When the sixth season of Arrow came to an end, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was in handcuffs, after agreeing to face punishment for years of vigilantism as the Green Arrow. In doing so, his team was granted immunity and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and William (Jack Moore) were sent to witness protection.
With the beginning of Season 7, viewers will be introduced to prison life for Oliver, and it isn't pretty. In fact, his incarceration is exactly as vicious as you might expect, and maybe more so. As seen in trailers and images from the new episodes, not only is Oliver a constant target for those he's locked up as the Green Arrow, but he's also isolated from those who can protect him.
"It's one of my favorite things this season, because it's just so different from anything we've done before," showrunner Beth Schwartz said during a press Q&A, following a screening of the premiere episode. "And it allows his character to be with other people. And I think that's the fun of it... we wanted to keep him separate, because the reality of when you're in prison, you're not with your family. So his storylines are with the characters in the prison. And not as much with everyone else. So they are pretty separate."
That means while he'll once again be tangling with the likes Danny "Brick" Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) and Derek Sampson (Cody Runnels), his moments with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity will be few and far between. That said, it's not as if his friends and family won't have their own difficulties to deal with.
In several photos of Felicity from the premiere, it's clear she was attacked, which leaves the status of William up in the air. What's more, those two being separated from Oliver is taking a toll.
"They are not adapting well," Schwartz teased. "They are both pretty miserable. They are away, Felicity is away from her husband, William is away from his father, and their family, and their city, and their real lives. So, it's not going well."
Unfortunately, this isn't going to be something that is resolved quickly, either. While the idea of stranding the lead of a show in jail away from the rest of the cast seems like a problem most series would want to resolve quickly, Oliver isn't making a break for it anytime soon. In fact, after two months of filming, it was only the end of September when Amell was finally able to shave off the beard he grew for Oliver's stint in prison, just in time to start filming the annual crossover, which will see Batwoman enter the fold.
So when you watch the Season 7 premiere and see just how terrible prison is for Oliver, strap in because it's only going to get worse. Arrow premieres Monday, October 15, on The CW.