Well, we finally know who is in the grave. Spoilers ahead for anyone not wanting to know before watching the episode first. Believe me, it is a doozy. The episode is full of twists and turns, and if I had not been expecting Captain Lance to be the one to bite the dust, I might have actually seen the real death coming.
First we have Andy Diggle revealing to his brother that he has been approached by Merlyn on behalf of Darhk, with Andy telling his brother that he believes Darhk is on the outs with HIVE, which is why he is being recruited again. He warns the team of an upcoming missile heist, and while half of the team suits up to go stop the heist, Thea and Laurel stay behind to guard the lair, as they have Darhk’s magical idol stashed away there, and they know Darhk will need to get it back in order to restore his powers. Laurel meanwhile, has a lot on her mind, as the new Mayor of Star City, Ruve Adams (Darhk’s wife) has offered her the role of DA for the city, a position that Laurel had aspired to prior to becoming the Black Canary. Unfortunately, it was offered by Ruve, whom they know they cannot trust, and Laurel wonders if it is merely a ruse to get her off the Darhk trial. Still, she cannot help but consider the opportunity.
As Andy, Spartan and Green Arrow prevent the missile heist, Oliver quickly realizes that the heist job was too easy to stop, and begins to wonder whether it was a diversion, which either means Merlyn is playing Andy, or Andy is playing the team. Back at the Lair, despite the new protections that Diggle put up, Merlyn still manages to make his way inside along with a few of his League of Assassins loyalists, and they battle Laurel and Thea, with Malcolm besting his daughter even as Laurel struggles to hold her own against his men. Merlyn manages to abscond with the idol, which puts the Quiver Crew in a decidedly untenable position. Fortunately, as John quickly tells Andy, Merlyn does not have the whole idol, and they removed a piece of it that John himself hid. Oliver is not happy that Diggle reveals this information to his brother, as Oliver is having his doubts about Andy, but as Laurel tells him, he cannot make any accusations about John’s brother without serious evidence.
Merlyn brings the idol to Darhk, who points out the missing piece, and how it is useless without said piece. However, at this point Darhk does start to take over the prison, as we later see Murmur pushing a “book” cart around concealing the idol, and handing out books with assorted shivs and other sharp weapons within, preparing the prisoners for Darhk’s escape.
After a trip to Darhk’s prison cell to have the guards search for the missing idol, Laurel meets with her dad to talk about the DA position offered to her, and Quentin cannot believe she is even considering going to work in a position offered by Ruve. Furthermore, he points out that if Laurel becomes the DA, her time as the Black Canary would be over, as she could not hold such a public position and maintain her secret identity as a masked vigilante, especially not if she has a security team watching her every move. With that in mind, Laurel begins to sway in the direction of not taking the job, as she truly loves being the Black Canary.
Andy manages to get new intel for the team on Merlyn’s location, which leads them to an abandoned factory (same thing as a an abandoned warehouse, I laughed because it was like they were trying to fool us into thinking they were not going to use the same old schtick). Andy accompanies the team once again, and he and Oliver walk into a trap, with Andy diving in front of an arrow headed for Oliver to save his life, but Oliver still not quite buying the hero act from Andy. Upon returning home, Andy begins snooping around Diggle’s apartment, and when confronted by Oliver in full Green Arrow garb, Andy claims he is looking for bugs as HIVE and Merlyn saw him working with Team Arrow in the factory and could be coming after him and his family. Oliver is not buying it and knows Andy is really looking for the missing piece to the idol, and begins to torture the younger Diggle for information. Unfortunately, John walks in at this point, and orders Oliver to stop what he is doing by gunpoint, not believing that Andy would truly turn against him, and not believing that Oliver would do this.
Diggle and Oliver have it out later, with Diggle pointing out that Oliver was the one that told him to give Andy a second chance, and Oliver claiming that he was wrong, that people do not change, and that is why he is still the same tormented soul who returned from his 5 years on the island to be a vigilante. Diggle does not believe that, however, and says that Oliver’s self-pity and refusal to change is why Felicity left him, a low blow that Laurel quickly consoles Oliver over. Laurel then tells Oliver about the DA position offered to her, and Oliver reminds her that getting that job was her goal before becoming the Canary and that she should take the job and be the hero for the city that does not need the mask. She agrees, and it seems Laurel will be giving up her vigilante ways after all. However, they will need her to suit up one last time, as there is news that Darhk has taken over his prison block, and is holding guards hostage.
Team Arrow heads to the prison to help, with Captain Lance causing a distraction outside by punching a fellow police officer so the team can get inside. As Thea takes on Merlyn in a hallway by herself, the rest of the team confronts Darhk, who manages to grab Andy (why Oliver let Andy come along is beyond me) and hold a gun to his head. As the team lowers their weapons to save Andy, Andy turns and hands Darhk the final piece of the idol (TWIST!) and holds a gun to Oliver. As Darhk puts the last piece in the idol, he is shot by Thea with two arrows, who after having lost her duel with Merlyn, made her way over to help out the rest of her team. Darhk knows he needs to charge the idol to restore his powers and save himself, so he executes a handful of prisoners, and heals himself, then manages to freeze the rest of Team Arrow in place. Gloating now that his power is restored, he reveals that he knows the secret identities of the entire team, including Laurel, who he wants to give a message to her father. He then takes one of Oliver’s arrows and stabs her, twisting the arrow to make sure it counted. Triumphant, Darhk leaves prison, while Oliver rushes Laurel to the hospital.
In full Green Arrow and Black Canary garb, Oliver admits Laurel to the emergency room, where they tell him to leave her, and the rest of the team arrives while Laurel is in surgery, including Felicity. Captain Lance, upon learning that the Black Canary was injured, begs and pleads with the police to let him go for one hour, and they agree to his deal. Following her surgery, a weakened Laurel is visited by the team, who all have heartfelt things to say to her now that they think she is going to be ok. When everyone leaves, Oliver stays behind to watch over her, and they have a moment, where Laurel admits that she knows she is not the love of Oliver’s life, but he is the love of her life. She shows him the picture of her that Oliver kept while on the island, which she now keeps in her wallet, a reminder of what they once had. She then states that she hopes that he can find his way back to Felicity, then asks for Oliver to do her a favor, which we cannot hear. Following that moment (suspiciously) Laurel begins to seize, and the nurses rush in to find out what is going on. The rest of the team enters to watch in horror as they try to resuscitate Laurel, but to no avail. Right before midnight (at 11:59) Laurel dies.
As Oliver, grief-stricken, leaves the room to grieve, he finds Captain Lance approaching, and one look between the men is all it takes, and Lance knows his daughter is dead. In a heartbreaking moment, he collapses to the floor, too shocked and sad to even speak. So we finally know who ends up in that damn grave, and it was not Captain Lance, but rather Laurel, who I honestly thought they would never kill, as she was an integral part of the Green Arrow comics.
In this week’s flashbacks, Oliver and Taiana escape from the tunnels, leaving Reiter behind, and manage to free the other prisoners and arm everyone so they can fight back against Reiter’s men. Unfortunately, they did leave the idol behind in the cave, and Taiana rightfully points out that Reiter will be unstoppable once he finds it. They have a moment where they discuss loved ones, and Taiana and Oliver both promise to find and tell the other’s loved ones what happened should they die on the island, with Oliver’s loved one being Laurel, as he showed Taiana the picture of her he carried around. In order to stop Reiter, they decide to blow up the caves and trap the Baron inside, a plan that goes well until we realize that Reiter has the idol, and has killed a few more of his men to charge himself with power. How exactly he will escape his imprisonment we will have to wait to find out next week.
* So now we know that Laurel is in the grave, so who is it that the team blames for her death? Obvious choice is Darhk, but Merlyn orchestrated the whole thing, and Andy’s betrayal is what gave Darhk the opportunity. I suppose in the finale it is nice that every team member has someone to face off against, with Diggle V Andy, Thea V Merlyn, and Oliver V Darhk.
* I read in an interview that we will not find out what Laurel made Oliver promise to do until Season 5, but I am very curious. Could she have a secret love-child with Oliver he needs to watch over? Doubtful, but I’m open to any and all suggestions.
* Will Felicity rejoin the team now that Laurel has died? Maybe in a “one last time for revenge/ to take down Darhk” capacity?
* How will Diggle deal with what happened? For once, he let family blind him to the truth, and now a team member is dead. How will John take that? How does he react to that kind of grief? I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Definitely enjoyed that they did not go with the obvious choice of killing Captain Lance, but I am very sad to see Laurel (Katie Cassidy) go. I know she was not always a fan favorite, but I enjoyed the arc of her character over these 4 seasons, and how she had finally come into her own once she became the Black Canary. However, I do agree that her death raises the stakes for everyone, and definitely gives the show a lot of momentum going forward. Looking forward to the fallout from what happened in next week’s episode!