During Wednesday’s Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul returns — but, you know, the new one.
Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Thea (Willa Holland) head to Nanda Parbat to resurrect Sara (Caity Lotz) via the Lazarus Pits, but Malcolm (John Barrowman) may not be on board with their plan. Barrowman breaks down his return below:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How is Malcolm different now that he’s Ra’s al Ghul?
JOHN BARROWMAN: He’s different in the way that he’s in uber-control of the League. He knows that he has them completely in the palm of his hand. There is something that happens [Wednesday] night where you see they are totally loyal to him and will do anything he asks them to do. He’s very comfortable in that aspect of it. He’s where he wants to be as Ra’s al Ghul. He knows that he can keep his eye on what’s happening in Star City, and that’s a good thing.
What he doesn’t expect is for Thea and Laurel to walk through the door with a dead body. They come for a reason and Malcolm is a little perplexed by it because he’s got a dilemma. He knows what the pit can do. He didn’t want his daughter resurrected, because he knew what the effects of that could be. Here he has his daughter coming to ask him, and also one of the girls that he helped saved last season, who turned around and said to him, “I wouldn’t do the same to you.” She’s coming to have her sister resurrected, so he’s in a bit of a dilemma.
Well, he was to blame for her death.
Correct. Absolutely. So you think he would have a soft spot, saying, “All right, I know how much trouble this caused. I’ll bring her back.” But what’s very interesting is he turns to Laurel and he uses a moral [argument] and he gets ethical and has a morality conversation with her. You’re kind of like, “Wait a minute, is this the Malcolm we know? It’s either a yes or a no.” But he starts to explain why he’s not going to do it. That’s an interesting point because later on in the episode, he turns around to his daughter, because he knows what’s happening to her, and he does something that’s completely unethical and without any morals. That’s what I love about him, he’s complex. His reasons for doing things shock the audience. In his world, whatever he does is the right thing in that particular moment.
How is Malcolm handling Thea’s change?
That’s what I mean when I say he turns to her and does something with no morals and ethics behind it. It’s just a blatant and evil thing to do, but he’s doing it to help his daughter. He knows that she has the bloodlust and, without going into details — because it is a shocker what he does — that’s his way of trying to help. He has the conversation with her, and she’s just miffed by it.
What’s Malcolm’s dynamic like with Nyssa now?
Malcolm’s got these three women around him at the moment that are just as complex as he is. They’ve got a mission. Without saying what Nyssa’s mission is — at the end of the season, she bowed to him — but that’s not to say it’s not going to be a difficult journey for Malcolm. Again, something is going to happen [Wednesday] night that’s going to be between Nyssa and Malcolm that’s going to be another shocker for the audience. This is what I love about when Malcolm comes back, it’s jaw-dropping moments within the episode. There’s going to be about three of them.
Oliver (Stephen Amell) trusted Malcolm enough to let him in on the Ra’s ruse last season, but what’s their relationship like now?
The relationship with Oliver and Malcolm is where we left it off. There’s a mutual respect there for what they are doing — I say respect for themselves as individuals, but not always for what they’re doing. Oliver’s the son that Malcolm always wanted, so Malcolm will always help Oliver. Malcolm feels that way not only about Oliver, but about the rest of the team. He’s got a spot for them that he’ll always help them, but he could also turn around and beat the crap out of them and kill them. His relationship with Oliver—I love this—it’s got a load of dynamics. It’s a lot of ups and downs. Malcolm is watching what’s happening at the moment with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Malcolm knows that, at some point, someone’s going to come and ask him for a hand, or he’s just going to step in and start helping. That’s where the relationship with Ollie and Malcolm starts to get conflicted, because Oliver doesn’t want to be messed around. He has a purpose and he feels that sometimes Malcolm steps in.
Considering Damien Darhk was the former Ra’s al Ghul’s nemesis, how does Malcolm feel about this new big bad?
The same. There are very few things that Malcolm fears, but Damien is one that frightens him a little bit because Malcolm can’t figure him out. That’s why I think he’s in the background watching, because he’s trying to work out how to deal with the situation. He sees the havoc that’s been brought down upon the city. Whether or not he comes in and helps, we don’t know yet, but he is afraid of him because the man in brutal.
Even though Sara is resurrected by the Lazarus Pits, sometime soon the group will need help from John Constantine (Matt Ryan). Is there anything you can tease about why he comes in?
[Singing] I can’t tell you anything, but love, baby. [Laughs] No, I cannot go in that direction. But what I can say is what is about to happen with all of that is going to be a roller coaster ride that’s going to be mind-blowing.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.