Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Arrow and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.
Today, we’re breaking down episode 4×18 of Arrow, “Eleven-Fifty-Nine,” where we discuss the death of Laurel Lance, Andy Diggle’s betrayal, and how Laurel’s death will affect the show moving forward.
What were your overall thoughts on “Eleven-Fifty-Nine?”
While things started off a little slow, the impact that this episode had is something that ranks it among the best of the season. “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” was the episode that set the pace for the remaining five episodes as it brought with it a high stakes that hasn’t been felt on this show in quite some time. While I had seen spoilers weeks prior and knew what to expect from this episode, I’m pleased that say that it didn’t take anything away from this spectacular hour of television. There was superb acting all around, and this episode showed that Arrow is as alive and thriving as ever. Plus when an episode gets this many people talking – whether that’s in a positive or negative way – you know that you did something right to keep the audience engaged and invested.
I wish I could say it was a great episode. In truth, it was slow and dreary and somewhat predictable. I keep seeing articles calling this the “Most Shocking Episode of The Season” and it just makes me feel like I’m being punked. Was anyone really surprised it was Laurel? ANYONE? Everything pointed to her. Absolutely everything. I couldn’t have been clearer if the writers had put a neon sign on her forehead. So, shocking it was not. It wasn’t fun, either. It was just …meh, at least, until the final few scenes.
However, it was also extremely well-acted. Everyone sold their reactions in the last scene, everyone, and Paul Blackthorne broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. Even just seeing gifsets of his reactions bring it all back for me. And it wasn’t just him, Stephen, Emily, Willa, David …they were all great. Katie Cassidy was particularly on point as Laurel, something I never thought I’d be saying in my entire life, because the poor thing never gets material to really show us her range. And yet, this time, she really convinced me as Laurel. She even sold the ridiculousness of Oliver being the love of her life. It’s like my brain was saying, that’s absurd, and my heart was like, but look at her, she believes it!
So, not a great episode, but one that was salvaged by the strength of this cast. I have a feeling they will all get a chance to show us how good they are when the show comes back from hiatus, too.
Overall I liked it. They focused on Laurel exclusively and gave her the attention that was needed to cut her down at the end of the episode. Quentin gave me the feels and Laurel made me cry. Could they have killed her a different way? Yes. Would I have enjoyed it more? Yes. Would I go back on the writers decision to end Laurel’s journey? No. There was no more story to tell for this pretty bird.
The show made a bold move to kill off a major character in Laurel Lance. What were your thoughts on Laurel’s death? And how will her death move this show forward?
I will admit that it was a bold move for Arrow to kill off Laurel, but at the same time it’s not as much of a surprise considering how the character has been treated since her introduction. Let’s be honest, Laurel didn’t really have a significant storyline this season. But her death will be the significant storyline that will drastically affect the remainder of this season and our characters moving forward. Now that is meaningful.
Honestly I think they handled Laurel’s death in a very honorable way. We’ve seen deaths before on television and movies that are instantaneous and sometimes for no reason whatsoever, but Laurel’s death – despite the criticism of her fans – did serve a purpose. It wasn’t meaningless. We’re gearing up to see just how meaningful it will be. This is something that will affect everyone – it will affect those on the team, Quentin, Sara, and it will ultimately be honoring Laurel that helps drive them in their fight to defeat Damien Darhk.
While Laurel was never one of my favorite characters, I was quite emotionally affected by her death. It’s funny because Lizzie, Lyra, and I were talking about this before the episode aired. We wanted the Arrow writers to make us cry over her death because if they did it would show us just how significant her death was. It was beautifully executed, from the storyline of the episode as Laurel grappled with giving up being Black Canary to become District Attorney to her final scene with the team to the reactions of those that loved her. And that’s something we’ll get to see more of when Arrow returns April 27.
Obviously there’s a lot of hate out there and senseless blaming of other characters for Laurel’s demise, but I really wish that these people would actually honor the character instead of complain about how they were wronged.
It was only a bold move in name. I mean, the Black Canary is a major character in the Green Arrow mythos, but Laurel Lance, this incantation of Laurel Lance, wasn’t really a big character on Arrow. She was billed as such, but she hadn’t been treated as such this season. Her season 1 arc was all about the romance that didn’t work, season 2 was about breaking her down to build her back up in season 3, but even that was done in a what that didn’t really allowed us to connect with her. And then Season 4 was meant to be her chance to be a fully realized superhero, and instead, she got relegated to the sidelines. She just wasn’t essential, and, in a way, they had too many people on the team, so getting rid of one of the people who was actively out on the streets fighting was the obvious choice.
So, in that sense, killing the Black Canary wasn’t bold or big, it was just logical. Arrow has always been a lose interpretation of the Green Arrow comics, not a faithful one, and on TV, you do what works. Lauriver clearly wasn’t working, so they canned it. Laurel as a character was clearly the only person they could kill and both affect the plot/move the story forward and not cripple the team, so they did that.
And maybe, in death, the show can use her as the kind of inspiration she should have been when she was alive.
Was choosing to kill Laurel a bold move? Not really. We knew all along that they had to show the audience that some deaths were final. Laurel was the logical choice. Her journey was coming to an end and you could tell that the writers had nothing else planned for her future. And what kind of bothers me is that I really enjoyed her performance in the last couple of episodes. It begs the question: was it the writing that ruined the character? Or was it the actress? I have no idea.
Laurel’s death will bring the team back together and towards one goal, to kill Damien Darhk. And it won’t be like before where they were hesitant and soft on Damien & his wife. They’ll go to destroy, not arrest. That’s the only way that her death will move the story forward.
There’s been a lot of talk about Laurel’s final moments with Oliver when she gave Oliver and Felicity her blessing and also shared with him a secret we won’t learn until next season. What did you think about their conversation?
First, it’s unbelievable how many people want to blame Laurel’s death on Felicity or the Oliver and Felicity pairing. Second, it’s also ridiculous how people are complaining that Laurel’s final moments were about her “propping up” Oliver and Felicity. Here’s the thing that entire conversation served as a means to bring closure to Oliver and Laurel’s relationship. There had never really been a sense of closure with that relationship. In the season two premiere we saw them just agree to go their separate ways, and that was the last bit of romance we’ve seen with them.
Also, I’d like to point out that Laurel telling Oliver that she was glad that he found Felicity was actually Katie Cassidy’s idea (thanks RCM, you wonderful man, for the tip). But let’s take a moment to think about that bit of their conversation. Laurel has long ago realized that Felicity is the love of Oliver’s life, but she also knows that she herself feels as if Oliver was the love of her life despite knowing that they will never be and that Oliver doesn’t look at her that same way. So this was Laurel giving her blessing and verbally making peace with the situation. And her final moments weren’t about Olicity. If you recall she shared a secret with Oliver before she died. Just saying.
All in all I thought their final scene together was a good one. There’s no denying that Oliver and Laurel have a history – however toxic it might be – and because of that reason they needed this moment. Stop trying to make everything about Olicity. This was about Oliver and Laurel and getting closure before Laurel died.
I thought it was ridiculous, disrespectful, and frankly, a contradiction of the past two years of the show. Oliver is not the love of Laurel’s life, or at least, she’s never acted like he is. I know staring death in the face can make you reconsider, but it was a cheap ploy that made her death more about Oliver, and even Olicity, than herself. I think the writers miscalculated big time. If they wanted to give Lauriver closure, they should have done it earlier. Though, I don’t even get why they had to give closure to something that’s been deaf for three whole years. Laurel could have said that she admired the man Oliver had become, THAT would have been full circle for her, considering the sentiments she expressed in the Pilot The Oliver who came back from the island desperately wanted to be the man Laurel thought she could be, and it would be nice if, in her finals moments, she could have acknowledged that he became that person. No last minute love declarations were need, or wanted.
I think she kept it classy till the end. She acknowledged that Oliver was someone that she cared for deeply and that he’s moved on. Laurel has confidence that Felicity is the person for him and assured him that he’ll get her back. Why? Because they’re more than ex-lovers or team mates. They’re friends who care for each other because of the long history they have. A part of me thinks that Laurel knew that she was going to die. Telling Oliver that he would get Felicity back, that he was the love of her life (which made no sense because she was absolutely over him,) and asking him to keep a promise to her was Laurel tying lose ends just in case. Side note about what she asked Oliver for. I think it was something as simple as taking care of her father and sister. They’re the most important people in her life.
After putting so much faith in his brother, John was betrayed by Andy who revealed himself to be working with Darhk from the beginning. What were your thoughts on Andy’s betrayal? And how do you think this will affect John?
I knew it. I just knew it. It was too good to be true. Things had been too quiet. I just knew something bad was going to happen. Although to be fair I thought that “bad” thing was going to be Andy’s death. And honestly that would’ve hurt less especially considering that it would’ve meant that Andy hadn’t betrayed his brother again.
Arrow has presented its theme of redemption in a very black and white way: either you want it or you don’t. If you want it, you’ll work to get it. If you don’t want it, there’s no saving you. Up until this point I had been praying that Andy was on the former side of that argument, but I should’ve known better. And John feels like he should’ve known better.
We’ve seen Diggle on both ends of the spectrum: first, he didn’t trust his brother and felt like he was irredeemable, and in this episode we saw how much faith he had in his brother that he was on that path to redemption. Like John had warned Oliver about many times in the past, John let his family cloud his judgment so much so that Oliver and John came to verbal blow in this episode. But then we saw Andy betray his brother’s trust. What’s worse is that Andy knew that in order to accomplish as much that he had to build that trust with his brother and then there would be nothing that he couldn’t convince him of – including believing him over his true brother, Oliver.
John Diggle is about to embark on a dark path, guys. Not only did John fall for Andy’s shtick but the fact that he let his brother cloud his judgment – and the judgment of his other brother, Oliver – and resulted in the death of a friend of his, this is going to affect John immensely.
I knew it. I knew it, and I hate that I knew it. This is going to be hard/nearly impossible to come back from for Diggle. Maybe it’s just that it was too easy, maybe I just thought the most interesting path for Andy was always to be evil, but I’d been expecting this for a while. And really, what this does for Diggle’s storyline is give it a whole other dimension – it’s not that you trusted your brother and he betrayed you, it’s that that betrayal got someone killed. Someone you cared about. You friend. Your brother was responsible for the death of your friend, and in a way, you were responsible because you trusted him. I’m already salivating over the material David Ramsey is going to have over the last few episodes.
I didn’t see it coming and it pissed me off. The only other time this has happened is Hans in Frozen and Gaston in Once Upon a Time. I had faith in you Andy and you betrayed me! You betrayed us all! But mostly importantly you betrayed your blood! John trusted you. Defended you. Kept you in his home with Lyla and Sara. He gave you a chance and you squandered it. You can come back from this pain and creepy hypnosis that Darhk has on you. John is going to feel like he let his team down and that Laurel’s was his fault. He will go to any and all the extremes to destroy Darkh. Even if he has to destroy himself in the process. *whispers* Don’t let John destroy himself Team Arrow! GO FOR IT!
Obviously the team is going to be feeling an immense amount of guilt over Laurel’s death. How do you think the team (Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, Thea, Quentin) is going to react after her death?
They are not going to react well to this. As they shouldn’t. But they are going to place all of the blame on themselves for what’s happening. But if what I suspect is right, we’re going to find Diggle, Felicity, Thea, and Quentin blaming themselves for Laurel’s death while Oliver understands that it’s not on them; it’s on Damien Darhk. I feel like it’s going to be an intriguing storyline because for the longest time it’s always been the opposite. We’ve had voices of reasoning like Diggle and Felicity always there to reassure Oliver that what’s happening isn’t his fault. But now the tables are going to turn. The other members of Team Arrow are going to blame themselves – Diggle because of Andy, Felicity because she had left the team, Thea because she wasn’t there sooner, Quentin because he encouraged his daughter to fight.
As we’ve seen with the flash forward scene, Oliver says that there was a time where he would’ve blamed himself for this death. But now he understands it’s his responsibility to see that those that were actually responsible pay. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called character growth.
Oh, yes. They’re all going to feel guilty. Maybe Diggle most of all, but Oliver’s going to feel guilty because he’s Oliver, and he thinks he should be in control of everything, Felicity is going to feel guilty because she left the team, Thea because she wasn’t there, she could help, and Quentin is going to feel guilty because he was almost there and he left. They’re all going to go through the mourning with a heavy side dish of I DID THIS, THIS IS ALL MY FAULT. The thing is, they’re all mostly wrong. Yes, some of their decisions might have contributed to the end result, but this is all on Damien Darhk, and the sooner they all realize this and work together, the sooner the can take him down.
That being said, I expect we’re going to spend an episode on two on the emotional fallout. This is not just to be expected, it’s also the only thing that makes sense when you kill a character that’s been on the show from the beginning. They couldn’t do any less for Laurel.
Non-stop train to Guilt City with stops in Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
We saw Thea finally realize that Malcolm isn’t her father and watched as Thea and Malcolm squared off twice in this episode with Malcolm besting her both times. What were your thoughts on that? And what do you think Thea needs to do to beat Malcolm?
If we’ve learned anything on Arrow and the other shows that it has spawned it’s that blood doesn’t necessarily make you family. It’s love that makes you family. Whether it’s instances like Oliver and Diggle becoming brothers whereas Andy once again betrayed John despite the fact that they are blood brothers. The true meaning of family is being there as a sense of love and support through the rough times.
With that said, something that has angered me this season – and last – has been Thea’s arrogance when it comes to who her father is. After learning that Robert Queen wasn’t her biological father – and that Malcolm Merlyn was – in season two, we saw Thea just step into the role of Thea Merlyn and leave Thea Queen behind. But even this season – as Thea has seen her father’s dark intentions – she’d always considered herself Malcolm’s daughter. I’m sorry, but Malcolm didn’t raise her. He might’ve taught her how to fight, but Robert Queen raised her to become the young woman she did before he died. So it was nice to see Thea finally accept that in this episode. She is Robert Queen’s daughter, not Malcolm Meryln’s.
As for how Thea can defeat Malcolm? Well, I think that all comes down to mentality. I believe in her mind Thea is weary about the possibility of killing again – yet alone her father. But Thea doesn’t need to kill him to defeat him. But let’s be real, would they ever kill Malcolm? They’d just throw him into Lian Yu with Slade and then they’d both eventually break out and come make Oliver’s life a living hell in a few seasons.
I think Thea’s realization that Malcolm, for all that he is her biological father isn’t really her family, was the first step in the journey she needs to go through. She was never going to best him, because, in a way, she cared for him, she assigned him a spot in her life, and even if she hated what he represented she just couldn’t let go of that. Now she has, and though he bested her this time, that means that Thea is now free to finally beat him. And I think it’s got to be her. Malcolm has done bad things to all the characters, but the one who has to take him out, the one who deserves to, is Thea.
Thea needs to separate her feelings from her duty. Malcolm is putting everyone in danger, including her brother, family, and team. He’s crossed the line for the last time. And it has to be Thea. It is her duty to surpass her teacher. Her realisation that Malcolm isn’t her father is a step in the right way. I’m sorry Malcolm, I love you. BUT YOU NEED TO DIE!
Now that Damien Darhk has been revealed to be the “he” in Oliver’s gravesite declaration, do you think that Oliver or another member of Team Arrow will kill Darhk for killing Laurel?
Considering that there are two people directly involved with Laurel’s death – and how sad is it that I can’t blame Malcolm – I believe that we’re going to see two important moments: the downfall of Damien Darhk and the fall of Andy Diggle. Now, obviously it’s going to be Andy first, but I believe both men will meet their end in some way.
I know that Oliver isn’t big on killing, but when it comes to matters of life and death you do what you have to do. I believe that’s a lesson that Oliver will learn this season – that while killing shouldn’t be your immediate reaction to taking down a villain, that it’s required if necessary. And how is there a possibility that Darhk gets out of this alive? There’s no way. Because it’s the threat of what might happen should Darhk get his hands on that talisman again. We saw Oliver kill Ra’s al Ghul last season. But oh how fitting would it be for Quentin to kill the Darhk bastard to avenge Laurel’s death.
Then you have the situation with Andy, which will also prove to be intriguing. Andy is someone that they’ve captured before; they’ve attempted to redeem before; but it’s as clear as day that there is no hope for him only because he doesn’t want to be saved. Not to mention it was his betrayal that led to the death of a close friend, and this isn’t something that I see being forgiven by the team, especially Diggle. So now we’re left to wonder how Andy’s story will end. Will it be John forced to kill his brother or will his brother kill himself? Either way this is the end of Andy Diggle as we know it.
First of all, can I just saw how anticlimactic. Malcom would have been a MUCH better choice. Especially because, in my mind, Oliver was ready to kill Darhk weeks ago. But fine, it’s Darhk, and he should be killed. He murdered Laurel in cold blood. I’m not saying get revenge, but get revenge. Get closure. (And, eh, the wife can go too. Just saying)
However, I get the sense that this time, it won’t be Oliver doing the killing. Maybe Diggle? Oliver already went through this whole no killing, wait, yes, this person deserves to die let’s make an exception phase last year, so been there done that? Diggle being the one to kill the bad guy, though, that’s something I can get behind. Especially considering the amount of guilt he’s probably carrying. Also, Andy has to be dealt with, but would Diggle really be able to? I doubt it. Not unless Andy was actively threatening someone he loves. So, maybe DD is a good compromise. Oliver can take care of Andy.
I think Oliver is going for the win…I mean kill. Laurel was stabbed with one of Oliver’s arrows. The guilt is going to start tearing up at him immediately. Felicity, Diggle, and Thea will assist him and provide the support needed. They have to take the man down because he killed their friend, companion, and family.
What are your thoughts on “Eleven-Fifty-Nine?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!
Join us for another Arrow roundtable when the show returns on April 27.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.