THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF FPNYC JUST YOURS TRULY
A few years ago, I found myself at Target on Thanksgiving night and saw season 1 of the CW series Arrow on sale, so I decided to give it a shot- one since I was a massive DC fan, two since I am and always will be a fan of Dinah Laurel Lance, the Black Canary whom I knew was a regular character on the series. It helped that an actress(Katie Cassidy) that I liked from previous roles was cast as Laurel, which was the name they called her by on the show and I also knew she wasn’t Black Canary yet. I didn’t watch the series right away, but when I did, I was hooked. It had action, a strong male and female lead, easter eggs to DC characters minor and major and an intriguing femme fatale in Oliver’s own mother. Before I read reviews online, I had no idea how badly Laurel’s character had been received on the series, I loved her and thought she was for the most part fairly well-written. Others despised her because she was frequently antagonistic to Oliver, although in most contexts she had every reason to be. Many of the show’s fans were instead drawn to a new character named Felicity Smoak, who in the earlier seasons fulfilled the awkward sweet tech girl role and was a fun character and they decided that they wanted to see her with Oliver, which in and of itself is fine, Ollie and Laurel didn’t need to be together throughout the series.
Season 2 was a great season which found Oliver facing off against Deathstroke and introduced us to Laurel’s sister, Sara- who was going by the Canary in her costumed persona. That was also fine, Laurel has always been the second person to use the Canary persona, inheriting it from a relative. Katie Cassidy had a strong character arc for Laurel during season 2 where she found herself hitting the bottle and clashing with her family and Oliver before she picked herself out of her funk and started to become a stronger character from it, setting the stage for her taking on her comic book destiny as the Black Canary. Laurel also had her own nemesis during season 2 in the form of Brother Blood, which folded in nicely with the larger story of the season, especially as she found out Oliver’s identity as the Arrow and exposed Brother Blood in conspiring with Deathstroke to kill Ollie’s mother.
Season 3 had different showrunners at the helm and found Sara assassinated and falling right into Laurel’s line of view, causing her to take up her sister’s mantle and become the Black Canary, saving the city with Oliver’s team as he had gone missing after fighting Ra’s Al Ghul and continuing in the role into the next season. Season 4 found Laurel still fighting the good fight but relegated to a background character for much of the season. It also teased that someone would die 6 months from the premiere. Despite the fact that Black Canary has a strong comic book pedigree and nearly 70 years of stories that could be told, the people in charge of the show decided to kill off Laurel Lance instead of drawing from the rich catalog of stories that they could have. Showrunner Marc Guggenheim didn’t even have a good reason for murdering off the last authentic comic book character other than Oliver, just that he had to fulfill the promise of killing someone off and that Laurel’s death would make in his opinion, the best storyline. There were other things he said that led to their choice of Laurel, but they reek of BS. The kicker is that they’ve also dismissed the comic book fans by saying that they are aware of the comics but ultimately think they are making the best story, which they really aren’t. They also revealed that they never had any intention of pursuing the Laurel/Oliver pairing again which is also another slap in the face to comic book fans, whom without there wouldn’t even be these characters to write about in the first place. You don’t need to be a slave to the comics but you need to at least honor the source material and not kill characters that are intrinsically tied to the main character across different forms of media. Plus the way she went out didn’t even honor her as a heroine as she is killed to send a message to her father and to make Diggle and Oliver feel guilty.
Here’s what I would have done with the characters they said they couldn’t kill off:
Thea Queen– I would have left her alone, she is still one of the best characters on the show and I will miss her.
Quentin Lance– He was grave candidate number one for me. I would have killed him off and had that trigger the next round of stories including Laurel improving herself and growing more into her Black Canary role. He also would have propelled Felicity’s story since he is dating her mother as well as Oliver whom he had a strained father figure/son relationship with. They could have found a way for Thea and Diggle to be affected as well. This also fits in well with the theme of parents sacrificing themselves for their children that the season seemed to be writing towards.
John Diggle– since his brother betrayed him, it would have made sense for Dig to pay the ultimate price. This would have affected all of the Team as well.
Felicity Smoak– Is a shrill and abusive girlfriend and frankly the way they’ve written her this season makes any sensible person want her in the grave, alas she was shown as safe during the midseason premiere.
In all, I would have preferred that they left the entire team alone since I generally like all of them, including Shrillicity when she’s written well.
That boneheaded decision finds me breaking up with a series that I used to love and support. I’ve talked about Arrow in my weekly column quite frequently. I’ve met Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy and I still have a ticket for the next Heroes and Villains Con which I’m not as excited for unless Katie attends. I’ve bought the tie-in comics, the action figures, DVDs and trading cards but that ends here. The last thing I will buy that is Arrow related is the forthcoming Laurel Lance/Black Canary action figure, since she was the one that was wronged and she is and always will be my favorite.The only way you’ll get me watching the show again and buying the merchandise is to reverse the death, I can live with the Oliver/Felicity pairing though I despise it, but Laurel should never have died in the first place.
I’ll leave with a Laurel quote dedicated to a show I once felt something for:
“It’s hard to remember a time when I was ever in love with you…”
R.I.P. Laurel Lance and Arrow. She deserved better.
If you are upset as I am, I want to hear from you on Twitter: ValentineC1979 and you can also tweet #NoLaurelNoArrow, if you’re appalled by this decision.