Firstly, I have to admit I love Laurel Lance. I love the way she fought for her clients in the courtroom, her passion for her job, and that fire in her eyes. I love the way she protected her family, frustratingly so. I love her sense of loyalty, and her life long harrowing, painful, and rewarding quest for justice. I loved it when she was drunk. Throwing glasses, stumbling home, saying the things she kept inside for so long. I loved her at her lowest moments, and I loved her trying to get out of them. I loved her relationship with Sara, Tommy, and Quentin.
The reason her villainous earth-2 counterpart is still here is because a lot of people loved her too. And it is because I love her that I say this: Laurel Lance 2.0 needs to stay evil, or get off my show.
Why? Well, to completely answer that question we are going to have to take a closer look at the character of Laurel Lance throughout the course of Arrow.
4 Seasons of Laurel Lance
Laurel was peak lawyer. Working at CNRI, and giving people a defense when they couldn’t afford one. When her father worried that her job was getting too dangerous, he begged her to back off. But she didn’t, she couldn’t leave her clients without a defense, and couldn’t rest without justice being served. At times, that persuaded her to see if skirting around the law was the righteous path to take. Sometimes it was in her mind, other times it wasn’t.
This was the season most people hopped off the Laurel Lance train, and I completely understand why. But I unapologetically loved her failings as well as her successes. Laurel blamed The Arrow for not getting to Tommy in time. To cope, she drank and took pills. What she needed was not Oliver or her father, or a sudden epiphany, she needed Sara. Sara was The Canary, and Laurel felt inspired again. To be the person she was, or maybe even better.
Sara dies and we pretty much say goodbye to Lawyer Laurel. She wanted to embody her sister in every way. In doing so, she burned a lot of bridges. She took a couple of boxing lessons, some training seminars with Nyssa, and boom! She was the Black Canary. Really? Thats all we get? Okay…
Because her Black Canary arc was so rushed we unbelievably saw her as a fully realized hero. Her hero journey was over, so what else was there to do but kill her off?
Oliver and Laurel
I know, I know. But if we are going to examine Laurel Lance’s journey on Arrow, we have to consider her relationship with the main character.
Oliver and Laurel’s relationship was a struggle. It varied from day to day. Whether they felt hatred towards each other, sadness, friendship, love, the main emotion they both displayed was indifference. Whatever she was feeling for Oliver at the moment (and vice versa), she felt it strongly. Even though they gave us whiplash, we understood that at the end of the day, what Oliver did decimated any chance they’ll ever have of being a couple again.
Ladies and gentlemen, if your boyfriend cheats on you with your sister and in the process she gets killed (or is presumed dead) would you ever think of them the same? Yeah, in that hypothetical scenario, they swiftly and irrevocably become someone you can’t rely on. They aren’t your person anymore, and probably never were. #TeamLaurel
But they both moved on, Laurel forgave Oliver and they remained friends. For like a season in and a half. A good chunk of season 2 through season 4 they were just indifferent. Sometimes they would get into the occasional screaming match that required popcorn. However, if your relationship with the main character is indifferent, what’s to stop the audience from feeling the same?
Black Siren looks like earth-1 Laurel Lance…
When Black Siren showed up at some point in season 5, I was skeptical. It felt way too soon. I eventually came around because she was all evil and looking cool while doing it. Our heroes coming to terms with this Laurel, juxtaposing the two and ultimately concluding that she is not the same Laurel Lance was the only acceptable way this storyline could have gone. It also was a silent nod to the Laurel we lost and it felt like good closure.
Then came season 6, and Quentin. His denial was extreme, and no one offered to help him (Thea only fed his denial). No one said, “buddy look, your daughters have died a lot, and an evil Laurel doppelgänger recently showed up. Maybe you should get some therapy.” That didn’t happen and Quentin died.
But she’s not earth-1 Laurel Lance
All the sane and rational humans maintained that Black Siren was not the Laurel we lost. She was fun and stirred up trouble for our heroes. She had so much potential to just be a character thats unapologetically a bad person. Sure, everyone has their moments, but for the most part we want a ruthless female antagonist who has the face of a dead friend.
We don’t want her to take on Laurel’s persona, reading a couple of law books and passing as district attorney. We don’t want apologies for killing boyfriends. Granted, if this is all an elaborate ruse, I commend Arrow for fooling me. But I don’t feel it is. They are trying to redeem her… but why? We had good Laurel Lance for four seasons. And for the reasons I stated above, she was killed off. It’s because I love the Laurel Lance I watched for those four seasons that I don’t want this for her earth-2 look-alike. I don’t want another go at rushed arcs for the sake of a redemption that no one wants or needs.
Let’s say you redeem her, then what? Everyone’s going to sing kumbaya? No. Everyone is going to be, you guessed it, indifferent. Why would we waste the time considering there is already so many characters on Arrow? Maybe even too many.
That concludes my TED Talk.
Do you want Black Siren to be redeemed? Let us know in the comments! But seriously, you don’t.
Catch all new episodes of Arrow Mondays at 8 PM on The CW.