The emotional hour picks up right where the last left us, in the hospital with Olive and Quentin following the death of Laurel, with everyone struggling to comprehend the fact that they just lost one of their own. Of course, belief that Laurel is really and truly gone is not helped by the fact that someone has stolen her canary cry device and is running around town pretending to be the Black Canary, extracting revenge for reasons unknown. The Canary sighting kindles hope in Captain Lance (as they realize that Cisco keyed the Canary Cry to Laurel alone, meaning no one else should be able to use it), who believes that if Sara could repeatedly die and come back, then why not Laurel, as he states, they have all seen stranger things. Unfortunately, that hope is partially dashed as Oliver and Quentin go to visit the morgue, and find Laurel’s body right where it should be. Following Quentin’s exit, the doctor who treated Laurel speaks with Oliver, and after assuring him that their superhero secret identities will remain safe due to doctor/patient confidentiality, she tells Oliver that they do have some “frequent flyers” in the ER, one of whom might be responsible for the stolen tech.
Quentin meanwhile spends the episode in denial, as even after finding out that the Black Canary running around is not Laurel reborn, he still believes they can bring Laurel back from the dead. He contacts Nyssa and she arrives in Star City to comfort her friend (and lover’s) father, only to find Captain Lance packing a bag with plans to bring Laurel to Nanda Parbat so she can be revived in the Lazarus Pit. Nyssa sadly tells Lance that while she would do anything to help her friend, she destroyed the Lazarus Pit months ago, and it cannot be used to save Laurel. Quentin does not entirely believe that there is nothing else to do though, and sets out on a quest to find some remnant of the Lazarus Pit that he can use to save Laurel. Nyssa meanwhile, informs Oliver of Quentin’s denial and passionate pursuit of a way to bring Laurel back from the dead, and Oliver sets out to set Lance straight. He finds the man about to break into an old League of Assassins facility, hoping to find a clue there of another Lazarus Pit, when he is stopped by Oliver, who makes him see that there is nothing they can do for Laurel. Lance gets angry and says Oliver does not understand as he has never lost a child, but Oliver points out that he has lost both parents, and Laurel, reminding Quentin that they both lost someone they love. Captain Lance finally breaks down, as realization dawns that he lost his rock, his emotional support, and he will not be getting her back.
Team Arrow does not fair much better than Captain Lance in the grieving department, as both Felicity and Diggle blame themselves for Laurel’s death. Dig clearly blames himself for trusting Andy instead of Oliver, and allowing his brother to betray them in the prison. And Felicity blames herself for abandoning the team, wondering if there was something she could have done to save the day had she not left the Quiver Crew over her break-up with Oliver. Things are made worse when Diggle confides in Felicity, and she allows him to blame himself and does not offer him words of comfort because blaming John was easier than blaming herself. Her guilt for this action remains for most of the episode while John’s guilt manifests in him suiting up in full Spartan armor and holding up the limo of Ruve Adams, intending (I think) to kill her as a message for Damien Darhk. Fortunately, Oliver stops him from actually killing the new Mayor of Star City, and Ruve escapes, leaving John still enraged, and looking to Oliver for advice (which is a welcome change from their normal dynamic). Oliver consoles him and tells him not to blame himself, and that they do not know if this still would have happened even if John had trusted Oliver over his brother. As for Felicity, she and Oliver have a conversation where she shares her burden over what happened, and he explains to her that sometimes it is appealing to blame yourself when things are out of your control because it then allows things to make some modicum of sense. She eventually apologizes to John as well, telling him it is not his fault, and then reminding him that he is acting just like Oliver would have in this situation, blaming himself for having a blind spot for family, even joking that Dig is one illegitimate child away from becoming Oliver himself.
As for Oliver, refreshingly he seems to have the most level-headed response to Laurel’s death, acting as the emotional support and counselor for Felicity, Diggle, and Captain Lance, all while trying to remember lessons taught to him by Laurel about not blaming himself, moving forward, and still being the hero he needs to be.
In this week’s (thankfully) Lian Yu-less flashbacks, we see Laurel speaking at Tommy Merlyn’s funeral, taking Oliver’s place because he just could not face that crowd knowing that he was responsible for the death of his friend. In that time of grief, it was Laurel who was there for Oliver, as the two make amends following everything that went down with Tommy and the undertaking, even briefly re-opening their romantic relationship, even though Oliver still has not told her about his secret identity in this period, and knows she would blame him if she knew who he was. In the end though, Oliver’s guilt over Tommy forces him to leave Starling City and head to Lian Yu (which is where Felicity and Diggle find him in the Season 2 opener), basically telling Laurel in a note that while he still has feelings for her, he needs time to himself to think and sort through everything.
In the main story of the evening, Alex and Thea go out for a “date,” with Thea thanking Alex for speaking to the press on their behalf about what happened to Laurel (the story being that she was in Blackgate Prison for a deposition when the riots broke out and was killed there by Darhk’s forces). While they are talking, the Black Canary imposter attacks Alex, berating him for working for “them” until Thea drives her away. She alerts Oliver about the false Canary’s location and he tracks her down, but she manages to hold him at bay because she has amplified the canary cry to much higher decibels, which manage to get past the ear plugs Oliver wore for the occasion. She tells him that he failed this city when he left behind all those people at Reddington, and then flees before the Green Arrow can recover.
Back at the Lair, Oliver reveals that Reddington was the name of the facility where Darhk held the team over the holidays and that when they all fled the facility they left behind all of Darhk’s “volunteers,” who Oliver now realizes were not volunteers at all, just heavily drugged innocents. After a quick computer probe for young women whose parents died at Reddington, they discover a name, Evelyn Crawford Sharp, who seems to be the Canary imposter. Meanwhile, Ruve Adams has a press conference following the attack on Alex (who works for her now) and the Spartan attack on her and her limo, and she says the city is done with vigilantes, and that she is swearing out a warrant for their arrests, starting with the dangerous Black Canary. Team Arrow is pissed because they are all too aware that Ruve and Darhk know that Laurel was the Black Canary, and are out to ruin her legacy even after killing her.
Ruve is set to speak once more on the issue at a banquet happening soon thereafter, and Oliver and company realize that it is the ideal situation for Evelyn to strike at Ruve (and Darhk). So they lay in wait, even as the SCPD waits for them to arrive, and after the pseudo Black Canary arrives, the rest of the team is hard at work stalling the SCPD, while Oliver confronts Evelyn, who is holding Ruve at gunpoint. The Green Arrow manages to talk down Evelyn, reminding her that the real Black Canary would not want her legacy tarnished thusly, and that killing Ruve would not solve anything. Evelyn relents and leaves the banquet, and a very smug Ruve behind, all of which is too little too late in regards to actually saving the image of the Black Canary, who everyone will now remember to be the murdering crazy person Evelyn made her out to be.
Finally, we get to that damn funeral and gravesite we have been seeing all season, and the cast unites to say goodbye to Laurel. Even her mother has arrived, being supported by Quentin, who is having a hard time convincing her that Laurel is really and truly gone. Oliver steps up this time to make the eulogy (which, you will remember, he could not do at Tommy’s funeral), and he speaks about Laurel’s love for the city, and how he loved her as well. And while speaking about her efforts to help people and better everything around her, Oliver reveals that Laurel was the Black Canary (claiming she told him right before she died) and that she fought both day and night to make Star City a better place. The words are enough to help Laurel’s mother accept that her daughter is truly gone, and as we see Evelyn on the fringes of the funeral, perhaps make the young woman abandon her dark quest as well.
Then we finally see the scenes we have been viewing all season in their correct place, as Oliver stands over the grave and is joined by Barry Allen, late as usual. He says Zoom still needs to be dealt with and asks if Oliver needs anything, to which our hero replies that he just wants to be left alone. Barry then speeds away (which is unfortunate timing as over on ‘The Flash,’ Barry does not currently have his speed, which is annoying for continuity), and Oliver heads into the limo where Felicity awaits him, only now we know that she is no longer paralyzed, and no longer in a relationship with Oliver during this moment. They speak on how they need to kill Darhk to end this threat, but Oliver laments that he does not know how or if he can do it. Felicity points out that one of the things she fell in love with was the idea that Oliver always found a way. And she has faith that he will find one now, to ensure that Laurel did not die for nothing.
– How as Evelyn able to use the Canary Cry if it was keyed only to Laurel? Is there a chance she is a Lance and that familial association allowed her to use it? Is she a tech genius who simply hacked the tech? I wish they would have answered this. I am also curious about whether they are going to keep her around in some capacity so they still have a Black Canary on the show
– Doesn’t Damien Darhk have his own form of a Lazarus Pit? Is there a chance they could find and use that to save Laurel? (I know the show runners have said Laurel is not coming back, but there is still hope)
– Will Sara be coming back to Star City (from ‘Legends’) anytime soon to mourn her sister?
– Why doesn’t Team Arrow call Constantine back in to help them deal with Darhk’s magic?
Definitely an emotional hour, and I liked how the show handled things, especially with Oliver being the support for the rest of the team, as he has dealt with the loss of a friend whose death he blames himself for before. It was also interesting to see him counsel his teammates as his words were things we have come to expect Laurel to say over the past season, as she was kind of the cheerleader of the team who helped every with sound advice, and now they have lost that component. Now, as the season end approaches, and that grave mystery is solved, I want to see the team get down to business, and I cannot wait to see how they end up dealing with Darhk and HIVE. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.