Arrow Season Four Episode 18 “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” Review

reviews, TV

Warning Contains Spoilers

Oh dear, Arrow. It’s like every other episode with you. Last week you had me with the laughter, puns and overall fun. This week you tore my heart out. You reel me in and then you push me away. Tonight I was pushed away– far away. I will still come back next episode, but I am wounded.

At the beginning of season four, Arrow teased about a death by having Oliver standing at a gravesite and Barry Allen arriving to talk with him about it. Up until now, a few episodes would go back to this flash forward giving more and more clues about who is or isn’t in the grave. So throughout the season we knew someone was going to die. Tonight we found out, and I am so angry about who it was (and I have seen others in the fandom angry as well). It was Laurel Lance.Arrow-season-4-episode-18-recap-Laurel-in-bunker

Yes, this week’s episode ended with the death of the beloved Laurel Lance. Damien Darhk, after leading his inmates to riot and hold guards hostage, lured Team Arrow to the jail for a rescue mission. In order to send a message to Captain Lance that Darhk’s stabs Laurel with an arrow. After surgery and being seemingly fine, she suffered a seizure in her recovery room and died.

Anytime I bring up Laurel Lance in my reviews, I talk about either how great it was that they actually gave her something to do or how frustrating it was that they’ve forgotten about her character. For the past few episodes Laurel had some great screen time. I even literally said out loud watching this episode that Laurel has had more screen time since they cut Felicity’s, and that I had been waiting for Katie Cassidy to get a series that stuck. Then she got Arrow and life was complete. They even gave her a really interesting storyline where she had to choose between a promotion to District Attorney or being the Black Canary. Then they killed her. I’m never saying out loud that I love a character again.

I am all about shows killing off main characters. I love when shows have stakes like that, but it has to have a purpose. The purpose also can’t be for plain shock value: that to me is emotionally manipulative. From a writing standpoint killing Laurel was a weird choice on a couple of levels. First, the comics, that this show are based off of, are basically The Green Arrow and Black Canary show. Even though Arrow has been straying away from the comics for a while and just using it as framework, the show is basically it’s own complete thing if there is no Black Canary. Second, it won’t really make the series “pop” as the show runners claimed was the reason for this choice. The characters themselves will be left devastated of course, but the overall show will be fine because, like I have mentioned many times before, Laurel Lance has basically been a side character for quite some time. Once Laurel became Black Canary in season three she has become less and less vital. The writing for her character has been the best in the past few episodes than it has in the past two seasons. So killing her off doesn’t even really scrape the fabric of the show.

Season two was Laurel’s shining season. She was dealing with a lot emotionally: with dealing with her sister being back from the dead (the first time), her anger about Tommy’s death, and physically with her drug and alcohol addiction and trying to take down Arrow with her task force. She had a character arc that season. Even in season 3 when dealing with Sara’s death (the second one) and coming to terms with that and becoming the Black Canary, she had solid storylines. But after that she was kind of just there. Which always made me so angry because she is their strongest, most interesting character and they just threw her away and kept her around to fill space. We lost Laurel. Now with her death they threw her away completely without closure for us or for the character

Arrow owed it to her character to give her closure. For fans of the show and fans of the comics, we deserved a better send off. The closure they thought they gave was Laurel laying on a hospital bed with Oliver by her side saying “I know I’m not the love of your life, but you’re still mine”. Those were her final words. I yelled at the screen. Once again this show has made it seem like the female character’s lives revolve around Oliver. Laurel’s final moments of her four seasons on Arrow aren’t even about her. It just makes no sense to me that they would end it like that. But then again they haven’t done right by her character for quite sometime so I’m not all that surprised. I mean, even in the flashback, that I usually lose interest in, Oliver showed a photo of Laurel and said “she was my home before all of this” (referring to the island he was marooned on). Yeah, Oliver that’s why you cheated on her with her sister and treated her like dirt. Why did they try to bring back the Oliver and Laurel relationship when they were just going to kill her. The show shouldn’t be Oliver’s love life. It should be character driven with fighting crime.

This whole episode was a goodbye to Laurel when she doesn’t even die until the end. Everything she did had a sense of finality to it. She had to choose between being the Black Canary and being the District Attorney and giving up crime fighting for good. Her father had a heart to heart with her at the Chinese restaurant that is their spot, telling her she shouldn’t give up her life as Canary and how proud he is of her. Oliver was telling her that the city needs Laurel Lance now and that she should give up being Black Canary. Even before the fight that killed her she said “one last time” when putting on her mask. After she was stabbed and rushed to the hospital, she survived surgery and doctor said she’d be fine. Then Felicity, Diggle, Thea and Oliver were in her room and she told them that she couldn’t give up crime fighting because it’s where she feels most alive. She used the word alive! Then she told them she loved all of them and everyone excluding Oliver of course said they loved her too. So melodramatic and screams “this character is going to die”.

The rest of the episode leading up to Laurel’s horrible death was basically whether or not Andy could be trusted. At the end of last week’s episode we found out that Andy is in cahoots with Malcolm and this week Andy tells Diggle about all of that. So it seemed he was on Team Arrow, but Oliver couldn’t trust him and confronted him. But since Oliver has been selfish and practiced risky behavior Diggle sided with his blood brother and called Oliver out on his flaws and why Felicity broke up with him. I turned out that Oliver was right though, Andy was on Malcolm and Darhk’s side. Thea and her father have a few battles and she reveals that her hatred towards Malcolm is different now because it’s mutual. During the almost prison break Dark reveals that he knows who Team Arrow in in everyday life. He knows that Black Canary is Laurel and wanted to send a message that his threats were real. Poor Quentin, his reaction first when he finds out Laurel had been seriously hurt was heart breaking. He just said he needed to go but he was stuck at a police station after his diversion so the Team could gain access to the prison landed him arrested. The tears in his eyes I was like “let him go!” Then second when he finds out she died, he just falls to the floor and convulses in shock, that was heart wrenching. Laurel is his little girl and now with Sara in a another time literally, he has no family.

Speaking of Sara, she was brought back to life probably around six times in her time on Arrow. Why can’t they extend the same courtesy to Laurel? Even Oliver was brought back to life twice for crying out loud. But apparently according to the show runners, Laurel is dead for the long haul. I would’ve been happy with any other character dying( well maybe except for Diggle). This one just struck a huge nerve with me. I have forgiven Arrow for a lot over the past two seasons but this I don’t think I’ll get over. I could get behind it if the death made sense but it just doesn’t. They need to stop killing female characters in order to move the story. Laurel is just added to a long list.

If anything killing Laurel gave Darhk a big power play that will propel us forward to the end of the season. He has his magic totem back, and therefore his powers, so he’s pretty much back as the big bad. Malcolm has made Thea a priority again so I guess that will play some sort of role in the last episodes or a taste of what season five holds. I think Arrow is ready to close the Darhk chapter and have Malcolm be the central big bad which I believe they are heading towards for season five. I’m also ready for the flashbacks to actually make sense to the present story. So I’m anxious to see how that all plays out even though I will hold this grudge for a while. The last four episodes should have their share of drama, I just hope they find some kind of better closure for my girl Laurel. 

Excuse me while I go Canary Cry it out all night. I just really loved Laurel Lance a lot.

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