After three more seasons, Laurel Lance will thrive as the Black Canary once again. It’s been a long road, with many missteps, but we finally get to see Katie Cassidy as the iconic heroine again.
On Arrow season 7, episode 18, “Lost Canary,” Earth-2 Laurel Lance was forced to confront the demons of her past, with a little help from Sara and her demons, and ended the episode by deciding to return home to Earth-2. However, the twist came as Felicity handed off OG Laurel’s Black Canary costume to Laurel, effectively giving her the title of Black Canary.
It’s been a long road for fans of Laurel Lance, as we saw our favorite character unjustly killed during Arrow season 4, and then saw Black Siren’s appearance on Arrow and The Flash thereafter. Earth-2 Laurel’s redemption has been a question in everyone’s minds for two years now, and we finally saw it play out… so why am I still upset with Arrow?
The Death of Earth-1 Laurel Lance
Honestly, there are some aspects of a show you can’t forgive TV writers for. Like Sara Harvey’s existence on Pretty Little Liars, Prue Halliwell’s death on Charmed, Sutton being pro-gun on The Bold Type, some stories just cannot be forgotten or forgiven. Laurel’s death is one of those.
The first two and a half seasons of Arrow, at least from Laurel’s perspective, were dedicated to showing how the justice system had failed so many in Star(ling) City and how Laurel always wanted to do something more to help keep the city safe. From working with the “Hood” when he was a wanted vigilante to becoming the Assistant District Attorney, she always wanted to try to save the world.
When we finally saw her step into the role of the Black Canary, after the mess with Sara, it was further ruined for fans by her sudden lack of any fighting skills. (In the first two seasons, Laurel’s self-defense training saved her life on a few occasions, yet she suddenly couldn’t throw a punch? Sure, Jan.)
It was exciting to see Laurel blossom as the Black Canary, and it gave us stories that many will never forget and showcased her emotional strength to continue fighting even when the odds were against her. However, the excitement was always diminished by the Arrow writers acting like she could have never been a great vigilante because, unlike everyone else on the show, she didn’t learn to fight instantaneously.
Laurel went to hell and back to resurrect Sara in the Lazurus pit and save her soul, she stood up for Star City when Oliver was gone and the rest of Team Arrow wanted to quit, and she wore her bruises with pride as she excelled at being the Black Canary and Star City’s top criminal attorney.
And, to top it all off, the Arrow writers’ insistence to keep meta-humans out of Star City stripped Laurel of her meta-human cry from the comics, and they were forced to create an electronic choker with the same capabilities. Literally not one thing that the writers could have done to give Laurel the skill and abilities of her comic counterpart was done. Not one thing.
The Aftermath of Laurel’s Death
Following Laurel’s death, there was a lot of backlash on social media. They had “fridged” their female lead and used her very last moments to prop up the relationship between her friend and her ex-boyfriend, who cheated on her several times, and to call him the love of her life. Yet, they thought that was a fitting end for a character who had sacrificed everything for those she loved.
Then, the introduction of Dinah Drake, an Arrow creation who shared a name with a comic book character but none of their other characteristics or connections, was to resolve the backlash, yet it just made things worse. Unlike Laurel, Dinah was given a meta-human sonic cry, she was given the title of Black Canary unreasonably fast, and her character was in the forefront, while Laurel was consistently put off-screen.
The backlash continued, understandably, and thus we were given Earth-2 Laurel Lance as a main character, rather than just an occasional villain.
Earth-2 Laurel Lance has had quite the journey, which has given Katie Cassidy some fantastic content to work with, yet her place on the show was never quite cemented until recently.
This Laurel was a second chance for Katie Cassidy to be the hero she originally signed on to Arrow to portray and a second chance for fans to see their favorite character on-screen again (even with the noticeable differences between both Laurels).
It’s been a long road, and we’ve finally gotten what we wanted all along, which is Laurel Lance as the Black Canary, but can it be fully enjoyed?
I should be appreciative, yet my anger persists
After the death of Earth-1 Laurel Lance, I have, admittedly, always held a grudge against Arrow. Their poor decision was unnecessary; the showrunners wrote themselves into a corner with the grave and were forced to pick a character to kill off. Unfortunately for fans, they decided it wasn’t worth keeping around a character with so much more story to tell, especially as the Black Canary.
Unfortunately, I originally hated Dinah and the fact she was even created. As of now, I can appreciate Dinah and I love what they’ve done with her on Arrow season 7. It seems likely that, now that Laurel has embraced the Black Canary title, Dinah will take up Sara’s dusty mantle of the Canary and continue to pass that along to other women in need of support.
I am appreciative and happy that Arrow finally gave Laurel Lance the role she deserves, and by showing us a bit of her future in the flash-forwards (with more to come), it’s clear that she lives a long life as the Black Canary and becomes the hero that she never thought she could be.
However, I’m still angry. I’m still angry that it’s not the original Laurel fighting for Star City as the Black Canary. I’m angry that her life ended in the way it was written, which can never be undone, and that her time as the Black Canary was so brief. I mean, we didn’t even get to see her as the Black Canary for an entire season.
I’m angry that instead of taking the time to develop Laurel as the Black Canary, the writers killed her off just to later introduce another woman to be their rendition of the Black Canary. And, as much as I love Earth-2 Laurel, she’s not the same character. She’s another character that is fighting the darkness inside, who needs to help people to help herself, just like Oliver.
It’s fantastic that Laurel Lance has become the Black Canary once again and that I am excited that we’ll be able to see a bit more of her (and to see her hero’s journey), but it’s another punch to the face because Arrow only has 14 episodes left before it’s going off of the air.
So, great, she’s become the Black Canary, but not only has she gone off to Earth-2, there’s not even enough time to see her as the heroine if she were to stick around on Earth-1.
After everything Arrow has done to Laurel Lance and the Black Canary mantle, it’s hard to trust that they won’t screw it up again. It’s difficult to be appreciative of the effort to redeem Black Siren and make her into someone her Earth-1 counterpart would have been proud of.
With so little time left to see this explored, it begs the question: Why not work to do this sooner, so fans of the character could actually enjoy her growth before the series ended?
Arrow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.