‘Arrow’ EP Breaks Down Felicity’s Confession, Love Scene Logistics and How Team Arrow Moves Forward

“We wanted to take that off the table prior to the season finale,” Marc Guggenheim says of long-awaited hookup between fan-favorite couple

Three seasons into “Arrow,” The CW superhero drama gave a large chunk of its audience what they’d been waiting for: Oliver and Felicity finally had sex.

The circumstances surrounding the long-awaited hook-up, though, were not ideal. Oliver (Stephen Amell) had just agreed to become the heir to Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) as the future leader of the League of Assassins. Urged to accept his decision and to say goodbye properly by Ra’s himself, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) finally told Oliver she loved him before the two gave in to their seasons-long attraction.

For the showrunners, it was the logistics of the hookup itself that was the most challenging when plotting this pivotal moment in the characters’ relationship.

“One thing that was really important to us in the writers’ room was — there was a strong desire to have Oliver and Felicity sleep together before the events of the season finale,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim told reporters. “We wanted to take that off the table prior to the season finale. We knew episode 20 was the episode to do it in, but we went back and forth on the right venue for it. Does it happen in Starling City? Does it happen in Nanda Parbat? They end up sleeping together in Nanda Parbat and I think we all liked the romance of that.

“I’m personally fond of the fact that it’s Ra’s who gives her the final push. One of the things that I keep seeing on the Internet is that Felicity has never told Oliver that she loves him. That was very deliberate,”  Guggenheim said. “We were holding that back this season. The same way we were holding back them sleeping together, we were also holding back her saying ‘I love you’ to him. We wanted it to be part and parcel of that moment.”

The morning after, Felicity promptly drugs Oliver in one final attempt to save him from his fate by physically dragging him out of there — and fails. Oliver is seen donning the suit of the Dark Archer, embracing his new identity as an enemy of those he’s fought alongside.

How Team Arrow will move forward with Oliver gone is “the emotional currency of [next week’s episode] 321,” Guggenheim said. “It’s a different circumstance in 321 than it was in 310. In 310 they thought he was dead, which in a lot of ways was a lot easier. Knowing that he’s out there and alive and a member of the League of Assassins, that’s a whole lot harder. I think 321 is one of our most emotional episodes. 321 is a villain of the week episode, and it so happens the villain of the week is Oliver.”

The battle for Oliver’s soul is on for the rest of Season 3, according to Guggenheim.

“I would say the last 3 episodes of the season spend a lot of time addressing the question of ‘Is there hope for Oliver?’” he said.

As for how the season will end, Guggenheim promises loose ends will be wrapped up.

“Episode 18 on [this season], each of those episodes could work as a season finale. I think for us, even though they all could work as season finales, they’re all very cliffhanger-y,” he said. “They’re all based on ‘Ok, you’ve gotta come back next week to see what’s going to happen.’ Not that we never do cliffhangers in our season finales, but even when there’s cliffhanger elements … we close the loop on a lot of stories. To me what distinguishes the last few episodes from the season finale is that Episode 23 ends on a cliffhanger, depending on your definition of the word … but not in a ‘is he going to live or is he going to die’ sense … We like to provide a little more closure in our finales.”

“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.