It’s hard to believe its been weeks since the death of Laurel, and yet “Canary Cry” made it clear that not only is she gone, she’s not coming back. A fact that was confirmed by the people running Arrow.
Why is this important? Well, because as many characters noted, death isn’t so permanent. Whether its slight of hand, or a Lazarus Pit, things can bring people back. But here…not so much. “Canary Cry” did a masterful job showing how everyone, and do mean practically everyone, was reacting to the death of Laurel. And true to form, each reaction was different, powerful, and heartbreaking. From Ollie just trying to not blame himself, to Diggle’s desire for revenge and atonement, to Quentin’s downright denial of the truth, everything was visible here, and all of it worked.
On a fanish note, can we give Paul Blackthorne an Emmy nod for his performance here? This is a man who had to portray a father who has lost his two kids, now three times, and this time knowing his “rock” was not going back. Hearing his voice crack when he talked with Ollie about how important Laurel was to him was so powerful. What more can this man go through? Seeing him try anything, and everything, to get Laurel back was so key to the point of this episode, and seeing him break after having his attempts shot done was truly hard to watch.
Then there’s Diggle, who blames himself the most for what happened, for without his trust of Andy, Darhk wouldn’t have gotten his idol back, and Laurel would’ve likely been alive. Seeing him start off as a man in regret, the escalating to a man willing to do whatever it takes to get payback was gripping. As was Ollie’s chat with him after he stopped him from killing Rava Darhk.
Then there was the copycat. Who technically was the weakest part of the episode, however, that’s just in the context of the powerful performances the cast put on. The story itself was actually really good. As this girl was a victim of Darhk’s experiments, and she saw how the Black Canary was a hero and sought to get revenge via the person she believed was amazing. They even (mostly) explained how she did all that she did, which was key in this storyline. Then when Rava tried to turn the city against the Black Canary, Laurel’s legacy was at stake, adding a new dimension to the story.
The flashbacks were easily the most surprising part of this story. As it showed a epilogue of sorts of Season 01 via the funeral of Tommy Merlyn, and how Ollie and Laurel reacted to it. This was very dangerous, but it actually turned out rather lovely, and reinforced why Ollie fled to Lian Yu after the undertaking. All the while, it gave gravity to Ollie revealing to the world that Laurel was Black Canary at her funeral, ensuring that her legacy would never be truly tarnished, and that she would be remembered as a hero.
Finally, it all typing back to “flash forward” scene we’ve been teased with all season was great, as well as giving us motivation for the final few episodes. Darhk must die, there is no way around it, and Ollie HAS to find a way. For Laurel.
“Canary Cry” was a tribute to a character most thought would never die, and yet her sendoff was better than most characters get in their series. With all eyes on the villain now, Arrow is heading for a truly epic season finale.