Arrow Recap: An Eternal Blame

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. Photo: Diyah Pera/CW
Episode Title
Canary Cry
Editor’s Rating

Confession: I expected “Canary Cry” to be a much more maudlin affair than it was. Maybe that’s because the advance promo photos for the episode featured a never-ending series of sad hugs, or maybe it was because I expected a big send-off for Laurel. In the end, however, the episode was less about mourning Laurel than protecting the Black Canary’s legacy — a wise choice, given how little the show developed Laurel’s non-vigilante story line in the past two seasons.

That’s not to say that everything worked in this episode for me. In the opening scene, a priest at a funeral asks Oliver Queen to come up and say a few words, but he’s nowhere to be found. Instead, Laurel offers to give a speech, revealing that it’s not her funeral, but a flashback to Tommy Merlyn’s. As Laurel details her love for Tommy, we see a stunned Oliver standing off to the side, listening. He quickly retreats from the funeral.

So, Oliver didn’t go to Tommy’s funeral because Laurel loved Tommy? Why was that shocking? It’s a confusing moment that’s slightly expounded upon when Oliver later visits Laurel’s apartment. Turns out, Oliver had trouble writing the eulogy because he had failed Tommy. But, bro, you could have still gone to his funeral. And you did go, until Laurel mentioned her love for Tommy. You were already at the cemetery!   

In present-day Star City, Laurel’s not in the grave yet, but she is in the morgue. We learn that fact after a Black Canary sighting gets Quentin’s hopes up that Laurel is not really dead. Oliver and Quentin visit the morgue and quickly put that theory to rest. But Quentin can’t seem to let it go. He even calls Nyssa into town to find out what he needs to pack in Laurel’s Lazarus Pit resurrection travel bag. Nyssa, of course, breaks the bad news to Quentin: There’s no magic cure this time.

Meanwhile, Team Arrow (including Felicity!) looks into the mysterious and petite Black Canary, who somehow is able to use the Canary Cry, which Cisco designed to work only with Laurel’s vocal chords. Arrow is able to track the Mini-Canary after the latter has a run-in with Thea and political consultant Alex “Remember Me?” Davis, who are at dinner. Alex is just about to reveal some actual background information about who he is, when the Mini-Canary comes in, waves a gun in Alex’s face, and accuses him of working for “them.” Thea rescues Alex, but Mini-Canary gets away. This leads to the Arrow chasing her down an alley, where Mini-Canary reveals that the Arrow failed her and Star City when he abandoned “us” at “Reddington.” Mini-Canary says all he cared about was saving his friends.

Reddington Industrials, Oliver later explains in the bunker, was the factory where Darkh held Felicity, Dig, and Thea prisoner and where Darkh sent “volunteers” to gas chambers. He guesses that Mini-Canary must have been there at that time against her will. Thanks to some super-unrealistic computer magic — even by Felicity standards — Team Arrow quickly narrows down its suspect to Evelyn Sharp, a teen whose family was kidnapped by Darhk. (I guess because she got good grades, she was smart enough to out-maneuver Cisco’s engineering of the Canary Cry?)

Oliver is mulling over this new development when Felicity approaches. She can tell he’s in self-blame mode, and he’s not alone. Felicity confesses that when Diggle told her about his role in choosing to believe in Andy despite Oliver’s warnings, she refused to absolve Dig. Felicity wanted Dig to take the blame because it meant that she wouldn’t have to blame herself for not being in the bunker the night Laurel died. It’s interesting to see Felicity and Dig indulge in self-flagellation, the quintessential Oliver Queen characteristic, and it forces Oliver to step into their more moderate counseling role.

And, oh boy, does Diggle need some counseling in this episode. In a desperate move, Dig tracks down Ruvé Adam’s limo, shoots her security detail, and forces Ruvé out of the limo, where he proceeds to cold-cock her with his gun. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Dig go so dark. But before Dig can do permanent damage to Ruvé, the Arrow shows up and shoots the gun out of Dig’s hand, which allows Ruvé to escape. Dig and Oliver exchange heated words about how this isn’t who Dig is, and Oliver’s right. This isn’t who Dig is, and it would have been interesting to see this darkness played out a bit longer, or at least not as neatly tied up with one confrontation with Oliver. I mean, Dig just shot at some presumably innocent mayoral security detail and knocked a woman, albeit an evil one, in the face. The resolution of these choices felt a bit glossed over.

As revenge, Ruvé announces to the media that vigilantes attacked her and her campaign staffer Alex, and that, as a result, she plans to arrest Team Arrow. What’s worse, she wants to prosecute the Mini-Canary as a “dedication” to district attorney Laurel Lance, even though Ruvé knows perfectly well that Laurel was the real Black Canary. Oliver wants Team Arrow to find Mini-Canary before Ruvé can, not so much to save Evelyn as to save Laurel’s Black Canary legacy from being associated with a gun-wielding teen.

Turns out, Mini-Canary’s next target is a silent auction gala, where Ruvé will be in attendance. At the gala, the Arrow confronts Mini-Canary, who threatens the audience and Ruvé with a gun. To convince her to drop her weapon, the Arrow invokes the real Black Canary and the hero she was. It works, and Mini-Canary bolts. By this point, I didn’t quite get what Evelyn’s MO was. If she was mad that the Arrow and his friends abandoned her, why was she dressing as Black Canary in the first place? Because she emulated her? Didn’t Black Canary also abandon her family the same as Arrow that night? Also, how does she know Ruvé is connected to H.I.V.E.?

After Team Arrow resolves the Mini-Canary crisis, it’s time to focus on Laurel’s funeral, where Oliver reveals to the attendees that Laurel was the real Black Canary. Her legacy is saved. I had trouble emotionally connecting with this scene. I didn’t feel any sort of sadness or grief coming from her friends and family. Even her parents’ walk-and-talk to the grave felt stilted. Even though Laurel was hardly my favorite character, I was hoping to feel some sort of mourning. Maybe it’s because the scene, which was framed as a sort of celebration of her role in saving the city, felt more like a dedication ceremony than a funeral. I could also just be dead inside.

Saving the city has always been Laurel’s thing, as this week’s Laurel-centric flashbacks remind us. A week after Tommy’s funeral, Oliver sits in front of a fire with Laurel, reminiscing about Tommy. She sweetly suggests that they save the city “together.” She has no clue that Oliver is the Arrow, a lie that always created a large gulf between these two characters. They briefly kiss and she tells Ollie that she’s “really excited” about their future. You can see Oliver mentally start to pack for Lian Yu in the middle of this conversation. (Bow? Check. Arrow? Check.)  Sure enough, he leaves her a good-bye note shortly thereafter, in which he tells Laurel that she’s “always seen the best” in him and that’s because she’s the “best part” of him.

Back in the present day, we see the same Barry/Oliver grave scene from the premiere. This time the headstone is revealed: Dinah Laurel Lance – the Black Canary. He heads to the limo, where Felicity is waiting. Felicity wants Oliver to kill “him,” but Oliver is worried about his ability to beat his magic. (Aha! The “him” is Darhk.) Felicity refuses to accept Oliver’s quasi-concession speech and urges him to find another way — something, she notes, he’s always able to do and one of the reasons she loves him. He agrees to try.

For all of Oliver’s flowery sentiments about Laurel seeing the best in Oliver and being the best part of him, it’s these kind of scenes with Felicity that puts those words into action. No matter how much Arrow tells me about Laurel’s influence on Oliver, it’s never truly been shown.

It’s a flashback within a flashback.


  • “She’s my rock!” I loved this devastated line reading by Paul Blackthorne.
  • The Diggle/Felicity scenes. It’s nice to see this dynamic explored with more depth.
  • Maybe Ruvé’s “sewer upgrade” reference relates to Genesis?


  • Wait, why is Evelyn going to Laurel’s funeral before it’s announced that she’s the Black Canary?
  • Arrow’s “escape” from the gala felt like a cheat.
  • Laurel wearing 10-inch high-heels around her apartment.
  • Laurel’s Tommy-wasn’t-just-a-“billionaire playboy” line at his funeral


Come find me on Twitter and give me a sad hug, and then let’s just all move on.