Spoilers ahead for “Canary Cry,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow!
The short version: The gang deals with the aftermath of Laurel’s death, though Capt. Lance is having some trouble processing his grief. Diggle is also blaming himself (since, yeah, it is kinda his fault) and taps into a rage we’ve never seen before from the typically level-headed hero. Oh, and we get some sweet Laurel flashbacks (*tear*).
The Laurel flashbacks were a nice touch
This episode had a lot going on, but they decided to frame the entire story around a series of flashbacks to right after Season 1 (replacing the typical island flashbacks, in a nice touch). We open with a funeral, as many fans expected, but it’s not Laurel’s — it’s Tommy’s. We get to see Laurel help Oliver process his grief over Tommy’s death, and it’s a nice reminder of the deep history between the trio that served as the core cast in the first season.
We get to see Laurel’s limitless optimism in those early days, as well as the doomed romance between her and Oliver. She wanted to change the world, and she did.
If Capt. Lance wasn’t ripping your heart out, you’re dead inside
You knew it would be tough for Capt. Lance to lose another daughter (though the first one did come back, admittedly), and it was even more brutal than expected. After everything he’s seen throughout the course of the series, Quentin is determined that Laurel isn’t really gone for good. First, his denial latches on to a rogue Black Canary sighting from after Laurel’s death, as he clings to hope that maybe she somehow survived and escape.
Once that hope is dashed, he calls Nyssa al Ghul and starts packing for a trip to Nanda Parbat. He knows the Lazarus Pit is the magical McGuffin that eventually brought Sara back from the dead, so he figures they can do the same with Laurel. But what he doesn’t know is that Nyssa destroyed the pit while battling with Malcolm Merlyn for control of the League. So that well is (literally) dried up. This was a really interesting way to show Lance’s grief over Laurel’s death, and his denial is absolutely believable. People have come back from the dead (fake death, assumed death and literal death) more times than you can count on Arrow. Who can blame him for thinking there has to be some way to bring his daughter back to life? Anyone who has seen the things he’s seen at this point would almost certainly do the same.
It also sets up a very poignant moment between Quentin and Oliver where they both have to finally accept this loss and try to move on. Paul Blackthorne is digging deep for that raw emotion, and positively killing it. He even pulls out an ugly cry. One of the best, and most underrated, performances on this series.
Oh, and about that other Black Canary
It’s a bit of a stretch to think this teenage girl (who is admittedly an athlete) can just snag the Canary Cry weapon, manage to actually reprogram it (getting around Cisco’s security, no less), then go on a killing spree and pull off an all-out assault on the mayor. But it served as a good way to talk about Laurel’s legacy, so we’ll let it slide. We learn via info-dump that this Kid Canary is actually one of the brainwashed(?) survivors from Darhk’s gas chamber back at Christmas (when Oliver had to rescue the gang). She blames Team Arrow for leaving her there (which, OK, kind of a fair point) and goes after anyone she thinks is associated with Hive. (But how did she know the new mayor is actually Darhk’s wife? Did she visit Reddington Industrial where they were being held, maybe?)
But, in going after the new mayor, she’s basically torched the reputation of the Black Canary, leading the city to declare war on vigilantes (along with Diggle’s attack on the mayor). But Oliver is able to get through to her in the end, saving Darhk’s wife (ugh), but also preserving Laurel’s legacy (yay).
Diggle goes dark and nearly goes too far
For as long as this show has been on the air, Diggle has always been the level-headed light to Oliver’s blame-heavy darkness. But, the tables turned in a big way in “Canary Cry.” Diggle’s unwavering trust of his brother played a major role in Laurel’s death, and though everyone tries to tell him it's not his fault, he knows his mistake was a big one. So, he finally snaps and pulls a gun on Darhk’s wife, and you have to wonder what he might’ve done if Oliver hadn’t intervened.
In the moments that follow, Diggle finally rips off his helmet and just bashes his fists into a car, so angry and frustrated that he can’t fix his mistake. It was a gut-punch to see Diggle finally pushed to his limit, and it’s something we really have never seen before. Ripe storytelling here, and the writers are doing a great job with it.
We finally catch up to the flash forward
We finally got to see the full version of the funeral scene that has hung over the entire season, as the gang says goodbye to Laurel and declares that Oliver has to kill Darhk. Just as soon as they figure out a way to do it, of course. We even get that graveside Barry Allen cameo (who has his speed powers back, as any keen-eyed Flash fans certainly noticed).
Oliver also reveals Laurel’s secret identity, which was a nice nod to preserve her legacy as a hero. Though, you do have to wonder if that might get anyone thinking that, hey, that ripped handsome guy who knew she was Black Canary bears a striking resemblance to the Green Arrow… But, I digress.
Up next: Only a few episodes remain, as Team Arrow takes the fight to Darhk — and Diggle comes face-to-face with his brother Andy. Yeah, this should be good.