League of Assassins, Oliver has ensured that Merlyn will make his life a living hell. And that’s what this episode was really all about – putting all the pieces in the right place to set all the events in motion of the rest of the season. But more about that in a second.

Also on our daddy issues roll call, we have Felicity Smoak. It turns out that she knew her dad was a criminal. She didn’t know exactly what kind of criminal, because she was seven when he abandoned her and Donna was never too forthcoming about what had really happened, but Felicity knew he was a bad guy. So when he showed up out of the blue, she wasn’t too sure what to think, but deep down, her 7-year-old self was hoping against hope that it was all a mistake and that her daddy had changed and was a good guy and she could actually have him back in her life.

Donna made it crystal clear that she was not to trust him under any circumstances, but she still tried to give him one last chance, by inviting him over to Palmer Tech, so she could test him without him knowing. And when he betrayed her, she knew her mother was right. People don’t change who they are. When she turned him in to the police, my heart broke not only for her, but especially for that 7-year-old little girl, who had high hopes her daddy would one day come home.

Betrayal was everyone’s greatest plan. While they all had daddy issues, it seemed that all the characters resorted to betrayal to solve their problems. Nyssa betrayed Team Arrow by holding the potion that could heal Thea; Malcolm betrayed Thea by choosing power over his own daughter; Felicity’s father betrayed her by trying to steal information from Palmer Tech; Felicity betrayed her father by turning him in to the police; Oliver betrayed Malcolm by stepping in Nyssa’s place in the duel and betrayed him again when he chopped off his hand, and then again when he gave Nyssa the Ra’s al Ghul ring and allowed her to destroy it; then he also betrayed Felicity again by not telling her about William again and reassuring her that some people can change; and Malcolm betrayed Oliver by going to Damien Dahrk and revealing the Green Arrow’s deepest secret at the moment: the fact that he has a son that no one knows about.

Jesus, what is wrong with you people? It feels like betrayal is their modus operandi and that they don’t know how to do anything otherwise. What is interesting about this is that, while Malcolm’s betrayal is what is going to put everything in motion for the rest of the season, it was Oliver who betrayed the most people in this episode, even if in Felicity’s case it was by omission. That said, he has no idea what is coming his way because, now that Malcolm is out for blood, it is only a matter of time for his secret to come out.

And that is not going to go well. At all.

Like Donna said, people don’t change, and Team Arrow is about to find out that their leader is  a prime example of that. Old habits die hard and all that, right, Ollie?

A new episode of ARROW airs on February 17 at 8/7c on The CW.

ARROW Sneak Peek: Daddy Issues

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Last week on ARROW, Thea’s returning bloodlust grew too much for her.  Her decision to internalize her need to take a life instead of killing someone became more than her body could sustain.

Oliver (Steven Amell) was going to make a deal with Damien Dahrk (Neil McDonough) whose magical powers seem to take away the bloodlust temporarily, but the meeting fell through.

Thea (Willow Holland) ended up in the hospital, comatose from the effects.

Malcolm (John Barrowman) offered to supply her with a local deviant to kill to alleviate the symptoms, but Thea (Willow Holland) refused to take another life.

Both in pain, Malcolm and Oliver seemed to overcome the chasm in their relationship and agreed to abide by Thea’s wishes.  For the first time in months, the two men seemed to have repaired their fractured friendship.

Enter Nyssa (Katrina Law) with a proposition for Oliver…kill Malcolm and give her the ring to ascend to the position as head of the League of Assassins.  In exchange, Nyssa will supply the cure for Thea’s bloodlust.

Tonight, Oliver is faced with how to respond to Nyssa’s offer.  With Thea having only a couple of days left before she dies, it is clear to Laurel (Katie Cassidy) that Malcolm is expendable.

For Laurel, the situation is win-win.  Save Thea and rid the world of the man who killed her sister and Tommy.

Oliver is not convinced.  Despite his low opinion of Malcolm, he knows that killing Thea’s father might save her physically, but destroy her emotionally.

To that end, Oliver suggests that Laurel negotiate with Nyssa while he talks to Malcolm.  If the ring is the only reason that Malcolm must die to save Thea, perhaps a compromise can be reached.

After all, Malcolm seems like he is willing to do anything to save his daughter, including giving up his position as head of the League.

While that seems simple, the situation could be more complicated.  Will a simple handover be possible, or must there be a battle to take the ring by force?

Thea will not be the only Star City resident tonight with daddy issues.  Charlotte Ross and Tom Amandes return as Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) parents.

ARROW also stars David Ramsey and Paul Blackthorne.  Colton Haynes is rumored (but not confirmed) to be making a visit as Roy Harper.

Tonight’s episode, “Sins of the Father” was written by producers Ben Sokolowski & Keto Shimizu and directed by Gordon Verheul.

ARROW airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

ARROW Recap: Overwatch Versus The Calculator

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My head is still spinning.

So much happened in tonight’s ARROW that I don’t even know where to begin. “Unchained” not only brought back quite a few important characters, but introduced a new villain, that happens to be closer to our Felicity than we could have ever imagined.

It all started when the team was chasing a burglar that had been stealing tech components. During the chase, Thea manages to corner him, but suddenly passes out and nearly falls off a building. Oliver arrives just in time to catch her, but it’s pretty clear that something is not right with his sister. She is weak and it seems that the Lazarus Pit’s lasting side effects are making their presence known again. The booster that she had gotten when Damien Dahrk tried to use his fatal magic touch on her is wearing off, and she needs to kill again. Malcolm explains that the pit has given her life, so she needs to take a life in order to balance things out. Except she doesn’t want to kill anyone and that decision is costing her her life.

As Thea gets weaker, the burglar strikes again, but this time, Oliver manages to catch him for a moment. To his absolute surprise, he suddenly finds himself staring shocked at Roy Harper, who just looks at him like he’s never seen him before and punches him in the face, before making a run for it.

Oliver returns to the lair and tells the team what he has just seen, which prompts the first of many awesome Felicity’s one liners: “Whose shocking return should we expect next?”. Our IT queen was on fire tonight and I’ve got a whole list of some of her great lines. While they are trying to wrap their heads around the fact that Roy is apparently stealing tech stuff for no reason, Oliver gets a call from Alex and finds out that none other than Damien Dahrk’s wife, Ruvé Adams, is running against him for mayor.

Instead of seeing this as an immediate problem, he sees it as an opportunity to try and save his sister. So, as the Green Arrow, he corners Adams, asking for a meeting with Dahrk. She obviously laughs in his face, but agrees to pass the message along. Oliver is part relieved and part terrified that he is making a big mistake, but this is the only way to save Thea, so he is all for it.

While he is trying to get a meeting with a crazy villain, his other half has figured out what it is that Roy is after and it looks like he is stealing components to build a web nuke – something that would have the effect of a nuclear bomb, but it would destroy all of the internet. And that would just really suck because, as Overwatch herself said, “I love the internet!”. So Felicity figures out what the last component is and it just happens to be at Palmer Tech with Curtis. And I have to say, guys, Mr. Terrific is a serious badass, but Roy is obviously better and kicks his ass. Before he can escape, however, Team Arrow arrives and tries to make him stand down. When he doesn’t, Felicity notices something and tells Oliver to knock him out with an arrow and bring him back to the lair.

When Roy comes to, Felicity has already removed a device from his eye, saying that was some serious tech that she had never seen before. Arsenal, then, explains that he got made. A guy threatened to expose he was alive if he didn’t steal the stuff he needed. He even implanted some kind of tech in his eye with a camera so his every move was monitored. And Roy went along with it because if it got out that he was alive, the suspicion would once again fall on Oliver, and he couldn’t let that happen. Oliver is really touched, even though he feels guilty for putting Roy in this situation.

Felicity is dealing with a lot in this episode. She has a big presentation coming up and, when she does a dry run of it to one of the board members, he basically tells her she sucks and that they should have someone else do the presentation. That crushes her, but she concedes, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate for being in a wheelchair. It is only when she goes to Palmer Tech to retrieve a piece of tech that would allow her to infiltrate the web nuke guy’s system, that Curtis – as always – becomes her personal cheerleader. This scene was so touching and it just made me smile so big. Emily Bett Rickards has mad chemistry with Echo Kellum and every scene with these two is always entertaining.

So the IT queen returns to the lair with her confidence restored and tech in hand to crash this dude’s system. The Calculator, as he calls himself, is very surprised that someone got through his security system and what follows is just an all around funny and entertaining back and forth between the Calculator and Overwatch. They soon find out that his evil plan is not to destroy the internet – because that would be very tragic – but to kill everyone in Star City. It’s an evil, evil plan anyway.

In the end, after a near-miss, Roy manages to save the day and Felicity bests the Calculator in their virtual war; or as she said herself: “I believe the technical term is that I pwned you!” and that she did. She also pwned that presentation hard and Oliver and Curtis were both super proud of her. To our surprise (and Felicity’s), her dad shows up and he just happens to be the Caculator himself, even though Felicity doesn’t know that. Now, my question is, does he know that his own daughter was the one who bested him?

Daddy drama aside, all is not well in the Queen household, because Thea takes a sudden turn for the worst. She shares an emotional goodbye scene with Roy and, when Oliver hears from Malcolm, Thea is in the hospital in a coma and the odds do not seem to be in her favor. But then Nyssa shows up and all her scenes throughout the episode finally made sense. Because she has what could be a cure for Thea in her hands, but she will only hand it over if Oliver kills Malcolm Merlyn.

So yeah, good luck with that, Ollie.

A new episode of ARROW airs on February 10 at 8/7c on The CW.

ARROW Sneak Peek: Dare To Break The Chain

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Guest star, Tom Amandes (SCANDAL, CHICAGO FIRE) arrives in Star City tonight to begin an arc featuring him as ARROW supervillain, The Calculator.

Techo-girl, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) makes fun of the villain’s code name, but the handle was created in DC Comics back in 1976 before the age of smartphones.  Calculators were pretty hip technology back then, having replaced a bulky adding machine, which Felicity is too young to remember.

Another thing that Felicity does not remember…her father.  Rumor is that The Calculator, aka Noah Kuttler, may be her dad.

After all, The Calculator is named for his ability to calculate, strategize and manipulate those around him, more than for his math skills.

While some were holding out for Felicity to become the new Oracle in the BIRDS OF PREY, for now, at least her code name is cooler than her potential father’s.

Dubbed “Overwatch” last week by Oliver (Stephen Amell), Felicity’s return to Team ARROW was much welcomed.

For those who have not heard, ARROW Executive Producer, Marc Guggenheim has a novel, also titled “Overwatch” that features a hacker who helps the protagonist solve crime (sound familiar?).

Oliver commented that he would have chosen “Oracle” for Felicity’s code name, but it currently is in use (at least for now while www.cwtv.com is streaming the 2002 BIRDS OF PREY TV series).  Guggenheim is reported to have said that “Felicity as Oracle” is not in the cards.

So, is Noah Kuttler making an appearance in conjunction with the “who is in the grave?” storyline?  That might work if the deceased is Felicity’s mother.  In the clip below, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) extends his condolences to Felicity for a yet unknown reason.

Speaking of Roy’s reappearance in Star City, how did he get there and how will Team ARROW manage to get him off of the radar?  It seems that Roy has become a pawn in The Calculator’s game.

Also returning to the canvas tonight…Katrina Law as Nyssa al Ghul…the hottest commodity to rock a duster-type coat since Clint Eastwood.

Nyssa is a definite wild card who has issues with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Thea (Willa Holland) for bringing Sara (Caity Lotz/DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW’S White Canary) back from the dead by using the Lazarus Pit before its apparent destruction.

Also on ARROW tonight are stars David Ramsey, John Barrowman and Paul Blackthorne, along with guest stars Neal McDonough, Echo Kellum, Janet Kidder and Dean Monroe McKenzie.

Tonight’s episode, “Unchained,” was written by producers, Speed Weed & Beth Schwartz, and directed by Kevin Fair.

ARROW airs tonight on The CW (U.S.) and CTV (Canada) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

ARROW Photos: Roy Harper Returns to Star City

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Colton Haynes is reprising his role as Roy Harper in the next episode of ARROW.

Team Arrow moved past some terrible adversity after Damian Darhk tried to kill Oliver and Felicity and the young hacker ended up in a wheelchair. Despite feeling like she couldn’t return to help the crime-fighting team in the last episode, Felicity eventually realized she was still indispensable.

In the next episode, titled “Unchained”, Team Arrow will be facing off against a new formidable villain nicknamed The Calculator and Roy Harper will be returning to Star City to join the fight against the criminal of the week. Meanwhile, Nyssa will also be returning and making her own move.

Browse through photos below for an all new episode of ARROW airing on February 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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ARROW Sneak Peek: A Payback Mission

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Amanda Waller — via Lyla — recruits Team Arrow for a mission in this week’s episode. Lyla tells the group about the reemergence of a criminal organization named Shadowspire — an enemy of Diggle and Andy’s wartime past that may be on a payback mission. The danger of this organization forces Diggle to learn to trust his brother Andy, but it also leads to the revelation of some secrets about their shared time at war.

Meanwhile, Felicity is back at home after her surgery and now in a wheelchair, leading her and Oliver to learn a new way of life. She’s also not eager to return to work, but can Oliver convince her that she’s still a valuable member of the team?

A new episode of ARROW will air on January 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

ARROW Recap: Stupidity With a Side of Anarky

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After that shocking winter finale, ARROW returned last night with the aftermath of the tragedy that ripped our hearts out in December. We picked up right where we left off and saw a badly injured Felicity being taken into the emergency room. Now, I know this is a drama and all, but couldn’t you have just let them live happily and enjoy their engagement for a little while longer, TPTB? You had just made us watch Oliver lying to her face about his son and now you had to go and put Felicity in a wheelchair? Really? I’ll be honest and say that it didn’t come as a surprise – after all, I had seen the promos – but what really shocked me was how badly Oliver reacted to this whole thing. And not in a “he is so shocked that he can’t function” way either.

The very first note I made while I was watching last night’s “Blood Debts” was that Oliver was being an idiot. I know and understand that this is the way he processes things and his only reaction to Felicity being attacked was just that – to react. It was like there was a switch in his brain and, when it was switched on, he went into killer mode immediately with a one-track mind. The way he reverted to season 1 Oliver was impressive, though. For half of the episode I just wanted to shake him really hard and tell him to snap out of it already. Going after Dahrk was not what he needed to be doing at that moment. What he needed to do was to stay with Felicity and support her and Donna at this difficult time. The only good thing that actually came out of this whole mess was that it prompted John to try harder to get through to Andy and it seems like these two are finally moving forward in repairing their strained relationship. Also, can we please have more Lyla? I love her and their chemistry is amazing. Her scenes with Dig are always one of the highlights of the episode for me.

Oliver, on the other hand, only snapped out of killer mode when they got bad news after Felicity’s surgery, which prompted him to get his ass to the hospital and see his fiancée. And, okay, I understand his reasoning that he didn’t want to show up there empty-handed, but it doesn’t justify his actions. He is still an idiot. Felicity – bless her heart – was super understanding. Emily Bett Rickards was absolutely phenomenal in her scenes, especially when she tried to tell him that she would never walk again and that she wouldn’t hold him to their engagement vows in any way. My heart broke for them at that moment, despite his reassurance that they were in this together. Because we know what he is still keeping from her and that it will blow up in their faces at some point and it’s going to be so ugly and painful. Sigh.

This episode also dealt with Thea and how she is struggling to manage her blood lust, especially when they had to face Anarky again. Speaking of which, that guy is completely deranged – like a thousand different shades of crazy – and he seems to be very proud of that fact. Oliver, being a complete idiot, breaks him out of police custody just so he can follow him to where Dahrk might possibly be. When team Arrow gets to the villain’s house, they find Anarky holding Dahrk’s wife and daughter hostage and manage to save them just in time. Everything worked out in the end, but mostly because Andy gave them good info on Dahrk’s whereabouts. Oliver fought against him and very nearly got himself killed, but when Damien found out that the Green Arrow had saved his family, he let him go as a sign of appreciation for his actions.

That said, Dahrk’s wife seems to be in on the whole plan and tells him he should have killed the Green Arrow when he had the chance – even after Oliver had just saved her and her daughter. The fact that she seems to be an ungrateful piece of crap is the understatement of the year.

Also, it is now 100% confirmed that it’s not Felicity in that grave, but it is someone that she cares about very much, if her reaction is anything to go by. As you all know, my money was on Captain Lance. But after last night’s episode, I think it might be Laurel or maybe even Thea. I mean, I know she cares about Captain Lance and all, but to elicit such a strong reaction from her, it has to be someone she really, really cares about.

What do you think? Any theories?

An all new episode of ARROW will air on January 27 at 8/7c on The CW.

ARROW Season 4 Roundtable: Of Super Villains, Super Dramas and Superheroes

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After a very long six-week hiatus, ARROW returns tonight on The CW. I know I am not the only one who is on the edge of my seat, dying to know what happened to Felicity and what the consequences of that tragic ending on the winter finale are going to be. However, we did have six weeks to get over the shock of our dear IT queen getting shot and talk about it endlessly, so I imagine you ARROW fans had more than enough time to come up with a million different theories, right?

Well, so did we. Just like we did for FLASH, a few colleagues and fellow fans of the Green Arrow have sat down to discuss the main plot points of season 4 so far – and let’s be honest, there is a lot to discuss. So sit back, relax and take a look at what we came up with.

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DAMIEN DAHRK

LUCIANA MANGAS: I know he is controversial and he is ruthless, but Damien Dahrk is probably my favorite villain to date. Mostly due to Neal McDonough’s incredible performance, this version of the iconic super bad is basically evil reincarnated, but he is also charming and so funny. McDonough plays this amazingly scary character with such lightness and grace that – even though I hate his guts and want him to die a painful death when the time for that finally comes, especially after what he did to Felicity – I can’t help but sit up straighter and pay attention and be completely delighted to see the magic he brings to my screen every week. I have no idea where they are going with this character, now that Oliver is hell bent on getting justice for Felicity, but I can’t wait to see what happens next and what his master plan actually is.

MELISSA SMITH: I first remember Dahrk (and H.I.V.E) from TEEN TITANS.  He was a 20-years-old and looked like a teenager.  He was never a big character, so the fact that Dahrk is so different on ARROW does not bother me in its departure from the graphic novel canon.  Neil McDonough is such a good actor that he makes the character his own, leaving the Titans version in the dust.That being said, introducing a “magical” character into the ARROW-verse is a tough issue to resolve.  Unlike many of his contemporaries like Superman and The Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow has no superpowers.  He’s just a guy who can fight and design arrows that do cool things. In fact, none of TEAM ARROW (that we know of) has superpowers.  Having them fight a magical immortal gives them an almost-impossible challenge.  At least R’as al Ghul fought hand-to-hand.  That, you can defeat (theoretically).It will be interesting to see how they end up defeating Dahrk.  I have a theory as to how I’d like to see that happen.  Read below under “Expectations.”

SHANA LIEBERMAN: Let me preface this by saying I think Neal McDonough was the perfect choice to play this Big Bad. He’s a great choice to play any villain, really: Loved him as slimy Sean Cahill on SUITS, loved him when he showed up as one of the many people after Scully’s Platonic Alieum Miracle Baby on THE X-FILES… But I’ve been offended by this character beyond just the normal “love to hate” super-evil reaction, thanks to some decisions by the creative team at ARROW that I just can’t support. At this point, regardless of how great McDonough is, I just want to forget Damien Darhk.

I feel like I could write an epistle on this one, but in an effort to keep this roundtable from turning into my own personal soapbox, I’ll just say this: There was no need to go there with the gas chambers in ARROW’s winter finale. Making matters worse, they had Felicity, a Jewish character, in that chamber — and after making a big deal about it being Chanukah (yes, in the real world, it was Chanukah then, too) earlier in the episode. There was also no need for the gray prison uniform that was far too close to what actual nazi gas chamber victims would have worn. Respecting the memory of those killed during Holocaust is very important to me — not just as a Jew but as someone who has studied that dark period in history extensively, even taking it as my personal responsibility to retell on one of the survivors’ stories — so, as a general rule, I like it kept out of fiction. There are very rare cases where I can accept its use as a storytelling device, but this wasn’t one of them.

If the only way to take your villain in a 100% fictional world up a notch is to have him worship Hitler, you’re doing it wrong. Sorry, ARROW. I’m not impressed.

MEREDITH ZYLBERBERG: Damien Dahrk is the villain we’ve been waiting for, and Neal McDonough was the absolute perfect casting choice. After last year’s villain fell fairly flat in terms of scariness (which is really kinda the number one thing you look for in a villain, wouldn’t you say?) the show really needed to come back strong in that regard. Thankfully, they delivered in spades. While not necessarily the most physically imposing villain, Dahrk’s creepiness factor more than makes up for it. The addition of the supernatural makes the stakes even higher  - the viewer legitimately questions whether, and ultimately how, Oliver can beat him.

In addition to Dahrk’s villainy-nous and creepiness, there is the added ambiguity of his purpose. What does he want? What is his goal? Why does he have a super-freaky cornfield underground? What is he going to do with it? Throw in the recently-revealed family dynamic, and it leaves us with a lot of (good) questions about Damien Dahrk. The mystery surrounding him is a good one, it’s one we want answers to. I’m invested in Dahrk and this storyline in a way I haven’t really been with a villain since Slade. And maybe even more so. Malcolm Merlyn and Ra’s Al Ghul didn’t really pass muster as scary villains who actually had the potential to do harm. Slade did, and now Dahrk does. So bravo, ARROW. This season’s Big Bad is big and bad and exciting. Definitely one of the most successful storylines of the season so far.

Next page: Oliver’s son…

Burning Questions for Jason “Jay” Bell of ARROW, THE FLASH and STAR TREK BEYOND (Part 3)

Jay Bell doubling Captain Hook Once upon a Time

Jay Bell, a stunt performer who manages to blend graceful “fight choreography” with take-no-prisoners-combat-style technique recently took time out of his active schedule to chat with THE TV ADDICT.

Jay, whose work can be seen on television shows including ONCE UPON A TIME (seen above doubling OUAT’s “Captain Hook,” Colin O’Donoghue), ARROW, THE FLASH, SUPERNATURAL, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW and FEAR THE WALKING DEAD and feature films such as STAR TREK BEYOND, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE and X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a former active duty soldier, Afghanistan veteran, musician, composer and father who took time out of his extremely busy schedule to answer our burning questions.

Related: Read part 1 and part 2 of our interview with Jay Bell

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THE TV ADDICT:  Is there a gag that looked impossible on paper but happened with surprising ease?

JAY BELL:  I honestly have yet to witness this moment of insane planning for something that huge.  I think those moments are reserved for the likes of Tom Cruise hanging off the side of a flying cargo plane.

Honestly, I’d think a lot of those moments are more frequent when planning complex stunt driving sequences, explosions and those sorts.  It would be pretty amazing to be a fly on the wall though during the inception.

TVA: A lot of stunt performers are good at math and geometry.    When you were in high school did you concentrate on math to go into this line of work?

I was terrible at algebra, but I excelled in geometry and actually enjoyed it.  In high school, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  When I landed in college, I figured I’d go with technology and take the computer science route.  I pretty much settled for what I considered would be a “stable” career move and a bi-weekly paycheck.

Jay Bell Afghanistan copy

After college I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in front of computer screen anymore.  That’s when I joined the Army and did an 8-month tour in Afghanistan.  I wanted to get my feet wet with some real life experience, and that’s exactly what I got.

After my tour ended, I had 2 months left on my contract, and that’s when I really got interested in film. I started training again, meeting local stunt performers and throwing my resume out there.  When I got my first taste of being on set, I was all over it.

TVA:  What are some upcoming features we might see you in?

During the TV hiatus this past summer, I had the opportunity to work on some pretty amazing features.  I went to Montreal to work on Marvel’s X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, and I doubled Kevin Spacey in NINE LIVES.

I then came back to start work on STAR TREK: BEYOND, as well as doing Marvel’s DEADPOOL reshoots.  It’s been a pretty amazing year, both in TV and feature films.

You can also see me do all the action/stunts for DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW series as Hawkman, which debuts on The CW and CTV on January 21.

The TV Addict thanks Jay for answering our burning questions. Here is more information about him…

He also has training and/or special skills in Taekwondo, is a Certified PADI Rescue Diver, trained in Muay Thai, PAL firearms License, Shotokan Karate, military weapons/tactics, Tactix film fighting, does both military offensive and defensive driving, free running/Parkour, and holds a Class 5,6 Drivers License.

He enjoys rock climbing, bouldering and free climbing, tumbling and trampoline, does aerial platform/zoom boom ticket, wire work, ratchets and water work and has a forklift certification class 1,4,5.   He composes and plays music and has 11+ years experience in guitar/bass/percussion.

Jay is a 7-year active duty Army veteran who saw 8 months of combat duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He does Close Protection Operator/Security for LMS Security Solutions (South America, Caribbean, Middle East) and Close Protection for actors/set containment for LifeLine protection services (Vancouver).

Jay Bell and Nestor Cabonell on Bates Motel

He has doubled actors including Nestor Carbonell (above on BATES MOTEL), Milo Ventimiglia, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Benito Martinez, Paul McGillion, Sonke Mohring, Steve Baran, Ben Hollingsworth, Robbie Amell, Adrian McMorran, Colin O’Donoghue, Alex Carter, Kevin Spacey, Mark Consuelos, Falk Hentschel, Nick Zano and Primo Allon.

Want to see more of Jay Bell’s work?

Jay Bell photo on set of Gozilla

You can see Jay in these feature films:  GODZILLA (above), WAR: PLANET OF THE APES, DEADPOOL, STAR TREK BEYOND, NINE LIVES, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, VENDETTA, 50 SHADES OF GREY, TOMORROWLAND, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, MAN OF STEEL and THE A-TEAM.

Check out his stunt performing and acting on television in ARROW, THE 100, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, THE FLASH, ONCE UPON A TIME, IZOMBIE, MINORITY REPORT, THE X-FILES (2016), FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, JESSE STONE: LOST IN PARADISE, THE WHISPERS, MOTIVE, MAPLE BAY LODGE, OLYMPUS, THE TRANSPORTER, THE INTRUDERS, THE KILLING, CONTINUUM, ALMOST HUMAN, BATES MOTEL, THE WOUNDED, NIKITA, FRINGE, SUPERNATURAL, CITIZEN, CBC/FIFTH ESTATE, TO SAVE ONE’S SELF, ECHOES, SMALLVILLE, SARAH IN THE DARK, STARGATE ATLANTIS and ADICOLOR  YELLOW.

For a great compilation of Jason “Jay” Bell’s stuntwork, watch this video.

Finally, go back and check out part 1 and part 2 of our extensive interview with Jay.

Burning Questions for Jason “Jay” Bell of ARROW, THE FLASH and STAR TREK BEYOND (Part 2)

2 Jay Headshot cropped

Stunt performer, Jay Bell, seen on many stunt-intensive TV shows and top-grossing feature films, recently took time out of his active schedule to chat with THE TV ADDICT.

A former active duty soldier, Afghanistan veteran, musician, composer and father, answered our burning questions about stunt work, broken bones and some of our favorite shows.  You can see him on many television shows including ARROW, THE FLASH, SUPERNATURAL, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW and feature films such as STAR TREK BEYOND, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and DEADPOOL!

Related: Read part 1 and part 3 of our interview with Jay Bell

Jay Bell doubling Milo Ventimiglia

THE TV ADDICT: How often do you have to wear special wigs, makeup, get special haircuts or dye your hair to double an actor? (seen above doubling Milo Ventimiglia)

JAY BELL: It always depends on the show.  The only time you wear a wig is if it’s for something specific or when you’re doubling an actor and they need to match your hair to the actor.  Otherwise, you’re getting a nice new haircut!

We get makeup done almost every time on set unless your face is covered by a mask/helmet or some kind of wardrobe.

When I was doubling Hawkman on LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, whenever I wore the Hawkman helmet, they had to color the bottom half of my hair at the back to make it lighter and match Falk Hentschel’s, the actor who plays Hawkman.

Most memorable makeup for me was for being a zombie on FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.  It was pretty wild!

TVA: What is your background?

Jay Bell in military uniform dress

I started off my journey with gymnastics and Shotokan Karate in high school.  After college, I did 7 years in the Army with a tour to Afghanistan.

These days you’ll find me hitting pads at my long time Muay Thai gym, working on flips and tumbling at the local indoor Parkour gym or training with my master at my Taekwondo Dojang.

Jay Bell gymnastics

I like to keep things varied, so that I don’t get stuck in one groove at one time.  Stunts can require a lot or a little, so if you’re prepared for a broader spectrum, you’ll set yourself up for success.

TVA: What is the most difficult type of actor/role to double?

I’d say matching the actor’s particular movement with a certain character.  A lot of times, you’ll double an actor and they move completely differently from how you would portray that same character.

For me, personally, I try and study the actor’s movement and copy their articulations as best as possible, even if it goes against feeling “right” for you.  That for me can be a tough, but also a welcomed, challenge.

TVA: If you could work with your dream director, who would it be?

Hands down, it would be Steven Spielberg.  I grew up watching almost every one of his films as a kid.  I think I might be temporarily starstruck if I saw him on set.  I have such respect for him and to be on the same set would be pretty amazing.

TVA: Do you act, sing, dance or do stage work in addition to stunts?

The only acting I get to do is on the jobs I book as a stunt/actor.  I have yet to have any experience on stage or singing/dancing gigs.  Somehow, I don’t know if that would be my niche, but never say “never.”

Jay Bell photo diving

TVA: How many hours do you train for a complex gag?

A Ratchet (“wire work”) can be a tricky one because you have to setup the machines with your particular weight, your velocity, arcs, how high you’re going and, most specifically, what’s your action before, during and after you land or hit the ground.

I’ve done some days of 12+ hours practicing one single gag.  Complex fight scenes with a lot of different moving parts can also take a long time.  We did one big sequence where the main heroes are fighting a lot of bad guys while there are complex driving sequences going on at the same time.  That was a full 2 12-hour days of rehearsing.

TVALegendary stunt person, Dar Robinson, never broke a bone in his career.  Is that really unusual, and have you?

It’s not unusual at all.  I know a lot of veteran stunt guys who have done some totally insane gags without a scratch. One friend, however, broke his neck on a feature film 5 years ago and has now fully recovered.

Luckily for me I’ve just broken a nose along with some torn ligaments in my ankles and a separated shoulder.  I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy…but that is getting off pretty easy to me (knocking on wood).

Jay Bell photo 5 X-Men

TVA: What is the most unusual request you ever got for a stunt?

I haven’t had too many “unusual requests” but on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, the Hair Department pretty much told me that I’m shaving my head and beard off…except the mustache.  I was walking around Montreal for a month with a shaved head and a big dark bushy ‘stache…. not exactly the look I like to have for prolonged periods of time.

TVA: What hobbies do you have?

Completely unrelated to film, I’m an avid guitarist.  Whenever I have any time to myself and I’m not training, working or changing my daughter’s diapers, I’m playing and recording my own music on my MacBook.  It’s the only time I get to be alone in my own musical creative world.

That being said, I look at my career as a stunt performer as a hobby.  I think the moment I look at it as a job, I might start feeling different about it, and I don’t want that.  For me, it’s the most fun paid hobby you can have.

Check out Part 1 and Part 3 of our interview with Jay Bell.