On the next episode of The CW series Arrow, called “Sins of the Father,” Oliver (Stephen Amell) receives an offer from Nyssa (Katrina Law) that is hard to refuse. At the same time, Thea (Willa Holland) continues to battle the blood lust while Malcolm (John Barrowman) steps in to help his daughter, and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) has a heart to heart talk with Nyssa.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Katrina Law talked about how much more dangerous Nyssa is, now that she’s been left in a dungeon with time to make a plan, the interesting family dynamic with Malcolm Merlyn, the joy of working with John Barrowman, what pushes Nyssa to threaten Thea, how she feels about Team Arrow, the special connection with Laurel, the love Nyssa has for Sara (Caity Lotz), and the flashback that she’d love to see on the show. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: Nyssa has always been someone who’s very dangerous. How much more dangerous is she, now that she’s had time to actually think and plan how she wants to handle the situation with Malcolm Merlyn?
KATRINA LAW: Well, I think the new level of danger that she is introducing is that, even without fighting or being a physical danger, she now has the fate of Thea in her hands and she’s saying, “I control whether she lives or dies without lifting a finger.” I think she’s very dangerous in this episode, and Oliver knows it. Don’t let her sit around and plan, that’s for sure.
Is there anything that Malcolm could have done, aside from maybe handing over the title of Ra’s al Ghul, that would have made Nyssa an ally rather than an enemy, or is his fate just sealed, as far as she’s concerned?
LAW: Nyssa and Malcolm have always had a really interesting relationship, with how they met when she was younger and her dad’s respect for him, as a League member. And then, he even let Malcolm leave the League without killing him. There’s always been an interesting family dynamic when it comes to Malcolm. So, yes, had Malcolm not become or taken the title Ra’s al Ghul, things would have been very different. But at the end of the day, he did. It was so within his character to do that, that she’s not surprised, but she’s disappointed because it’s come down to this. It’s interesting because, even when they were sparring, he never attempted to kill her in her sleep and she never attempted to slash his back when he walked away. They definitely have a respect for each other, and she knows that, if she’s going to take Malcolm Merlyn down, she needs to do it with honor and out in the open. Now whether or not you think holding Thea’s life hostage is honorable could be argued, but she’s going to do it. She’s making sure that there’s nothing kept in the dark.
Do you think Nyssa ever actually considered walking away from everything and disappearing into a nice quiet life, or is this her predetermined path?
LAW: This has always been a predetermined path. She’s always wanted to become Ra’s al Ghul, and mainly because she was told, from the day she was born, that she was going to be Ra’s al Ghul. The way that she was treated by the rest of the League as royalty, in a way, and that she was always respected as one of the best fighters. I think that she’s irritated and pissed that her rightful title has been taken away from her. But also, as her father used the Lazarus Pit more and more, she saw her father start to warp into more of an actual demon. The Pit changes you, and the more you use it, the more it changes you. The more strength it gives you, it just makes you a darker human being. With that, and then watching Malcolm ascend, now she’s desperate to take the League back, get them back into line, and have them become what they’re meant to be.
Is it ever odd to play a character who is in such pursuit of another character, like Nyssa is with Malcolm, and yet not actually share all that many scenes with him?
LAW: Yeah! It’s definitely interesting. Whenever I do get to work with John Barrowman, it is absolutely a joy. We just crack each other up. He’s laughing all the time. It’s great to be able to work with him. But, it is funny. Nyssa’s mission was to break out, and then fight Malcolm Merlyn and take away the title, but I fought everybody but John. It’s comedy. But it’s great, when we finally do see each other, there’s an epic showdown.
Nyssa threatens Thea, but how do you think she feels about having to do that?
LAW: Nyssa has to be in a desperate position to know that she needs to ask for Oliver’s help. That is one of the last things in the world that she would ever want to do. It’s a lot of pride to swallow, right there. Also, when I read this episode – because nobody tells me anything until I get the actual episode – one of the reasons why she has to ask somebody else to fight Malcolm is because she’s been in the dungeon the entire time and hasn’t been training, has barely been eating, and is sort of in a weakened state. Meanwhile, Malcolm has been becoming stronger and stronger. That was my justification, in my head. Whether or not that’s what happens in the next episode, we’ll see. But in order for her to have asked Oliver, she has to be in a desperate position, knowing that Oliver has sworn never to kill anybody again. With Nyssa holding his sister’s life hostage, it’s something that the very first Nyssa we met would have done. After the introduction of the Lance sister, it’s not something she would generally do now. So, it’s surprising and the audience will feel that, but it just shows how desperate she is for her title.
If Nyssa were to either end Malcolm or come to some agreement with him, what would be next for her? She’s been so focused on destroying him for so long. Does she even know what the next step after that would be?
LAW: I think so. The great thing about Nyssa is that she has a very clear vision for what she wants and what she wants to do. Especially with so much time in the dungeon, she’s very focused. In the last episode, she was still very much in a meditative state, and was very cool, calm and collected. She’s been very focused on gathering her army. And if she gets the title back, she has a very clear idea of what she wants to do with it.
At this point, what do you think Nyssa thinks of Team Arrow, running around in their costumes with their code names? Does she think they’re completely insane?
LAW: I think it would be calling the kettle black, if she were to think that they were insane for running around in costumes. I think she has a massive respect for them, mainly because of the Lance sisters, but also Oliver has proven himself. That doesn’t mean that Nyssa likes him or is happy that she’s married to him, and she’s definitely not attracted to him, but she respects him as a fighter and as a leader. I think he’s proven himself, and she has respect for what they’re doing. They have their own agenda, which may or may not clash with hers, at times, but she definitely sees their point of view.
We know that Nyssa and Laurel share a moment in this episode, so what can we expect to see from them and their interactions?
LAW: I think the Lauryssa fans are going to be so happy with the scene. It’s very well written with intricate levels. The connection between Nyssa and Laurel is just beautiful, and it’s wonderful to have two strong female characters on television that are friends, or a bizarre version of friendship, that aren’t at each other’s throats, talking about a man, or are trying to fall in love, in some capacity. I think Katie Cassidy and I have some great capacity in the scene, and I think people are going to be really happy with it.
Ideally, do you think Nyssa would like to find a way to be with Sara Lance, or is she at a point where she’d rather do what’s best for Sara and let her go, now that she’s found this new version of herself?
LAW: I think the latter. Before she’d been resurrected, Nyssa already found a way to let go of her. She’s still in love with her, but she definitely released her. So, when she came back, knowing that Sara managed not to become a crazy person and demonic from the Pit, her bloodlust was going to change her into a completely different person that would force her to go on a new journey, and it wouldn’t be the same Sara that she fell in love with. And I don’t think the new Sara would be open and available to start a new relationship or pick up where they left off. So, when the two of them meet, if they ever meet again, it’s going to be a very bittersweet reunion.
Many of the characters on this show have gotten to have a flashback providing fun insight into who they are. Have you thought about what you’d like to see or learn about Nyssa’s history that you haven’t gotten to explore yet?
LAW: Caity Lotz and I would love to see a flashback to when Nyssa found Sara Lance on the shores of Nanda Parbat and brought her back to the League, how she met her father, their training, and how they fell in love, and then, when Sara left the League of Assassins without speaking to Nyssa first. I would love to see that. There was a cute little flashback where they cast a mini-Nyssa and showed her fighting, and I thought that was so cool. The things that I would love to see, and that the audience would also love to see, would be the introduction of Sara into Nyssa’s life and how that changed everything, and also changed everything with her father.
We’ve seen Nyssa be as fierce in battle as she is with her emotions, especially when she gets her sights set on something. As the actress playing her, do you enjoy doing the fight scenes more, do you enjoy those emotional moments, or is your happy place a balance between the two?
LAW: I think it’s a balance between the two. I’ve always been athletic and a dancer, so I love doing fight choreography. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but I do have an ease with picking up fight choreography because of my dance training. So, I love to be able to do it and to be that fierce. In normal life, I’m just kind of chill. I don’t normally get that angry, so it’s always fun to be Nyssa and beat the crap out of a couple hundred men. But it wouldn’t be as strong or as poignant, if you didn’t see the heart of Nyssa. I think to make her a well-rounded character that people love to watch and enjoy and root for, you have to see the softer side. Someone who’s just that fierce all the time is boring. Then, you’d wonder about her point of being because there would be no depth to it. I’m really happy they’ve given me something to actually sink my teeth into.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.