Tonight's episode of Arrow sees Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the rest of Team Arrow heading to Russia to meet up with some old friends and foes. They bring Next-Gen Team Arrow, headed by Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara) with them, and McNamara is as excited as the fans are to get a chance to head to Russia, go on missions with Amell's Oliver, and hang out with David Nykl's Anatoly Knyazev. In the episode, she will begin the long road toward reconciliation with her father (someone who was not part of her life when she was growing up) -- but unfortunately for Mia, that's a road that ends in heartbreak, too.
McNamara joined ComicBook.com to talk about the episode, her future with the franchise, and the build-up to "Crisis on Infinite Earths." She explained that while season seven happened almost exclusively in the future timeline, she understood pretty early on that the plans for season eight were to bring the Next-Gen Team Arrow back to the past.
"I found that out pretty early on. Beth called me before the season and kind of gave me a broad rundown of what this season would be," McNamara told ComicBook.com. "Given that it's the final season of Arrow, given that so much came since the end of last season, and there were a lot of questions to be answered, Beth very kindly called and filled me in. I was so excited because that's been Mia's struggle since day one. She has this desire and this missing part of her to get to know her father, but also, in her mind, he is the reason, and his choices are the reason, that she had such a difficult life and missed out on so much. So now that he is standing right in front of her, she's really forced to confront a lot of these things in a very real way and how she handles that, it changes throughout the course of the season."
At some point, McNamara hints, Mia will stop being (as) angry at Oliver and start building a real relationship with him, understanding that he did not make his decision lightly and that sacrificing himself was as much for Felicity and Mia as anything else he could have done. Just then, she id, the bottom will fall out.
"I think Mia has to come to terms with the fact that her father is not necessarily going to be a part of her life in the future, and her time with him is limited," McNamara said. "While she's not necessarily aware of that at this moment, she's very quickly going to be, and unfortunately that comes at a point where she actually has built a relationship with him and has started to bond with him in a sense. And it certainly brings out the fight in her once more, but that's what we get to see over these next couple of episodes. And that's why I'm particularly excited about this 'Prochnost' episode that's coming up, because it's the first time you really get to see Oliver and Mia interact one-on-one and go on missions together. And really, Mia gets to show off what she does best and it's exciting for her given that her father doesn't really know the full extent of her skillset. But also for Oliver, he's in this weird place of wanting to protect his children but also needing them to help the mission move forward and it's how do you put your trust in the person that you want to protect the most?"
And, yes, she's as glad as anybody else that Anatoly (David Nykl) is back.
"I was so excited because I too was a huge fan of Anatoly when I watched the series," McNamara told us. "He's one of my favorite returning guest stars, and when I found out the episodes was Russia, and I found out Anatoly was back, and that I would get to work with him for a period of time, I was over the moon. And David is just so wonderful, we had the best time and also, because Anatoly knows Oliver so well and was so instrumental in forming who he was as a vigilante and as a fighter, he sees that in Mia and they have quite a fun little connection as the episode goes on."
Arrow airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following episodes of The Flash on The CW.