The Art of That Parallel Fight

Arrow returned to our screens last week for its seventh season, with Inmate 4587 directed by James Bamford. Cast and crew received an avalanche of positive comments and hope for the season ahead in response to the strong opening for the season.

Several scenes captured the attention of fans and critics around the globe. One in particular was the parallel fight featuring a naked Oliver versus inmates in the prison shower and Felicity versus Diaz in her temporary apartment.

Each hero was in a vulnerable situation, fighting for his or her lives, and in Felicity’s case she was protecting her stepson, William.

Each fight sequence was masterfully choreographed and directed, bringing the energy and brutality of the fight to the audience. Viewers felt the desperation of Felicity, grabbing anything surrounding her that she could use as a weapon against a more skilled opponent. Oliver’s only weapon was his body and the surrounding walls against several inmates. A wet surface is not an ideal environment for a fight, but Oliver fought in close quarters and excelled.


James utilises a variety of cameras and techniques when directing. He directs fight sequences in a dynamic rather than a passive way, so the energy of the action is not lost on screen and the audience feels like they are there. I’ve never been in a fight myself, but I imagine they are as brutal as a James Bamford directed fight.

When James directs, he gives the stunt team very specific requirements and they design to that. The fights have quick pacing and each move is made for a reason. When Oliver is backed up in a corner he uses two walls to brace himself and kick at his opponent with force. Similarly when Felicity is backed into the kitchen she grabs a jug of hot coffee to distract Diaz so William can escape.

In addition to depicting the energy of the fight through the use of the camera, James also managed to adhere to the Censor’s rules regarding nudity for the timeslot, much to the dismay of some fans. That would not have been easy.

I look forward to seeing more Arrow episodes directed by James, perhaps even a film when he has the time. He really has a talent for directing.

Praise for the fight scenes for Inmate 4587:

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