Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
ALL THE TEARS. This was a tough one, and for once the angst had nothing to do with “Olicity.” We’re still doing our Olicity Watch, just with a little more Laurel Lance flare than normal. Provided we can still type through the sobbing, here’s our wrap up for 4×18, “Eleven-Fifty-Nine”:
There’s a sense of ominous dread hanging over this whole episode, and not just because anyone who has read the spoilers knew what was coming. Andy betrays Diggle, Oliver and Diggle fight, Darhk stages a prison break, Felicity is barely on screen, and Oliver is like a little dark storm cloud wandering around Star City. Oh, and Laurel Lance, aka The Black Canary, dies. *Sobs*
I’m not going to pretend that I’ve always been the biggest Laurel Lance fan. I think her character has been misused from the beginning, with neither the actress nor the writers really knowing what to do with her (especially after being replaced as the romantic lead). I’ll also never apologize for being an Olicity fan, or for truly believing that Oliver and Felicity belong together. Having said that, the death scene was very, very difficult to watch. Katie Cassidy knocked it out of the park with her wounded eyes and the extraordinarily sad way she told Oliver that he would always be the love of her life. I thought that ship had sailed long ago, and I was surprised to see that it could still emotionally move me. So no, there weren’t many Olicity moments in this episode, but it was a touching sendoff to an endlessly flawed character.
- Felicity is only around in the final 10 minutes or so of “Eleven-Fifty-Nine,” but her presence is still continuously felt in the lair. First Diggle and Oliver fight, with Dig throwing out some seriously hard truths. “You’re stuck in your self pity and self righteousness and that is why Felicity left you.” Oliver looks like he just got sucker punched. Moments later, Oliver tells Laurel that the team is falling apart, his voice catching when he mentions that Felicity left.
- Felicity shows up at the hospital and instantly hugs Oliver. There’s no hesitation, no awkwardness, just the simple knowledge that both will feel better after comforting each other. You can see it on their faces too, as Oliver relaxes, Felicity shuts her eyes, and they both cling to one another for a few moments.
- After they all say heartfelt I love yous while gathered around Laurel’s hospital bed, the rest of the gang leaves Oliver alone in the room. Laurel gives him back the photo he took of her to Lian Yu and tells him that she’s happy he found Felicity. “I know that I am not the love of your life,” she says. “But you will always be the love of mine.” Oliver looks sad but resigned, knowing there’s nothing he can say back. This whole moment hit me right in the feels. A few minutes later and Laurel is seizing, then pronounced dead. The team is devastated. Captain Lance is devastated. I’m devastated.
Moments of Hope: I’ve said this time and time again, Oliver is better with Felicity, and this episode proves it. When she’s not around, he’s generally a mess: fighting Andy instead of talking to Dig. Saying he’ll always be the damaged man from the island. Flinching when Diggle even mentions her name. She’s the thing that keeps him balanced, and without her he feels like half a man. There wasn’t much Olicity last night, but every moment (like that hug!) clinched their endgame status.
Steamy or Loving or SAD: I love Olicity. Clearly. But their drama took a necessary backseat this week, and Laurel was allowed to shine in her final episode. The Black Canary has been mostly in the shadows this season, a supporting character instead of a lead, and one of the few who hasn’t had much emotional growth overall. It was nice to see Laurel get an episode that put the spotlight on her, and not in a negative way. She wasn’t trying to raise her sister from the dead, or struggling (and usually failing) with some big moral issue. Instead the show tackled her commitment to the team and what makes her drawn to both the law and the Black Canary. It was a strong episode all around, made only stronger by the emotional reactions to her death and fallout we all know is coming.
I’ve seen some negative backlash online about how Laurel’s death was another way to prop up Olicity, specifically in how she mentions Felicity in her final speech to Oliver. There’s a tiny, tiny part of me that agrees; it did feel like an easy way for the writers to slip in a reassuring, “Don’t worry fans, we still know who’s endgame here.” But overall I think the death scene was handled well. Laurel is allowed to say goodbye to the team, and finally airs some of the unspoken crap that still exists between her and Oliver. It was bittersweet, a little heartbreaking, but it made sense for her character to be longing for a simpler time, one where she wasn’t a vigilante, hadn’t seen her sister die (twice), and where she was just in love with an emotionally immature frat boy and mentally decorating their first apartment together. Laurel’s storylines have been bungled from the beginning, and she could easily have been lifted out of most of the plots from this season. It no longer makes sense to keep her on the show, but last night proved to me that she will be missed. Laurel may have never been in line to get the guy, but at least she got an emotional and meaningful sendoff.
Arrow won’t be back for three weeks (THREE. WEEKS.), but let’s all hope for a kiss-filled Olicity reunion in 4×19: “Canary Cry”. Anything to stop this flow of tears.