Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Arrow reviews here.
Strong performances and character drama made “Canary Cry”, a fallout episode following the previous installment’s earth-shattering ending, an emotionally powerful episode of Arrow.
The main storyline of “Canary Cry”, involving a lone vigilante seeking vengeance on HIVE, was a fairly standard Arrow plot. In fact, Evelyn Sharp was not exactly the show’s most fleshed-out character, and her story was kind of rushed through. But what ultimately made it work was that this plot thread was directly tied into the main focus of the episode: the aftermath of Laurel’s death and the legacy she left behind. (Side note: the same could not be said of this week’s similarly fallout-centric episode of The Flash).
Laurel’s death understandably affected all of the main characters on Arrow, which gave them plenty of dramatic material to chew on, and all of the actors got the chance to show off their enormous talent.
Chief of those was Paul Blackthorne, who was positively heartbreaking as a Quentin Lance desperate to believe his daughter was still alive. And really, who could blame him? This is a man who watched one of his daughters, Sara, come back from the dead twice already. Not to mention the return of Ray Palmer and Andy Diggle from the presumed dead this season alone. Lance was a grieving father in denial, his plight made all the more tragic by the faint glimmer of hope of living in a world where that was possible. A world where his denial was more than the delusions of a man in pain. All of this led to the gut-wrenching scene in which he finally realized and accepted that there was no bringing her back.
That subplot was important not just for Lance, but for the audience as well. Arrow was warning us, the viewers, not to expect Laurel to come back. On a show where death has become a revolving door, this assertion is important. To feel the weight of Laurel’s passing, we need to know that she is gone for good. And as much as I thought her death was a waste of character potential, I think she should stay dead for any of this to truly mean anything.
The other highlight performance of the week came from David Ramsey, as Diggle struggled with the guilt he felt thanks to his brother’s betrayal, and all the anger that came with it. It’s a dark moment for a character who is often the show’s conscience, and Ramsey was more than up to the task. I doubt this is the last we’ll see of this side of Diggle.
In the middle of all of this, Oliver was surprisingly the one holding everything together. He was the voice of reason for Lance, and the voice of morality for Diggle. There have been many jokes made about how much Oliver blames himself, so it was refreshing to see everyone else actually play the Oliver role for once, and him being the one to offer the advice (as the leading expert on the subject, he joked).
Speaking of performances, I must mention how good Ruvé Adams was this week. Even when Damien Darhk isn’t there, she’s more than capable of filling Neal McDonough’s shoes, and she proved it again in “Canary Cry”. Say what you will about how their story’s been handled, but Season 4 has had an excellent pair of villains.
Even the flashbacks were Laurel-centric in “Canary Cry”. Time away from the plodding Baron Reiter storyline is always welcome, but more than that, those scenes worked effectively on their own. Not only was it was nice to fill in the gap between Seasons 1 and 2, but flashing back to Tommy’s funeral was a great way to juxtapose the deaths of Oliver’s oldest friends on the show, highlight his relationship and past romance with Laurel, and give her one final goodbye. Which meant that the flashbacks didn’t necessarily line up perfectly with the events of the time (I don’t think I could have imagined Laurel and Oliver kissing right after Tommy’s funeral back when I finished Season 1), but that’s okay, because they fulfilled their purpose.
So, we’ve come full circle. We know who’s in the grave, and to preserve her legacy, the world now knows exactly who the Black Canary was (also possibly closing the door on any potential copycats). There was a bit of a tonal shift between the funeral scenes filmed earlier in the season and the funeral scenes filmed for “Canary Cry”, but I suppose it was impossible to plan that far ahead so meticulously.
And now that we’ve caught our breaths and allowed Laurel’s death to sink in properly, it’s time to pay off on the promise of the previous episode. The final few episodes of Season 4 had better be epic.
Rating: 4/5 (Great)
If you enjoy this website, check out the Facebook page and hit like at facebook.com/ScrawlSpace.