→) Spoilers. Major, Major Spoilers. (←
Well comic book nerd friends, you’re gonna have to get your pitchforks, torches and boxing glove arrows ready and aimed, because last night’s episode of Arrow killed someone off … for good. No Lazarus Pit, no voodoo magic, no The Flash or Superman abilities to turn back time and pull a Back to the Future Part II. The results of the death of Laurel Lance will only provide seething anger and drowning grief for both Oliver Queen as a character, and for fans of the original due couple of the Green Arrow and the Black Canary.
For months, the writers and directors of Arrow have been pulling a How I Met Your Mother stunt by teasing Oliver Queen at a gravestone and at significant breaks in the season, shows small pieces of the scene to keep audiences guessing of who had died and how it happened. With Damien Darhk running rampant through Star City and Thea’s resulting bloodlust from last season, almost anyone but Oliver was on the chopping block. The reason for killing Laurel? For starters, there’s the fact that her character took a back seat after several years of lame plots from inherited alcoholism to foolishly resurrecting her sister in the Lazarus Pit, and this is mostly a result of the writing team, for some reason, not wanting to put too much focus one more than a handful of characters in a story arc, and the last year has heavily focused on the budding and dying romance between Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak, born of the internet’s #Olicity obsession.
“We started off this year with the promise of a death, and when we worked our way through our creative choices, we realized that the thing that will give us the most pop going into the end of the season and next season, unfortunately, would be Laurel. We knew that it would enrage a lot of people. We’re not blind to the “shipping” and the internet controversy, but we’ve never made decisions on the show creatively because of the internet.” – executive producer Marc Guggenheim said.
That’s right friends, one of the most well known heroes in the DC pantheon was killed off for some Game of Thrones style shock value, and the producers completely deny that the resulting relationships came from the show’s loudest part of the fanbase. Good job, kids. You’re why we can’t have nice things.
So, how did Laurel get killed? It basically boils down to the fact that Diggle is a fool and Malcolm Merlyn is a jerk. A lot of this episode revolves around Oliver realizing that Diggle’s brother Andy can’t be trusted, despite the fact that it was Oliver himself that convinced John that people can change. Probably the most successful character growth of the hour that doesn’t put someone six feet under is Oliver realizing that he has tried harder at keeping the darkness in him at bay as the Green Arrow. It’s here that Diggle gets real with Oliver for a moment in a fit of rage, lecturing that he doesn’t have the will to be anyone but the person the “five years” on Lian Yu turned him into, and that is why Felicity left him. Burn.
Even if Diggle is right about Oliver, he wasn’t right about his own brother. In the final act of the episode, the entire team is storming the prison that Damien Darhk has caused a riot in for the sake of restoring his magic and escaping, and Andy insists on accompanying them to prove that he can be trusted and do good. Oliver’s nonchalance about Andy’s inclusion here ultimately spells certain doom for our heroes, as he happens to have found the final piece of the idol that Darhk intended to use to reinvigorate him with his voodoo magic. Darhk then performs a long speech while Force Choking Team Arrow, and concludes his monologue by fulfilling the promise he made to Quentin early in the season: that he, when betrayed/poked, would kill Lance’s daughter. So, in the end, Laurel’s death is the result of stacked up stupid decisions over the last few months, and within this specific hour of Team Arrow’s misadventures, and is possibly the most predictable possibility when it’s all said and done.
The most shameful aspect of the writer’s team killing off Laurel is the ham-fisted story arc they gave her in the first half of this episode. It opens with her getting an offer for a promotion from ADA to Star City’s District Attorney, which would result in having her public identity being so widely known that she would be required to hang up the Black Canary’s mask for good. After a lot of flip flopping, Oliver has a moment with her where he is very frank about the state of Team Arrow, between himself, Diggle’s rage with him, Thea’s lust for vengeance and Felicity barely anywhere to be seen in this episode. Several times in the scenes following, Laurel practically telegraph’s her death saying she’ll suit up “one last time” when the team pursues an escaped Damien Darhk. The dialogue she was given in Felicity’s absence from the team last week (during the bees incident) was far superior to what we get here, and the only reason it has any impact is because she’s been on the show for four years and is one of the Arrowverse’s most well known heroes.
→ ) I don’t even care anymore. Oliver goes back to kill the guy with the ridiculously big voodoo head
→ ) I kid you not, Every. Single. Episode this season, I have to think during the flashback scenes, “I can’t remember the name of this girl he’s with.” Oops.
Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl? Check out our reviews of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!
At the end of every week, Evan and Allyson meet up to chat about the weekly happenings on our podcast TYF DC Debrief, available on several platforms! You can join the conversation with us every week on Twitter @EvGriff42 @AllysonAJ and @TYFOfficial