The CW‘s Arrow Eleven-Fifty-Nine TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 18: Eleven-Fifty-Nine… hurt like hell. I dub this episode “Losing Laurel” because our darling Laurel Lance aka Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) …is gone. I could end the review here, and cry another bucket of tears, but this beautifully written episode was loaded. So here goes.
“District Attorney Laurel Lance” would have sounded amazing. Ruvé Adams (Janet Kidder) was handing Laurel the position she had been working toward for so many years, plus, she could keep an eye on Adams for the team. It would have been a perfect ending to Laurel’s turbulent story, but for the fact that the position was being offered by evil. It seemed too perfect, too easy. Much like the mission that Diggle’s brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd) had Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) on, rescuing a shipment of arms from being lifted by Darhk’s minions. The mission was pure misdirection. The writers did well to make his actions seem ambiguous, but Andy never had me fooled.
Black Canary and Speedy (Willa Holland) were left to guard the bunker and got their butts whipped by Merlyn (John Barrowman) and his soldiers (who are still dressed in League of Assassin clothing, although the League was disbanded. What is that all about???). The fights between Thea and her father Merlyn were a long time coming. It was visceral. Yet, Thea was hesitant, and it cost her the victory both times. I do not care what Merlyn says. I prefer the cooler, calmer Thea we have now to the old “bloodlust Thea”. Although, I did applaud Thea’s deadly aim when she planted two arrows in Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough).
Retrieving the Kushu idol was also too easy. Somehow I knew Oliver knew how to handle the idol since we have discovered he is familiar with the idol from his time on Lian Yu. Finally, the flashbacks mean something! We have not endured the slow trek through Baron Reiter’s (Jimmy Akingbola) long-winded speeches this long for nothing.
The heated exchange between Diggle and Oliver was ….oh man, Diggle, that was a shot to the gut. Feelings ran hot after Oliver accused Andy of espionage. To Oliver’s credit, everything pointed to Andy’s betrayal, and we all should remember how at one time Diggle took it upon himself to investigate Oliver’s mother when he felt she was being sneaky. Oliver was only returning the favor. Yet, I also cannot say that Diggle is being hypocritical with his willingness to give Andy the benefit of the doubt over his friend’s unbiased opinion. It was like we were revisiting the first season of their relationship all over again. They both wanted to believe that they are good judges of character. Boy, have they both been wrong.
The writers were clever to misdirect us constantly. The rift between Diggle and Oliver seemed ominous, like they were setting us up for Diggle’s demise based on his misplaced faith in Andy. Diggle’s speech to Oliver almost sounded like goodbye. At some point during the episode it seemed like it would be Thea that would be killed (highly, highly unlikely since Merlyn is supposedly being the right hand of the devil for her sake). I even had a theory that Quentin Lance would be the one killed because it would put him out of all kinds of misery. Instead, the writers dealt him another blow.
Watching Quentin Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) reaction to Oliver’s face outside the hospital room absolutely broke my heart (cue tears rolling down my cheeks). I cannot handle when Blackthorne cries, except, in this scene, he went straight to shock. It was like the air vacated Lance’s lungs. Oliver’s too, because he could not find the words. Lance has lost one daughter twice and got her back. Now, he has lost another daughter – and there is no magic that has been revealed to indicate she could be resurrected from this death.
With Laurel’s death, Damien Darhk has effectively destroyed and galvanized a team of heroes at the same time. Team Arrow was in fragments with Andy being a spy and Merlyn getting inside Thea’s head. Darhk even played a part in breaking Oliver and Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) engagement when he revealed Oliver’s secret. Now, he has murdered Laurel with one of Oliver’s own arrows, while they all watched helplessly. You are gonna get yours Darhk!
Losing Laurel carved out a chunk of Arrow history and laid it on a slab. We were reminded in the flashback that Laurel was the reason for Oliver’s survival on Lian Yu. He wanted to get back to Laurel to make amends. Laurel was part of Oliver’s initial motivation to become a vigilante. She has been his girlfriend, his confidant, his enemy and his pupil. I must admit, her inclusion as Black Canary was difficult to accept, and truly it seemed far-fetched to me. Black Canary in the mix felt superfluous half the time because she was untrained, thinly motivated, and less capable given that all the others possess special skills and divine attributes. I have been saying this for a while now, and even anticipated it would be Laurel Lance in the grave because all the signs pointed to her being the most vulnerable.
I also must say that Laurel shined as an ADA fighting for justice in Star City. Her fighting skills were a plus. I wish her assistance on the team had remained two-fold this entire time. Only recently the writers finally went back to focusing on her usefulness as an attorney. I would have liked to see her return to those roots sooner. Now, we will never see that potential. Losing Laurel was sad, indeed.
Laurel made Oliver promise her something before she died. What was the promise, and did it have something to do with her family or Felicity or with Oliver himself? I just hope it is not another secret Oliver has to keep. All we know for now is that at 11:59 AST (Arrow Standard Time) we lost Laurel Lance.
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