Remembering Laurel Lance/Black Canary: Her Top 10 Arrow Moments

Laurel Lance Black Canary[DISCLAIMER: This piece includes major spoilers from Arrow Season 4 Episode 18: “Eleven-Fifty Nine”]

This week’s Arrow was a tragic and painful one for fans of the character Dinah Laurel Lance a.k.a. the Black Canary, who was portrayed by the outstanding Katie Cassidy, as she was attacked by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) which ended with her passing at the end of the episode in a heartbreaking final moment. As readers of our site may be aware from many previous reviews of this show, Laurel has been one of the big hearts of Arrow, at least in my opinion, and her death is a huge loss for the series moving forward. Black Canary is an essential and pivotal character in the Green Arrow mythology and as we have now lost her (at least the Earth-1 version anyway), this piece is honoring what the character was and stood for as well as her top 10 all-time Arrow moments throughout these four seasons. Grab a couple of tissues because this trip down memory lane is going to bring out the feels.Laurel Lance10: Re-Bonding With Oliver (Season 1, Episode 2)

One of the early elements that we saw in the beginning of Season 1 was the struggling relationship between Laurel and Oliver as it was, to say the least, quite awkward to have the love of your life back in Starling City after disappearing for 5 years while screwing your little sister. But we get as early as episode 2 a new beginning for them in, what I think, was one of their most genuinely sweet moments. They had a heart-to-heart, with ice cream, it can’t get sweeter than that and we also got a sense of what their relationship was like, before and after the island. Whether they were arguing, in love, bonding or what not, Cassidy and Amell would for most of the times have a lot of great moment together on-screen.


Laurel Lance 029: Laurel Finds A Friend in Felicity & Her Inner Light (Season 3, Episode 13)

While Season 3 is and never will be my favorite season of the series, there were a number of good episodes and moments that would always stick out. As I have expressed my differences with Felicity Smoak in the past, there is a moment in the 13th episode “Canaries” that I genuinely always cherished with her and Laurel as we had only then started to see a friendship come to life. In that episode, Laurel, who had been the Black Canary for a little while, gets injected with Vertigo which made her hallucinate and see her biggest fear: Sara being disappointed with her. After her first encounter with it, we see a very beautiful moment between Laurel and Felicity as she tells Laurel that she doesn’t and shouldn’t try to be like Sara. You get that excellent reminder what sets Sara and Laurel apart, as Laurel is the one with the light and to see someone give that to her while also acting as a supporting friend, this moment was just so special because Laurel needed it.


Laurel Lance 038: Laurel and Thea’s Sisterhood (Season 1 – Season 4)

This one is a little bit of a cheat, but it will make sense. Over the course of four years, one of the stellar relationships on the show has always been the sisterhood between Laurel and Thea, even though they aren’t family by blood. Nevertheless, Laurel, who has a big heart in more ways than one, always took care of Thea as her own little sister and quite honestly, had a stronger bond with her than we ever saw with Sara. It definitely got stronger and more compelling as they were both superheroes in Season 4 – I still grin like a silly fool whenever seeing them riding on that motorcycle and Speedy is all excited about it while Black Canary, the bigger sister, had to focus while driving. In many ways, we saw a stronger sibling relationship between these two than we sometimes have between Thea and Oliver. Laurel would always look out for her and take her under her wings and that is why it was hard to pick just one particular strong moment between these two. This one from Season 1 is a perfect example when Laurel helped Thea out big time after her Vertigo phase.

Laurel Lance 047: Laurel’s Big Breakdown (Season 2, Episode 14)

Season 2 was a challenging year for Laurel as she was dealing with serious depression, addiction and was just generally lost after Tommy Merlyn died in Season 1. This season was both a rough, but rewarding year for her as this was the beginning for Laurel to sort of get a reboot, a fresh start as a character, but to get there, you had to break her down first. Over the course of several episodes in Season 2, we saw her spiraling down to a dark place and it wasn’t pretty, not one bit. But Cassidy’s strong performance and realistic take on how challenging it is to be an addict, gave us powerful moments, even if we saw Laurel lashing out and crossing the lines. That is however something that would take her character to a better place later in the season and forward. This hallway scene between her and Oliver was, as I like to call it, the big breakdown as she had just had a huge emotional moment inside the apartment and it was time that someone talked some sense into her. Great performances by both Cassidy and Amell.

Laurel Lance 056: Laurel Asks For Forgiveness & Begins Her Redemption

This kind of follows really nicely with our previous segment as this was also part in the same episode after she and Oliver had their big talk. What followed later in the episode, is what would begin her redemption as she came to full realization with her addiction and that it was time to get herself cleaned up. The first step was asking for forgiveness and start re-connect with her sister as they had been having a fallout since Laurel found out that Sara was still alive. This scene between Cassidy and her TV sister Caity Lotz began Laurel’s new light as they started to bond again and it was definitely a tearjerker as Laurel’s speech about what she has lost and how she wants to find herself again, was heartbreaking.


Laurel Lance 065: Laurel Doesn’t Give In (Season 2, Episode 17)

We had seen Laurel starting to pick herself up as she was recovering from her addiction, going to AA meetings and all of that. In the 17th episode, “Birds of Prey” when Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. Huntress causes new trouble and gets Laurel as a hostage, there is a moment when she and Sara (who was then The Canary) had a strong scene. Laurel’s arc in that part of the season was soul searching as she tried to find where to go now and as you know, recovering from addiction isn’t an easy journey and there are times when you may fall back in those old habits. But thanks to Canary’s encouraging words, Laurel makes the choice to not drink again and shows Canary/Sara that she is still strong.


Laurel Lance 074: Letting Go Of Sara & Embracing Her Own Path (Season 3, Episode 13)

Season 3 marked as Laurel’s path to become the Black Canary as she had lost her sister Sara (The Canary), but it was a challenging journey, both physically and mentally as she wanted to live up to her sister’s image. That was however easier said than done, especially in episode 13 titled “Canaries”. At two points in the episode, she gets injected by Vertigo and sees her biggest fear, which was Sara being disappointed and violent about Laurel’s path. But as we pointed out earlier, Laurel finally embraced her own worth and gave up on being something she wasn’t, but became her own  hero by declaring to the hallucination-Sara: “I’m done trying to be.” You go girl!


Laurel Lance 083: The Ultimate Call-Out On Oliver’s Hypocrisy (Season 4, Episode 5)

This is from the 4th season and in my all-time favorite episode “Haunted” that not only featured Matt Ryan as John Constantine, but also an important scene that we desperately needed. Remember the hallway scene between Oliver and Laurel from Season 2 where Oliver had to call out on Laurel? Well this time, it was Laurel that got to call out on Oliver’s hypocrisy and boy, was it satisfying as even I had enough of Oliver’s behavior and unfairness. Their relationship had been shake-y since Season 2 where they both struggled with getting along for some time, but this season was when they finally started to find some common ground and strengthen their friendship. But first we needed this moment when Laurel, flawlessly, calls out on Oliver’s hypocrisy and gives him a much needed wake-up call. I will let the footage speak for itself.


Laurel Lance 092: Laurel Convinces Oliver To Keep Fighting (Season 2, Episode 21)

We are going to go back to another powerful Laurel and Oliver moment, which was from Season 2 and this is just one of several examples where Laurel was one of the few people on this show that could talk sense to Oliver and get through to him. She knew him before he got taken to that island and afterwards, meaning that she knows Oliver almost better than anyone else. In this powerful scene in the 21st episode of Season 2 “City of Blood” where she reveals to Oliver that she know that he was the Arrow after Slade dropped that bomb on her. But she also knew that Oliver was planning on pretty much committing suicide by giving in to the enemies’ demand and she couldn’t let him do that after everything that had happened in recent episodes. Whether she wore a mask or not, Laurel was a hero in her own right and this moment was one of them. It was also one of my favorite Oliver/Laurel moments in general. Everyone should have a friend like Laurel Lance.


Laurel Lance 101: The Father/Daughter Relationship Between Quentin And Laurel (Season 1 – Season 4)

For our final moment, we are going to do a little bit of a cheat, but it’s because one moment wouldn’t be enough to sum it up. One of the absolute key parts of this series that I’m going to miss so much, was the powerful father/daughter relationship between Quentin and Laurel as Paul Blackthorne and Cassidy had one of the best interactions in the entire show. Yes, just much like any other father and daughter dynamic, there were plenty of arguments, disagreements, but also sweet and close moments where these two actors brought some of the best performances to the show. I could watch these two go from one emotion to another for hours as their relationship was one of the more real things on Arrow. This moment below is painful, but also beautifully heartbreaking as one of the many examples from their relationship.


Arrow 0418Bonus: Laurel’s Final Moments (Season 4, Episode 18)

As painful, heartbreaking, devastating and unfair as her death was, it would be an injustice to Katie Cassidy if I didn’t bring up her remarkable performance in this week’s episode as we had to say goodbye to Laurel. Just minutes before she passes away, Laurel gives her final and maybe most powerful speech ever as she tells the team how much it meant for her to be the Black Canary, being part of this team and how much she loved them. While I do disagree with the decision to even reference Felicity in her last breathe to Oliver, seeing her tell him that he was always the love of his life, broke me and definitely the larger parts of the show’s fandom as Cassidy delivered one of her finest performances.

In conclusion, click on the next page as we reflect who and what Dinah Laurel Lance a.k.a. the Black Canary stood for.


Black Canary Laurel LanceIn Conclusion:

Laurel may have had a bumpy start in the first season where we didn’t know where she was going, but what followed, as much as we were able to get, was a beautiful character journey. We saw how a young woman picked herself up from one tragedy after another, while also dealing with a few falls into the darkness every now and then. We saw how she overcame severe depression and alcoholism/drug addiction after she lost Tommy which took her life down a spiral. But eventually the phoenix rose from the ashes as she began to make her ways back into a normal life that then took her into the world of superheroes. Her sister’s “death” in the third year finally got her to begin her transformation into the Black Canary, which may have had some of its flaws, but was a journey that actually made the third season watchable, to the point where Cassidy was that season’s true MVP.

While it will never be forgotten how underutilized Laurel/Black Canary was throughout her run, one thing is for sure and that is that most of the times when she was put to use, she shined. To me, Laurel represented true empowerment, that you can overcome tragedies, whether it be the death of loved ones, spiraling into addictions or other obstacles. Just like Ted Grant taught her last season: it’s not about how you get knocked down to the mat. It’s about whether you get up. That statement couldn’t be more fitting to describe Laurel’s character, other than that she was always trying to save the world. While some may not have had the same appreciation for her as she was underutilized and never given enough focus like certain characters: this critic cherished every second, moment, scene and episode that Cassidy’s character took part of, especially those powerful ones. Laurel Lance was the hero that, other than Oliver Queen himself, had to fight the hardest more than any other character in the whole series. With or without a mask, Dinah Laurel Lance was always trying to save the world, hence a born hero and role model.

Arrow returns with new episodes on Wednesday, April 27, at 8/7c on The CW. We want to hear from you what some of your favorite moments were with Laurel Lance a.k.a. the Black Canary – let us know in the comments below!

[Photos and Video via The CW/Warner Bros. TV]

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