Arrow Season 4 Episode 18 Review: Eleven-Fifty-Nine

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The Black Canary is dead.

While the world has been up in arms over the letdown on The Walking Dead Season 6 finale because fans have to wait months to find out who Negan killed with his beloved Lucille, Arrow Season 4 Episode 18 put to rest their own season-long arc of who's in the grave.

It's Laurel Lance.

Andy Diggle couldn't be trusted. Because Oliver and Felicity broke up and Oliver was acting out of sorts as a result, John didn't trust his green brother's instincts about his blood brother. 

Damien Darhk isn't the dumbass viewers were led to believe, he did put the pieces together, and before he was part of a 50-person jail break, he killed Laurel aka Black Canary (OK, arrowed her and she later died) just as he had promised her father he would do if he got the chance should he be betrayed.

Alright. We're all caught up with any necessary details of this installment. 

Unfortunately, for the internet savvy, Laurel's death wasn't a shock. It was leaked on the internet thanks to some poor storyline choices and paparazzi. One of those items can be easily changed. One of them cannot.

A note to all future storytellers. I've been to a lot of funerals. It's unfortunate. But it's the result of having been born into a giant Catholic family. Great aunts and uncles dropping like flies when I was a kid. Not then and not now do I go to the cemetery to see a fully inscribed tombstone for an unexpected death. Just sayin'.

There have been so many articles about this death and Katie Cassidy and how the death of Laurel Lance/Black Canary was chosen and how it, in particular, will make the series "pop." 

That's a beautiful theory, if only Laurel and/or Black Canary had been given a viable story during Arrow Season 4 from which to launch this popping story.

Instead, Laurel  has been a side player, with less known about her character than most others on the series. 

I read something (I think in The Hollywood Reporter) about The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story and why it worked so well. Each and every character was distinguished and pivotal to the story, none of them were blurred into another or diminished in any way, regardless of the part they played in the overall landscape of the trial.

You know immediately for which characters the writers enjoy telling Arrow's stories, and whether they are leads or bit players, you will know those characters better – their history, their aspirations, their suffering and their motivation.

And the characters they do not feel keen to write about seem to sit on the sidelines. Laurel Lance was a casualty of the sidelines.

What's worse is what became of Arrow this season. By setting out the death at the beginning and noting to fans the person in the grave was unknown, it became a dog-eat-dog, free for all between character factions. 

What at first seemed strange and maybe interesting, became painful and hurtful to many. Whether the end result will have the impact that was hoped for or not, only time will tell.

There is one thing I know. This was not anything any actor did or didn't do. This isn't a character against character assassination. It isn't Laurel against Felicity, for example. 

This exchange:

Laurel: I was gonna give up being the Black Canary, but I realized I didn't know how I could because going out there and fighting alongside you guys, that's what makes me feel alive inside. And I love you guys so much.
Felicity: We love you.
Thea: We love you.
Diggle: We love you.

I believe it. I believe Laurel loved all of them and they loved her right back. The Arrow lair is going to take a hit. Diggle is going to be gutted. Oliver will blame himself. Felicity might even try it since she was no longer with the team. The blow back will be terrible. 

Can you even imagine Lance? Two daughters, both in black, both killed? And Laurel, just after he told her she was safer on the streets? Good God. Sure, there are storyline possibilities, but mostly dealing with guilt and grief, which could have been had with any of the characters, really.

It's a shame the writing for Laurel was better in the last few episodes than it has been in two four years. She deserved the opportunity to rise up against the bad blood she faced as the "other" love in Oliver's life. To prove herself in so many ways.

Personally, I never bought her and Oliver as a thing, but I looked forward to her conquering alcoholism and assuming the mantle of Black Canary. Even as that was happening, it was done more off screen than on, bringing more ire than acceptance and the question of whether or not she earned the moniker.

What's done is done. Laurel Lance is dead. I highly doubt Black Canary is gone for good. Whether some other Lance family member comes out of the woodwork to assume the title or another character completely? We'll find out.

How would that sit with Black Canary fans? Is it as simple as retaining the heroine or was Laurel part of the package? Share your thoughts on the tragedy, what lies ahead and what you hope happens to Black Canary.

Most of all, try to hold on to the joy you find while watching Arrow. That's what really counts, right?

If you want to watch Laurel's ascent to Black Canary after Canary's death, you can watch Arrow online right here via TV Fanatic.

Eleven-Fifty-Nine Review

Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (221 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Arrow Season 4 Episode 18 Quotes

Laurel: You think Merlyn played Andy?
Oliver: What if Andy is playing us?

Laurel: I was gonna give up being the Black Canary, but I realized I didn't know how I could because going out there and fighting alongside you guys, that's what makes me feel alive inside. And I love you guys so much.
Felicity: We love you.
Thea: We love you.
Diggle: We love you.