Friday, April 8, 2016

6 Reasons Why Killing Laurel Lance Was the Right Move for Arrow [Contributor: Marilyn]

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This past week, “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” saw the demise of Laurel Lance on Arrow. Though the writing has been on the wall for a while now — with her lack of significant storyline and seemingly coming full-circle as a character prior to the episode — that doesn’t mean that her death made everyone happy. In spite of the fact that it was an emotional episode, killing off Laurel will likely have important narrative and character-focused impact on the show moving forward.

Here are six reasons that saying goodbye to her character is a good thing.

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1. It’s a bold move to make.

A major death like this — with this much weight and impact — shakes up the cast and the narrative of the show that very few other things could cause this far into a show’s run. The very fact that not many viewers expected Laurel to be the one in the grave is precisely the reason why she was the best choice, especially for a show that teases death for its characters at every corner.

With the return of real stakes (no Lazarus Pit or time travel re-dos anymore!), Laurel’s makes a huge statement for the show: anyone can die. It makes us, the viewers, sit up and take notice in a way that we haven’t before, when we could write off deaths as temporary or “fake-outs.” Laurel’s death helps us re-invest in the storylines of each character, because now there’s a chance that our favorite could be the next major casualty.

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2. It trims excess from the show.

Laurel hasn’t had much of a storyline lately — not since she resurrected her sister earlier in the season (which was a haphazard plot if there ever was one). In fact, since she’s become the Black Canary, Laurel has mostly existed in the background of scenes. At times, it has felt as though the writers have looked for places to insert her in scenes and conversations. While Team Arrow’s home-base was larger this year, at times the new lair has felt crowded... and the missions have felt a little crowded as well. Laurel as Black Canary wasn’t providing a specific skill set to the team that no other member already fulfilled. Her Canary Cry was used so infrequently, that oftentimes, it felt the scenarios where it was used were crafted specifically so it would have a chance to be of use.

Now that Laurel is gone, the show will be forced to refocus itself in ways that it has avoided doing for two seasons with its characters (i.e. what happened to the friendship Diggle and Felicity apparently had? Will the Diggle/Oliver bromance be restored?), and this refocusing and trimming will ultimately lead to a tighter-written show.

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3. It gives Quentin Lance some meaty story.

Whether this plays out for the rest of season four or carries into season five, the death of his daughter will give Quentin some serious motivation and depth going forward. We’ve seen how Quentin deals with losing Sara before (several times in fact). But the relationship between Laurel and Quentin is special in a way the other relationship lacked. We’ve seen Quentin utter ominously, “I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to you” to Laurel several times this season (which, hello foreshadowing!). It almost felt like a promise to the viewers, that we would see what Quentin would do if that was to happen.

I find myself curious about how this will affect him, his role on the police force, and his relationships going forward. All of this emotional depth and possible darkness combined with his burgeoning relationship with Donna gives Quentin a lot to deal with in the months ahead.

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4. It honors Laurel’s arc as a hero. 

Laurel’s character has suffered from a great deal of inconsistency, as though the writers weren’t quite sure what to do with her. But one element of her story has had more emotional resonance than any other: her relationship with her sister, Sara. In season two, when Laurel was so hurt by Sara’s reappearance and relationship with Oliver, it wasn’t reconnecting with Oliver that brought her back from the brink. It was reconnecting with Sara. Laurel saw the good that Sara did, and was inspired by her. She called her a hero. She mourned her sister all through season three, finally taking up her mantle in hopes of using her sister’s legacy to protect the city.

But she also did it to HONOR Sara. It’s why she chose to use the Lazarus Pit to bring Sara back to life; she loved her sister so much that she couldn’t let a chance to bring her back to by, regardless of the consequences. As it happens, while Sara’s soul was ultimately saved, the Lazarus Pit was not; Laurel’s actions caused Nyssa to poison the Pit, rendering it inert. Sara is on another show, but is clearly without a compass in how to go about her life. She’s lost some of her meaning and drive to be a hero. Laurel’s death will give Sara greater purpose, a drive to honor her sister who believed in her so deeply. That cyclical love and heroism between the two women is kind of amazing, to be honest: Laurel honors Sara and displays her love for her by dying as Black Canary, and Sara honors her sister by wearing the White Canary costume and no mask.

And this is the greatest honor to Laurel’s character that the show could have achieved.

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5. It shows more of Oliver’s evolution. 

Because this is Oliver’s show, essentially, of course Laurel’s death will have a huge impact on him. For one thing, the flash-forward to the grave has already shown us that Oliver has officially moved beyond feeling overwhelming guilt for all the bad things that happens around him. Instead of feeling the burden weighing on his shoulders, he takes the opportunity to rise up and fight for justice. (Whether the same can be said of characters like Felicity and Diggle in the wake of Laurel’s death is yet to be determined.) This is a fantastic way to show that Oliver has moved beyond the brooding, guilt-ridden man we saw in earlier seasons. He’s now ready to live in the light, to embrace the rest of his team as full-fledged heroes with their own agency and to become a better hero.

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6. The fandom will (hopefully) be better for it. 

For four seasons now, there’s been endless bickering in the Arrow fandom between those that prefer strict comic book canon, Laurel Lance, and the ship “Lauriver” and those that enjoy the canon the show has created, Felicity Smoak, and the ship “Olicity.” Occasionally, the disagreements are friendly and respectful. But the majority of the time, the disagreements online have gotten downright ugly. There have been accusations of bullying and harassment, with some of that bleeding beyond targeting fictional characters and, instead, targeting real people. The fans, creators, and even actors themselves have been subjected to this harassment. And while’s it’s been pretty clear that Arrow selected Olicity as the main romance several seasons ago, the ship wars have raged on. Perhaps now, with Laurel no longer a part of the show, her fans will finally let their anger go and move on, with a chance to forge more fandom harmony going forward.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a character, even one as polarizing as Laurel Lance, but I think Arrow will be better for this in the long run. This death provides the team with a real motivation to evolve and change and grow stronger — a motivation they have been lacking since the beginning of the season. Kudos to the writers and the creators for taking this bold risk. I believe it will pay off in the story in the seasons to come.

12 comments:

  1. #1A major death like this — with this much weight and impact
    #2 Laurel hasn’t had much of a storyline lately

    As Oprah would say: So which is the truth? She was a major character or she wasnt. sounds like a lot of spinning to justify this unfairly hated character's death.Felicity, Olicity, Olicity fans, cruel writers and biased media killed this character. The writers knew exactly what to do with Laurel Lance, they were just busy kissing Felicity/Emily's ass to care.


    #3. It gives Quentin Lance some meaty story.
    LOL no he is the most pointless character after Diggle

    #4 Sara. it wasn’t reconnecting with Oliver that brought her back from the brink. It was reconnecting with Sara.

    Copied this from Jbuffyangel fanon and wack theories? Real canon, 4 x18 canon,love of her life was Oliver!

    #6 The fandom will (hopefully) be better for it.
    Most Olicity fans are hateful and disrespectful, so NO

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    Replies
    1. #1A major death like this — with this much weight and impact
      #2 Laurel hasn’t had much of a storyline lately


      The two aren't mutually exclusive: Laurel didn't have any significant stories recently, but that doesn't mean her death won't impact the characters deeply because of her relationships to them.

      #3. It gives Quentin Lance some meaty story.
      LOL no he is the most pointless character after Diggle


      Glad to know the only POC on this show is "pointless."

      #4 Sara. it wasn’t reconnecting with Oliver that brought her back from the brink. It was reconnecting with Sara.

      Copied this from Jbuffyangel fanon and wack theories? Real canon, 4 x18 canon,love of her life was Oliver!


      It's canon that Laurel loves her sister more than she will ever love Oliver. She brought her back to life. She helped forge her into the mask-less White Canary. She blamed Sara for a long time for her life falling apart and then she forgave her sister, made amends, and placed Sara over Oliver every chance she could get. What about that screams "Laurel loved Oliver more than Sara"?

      #6 The fandom will (hopefully) be better for it.
      Most Olicity fans are hateful and disrespectful, so NO


      You know, your hatred for Olicity fans on here is reeeeeeeally wearing on my last nerve. Like you said above: which is the truth? Either you're going to be respectful to us here, or you can choose to stop reading the stuff on our site.

      Really, you can't have it both ways, dude.

      Delete

    2. [Glad to know the only POC on this show is "pointless."]

      Mr Terrific says hi. Vixen would be a great add too but she deserves better than to be in this show

      (It's canon that Laurel loves her sister more than she will ever love Oliver. She brought her back to life.)

      Oh wow, maybe she should have married Sara and have had lots of babies, And the same for Oliver and Thea.

      (You know, your hatred for Olicity fans on here is reeeeeeeally wearing on my last nerve.)

      I missed the part were this website was the Olicity & Olicity fandom appreciation shrine. I dislike them for very obvious reasons, its not a crime, collectively they had a part in killing Laurel IMO. This is my opinion, this is my post.

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    3. I missed the part were this website was the Olicity & Olicity fandom appreciation shrine. I dislike them for very obvious reasons, its not a crime, collectively they had a part in killing Laurel IMO. This is my opinion, this is my post.

      When you're repeatedly disrespectful to me and my writers, what's even the point of reading stuff here then? If you don't like Oliver/Felicity, I have absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. Ship whomever you would like.

      But when that disrespect is posted on my site and directed at my writers, your opinion is hurtful. I can say with quite heavy certainty that you wouldn't appreciate me commenting on a post you wrote about Laurel Lance the way you comment about Olicity.

      Golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. You love Laurel? Fine. But deliberately clicking on a link and then commenting on a post about why the show killing her off was a good idea seems like a waste of your own time. I don't have copious amounts of free time but I sure as heck don't waste them on reading and commenting about stuff I hate.

      Again, your prerogative. Whatever. But when you continue to post this kind of stuff on the site that I work hard to run, it's not about fictional characters anymore -- it's about a lack of respect for anyone whose opinion is not your own. And that's the very same claim you have against Olicity shippers.

      I'd really appreciate it if you would just consider that every once in a while, mmkay?

      Delete
    4. (And if you read jbuffyangel, I'm 100% sure you're aware it's a pro-Olicity blog so again... what's happening here? Are you anti-Olicity who just loves reading pro-Olicity stuff to make comments like this? Do you say you hate Olicity but secretly love them? Do you just like Jen's writing and use of GIFs? What's up here? I am actually really curious.)

      Delete
    5. If you dont want any opposing views, I have no problem disappearing from this site. Like I said last time, I wouldnt be here if I thought you guys were not being mostly professional and objective. of course I dont always agree with everything, no what I was enjoying was reading a different opinion that were mostly fairly critical. But if its going to be heavily dictated like a 1000s of pro Olicity and Laurel media sites I left, I will gladly leave. Im very used to the media taking sides, I have felt a welcoming atmosphere here but Im starting not to. You probably wont have to chase me, its almost over anyway, Arrow aka Olicity show is nothing to me anymore. No, not because of Laurel, she is just the final in the coffin.

      And of course I know who jbuffyangel is, Im an Arrow internet fan, no i dont read her blog. Not my type, I just come across her theories on Tumbrl or sometimes when she makes a special appearance on IMDB.

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    6. *..and antil Laurel media sites..*
      *...nail in the coffin..*
      You should probably sort out the edit button on here.

      And Sorry Marylin is I was a little...brash. I can probably agree on #5: Oliver's Evolution, which I know he will likely frack up. Not that I care, by that time I will be gone.

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    7. Again: I have zero problem with opposing views on here. I welcome people disagreeing with the stuff we write. Read over the Arrow reviews or my Community ones.

      BUT -- here is the big one -- look at the way you approach your opinion. Read over your first comment. Was it constructive or immediately taking a stance of defense by insulting Olicity fans? (You used language like "wack" to describe someone's opinion, therefore insinuating that their opinion is not real and that yours is; you -- once again -- said that Olicity fans are hateful in your comment, insulting the entire fanbase with your bitterness and anger.)

      That stuff isn't productive. And so if you begin your comment with insults and defenses, what kind of response do you think you might get in return? When people disagree around here, they generally begin with a tone of explanation: "Thanks for posting your opinion, but here's how I see it."

      You could have EASILY done that with your comment. "Interesting read, but I disagree with a lot of it. I think Oliver is the great love of Laurel's life. Why do you think Sara is?"

      THAT kind of comment is both constructive and invites conversation. It doesn't tear Olicity fans down in order to build your opinion up as better than theirs. You might not mean for it to come off that way, but your initial comments are quite rude and condescending to people who believe differently than you do.

      Again: I totally welcome differences. But if your first, knee-jerk response is going to be to insult someone and assume that the reason their opinion is different from yours is because they're somehow not as smart or delusional BECAUSE they're an Olicity fan, that's hurtful.

      And again: Olicity fans may have hurt you in the past. I've met some who are nasty, too. But -- again this is a BIG "but" -- I've met a lot of Oliver/Laurel fans who have threatened my friends' lives because of who they ship. It's scary and terrifying and the only way we're going to close this breach is if we stop using insults to try and get people to listen and actually forge good conversations. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist for that, but I'd like to think that there's hope to start that, little by little.

      (P.S. I wish there was an edit button. Alas, this blog is technically run by Google and they're dumb as far as blog features, haha.)

      Delete
  2. Those were ALL miserable reasons

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  3. I have read this multiple times and I have slept on it attempting to explain my opinion. I figured out how, these reasons are not wrong not even bad they are resonable and logical but I figured out the major flaws the two big ones. It was the execution of her death and the fact she is Black Canary are the two reasons that will hurt Arrow going foward.

    Laurel's last words, the ones we could hear at least, the fact she was killed to get revenge on her father. Really makes the death look like the women in refrigerators trope. inflammatory accusation but I think how the scene was executed and two of the reasons on this post itself only adds to it. This leads to the second reason that she is the Black Canary.

    Regardless of your opinion on Laurel Lance she is this universes Black Canary. An iconic hero in her own right and in the comics the wife of Green Arrow, but this isn't about the ships. Because the Laurel on this show is connected to Black Canary it looks like they fridged Black Canary. Making a female character be turned into a plot device for male character devlopment even if it was not intentional is very problematic. Making the Black Canary look like that, sends a signal that the writers have no respect for the source material or for the Black Canary legacy in general.

    This is in my opinion, why Arrow is going to hurt going foward. In the show they loss an oppertunity to expand more on the Mayor Queen plot if the writers decide to go back to it. They also lost a major oppertunity to adapt stuff from the Birds of Prey mythos to her and Oliver's story. Black Canary has had more effect on the DC landscape in the comics and with her death that closes off alot of more stories that the show could have told and even withouth the island flashbacks. Lastly in my opinion now we can't get the Nyssa/Laurel ship going I doubt it would happen but it could have been explored.

    Fandomwise, alot of people are going to leave the show but alot of people are going to attack Felicity. Mostly because many feel like they killed Laurel just so Felicity has no threats to getting back together with Oliver. I doubt that is the case and Felicity did nothing to bring about this death. But it does feel that way and even I admit I felt that way at first.

    Laurel Lance aka the Black Canary holds way too much weight and the poorly written death is going to hurt Arrow in the fandom corner and for the show itself. I feel like we lost alot of great potential not just for her but even for the Green Arrow even if Olicity is endgame for him.

    Anyway I wanted to get this off my chest and bring closure on my feelings on this plot point. I hope I did not come off too ranty.

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