Holy angst-fest, Batman! This week’s episode of Arrow was all about the tragic—and sadly unjustified—death of Laurel Lance. And with all this fuss over saying goodbye, I’m pretty sure she’s gone for good. Team Arrow is mourning the loss of their teammate, but they’re much more distressed by the appearance of the Fake Canary, an imposter dressed as the Black Canary with a sonic screech and everything. You probably cried, or at least cried on the inside, at some point during “Canary Cry.” So let’s dive right into Angst City (my new name for Star City).
This episode decided to double up in the feels department by reminding us of Tommy’s tragic death. Instead of flashbacks to Oliver’s time on Lian Yu, we saw flashbacks to the time right after Tommy was killed in the Undertaking. While painful, it did provide some interesting parallels between past and present grieving. Oliver was unable to show up to Tommy’s funeral and deliver his speech, but he did for Laurel’s. Oliver ran away to the island after Tommy’s death, but he stayed and faced the pain after Laurel’s. That served to highlight Oliver’s personal growth, as did his actions while dealing with the Fake Canary. We never saw Tommy, but it felt (at least a little bit) like he was there, and it made the depth of loss feel deeper, especially for Oliver.Oliver’s Speeches
Oliver gave several exceptional speeches in this episode, one of which was Laurel’s eulogy. He spoke of how amazing she was, how good she was for the city, and how much he cared about her. He even dropped a bombshell on most of the attendees: Laurel was the Black Canary. The way he worded this reveal was that she told him on her deathbed, and for now we have to assume that’s what they spoke about in her last living moments. Or it could have simply been a cover for his identity as the Green Arrow. Regardless, it was an emotional and touching remembrance of someone dear to him.
Another powerful and heart-wrenching speech Oliver gave was to Diggle. Overrun with grief and guilt—we’ll get to that later—Digg is ready to rush in and get revenge on Darhk and his wife. But Oliver stops him and talks sense into him, reminding Digg that Laurel would tell them to honor her by being better than the villains. She would want them to be heroes and not stoop to the level of murderers and criminals. The whole conversation between Oliver and Diggle was incredible, both performers giving it their all and I was riveted.
Last, and least, was Oliver’s speech to the Fake Canary. While still a powerful speech, it was the least compelling one Oliver delivered—likely due to the fact that it felt very similar to his other heartfelt, pleading speeches to villains. We’ve heard the “you’re better than this” speech before, and in this case it worked a little too easily.Fake Canary Runs Amok
Evelyn Sharp, one of the survivors of Reddington (the place where Darhk held Team Arrow captive around Christmas last year), steals Laurel’s sonic device and outfit so that she can run around the city, punishing those she thinks have failed it and smearing the Black Canary name. The team cannot stand for that, so they track her down and stop her—with the power of words!
I thought this was the episode’s one problem. Instead of someone we know stealing the suit and riding out their grief in a violent way, we got someone crazy girl who wasn’t so much a threat as a needle of emotional aggravation. Personally, I would’ve loved to see the thief revealed as Thea or Nyssa or Sara (although it would have been hard to coordinate Sara’s appearance because of Legends of Tomorrow). Instead, we see an unfamiliar face who is just a nuisance to get everyone riled up about protecting Laurel’s memory. While a good way to tie in events from earlier in the season, it wasn’t nearly as compelling an idea as someone we know being the imposter.Diggle’s Guilt
As I mentioned earlier, Diggle is going through an especially tough time. He’s starting to turn into Oliver, carrying the blame of everything—especially Laurel’s death—on his shoulders. He lets that guilt and sorrow reach a boiling point when he decides to go after Ruve Adams, and she retaliates by putting Team Arrow at the top of Star City’s Most Wanted List.
Diggle blaming himself for what happened and his plan to track down Andy will undoubtedly carry into the next episode, possibly even into the season finale. This has been a season-long development, and a tumultuous one at that! David Ramsey has been doing a terrific job, and this episode was no exception. The rawness of his anger and grief was very believable and heart-wrenching, and I believe we will see a lot more of it as the season finishes up.Nyssa and Quentin’s Denial
Nyssa was back this week to express her condolences for Laurel, and my only complaint was that she didn’t get more screen time. Her primary purpose was to tell Lance that he can’t bring Laurel back via the Pit, as well as be someone to witness his grief. Nyssa was as stoic as ever, but Lance was an absolute mess.
I must give major kudos to Paul Blackthorne for his performance in this episode. He killed it (pardon the poor taste in wordplay!) in every scene, from his initial denial that Laurel would stay dead, to his devastatingly sad acceptance that he lost his rock, the one person who supported him in every aspect of his life, good and bad. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch him reach that level of despair and felt so real that I felt it as though I’d just lost a family member myself.The Verdict
I give this episode 9 out of 10. The emotional intensity was profound and even though it had the potential to go overboard, it didn’t. Everyone put on stellar performances in portraying their grief, anger, and despair. Losing such an important member of the team, really losing her, was felt down to the core. My one complaint was the use of the Fake Canary. Her performance was fine, but it would have been more effective if she had turned out to be someone we knew. She did effectively set the city against Team Arrow and gave Ruve a rallying point, but the immediate conflict with her was a let down. Nonetheless, she reminded us that the stakes are still high and that grief can’t overpower the team. There is still much to do and time is running out before Darhk’s evil overpowers everyone and everything.
What did you think of “Canary Cry?” Share your thoughts in the comments!