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Arrow – Eleven-Fifty-Nine Review

"Canary Down"

It’s a strange day when Arrow manages to deliver on a character death better than The Walking Dead, but “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” was a tour de force that gave Laurel (and Katie Cassidy) a heck of a send-off.

Arrow spent its first two and a half seasons not really knowing what to do with Laurel, especially once it became clear that Felicity and Oliver were the show’s endgame couple. But in the last season and a half, Laurel has become one of the more interesting characters on the show, turning into a true confidant for Oliver- and often the only person who could get through his thick skull and make him see reason. And that is why I was particularly sad to see her go. The show needs to have a character who can call Oliver on his crap. Diggle doesn’t do it (and Diggle proved this week that he’s not the best judge of character). Thea can try, but Oliver won’t listen to his little sister when he clearly knows better. Felicity is out of the picture for the moment, although she has had some success at getting through to Oliver in the past. But Laurel was the one who could make Ollie realize his mistakes and atone for them before they became real problems. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.

Arrow -- "Code of Silence" -- Image AR414A_0103b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as The Arrow and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

As for Laurel’s actual send-off, she went down fighting, and her death made sense within the season arc. It fit in with Lance’s deal with Darhk and it was a move that will resonate in a big way moving forward. But it also made sense within the show’s series arc. Even though she was Oliver’s sounding board, Laurel didn’t have much going on for her from an overall story perspective. She was stuck in the role of Team Arrow sidekick rather than a hero in her own right. Aside from moving up in the DA’s office, there wasn’t much more the character could do. So, killing her off made sense in the overall arc of the series. Which is a shame, since, while Katie Cassidy was a bit of a liability herself in the show’s early years, she had really come into her own as an actress. Where I tended to dread Laurel scenes in the early years of Arrow, during the last season and a half I often found myself hoping to see Cassidy on screen.

My only complaint about the episode is the same complaint I’ve been making all season: it shouldn’t have taken this long for Team Arrow to decide to kill Darhk. Yes, the show has a 22-episode order, which means season arcs get drawn out way longer than they should be. But how has it taken this long for the story to get to this point? This Genesis project is the slowest super-villain plan of all time. It feels like the show has simply let Darhk spin his wheels for months before he finally decided to kill someone important. He could have killed all of Team Arrow several times over a this point. Yet, he waits until now to strike a fatal blow? Yeah, I’m not buying that one.

Moving forward, I really hope the series explores the impact of Laurel’s death, beyond simply giving Team Arrow a rallying point. This should, rightly, devastate all of them. I want to see Diggle deal with the guilt over failing to believe Oliver regarding Andy. I want to see Lance fall apart (although, I sincerely hope it doesn’t lead to a relapse). And I don’t want Oliver to decide he needs to do things on his own as a result. I hope that Laurel’s death is a catalyst for Oliver to become more open and trusting of those around him. I trust the show’s creative team to handle the fallout as well as they handled this major turning point in the series. And that is something I never thought I would say.

Arrow - Episode 4.18 - Eleven-Fifty-Nine

Final Thoughts:

— I’m thrilled the writers have decided Merlyn is full-out evil now. He’s a much more interesting character when he’s on the opposite side of Team Arrow. I also really like that he isn’t afraid to attack Thea now. It adds some interesting stakes to the show that haven’t been there for a while.

— How heartbreaking was Paul Blackthorne in the moment Captain Lance realized Laurel was gone? It killed me.

— I’m not usually a fan of a character getting a death speech, but I’ll give them a pass on Laurel’s. If it makes Oliver get over himself and become a better person as a result, I’m all for it.

— While Laurel’s death had been spoiled online this week, it was pretty clear she was a goner as soon as she mentioned she was suiting up as the Canary “one last time.”

— For a superhero show, Arrow had one of the best line-ups of female characters on television. While it still has a number of great characters in its orbit, the loss of Laurel will certainly be a big blow.

 

Rating
9.0
Pros
  • Great work by Katie Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne
  • Writers delivered on a major death
  • Story made sense in the series and season arcs
Cons
  • Took Darhk this long to kill someone on Team Arrow

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Comments

  • Irish Jim

    I have only watched the last half of the episode so far. I though it was very well done. I suppose it makes sense within the context of where the story has gone with Felicity and Oliver, but I really dislike some of the things Warner Bothers is doing in its shows regarding the overall development of DC characters. They have killed 2 Justice League members (Hawkman & Black Canary) before the group even forms in this reality.
    I though that Laurel and Oliver had their best chemistry of the show over the last several shows, to the point that I started thinking that Laurel and Oliver might get back together after Felicity’s break up with Oliver. Black Canary and Oliver end up together in the comics, so it would make sense in the show. I really like Felicity, but I am not sure I like her with Oliver.
    Everyone beats up Oliver over not telling Felicity about his son. It wasn’t lying, it was not telling her something right away. It was stupid of Oliver and he should have known that he would eventually have to do it, but it wasn’t lying to her.
    In the Supergirl – Flash crossover they made it clear that Superman doesn’t exist in the GA/Flash earth, so “Earth 1” in these shows isn’t Earth 1 in the Justice League comics. Earth 2 probably isn’t the Earth 2 from those comics either as despite having Jay Garrick as the Flash (the guy in the mask in Zoom’s jail), they don’t have any other Justice Society members, which I consider to be a big disappointment.
    I don’t like Dahrk with the magical powers fighting GA. Green Arrow is not equipped to fight someone with magical powers. Constantine and Vixen really aren’t the ones to do so either. This is where if you have a Justice League, you call in Dr. Fate or Zantana. I know they are not going to do that, although both showed up on Smallville.
    I am going to miss Laurel. She was turning into an interesting character just when they decided to get rid of her.
    Captain Lance has had both Daughters killed although one resurrected and is travelling through time. That is a lot to do to one character, although Oliver has had both parents die in front of him. Not a feel good show overall.

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeaniusIsMe on Twitter.

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