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Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season 6 premiere of Power.

“I loved her. She was loyal to me to the end.”

Truer words couldn’t be spoken by Ghost (Omari Hardwick) about his beloved Angela (Lela Loren), who, after being shot by Tommy (Joseph Sikora) in the season 5 finale, died in the early moments of Power‘s sixth and final season premiere. The death of the AUSA and love of Ghost’s life is a shock on a show known for their shocking deaths (R.I.P. Raina and Kanan). There will be no happily ever after for these star-crossed lovers — or seemingly for Ghost and Tommy, the lifelong best friends who are now officially out to kill each other.

Still reeling from Angela’s departure, EW hopped on the phone with Lela Loren to get her reaction to learning the news, why the death was the perfect catalyst for the final season, and what Angela and Power has meant to her.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is it a relief to not have to keep this secret any longer?
LELA LOREN: Oh, 100 percent. The timeline for the secret has been about a year and a half, so I feel like that chapter has taken such a long time to close. I’m excited for it to be out in the world — and that I don’t have to hold it anymore.

What was your reaction when you heard from creator Courtney A. Kemp that this would be the outcome? Were you surprised?
Courtney has always said this was a crime drama and a love tragedy. And you can never forget the word tragedy. Whenever you have love tragedy, it means one of them isn’t going to make it. [Laughs] And so, for me, I never felt like things were never going to end well, it was just wondering how it was going to go down. And I really actually love how it went down, because it speaks to Angela’s heart, and I love that she died protecting the man that she loved, because her pushing Jamie out of the way, that’s not premeditated, that is a split instinctual reaction. It shows her courage and her heart, and despite all the things that she’s done wrong, it’s a beautiful gesture. So for her to go out like that, it’s pretty badass.

And as seen in the rest of the episode, her death will be a major catalyst for this final season.
Yeah, it’s such a fantastic catalyst for season 6. Courtney warned us in the beginning of season 5 that no character was safe, and after Kanan (50 Cent) was killed in episode 8, you’re like, well, usually there’s a death that sends shockwaves as a cliffhanger, like the season before it was Raina (Donshea Hopkins), so it’s just like, “What character is going to top Kanan’s death?” I was sitting there doing the math and I was like, “If you kill Tasha, that doesn’t really do anything conflict wise in terms of setting something off that can sustain a season. If you kill Tommy, same. But if you kill Angela and have Tommy be the one who kills her, it just sends shockwaves through all of their relationships.”

And also there’s such a poetic justice for Tommy. Ghost gets Tommy to kill his own father, and for Tommy, he had pointed his gun at Ghost several seasons before and didn’t have the courage to pull the trigger. And this time, he pointed the gun at Ghost, he shot the bullet, and fate had other plans for where that bullet went. But Tommy in his heart of hearts knows that he followed through in his desire to kill his brother, and there’s so much richness there for the characters to go and play, so I think Angela’s death is great for all of the characters. Tasha is left with these uncomfortable feelings of finally respecting this woman and then her dying and having to reconcile that maybe her anger is actually really towards Ghost and not the “other woman.” And then we see how Ghost handles it. So I think it’s a pretty fabulous cliffhanger.

You said Courtney described this as a “love tragedy,” but do you think there was a world where Ghost and Angela could live happily ever after?
Not in the world of Power. But like every good love tragedy, you have to forget that and think that it’s possible or else it won’t resonate.

Power Season 4 2017
Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Starz

Did you always understand her actions? Because she ended up getting her hands dirty and putting her life and career at risk so many times for Ghost. Sometimes did you just want to yell at her to run away from all of this?
As an actor, you can never take the position of the audience when you’re working. Instead of having a hope for where the character goes, because I’m not in control of the choices my character makes or the words she says or her wardrobe or any of those things, my job is to be curious about where she is and how she’s gotten to the choices that she’s made. So if I start to get judgmental about what she’s doing then I can’t really find the truth of what motivates her to make those choices. As an audience member, sure, when I sit back and I’m done. But when I’m in the process, I just try to get more curious and make more sense of what has to be going on with her that will make her say this. And that’s really fun, it’s what I love about what I do, trying to understand the psychology and the motivations for why we do what we do as humans, particularly when they’re misguided choices. Smart choices aren’t really fun to play, the really poor choices are [laughs].

What was the final day on set like for you?
It was so many wonderful conflicting feelings. There was a sense of accomplishment and pride and poignant sadness at saying goodbye to everyone, and also an overwhelming sense of gratitude, because I just got so lucky. Where I feel really incredibly grateful is that when the news came of how Angela was going out, I was actually ready to let her go; it happened at the perfect time in the story. I’m sure at some point in my career it’s going to happen earlier where I’m not ready and I’ll have to deal with all of these feelings of fear, but to get to let Angela go at that perfect moment, I got to be really present and grateful and give a lot of love to this family that I’ve had for the last six years. I just felt a lot of love and support; it was like this wonderful celebration of all the work I’ve done.

Now able to look back, what has the last six years and playing Angela meant to you?
Angela was my first lead role. As an actor, when you’re struggling, getting little bit parts here and there, there’s this sort of longing and questioning whether or not you have the stuff to make it, to be a series lead. And so when I first got Angela, it was this overwhelming excitement, and then sheer terror. Getting to play Angela has helped me mature into the actor that I am and have the confidence that you just couldn’t have without that experience. Also, I was a tomboy growing up, so I always felt this weird cross between a dude and a girl, and, over the course of six years, I definitely feel like I’ve matured into a woman while playing Angela. So I will always look at this time as a huge gift and a journey of maturing and becoming. Obviously, that will continue, but this was my first big break.

It was a great first big break and a great exit.
It’s supposed to leave a bruise on your heart, and I think it did that.

Power airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.

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