To be honest, I do not remember having a strong feeling about Laurel Lance in the first season of Arrow. I liked how she used her law degree to get justice for those who might otherwise be on their own, but that is about the only opinion I had of her. After season one, Laurel entered a downward spiral that, while understandable, was not necessarily likable. Blaming the vigilante for Tommy’s death seemed farfetched and for a while I wondered if her relationship with her dad was broken beyond repair. Then, after Sara died, she tried to become a vigilante herself, but looked more like the vengeful Oliver we saw in season one rather than someone who brings hope and safety, which is what Sara would have wanted. I thought for sure season four would be the time when we saw the redemption of Laurel, where her character was no longer stagnate and her story line predictable.
However, viewers were disappointed once again with her insistence upon the resurrection of Sara via the Lazarus Pit, despite the opposition of everyone important in her life. At this point, I had truly given up on not just liking Laurel, but hoping for her to make a comeback. Thankfully, I gave up just a little too soon. The mid-season finale had me rooting for this character I thought had no hope and the winter premiere makes me think this was not a one-episode arc, but perhaps a new Laurel to love. What happened?
She has a healthy relationship with her dad. I love Quentin Lance. He wants to do the right thing, but puts the safety of his daughters above everything else. He loves Laurel and Sara so much. However, this need to constantly protect them not only leads him to make poor decisions, but also can keep them confined. After his struggle with alcoholism and getting hurt badly enough to spend a lot of time in the hospital, Laurel worries about her dad and feels like it is her responsibility to take care of him. What they seem to forget is that he is a trained police officer and she is a kick ass vigilante. They need to learn to give each other space and trust the other to take care of themselves. Of course they will worry, but in the mid-season finale they finally have the conversation that lets them both be heroes. Plus, she totally doesn’t freak out when she finds out her dad is dating Felicity’s mom. Maturity, guys.
She is supportive of Oliver as a friend, and not a jealous ex. Throughout the first couple of seasons, Oliver spends time with several different women. Laurel doesn’t necessarily act like a crazy ex (except maybe with Sara, but that’s understandable), but you can tell she’s not particularly happy seeing Oliver with someone else. In both the mid-season finale and the winter premiere, Laurel is so supportive of Oliver’s relationship with Felicity and you can tell she has allowed herself to truly care for them both. When Oliver proposes, Laurel cheers with the crowd but also has a huge smile on her face showing her complete joy over the happiness of her friends. When Felicity was in the hospital, Laurel spent a lot of time visiting Felicity and insisted Oliver go visit despite his fears and anger.
“You won’t get an argument from me.”
She cares for Thea as a sister. I will admit, Laurel has been doing this for most of season 4, but it is a reminder that Laurel is finally at a point in her life where she can help care for other people and be the person who centers others back to reality.
She risks her life to save her friends. I adore Felicity, Diggle, and Thea. When they were all trapped in a gas chamber hanging on for dear life, I was not a happy camper. But then, who shows up to save them? Laurel. If she had not changed in any way, but only saved those three’s lives, I would be a Laurel Lance fan. This scene reveals that Laurel is not just a vigilante as an outlet for her anger anymore, but she truly sees herself as part of the Arrow team, part of a family.
She stands up to Oliver and I actually agree with her. In the winter premiere, we see Laurel and Oliver argue more than once. The duo are not strangers to arguments, but often in the past it has been Laurel who wanted to do something rash or dangerous (like bring her sister back from the dead) and Oliver who is right. In “Blood Waters,” the pair switches places and I found myself saying “You go Laurel” or “Would you listen to her already, Oliver?!” Laurel is finally the rational woman we have seen very little of since season one.
She remembers you can save people in the light. Laurel became a lawyer so she could help people according to the law. She wanted to help people the right way. This is the Laurel we knew in season one. After her [understandable] downward spiral, she becomes dark and wants to live and act in the shadows. But, in the series premiere of Legends of Tomorrow, Laurel is the one telling Sara that it is possible to live in the light.
We learned at the beginning of Arrow that Laurel was strong, sensible, and caring. However, it has been several seasons since we have really gotten to see this side of her. It may have taken a while, but if the last couple of episodes are any indication, Laurel Lance has finally become the tough yet loving character we all knew she could be and I, for one, cannot wait to keep cheering her on as the series continues. Here’s something I never thought I’d say: more Laurel, please!
Be sure to check out the Black Canary on Arrow on The CW Wednesdays at 8pm/7c.