Warning: Full spoilers for Arrow Season 7, Episode 18 below. If you need a refresher on where we left off, check out our review for Season 7, Episode 17.
Many of Arrow’s biggest problems since Season 4 boil down to an overly large cast. It always seems like there are too many heroes and not enough room to do them all justice. And now with the series rapidly winding down, it’s all the more critical that the show clean the board if Oliver Queen’s heroic journey is going to receive the finish it deserves.
The good news is that the writers seem mindful of the need to streamline things leading into the final season. The series already bid farewell to Echo Kellum’s Curtis, and we recently learned that Emily Bett Rickards is leaving after Season 7. Now it appears that Katie Cassidy-Rodgers is bidding farewell to the Arrowverse, too. “Lost Canary” marked the end of Earth-2 Laurel Lance’s tenure in Team Arrow, and it’s not a bad way for this incarnation of the character to go out.
No matter what Earth she hails from, Arrow has had a rocky success rate when it comes to Laurel. She’s never fully embodied the Black Canary of the comics. That clearly was never the goal, hence the decision to divide the Black Canary mantle among so many characters. But while the entire Black Siren storyline has had its definite low points, in the end Laurel is a fundamentally more interesting character when she’s a bad person struggling to be good.
With that in mind, this episode wrapped up her multi-season arc in the only way it could, with Laurel’s dark past being revealed and her retreating back into the role of Black Siren. “Lost Canary” posed the fundamental question – can Laurel truly become a better person, or has she been living a lie all this time? And as we saw, Laurel is ultimately capable of doing justice to the legacy of her Earth-1 counterpart. She maybe just needs a reminder or two of how hard she’s worked to get this far.
It did seems as though Laurel’s arc was compressed a little too much. I’d rather have see her deal with being a pariah and a fugitive for a few episodes before getting her big send-off. It’s as though she flipped a mental switch with the way she so quickly and totally reverted to Black Siren mode. This whole storyline pretty much glossed over the fact that by taking on the name and identity of Earth-1 Laurel, Earth-2 Laurel basically destroyed the reputation of one of Star City’s honored dead. There’s some definite missed potential there, even though Laurel more or less smoothed things over in the end.
If anything, the flash-forward storyline helped the most in terms of cementing her character arc and sending Laurel off on a high note. In general, the flash-forward scenes were fairly bland this week – all action and little in the way of plot progression or interesting story developments. But seeing an older Laurel leap to Mia’s rescue with Canaries in tow made it all worthwhile. We see Laurel at her best and truly embodying the redemption being Black Canary offers. That final scene served as a strong farewell to a character who’s been a mainstay in one form or another for most of Arrow’s existence. And at the same time, it showed that Laurel hasn’t left Earth-1 behind forever.
Another major selling point with “Lost Canary” is that it’s a rare female-driven Arrow episode. Not just in terms of the cast, but also in that it was written and directed by women. We got a neat little subplot involving the return of Kodiak, but other than that it was the Felicity Smoak/Black Canary Power Hour. You have to wonder if this episode is intended as a litmus test for a possible Black Canary or Birds of Prey-esque spinoff. Or “Birds of Justice,” as Felicity referred to their team-up. With multiple Canaries on the team and Felicity filling in for Oracle, it could work.
That team-up included a very welcome guest appearance by Caity Lotz. It would have been a shame to wrap up Laurel’s journey without an appearance from her sister. More than that, Sara’s brief return helped reinforce the show’s legacy and remind us just how far these characters have come from the early seasons. After four seasons of Legends of Tomorrow, it’s hard to remember a time when Sara was just a humble vigilante trying to flee her troubled past. The interaction between Sara and Felicity was especially great, showing two close-knit friends reconnecting after a long and chaotic absence.
The closer Arrow gets to its endpoint, the greater the need becomes to trim down the supporting cast. Thankfully, “Lost Canary” played its part by bringing Earth-2 Laurel’s story to a fitting (if somewhat rushed) end. The guest appearance by Caity Lotz helped seal the deal, with Sara’s presence highlighting the show’s long, complex history and the deep relationship[s that have formed over the course of seven seasons.
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