ARROW Review: The Team Says Goodbye to Laurel in “Canary Cry”
By Justin Carter
The previous episode of Arrow wasn’t exactly the best of the season. Killing off Laurel is dicey for plenty of reasons, but given that this show and universe treat death like a minor inconvenience, there were folks understandably skeptical about this being the real thing for Katie Cassidy’s character and this being a classic Arrow fakeout.
Those people and their false hopes are encapsulated perfectly by Paul Blackthorne this week. The past two years have been rough for Quentin, having to bury his two daughters three times, all while having a heart condition that could kill him at any stressful moment. Blackthorne’s always been good at showing Quentin when he’s at his most desperate and struggling to find some semblance of normalcy in his life, and the same thing holds true here. Having dealt with one dead daughter, he naturally thinks that Laurel’s playing the long con when Black Canary is sighted taking down some thugs not too long after Laurel’s death. Even seeing her body in the morgue doesn’t stop him from trying to find a workaround to bring her back, and it feels so real.
I said a few months back that I wished The Flash didn’t have a villain of the week, and the same holds true here for Arrow. Whether or not you liked Katie Cassidy as Laurel, her dying is a still a Really Big Deal, and a follow up episode should focus on how everyone’s coping with this. That’s what we get here, sort of, but mainly through the eyes of the guys. In some way it’s fitting, given the ties her death had to each of the three men, but not really exploring how Thea or Felicity take this with the same depth brings her death over into fridging territory.
You’d think that the appearance of Nyssa would make for some interesting moments or unlearned information about their friendship during Sara’s death, but all we really get here about the two women is “Laurel helped me when I was sad.” Oliver spends most of his time bouncing back between Quentin and Diggle trying to talk them out of doing something stupid, with John deciding to hunt down Ruvé Adams for information on his brother. There’s no other way to describe his feelings other than burning rage, and even if putting a gun to Adams’ face blew up in his face spectacularly, his reaction is totally logical and David Ramsey sells the hell out of that rage.
As for that new Black Canary? For one thing, it’s way too easy to tell who it is; she shows up at the hospital in the beginning of the episode and the camera lingers too long on her for anything other than foreshadowing. I’m not entirely sure her backstory of being one of Damien Darhk’s kidnapped victims from back in December works, if only because I don’t remember if they ever showed any particular prisoners to set this up. It’s also a bit weird how she was able to rewire a collar tuned to Laurel’s vocal chords to work with her own, but Evelyn Sharp works alright as a plot device. She shows up at just the wrong time to possibly tarnish Laurel’s legacy during her one-woman act of vengeance, then backs off after Ollie gives her a speech. It’s best not to think about how anything else works, even if the show sort of calls attention to this.
If there’s one downside to an otherwise really good episode, it’s the flashbacks. They do their job decently in giving some depth to Laurel and Oliver’s relationship after all the craziness in season one, but it sort of feels like the right flashbacks at the wrong time. This probably would’ve worked better in the episode where she died, honestly; while the show is still committed to the idea of him and Felicity, Laurel saying that she’s always loved him would’ve made a lot more sense if given some actual context and meaning behind it. It wouldn’t have entirely made her statement about still loving the man who cheated on her with multiple women less bizarre, but helped make a case for why.
“Canary Cry” is a very good episode of Arrow, even if it comes from a plot move that’s still infuriating. If you swore off the show after the last one, I don’t really blame you, but I’d say you should check this one out anyway. It gives good closure to Laurel’s arc and does her justice by having Oliver reveal her double life as the Black Canary, forever immortalizing her as a hero in the eyes of Star City.
- Thea’s still dating Ollie’s ex-campaign manager, who became a political operative for reasons. Reasons that’ll probably get him killed in a few weeks.
- Okay, maybe they should’ve scheduled this week’s Flash for last week, because going from a depowered Barry a day ago to a Barry with his speed again just feels incredibly jarring.
- But really, how does a 16 year old girl tweak a collar she’s never seen up close and personal before to use only hours after the original owner has died?