For the past two years if you were to ask me who my most hated character on all of television was I’d answer with: Laurel Lance. It’s nothing against Katie Cassidy, who’s a fabulous actress that has made the best with what she was given, it’s just the character has been a train wreck since Tommy was killed off in the season one finale.
That disdain grew exponentially when the producers decided to kill off Sara Lance aka the first Canary as a means of advancing Laurel’s journey to becoming her comic book persona. While the death of Sara served as a means of motivation for Laurel, it wasn’t necessary. There were other ways to begin Laurel’s journey. And the fandom’s hate towards that decision sparked even more hatred for the Laurel character.
The concern isn’t Laurel’s journey to Black Canary (although that’s a whole other issue) so much as it is her journey towards redemption as a character. And, at least for me, part of that journey began last week in “Midnight City.”
Since the death of Sara in the season premiere, I’ve been apathetic towards Laurel. I watched but didn’t care about what happened to her. Then there were times where she downright pissed me off.
This gif sums it up:
But then, during “Midnight City,” the unexpected happened. I began to care about Laurel Lance.
Honestly, I’m as shocked as you are. But let’s get one thing straight, I’m not all of a sudden a supporter of the character nor am I convinced that she can be redeemed. But I care about what she’s going through and I’m intrigued about her journey right now. (So long as the writers don’t do anything to jeopardize that.)
I don’t know why it happened, but I can pinpoint the scene between her and Felicity as the moment where I began to feel sympathy for the character. I have no doubt that Felicity’s encouragement helped me get there (she could convince me of anything), but it was the basis of that conversation that triggered emotion inside of me.
Listen, let’s be frank, Laurel is far from winning over the majority of the fandom. Due to a combination of bad writing for the character and using fan favorite characters like Felicity and Diggle to try and make the audience accept her.
As far as “Midnight City” goes, it was one of my least favorite episodes of the series, but it might have been the best for Laurel in terms of how she’s perceived by the audience. There was a lot that I disliked about the episode, but the thing that pissed me off the most was Laurel pretending to be Sara.
There’s a line that you don’t cross and Arrow crossed it when they modified Laurel’s voice to sound like Sara as she lied to her father about being alive and well any lying to her father. As if that weren’t enough, at the end of the episode Laurel met her father in an alley dressed as the Canary and spoke to him in Sara’s voice again. It was one thing to lie on a phone call but to show up in person, dressed like Sara and lie to Quentin’s face was downright dirty. Plus, you can’t tell me that Quentin can’t tell his daughters apart.
But as for the few parts I liked (including that Oliver-Felicity dream kiss), for once Laurel made that list.
One of the concerns with Laurel is that she’s being thrust into this role too soon. And I couldn’t agree more. But because I have to deal with it – and because I promised myself that I’d do my best to give this storyline a try – my hope was that the writers would at least make it believable. That just because she wears a mask and costume that she’s suddenly her sister. And that’s what they did.
As Laurel suited up as Black Canary and went after bad guys in the field she got her ass handed to her. She’s got too many cuts and bruises to keep count of, and that’s exactly as it should be. She needs to fail. She needs to learn. Oliver and Sara didn’t become the badasses they are after a few boxing lessons and self defense. No, they themselves had to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail until eventually they tried and succeeded.
But the bigger question is: Can Laurel be redeemed? She’s far from it right now, but so long as the writers treat her journey organically and don’t use characters as props to her (cough, like Felicity and Diggle in “Midnight City”) I think they might have a chance. But one thing is for certain, if there is a possibility of Laurel being redeemed it’s a far ways off. Because redemption doesn’t come easy. It’s a journey, just like Laurel’s journey toward becoming Black Canary.