As we learned last week on "Arrow," Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) isn't as dead as everyone thought he was -- and now it's up to Felicity to figure out what's happened to her ex-boyfriend, all while running his former company, keeping Team Arrow afloat against the dangerous Damien Darhk, and dealing with her current beau's mayoral campaign.
But Ray's not the only fan favorite from Season 3 who's coming back for more -- so is Felicity's mother, who's returning tonight (Nov. 11) in this week's episode, "Lost Souls."
As actor Charlotte Ross told MTV News over the phone, being a part of the "Arrow" series has been a whirlwind since she first arrived on the scene. The role was always intended to be recurring in some fashion, but Ross certainly wasn't expecting Donna to be so popular and is excited to see where the show takes her relationship with her on-screen daughter, Emily Bett Rickards.
"I'm really grateful from Day One that Emily and I had a natural chemistry," she said. "It's something I was just so excited to feel and have and I adore her and love her so much, innately. So that really makes a difference. And then they wrote this character that's so multi-layered, but it's also based in truth."
"I can probably probably bet my life on the fact that they weren't planning on [Captain] Lance and I having a relationship," she jokes. "Things kind of grow, you know?"
But unlike the last two times she appeared, Mama Smoak's not unexpectedly showing up out of the blue to wreak havoc on Felicity's busy schedule. In fact, Ross tells us that it's Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who's invited Donna to return to Star City -- maybe because he understands just how rare healthy mother-daughter relationships are in superhero stories. After all, his own mom can't exactly guide him and Thea, because she's kinda super dead right now.
For her part, Ross loves how different Felicity and Donna are from one another, and loves that Donna is more than just a stereotype -- like Felicity, she's a real woman who's more complicated than that.
"Just because she dresses a little bit too scantily doesn't mean she's only this caricature of a an over-the-top cocktail waitress," Ross pointed out. "She's also has a very little girl naive side and she also has her strong side, and she also has her very protective side to her daughter."
But don't expect, as Donna will return later this season, as she "has a lot of reasons to want to stay around Star City" (Captain Lance, perhaps?) -- and so will Felicity's still-unnamed father, who left Donna to raise Felicity on her own.
"We're all very excited for it," She said. "I can't really say when and who [he is], but it's something that the fans have been really interested to know, and we're really interested to know and investigate that storyline as well."
We've definitely planted seeds," she added. "He was not a good guy, but to what extent we don't really know yet.... there's a lot of baggage and history there."