Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Arrow 4x18 Review: "Eleven-Fifty-Nine" (The Eleventh Hour)


Original Airdate: April 6, 2016

I still stand firm by the belief that a character's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. And that applies to us too, as human beings. Think for a moment about what you would consider to be your greatest strength. Is it your compassion? Your honesty? Your leadership? Now think about how those strengths could easily be reflections of your greatest weaknesses. Everyone on Arrow is flawed — that's just a fact. No matter if you love Felicity, Thea, Laurel, Oliver, Diggle, Thea, or another character best, they all have flaws. Oliver's obvious flaw? His unwillingness to let other people help him. His greatest weakness? His leadership and self-sacrifice. Felicity's greatest assets? Her compassion and her emotional resonance. But her greatest weakness is that she internalizes her emotions and retreats within them (in similar, yet not identical ways to Oliver). Laurel's greatest strength has always been the fact that she's relentless — she pursues people and things and ideas with the kind of ferocity that a bloodhound would envy. But that strength is also her greatest weakness — relentless pursuits often lead to recklessness and a lack of forethought. Thea's resourcefulness and Diggle's loyalty are also great strengths... and weaknesses. How often does Thea's resourcefulness turn into stubbornness or cause her to toe the line, morally? And how often does Diggle's loyalty blind him to the flaws of those he loves (ahem, see: THIS EPISODE)?

Everyone on Arrow is flawed, and that's the beauty of the show. If the show depicted only perfection within its characters, it would be a bland show. Moreover, it would be a completely unattainable show for us to connect with. We would not believe that these characters are real. They would be empty shells and illusions. In spite of the fact that there are flawed characters everywhere on this series, I've seen the most problems in fandom derive from conversations around Laurel Lance and her characterization — from the way she talks to the way she stands, to her (way too quick) ascension to Black Canary status. And with "Eleven-Fifty-Nine" seeing the demise of this character, I thought it appropriate to spend the majority of this review in a discussion about her and the way she's been written over the years. It's also not only important to talk about Laurel, but to also talk about the impact that she had on the other characters in this series.

Full disclaimer: Laurel is not my favorite character, but I am going to treat her with as much objectivity as humanly possible. My love for one character on Arrow does not diminish someone else's love for another. Just because Laurel Lance is not my favorite character ever written doesn't mean she was unimportant to people in this fandom or to the show. If you doubt me — or try to come at me in the comments for this — let me kindly point you back to this post in which I wrote about Laurel as a strong female character on Arrow. 'k? COOL!


When I began my binge-watch of Arrow, I did so in the same way I began binge-watching Community — completely and totally backwards. The first episode I ever watched of Arrow was "Unthinkable," and — based on my friends' reactions to the episode — I decided that I should watch the series from the beginning. I was really confused, then, to find out that so many people hated Laurel Lance. I scratched my head, wondering what my friends had been talking about. When Arrow first started, Laurel was a kick-butt attorney who didn't take crap from anyone. She had a lot of anger and bitterness pent up against Oliver (and rightfully so, because let's all remember something here: Oliver was a total douchebag), especially upon his return.

But beyond just that, Laurel was compelling to me. She's not immediately someone who is warm and fuzzy. And that's part of what makes her so great. Because not all women are warm and fuzzy — some women keep men and other women at a distance. And Laurel guards her heart from people. She puts up barriers and walls because she's been hurt so much in the past (by men and by others in general) that it's the only way she can survive from day to day. I admire that trait of Laurel's: the way that she can be a bit closed-off, knowing that the only reason she is that way is because she has to be. (Honesty time: how would YOU act if the supposed love of your life was presumed dead, on a boat during an elicit affair with your baby sister, then returned, fully alive?) Laurel's characterization in the first season was interesting, and — again — though I could not always personally relate to her, I at least acknowledged her importance. After all, the entire first season was built on the foundation of Oliver and Laurel's romantic relationship (the constant back-and-forth between them was literally most of the plot for season one, so just as an aside to everyone complaining about Oliver/Felicity... remember where we started!).

Season two was where I began to have issues with Laurel. And that wasn't necessarily a fault of the character, so much as it was the fault of the writers themselves. Addiction story arcs are difficult to write with the kind of tact and believability that they deserve. And the Arrow writers majorly failed her character in that regard. Laurel became not only brash and reckless, but unbearable in her pursuit of something to make her whole again. I will say, however, that Laurel's characterization managed to be slightly redeemed throughout pieces of season three — apart from the Black Canary arc.

Look, feel free to disagree with me all you would like, but Laurel's ascension to Black Canary status felt rushed and shoehorned into a season with already WAY too much happening. The one redeeming piece of this arc to me was "Canaries": an episode that nearly everyone, apparently, hated besides me. I loved that episode. Why? Because for the first time in what felt like forever, I understood Laurel completely. I'm an older sister. I have a baby sister who I would do anything for. And the way that Arrow made me connect to Laurel was never through being a vigilante — it was when they reminded me of her relationship with Sara.

Laurel's desire to protect her sister and her struggle to accept her death was palpable to me. I could feel the swirling mess of emotions that Laurel did — all of her anger and bitterness and pain and betrayal and guilt and overwhelming sadness. And in the most beautiful twist, Laurel spent all of "Canaries" trying to be like Sara. How many of us older siblings can say that we've done that before? That we view our younger siblings through such a lens of love that they become our heroes? Sara was Laurel's everything — her best friend, her hero, her great love. And that's why, when Sara died, Laurel tried to cope in every way possible. And that's also why I can't really judge Laurel for resurrecting Sara. I said it before in my review, but I can't say — with 100% certainty — that I would act any differently if it was my baby sister and I had a Lazarus Pit handy.

So where does that leave my feelings toward Laurel in "Eleven-Fifty-Nine"? I'll reiterate what I said about Laurel in my Strong Women Series post:

Look, you don't have to love Laurel or even like her. That's okay. I never said above that strong women were LIKABLE women. (Which I think is something that gets confused quite frequently in pop culture.) But you should admire her strength: you should marvel at her desire to take back what her addiction stole from her — to save what little pieces of her she can that existed when she lost Tommy and rebuild herself and her relationships from there.

I may not always love Laurel, but I think that there are pieces of her characterization that are admirable. I just wish that she had been written differently — especially in regards to her Black Canary arc. But more on that... now!


You know characters are doomed the moment they begin to make major life decisions or plan for their futures. Whenever characters are given moments of happiness or closure, suddenly a giant target becomes placed on their backs. Unfortunately — and I am sure that Laurel Lance fans will admit this — the writing has been on the wall for a while now in regards to Laurel. She's been relegated to the background, doling out helpful and thoughtful advice to Oliver. She's provided Sara with a mask-less future, and she began to contemplate hanging up her own buckled suit in "Eleven-Fifty-Nine." Laurel's had no real stories of her own this season after the resurrection of Sara, which is a bit disconcerting. It's a nail in a coffin for a character to have no solid stories.

And honestly, I think Laurel's storyline throughout this episode was one I have been waiting for a long time (and that really should have taken place in season three). Its this tension that she has between being a D.A. and being a vigilante. We see her struggle with this during the episode — does she take a job working under corruption so she can save the city from the inside? Or does she keep wearing her mask and fighting crime by night? The thing is, Laurel — for a long time — worked and worked and worked in order to attain her goal of becoming a lawyer. She didn't know that the rush of vigilantism was out there. All she knew was that she felt purpose and hope by being a lawyer.

But what I find to be so compelling is that being a D.A. and being the Black Canary fulfill different pieces of Laurel's heart... like two separate pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I mentioned that being a lawyer fulfills Laurel's desire to help people. And she does help people as the Black Canary, too, but she mentions something on her (literal) deathbed this week that I found compelling: Oliver assumes that Laurel dons her mask because she felt grief. And while that's true (and it was true during "Canaries"), Laurel admits that she puts on her costume because she feels ALIVE.

Fighting crime and being in the streets with Team Arrow? It fills her with life. I think that's why Laurel and Thea always worked together well for me, in terms of stories. Both are adrenaline junkies, in a way — they both love the rush of being in the streets. It helps them process their emotions, and helps them take out their pain and anger in productive ways — in ways that being behind a desk or in a courtroom can't.

So there's this dichotomy to Laurel Lance that was explored in her final episode: does she want to continue to feel that rush of being alive? Or does she want to pursue that practical hope in being a D.A.? It's an interesting question to pose, and one that Oliver and Laurel discuss. He tells her to put away her mask, to hang up her suit, and to start living again — to stop grieving Sara by wearing black and buckles (to people who are grieving wear a lot of buckles? I'm sorry, but this is one part of her costume I'll never understand — they're so unnecessary!), and return to life. But Oliver, as he tends to do, incorrectly assumes that what gives Laurel life is being a lawyer.

I will say that Arrow — for all its faults and really terrible dialogue — sold the final few minutes of this episode to me via its cast. Every single cast member was at the top of their game, from Stephen Amell realizing Laurel still keeps the picture Oliver had with him on Lian-Yu, to Laurel telling Oliver that she hopes he and Felicity find their way home to one another again, to the palpable grief and heartbreak felt by everyone on-screen. I felt, for the first time in a long time, like these people were actually family. Arrow has struggled with how to use Laurel Lance for almost three years, and they've tried and failed with her character. But the full range of Laurel's personality was on display this episode, and even though I think that it was the right move for the show to kill her off (she hasn't had a relevant story in so long), watching the team lose Laurel reminded me that I may not have deeply loved her, but the characters sure did.

It will be interesting to see how the death of Laurel impacts the rest of the team. We see, via flash-forward, how bitter and angry Felicity is. We presume that dar(h)kness is looming around every corner now, as we careen toward the season finale. So will Laurel's death be a catalyst for these characters to work through the emotional scars they bear? Or will her death send them inching ever-closer to the point of no return?


Let's talk about the stuff that happened in the rest of this week's episode, chief among which is the rift between Oliver and Diggle. After Andy Diggle constantly seems to be in the wrong place at the right time, Oliver begins to suspect that he's actually working for Merlyn and Darhk in order to break the latter out of prison. After a few back-and-forths, Oliver and Diggle come to blows. And while the end of the episode reveals the fact that Andy actually shouldn't have been trusted, it doesn't negate the truth tea that Diggle spills all over Oliver's lap.

In the wise words of my life coach and guru, Taylor Swift: "Band-Aids don't fix bullet holes." And that's precisely what Oliver has tried to do for the past few years. He makes progress in letting people in, and in believing in the light within him... and then he does what he recently did to Felicity (don't make me even type it out again). He takes two steps forward and ten backward, and then he can't understand why people get mad at him. I see a lot of people who cite PTSD as an easy-out for Oliver's behavior. And I think that while part of that is accurate, it's also pretty simplistic to excuse his behavior solely because of that. PTSD is something that is serious and deserves to be treated like any other mental health issue. But on Arrow, it's not.

And that's why I feel justified in agreeing with some of what Diggle said to Oliver.

Because people who need help only change once they accept help.

And Oliver has yet to do that, fully. If the show wants to pursue the PTSD — and if fans want to use that as a lens through which to view Oliver's actions — then the show needs to take this seriously and commit to hashing out the darkness within Oliver. As of now, it's heavily implied that Oliver has PTSD, but it's simply not enough for me to justify the way he's treated others or brush off the decisions he's made by saying that because he suffers from it, he deserves my empathy. Again: PTSD is serious, but if the show wants to pursue this facet of Oliver's personality and use it as a means to explain his actions, they need to commit.

As it is now, Diggle's not very far off the mark in terms of the reasons Oliver and Felicity broke up. Was it a low blow? Of course it was. Was it done with intent to hurt? You bet. People who are in pain seek to hurt others because it lessens their own. For a moment, they are the victor, not the accused. And Diggle knew that the one thing he could do to twist a metaphorical arrow in Oliver would be bringing up Felicity. Again, do I agree with the way Diggle did this? No. I always enjoy seeing people put Oliver in his place, but Diggle was being malicious here and both he and Oliver knew it.

That doesn't, however, negate the truth of what Diggle said. Oliver is constantly preaching about changing without actually wanting to commit to the difficulty in changing. And it is his selfishness that destroyed his relationship with Felicity. Again: he's not entirely wrong there.

But sometimes, we learn the hard way that when we think with our heart and not our head, lives are forever altered. Because Oliver was right — Andy WAS playing them the whole time, and Diggle believed in him. David Ramsey's performance in the hospital after learning of Andy's betrayal was really powerful. We haven't seen John Diggle deal recently with guilt. How will he feel now that he knows his misplaced trust ended up with Laurel's death? (Again, I'm oversimplifying, of course, because this is how our heroes think.)

"Eleven-Fifty-Nine" was a mediocre episode, made powerful by the actors. The episode's plot plowed forward, however, and Laurel's death will serve as an interesting catalyst. With Arrow set to return in a few weeks with the final few episodes of the season, how will our heroes cope with this new darkness? Where is the light in their stories? I hope we will find out.

Observations & favorite moments:
  • I have to nominate the entire cast for the final few minutes of the episode. I knew what was coming and didn't expect to get emotional at all. But those final few moments between Oliver and Laurel were really great — that sob of emotion that Stephen Amell displayed upon seeing the photo was perfect; Katie Cassidy's dialogue with Amell was also very well-acted and heartbreaking. And then watching the cast react to the death of Laurel was so gut-wrenching. Everyone's reactions were so beautiful and raw, but none more than Paul Blackthorne's. The wordless and breathless way he collapsed was just sob-inducing.
  • I un-muted the flashbacks this week. I regret everything.
  • "Some guy with perfect teeth and a missing hand." HAAAAA.
  • "There's something I haven't told you guys." "SHOCKER." Life goal: sass level as brilliant as Thea's.
  • Oh, right: Darhk escaped from prison with a helping hand (haaaaa) from Malcolm Merlyn. There is no way this could possibly go wrong in the future. Also, I think Malcolm and Thea are still... fighting? I don't know, and it seems like Arrow has no idea what kind of relationship these two have anymore. Nothing about their "sub-plot" (if you could even call it that) made sense.
  • "Well, then, I'm gonna hit people on the streets."
  • The Arrow Cave's security suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Literally ANYONE can walk in. I'm 99% when the show returns that one day the team will just find a random Star(ling) City school choir practicing down there because I bet the acoustics are awesome.
  • Katie Cassidy's little "hmm" when Laurel is talking to Darhk was so hilarious and adorable.
  • "A father would do anything to protect his daughter from the Dar(h)k." I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, SHOW.
  • "Not all men are like you, Oliver. Some of us change. Some of us grow. Some of us evolve."
  • Both Canaries died via arrows to the chest and, as someone on Twitter pointed out, both were killed by a Queen sibling's arrows.
  • "I'm really glad that you found Felicity. And I hope you find your way back to her." I cried. I am not ashamed to admit it.
  • The score during the death scene? Gorgeous.
Arrow is on a mini-hiatus until April 27th! Until then, hit up the comments with thoughts about what happens after the grave.


  1. This was a really disappointing episode, because it did just what you thought it was going to do, and it kept pushing it off until later in the episode. Diggle's brother was going to betray him. Arrow was going to get caught questioning Diggle's brother (I am not sure if I want to remember his name) by Diggle. Speedy was going to lose a fight with her one handed dad. Canary was going to die. Felicity was going to be too late to help, if she could have at all, and the bad guy was going to get everything he wanted. Any daytime soap can do that. Why are we getting this in this episode?

    Probably the same reason Arrow struggles in the middle of seasons, seemingly, more often than not. They know how they want to end, they know where they want to start, and...well, they don't know anything else.

    I still say this is Felicity's hero arc, although they are probably pushing Diggle's and Speedy's through as well, but on a slower schedule. Felicity was essentially cut from this episode to give more time to Cassidy/Oliver, but it looked like a last minute choice given the show synopsis and the episodes overall pacing and pedestrian plodding through the motions of killing Canary like she was the third female supporting actress on Days of Our Lives. I was never a fan of her character, but she deserved better.

    The mess of this season and the other shows of the DC universe, okay Flash is barely holding it together, looks like the strain of too few doing too much. Legends is a disaster. Flash is inconsistent, and Arrow is the old man in the group desperate for new blood. Their hero is all he ever will be but happy. Now what? Kill a problematic character? If you want to really shake the show, kill Thea in the first 5 minutes of an episode by a better fighter, and then give us the rest of the episode to twist with the characters, because when you are heavy-handed in your death scenes, we are not grieving at home as the characters take a break for 3 weeks. We are bored. But don't kill Thea. We have to like someone in the group from week to week, and they won't let that be Oliver, and I am believe the Arrow writers no longer know what they want except for the finale.

    On a side note: could we get flashbacks to season 1 in season 6...assuming? He's always 5 years in the past. Why stop now?

    Sorry. Overly ranty. I do like liking things.

    1. Probably the same reason Arrow struggles in the middle of seasons, seemingly, more often than not. They know how they want to end, they know where they want to start, and...well, they don't know anything else.


      The episode shouldn't have promoted itself as "the one where we find out about the grave." It would have packed a huge punch if it had blindsided us instead. But as such, I felt the exact same thing you did where I was like: "GET TO THE DEATH ALREADY." And then THEY DID A FAKE-OUT WITH THAT, TOO. Ugh.

      but it looked like a last minute choice given the show synopsis and the episodes overall pacing and pedestrian plodding through the motions of killing Canary like she was the third female supporting actress on Days of Our Lives. I was never a fan of her character, but she deserved better.

      Yeah they CLEARLY had a sub-plot built with Curtis and Felicity but... nope, let's go as SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE AND BUILD UP TO THE DEATH AT THE LAST MINUTE. It was such slow-going for a while. The first half of the episode had decent pacing but the last half dragged.

      I'll disagree about Laurel. Their desire to kill her had less to do with her being problematic and simply the fact that they couldn't write any good stories about her. You've got Diggle's conflict with his brother/family; Felicity dealing with Oliver and also running a company and making the world better; Thea's struggle has been about assimilation in spite of bloodlust and her weirdo relationship with her dad.

      But Laurel's... had no arc since Sara. I couldn't even tell you what she's been doing since then. So while killing her off will serve to refocus the show (I hope), it's also what I think is the first time a character is going to be killed for a purpose rather than a shock factor. Amanda Waller? Shock. (And a good one at that.) But Laurel's death is the first one we've had to the team ever and so I'm hoping that Laurel's death will actually propel the team closer together and to the light than further apart (like Sara's death drove them).

      On a side note: could we get flashbacks to season 1 in season 6...assuming? He's always 5 years in the past. Why stop now?

      By season 8, it'll just be clip shows that cut out to: "Remember that time...?" :P

    2. I agree that Laurel's character has had less to do, but that was because that is how they wrote the episodes. Her character has lost its appeal to the show steadily since season 2 as Felicity has grown in importance, and it was never something that was ever going to change. They changed because it not only worked better for fans, but it worked better for the powers that be on the show.

      I have nothing against the actress, I have thought since season 2 she had a losing hand, but the show has moved away from her because the other characters have been better accepted by the audience and many times, performed and written better.

      If this is Felicity's arc, then ultimately, this is the logical step to not only make room for more Felicity (and not at any version of the Canary), but to push her back into the group so her relationship can repair with Oliver, and of course, force the audience into a contrived because they contrived it process between Oliver and Felicity including all of the relationship tropes of a soap opera short of alien pregnation and amnesia. You would think they could kill the flashbacks now. They have a Bold and the Beautiful level of mush to gel up. Surely that can be more in real time.

  2. Maybe I´m the only one thinking this, but the best part of season 4 is that Laurel is gone (although I don´t think for good). I never liked her, however I must admit she was growing on me lately, not that much though that I wanted her to stay. Darhk is a marvelous bad guy, he´s not Ra´s but he does the part really well. The rest of the cast is strugling to get there... not even Olicity is appealing for me anymore (I mean, I keep shipping them but the magic is gone) and now Laurel dies telling Oliver he always will be the love of her life..... Really? No, thank you. Not in that moment, not without something leading to that...
    Also, someone should tell the writers or whoever is in charge of making the show, that they can´t stop the fiver years ago plot, it was good (and necessary) in season one, I don´t even remember what season two was about, I liked it in season three because Maseo was one of my favourite characters of the season... but really, stop it.
    So all in all I´m pretty disappointed in this season, almost every character is losing the spark that make me loved them, but there are exceptions of course, like Diggle,Quentin (my poor thing) Thea (I love when she said "shocker"), and Curtis is the best of all times...
    Let´s hope they fix it a lot for the season finale, fingers crossed!


  3. I`m conflicted honestly I am conflicted. This was a good episode and I do find alot of good points, but I am also thoroughly angry with this episode. To be fair before I started typing this I calmed down before I snapped my comptuer screen in half but I`m calm.

    Team Arrow got played like a fiddle, we have good character moments and future devlopment with Diggle and Oliver. There was some good action in the show the villian got his power back and Ms.Dhark is Mayor and a hero was lost in the fight and had a good final message of love.

    On the other hand parts of me wants to yell at the writers that they threw "Black Canary under the bus for Olicity!" But I don't think that was the point and I`m just mad we lost the Black Canary. This feels like they killed Alfred in a Batman Adaptation I mean BC is a core part of the mythology and a powerful character in her own right.

    That ending scene its logical because Laurel was being nice..but the comic side wanted me to yell at the writers. I just don't know how to feel about it at the end of the day. This episode feels so wrong but yet outside of her death this was a good episode. I`m going to get some hot chocolate..I might still watch Arrow.

    1. I`m still need to really think if I want to keep watching Arrow outside of just finding out how the season ends.


      Team Arrow got played like a fiddle...

      You hit upon something that is REALLY important this season to me in terms of why I'm disliking these episodes: is this team REALLY stupid? Like, how did they not think ahead better, both in terms of the idol and prison? I'm no superhero vigilante, but I would assume -- maybe just a LITTLE -- that Darhk has some loyal followers in jail and that by attacking him, you're essentially going to risk going up against his followers too.

      Furthermore, a stupid decision? Oliver shooting Darhk with arrows while the idol is in his grasp. Doesn't Oliver know about the whole blood thing? OH, RIGHT. LOGIC. SORRY. At that point, Team Arrow literally handed Darhk back his magical powers. *heavy sigh*

      All of that aside, the pacing of this episode is what was the worst, for me. We had a lot of time to build up to a death (and a whole lot of plot-progressing here), but not enough time to care about the death.

      On the other hand parts of me wants to yell at the writers that they threw "Black Canary under the bus for Olicity!" But I don't think that was the point and I`m just mad we lost the Black Canary. This feels like they killed Alfred in a Batman Adaptation I mean BC is a core part of the mythology and a powerful character in her own right.

      I'll agree with you to an extent here. BC is a powerful character... in the comics. I think the writers REALLY rushed Laurel's arc and her transformation into BC and they knew it. The thing is, that storyline was so important when Sara was dead. But, as Oliver pointed out, she's not dead anymore.

      So it's almost like the writers had Oliver asking in that scene: "Why are you even BC anymore?" Now, BC is iconic and we can agree to disagree about that Oliver/Felicity thing. The show tried Oliver/Laurel and were never going to have an edngame of them ever again. (Kudos, by the way, to them realizing that instead of doing what HIMYM did and dredge up the past at the very end unnecessarily.)

      So was Felicity the reason Laurel had to die? Pfffft, no. Even if Oliver was dating someone else in this show, Laurel would have still needed to be the character to die. Her storylines fizzled out once Sara left and Laurel-as-BC didn't add a whole lot to the missions in general.

      I think the writers realized that they tried and failed with the BC thing and rather than trying again with someone else in the mask, they were just going to scrub that character from their universe. They've already tried two different iterations of Canary, and now I think they're just going to shelve that character for now.

      Again: Laurel is the one who died here, which people seem to forget. Black Canary isn't dead, necessarily. Logistically bringing in another person to "become" Black Canary would be a stupid move at the moment, but that iconic character can still live on if the writers choose to.

  4. Jenn - as always, love your review of Arrow. I'm curious as to what Laurel had Oliver promise to do right before she died. Any thoughts?

    1. Thank you for your comments, Kim!

      Hmmmm. That promise could be one of many things. But my guess? I'm going to assume she tells him not to blame himself, not to blame other people for the decisions they make. Or something along those lines. It would make sense as to why Oliver is more composed at the grave than he is at the hospital, and would springboard us nicely into the new "theme" of Team Arrow moving forward.

      What I think would be REALLY interesting though? If this somehow ties into Felicity asking Oliver to kill Darhk. Laurel could either do the same and tell him to end it.

  5. Hmm, I am feeling ambivalent about this week's episode. There were some good moments (the cast did an excellent job especially in the final scenes) and some interesting developments.

    It just felt strangely out of place or out of sync with the rest of the season somehow. I felt like the pace was all wrong. Storylines and character moments, while promising ideas, felt like they were dropped on me. Some examples:
    - Andy's storyline is a thread that has been left to the side for so long that I felt jarred at his presence this week. I haven't seen the Diggle brothers interacting in so long and by this week they are super close, Andy is no longer under much if any supervision (are there no consequences since we last saw him? I thought he was under some kind of arrest with Argos or something), and he has Dig's trust back completely. I'm not saying it's unreasonable for all this to happen but because I haven't witnessed any of it I feel out of sync with Diggle's refusal to listen to Oliver's warnings (he may be an idiot sometimes but his danger detector still works like a charm).
    - Oliver's insistence during his fight with Dig that he has NOT come out of the darkness, that he is what the island made him, seemed a loss of faith that came out of nowhere. Why the about turn to doubting his own goodness so completely? Yup, Oliver screwed up in the relationship department but I haven't seen him do anything to make me believe he should have slid so far as to believe that he hasn't made any changes at all. Did I miss something? That felt like something out of another season.
    - While Oliver and Laurel have had some good moments (I truly enjoyed their conversations last week) it seemed out of place to have Laurel talking about their relationship in such terms at this point. I am glad they had that last talk together. I just wanted more bits of relationship rebuilding if they wanted that scene for Laurel at the end (which was a great scene from all the actors). Give me more stuff leading up it and it would have felt less out of place.

    Stray thoughts:
    Well, Andy is certainly not long for this world. With this betrayal I can only see him having to die for real. And flashback girl is also a goner (not that we didn't already know that). As soon as she makes a pact with Oliver to deliver messages to loved ones in case of death it was super underlined. And this sets up how and why Oliver goes to Russia. I'm intrigued enough by that story line to put up with flashbacks next year (but they still have to make them count more)
    - Oliver FINALLY told his team he recognised the statue (legit sass from Thea). Although they seem to immediately drop it and not look for any further intel.
    - I think Thea is right on about her father's motives. He truly believes HIVE can't be stopped so he goes with the stronger team. As if we needed any more proof he is a spineless weasel at heart. And him angry with Darhk because of what getting the idol "cost" him? I assume he means his relationship with his daughter. As if it wasn't already ruined and as if he hasn't been the one ruining it since he drugged her to kill for him. She's full of rage but can't bring herself to kill him. Poor kid.
    - Their plan to keep a piece of the idol hidden might have gone better without the whole betrayal thing but I still don't understand why they didn't just destroy the whole thing or one piece outright so it was never a weapon again.
    - This is about the time of year that everything usually goes down the drain. Must be April.

    1. BECCA! As always, your comments are golden.

      I almost wonder -- given your pacing comments -- as to whether or not this episode was supposed to happen earlier in the season and then got jumbled around. Remember a few episodes ago where Andy kept getting mentioned but we did not see him AT ALL? I assume it was suppose to maximize our shock at actually seeing him the end of 4x17, but... yeah, that whole storyline felt weirdly rushed.

      - While Oliver and Laurel have had some good moments (I truly enjoyed their conversations last week) it seemed out of place to have Laurel talking about their relationship in such terms at this point. I am glad they had that last talk together. I just wanted more bits of relationship rebuilding if they wanted that scene for Laurel at the end (which was a great scene from all the actors). Give me more stuff leading up it and it would have felt less out of place.

      I agree. I get what they were aiming for (Jen perfectly expressed it in her review as Laurel forgiving Oliver and Oliver being so struck by that), but -- again -- these two have had nice, gradual conversations recently but nothing about their relationship.

      Their plan to keep a piece of the idol hidden might have gone better without the whole betrayal thing but I still don't understand why they didn't just destroy the whole thing or one piece outright so it was never a weapon again.


      This is about the time of year that everything usually goes down the drain. Must be April.

      A testament to the actors is how their stunning performance sold a totally medicore episode. This show has more holes than Swiss cheese does at this point, but -- for one week only! -- I didn't mind as much, simply because of the believability of their performances.

      THAT BEING SAID... does everyone else think this episode shouldn't have been promoted as The One Where Everyone Finds Out Who's In the Grave? Because if it had just been promoted as another episode and then BAM! We get surprised by death? Would have made it easier in terms of pacing and a lot less of me looking at the clock at 8:55 going: "Wait, how is she still alive? She has to die in a minute and we've spent 54 minutes so far with NOTHING."

    2. Exactly! It´s the same they did last year with Olicity´s first time, they put it in a promo... why!!??

  6. Well the article does what it says, its truly objective and professional. The review is a touching love letter to the fallen character/hero.

    Happy to read true reviews by THIS "Olicity" Jen.

    1. Thank you! Apart from the episode itself being pretty slow, the cast gave exceptional performances, and Laurel's death honored her in the way most TV shows (ahem, The 100) have failed to do recently. She may not have been my favorite but deserved to be honored in the way she thankfully was. :)