Why Black Canary Can Certainly Die on ‘Arrow’

When it comes to season-long mysteries, no one has done it quite like Arrow this season with a grave mystery that has kept viewers intrigued and involved since the season four premiere back in October. That’s what happens when you tease a major character death in the first episode of what is a very long season.

Throughout the season fans have paid close attention to subtle clues from the show and spoilers online to speculate about the major cast member that is leaving the show. While there are certain spoilers that indicate the grave victim (if you’ve read spoilers, you know, if not this article is going to hint at them), there are some people that find it hard to believe that a certain superhero can in fact die on the show.

A popular theory that is floating around – one that happens to be backed by a lot of evidence – is that Laurel Lance is the one in the grave. While fans of Laurel Lance are no doubt quick to jump to defense, this theory that Laurel is the one in the grave is more about nods from the show than desire from fans. But there’s no ignoring the way that Laurel Lance’s demise has been set-up from the beginning.

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While Laurel has never been my favorite character on Arrow that has always been because of the way she’s been written since season one. But I will admit that this season on Arrow, Laurel has certainly redeemed herself in my eyes. But the fact of the matter is that she’s redeemed herself because that’s the way the writers are writing her. They’re finally giving her a redemption arc. And that redemption arc appears to exist as a means to bring an end to her story. To go out the hero.

There have been subtle teases throughout this season signaling Laurel’s demise – from the repeated “I can take care of myself” or “she can take care of herself” or “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you” or “be a hero in the light.” And that’s just a few. When you look closely all of the signs are there. Even if it might be hard for some fans to swallow.

Arrow -- "Code of Silence" -- Image AR414A_0056b.jpg -- Pictured: Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to Arrow, something that has always been a topic of conversation is the whole comic book of it all when it comes to show canon. There are some people that find it hard to believe that Laurel Lance – aka the Black Canary – can actually die on Arrow. Their defense is: “But she’s the Black Canary. The show certainly can’t kill her. She’s essential to the Green Arrow’s story.”

Now, this is something that we’ve heard often throughout the series whenever it came to Laurel’s role on the show from everything to her relationship with Oliver to her becoming the Black Canary to her seemingly safe future on this show. But if you tuned into Arrow in hopes to see a certain comic book version of Green Arrow come to life then you’re watching the wrong show. Arrow is its own entity.

But from the beginning Arrow has never tried to appear as something straight out of comic books. It’s always made it clear that Arrow was based on Green Arrow, who didn’t have a history that was as recognizable to the general public, and that this show was the producers own unique version that just so happened to include popular names from those comics, like Green Arrow and Black Canary, but also new names that weren’t even in the comics, like Felicity Smoak and John Diggle.

So this whole concept that Arrow isn’t like the comics isn’t a new revelation. It’s something that has been relevant since the show’s first season. With that said, the producers have free reign to make decisions as they see fit.

One of the more interesting things that surfaced recently was executive producer Marc Guggenheim talking about the so-called safety of superheroes in a world where they are put in dangerous situations on a regular basis. Guggenheim mentioned that he doesn’t think superheroes shouldn’t die, but if it makes sense from a story standpoint that it would be acceptable. Superheroes, while super, aren’t invincible. Sometimes heroes fall, as we’ve seen in this universe.

Now, I’m not saying I want Laurel to die because I wouldn’t wish death on any character on this show unless he’s Malcolm Merlyn (love you, John Barrowman). As someone who happens to be a huge fan of Black Canary in the comics, I accept the fact that her portrayal on Arrow was exactly that; a portrayal. Is it a portrayal that I loved? Not so much, but that doesn’t change my love for Dinah Lance in the comics. I accept them as two separate entities in a comic world where different versions are canon, after all.

So when it comes to the whole who can die question on Arrow, the answer is literally anyone. We’ve seen Arrow shock us with the deaths of Tommy Merlyn in season one, Moira Queen in season two, Sara Lance and Ra’s al Ghul in season three, and this season that promises a permanent death of a major cast member.

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Following all of the teases we’ve seen in the show and from the set of the show from filming of that funeral episode (episode 19, confirmed by Canadagraphs to be called “Canary Cry”) the real question is, how could it not be Laurel at this point? All signs are pointing toward her.

Arrow -- "Sins of the Father" -- Image AR413A_0136b.jpg -- Pictured: Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance -- Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The fact of the matter is that on Arrow nobody is safe. Heck before Felicity was revealed to not be in the grave during a flash forward, there was always a possibility that she could be the one in the grave. Was it likely? Hell no. But that doesn’t change the fact that the only person safe on Arrow is the Green Arrow himself, Oliver Queen, and even he “died” for a hiatus before he was revived.

Just because some fans don’t like a decision the writers make doesn’t make it wrong. They’re the writers after all. And just because Black Canary is an integral part of DC Comics doesn’t mean that she’s forever safe on Arrow. Hell, they’ve already killed Black Canary once when they killed Sara Lance. Just as Black Canary has existed in multiple forms in the comics so has she on Arrow. There’s some comic book canon for you.

When it comes down to it any character can die at any time on any show. That’s why we’re the viewers and not the writers. The writers make decisions for the story and while they may be comic fans and Arrow might be based on comics, the show never has and never will be a straightforward adaptation of the comics.

So can the Black Canary die on Arrow? Absolutely. Anybody can. And comics won’t change that no matter how much some people use that as a defense. As for who is definitely in the grave? Well, we’ll have to tune in to episode 18 (“Eleven-Fifty-Nine”) to find out for sure.

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  1. Honestly this is the best thing that can happen to Arrow. I’ve always said that what makes this show is the original squad Oliver, Diggle and Felicity and dynamics within that group is what made Arrow go from decent to fantastic! Laurel just doesn’t fit into this show anymore since season one. This season it was made even more evident that she’s not a factor because she’s had NO storyline of her own, resurrecting Sara was all about LOT set up, no job because we haven’t even seen her do her lawyer thing but for five seconds in the premiere, everyone else we got to go home with, Oliver&Felicity, The Diggles, hell even Lance, but we rarely see Laurel at home, we see more of Thea at their apartment then her. If they’re not willing to give you a set that’s a huge sign that your job is ending. I’m looking forward to seeing the show reinvent itself which every show has to do when you’re this long in the game and that includes dropping dead weight and focusing more on the cast members who deserve screentime, Diggle and Felicity are just now getting focus on their arcs and development, and I’d love to now see more of Lyla and more of Lyla with the team, especially Felicity and Thea.

  2. I totally agree with you Kendall and of course, with Alyssa! Arrow has a larger number of viewers than Green Arrow has readers, that is the true! The writers need to follow the story for those viewers and not only for the comic’s readers! We love OTA, they are the Arrow’s essence and they need to be the focus of the show, always!

  3. I think you are misinterpreting the statements you see as evidence of impending doom. I think it is Captain Lance that dies (she can protect herself.) I think she fakes her death so she can be the Black Canary full time. I think Barry is at the gravesite – in street clothes – because he is there out of respect for a fellow police officer (who since he is “disgraced” will not get the honors due to him) as well as being there for his friends. Lance’s death makes sense from a plot point because he is the witness who put Darkh in jail. Best way for Malcolm to get Darkh out of jail is to kill the only witness. Since Merlyn would have then killed two Lances Laurel will have an extra revenge wish against him. Nyssa being at the funeral also makes sense because Lance saved her in a fight at the end of Season Two or Three (I forget) as well as accepting her and Sarah being together.

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