Comic book tv shows

Arrow Discussion: Does Laurel’s character even work as Black Canary?

is laurel good as black canary?Now I didn’t get the chance to write a post about last week’s Arrow episode because I was on a plane, but I do want to quickly talk about Laurel’s new transformation to the Black Canary persona, and if this transformation actually works/makes sense.

First of all it’s pretty obvious that most people prefer the character of Sara Lance over Laurel. Sara was a great Black Canary, but unfortunately she’s gone so it’s time to move Laurel that is.

Laurel’s character is probably the most hated character on Arrow. Her character has been inconsistently written over the last few seasons, and has become increasingly irritable. Thankfully she has become less annoying than she was last season, so that’s something at least.

In the comics Black Canary is Laurel’s character, however Sara acts more like the comic book Black Canary than Laurel does herself. Black Canary is strong-willed, a little quick tempered but extremely compassionate and a leader. Laurel’s character often came off as selfish and weak in the first two seasons, so it was always hard to imagine her character becoming the Black Canary.

black canary comicsBut then Sara died, and with that death came Laurel’s transformation. She became a little less quick to judge, and started taking control of her life. However her as Black Canary? After watching last week’s episode, I’m not sure if I’m buying it yet.

It takes a lot for a person to decide to become a costumed vigilante. Typically a character has that one huge defining point in their lives before they choose the costumed hero life. Oliver had to survive on an island and Barry got struck by lightning. For Laurel it was her sister’s death, however unlike her sister Laurel hasn’t really had any training.

And to be fair, the show runners didn’t just treat the audience as idiots and suddenly make Laurel the world’s greatest fighter, she was pretty shit when it came to fighting the bad guys. So it’s almost a mockery having her running around as Black Canary, when her sister was clearly the real Black Canary.

Side note: the whole using a fake Sara voice to Detective Lance is beyond horrible, way to mess with a guy’s emotions geez.

is laurel good as black canaryAt the end of the day I’m all for more female presence on Arrow, but a strong female character isn’t just one who can kick butt, she needs to have complexity and actual good traits, which Laurel’s character has yet to develop. Laurel’s character right now is very reactionary and isn’t sure who it’s supposed to be.

Arrow kind of dug themselves into a hole by creating the Sara Black Canary without developing the Laurel character properly, because it’s going to be hard for people to get on board with Laurel’s character now that we’ve already seen such a good version of the Black Canary character.

But I still have faith that the Arrow writers can find a way to make the Laurel Black Canary character awesome. But perhaps the best thing to do was to actually develop the Laurel Lance character more before making her the Black Canary, because I just don’t think she’s ready for that mantle yet. 

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26 replies »

  1. I am all for supporting well-written characters in the media. That is, after all, the main theme of my blog. But Laurel isn’t well written. In fact, she is the worst of tropes which are mostly reserved characters – designated love interest, damsel in distress and Faux action girl – wrapped in one very unpleasant package. The only claim she has to becoming the Black Canary is her name.

    Question (since I dropped the show after the first episode of season three): Based on what I hear about the character she is now not even able to tell if a gun is loaded or not and needed to start training from the scratch. Is that true? Because if yes, that’s pretty stupid. The first season at least established that she had self-defence training and knew how to deal with a gun.

    In any case, the writers had a plan and stuck to it, to the deriment of the whole show. At the very least they could have shown Sara training Laurel for her own protection before she got killed off. Though I still think that they killed of the wrong sister.


    • I don’t remember the gun thing, but overall she pretty much had to start training from scratch. She did a little boxing training in season 3 and then put on the Black Canary suit, but still obviously couldn’t fight properly.
      Yeah Sara was a way better character, and it’s a shame they feel the need to shove Laurel down our throats just because that follows the comics


      • Does it? As far as I can tell, the only thing the characters have in common is the name – and it is not like Black canary was always Dinah Lance.


      • As in because she in Dinah Lance, the showrunners always intended to make her Black Canary, but they screwed up her character and it just doesn’t work


      • I think laurel is already a better black canary than Sara. What’s that you say? Let me explain, sara is obviously a superior fighter, but theres more to it than that. Laurel knows the law and is a prosecutor. She will have acccess to information that Sara wouldn’t have. That may seem insignificant but to be a vigilante you need intel. Do you know who else said that? Oliver queen. She can work the system by day and fight criminals by night.

        The second reason she’s a better black canary is she has more compassion and respect for human life than sara. The league of shadows turned sara into a cold blooded killer. She killed with no remorse, laurel wont do that. People need to see the big picture and be patient.


      • That is true, Laurel already has better resources compared to Sara. And now that Laurel is over her off the rails phase, she’s in a much better position to really get focused and be a great Black Canary.
        And Sara did start becoming more compassionate once she got back with Oliver, but you’re right she still has her emotionless assassin moments. As long as they don’t rush Laurel becoming Black Canary, and really make her go through what Oliver went through, then I have hope that she can be really great


    • I completely agree! Sara looks and acts exactly like Black Canary, and they killed her off WAYYY too fast. Laurel not only does not look like her, does not act like her, and is also extremely weak. Black canary fights like a man (in my opinion) and that was a cool trait for her to have, but for Laurel to fight like a scared woman is quite irritating. She has nothing about her to be black canary, and for her to get it so fast makes me mad, especially since black canary was my fav chick. This show totally ruined black canary for me. We are now in season 4, and she is still no better at anything.


      • Not really. If you look back, she may KNOW the law but she rarely executes it well herself. Every case she has done she has only ever been able to win said case b/c she got help from the Arrow and his Team. She can’t even win a court case herself. It would be one thing if she were winning cases left and right by herself with no connection the Arrow b/c then we’d see how competent she is but alas that never happened.


    • I will never be able to support the Laurel Lance/Black Canary character even if the show does make her better. Her entire existence is the misrepresentation of what it is to be a strong female character. In season 1 she was selfish under the guise of selflessness (which is worse than plane old selfish in my opinion), hypocritical, self-righteous, and always found a way to bring up her sister’s death and relate it back to Oliver in every freaking episode. On top of all of that, she was the woman who constantly lamented over the fact that her boyfriend cheated on her yet she constantly pitted Tommy and Oliver against each other in their battle for her affections. Sure, Tommy died a rather honorable death — he died saving the woman he loved — the problem is that she didn’t deserve it plus the reason he had to go save her in the first place was b/c she was rescuing PAPERS from CNRI…PAPERS…despite the warnings to get out of CNRI/The Glades by her father, the Hood, the News, and Tommy himself! In season 2 she was horrid to everyone including herself. It’s hard to root for a woman who has so little self-esteem and even less self-respect. In season 3 we were forced to watch the worst part of her character which was the fact that every other female had to suffer just so Laurel could TRY to be on top for once. First Sara had to die for her to even consider becoming Black Canary, on top of that the whole reason behind her need for vengeance was not for the memory of her sister but b/c she wanted to make herself feel better, plus she describes being the Black Canary as if it were another vice that was simply replacing her drug/alcohol addiction. She replaced one addiction for another. When she thinks Roy killed her sister, she can’t accept that it was b/c he too was a victim due to the affects of Mirakuru, but when she learns it was really Thea she’s not even mad and simply goes back to blaming Merlyn. Plus, Thea had to be victimized and manipulated herself by a man, her own father, for Sara to be killed in the first place. Also, throughout season 3, Felicity get’s tossed to the side along with Diggle and isolated from Team Arrow…all just so Laurel can get her moment to shine. Basically, 3 women were degraded and victimized in the process of Laurel’s so called growth and I hate the mere idea of women hurting other women, it just seem too counterproductive and counterintuitive. And overall, Laurel is way too much a reactionary character that only reacts if she personally is involved: she’s impulsive, reckless, runs off half-cocked, mad, & repeatedly does stupid things that almost always get her hurt if not killed, not to mention jeopardizes anyone who has to go after her & rescue her, then the consequences are never her fault. Laurel may be a main love interest for Green Arrow in the comics, hell, they even get married, but many people seem to forget the fact that Laurel and Oliver in the comics also get a divorce and Laurel finds another guy to marry and live happily ever after with. So, when people say that Laurel is Oliver’s cannon love interest it makes me laugh b/c they get a DIVORCE and Laurel goes off on her own. I also find Laurel’s kick-ass behavior to be quite cliché. She conforms to the stereotypical cliché that in order for a woman to be strong she must conform to the personalities and traits of a male. Not all strong women have to physically fight. I like how Felicity has a couple physical kick-ass moments, how she reacts how most normal people would react to crazy situations, but she is also supremely comfortable and empowering in her feminine characterization. We live in a day and age where being feminine is not considered a good thing by everyone, but Felicity debunks that and owns up to her feminine personality coupled with intelligence and seems to be proud to be a woman. Felicity likes herself. I often feel like even Laurel doesn’t like herself and that’s never a good trait in a supposedly strong woman. I could never support the Laurel character, even if the writers make her better, simply b/c a lot of other woman have suffered b/c of her and her storyline.


  2. The show had a great character in Sara and she was totally working as Canary. So it’s been quite the adjustment seeing Laurel try to fill her shoes. One thing I do recognize is that Laurel as Canary is more of symbol, in honor of Sara, than an actual hero in her own right at this point.


  3. I hate the fact that every one in this show only train for 5 years or less and become some great fighting vigilante including Arrow (trained on an Island for 4 year). As a fighter I contend that to fight as well as they appear to fight a person would need to train all of there lives or at least10 years none stop, And that is with the best trainers in the world. Roy 2yrs, Arrow 4 to 5 years, Sara 3years, Laural 2 months of boxing training? I AM CALLING BS ON THIS!!


    • Haha well it’s good to hear from a real fighter. At least Arrow has quite a bit of experience and Sara trained with the League of Assassins, Laurel has barely done anything at all and now thinks she can take up her sister’s place. I know it’s a TV show and we gotta suspend belief a little, but Laurel’s character has a way to go before she can really put on that costume


    • I know im supre late but im catching up on NETFLIX. But I think there is a difference in choosing to be a fighter and being forced. When you are constantly surrounded by fear and have to train to survive its quite different. You always learn faster when fully submerged in something. Not practicing for a few hours and day and then going home or to work. With Arrow I think it fits and with Sara as well. Maybe roy cause he was fighting way before he started training with arrow but laural that’s def BS.
      Now as a fighter I know you practice and have made a commitment to the sport but be honest if its all you did from sun up to sun down and your sole purpose was to learn for survival im pretty sure you would be just as good a fighter as you are now 5 years ago.

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  4. Yeah, but as a comic book lover of DC and Marvel, I gave this and the anorexic Grant Gustin/Flash the benefit of the doubt. Although, I am starting to get over the poorly casting of Flash and continue watching, it is heard to continue watching Arrow with Laurel as Canary. Speaking of Flash, I feel that Robbie Amell (Fire Storm) would have made a better Flash. BTW!…What happened to Canary’s Canary Cry in which she known for? Hmmmm.


    • I don’t have a problem with Grant not being muscly because it’s not really a core part of his character, Grant nails the personality of Barry Allen so I have absolutely no problems with him.
      But yeah Laurel has always been a downfall of the show, but now that Arrow has really tapped into the world of superpowers and magic and stuff, we could see the canary cry one day…maybe


  5. my only problem with Laurel is that its very unrealistic to have her fighting along these far superior heroes. Her training is not enough, some self defense training and she is taking on the league, its like saying she could beat Batman.


  6. I find many of you rather pathetic that it’s amazing. Apparently, the way for many of you to appreciate Laurel was for her to be a badass, an uber supportive girlfriend or both. She was never allowed to be complicated by the likes of you.


  7. Yeah I never liked how they handled it, but now all you can do is accept her weirdly superior fighting abilities and move on

    It was clear in Season 1 that Laurel was more than capable of defending herself. But apparently, Marc Guggenheim wanted her fighting abilities to decline when she became the Black Canary. Now, that’s weird.


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