Warning: Contains spoilers for “11:59.”
The occupant of Arrow’s Mystery Grave has been revealed. We at SciFi Pulse would like to thank Katie Cassidy for her portrayal of Laurel Lance/The Black Canary, who viewers will still see in a recurring capacity, according to Entertainment Weekly…
So could Laurel come back to life?
“Not getting a chance to work with Katie day in and day out is tempered by the fact that we now live in a universe where there’s resurrection, parallel earths, time travel, flashbacks — we have all these different ways of keeping Katie in the Arrow-verse family,” Guggenheim says. “In fact, you will see her on an episode of Flash playing the Earth-2 version of Laurel Lance. Katie is reprising her role as Laurel of Earth-1 to be in Vixen season 2. Death does not mean goodbye on any of these shows, but we made a creative choice and we’re sticking to it. We’re recognizing that Black Canary and Laurel have an incredibly loyal fanbase, and Katie has an incredibly loyal fanbase, but the show has never been just about the comic book history, it’s never been just about one or two different particular fanbases. We make the creative choices we feel benefit the show as a whole and the story that we’re telling overall.”
That said, I have to take issue with the public relations debacle surrounding the Mystery Grave. Throughout the arc, there were set photo leaks that completely spoiled the mystery. Producers blamed the photographers, and while I sympathize with them up to a point, there’s a more fundamental issue here. The producers wouldn’t have had to deal with the level of leakage they faced if they had simply killed Laurel without fanfare, just as they did with Robert Queen, Tommy Merlyn, Moira Queen, and Sara Lance. Those deaths were shocking precisely because viewers didn’t see them coming. Unfortunately, they announced the shock death this time, complete with flash forwards, which alerted photographers to be extra vigilant, ultimately ruining the shock.
I also have to take issue with the notion of shocking deaths altogether. I’m over 40. As a mature genre fan, I’ve seen Blake’s 7. Long story short, that classic British science fiction series ended with all the Resistance fighters, who hadn’t been killed up until that point, being massacred in the final scene of the series finale — fade to black. Blake’s 7 represented a paradigm shift for me, as Game of Thrones has done for the current generation. I, and the viewers I represent, assume everyone will die in the end. That way, we see any survivors as an automatic happy ending. This is a much healthier way to absorb our entertainment, in my opinion. The unfortunate effect of this outlook for producers, however, is that there’s a segment of the viewership for whom Mystery Graves are completely pointless.
I hope the creative team behind Arrow will keep the points I’ve raised in mind going forward. I’m very much looking forward to Season 5.