Seven years. That’s how long it took for Arrow to
finally get the character of Laurel Lance (even if she happens to be the second incarnation from Earth-2) in the right hands. And it shows.
From the get-go, Laurel Lance has been mistreated by the Arrow writers. She was all but reduced to a love interest for Tommy and Oliver in season 1, basically referred to as a prize to be won, and her comic identity stripped.
Was it necessary for Laurel to immediately become the Black Canary? No. However, the writers departed from that story from the very beginning, calling into question why they chose to make a Green Arrow TV show if they weren’t interested in showcasing his iconic partner-in-crime.
The writers only made this worse by creating Sara Lance (who has proven herself to be a decent character), but what it showed toward the source material, the character of Laurel Lance, and Katie Cassidy was beyond disrespectful.
Try to imagine signing onto a series with a 10-year commitment, being led to believe you’d eventually be playing with the character’s superhero identity, and having it wiped from the board completely. Imagine what a gut-wrenching betrayal that must have been for Cassidy in the show’s second season.
If not for the backlash of fans, Laurel Lance would have never become the Black Canary, just going to show how this character was in the wrong hands from the very beginning.
Laurel has never been given the best stories on the show; she’s not the star,
unfortunately, but she’s always been a solid character whose place has been known in Star(ling) city.
Earth-1 Laurel Lance was an attorney for the underprivileged when we met her, and that drive to do good didn’t go away overnight. She turned to the District Attorney to help keep the city safe, working as the Assistant District Attorney. When that no longer helped her feel like she was truly able to make a difference, she became the Black Canary.
Fast forward to Black Siren’s introduction, this Laurel Lance could not have been more different. A villain on her Earth, Black Siren started out as a villain on Earth-1 too, but she’s become so much more than that.
Arrow season 7 has proven that Laurel Lance is finally being treated like the character she should have been all along. Regardless of what some may think of her characters, Katie Cassidy is a powerhouse, and there’s so much to explore with Laurel that we’ve never had a chance to see.
Unlike with other villainous characters, we’re seeing a true journey toward redemption with Earth-2 Laurel Lance. She may never live up to her doppelganger’s legacy, but Earth-1 has become Laurel’s home, a home that she never believed she’d be able to have again.
Who would have thought, out of all of the possible outcomes, that Laurel would stop Felicity from killing Diaz and making a mistake that she’d have to live with the rest of her life?
Just that scene alone from Arrow season 7 episode 6 proved how deep the writers could go into Laurel’s character, and with the new showrunner, things are finally looking up for Dinah Laurel Lance.
Beth Schwartz clearly has a fondness for Laurel, and her writing and story progression is showing that. We’re finally seeing some depth to Black Siren outside of brief glimpses and longing stares, which could have been done so much sooner.
The only sad part is how the original Laurel Lance will never get this treatment. The new Arrow showrunner would have delivered such an amazing story for Laurel.
It’s still a brutal defeat to have to remember that Laurel is gone and she’s the one of the few Arrow-verse characters who won’t be coming back. There’s no excuse for it either, unlike with Tommy and Moira, considering Katie Cassidy is a series regular. It’s just a shame.
Arrow continues Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.