When it comes to guilt there’s nothing easier to get lost in. There’s nothing easier to say than, “It’s my fault,” especially when that couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. But that’s something that Team Arrow will have to deal with.
On the latest episode of Arrow, Laurel Lance met a tragic demise at the hands of Damien Darhk that has sent a shockwave through the Arrow fandom and Team Arrow as it heads into its final stretch of five episodes. While there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Arrow’s decision to kill Laurel, the death wasn’t just a death; it’s something that will serve a significant purpose as we head into the final episodes of the season.
Following the tragic death of one of their own, how will Team Arrow respond in the face of adversity where most of them will feel an exponential amount of guilt?
We’re speculating about how these characters will respond, including the surprising person who we believe will be the glue to unite the team, when Arrow returns next Wednesday:
Surprisingly enough, Oliver might be the person that ultimately helps reunite the team and help them understand that what happened isn’t their fault. How ironic is that? Oliver Queen, the man that shoulders unnecessary guilt, might end up being the voice of reason among those that have served that role for him. But in Oliver’s hero journey it’s time for him to be a hero on his own; to know that he is capable of such. For so long he’s relied on the reassurances of others to remind him that what happens isn’t always his fault.
As we saw in the flash-forward that will soon become present in “Canary Cry” (airing April 27), Oliver told Barry Allen that there was a time when he would’ve thought it was his fault that his friend had died. But now he knows it’s his responsibility to see that those that are actually responsible pay the price. While we’ve seen Oliver be a killer in season one and avoid it at all costs during the past few seasons (with a few notable exceptions), I believe this season Oliver is going to learn that sometimes killing is necessary to defeat an overpowering evil. This season is all about balance with Oliver. So he’s going to learn that killing is an available resort, but not the first option. A last resort that he might have to turn to every now and again, especially with a mystical foe like Damien Darhk.
While Diggle has always been that voice of reason for Oliver, I fear that Diggle is going to take the darkest turn in regards to recent events. Not only is Diggle struggling with his friend dying, but he’s being overpowered by the heavy guilt that comes with her death being as a result of his brother Andy’s betrayal. While it wasn’t Andy that necessarily delivered the blow to Laurel’s chest, it was his using his brother’s trust as a means to help Damien Darhk acquire his mystical energy. This has been a season-long arc for Diggle in regards to him learning the truth about who his brother was, then learning he was alive, and finally coming to a point where he felt he could trust him. More than that he came to a point where he was willing to take his word over Oliver’s – the man that had become his true brother over these past four years while Andy was gone.
Diggle is going to come to a moral crossroads in these final five episodes. Not only can he not believe that he allowed himself to be fooled by his brother’s faux, warm ways, but given the circumstances he’s going to have to make a decision when he comes face-to-face with the man masquerading as his long-gone brother: let him live or kill him. Diggle is a man of war so he’s seen his share of violence and death, but it’s completely different when the person you’re going up against is your own flesh and blood. But it’s also different when that blood lust is driven by vengeance rather than justice.
More than anyone, Laurel’s death is going to cause Felicity to act in a positive manner rather a negative one. Felicity will be feeling a lot of guilt surrounding Laurel’s death as she wonders to herself if she hadn’t left the team if she might’ve been able to help in some way. It’s for that reason that her friend’s death will drive her back to Team Arrow because there’s no way in hell she’d risk that happening to her remaining loved ones. Felicity has never stopped being a hero, as we’ve seen in these past couple of episodes, but this was a wake-up call of epic proportions to remind her that every single one of them on Team Arrow is stronger and safer together rather than apart. So it’s all but guaranteed that Felicity will transition back to the team and resume her role as Overwatch.
For Felicity I believe that Laurel’s death will act as a catalyst to remind her just how precious life is. It’s something that will motivate her to find her way back to Team Arrow, as well as eventually (translation: by season’s end) back to Oliver. There are sometimes moments that shake us into realizing just how short life can be, and that the most important thing isn’t focusing on the past rather being proactive when it comes to mending broken relationships. Tragedy brings people closer because of that reason, and I believe we’re going to see that as she mends her relationship with Oliver.
Thea will no doubt be feeling an immense guilt for Laurel’s death, as the rest of the team will, but I believe she’s focusing on their first fight with Malcolm Merlyn and co. when he stole the idol as the source of guilt. If Thea had been able to defeat Malcolm and not let him get the idol than perhaps none of this would’ve happened? That would be like Thea to focus on something that was completely out of her control and essentially blame herself. We’ve seen this season that Thea has no qualms when it comes to shouldering responsibility for everything that’s not in her control, much like her brother Oliver in his earlier years.
For Thea, this is going to be about learning that not everything that happens is her fault, and her big brother should have some sage words of wisdom in that regard. But I believe that losing Laurel, someone she viewed as a sister, is going to drive Thea to be better in her honor. Right now Thea believes that she has to kill Malcolm in order to defeat him, but there is another way. I essentially see this paralleling Oliver and Slade’s big fight in the season two finale when Oliver was strong enough to let him live – albeit in purgatory, but he’s alive. Thea will come to that place of understanding, and in that way she’ll be able to honor Laurel’s memory by being the hero that Laurel knew her to be.
While we all might expect Quentin to simply break down with another death of a daughter – this is now three – I believe we’re going to see a reaction that we might not expect. Of course Quentin is going to be heartbroken – he not only lost a daughter again, but also didn’t get to say goodbye – but I feel like the circumstances of Laurel’s death are going to drive him down a dark path of vengeance. Remember in the midseason finale when Quentin told Laurel, “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you?” and then he told he knew exactly what would happen, which was the equivalent of something along the lines of destroying everything in his path to get to Darhk. That wasn’t just a line. That was foreshadowing. But then at the same time I believe Quentin might believe that it’s possible for Laurel to still be saved. Hey, he’s lost Sara twice and she’s come back to him. What would make Laurel different? Well, someone forgot to tell him that the Lazarus Pit is not a factor anymore.
But unlike the other times when he lost Sara, I don’t believe he’s going to lose himself in a bottle. I believe that the people around him that care about him – Donna, Oliver, Felicity, etc. – are going to help him through this dark time and emerge from it in one piece. Quentin not only has to be strong for himself, but he also has to be strong for his other daughter Sara, who still doesn’t know about her sister’s death and is going to need her father by her side. The thing that combats anger and hatred is love, and both of these Lances are going to need each other to be that rock.