I’ve seen a lot of people online talking negatively about Laurel Lance, and how she’s both written and portrayed on Arrow, so first I want to say that I do like her quite a lot. Well that’s not quite accurate, I love aspects of her, and think that she could become a better character if she was a little more consistent.It’s not anything to do with Katie Cassidy’s performance, as I think that she does a exceptional job, especially when it comes to the emotional, and family scenes. She definitely doesn’t deserve all the negative comments that seem to come her way from some people within the Arrow fan base.
I really enjoyed her pairing with Tommy Merlyn in the first season, seeing the best of her during the episodes that they were a acknowledged couple. Her protectiveness of others, her physical ability to protect herself, and the ease in which she handled a shotgun, were all reasons that I warmed to her. I saw glimmers of a previous role of Katie Cassidy’s, Ruby on Supernatural, in the ease in which she managed to defeat Max, at his own nightclub, while Oliver and Tommy were both seemingly losing to his security team.
It’s her protectiveness, and her love for those important to her that leads her to make arguably the most divisive choice, in the most recent season, as she decides to bring her deceased sister back. It’s a situation that nobody will logically be in, in the real world, but I can sort of understand why Laurel made that choice. She seemingly has limited contact with her mother, her father is present yes, but doesn’t really agree with a lot of her life choices, and has distanced himself from her recently, of course if she has the option of bringing back her sister, she will take it.
It does seem as though the writers have not quite figured out what they want to do with her, they presented a understandably angry, and defensive character in the first season, who was slowly unbending due to her relationship with Tommy, and then at the end of the first season had her, rather inexplicably having sex with Oliver. Maybe inexplicably isn’t the right word, given Stephen Amell’s physical appearance, but I must have missed quite a lot, I didn’t think that Laurel would rebound quite so swiftly after the end of her relationship with Tommy, and with the man who had unthinkingly kickstarted a lot of the pain that her family had gone through.
It would have taken me a lot longer than seven months, to be able to forgive someone who had indirectly been the reason that my sister had died, my father had succumbed to alcohol as a coping mechanism and my parents had divorced, not to mention the fact that they had been cheating on me.
I very much doubt that I would opt to restart a romantic relationship, instead of repairing things with a arguably far more stable prospect such as Tommy. He at least seemed to value Laurel more than any other woman, and proved his unselfish love, when he opted to attempt to save her, ultimately giving his own life in exchange for hers.
The second season was more than a little inconsistent for me, when it came to Laurel’s storylines. She went through a totally understandable depression, and struggled with the fact that Tommy had been trying to save her, when he died, her devotion to saving others, indirectly causing the death of someone that she had known most of her life, whether in a romantic context or not. It was revealed that she had the same addictive personality as her father, turning to the same coping mechanism that he had adopted in the wake of Sara’s seeming death. It was interesting, and a little sad, to see her struggling with trying to function in the wake of such a tragedy, after being such a stoic and together character throughout the majority of season one.
I did feel that her transformation into the Black Canary seemed to be a little swift, during the third season. I understand that she would want to honor her sister, particularly after the reconciliation in later parts of season two, but the writers had her being unable to deal with one thug albeit one armed with two knives, in one episode, and then taking on multiple members of the League of Assassins a couple of episodes later. I don’t know anything about martial arts, but I think it would take longer than a couple of weeks to be able to challenge someone who had been fighting for years, even leaving aside the physical differences between someone of Cassidy’s frame, and a man.
It was fun to see her interact with Nyssa, seeing a slightly different side to both women, especially in the ‘Black and white milkshake’ scene, well the first part of it anyway.
The other major relationship that Laurel has outside of the core cast, during the third season came to a abrupt and rather inconclusive end. I liked Ted Grant, but he seemed to vanish after the intense beating he received from Brick, and Laurel never mentions him to any other character after that. It seemed odd, that she would never talk about the man that she had been fiercely defending to Oliver, when he had been framed by a former friend, especially as he had been trying to help her and the other members of Team Arrow to free the city from Brick’s take over when he had been injured.
I would have liked to see the character come back, or at the very least, if the actor was unavailable, then to be referenced. It was managed quite easily in Doctor Who during the Russell T. Davies years, he was always referencing characters important to the companion, even if the actor was unable to be in the episode, and it made the connections stronger, for the audience.
I found aspects of Laurel’s decision making in the most recent season to be baffling to the point of laughable. For instance, are she and Thea the only ones that live in that apartment building? I mean for her to store her mentally unstable sister, who has just come back from the dead in the basement, it must be. At the very least the other inhabitants and the super must be the least observant people in Star City, and not store anything down there themselves.
Leaving aside the fact that her bosses must be so flexible when it comes to time keeping, and taking holidays, as regards her trips to Nanda Parbat, a destination that seems much too easy to get to. She must be coming into work as a DA with injuries on a regular basis, not the best image for such a profession.
However it’s the fact that she seems consistently determined to do what she wants, regardless of the consequences, and how it might affect others around her, which is one of the most irritating and yet admirable qualities. I mean she had Nyssa, who is arguably the person that loves Sara most outside of the family, practically beg her not to bring Sara back, after Sara had been gone for a year. Laurel had seen what Thea was going through, after Thea had only been hovering on the brink, and still thought that it was a good idea to bring her sister back. She seems to think that she always knows best, despite her tendency to react on a emotional level, and then think about how to deal with what she’s done.
That quality in her reminds me somewhat of the Winchester brothers on Supernatural. They will save each other, regardless of the overarching consequences for themselves and the world in general. I’m not sure whether I think of that as selfishness, or a incredible love. It’s a bit of both I think. I do like characters that have a big heart, but they need to have someone to level them out, Laurel is yet to have someone whose primary reaction to things is to think rationally, in her life in a long term fashion. It doesn’t have to be a romantic connection, but I think if she had someone outside of Team Arrow, that was connected to her first, and not really involved with the ‘other’ job it would make her a more relatable character.
Sorry that was a lot longer and more rambling than I intended it to be, but the point is that I hope that Laurel will get someone to connect to, and hopefully will become a more measured and consistent character in the fourth season.