Spoilers ahead for Wednesday night’s episode of Arrow.
If you watch Arrow, you most likely have an opinion on Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), and I’m guessing that opinion is not a moderate one. Arrow fans, in their social-media-shorthand way, cast her as either THE BEST or THE WORST. There’s very little middle ground on this point. So when last night’s episode – SPOILER – revealed that Laurel is the body in the grave from the season-four premiere, there was both mourning and celebration. Although Laurel as a character, hasn’t worked for me in the past few seasons, as an Arrow fan, I feel a sentimental pang about saying good-bye to a character who’s been with the show since the outset, even if I do applaud the creative choice.
What better way to honor a polarizing character like Laurel than with a roundup of her five best and worst moments in the series?
1. “The Calm” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Laurel Joins the Team, Sort Of
In the first two seasons, Laurel was kept in the dark on Oliver’s secret identity, which also meant she was left out of most of the “Team Arrow” storylines. This episode brought her into the mix in a way that worked: prosecuting the Arrow’s criminal catches. There’s a nice scene where Laurel and Oliver acknowledge their new team dynamic and Laurel goes out of her way to make sure Oliver knows the police recognize his part in saving the city. Bonus moment: a sweet scene with Laurel’s sister, Sara … seconds before Sara is murdered.
2. “Betrayal” (Season 1, Episode 13)
Laurel Lets Her Dad Have It
Cassidy always played Laurel most naturally with Laurel’s father, Quentin, and her boyfriend, Tommy, so it’s not surprising that one of her best episode revolves around her relationships with them. There are a few nice scenes here, but the one where Laurel tells off her dad for using her as bait to catch “the Hood” (#tbt) features a particularly moving performance by Cassidy.
3. “Suicidal Tendencies” (Season 3, Episode 17)
Laurel Outsmarts Ray Palmer
Laurel’s legal work has taken a backseat for most of this season. (Actually, all Laurel stories took a backseat this season, and now it’s clear why.) Here, Ray Palmer has come to Laurel as a district attorney to try and convince her that Oliver is the Arrow, which, of course, Laurel already knows. It’s a brief scene, but it’s fun to see Laurel out-maneuver genius Ray. Sure, Ray figures out that she’s working for Oliver, but, at the end of the day, she does dissuade him from filing charges.
4. “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” (Season 4, Episode 18)
Laurel Shows No Fear
Laurel’s last episode, at least as present-day Laurel, features Cassidy’s best overall performances to date. Whatever your feeling about hospital death-bed scenes, her goodbye to the team showcased Cassidy’s range, and Laurel and Oliver’s bunker discussions showed that these two could work together well. But my favorite moment was her confrontation with Darhk at Iron Heights prison. Darhk all but threatens her life and Laurel takes a step closer to him to let him know she’s not afraid. Of course, she should have been afraid, but Laurel usually acts before she thinks, so it’s a fitting moment.
5. “Midnight City” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Laurel Stabs a Dude With a High Heel
This episode centers on Laurel’s decision to don her dead sister’s vigilante costume and fight crime in the Arrow’s absence. But for all of the focus on Laurel’s transformation into Black Canary, one of the more memorable “bad ass” scenes from this episode is when Laurel, in her usual lawyer garb, takes her high heel off and stabs a guy who’s trying to attack her.
1. “Midnight City” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Laurel Impersonates Her Dead Sister … To Her Dad … Twice
I think that description pretty much covers it.
2. “Haunted” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Laurel Fights With Oliver
This pick isn’t so much about Cassidy’s lack of chemistry with Stephen Amell as much as it is about Laurel making everything about her at the most inopportune time. While Oliver’s sister, Thea, is laid up in the hospital because of Laurel’s choices, she complains to Oliver that he doesn’t see her as an equal or consider what she’s going through. It’s moments like these that made me question what Oliver and Laurel saw in each other as friends, or why I should root for her character.
3. “Sara” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Laurel Hugs and Kisses a Stuffed Shark
This episode, which dealt with the aftermath of Sara’s death, is haunting and heavy stuff, except for one scene near the end. As a sad song plays, Laurel picks up a stuffed animal shark that belonged to Sara, gives it a kiss on the nose and hugs it. It’s supposed to be tragic, but it ends up as awkward and hilarious.
4. “Al Sah-him” (Season 3, Episode 21)
Laurel Dips a French Fry Into a Milkshake and Almost Cries
Again, another sad montage where Cassidy plays opposite an inanimate object. This time, it’s a French fry, which reminds her of her friend, Nyssa. She awkwardly dips it in a milkshake, takes a moment to stare into the fry’s soul, and then drops it in grief.
5. “Restoration” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Laurel Resurrects Her Sister
This was Laurel at her most illogical and most selfish. Everyone except Laurel thinks resurrecting Sara is a bad idea, even Malcolm Merlyn. Plus, it comes a bit out of left field since Sara has been dead for almost a year. On the bright side, thanks to Laurel’s poor choice, at least we still have one canary left!