How Arrow Ruined Laurel Lance…

How Arrow Ruined Laurel Lance…

I first have to say the I love Arrow, I mean I L-O-V-E LOVE it. It is one of the few shows I make it a point of watching the night it airs, and while some characters, most even are pretty fleshed out, complex even one has always bothered me. Laurel Lance. I will come out and say it I HATE Dinah Laurel Lance. No hate or disrespect to Kate Cassidy, let us not forget folks, actors are different from the characters they play.

Besides, it’s not entirely her fault I have such a dislike for the character. The Powers That Be over at Arrow have royally mistreated her. Let’s break it down by season shall we?



Season One. We are introduced to Dinah “Laurel” Lance a legal aid attorney who works in a nonprofit legal office, CNRI. Ok I see what we are going for here, we want to establish that Laurel too, in her own way, fights for the people of Starling City. She also happens to be Oliver’s ex, oh and he cheated on her with her sister Sarah, who “died” in the shipwreck that marooned Oliver in the first place. Clearly, she will not be his biggest fan, however she did love him once, so cue a lot of angsty “I hate you, but I’m still in love with you”-ness. Add in the fact that she starts dating Tommy Merlyn, Oliver’s best friend, and now she becomes the woman in the middle. My personal opinion is that love triangles are WAY over done. I mean think about it, they are pretty much standard for tv and films these days, but how many do you know of/have experienced in real life? Seriously, hit up the comments and let my know, because I’m curious.

Laurel’s other role in Season One is to be a damsel in distress for “The Hood” to rescue. Her life is threatened several times. She is assaulted, kidnapped, has a hit put out on her, seriously all in the first season. Now, not every woman, or man for that matter, is a trained fighter, myself included. I am well aware that while in my head I fight like Buffy, my actual fight for my life tactics would be more along the lines of Bite/scratch/kick/scramble. However, given that Laurel occupation consists of dealing with some dangerous criminals, coupled with the fact that her father is a cop in a crime ridden city, you would think she’d have had at least SOME self-defense training. At least she apparently has a gun permit and own’s a shotgun, as seen in the episode “Home Invasion”. Regardless,of her apparent gun proficiency, her lack of ability is compounded by the fact that Laurel has, what I like to Carl-Grimes-Season-Two-itis:

49706-Carl-not-in-house-funny-ADqMGuaranteed if someone tells Laurel NOT to do something, be it her father, “The Hood”/”The Arrow”, Oliver, Tommy, ANYONE, she is going to go do it. This is most dramatically emphasized in the season one finale “Sacrifice” when despite being warned by Oliver, and I’m not 100% sure on this but I think her father as well, to NOT go to the Glades she rushes in to her office to essentially save paperwork. Which of course means she is going to have to be saved. This time it is Tommy who comes to her rescue and it ultimately costs him his life.

On to Season Two…..

Laurel now works as an ADA and blames “The Arrow” for Tommy’s death, so she can conveniently forget that Tommy wouldn’t have been in The Glades in the first place if he hadn’t had to rescue her ass. Despite the fact that she didn’t seem to have much of a problem working with him last year, or you know the fact that he had saved her life on several occasions, she then proceeds to set several traps for “The Arrow”.

Three episodes into the season, “Broken Dolls”, Laurel is yet again the target of a madmen and is almost killed by the Doll Maker, until of course “The Arrow” Swoops in and saves her. When Laurel finally admits that her blame is misplaced, she then has a really hard time dealing with it, which is understandable. She turns to pills and alcohol for comfort, which considering her father, Quintin is a recovered alcoholic, doesn’t seem too far-fetched. While in the mist of this internal struggle, Laurel learns her sister Sara, is not only alive, but in Starling City. Here is where Laurel has a brilliant downward spiral, almost gets a DUI, she makes a drunken pass at Oliver, has a brilliant Soap opera moment, see below.

She also comes to believe that Mayoral Candidate Sebastian Blood is involved in some shady business and decides to investigate on her own. Despite being right about Blood, no one believes her because, well, honestly at this point, she’s just a big ol’ hot mess. Being “wrong” about Blood and her drug abuse being brought to light, lead to her being fired from the DA’s office with pending disbarment charges coming.

This dark path they had Laurel traveling down, in all actuality could have redeemed her, if they had gone all the way and made her into a proper villain. Not so much in redeeming her to “the side of good” but at least have made her an interesting character to watch, and possibly root for/against. Think about it, the conflict with having to fight Sarah and Oliver. Well not actually fight, like I said before she’s not all that physically strong, I picture Villain Laurel having henchmen. You know, a little like Fish Mooney on Gotham, she doesn’t personally get her hands dirty, but she will send someone to F’ you up!

Unfortunately, this is NOT the route they chose to go with Laurel’s character. Nope. They have her make a surprisingly quick recovery actually. So quick, it’s almost insulting to those people who struggle from such addictions. Laurel apparently only has to go to a couple of meetings and then not only is she mostly (aside from a few references to how, life was easier when she could drink) recovered. Not only that, but suddenly, not only forgives her sister for having, and I quote: “Stole my whole life”, but also is somehow magically at peace over her having a continued romantic relationship with, their ex-boyfriend, you know the one she slept with last season and only a few episodes ago was trying to get with again. So much so, that she even goes to Oliver and basically tells him, he should be dating Sarah.


Through a series of bad decisions on the office of the District Attorney, and flat-out blackmail on her part, Laurel is able to get her job back by the end of the season. So glad to see her actions essentially had no consequences what so ever. Also by seasons end, Laurel discovers that Oliver, is “The Arrow”, and by discover I mean, Slade Wilson tells her. Not once, in two years of work with and/or hunting down The Arrow did she realize it was Oliver, never questioned the fact that he was ALWAYS around when she needed him to rush in and save her. Nope needed to be told.

During The Siege of Starling City in the series three-part season finale, Laurel reveals to Oliver that she knows his secret, this all after a bunch of internal conflict, and almost ratting him out to the DA’s office, and that he must fight Slade and save the city. She then decides that despite the fact that she has NO combat skills at all, AND the fact that Oliver told her not to because she would be a liability, didn’t faze her at all. Guess what, Laurel shows up and gets herself trapped in a cave in. Brilliant. Then somehow, this character who has no archery skills, at least that we know of, is able to perfectly execute shooting and EXPLODING arrow just by following Ollie’s very basic instructions?

JLaw OkayOliver is hesitant to leave Laurel again, because we all know she has a penchant for putting herself in harm’s way, but Laurel assures him the city needs him more than she does right now. She promises to stay out of harms way and heads to the police station. Along the way however, she runs into one of Slade’s men and has to yet again be rescued, this time by her sister Sara, the Canary. After parsing out some very zen like advise to her sister, for someone who’s life literally fell apart a few weeks ago, she sure likes to give advise, she heads to the police station, where she’ll be safe right?

Of course not! She gets herself kidnapped by Slade, who believes her to be the woman Oliver loves. Once again the character of Laurel Lance is regulated to being the Damsel in Distress that needs to be rescued.

Harry Eye RollWhat makes all of this even more frustrating is that on a whole Arrow, has several, well written, well-rounded female characters. Her younger sister, Sara Lance, has been through the fires of hell and made it through. Both Moira, before her death, and Thea Queen were both well-developed characters. Thea continues to grow from the semi-one note troubled little sister character we saw in season one, to the business minded club owner in season two, and now the take charge semi-ninja of season three. Fan favorite, Felicity Smoak, who started as a guest star, mind you, progressed to a series regular, with a fully formed back story. Although she too is a possible love interest for Oliver, who occasionally gets kidnapped, the Glaring difference between Laurel and Felicity is that after the first time she ends up in danger, remember the bomb collar, she starts having Diggle train her so she can be able to defend herself!  She is smart enough to figure out how, despite being terrified, to use a situation to her advantage, and even though The Arrow has had to come in and save her every now and then, she has always been an active participant in her rescue, never just standing by waiting to be saved. But I digress, back to Laurel.


In Season Three, Laurel as I said before, is pretty much free of her addictions, they show her at an AA meeting once, so there’s that I suppose. She is continuing to abuse her power at the DA’s office, using it to intimidate witnesses, gain access to physically abuse suspects among other things. Then once Sarah is killed, she decides she wants to become a vigilante, because that’s worked out so well for those she knows who are.  She gets the shit kicked out of her when, I point out once more that she has NO TRAINING, she decides to go try to beat up the abusive boyfriend of someone at her AA meeting. She winds up in the hospital, and when she gets out asks Oliver to train her, so she can take up the reins of Canary. Never mind that her sister was trained by DEADLY ASSASSINS, and basically told her, when Laurel confronted her about being the Canary, how miserable she was and how she hated all the things she’d been made to do. Nope, forget all that, Laurel is in pain, so Laurel must now inflict pain! Can we please get this girl in therapy, please?

When he refuses, for good reason, she decides to go find the guy she was literally just threatening to have arrested earlier in the episode, who happens to own a gym, to train her. If that was bad enough, in a later episode, when said gym owner is accused of murder, she vehemently denies that he could have done it. Blindly believing a man that she was again, threatening to arrest a couple of episodes ago. We are going to put aside for a mo-mo that he actually was innocent, what was so infuriating to me is her blind faith in a man she hardly knows, her constant arguing with Oliver/The Arrow over it. I’m not saying she should have just assumed him guilty, but she refuses to even take any of the evidence into account, just assumes him to be innocent no matter what.

But perhaps the most infuriating thing Laurel has done this season, was what I like to call “the gun incident”. In the second episode of season three, “Sara”, the team believes that mercenary archer, Komodo, may be responsible for Sara’s murder. Once again, Laurel doesn’t wait for/pay attention to evidence and pulls a gun from a tool chest in the Arrow Cave, why the guns are kept in a Craftsmen is beyond me, but ok, and declares she will go kill Komodo to avenge her sister’s death. Oliver takes the gun from her, putting it on the table and more or less tells her to slow her roll. He then leaves. If we have learned anything about Laurel…it’s that its high time she does something stupid.

So clearly, Laurel still takes the gun, carries it with her to the local where Oliver is going to confront Komodo, and once Oliver has secured him to a point where he can’t move, she shows up, draws the gun, makes a WHOLE speech and then goes to shoot the man she believes killed her sister, never mind that he didn’t, we’ve already established evidence means nothing to Laurel. It is only after firing that she realizes, Oliver has taken the bullets from the gun. REALLY?!?! I mean we’ve already established that she is proficient in fire arms, in season one remember, and never in all that time did she either think to check the gun, and/or feel the difference of it not being loaded?


So to sum up, Arrow has portrayed Laurel as reckless, not always the brightest cookie in the draw, quick to judge and as not really feeling the consequences of any of her actions, but now that Sara is gone, we’re supposed to root for her? Sorry, but I am having A LOT of troubling getting behind that. To me, Laurel’s whole existence in this world, has been so there is some one to rescue. I just don’t buy her, in her emotionally messed up state, being the rescuer.

What do you think? Are you excited to see Laurel become the Canary? Do you LOVE her? Hate her? Why? Inquiring EM’s want to know. Hit up the comments and tell us your thoughts. Just remember to play nice folks.


8 thoughts on “How Arrow Ruined Laurel Lance…

  1. I dropped Arrow after the season three premiere, and reading this article made me glad about the decision. What happened to Sara was one reason. The other was that the show kept killing of my favourite characters, and ruining the ones they didn’t kill off. Felicity was such a great character, but now she is pretty much stuck mooning over Oliver. I couldn’t stand it any longer.

    Actually, Laurel was told no less then four times leave the Glades, and on top of that, all the files she rescued were basically useless because the office got shut down later on.

    And while I normally don’t blame the actress, in this case I do. Kathy Cassidy might be good in a certain type of roles, I don’t know. As far as I know she usually plays emotionless and somewhat badass characters and is pretty good in it, but I don’t usually watch CW (can’t stand love triangles, and they are the bread and butter of CW). But for the role of Laurel she is totally wrong. Granted, the material is pretty bad, but can’t she emote a little bit? When Sara died she looked as if she had broken a nail!

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  4. You wrote this seven months ago but I guess with the new round of let’s all attack Laurel you felt the need to share it on Tumblr again?

    Basically this whole thing is factually wrong. Calling Felicity a well rounded character with a great backstory? What’s that backstory again? Oh right. Felicity latches onto a guy and helps him commit crimes and then cries over him repeatedly. It’s hardly a backstory when it’s the exact same story as her current one. Also, her entire storyline the entire series has been driven by her latching onto any guy that shows her kindness. Walter, Oliver, Ray, Barry.

    Meanwhile you relegate Laurel, who has been strictly driven to help innocent and underserved people because that’s the right thing to, to damsel in distress. You completely ignore that the so-called damsel has physically saved Oliver’s life three times. She also has held her own in self defense until the Arrow writers chose to retcon that in season three to appease the hypocritical fandom who found Roy spending months in coma only to wake up able to take on Slade’s army believable but demanded Laurel with years of self defense training be made to look like an idiot because REALISM.

    Also I’m really freaking tired of the Tommy died because Laurel stupidity. Tommy died because his father was a psycho and because Oliver never told him he had told Laurel to stay out of the Glades. Tommy would have expected Laurel to be at her job when the quake hit. Therefore Tommy would have went to CNRI whether or not Laurel had been there. But sure, let’s take Tommy’s autonomy away from him because it’s easier to blame a chick for a mans decision when it ends badly.

    I mean why not blame Oliver for it? He never told Tommy to expect Laurel not to be in the glades. He also only dropped the “your dad is gonna trash the glades” bomb on Tommy after Tommy caught him stabbing him in the back with Laurel. Maybe if Oliver hadn’t been such a terrible friend, and had told Tommy as soon as he found out instead of running to Laurel first, Tommy and Oliver both could have convinced Laurel not to go to CNRI? It would have been a lot more plausible than Oliver’s vague warning when they (Oliver and Laurel) both knew Oliver had been keeping secrets from her for months.

    Please let’s not play the ableist game of holding Laurel as some bitch for acting the way she did when she found out her father, Oliver and her psychopath sister were gaslighting her about Sara when she was already in the middle of a breakdown. It’s gross and the fact that Arrow placed the blame on her and not the people that made a woman think she was crazy and who emotionally and verbally abused her only proves they actually destroyed their so-called hero by making him do that.

    Basically Arrow didn’t destroy Laurel. They just overestimated the empathy and brains of their viewing audience by expecting them to do actual critical thinking and to not be ableist, sexist and misogynistic.

    • Okay. I have a serious problem with your last paragraph, as it is extremely offensive. I personally don’t like Laurel, and I know that there are a lot of people who dislike her, as well as a large group who likes her. And I get that you like the character. But to call anyone who doesn’t share your opinion on a fictional character stupid, unempathetic, ableist, sexist, and misogynistic is not okay. Yes, some people who dislike Laurel are probably like that, but don’t just throw that kind of blanket over everyone who dislikes a fictional character.

      My biggest issue is using the terms sexist and misogynistic to describe anyone who happens to dislike a character. I’m not denying that some people do dislike Laurel because they are sexist, because that is one hundred percent true. But not everyone. I am female, and several other Laurel haters are female. My disliking her (as well as several of my female (and male) friends) has nothing to with her being female, that would be extremely hypocritical. I’m not like that.

      Also, by clearly stating that people in the audience are incapable of critically thinking, you are insinuating that any audience members are stupid if they dislike Laurel. This is a matter of OPINION. I’m not stupid because I dislike Laurel, and you aren’t stupid because you like Laurel.

      I understand you are just stating your opinion, countering someone else’s opinion. but try to be less offensive next time.

  5. I disagree. I’m not going to go into all the things that I believe to be wrong with this post, but I’ll give you a couple of examples.

    One of your main points is that Laurel has had no training, yet it was stated in like the 3rd episode of the entire series that she’s received self defense training as her dad was a cop and wanted his daughter to be able to defend herself. We’ve seen Laurel defend herself in many situations, against multiple attackers. In season 3, THE WRITERS retconned this information and made her get beat down a lot to show how much she would progress as a fighter. It’s funny that you can recall so much about Laurel and leave that part out.

    Also you say that she denied Ted’s accusation of murdering someone, even though she barely knows him…um yeah because if you actually paid attention you would have seen that she said that because they went straight from the gym when there was no body in there to go out to eat and then when they returned there was a dead body in there. I don’t need to know someone extremely well to know that they can’t be in two places at once. But good to see that your judgement isn’t clouded.

    It seems like you find it hard to believe that her recovery from alcoholism and addiction were miraculous. Well why aren’t you complaining about Thea? Thea was a drug user for many years and never seemed phased by any of it. Additionally, Roy and Thea’s training happened miraculously offscreen as we saw them going from sucking to kicking ass over a three month hiatus. So if you have a problem with Laurel’s recovery (which she has been shown to struggle from lapsing back into mind you ie Birds of Prey episode), then you must be furious by Thea’s ability to walk away from extensive drug use for years with no side effects.

    Also I love how you think it was shitty for Laurel to be the damsel in distress when Felicity has been the damsel in distress way more than Laurel has been. I mean have you even seen the Arrow 2.5 comics (the story that takes place between seasons 2 and 3 to show Oliver’s sudden interest in Felicity)? It’s all about all these villains escaping from prison, villains who end up going after Felicity. Double standard much?

    Overall, I would have read into this more seriously if it hadn’t been apparent from the start that your judgement was very clouded and very one-sided.

  6. I think Laurel looks like a wannabe when she uses that sonic thingy, she opens her mouth to fit in a cock or something.

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