Defending The Queen of 'Arrow's' Castle

by Jarett Wieselman 1:01 PM PST, February 13, 2013
Photo: CW

From Betty Draper to Victoria Grayson, the TV-loving world eats up a mean mommy. But to hear Susanna Thompson talk about Moira Queen, her Arrow matriarch has more in common with Walter White, Nancy Botwin and other antiheroes who were forced to walk down a dangerous path by forces outside their control.

In addition to getting an entirely new perspective on her character, Thompson opened up about the resolution of last week's cubicle cliffhanger and reveals that an upcoming episode will take larger steps towards illuminating The Queen's pre-island life.

ETonline: When you saw that last week's script ended with Moira getting ambushed by Arrow, what went through your mind?
Susanna Thompson: I was excited. I mean, I was freaking out for Moira, but excited as an actor.

ETonline: Teasers for tonight have revealed that Moira gets in on the action tonight a bit -- obviously we've always known she was a strong, capable woman, but how fun was it to get your hands on a gun?
Thompson: See, I love that you say she's a strong capable woman -- I believe that too. But we all debated whether she should look strong and capable with that gun or like she was not quite sure what to do with it. The fact remains, there was a gun in her office, so me, as an actor, I have to connect the dots to that gun. Why was it there? How did she know where to find it?

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ETonline: It's just another example of Moira's ambiguity -- do you enjoy reveling in that?
Thompson: I do, I really do, but there are times I've had to reach out to the producers to ask for a little help in figuring out which way she's going [laughs]. But what I'm always trying to do is find the honesty in every situation and connect the dots. From the pilot to where we are now, I sort of have an idea of where they're aiming her to go -- but it can always change.

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ETonline: I'm sure every character feels that way since it seems like everyone wears a different face depending on who they're talking to.
Thompson: You're absolutely right and we all really have this moral barometer that we're being guided by in our lives. And it's constantly changing depending on what we bump up against. We can declare what we will or won't do until we're living the actual circumstances that put us face-to-face with a side of ourselves we never knew was possible.

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ETonline: Do you feel like Moira actively entered this criminal life or was forced into it after her husband's death?
Thompson: I do believe that she was pushed into a corner and it causing her to walk down paths she wouldn't normally. But the fact is, the ability to do that was in her. She probably didn't know the extent to which Robert was involved in this elite wealthy group of people with Malcolm and I think in trying to find out what happened to her husband, she's become more savvy and more calculated. My biggest guidepost along the way has been that she will do anything to protect her children. So Moira's not only fighting for her life and her children's lives, but I believe she believes she's fighting for the lives of millions.

ETonline: Looking ahead, what are you excited for fans to see?
Thompson: I'm excited for them to see how much more committed Moira is to stopping Malcolm. I've also heard that you'll see who she was 5 years ago in a flashback episode. I think part of that will also involve bringing back Robert, so that'll be interesting since we will more about their relationship.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.