(Potential major spoilers ahead based off of set pictures, rumors, and confirmed paparazzi sightings on the Arrow and The Flash set, so read ahead if you dare.)
Let’s face it, at this point, it’s very obvious that Dinah Laurel Lance is going to be the one in the grave on Arrow. Multiple sites reported that 4×19 was the Katie Cassidy’s last day on set, where she was present filming a flashback funeral, but not seen in the present day funeral, so there’s really no point in denying it anymore.
A Green Arrow television show is killing off the Black Canary, a character most comic book fans would say is more iconic than the Green Arrow himself. This Dinah Laurel Lance, or “Laurel,” is a different, original incarnation of the Black Canary, but she still captures the essence of her comic counterpart.
She’s been a lawyer since we met her in the pilot episode: always searching and fighting for justice, which led her down a heartbreaking path. But perhaps the storyline that sold her, or broke her, for fans, was her depression and alcoholism story in season two. When Sara returned, Laurel went down a long, dark path of booze and drugs, unable to cope with her feelings for her sister, who “died” sleeping with her boyfriend. Laurel wasn’t able to cope with the anger, because they both supposedly died, and she couldn’t cope with her grief because she was so angry. This path solidified Laurel as a hero, but she had yet to earn the Black Canary mantle.
Season three saw Sara dead and Laurel dealing with the other emotion she felt the first time: anger. Instead of receding back to alcoholism, Laurel channeled her anger into fighting and the law. She trained with Ted Grant to defend herself and learn to protect those she loves, while she used the justice system as her way of helping Oliver defend the city. But when he disappeared and the city was in peril, she suited up. She had enough training to join Roy, Diggle, and Felicity, and help protect the city. She became the infamous Black Canary. It was a struggle for her to step up to becoming a hero, but Laurel Lance was always trying to save the world and protect everyone. And the entire story was so poorly written. Laurel had taken years of self-defense classes, but couldn’t punch a man in the face without stumbling? Really?
Laurel stepped into the shoes of her comic counterpart, and though they were similar in many ways, they were not equal, though I believe that Arrow’s version does Dinah justice, regardless of the poor writing surrounding her character. At least she’s not a cheap counterfeit of Batman, but that’s not my business.
Laurel struggled so much with getting Oliver to accept her new role as a hero, and when he finally did, the scene was deleted, and we didn’t see it happen. Instead, he took off into the sunset with Felicity, leaving Diggle, Thea, and Laurel, to protect Star City. When they couldn’t without his help, he reluctantly returned, and Black Canary was once again pushed to the background. Now, she’s had hardly any story in season four, other than resurrecting her sister and getting demonized by Oliver and the fandom for that choice, and she’s being killed off of the show.
Laurel Lance has been through so much: she’s dealt with her sister’s death, twice, her parents divorcing, her boyfriend dying, her dead boyfriend returning, almost being killed multiple times, and finding out that Thea, who is basically her sister, was brainwashed and killed Sara, her actual sister. Laurel went through her dark time of depression, and dealt with it the only way she knew how: through booze and pills, but she found her way out. She helped her father overcome his addiction. She helped Oliver realize who he was and helped him survive on the island, in a picture that he carried for five years, though that conveniently disappeared from canon, too.
Killing her off means destroying a symbol of bravery, hope, courage, and strength, for so many fans, including myself, that looked to her through our own depression, or understood the loss of losing a sister or anyone close to you. Killing her off means undoing all of the good that her story did for fans of the show, and blatantly disrespecting the source material, even more than Arrow already has.
Dinah Laurel Lance, the Arrow incarnation, means so much to the story and fans, it is a shame that they would kill off the one character that had made remarkable character growth in four seasons. They already had pushed her to the background, and now, as Katie Cassidy was seen on The Flash set for episode 2×22, rumors are circling that she’ll be playing Earth-2’s Black Canary, but I’m not even sure I want that. I love Katie Cassidy, she is a phenomenal actress, but part of the reason Laurel Lance was such an incredible character was her tragic backstory, and the relationships she had with the team, and with her family. Introducing a fraud of the character, and if fans get their wish, bringing her to Earth-1 permanently for a role on either Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, or The Flash, would ruin the incredible dynamics we have between Laurel and the other characters. Never again will we get to see Laurel and Quentin’s amazing, heartfelt scenes, that keeps Arrow balanced with tender, family moments, since Oliver has all but forgotten his sister exists.
Dinah Laurel Lance is important to Arrow, and I wish the writers would have seen that.
Arrow continues Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.