Previously on Arrow, ‘Beacon of Hope’
After half a season of wondering, we finally know who the Arrow writers have decided to kill off (for real this time!) and in a move that will have shocked one, maybe two people, they chose the perpetually underutilized Laurel Lance. Yay. I for one can’t wait to explore Oliver’s manpain over the death of an ex-girlfriend and Detective Lance’s sadness over losing a daughter. Those sure aren’t storylines that we’ve seen before! As they have yet to create a sarcasm font, let me emphasize just how irritated I am by this development.
Now, let’s talk execution:
Cliché number 1: The new mayor (aka Mrs. Darhk) asks Laurel to become the new District Attorney. Because of how frequently DAs get murdered the new job comes with round-the-clock security, which will, alas, bring an end to Laurel’s night job. After making the decision to retire, Laurel decides to go out on one last mission, at which point every single person watching knew that she was about to die.
Cliché number 2: The doctors announced Laurel was absolutely A-OK, giving her just enough time to tell everyone how much she loves them before the doctors were running back in to give the suddenly-not-okay vigilante some ineffective CPR. Classic.
Cliché number 3: We got to see the most out of the blue death bed love confession in the history of television, when after years of being completely over him, Laurel told Oliver that he was the love of her life. Tommy who? Although really, what was I expecting? The writers made her life revolve around Oliver, why wouldn’t they make her death too? She also tells him that she carries around the picture of her that Oliver had kept with him on the island (and Hong Kong, and possibly Russia if I’m correctly interpreting the hints in the flashbacks this week), which is pretty weird if you think about it. Who carries around a picture of them?
Other irritating developments
Oliver thinks that Diggle Jr. is up to no good, but Diggle insists that he is on their side. He then catches Oliver torturing his brother and gives him a verbal smackdown that deserves to be preserved in its full glory:
“Just because Felicity left you I’m supposed to believe that all men are incapable of redemption? Not all men are like you, Oliver, some of us change, some of us grow, some of us evolve. You are stuck man, stuck in your self pity and your self righteousness, and THAT is why Felicity left you.”
Bam! Unfortunately, all of that truth that Diggle spat at Oliver is made void at the end of the episode when it turns out that Diggle Jr. WAS actually working for Darhk all along. Oliver was right, Diggle was wrong, and torture was justified! Yay.
Because of that betrayal, Darhk once again has access to his magic and makes short work of breaking himself and an army of prisoners out of jail, bringing us right back to square one.
Quote of the week
Diggle Jr.’s description of Merlyn is spot on: “Some guy with perfect teeth and a missing hand.”
For an episode with the death of a main character who has been with the show since day one, I expected to care a whole lot more. I know that Laurel is a pretty polarizing character (in part due to bad writing, in part due to an uneven performance from Katie Cassidy, and in part due to the misogyny that always seems to rear its ugly head whenever a female character is seen to get in the way of a popular ship), but she deserved more than such an underwhelming death. She deserved a death that was about her and her story, not about how it affects the men in her life. She deserved better.