Arrow star Katherine McNamara previews Oliver and Mia's eye-opening Russia mission
'The two of them are at their most vulnerable together in this,' McNamara tells EW about Oliver and Mia's trip to Russia.
The Queen family is about to take one of hell of a vacation on Arrow.
The CW superhero drama’s latest episode, “Prochnost,” sees Oliver (Stephen Amell) travel to Russia (you know, his old stomping grounds where he let his inner monster run free) with his adult children Mia (Katherine McNamara) and William (Ben Lewis) to find a weapon that can kill the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett). In the same way that “Present Tense” explored Oliver and William’s relationship, Tuesday night’s episode will do the same for Oliver and Mia, digging into their delicate and uncertain dynamic. Of course, this is Arrow and they’re in Russia, so part of that involves a father-daughter adventure in an underground fight club.
Below, EW chats with McNamara about finally working with Amell, Mia’s interaction with Anatoly, and what’s going on between Mia and the Diggle sons.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it like getting to finally work with Stephen Amell? Was there anything that surprised you?
KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I was so excited to get to work with Stephen. Having watched the series, I was a fan of his work. And then when I shadowed [director] James Bamford during the premiere episode of this season, I really got to watch Stephen work. I got to see how he carries the show. I have such respect for that. So getting to work with him and to build this relationship is really wonderful because there’s such a lovely aspect to both Mia and Oliver in this in this moment, in that Oliver doesn’t really have much experience being a parent and Mia has no experience with her father. So the two of them are at their most vulnerable together in this. Even though they are connected and they are a part of each other, they’re strangers, and they’re having to work through so many difficult, emotional, personal things while not knowing each other at all. There’s such a beauty to the fact that they’re both so uncomfortable and vulnerable and are forced to confront all of these things head-on.
In this week’s episode, what’s their main challenge on the mission to Russia?
[Laughs] First of all, Mia is very much used to being in charge, and she’s very much not in charge on this mission. So Mia’s will, and how headstrong she is, is their biggest challenge, just simply given that Oliver wants to protect his kids but they’re on a mission for the first time together. It’s that struggle of, “How do I protect my kids? But also how do I trust them and how do I utilize them and their skill sets on this mission?” What Oliver doesn’t realize is that he has two extremely headstrong children who don’t always follow direction well, particularly Mia. Her free will definitely plays a lot into the obstacles and advantages in this episode.
We’re going to see Oliver and Mia enter this fight club together. What was that experience like shooting those fight scenes?
For Mia, it’s the first time that her father really gets to see her skill set, and she gets to show her father what she does best. But alternatively, having just lost Zoe and gone through her first major loss as a fighter, she’s shaken and she is kind of off her center a little bit. That’s a struggle for her going through this episode. Whether or not she is as successful as she wants to be remains to be seen.
But for me going into this episode, I was so excited. I fell in love with fighting on screen during Shadowhunters. I had such amazing stunt coordinators on that show that really took time and taught me how to fight. I was so thrilled to be able to carry that skill set into this show, and even more thrilled that the stunt coordinators on this job have given me so many opportunities to use those skills. In this episode in particular, I’m really proud of [the fact that] I had the opportunity to do most if not all of my fighting in the episode. There were a few little aerial trick pieces that are way beyond my league, but the majority of the actual fighting was all me in this episode.
Russia holds this really significant place in Oliver’s life. It’s a place where he wasn’t at his best. How does Mia react to being in Russia and, presumably, learning what he went through while there?
Well, if there’s anything we know about Mia, she thrives on a seedy environment — and Mia loves Russia. She takes to it like a fish to water. It’s fascinating to her. For Oliver, as any parent would, he wants to protect his kids from learning about the dark side of his past, and he quickly learns that’s a lot more difficult than he expects. That becomes a huge challenge for them, but it gives Mia an opportunity to understand her father a bit more and to really see the difficult choices that have been put in front of him his entire time being the Green Arrow. I think it allows her to come to terms a little bit more with the decisions that he’s made and with her blaming him for abandoning her, in a sense, to be this hero. She’s slowly starting to see his perspective a bit more, just as he’s starting to see hers. They bond in a sense because they start to realize how similar they are.
Of course Mia met most of Team Arrow in the future, but is there anyone she’s bonding with now that she’s in the present?
There’s a lovely little scene with Laurel in there, and I think Anatoly has quite an interesting interaction with Mia, given that he was so instrumental in Oliver becoming who he is. Seeing those qualities in Mia, it’s fun for him to not only watch Oliver try and be a parent but for him to see sort of an Oliver Jr. in Mia. I’m also am a huge David Nykl fan, so getting to work with him was just a dream because I love Anatoly so much. I think he’s such a great character, and having that interaction with so great.
But in particular, Mia and William are starting to bond on another level as well because, yes, Mia has a lot of things to work through with Oliver, but so does William. The two of them are both trying to find some kind of solid ground, and they become each other’s rock, in a sense, as they try and sort out their father issues together.
Mia has an interesting relationship with the Diggle brothers. Last season hinted there was potentially something more between Mia and Connor, and in the season 8 premiere there was a brief spark between Mia and J.J. before she found out who he was. Can we expect the next episodes to dig into that and what, if anything, is going on there?
Let me put it this way: The Queen family and the Diggle family are always connected. We’ve seen the bromance with Oliver and John, and there’s definitely something going on with Mia and the Diggle brothers as we move forward, but I can’t really get into that now.
Arrow airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.