Comic book tv shows

Arrow 4×18 Discussion: What a waste…

arrow season 4 episode 18 review discussion laurel

So Arrow season 4 episode 18 happened, and we found out who was in the grave. I think I’m just about done trying to rationalise the decisions of this show, because it honestly makes no sense to me anymore. So let’s discuss Arrow season 4 episode 18!

Spoilers follow.

Let’s just cut to the chase and discuss the big death, Arrow has killed off Laurel. She was killed by Darhk because he wanted revenge on Lance. One of her last conversations was about her approval of Olicity. But don’t worry because the writers have promised that it had nothing to do with that…

When Arrow first started, Laurel’s role was very different. She was the intended end love interest, the show had a major focus between her and Oliver’s relationship. And it was annoying. We had to witness Laurel constantly whine and be overall very frustrating to watch. In season 2 her character didn’t get much better. They had her go through drug abuse problems, which meant that a lot of the interactions we saw from Laurel, was of her snapping at people.

However, in season 3 after the death of Sara, Laurel’s character began to change. She started to begin her journey as Black Canary. It was rushed, that’s for sure. One moment she was falling on her ass, the next she was a full on ninja.

arrow season 4 episode 18 black canary

But then season 4 happened, and once you got over her very quick transformation into Black Canary, you could see the great character growth she’s gone through. No longer was I finding myself annoyed at her very presence, I started to look forward to it. She became a lot closer to the Laurel we know in the comics. Fiesty and fearless, which sometimes got her in trouble, but mostly she was rational and compassionate. Episodes often found Laurel to be a voice of reason, a voice of sincerity when people needed it.

She had to overcome a lot to get there, but she did get there in season 4. But apparently it was too little too late, because the show had now set a course they weren’t willing to get off.

Now let me preface this by saying: I don’t mind changes being made from the comics. In Smallville Oliver didn’t end up with Laurel, he ended up with Chloe, it’s fine. This is a different situation. I know there are a lot of people who have been overreacting to Felicity’s role on the show, and really just come off as bullies online, so I’ll try to remain as calm and rational as possible.

Felicity was great when the show started. She was the quirky lightness, to the otherwise dark and brooding show. When Felicity was introduced the focus of the show was about Oliver and him overcoming his darkness to become a hero, not to avenge his father, but to protect his city. And yes the pair of them had a flirty relationship, but more importantly they had a real friendship, something Oliver wasn’t very good at, especially with women.

After the amazing season that was season 2, things started to go downhill. The writers looked to Tumblr for their writing inspiration, and Felicity’s role began to change. I understand changing the narrative according to fan reactions. Felicity was initially only supposed to be a guest star, but because of the response to her character, she was kept on. That was a great decision, until Arrow stopped being a superhero show with soap opera elements, to a soap opera show with superhero elements.

arrow season 4 episode 18 felicity

And so the entire narrative was now framed around Felicity, what she was up to, how she was feeling, what secrets were being kept from her etc. This hurt the show, because this character who mostly everyone loved, went on to become a very controversial figure, where no joke, intense internet wars were started. Characters and story arcs were being diluted to fit in more Felicity time.

One of those characters was Laurel. She went from being the leading lady into a much smaller supporting role, which was hard to watch because Laurel had finally become an interesting and likable character. Felicity on the other hand went backwards, and went from this interesting and likable character, to being needy and unlikable. This isn’t at fault of the character, this is because the writers wanted to up the soap opera tension between Oliver and Felicity.

So now here we are, now that Laurel is no longer the big love interest, her role in the show was diminished to the point where she has been killed off. We know that she will be appearing on The Flash as her Earth-2 counterpart, so it’ll be interesting to find out whether Katie Cassidy will continue to appear in the Arrow-verse occasionally or not.

arrow season 4 episode 18 spoilers

It’s weird for me to say this after my previous feelings about Laurel, but honestly one of the main things that kept me watching Arrow in season 4 was Laurel. So now this whole situation just seems like a waste of a great character who had finally started to become someone great. This season started off okay, but it quickly reverted back to many of the issues season 3 had. I’ll continue giving Arrow a chance, to see how they deal with this moving forward, but changes need to be made.

Arrow’s target audience has shifted to focus more on the classic CW audience, which is fine for those people, but not fine for those of us who want more of the great superhero show it was in season 2. This pandering to Felicity has gone to the point of no return now seemingly, but I guess I still have a sense of hope that the show can redeem itself…

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33 replies »

    • No I’m glad they kept on her on because she actually became a great character, and Sara took a different path which didn’t allow her to continue being BC

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      • I wouldn’t know, because that move was the straw which broke the camel’s back. I haven’t watched a single episode since they removed Sara from the show, since she was the main reason I was still watching it after I saw how they prioritised cheap melodrama over well through-out storytelling. So, big mistake from my perspective, because I have the feeling I am not the only viewer they lost when they did it. And what was the point when they now get rid of the black canary either way?

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      • I don’t think they had a proper long term plan for either of those characters, it’s become very clear now. At least Sara still has a good role to play in the universe

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  1. The show is getting a season 5, so hopefully it can redeem itself by going back to its more grounded, gritty roots. Plus season 5 will probably be the last of the flashbacks, so it’ll hopefully show how Oliver got to how he was when starting out as The Arrow, and go back to how it was before, hopefully. I don’t think Laurel is dead either, because the way it was carried out, how she made Oliver promise her something that we won’t know til later, and the way Oliver himself acted in all this, it just didn’t seem as impactful as other deaths like Tommy and Moira, so it felt like a copout and she’ll probably be back as Black Canary again somewhere. It feels like another Roy Harper scenario, in which she fakes her death and goes off somewhere. Seasons 3-4 are mixed bags as a whole, not terrible, but with so many Olicity moments, the friggin “secrets” plot device that get old, and too many illuminati groups as villains, it doesn’t feel the same. I know shows sometimes change over time so as not to get stale and repetitive, but Arrow has taken such a 180, ppl aren’t sure what to make of it anymore. I still think that season 5 should be about Green Arrow against the criminal underworld, because while it is great the show has been more embracing of its superhero stuff, I think that’s what partly led to it getting meh and losing focus on what made it great in the first place. That’s why there are other shows in the Arrowverse like Flash and LOT and alongside it like Supergirl and others in DC’s multiverse, so that there are different stories exploring different aspects of their respective worlds and universes. I hope the creators realize that at least and make the show awesome again.

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    • As upset as I am about her dying, I think bringing her back would be pretty terrible. There’s too many fake deaths on the show, and to do it again, especially since they’ve been teasing this death for so long, would just be horrible story telling. I don’t know I don’t have high hopes about season 5, not sure if I even will bother watching it then

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  2. Here’s my theory about Laurel: She was never actually all that comfortable being around Oliver and Felicity when they were especially couple-y. Maybe I was reading too much into it. Maybe I was just being catty and seeing something in Katie Cassidy’s performance that wasn’t there, imaging her looking at Emily Rickards and lamenting that she was supposed to be the co-female lead, not this girl no one had ever heard of before. However, it seemed like Laurel always snuck in these disinterested looks where Olicity was concerned, but no one on the team noticed.

    I didn’t think this was leading to a reunion of Oliver and Laurel as a couple. However, I thought there was going to be a conversation at some point where you maybe thought Laurel was going to admit how hard it was watching her ex move on when in fact she would call Oliver out on losing focus on his mission because of his preoccupation with Felicity.

    Or something. I thought there was going to be a reckoning.

    I was wrong. Instead, Laurel’s final words were spent endorsing Oliver’s pursuit of Felicity. Somehow, even Laurel’s death became about Olicity.

    I generally agree with your argument. Laurel was actually kind of a great character this season, or at the very least she wasn’t annoying. However, she also had remarkably little to do other than resurrect Sara and be threatened by Damien. That ultimately undercut the effectiveness of her death, but these past two episodes were a window into what Laurel could have been had the writers been more interested in her.

    She’s actually Oliver’s oldest friend, and they played that perfectly in these episodes, having Laurel emerge as his moral sounding board in the absence of Felicity. Oliver does need someone to tell him “Okay. Talk to me” when he’s clearly bottling up his emotions, and it was fun seeing Laurel get to do that.

    Then they killed her in a remarkably weak, hamfisted manner, and we’re left wondering if she might just cross over to Flash now unless Black Siren is a mere one-off character. She probably is, but after all the hate Katie Cassidy has received, some of it warranted, some not, I feel bad for her. I don’t think that the writers ever really did her many favors, and she was only just now getting to become the proper version of Black Canary.

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    • I actually noticed that in her last episode, where she was clearly upset that Ollie brought up Felicity. And it’s unfortunate that she spent so much of this season in the background, and then have her be the focal point the last 2 episodes for us to see how great she is, for them to just kill her. I feel like her role on Flash will just be a one-off. Such a shame we won’t get to see the real BC

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      • ? In all seriousness though, I wonder if Canary will be migrating to the big screen – during viral marketing for BvS, Queen Industries was confirmed to exist, with their CEO being ‘aloof, often absent’, which could definitely fit Ollie. And every Green Arrow needs his Black Canary :D. That could also pan out into a future Birds of Prey film, which I would absolutely be down for.

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      • But then getting rid of Black Canary in Arrowverse just to put her in the Extended Universe would kinda be fitting with the idea that DC doesn’t want multiple versions of certain things despite having a multiverse and multiple Batmen, Supermen, and Flashes.

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  3. Well, I don’t know if this is true or not, but there’s speculation that since Echo Kellum will be promoted to series regular for season 5, with his character Curtis Holt/Mister Terrific becoming the new IT member of Team Arrow, this will lead to Felicity becoming the new Black Canary or something. I mean, what? Seriously? Look, I know that some things don’t always have to follow the source material, but that just sounds so friggin stupid.

    Laurel wasn’t that great of a character in seasons 1-2, I get that. She still had her good moments, and there were times that she could be sympathized with since she’s lost her sister repeatedly, her family has fallen apart multiple times, lost one boyfriend and sorta lost another, and whatever else. Katie Cassidy did a great job of portraying that too. Then starting in season 3 and continuing in season 4 she got more badass becoming the Black Canary, training with both Wildcat and Nyssa al Ghul, however rushed it seemed, not to mention forging her own path as a hero and shaking off the weight of her sister’s shadow on her. And she became the ass-kicker extraordinaire like in the comics, as well as the den mother for the team whenever they needed someone to talk to or something.

    I get that Felicity is popular with a lot of people. I like her character, the quirky techmaster with a heart of gold and sense of humor. But again, it’s been a complete 180 with her ever since the creators listened to Tumblr for some reason and made her whiny and heartsick. It’s just so dumb. And if the rumors of making her the next Black Canary are true, then I think the show has lost any semblance of relatibility. I mean, how the heck would that happen? She’s hardly ever been seen training before, and even when there are moments like that, it just shows how out of place she is with it, and turning her into a martial artist with a Canary Cry device is gonna look more like something the creators pulled out of their asses. I’m not saying characters can’t change from what they were originally, but in comparison to Laurel, she is WAY less likely to become the next Black Canary than Laurel ever was, because at least her development into that was gradually shown over time.

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    • Omg if they do that, then that’s it, they’ve lost half of their fanbase. I saw an image of that theory, where it might have been Felicity as Black Canary and it instantly made my blood boil. I feel like the show has already jumped the shark, but if that indeed does happen then you know there’s no redeeming this thing

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  4. The way it happened, I don’t think she’s dead. There was a whole conversation between Oliver and Laurel that we missed and right after that she dies after the physicians said she was going to be ok? I don’t think so. Although poor Quentin Lance is maybe dead because of the fakeout. But still, I’m not happy with this show. Laurel supporting Olicity before her supposed death? Seriously?

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      • I agree, too many fake deaths. I’m not happy with that. But it seems to me that the way she went was not normal. Why cut away when Laurel and Oliver are about to have their last conversation? That’s far from a proper send-off for Black Canary! Either way, I’m not happy. I’m seriously considering stopping Legends of Tomorrow and then Arrow does this?

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      • Yeah something must have happened during that conversation, but how cheap would it be if it was a fake death, but I don’t doubt they would do that. At least you have The Flash!

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    • Everyone involved with the show has said it’s a genuine death. It wouldn’t be the first time an entire cast and crew had to lie to keep a secret (Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan, anybody?), but this feels real. I think they’ve said they’re going to address that conversation in the next episode, so we’ll see.

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  5. I remember after Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino left the Green Arrow comic and some of the writers of the Arrow show took over, they tried implementing more elements of the show into the comic. Lemire already put Diggle in b4 he left, but the then-new creative team put in Felicity Smoak (at least the Arrowverse version of her since she was a pre-existing comic character beforehand, but anyway) and almost made it seem like Arrow, but with wider DC stuff in it. Guess what? It didn’t last, only going for about 5-6 issues. Ben Percy took over after Convergence and got rid of Arrow elements, including Felicity, probably because seeing the negative reaction of Olicity, DC probably didn’t want that happening to the comic, especially considering the comic was pretty bad before Lemire took over and they didnt want to relive it. Goes to show that if it doesn’t work in comics, it probably shouldn’t happen in the show.

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  6. Just realized that maybe it should have been either William OR Thea in the grave, which would have had a bigger impact than with Laurel here. For one, the impact that I said, because since Oliver has lost a lot of family and

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    • Sorry, the comment went up b4 I could finish it, damn phone. Anyway, with Oliver having lost so much family and friends over the couse of the show, he couldn’t stand losing any more and it’d push him over the edge. Two, in a way, the show was kinda leaning towards Thea’s death, with her bloodlust and everything, and her getting killed off would seem like a waste considering what she went through, but at the same time more tragic as well. And I’m not saying she should’ve died because she was a bad character, she’s been coop this season, but it could’ve opened the door for Oliver to be the only member of his family left like the comics, other than William or Connor Hawke, and making him cautious of taking on another young female protoge, especially if say Mia Dearden were to appear, who would remind him A LOT of Thea, and he’d keep rejecting her until he caves, kinda like with Batman and Tim Drake after Jason Todd died. And when he said at the grave “I’m gonna kill him”, he could’ve meant either Merlyn or Darhk, given their levels of involvement in Thea’s or William’s death, and it’d give some kind of redemption for Merlyn, with him going against Darhk because if it were Thea, he’d want revenge and if it were William, he’d be sympathizing with Oliver because he also knows what it’s like to lose a son, and Thea would make him realize that.

      Man, those ideas would’ve been great to use if the creators did that, but no, it had to be about Olicity due to whatever they’re smoking or Tumblr fangirls they’re listening to. I know this show was questionable when it started, and I know some ppl who don’t like it, and call the Green Arrow of this show “Crazy Bob” (like how Linkara calls the Batman in ASBAR “Crazy Steve”) because of that and not much else since they haven’t watched the rest of seasons 1-2, since it got really good in those seasons, but with seasons 3-4, it gives credence to that negativity, the show having taken a completely different direction with things that have alienated fans who love it. I hope the creators will listen to the fans who don’t like what they’re doing, but that’s reality and who knows what’ll happen.

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  7. It’s an odd coincidence this happens sometime after it was rumored/announced that DC is doing a female superhero team movie for the DCEU, presumably Birds of Prey, and Black Canary would probably be in it. This would again lend credence to the “DC can’t have multiple versions of certain stuff in their multiverse despite having multiple versions of other stuff” thing.

    Another odd coincidence is that this happened right around the current Black Canary ending due to DC Rebirth. Despite spinning out of the hipster Batgirl run, which I HATE, it’s actually pretty good. I like the punk rock feel, the art style, and Black Canary is pretty kickass in it and rocking (pun intended) the classic leather jacket and fishnets, like a martial artist Joan Jett. Wouldn’t it make sense to keep that comic running along with the Green Arrow comic, since they’re both high-profile superheroes being featured in a big superhero show? Guess not according to the powers that be.

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    • I’ve actually been really enjoying the BC comic as well. Though I do like that they’re bringing back Birds of Prey with Rebirth.
      If they do BC in the movies, then that’s just silly to kill her off in the show, considering they have two Flashes…

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  8. Turns out that Katie Cassidy, along with other Arrowverse actors John Barrowman (Merlyn) and Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold) signed contracts that allow them to be regulars on any Arrowverse shows. Idk how this will entail for Black Canary and how they’ll bring her back, either through resurrection of the Earth 1 version or using the Earth 2 version, who knows. Honestly though, I kinda get the idea of fake deaths, making people wonder are these characters dead and then bringing em back, just like the comics, and I think it’s starting to get as gimmicky like the comics. But hey, at least Laurel isn’t dead, so that’s good.

    Still hoping for the return of Arrowverse Ronnie Raymond and Deadshot…

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  9. Laurel as Black Canary was rushed and that why she went faster to the grave. I don’t know how Oliver didn’t see it. I’m glad she died as the writers & stunt woman & herself portrayed Black Canary to a new low in season 4. She was so Baad.. As Laurel Katie nailed it. I don’t want her to come back as it won’t be realistic anymore if she came back.. But she might because of Flashpoint.. Producers haven’t told it possible nor have they told it’s not possible.. So If she does come, I hope they show her character development of becoming B.C. slowly and steadily.. and wish her to come back full on badass in season finale in the final fight..

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  10. Season 5 has been pretty good so far and the Earth 2 Laurel has been pretty cool to see. Apparently she’s even gonna be a regular for season 6 now and I’d actually be interested in seeing how that character develops.

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      • They’re also using the Dinah Drake Black Canary now as well, which makes sense considering there are originally technically 2 Black Canaries in comics, Dinah Drake and Dinah Laurel, and these days usually whenever Black Canary is used in stuff, it’s an amalgamation of sorts. So far she’s ok as well, but has some room to grow, and even the show kinda acknowledges this.

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