This week on The CW's "Arrow," Caity Lotz finally gets to come into her own. The actress has guest starred as Sara Lance, a.k.a. superhero Black Canary since the second season began. But with episode 13, "Heir to the Demon," the curtain on her mysterious origin is pulled open, and it involves a character well known to comic book fans.
"Nyssa al Ghul, daughter of Ra's al Ghul comes into town; and she comes into town for Sara," Lotz told us over the phone. "Very specifically for Sara! She wants Sara to come back with her slash to her, and the drama will ensue from there."
For a bit of background, five years prior Sara was stuck on the show's mysterious island at the same time as protagonist Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). We've seen how a bit of her back-story, but not how she escaped the island, hooked up with the villainous League of Assassins, or took on the Black Canary personality. And with this week's flashbacks showing Sara's past, rather than Oliver's, we should get some of those gaps filled in.
"We get to see some of the Lance family before all the drama, and pain and death," Lotz added. "You get to see who they all were before everything went down."
Shooting the flashbacks, which find Sara, Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Quentin (Paul Blackthorne), and guest star Dinah Lance (Alex Kingston) bonding over dinner was a refreshing change for the normally grim show.
"We really enjoyed shooting those scenes," Lotz said. "It felt like we were on a different show. I prefer more darkness for the other characters, but it's a fun change."
In the present day, though, things are back to the grim and gritty as Nyssa (Katrina Law) comes looking for Sara, with the suggestion that the duo may have been more than friends.
"It's not so black and white," Lotz noted on the possible relationship between Sara and Nyssa. "She cares for Nyssa. Nyssa saved her life. The League took her in. She wouldn't be who she was, she wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for them. Nyssa is the one who gave her the strength of who she is, and was one of the reasons she was able to survive. I think it's going to be a really emotional battle for [Sara], as much as it is a physical."
Assuming Sara survives the end of the episode and doesn't go back to the League of Assassins, there's another big episode in store for the character: "Birds of Prey," the seventeenth episode of the season. For fans of comics this is a big one, as Black Canary and Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) have traditionally been teamed as the titular Birds in multiple books.
Though Lotz isn't meeting Gouw (a returning guest star) for the first time until later this week, it doesn't mean the duo will be all buddy-buddy immediately.
"You're going to see Sara do what Sara wants to do," Lotz said. "In these last few months where she has been free, she does what she wants and she's not used to the whole team player mode. Especially if it comes down to protecting someone she loves, Sara is not going to play by the rules, she doesn't care what anyone tells her."
And further out, fans have speculated that in order to fulfill comic book destinies, Sara will have to die so that Laurel can take up the mantle of Black Canary. Beyond not wanting to be killed off the show, does Lotz think that Sara has a ticking clock?
"I don't think anybody has to do anything," Lotz said. "The writers have done what they want to do with the show, and they're going to continue to do whatever is best for the show. It would be cool to have two Black Canaries, who knows? I think we're all just going with the flow."
Back to the episode at hand, Lotz wouldn't give out specific spoilers but did say that we'll just have to watch all the way to the end.
"My favorite scene is the last scene of the episode," Lotz said with a laugh. "The very last scene is a really holy shinkeys moment!"
"Heir to the Demon" airs Wednesday (February 5) at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.