Black Canary Lives
Things pick up where they left off three weeks ago with Captain Lance finding out that Laurel is dead and is understandably devastated. Diggle isn’t taking it much better since he feels his blindly trusting Andy caused Laurel’s death. Oliver begs him not to blame himself (knowing from experience how little that accomplishes), though those words don’t provide much comfort.
Meanwhile, some thugs are looking to buy some illegal guns when they’re interrupted by a woman dressed like Black Canary, who even has Laurel’s signature Canary Cry. She easily incapacitates the thugs and runs off with the illegal guns.
The next day at Arrow HQ, Oliver brings the team in (Felicity included) to come up with a game plan to find Damien. Before they can properly discuss this, however, Captain Lance comes in to tell them about the Black Canary sighting following Laurel’s death. Captain Lance thinks this might be proof that Laurel’s still alive, pointing out that this wouldn’t exactly be anything new for Team Arrow. When Oliver takes a look at Laurel’s personal effects from the hospital, he realizes that her sonic device is missing.
Oliver and Captain Lance go to the hospital morgue to find that Laurel’s body is still there (much to Captain Lance’s disappointment). Oliver then talks to the doctor who operated on Laurel and thanks her for keeping for Black Canary identity a secret. Much to my surprise, Laurel’s double life has been kept under wraps pretty effectively so far with her death being explained that she’d been caught in the crossfire of the Iron Heights riots while doing a deposition for Damien’s trial. Oliver then tells the doctor about Laurel’s sonic device had been stolen. The doctor then tells Oliver about a patient who’s had to visit the hospital frequently over the last few months and that there’s something off about her. The bad news is that the doctor won’t tell Oliver her name because of doctor/patient confidentiality which Oliver doesn’t argue with since she gave the same courtesy to Laurel.
Back at Arrow HQ, Diggle continues to feel responsible for everything that happened at Iron Heights. When he tells the whole story to Felicity, unlike Oliver, she noticeably doesn’t Diggle that it wasn’t his fault.
Meanwhile, Thea meets up with Alex for dinner (anybody else surprised these two are still a thing?). Alex tries his best to be comforting to her but that gets rudely interrupted when the Black Canary impostor shows up and basically beats the crap out of him and angrily accuses him of “working for them.” Thea intervenes but not-Black Canary gets away. Oliver is eventually able to corner her and demands to know why she’s masquerading as the Black Canary. Rather than answer Oliver though, not-Black Canary instead accuses him of abandoning her and her family at “Reddington” much to Oliver’s confusion. She then uses the Canary Cry again to disable Oliver so she can escape again.
Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver notes that Laurel’s stolen sonic device seems to have been modified to be more lethal since his earplugs proved to be useless. Felicity, on the other hand, is surprised that Laurel’s copycat could get the device to work at all since Cisco had designed it to work specifically for Laurel. Oliver then realizes that the copycat’s family were likely among the prisoners used for Damien’s gas chamber experiments that we saw in the winter finale. With that information, Felicity is able to identify the copycat as a teenager with a gymnastics background named Evelyn Sharp.
Captain Lance meanwhile has gotten in touch with Nyssa hoping to use the Lazarus Pits to revive Laurel. Nyssa reminds him (and presumably the audience) however that she destroyed the Pits months ago. Captain Lance refuses to believe this and assumes there’s another Pit hidden somewhere (to be fair my guess is he’ll be proven right within the next couple of years). Unfortunately, Nyssa tearfully tells him there’s nothing she can do so he vows to find some other way.
Oliver finds himself alone with Felicity for the first time in quite awhile. They both admit they feel like they’re to blame for Laurel’s death. Oliver because that’s his go-to move when things go wrong with the team and Felicity because she feels like she should’ve been there to help the team. Felicity also confesses that the reason she didn’t try to keep Diggle from blaming himself because it helped her to not blame herself which really helped me get my fill of Felicity hate for the week. Granted, she apologizes to Diggle for this later but it felt like too little too late to me.
Oliver then finds out that Diggle has gone rogue and decided to attack Ruvé Adams. Since she acts even more smug than usual this week, I have to admit I got some satisfaction out of this but of course, Oliver shows up to talk him down. He tells him that no good can come from attacking Ruvé at this point since she’s now the mayor and therefore has the police and the media on her side. However, Diggle is too angry to care all that much and at this point just wants to find Andy. Oliver tells him though that whatever he plans to do to Andy won’t bring Laurel back and that Laurel wouldn’t want him to act this way.
Sure enough, Ruvé calls a press conference shortly after her encounter with Diggle and calls for the arrest of Team Arrow, starting with Black Canary/Evelyn. To add insult to injury, she even tries pinning Laurel’s murder on them. The team all agree they need to find Evelyn before the police do.
I’m Going to Kill Him
Nyssa contacts Oliver to warn him about Captain Lance’s behavior and fears that his denial will cause him to do something drastic. Oliver then finds Captain Lance to try to get him to accept that there’s nothing either of them can do to bring Laurel back, no matter how much they want to. Captain Lance finally ends his denial which in turn causes him to let out all of his repressed grief and cries uncontrollably.
Team Arrow then discover that Evelyn plans to avenge her parents by killing Ruvé. Diggle is understandably in favor of letting Ruvé die but Felicity reminds him that it would also tarnish the Black Canary legacy. Ruvé’s security team are tipped off about Evelyn pretty quickly and want to get her to a safer location but she smugly refuses, saying “let her come” (has she never seen how incompetent security guys are in Star City?). Unsurprisingly, Evelyn makes pretty short work of Ruvé’s security and is just about to kill her until Oliver talks her out of it. Once Evelyn leaves, Ruvé tries having Oliver arrested of course but since SCPD continues to suck, Oliver just zip-lines out of the building.
Afterward, Thea points out that people are still going to assume that Evelyn is the real Black Canary (more on that in the analysis) and that Ruvé will continue to use that as an excuse to drag Laurel’s name through the mud. Oliver thinks he has an idea to fix that, though.
At Laurel’s funeral, Captain Lance has seemingly come to grips with Laurel’s death and helps his ex-wife Dinah to do the same since she seems to be going through the same denial he did. Oliver then goes to give a eulogy for Laurel and tells everyone that Laurel confided in him that she was the Black Canary just before she died to put to rest any future smear campaigns against her.
The grave scene between Oliver and Barry during the season premiere has now become present day and once again Oliver has vowed to kill Damien. Barry then speeds away, which has to be slightly confusing for fans of The Flash, since last I checked Barry doesn’t even have his speed at the moment. We’re then taken to the limo scene where Felicity tells Oliver that he needs to kill Damien. Oliver tells her it’s not that simple and doesn’t even know if he’ll even be physically able to do it. Felicity says that she refuses to believe that and that he needs to find a way for everyone’s sake (yes Oliver this is solely your responsibility apparently).
The flashbacks take a break from Lian Yu this week (mostly) and instead go back to 2013 at Tommy Merlyn’s funeral. As it turns out, Oliver had originally planned to give a eulogy but instead decides to watch the funeral from the shadows and Laurel volunteers to take his place.
Oliver visits Laurel’s apartment later to apologize for backing out of Tommy’s eulogy. He says that he didn’t have the right to speak at the funeral because he believes he failed him. Laurel tries telling Oliver that he can’t blame himself but he says that she would too if she knew the whole story.
Cut to about a week later and we see Oliver and Laurel together at her apartment where they reminisce about Tommy. Laurel insists that there’s still hope for Oliver to make a difference for Starling City and they share a kiss.
The next day, Oliver leaves her a letter saying he’ll be leaving town for awhile but that he still loves her and thanks her for always seeing the best in him. We then see Oliver exile himself to Lian Yu.
Much like the episode following Sara’s death last season, this week’s episode largely took a break from the action to instead show our heroes deal with grief. Unfortunately, this time, it wasn’t really handled as well. For starters, the season’s plot hadn’t really started yet when Sara died so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Here, we only have four episodes left in the season so the lack of plot advancement just serves as another reminder that the season has been going in circles since the spring premiere. Also, the only reactions that I really found to be believable were Diggle and Captain Lance.
Diggle’s anger comes from two fronts. Not only did he just watch a close friend die but his brother’s betrayal is still fresh so naturally he’s out for blood. Also, while it’s clear that no one on Team Arrow actually blames him for what happened to Laurel, it’s perfectly understandable why he would feel responsible, which isn’t helped by a certain blonde hacker.
Captain Lance’s denial also feels natural, not only from the point of view of a grieving father but also as an unofficial member of Team Arrow. As I said earlier this season, death has had gradually less meaning on this show. This season alone has had so many character deaths reversed, retconned, faked or what have you that even the show has lampshaded it. So really, why should we believe that Laurel’s death will stick? Sure the writers have said that this one is for real but as a character on the show, why wouldn’t Captain Lance think she couldn’t be brought back to life after all the things he’s seen?
As for Oliver and Thea, they barely act like they have a reaction at all and I’ve already said my piece about Felicity.
That would’ve been more forgivable if it hadn’t been for our villain of the week Evelyn. I honestly don’t see how anybody could possibly think she’s the Black Canary, since apart from the blonde wig, she looks and acts nothing like her. The most glaring difference is that the actress playing Evelyn is a good five inches shorter than Katie Cassidy so really a Steven Seagal stunt double is more convincing than this.
Even the flashback felt more pointless than usual since it adds nothing to Oliver and Laurel’s backstory and the transitions are just bloody awful.
Tune in next week as Damien’s master plan finally goes underway in ‘Genesis.’