In the final few seconds of last week’s “Arrow” episode “Birds of Prey,” Thea Queen made a dire choice — accepting a ride from Slade Wilson. While Thea knows Slade as a contributor to her mother’s Starling City mayoral campaign, fans know him far better as Oliver Queen’s arch-nemesis. Once trapped on the same island as Oliver, Slade developed a burning hatred towards his former friend and an all-consuming desire to see him suffer in the present day. That personal vendetta ramps up in tonight’s “Deathstroke,” with Thea’s life at stake.
Actress Willa Holland spoke with CBR, discussing the complexities of Thea’s current predicament, the toll the experience has on her and her family and whether Thea has it in her to eventually — someday — take up the mantle of Speedy. Â
CBR News: With so many people currently in Oliver’s inner circle, why did Slade particularly target Thea? What message is he trying to send?
Willa Holland: Slade is really trying to pull on Oliver’s heart strings and make him vulnerable. The thing that would make him most vulnerable is taking away the person he finds sweet and innocent, and loves.
How does this ordeal affect Thea, both emotionally and physically?
It’s definitely an intense episode. It affects her a lot more emotionally than it does physically. The last two episodes have already been hard on Thea and have been leading her into this sad string of events. Then, all of a sudden, she gets kidnapped. It’s getting to the point where she’s starting to think, “How could things get much worse?” It’s almost a waiting game to see how much worse life is really going to get.
Thea didn’t know Slade very well, but she obviously knows not to hop in a car with a stranger. Now she realizes he is a very bad guy, and there are all these circumstances she’s questioning. She’s wondering how she got to this place. Oliver is chasing after her, but she has no idea that’s happening. She has no idea anyone is even coming for her.
This is the second time Thea has been taken hostage this season. Will it motivate her to step up in some fashion so it doesn’t occur again?
I think she’s definitely going to take some precautions. I can’t lead into it too much, but there’s definitely going to be some reactions to the circumstances.
How does Thea’s abduction sit with Roy?
It affects Roy pretty harshly. I don’t think he’s very happy about it. Roy is pretty upset he had to hurt Thea anyway. He thinks he’s doing the right thing at the moment, which is separating himself from her because he’s dangerous. Thea has no idea what’s going on, and he realizes that he’s just hurting her too much. She can’t think of any valid reason why he should not be around her. On Roy’s side, I’m sure it doesn’t feel any better.
From your point of view, are Roy and Thea good for each other?
I definitely think they have a good balance. I love working with Colton Haynes, so yeah, let’s get them back together! Roy grounded Thea. The club gave her a sense of responsibility, but he let her have a sense of entitlement — but the right kind, not in the crazy way she was used to. She has the right to feel entitled. She’s young and managing a club and her boyfriend is an employee. They are very supportive of each other. It’s a good, healthy relationship.
Obviously, Arrow comes to Thea’s rescue. Does she begin to suspect that Oliver’s dual identity or does she still have blinders on?
I feel like Thea is pretty much in the dark, at the moment. Oliver is pretty good at covering his tracks with her. With everybody else, he’s not good at covering his tracks. Obviously, he’s slipped up with everybody else so far. In regard to Laurel and Thea, he’s been very careful about keeping himself separate of the Arrow. I don’t believe she’s aware of that, yet.
As an actress, is that frustrating? Would you prefer Thea to connect the dots?
As an actress, my job is to tell the story that is written for me to do. It could lead to a very interesting storyline for her. I’m curious how it’s going to be played out.
The other big elephant in the room is that Malcolm Merlyn is secretly Thea’s biological father. Considering her trust issues, how would Thea handle being hit by such a bombshell?
She would react very intensely and be upset by that. I think she would also be pretty upset to find out about Oliver, too. Both of those are the two giant secrets looming over her right now. If Thea found out about either one, it would break her heart even more. She does have a trust issue. Thea believes she can trust Oliver, but not only does he have this knowledge of Malcolm, he’s also been lying all this time about who he was. There’s a lot of room for doom and gloom, there.
Viewers have been speculating since the first few episodes of Season 1 that Thea will ultimately adopt the Speedy identity. Is she even on the proper path to becoming a superhero?
I think she’s on the right path to kicking some ass. I don’t know which way it’s going to turn. I feel it could go either way right now. She could be on her way to becoming a superhero or a super villain. Right now, where she’s at is a place that needs to change in her life.
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on the CW.