Arrow: The Death of Laurel Lance

On Wednesday night, viewers of Arrow finally learned who is in the grave. And it’s really stupid.

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At the beginning of this season of Arrow, we flashed forward six months to see Oliver Queen and Barry Allen standing by a grave. It became clear that the writers intended to kill off a major character. Practically everyone was a suspect and every fan had their own crazy theory.

A couple weeks ago, rumors started to spread that Laurel Lance, the Black Canary, would be the one in the grave. Several people, including myself, refused to believe it due to the utter stupidity of the idea. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Laurel Lance was brutally murdered on the latest episode of Arrow. This is not a review of the episode but an opinion article on the decision to kill Black Canary. There are several reasons why I believe this is terrible so I will try to be as clear and fair as possible without ranting. Here are the reasons I think killing Black Canary is awful.

  1. The way she dies is pathetic. When Deadshot, a villain, died, he had a heroic sacrifice that was big and important. Laurel is stabbed by a lame Teen Titans villain from the late 90s that no one remembers or cares about. It’s not heroic or tragic; it’s mean-spirited and lame.
  2. There is no way that arrow killed her. Damien Darhk stabbed Laurel with an arrow. Arrows are deadly due to the speed that results from shooting them out of a bow. Poking someone, who is wearing kevlar, with the tip is going to do a lot of damage but it won’t necessarily be lethal. And, we have seen almost every character survive worse wounds than this. Malcolm survived when Oliver stabbed him with an arrow. Oliver survived when Ra’s Al Ghul ran a sword through his naked chest and kicked him off a mountain. Diggle survived when he was shot with a poison bullet. Felicity survived being shot multiple times followed by a car wreck. Laurel dies for no reason. The doctors save her and she dies anyway.
  3. There are a million ways to save her. Oliver could have used his potion from season one that saved Diggle. He could have called Katana who saved him or Constantine. Barry can time travel; he just did it to learn running tips. He absolutely would do it to save a friend. Sara can time travel. According to Rip, he is going to put the team exactly where he got them from in January 2016. Sara’s first move would be to find a way to save Laurel before Darhk killed her. And that’s just a few ways they could save her. How can I take this death seriously?
  4. Laurel dies to promote Olicity. The only reason she doesn’t die immediately is so that she can have a nice chat with Oliver before dying for no reason. And what they do talk about? Maybe Laurel asks Oliver to bring Sara home and help her with her demons? Maybe she asks Oliver to protect Captain Lance or stop Lance from crossing the line and killing Darhk? Nope. She talks to Oliver about Felicity. She tells him that he belongs with Felicity and that he should fight for her. This is a major problem on Arrow lately. There are more important things going on than Oliver’s dating life but his relationship with Felicity has to take center stage in every single situation.
  5. It’s a sad attempt to appear relevant. When asked about the death, Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle said that it was an attempt to prove that death is real in this show. According to them, these are vigilantes and there is an inherent danger in that. Now, that is a good point. However, consistency is key. When Rachel Dawes dies in The Dark Knight, it’s brutal but it fits the tone of the film. Arrow has not been dark or even a show to take seriously since its second season. This is not a gritty crime drama. It’s a “dumb-fun” comic book show without any real substance. Guggenheim cannot actually expect me to watch a show this silly that lacks any logic and expect me to be seriously invested emotionally. The impression I have been getting from Arrow for a while is insecurity. With Daredevil and Jessica Jones, comic book shows with actual grit and captivating darkness have taken over and garnered a lot of respect and love. Next to these shows, Arrow looks like Teen Titans Go!. Arrow has been desperate to prove that it is just as dark and cool as the Netflix shows lately. However, Guggenheim does not understand what makes those shows work. It’s not because of the brutal violence or the nighttime setting. It’s everything else. The story lines feature actual human psychology that emotionally resonates with people. We feel bad and can relate to Jessica Jones. The tones of both shows are consistent. The violence supports the already dark story lines and characters. On Arrow, the episode where Laurel dies is preceded by an episode in which the team fights robot bees. Guggenheim does not understand human emotion or tone. He writes a dumb show that operates with no logic or humanity and shows random acts of brutal violence in a pathetic attempt to be taken seriously.
  6. It makes a major aspect of the show completely irrelevant. Laurel was not a well written character in season two. In fact, she was probably the worst character. But the writers stuck to their guns and had a multi-season arc in which Laurel was torn apart and built herself back up to be the Black Canary. And it was all pointless. It led to nothing; they just kill her. Why did we spend so much time on making her Black Canary if it was only going to end in death?
  7. This is the Black Canary. She is one of the best comic book characters ever created and is an essential part of the Green Arrow mythology. And what is Guggenheim’s reasoning? It’s an adaption so they can do whatever they want. I hate this excuse because it makes no sense. If you don’t want to write Green Arrow, don’t write Green Arrow. Create your own show with your own characters and do whatever you want there. And don’t get me wrong, I am fine with change. It is not always a bad thing but it’s also not always a good thing. Like with many elements of the show, it’s being different for the sake of it. If you are going to change something in an adaption, it needs to be better or there was absolutely no point at all. For example, John Diggle and Sara Lance are wonderful expansions of the mythology that, in my opinion, enhanced the material. The changes in Laurel that started in season two in her life and death have done nothing but hinder the show. When she is Black Canary, it’s a blast and a great asset. Laurel and Thea were the only likeable characters this season and now Green Arrow’s baby sister is carrying the entire show on her own. The other argument, from the ever condescending Guggenheim, is that people’s ship of choice should not affect the show. I’ll let the irony of that statement slide, but that’s not why people are upset. If Oliver ended up with Felicity, I wouldn’t be upset. I don’t like that relationship but I completely understand that most fans love it. That change makes sense and is acceptable given the context of the show’s success. People didn’t resonate with the chemistry between Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy and that’s okay. The problem is that a legacy comic book character was brutally and unnecessarily murdered.

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There’s a lot more wrong with the death but those are main points. It’s brutal and mean-spirited in an attempt to retain the false notion that the show is dark while pandering to Olicity fans. While Arrow has been pretty bad for a while, this is the first time that I have actually felt insulted. Guggenheim has no respect for his audience’s intelligence and watching this episode felt like I was being spit on for an hour. Like a lot of Arrow fans, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I will not be watching the show anymore. I want to support it because Green Arrow is my favorite comic book character and I want the property to succeed but the writers simply do not care anymore and neither should anyone else at this point.

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Sean Blumenshine

I am currently a senior at Wichita State University studying communications. I started reading comics in 2013 because of how much I loved Man of Steel and season one of Arrow. My favorite hero is the Green Arrow and my favorite villain is the Joker.
  • Also, going into a season without knowing who they will kill and then killing LL/BC for a ‘pop’, doesn’t speak much for thier skills as show runners. But hey, stay classy Marc Guggenheim. You stay classy.

  • betapi1674

    Way to spoil this for everyone who has not yet seen the episode but subscribes to articles from this site. I have seen many other articles about the episode that nicely left the name of who dies out of the title. Really not cool at all.

  • Val

    Zuray.a : Totally agree with you and with who wrote this article. It’s exactly what I think as a loyal viewer of this show. Now it is a waste of time.

  • computermaximus

    To everyone who hated the episode, stop watching! Somebody had to die. Laurel had a target on her back since the episode when Darhk told Capt. Lance if he screwed him he world kill is “good” daughter. I agree the writers were dumb, she should have died on the operating table or on the way to the hospital. Her conversation with Oliver was unneeded and dumb. I hate the “Olicity” thing too. Felicity is a better character as a techie bad ass that is part of team Arrow, not as Oliver’s love interest but let remember what is the CW’s demographic.

    • Eobard Thawne

      You know the show’s gone to crap when the only response to very well thought out and valid criticism is “stop watching!”

    • Oliver Queen

      She shouldn’t have died period, she’s friggin Black Canary, THE most important character to the story mythos besides Green Arrow himself.

  • RCM

    1. The way she died was pathetic, but she’s always been a pathetic character on this show. I actually liked that a character that’s never worked on the series went out with such a whimper. Just seems right some how.

    2. I still feel like there’s some information they haven’t revealed yet about how she died. Ether way, having a lame death is for a lame character still fine. Extension of number one.

    3. It’s entirely possible Laurel asked Oliver to not to save her. There is still some mystery about what actually happened.

    4. Laurel does not die to promote Olicity. Laurel dies because the writers don’t like the character and have never been able to make her work on this show. Her bringing up Oliver’s love life is her and the writers way of bringing closure to the two characters turbulent romantic history. As I understand it this was actually Katie Cassidy’s idea. She’s always maintained that Oliver was Laurel’s soulmate and wanted that acknowledged while simultaneously having the character make peace with the fact that he’s moved on.

    5. Pure conjecture for which you have zero proof. Berlanti TV has never tried to pass itself off as prestige drama the same way the Netflix series do. His shows are all fairly self-aware melodramas. The death, first and foremost, was about getting rid of a deadweight character that the writers were tired of trying to make work. It’s also about reaffirming that people can die in this franchise despite its well earned reputation for easy reversal of consequences. Two birds one stone.

    6. The Black Canary story in season three is one of the most absolutely awful origin stories ever given to a superhero. Yes, they stuck to their guns, and when they realized it still didn’t work, they chose to dispose of the character and, I assume, focus more on the characters and dynamics that made the show work in the first two seasons. In other words, they finally fixed a series long mistake.

    7. From the beginning this show has presented itself as interpretation more than adaptation. This, by the way, is also very obviously true of Flash and Legends, both of which take major liberties with the characters and mythology. This series took a DC character that has never been particularly popular or important and reimagined him to try and create a new and invested fanbase. Right from the first episode it made major changes to the characters, their backgrounds, and their motivations. For the most part, it worked, and the series managed to breath new life into a character that had never achieved mainstream fame or primacy in popular culture. One change, however, didn’t work at all. The radical reimagining of Dinah “laurel” Lance has been an absolute disaster from beginning to end. Her lame backstory, lack of relevance in the main plot, beyond stupid origin story, and entirely unconvincing turn as Black Canary was simply embarrassing for a long time fan of the character like myself. Katie Cassidy’s fraught, charmless, and stiff acting only made worse. She’s like a black hole of charisma on this show. Don’t even get me started on how she looks in the fight scenes. Calling her the best thing about the series feels like something that can’t be said or heard without choking. So, the producers chose to cut their losses and instead focus on the elements that work. Fair game in my opinion.

    • Chris Workman

      You’re right. The writers have never been able to make Laurel work. But guess what? They’re WRITERS! It was their job to make such an iconic character from the comic book interesting and someone for whom the audience cared. That they couldn’t do it says more about them than it does the character or the actress who played her. In any other line of work, writing that bad would get the writers fired. That should have happened here a long time ago. We would have had a much better series as a result.

      • RCM

        For writers of a network drama, being fired or not is entirely dependent on whether it manages to create and retain an audience. Arrow created an audience for a traditionally unpopular character that was seen as successful enough to spin off two other shows from it. Arrow has remained one of the most consistently well rated scripted dramas on network television. It’s ratings this season have achieved rough parity with last season which were generally higher than the season before. This episode had basic parity with its equivalent episode last year. Even Flash, a higher rated drama week for week, has shown a greater decline this season compared to last season. No one at the studio likely ever considered creating a TV audience for a Green Arrow series an easy task, that fact that they did it is largely why they’ll probably remain in the good graces of their bosses. They messed up on one character, Black Canary, whom the show isn’t even about; no one has ever fired a writing team for getting one supporting character wrong, no matter how “iconic” you imagine her being. Especially when so much of the mistake has to do with a miscast actress. They really should have cut their losses with her years ago, but better late than never.

        • Chris Workman

          This show wasn’t created in a vacuum. The creators were able to do it because SMALLVILLE established a television audience for the character. As for Laurel, she wasn’t miscast; she was poorly written. There’s a big difference.

          • RCM

            There’s no proof Smallville helped build an audience for Arrow. Hell, I avoided the show because I though it was a spin off of Smallville when it first came out. I know I’m not the only one.

            I’ll never understand how Cassidy has obtained this fanatical following of defenders. Yes the writing was bad, but she was horrific. Fraught, charmless, stiff, a black hole of charisma, I’ve said this all before and it all remains true. Hopefully she’ll be able to move on after the horrible reception to her take on this character.

          • Chris Workman

            And I’ll never understand how anyone could see Cassidy as anything less than a terrific actress. Hopefully she’ll be able to move on after the horrible reception to the terrible writing of her character. She and Black Canary deserved so much better.

          • Oliver Queen

            First off, Arrow was a spin-off of Smallville in a way. Justin Hartley’s portrayal of GA is what made the character known to the world and how they were able to get the project green lit.

            Second, you’re an idiot. Katie Cassidy is a fantastic actress and doesn’t deserve the bullshit she gets from you close minded morons.

            Lastly, regardless of what you think, killing her has effectively killed the show. Take a stroll online if you dont believe me.

            #NoLaurelNoArrow

          • RCM

            First off, Smallville wasn’t popular enough to make anything “known to the world”. If they wanted to make a spin-off of Smallville they would have.

            Katie Cassidy doesn’t deserve anything as far I can see, certainly not an acting career. But yeah, I’m sure any day now casting directors will look through her resume of bland side characters who die in bad movies followed up by her repellent turn as Laurel Lance and start flooding her inbox with job offers. I mean, she got booted off the leading lady role of a CW series, clearly that has to indicate greatness in her future.

            Yes, you definitely seem like someone who would let a brainless mob on the internet decide your opinions for you. While she’s waiting for that brilliant career future to take form at least Cassidy can take heart that she has an online hate group posing as a fanbase armed with an idiotic hashtag. Small victories, I guess.

          • Oliver Queen

            WOW, you are one of the stupidest people I’ve ever come across. Smallville wasn’t popular? Not only was it THE most popular series based on a comic book at the time, but it ran for 10 years and hardly ever dropped in ratings. So nice try there jack ass. Considering that less that 10% of all TV shows in history make it to 10+ seasons, oh yea it was a big failure lol.

            More people are angry about Laurel’s death than not but of course they’re the “brainless” ones? Do you even hear yourself or proof read what you type? You just troll around spouting random non sense to feel less pathetic in your life is that it? Maybe there’s a random chance that someone will agree with your whacked view on things you so clearly don’t understand.

            People like you make me laugh, the sad pathetic excuse for trolls who present opinion and call it fact. Where-as I have actual facts to back up everything that I’ve said. But no please, continue being the low end of the gene pool, the world always needs janitors and trash men lmao.

          • RCM

            Running for 10 years on the WB/CW isn’t that huge of a deal. It wouldn’t of lasted that long on any other network. It produced exactly zero spin-offs. I didn’t call it a failure, I said it wasn’t popular enough to introduce anything to the world. Simple fact, it was a cult show, there’s nothing more to it.

            For someone to claim they have facts you’ve offered zero proof for anything you’ve said. So far all you’ve done is throw an angry tantrum. Yes, you’re not the only one throwing tantrums on the internet right now, I assure you, this isn’t proof of anything.

            Your capacity for petty ad hominem and general inclination to juvenile ranting doesn’t bode well for your basic reasoning skills. I’m no troll, just a fan of Black Canary, stating a simple case that losing an awful TV version of the character is no loss, but actually a gain.

          • Oliver Queen

            You’ve missed the entire original repliers point. Arrow IS a spin-off of Smallville. Has been since day one. The crew took a vote for which Smallville character we wanted to see get their own show, Green Arrow won by a landslide. BAM they made ARROW.

            Only 2 CW/WB shows have ever reached 10 seasons ever, so yea HUGE deal.

            Wishing for or being happy that Canary died makes you the exact opposite of a fan. So either you’re a complete moron, or you’re a troll. I’ll even let you choose

          • RCM

            You missed the point of the original replier because not once did he claim that Arrow was a spin-off of Smallville. He claimed, without any evidence, that Smallville created an audience for Arrow. ‘Berlanti’s TV universe is not connected to Smallvile at all. Your confusion is starting to make you hysterical, or delusional, or both.

            Not when it’s a network famous for low ratings. The CW renewed Reign this year for a fourth season. Do you have any idea what kind of ratings Reign gets?

            Your insults become more feeble and half-witted by the post. Being an apologist for a shit interpretation of a character doesn’t make you a fan, it just means you have no standards. Keep having no standards and you’ll keep being fed shit, I’m sure you’re use to it by now.

          • Marcus Cole

            So you claim that Smallville had nothing to do with Arrow being made? Even though it was all over the net and stuff around the end of Smallville? The show runners took a fan vote for the spin-off and Green Arrow was the winner. Smallville ended in 2011 and Arrow began in 2012 created by the exact same team. Hmmmmmm

            Arrow and it’s subsequent spin-offs are all a direct result of Smallville’s insane popularity. Your opinion does not trump facts there spanky, no matter how much you wish it to. A 2 second Google search would’ve shown you all of this, yet you choose to be ignorant and live in your own “special little bubble”.

            If somebody tells you that “the sky is blue” or “the grass is green”, do they really NEED to prove it to you? Are you that lazy that you can’t do your own research like many others have.

            Facts are facts…

          • Oliver Queen

            Ignore him mate. Like I said earlier, either he’s a compete moron or he’s a troll. Either way, he’s not worth it.

          • RCM

            Talking to yourself could been seen as proof of insanity. Either that, or you guys really are part of some kind of hive mind.

          • RCM

            You’re obviously the same person with two accounts. Anyone who looks through your comment history can tell that. You should make one or both of your accounts private and you can fool more people.

            But I digress…
            http://screenrant.com/green-arrow-tv-show-cw-smallville-aco-147066/

          • Marcus Cole

            WTF are you talking about? People agree, WITH facts I might add, so they must be the same person??? You really are a special kind of stupid.

            Are you THAT diluted that you simply can not fathom that you’re wrong? Even when proven wrong by multiple people…

          • RCM

            Mhmm…
            Glad you took my advise. Adding the profile picture was also a nice touch.

          • Oliver Queen

            LMAO I tried to warn you. Some people man.

          • Ugonna Wosu

            You’ll understand why ppl don’t share your opinion? Too bad.

    • Lman146

      I agree with the majority of what you said. I personally think this show went to crap a long time ago. Season 2 was the last one that had me on the edge of my seat.

      In my opinion, Laurel was much better as just Laurel Lance with the courtroom scenes. Her transition to BC wasn’t believable at all. And I don’t ship anyone with Oliver, but Laurel definitely had more on screen chemistry with her.

  • Multiverse

    The real story, great article

    I hope DC comics start taking control of this disgraceful adaptation of Green Arrow

  • Chris Workman

    Marc Guggenheim says he doesn’t care what relationship fans are invested in, but that’s clearly a lie: he and his writers have done nothing but cater to Olicity fans since they first made themselves known. He also pointedly says he doesn’t care what comic book fans think since this is his show and he’s running it the way he wants. Not a smart move, since his show is watched by a very small percentage of people, and most of them are comic fans. Not that I entirely believe him; not caring about fans is a way to lose ratings, and losing ratings means cancellation, and cancellation means losing money for your company. Also, it should be noted that the ratings for this episode were among the worst in the series’ history (for a first-run episode), and a lot of people who watched it are now saying they won’t be returning. I have a feeling Guggenheim and the rest of the folks at the production company had no idea just what a can of worms they were opening. Let’s hope this stupid move gets some of them fired and replaced.

  • Rocío

    Honestly, I consider Guggenheim and company’s “stop watching if you don’t like it” to be a losers’s excuse. I remember that was said repeatedly by the showrunner of The Originals when people started to call out on her plotholes. That show, for example, was called to be one of the best spinoffs but never figured out on the map because their writers never acknowledged their mistakes.

    So, is closing yourself to the truth. Arrow Season 4 has been pathetic. The storyline about Oliver’s child came straight from my telenovela from 4 PM. Then disbanding The League of Assasins (the only thing that seemed to spice things up a bit when everyone was asleep) in one episode. Cupid and Olicity mix was really the worst Arrow has ever produced and now, killing Dinah Laurel Lance.

    Don’t make mistake. I never was into Lauriver. I simply loved Laurel since day one and enjoyed her journey very much. Laurel is an example of a modern woman that does not waits for a man to come into her rescue. She’s not a mary sue either. She’s a woman that faced her demons and became the best version of herself. That’s what we should be teaching to our women today.

    The greatest mistake of Arrow was just that: telling people the opposite.

    • RCM

      The best version of herself was a character who was selfish, completely bereft of wit or personality, and reckless to the point of criminally irresponsible. Once she put on that ridiculous costume she became a mockery of comic super heroines throughout fiction. The revisionism people are trying to spread with this character is ridiculous. Modern woman deserve better. And Black Canary deserved way better.

      • Ugonna Wosu

        No, a strong, perseverance, heroic, caring woman, who overcame her pain and addictions and grief to save her city. That’s her best version.

  • mbradleyc

    In my mind, Caity Lotz is by far the better Black Canary. I don’t understand the reasoning behind making her NOT Dinah Lance and coming up with Laurel as a name to begin with. So that was all effed up.

    Black Canary lives forever. You cannot kill her.

    White Canary should disappear from the Arrowverse. Lotz should become the Dinah Lance/Black Canary of Earth 2 and move to Earth 1 to set things the way they should be. Felicity can move to Legends of Tomorrow. She can become Atom’s squeeze. Until Jean Loring shows up anyway.

    There. I fixed it for you.

    • Giannis Stasinopoulos

      Sara can;t be a better Black Canary because she is not a Black Canary and never was….

      • mbradleyc

        Yes she was. Did you not watch the first season?

        • Oliver Queen

          Dinah Laurel Lance is the Black Canary, Sara doesn’t even exist in the comics.

    • Ugonna Wosu

      Caity Lotz is a weak actress and Sara has zero personality. Even when Laurel was annoying she had a personality .

  • Oliver Queen

    GREAT article, 100% agree. What these moron writers did was completely stupid and will kill the show. Given the sheer level of rage and uproar this death has caused, I guarantee that if they don’t bring her back, the show wont make it through this next season.