Arrow’s final season is revisiting the shows greatest hits and in the process is allowing the character of Laurel Lance to finally shine.
Arrow may be a show about the Green Arrow but anyone who has even vaguely heard of the comics knows that Green Arrow is more often than not connected to the Black Canary. Unfortunately, Arrow seemed to have some trouble with its version of Black Canary and so she didn’t always get her fair share.
Needless to say that when the Laurel Lance/Black Canary of Earth-1 was killed it was a shock to the viewers, who never thought Black Canary could be killed on a show about the Green Arrow. She had just recently come into her own as a superhero, only to be abruptly killed in order to answer the “who is in the grave?” question of Season 4 (dark times).
Caution: There are some spoilers from Arrow Season 8, Episode 2 in this post.
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Even before her death she never got the spotlight or the support that she deserved as a hero in her own right. So when Arrow introduced an Earth-2 version of Laurel Lance expectations were high for the show to make right what had happened to the original Laurel.
Surprisingly, the Earth-2 version of Laurel seemed to be the exact opposite of the Laurel we knew and loved. First introduced on The Flash, we meet her as a villain who went by the name Black Siren and after her move to Arrow, we watched her team up with various villains to cause trouble.
Over time and with stubborn determination from her doppelganger’s father Quentin Lance, as well as Felicity Smoak, we slowly saw the walls Black Siren had built come down. As we learned more about her it became clear that perhaps she wasn’t all bad and there may be hero potential in her after all.
Eventually, this new Laurel made the choice to try to be a hero and follow in her doppelganger’s footsteps. She was even given the original Black Canary costume. With the choice to become a hero also came the choice to return to her own Earth to make up for her past.
If not for the Crisis, we may never have seen this version of Laurel Lance again. Thankfully, Oliver and Diggle end up being sent to her Earth where she is thriving as the Black Canary and leading her own team of superheroes with her own Green Arrow (Adrian Chase) and secret bunker.
I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to see Laurel being the Black Canary and leading her own team. After years of being ignored or sidelined and dismissed on Arrow, it was so nice to see her finally getting the respect she deserves. It’s what we should have had with the original Laurel. But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever.
With the disappearance of Earth-2 at the end of the Season 8 premiere, Laurel is now essentially homeless and has lost everyone she’s ever known or loved. Katie Cassidy Rodgers gave one of her best performances to date in the second episode where Laurel’s grief at losing her whole Earth is on full display.
Lyla Michaels arrives just in time to help a grieving Laurel get her head on straight and their team-up was so fantastic to see. It also has me wondering why we never really saw interactions between Lyla and Laurel (either Earth-1 or Earth-2) until now? Though I do wonder if Lyla was helping Laurel of her own accord or on orders from The Monitor.
The increased female dynamics these past two seasons may be due to new showrunner Beth Schwartz, who seems to have made a point of focusing on female friendships and team-ups. Something that was a bit lacking previously, to say the least. The friendship between Laurel, Felicity, and Dinah has been a highlight of the past season, not to mention the Birds of Prey episode that thew Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance into the mix.
Despite her grief and momentary spiral in the aftermath of losing her whole Earth, Laurel comes back stronger than ever. She decides that even though she couldn’t save her Earth she is going to join Oliver and Diggle on their mission to save the multiverse so that what happened to her world never happens again.
The Black Siren of a year ago would not have done this and it’s a testament to her tremendous growth. Black Siren has been allowed to make mistakes, to be a fully fleshed out complicated character, and to grow into becoming Black Canary. Something the original Laurel was not fully allowed to do.
According to star Stephen Amell, she is going to be viewed as an equal moving forward, something Oliver never seemed to do before. Oliver will, in fact, be grateful to have her along for the journey. Stephen told Entertainment Weekly the following:
"“They’re beside one another. They’re working together with one another,” says Amell. “There’s multiple times when Oliver looks to her and says, ‘I didn’t expect to be on this mission with you, but I’m glad you’re here.’ […] Laurel has proven herself and so Oliver is not going to sit in judgement of her.”"
The moment where Laurel shows up as Black Canary to save Tatsu, and thus fully accept being a hero, was one of the best moments of the episode. Seeing Dinah Laurel Lance be Black Canary and use her Canary Cry in a costume that seems to be the closest to the comics to date is enough to make this Black Canary a very happy viewer.
Now that Laurel is officially joining Oliver and Diggle on their mission, here’s hoping that we will get to see much more of her in these final episodes. Earth-1 Laurel will always be one of my all-time favorite characters, but Earth-2 Laurel is being allowed to be everything she could and should have been.
Earth-2 Laurel was allowed a full character arc of growth to become Black Canary, she has the metahuman Canary Cry, she has a costume that is as close to comics as we’ve come so far, she has the sass and attitude, has earned the respect of those around her, and is set to be a major part of this season. Three cheers for the Black Canary!
Let’s hope Arrow keeps it up with the fantastic material for Laurel Lance, and fingers crossed that the pilot for the proposed spinoff Green Arrow and the Canaries starring Katie Cassidy Rodgers along with Kat McNamara and Juliana Harkavy will get picked up for a full season order!
What do you think of Laurel Lance’s arc so far? Have you enjoyed the Laurel from Earth-2 or do you still miss the Laurel of Earth-1? Let us know!
Arrow is currently in its final season with new episodes airing at 9 p.m. EST on the CW.