Mia Smoak, the daughter of Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen, played by Kat McNamara, has been groomed since the introduction of the flash-forwards on Arrow season 7 to carry on Oliver’s legacy as the Green Arrow.
Though we all knew it was in the cards, everything changed, again, on Arrow season 8, episode 3 as Mia Smoak, William Clayton, and Connor Hawke were enveloped in a bright light and taken from Star City 2040 to the Team Arrow bunker in 2019 (much sooner than originally anticipated).
Mia met her father for the first time, which is stirring up quite an emotional reaction within her otherwise very controlled emotional state, while William and Connor were reunited with their respective fathers. It was quite the heartwarming reunion, though destined to end poorly as Oliver’s death during “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is merely weeks away.
‘Arrow’ season 8, episode 5
The official description for Arrow season 8, episode 5, as released by The CW, reads:
DON’T LET YOUR PAST DEFINE YOU – Upon learning the key to oppose The Monitor (guest star LaMonica Garrett), Oliver (Stephen Amell) and team return to Russia on a mission to gather the necessary materials. Connor (Joseph David-Jones) reunites with a figure from his past.
On Arrow season 8, episode 5, now that Oliver and Mia have worked past their initial reactions, the Smoak-Queen family and Team Arrow are headed to Russia, where Oliver will confront another part of his past that he’s tried to work through and bury.
Meanwhile, Laurel’s tempted by an offer from the “Monitor” to restore her Earth (which was destroyed on Arrow season 8, episode 1), if only she’s willing to betray Oliver. Since we saw Laurel helping Mia on the previous episode, maybe we’ll get a glimpse of their relationship from the other perspective?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out when I had the opportunity to chat with Kat McNamara about her character, Mia Smoak. However, she did dish on how Mia’s relationship with her father will progress, what they have to offer each other, and what she thinks Mia’s biggest obstacle to overcome is, among other things.
Based on her answers, she clearly has excellent insight on Mia’s journey, as well as a familiarity with the characters (notably Oliver) who came before her and established this universe that Mia is now part of. Read on.
Interview with Kat McNamara
Hypable: Mia’s really been through the wringer lately. How do you think Zoe’s death, and meeting her father, have really changed her from when the season started?
Kat McNamara: I think when the season started, Mia knew that she had to make some changes to be a part of this team. And I think she also knew that she wanted to have an opportunity to take charge and do things her way, but she was not necessarily aware of the cost of having other people’s livelihood as her responsibility. She’s been a lone wolf largely her whole life, and suddenly she has a brother, a team, and all of these people who are counting on her to not only lead them, but keep the faith. And that’s something that she had to learn the hard way. And there’s massive, massive amounts of guilt that come as a ramification of Zoe’s death.
It’s not something she saw coming. It’s not something she ever thought would happen, because she had such confidence in her plan, and in her team. And now that that’s happened, she has to live with that guilt. And on the heels of that [she] is confronted with [the] other biggest emotional hurdle in her life, the fact that she grew up without a father and a real family. And suddenly in front of her, it’s not only the person that she’s been longing for her whole life, but the person who she feels is responsible.
And as we know, Mia is not necessarily great with emotions, and having to confront this head on is maybe the biggest hurdle that we’ve seen her deal with.
How would you describe the tone of [Arrow season 8, episode 5]?
This is probably one of my favorite episodes of the season. Simply because it’s the first time you really get to see Mia and Oliver on mission together, you really see them interact one-on-one quite a bit. And Mia gets the chance to show her dad what she does best. And it’s exciting for her, and you get to see her really want to impress her father, and to do him proud. And whether or not she succeeds is another story. But it’s the first real father-daughter interaction that we get.
And also, you have two members of the Queen family who are both used to being in charge, and making a plan, and executing the mission, who are both present and trying to do that as their job. And having two captains of a ship doesn’t always work out. So it’s interesting to see that power play, and to get to see Oliver on a mission with his kids for the first time. And having to deal with that struggle of, “Well, I want to keep them safe, but I also want to succeed on this mission. So what do I do, and how do I put my trust in them?”
Is Mia second guessing herself now after [Zoe’s death]?
For sure. Before we hadn’t seen Mia lose, we hadn’t seen Mia fail, ever. And for the first time when she falls short, and there’s a real cost, it’s really jarring to her self confidence. And especially now when she’s in front of her father for the first time. It takes a minute for her to build that confidence up again, and for her to believe in herself in that she can live up to her father, in a sense. And we see her struggle with that throughout the episode.
Aside from Oliver, who would you say Mia has the most meaningful interaction with in this next episode?
As always, we have a couple of lovely heart-to-hearts with William, but she does have a little bit of a special connection with Anatoly in this episode, which I quite [enjoyed] simply because I was just a huge fan of David Nykl’s work in the previous seasons when I watched the show, and I definitely fangirled a bit. I tried to keep my cool, but I definitely fangirled a little bit when I met him, and got to work with him.
Aside from her shaken confidence, what do you think is the biggest change in Mia from when you began this role to now?
I think Mia, throughout the season, grows emotionally quite a bit. She learned to handle and process and work out her emotions in a way that does not involve punching people in the face, which [wasn’t] very healthy. We get to see her be a human being a little bit, and that’s her most uncomfortable place. But from that we get to see her vulnerability, and we get to see her struggle in her heart quite a bit. There’s something really beautiful in that, I think. You have a character that’s so strong in certain aspects and so vulnerable in others. We get to see her find her family and find her strength in that, and that’s kind of what Oliver brings to her. It’s a really lovely journey throughout the season that we’re just getting started.
What would you say is the biggest lesson Mia needs to learn from Oliver?
She needs to learn, well, first, not to be so hard on herself. And she needs to learn to put her faith in her team, and she needs to learn to forgive him, and to understand where he’s coming from. But they both do. Oliver and Mia are both so headstrong in so many ways, and because they’re so similar, they often butt heads, but throughout the course of the season, as they realize each other’s perspective, you get to see them understanding each other more, and you get to see them bond and grow, and really have that relationship that they never got to have in the chronological timeline, as it were.
Mia has been hurt by both of her parents in different ways. How do you approach these scenes with Oliver differently than you approached the scenes that we saw last season with Felicity?
It’s a very different relationship in a sense. Felicity and Mia have history; they know each other, and they grew up together, and they have their ups and downs. And there’s a level of familiarity there that Oliver and Mia don’t have, because the last time Oliver saw her, she was a baby. And Mia has no memories of her father. So everything is brand new, and it’s that idea of, “Well, this person is a part of me, and this person is supposed to know me, but we’re strangers.” So how do we go about this? How do we move forward? Oliver dealt with it better than Mia, but neither of them are great with emotion. So it comes down to both of them having that desire to connect, and putting themselves in vulnerable places, and really reaching out, and extending those olive branches, and giving each other space. But also confronting these situations that need to be confronted, while they have the time.
Oliver’s under the impression that his time is limited, and the stakes are high throughout the multiverse. So it’s that situation where as much as you want to ignore the elephant in the room, when tensions around you are at a high, it’s going to bring things to a head, and not always in the best way. There’s a lot of conflicts, but also as much resolution as you can expect from this kind of relationship throughout the season. And it affects both characters greatly.
What was most intimidating for you as an actor when you learned that Mia would finally be meeting her father for the first time?
I wouldn’t say it was intimidating. I would say it was exciting. Because Stephen was the one person who I hadn’t really gotten to work with at all. And having watched his work, I’m a fan, and I have utmost respect for his level of taste, and his attention to detail when it comes to the quality of the show. And it was great to get to not only share scenes with him, but also to watch him work, and to watch how he has carried this legacy for the last eight years. And in hopes of the opportunity to carry it on, it’s been wonderful to be a part of that. And Oliver and Mia’s relationship has such a lovely quality to it. It grows into a place of understanding, and warmth, because of anyone in the multiverse, in the Arrowverse, the person who understands Mia the most is Oliver. He understands her willingness to fight, and her comfortability in that realm, and also her desire to do good in a world where that’s not always the most obvious choice.
And because he’s been through that journey, and he’s struggled with that himself, he can guide her and help her to get through it as much as he can. And it becomes a really, rather unorthodox, but a really lovely relationship.
When she learns of Oliver’s death, which is coming very soon, will we see Mia attempt to fight that, or how will she react to learning that he’s going to die in just a few weeks?
Oh, she definitely has a reaction, I’ll tell you that much. That comes in a couple episodes, and it certainly takes a turn, and it very nearly derails her entire relationship with Oliver. And it’s a very interesting turn of events where you get to see how far she’s come, and how much she has grown attached to her family. And the fact that they have bonded changes the fact that she doesn’t want to lose her father, and how she handles that, and how she handles finding out this news, is probably the most Mia Smoak thing we’ve ever seen.
Does this episode end on a cliffhanger, on par with the rest of the season?
Oh, yeah. I can’t talk about it because it’s a massive spoiler, but there is a huge cliffhanger at the end of this episode.
Where do we go from here?
Based on Kat McNamara’s answers about Arrow season 8, episode 5 and beyond, it’s clear that Oliver and Mia’s relationship is going to be a focal point of the last few episodes before his
supposed death. Out of all of her answers, I’m most excited to see Mia’s reaction to Oliver’s upcoming death, which will shake her as she puts together the pieces of when he died and where she’s currently at in the past.
Oliver has a chance to give his kids, however far down the road, their best chance at life. He gets to see both of his children all grown up, and they all get to mourn the time that he missed. As sad as it is, and despite everything else going on, the relationship between Oliver, Mia, and William is probably the most powerful arc in store for us this season. Particularly if they’re both around when Oliver
supposedly meets his end.
Watch the trailer for the episode below, and be sure to leave a comment about what you’re most excited to see!
Don’t miss Arrow season 8, episode 5, “Prochnost,” airing Tuesday, November 19 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW!