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Rain or shine, Arrow Squad is back with another discussion covering Arrow Season 4 Episode 19 Canary Cry, which originally aired on Wednesday April 27, 2016. Of late, Arrow seems to be delivering black-cloud episodes with heavy emotional scenes and confusing character arcs which defy the showrunners’ promises of a lighter-toned season. While so many consecutive episodes bearing such heavy content can seriously weigh on us, it’s hard to deny the fantastic performances that were brought to use through the arc of Laurel Lance’s death.
Amongst many things that I feel this episode did well, one in particular was demonstrating just how big of a hole there will be with Laurel (and Katie Cassidy’s) departure. She has played a large role in Oliver’s life for a long time, and now to see a spot open on Team Arrow, in the D.A.’s office, and in the heart of Captain Lance… there are some major shoes that need to be filled.
The Fake Out
Book-ending this episode with funerals was a very interesting choice, and one that I’m not unhappy with. There are a few nit-picky things about this episode that don’t relate to the structure of the story, so as far as the sequence of events goes, I am quite happy with the result. Starting with Tommy’s funeral and showing Oliver unable to give the eulogy because of the blame he takes on himself for Tommy’s death was a great precursor to the processing of grief throughout the remainder of the episode. Oliver was immature and idealistic back in season 1; he had a vendetta, not a purpose. Now in light of the death of yet another friend whom he loved dearly, we see how he is very much able to give the eulogy now where he wasn’t before.
When the first funeral was revealed to be Tommy’s, I scratched my head wondering where they were going with this. Was it another opportunity to use Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance before shutting that door forever? While it’s much easier to do one-off flashback episodes, like this one or Diggle’s episode, this one was particularly dangerous because it injected a lot into the story that wasn’t there before. Not necessarily re-writing history, but definitely embellishing the situation in order to deliver a couple key blows: 1) how Laurel got the picture Oliver had with him on the island, and 2) what drove a wedge between Oliver and Laurel between seasons 1 and 2 and, quite possibly, what drove Laurel to such depths in season 2.
The fake-out was warranted, and the flashbacks were well done and well delivered, but I am curious as to why they’re suddenly introducing this concept of the love between Oliver and Laurel now.
One thing I’ve learned over the past three months since the death of my father is that the stages of grief aren’t so much “steps”. It’s not denial then anger. It’s more of a Venn diagram of these various, elusive stages. Some days it’s denial mixed with bargaining… some days it’s anger in the midst of acceptance. Whatever the case, Paul Blackthorne as Captain Lance did this perfectly. He was not ready to give up, in spite of knowing the costs of the Lazarus Pit. He bargained, he cried out, he fought.
The characters on this show have more reasons than most to bargain before merely accepting. The show is saturated with resurrection options, none of which, other than the first one of Oliver surviving on Lian-Yu for five years, have felt remotely satisfying. Well, perhaps Sara turning up alive the first time did. After that… no. As someone who is in the camp of death-not-faked, I was pleased with the overall arc of Captain Lance in this episode to confirm that Laurel truly is dead. He called Nyssa in, he hunted down leads, he explored every possibility until Oliver brought him to see Laurel’s body in the morgue. And then the gig was over, he couldn’t deny the permanence of it anymore.
The Blame Game
What a relief it was to see other characters blame themselves for Laurel’s death, instead of Oliver blaming himself! For once the tables have turned, Oliver’s maturity and endurance has finally enabled him to see the full scope of this terrible situation. The only person to be blamed for Laurel’s untimely death is the man who drove the arrow through her stomach.
But as for other characters struggling to see what Oliver has already come to learn, it’s nice for them to get a wake-up call that it’s not so easy to just not feel responsible for something you can see you played a role in! Hopefully–and I do mean hopefully–both Felicity and Diggle will see that blaming themselves only produces negative reactions (i.e. anger, errors) and will instead embrace the idea that working together and setting aside any single responsibility is the only way to avenge Laurel’s death
Too soon! The hair, the mask, the Canary Cry, the leather, the tool belt… it was all too soon. It would be one thing if Eve had just stolen the sonic device, but she stole Laurel’s full identity. I understand that, to a degree, it needed to be used to give Captain Lance a moment of doubt that his baby girl was dead; but on the whole, the purpose of this character seems like awful timing. If they’re going to keep this actress around to assume the Black Canary’s role, way too soon. If they’re not going to keep her around, then she was way too involved in the hospital scene and the funeral scene.
But, of course, we’re great critics of things we don’t write, aren’t we? I can also see it being on purpose that it was too soon. There was no break between Laurel’s death and the picking-up of the Black Canary suit for Star City to realize the imposter was, indeed, an imposter. But then the question remains as to how this character gives us clues as to what Mr and Mrs Darhk have going on!
Eve attacks Alex while he’s on a date with Thea. Why? As she’s beating on him she accuses him of working for them. Maybe he’s the most visible, being Mrs Adams’ chief of staff, but he’s certainly not the only one working for her. And why bother attacking him? Why attack a politician right as he’s about to tell Thea how he got into the game in the first place? Is he a plant? Does he know more than he’s saying? Hmm.
Season 4 Episode 20 “Genesis”
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