Warning Contains Spoilers
Well, it’s been two weeks since we lost Laurel Lance and the wounds have not healed. I thought the break would help, but it just made it worse. It just put off the follow-up episode that is supposed to provide an explanation and begin the closure. The title of the episode was perfect because if you’re like me, you were canary crying for two weeks, and canary crying throughout this week’s episode. I haven’t been this mad about a tv show in a while. I just feel betrayed; Laurel Lance deserved more and we deserved more, but I digress.
Tonight’s episode should’ve been a tribute to Laurel Lance, but instead it just moved on– there was even a new Black Canary in the form of a 16 year old girl. Who, I might add, was able to configure the canary cry to her own vocal chords instead of Laurels in a short period of time. (We can only extend our disbelief for so long, Arrow, give us a break.) But yet here we are, accepting it,and it’s the least of Arrow’s problems. This 16 year old is Evelyn, who Team Arrow failed to save last Christmas when Darhk was experimenting on civilians. She puts on the whole Black Canary outfit, modifies the canary cry that she stole from the hospital and goes to work taking down those who wronged her. In doing this she supposedly tarnished The Black Canary, Laurel’s, legacy.
But as I emphasized in last week’s review, Arrow tarnished Laurel’s legacy all on its own when they stopped caring about Laurel Lance and put her in the background. So in this week’s episode when they talked about her legacy I was confused as to what they were talking about. As a lawyer she worked hard for the underdog, and she made some strides as assistant district attorney. Her anti-vigilante task force from season two, was some of her best work, it just didn’t leave an impact (that we could see at least). And as The Black Canary she was helpful and an amazing asset to the team, but the show never really touched on any of this, to where we could sense her impact, her legacy. Her legacy came from within a story that we weren’t privy to.
It was also very weird in an episode following a major character death, to have flashbacks about an entirely different character’s death from end of season one– Tommy’s. It just made it more about Oliver. I get it, the show is called Arrow, and he’s The Green Arrow, but does everything really have to be the Oliver show? The flashbacks were about his relationship to Tommy, and how he was dealing with Tommy’s death and his relationship with Laurel. I could see, maybe, that it was to show how he is dealing with Laurel’s death in a healthier way than how he dealt with Tommy’s. He’s facing Laurel’s death, whereas with Tommy, he ran away. I can get behind that and believe that, if that’s all it was. But adding the part where one moment Laurel is holding Oliver saying she’s happy about the future and then have him leave her a note about his leaving and she’s crying… I couldn’t. It’s making it seem like him running away is what began her spiral. The spiral is what began the best development of Laurel Lance this entire series. That tarnished her legacy more than a 16 year old running around in her costume killing people.
Back to Oliver handling this death differently, he really did show some honest character development for once. He didn’t immediately return to old brooding, revenge seeking, not-thinking Oliver, but instead he was rock solid, level headed, hope keeping Oliver. I was scared it was going to be the same pattern where something doesn’t go Oliver’s way and he makes the wrong decisions only thinking of himself. That’s been done so many times in this series, but to have him keep going on as best he can so others could keep hope alive, was actually pretty compelling. Although he has to (again) put the burden on himself to fight the villain and make the decision whether or not to give up some humanity in order to save the day, this seemed different because I feel like he wouldn’t lose that part of him only set it aside for when he does inevitably save the day and gain it back. It’s the ever present conflicting thoughts of what he needs to do and what he wants to do. This was some of Stephen Amell’s best work and I applaud him for it.
The acting in this episode almost made me forget everything that has been bothering me with the show, lately. Especially from Stephen Amell, as I mentioned earlier, along with David Ramsey who plays Diggle and Paul Blackthorne who plays Quentin Lance. (I know I know all men but what are you going to do it’s a superhero show of course they give more for the men.) David Ramsey really showed more of what he can do this week. Diggle had so much to deal with, both on the surface, and underneath. Not only is his brother a traitor, whom he trusted, but he also blames himself for Laurel’s death. He couldn’t deal with his emotions and Ramsey pulled this off without going over the top. Diggle lost it and almost killed Ruve Darhk, the now Mayor, which just made things worse for the so called ‘legacy’ this episode was trying to tell us Laurel had. He has to deal with keeping his family safe–and now his trust issues. Diggle went through the ringer over the course of these two episodes and we’ll see how much it escalades as the season closes.
Paul Blackthorne broke my heart once again with his heart wrenching moments. Quentin has been through a lot; he lost his daughter Sara twice and now he lost his baby girl Laurel (for good) and it was almost too much to handle. He went through denial when Evelyn was running around as The Black Canary, and then bargaining when he turned to Nissa to try to see if the League of Assassins safe house could help him, and he subsequently sold it. His breakdown when he realized nothing he did was going to bring Laurel back had me in full fledged tears. Saying Laurel was his rock, how she was the only one who believed in him, and how he couldn’t do this without her, it was all too much. I almost had to walk away. He really went through the stages of grief, and he made it to acceptance at her funeral. He told her mother he knows she won’t be coming back like Sara did. When men cry it ruins me. Well done, Paul, well done. I just hope now that with Laurel gone, they won’t give him less screen time. He can do so much with so little– but think about what he could do with more.
I’m conflicted, I really am. I strongly dislike Arrow for killing Laurel and almost wanted tonight’s episode to have no redeeming qualities– but it did. When Oliver revealed her as the Black Canary during his eulogy at Laurel’s funeral it was a nice moment. I didn’t, however, like that fact that Oliver mentioned their love in his speech. Not everything has to be about who loves you Oliver. Still it was a small almost redeeming moment as it kept a theme of hope. As forced and cheesy as it was, it was the closest they will get to giving her a proper send off. Between the performances and Oliver’s development this was almost a solid episode. That’s a big compliment for me to give Arrow, as of lately at least. There are three episodes left of season four and I actually do feel it’s well on it’s way to wrapping up in a big way.
Oliver had a conversation with Felicity in the limo after the funeral, which we had previously seen in a flash forward earlier this season. She told him that he had to find a way to kill Darhk. Oliver knows this–he even brought up the flashbacks we all forget exist from previous episodes– where he saw Darhk’s magic before. So that will come into play, and maybe actually make those flashbacks relevant. I’m anxious to see how he pulls this off. He always seems to find a way, but this time is different because Oliver is actually different. Oliver doesn’t live by his darkness anymore; this magic of Darhk’s is the darkness and Oliver is the light. He’ll have to sacrifice some of that light so that others can thrive but he has more to give this time. I’m actually hopeful this will be a better season ending than last year. I’m still conflicted about my feelings toward Arrow. I just want this season to end so we can start fresh in season five. The whole Laurel debacle is dark but I can almost see a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel, the tunnel of season four.