Arrow: 4.19 Canary Cry
In last week's review I talked about the waste that was Laurel Lance's death. After three years of the show not really sure how to develop her character, she emerged in season four as a much stronger character. We saw her as an Assistant DA trying to take down Darhk, her reconnection with Oliver and finally she felt like a worthwhile member of the team as her Black Canary became a much more believable hero. This season was what three years of indecisiveness, rushed plot lines and quasi romantic sub plots were building to; by killing her off it feels like we barely got to know the character she was meant to be.
Canary Cry was very much a touching tribute to her strength and heroism. Sure the sub plot with one of Darhk's teenage victims taking on the mantle of Black Canary felt like a distraction from the main cast but it also served to show how inspiring Lance had been. Her legacy, borne from Sara Lance, continued and it just took Oliver to show the girl what it really meant to be a hero, not a revenge-fuelled killer, though the episode did reverse that quite heavily when it came to Oliver himself (more on that in a bit). The episode became a quest to protect that legacy as much as it was about mourning Laurel Lance as new mayor Ruvé Adams upped her villainy by declaring the vigilantes - and the Black Canary in particular - criminals while holding up the deceased Laurel as a beacon of goodness. And so it was a bold twist to have Oliver reveal to the world that Laurel was the Black Canary at his funeral.
It was also an episode that gave Katie Cassidy one more moment in the limelight as the flashbacks focused on her and Oliver dealing with Tommy's death shortly after the season one finale. Needless to say I didn't miss the island-based flashbacks one bit. There were some lovely moments between Cassidy and Stephen Amell as two friends grieving over Tommy and connecting. It showed all of Laurel's strengths without any of the angst and whining that often became associated with her character in the show's early days before she took the path to becoming Black Canary. There was also another full circle moment from last week's episode as he left her the picture of her he had carried with him on the island.
But aside from the efforts to protect Laurel's legacy, the sub plot with the new 'Canary' felt like an attempt to play on the whole 'is she really dead?' vibe and it didn't really work. Perhaps it was designed to give Quentin something to obsess over though it really wasn't necessary. His plan to resurrect Laurel with the Lazarus Pit was both expected and foolish and I am glad that Nyssa was there to remind him that she destroyed it. It was a device that became a deux ex machina for Thea last season and a clever way to bring Sara Lance back to the Arrowverse but it needed to be removed from the show; with it, it would make any death in Arrow seem superfluous. After all, all you need to do is take a trip to Nanda Parbat and hey presto, you're back to life! There was some fantastic acting from Paul Blackthorne though as a grieving father. Kudos to David Ramsey too, as he portrayed a John Diggle filled with fury and guilt over his brother and the death of a close friend.
And then we had the funeral, bringing us to date with the flash forward tease in the first and mid-season openers. As I mentioned above, Oliver's decision to 'out' Black Canary proved to be a final touching tribute but it also raised a few questions. Oliver's decision to kill Darhk - and Felicity's furious agreement - seemed to go against his words to the young Canary impersonator. And Barry's cameo appearance made little sense. I never got that he knew Laurel well enough to rush across the country to the funeral and the episode made a rather big continuity error as he rushed off with super-human speed...despite the fact that at this point Zoom has drained him off his abilities. There was a similar issue last season with dark-Oliver's appearance in The Flash and it could have easily been avoided if he had walked off. After all, his late arrival could have easily been explained by the fact that he had taken a train to get to Star City.
Canary Cry was a nice tribute episode to Laurel Lance and gave Katie Cassidy the opportunity to shine one last time in a series of touching flashbacks. The sub plot with the fake Canary never really worked but the real drama was in the grief of Laurel's friends and family with Paul Blackthorne in particular knocking it out of the park in the acting stakes. The questionable decision to kill Laurel still hangs over the show but this episode proved that it could be more than 42 of miserable grieving and the drama continues to be there as we near the season's end.