Episode Title: Eleven Fifty Nine
Original Airdate: 4-7-16
So, wow. I was completely wrong on who was getting killed off on Arrow. In all honesty, I didn’t see such a major character getting killed — assuming one of the second tier supporting characters being fair game. Curtis’ husband, Donna Smoak and maybe Quentin Lance, but to actually lose a member of Team Arrow? Pretty bold and shocking stuff.
As the episode unfolded Laurel’s death certainly seemed viable. After all, characters talking about retiring or finding some level of contentment is never great for their long-term prospects. Laurel wasn’t sure if she wanted to be the new District Attorney, which would mean hanging up her Black Canary outfit for good.
There was definitely reasons to leave the crimefighting to Oliver and crew. Team Arrow was splintering what with trust issues with Oliver and Diggle over John’s brother, Andy. Diggle took Oliver’s advice and went all-in giving his brother the benefit of the doubt. The episode played out Andy’s true allegiance well giving us more than enough instances of seeing a possibility of Andy being on the up and up.
Ultimately, he was fully in Darhk’s pocket. I liked this move as I didn’t quite understand why Andy so willingly aided Diggle after weeks of refusing to give up his old boss and HIVE’s plans.
Merlyn’s efforts to retrieve the totem that gave Darhk his powers renewed his rivalry with Thea, who’s now determined to stop her father. That’s a smart set-up as Thea has an arch-rival she’s invested in defeating now that Oliver has moved on to Darhk. And you know Diggle is going to want to put down Andy for betraying his trust and directly leading to one of Diggle’s best friend’s death. That’s going to be a pretty strong three vs three battle come the season finale.
Felicity was largely absent, which helped recapture that vigilante spirit of the first couple of seasons. Felicity’s genius level hacking ability was becoming a crutch and seeing the team work without her and her overdone forced humor provided a far more serious tone to this episode.
Given the emphasis on Diggle, Thea and Laurel, each seemed likely not to survive. Yet it was still shocking for Darhk to delay his prison break to launch two arrows into Laurel. Darhk has almost been too charismatic a villain this season so it was good to see him to do something to solidly make us want to see Green Arrow take him down. But now that he’s got his totem and his powers back, how can Team Arrow hope to stop him?
The final sequence was excellent. Team Arrow was at Laurel’s bedside as she appeared to be recovering well from her surgery. As all but Oliver left out, Laurel shared a private moment with him and the next she was crashing and the medical staff couldn’t save her. The Black Canary is dead.
I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. This was easily one of the strongest episodes of Arrow in a long time and if the show is able to keep this momentum rolling there may be hope for it yet.