Arrow Season 6 Has A Black Canary Problem

I love Laurel Lance, but Black Siren needs to go.
I love Laurel Lance, but Black Siren needs to go. Arrow

Spoilers ahead for Arrow Season 6 episode 9, “Irreconcilable Differences.”

Black Canary is one of the most beloved women in Arrow, and DC Comics, history. When Damien Darhk killed Katie Cassid in Season 4, millions of fans took it personally. How could the show kill Black Canary? Tensions were already high because Oliver began a relationship with Felicity, a brand new character with no comic book origins. For everyone expecting Laurel Lance and Oliver Queen to be romantically involved as in the comics, the series started on the wrong foot. Oliver cheated on Laurel with her sister, Sara, and Laurel never got over it. It’s a shame, because Laurel was coming into her own as Black Canary before she died. Many would cite her absence as the climax in the downfall of Arrow. However, the direction the writers appear to be headed this year isn’t much better than the character being gone for good.

Katie Cassidy came back to the series in Season 5 as Laurel Lance’s doppleganger, Black Siren. She’s casually referred to on the show as “evil Laurel” and has floated along as a recurring cast member since last year’s midseason promos. The sad part is Katie Cassidy isn’t the problem. In fact, she’s arguably better being evil. It just feels a bit like a lazy way out of character development issues Arrow has had Season 1.

Earth-2 Laurel Lance, aka Black Siren, needs to go.
Earth-2 Laurel Lance, aka Black Siren, needs to go. Arrow

By now, most of the Arrow team seem unenthused with Black Siren’s presence. It’s just like, “Oh it’s this other version of Laurel working with [insert weekly villain]... again.” Quentin Lance has felt the impact more than most. Having lost both his children, he has a soft spot for Laurel's identical evil twin. But it’s cruel for him to keep experiencing both his daughters deaths and revivals over and over again. Between Sara Lance fake dying on the Queen’s Gambit in Season 1, then coming back as a member of the League of Assassins, dying again, then being revived in the Lazarus Pit and joining Legends on a time-travel ship, and then Laurel dying in Season 4, tricking everyone into believing she's the real Laurel in Season 5, then revealing herself as an evil doppelganger from Earth-2 -- Quentin's grieving capacity is exhausted.

When the production team first announced Black Siren, it seemed like the writers just wanted to bring back an actress at the core of the series and have a Black Canary who has a metahuman Canary Cry (a complaint about the original version of Laurel). But that thought seems misguided, considering thenew Black Canary, Dinah Drake, has a natural cry as well. These two "different" versions of Black Canary from the comics are essentially the same.

To make matters worse, the Arrow midseason finale took a small first step of what could turn out to be Black Siren’s redemption arc (unless letting Captain Lance go is part of a larger plan with Cayden James). The prospect of having two good-hearted Black Canaries moving forward feels wrong, even six seasons into the series. Unfortunately, there appears to be no way out. Neither character can die at this point. They can’t kill Laurel, again, and it’s unlikely Dinah, whose character has just started to fully develop -- will die anytime soon. It’d be a waste.

The one glimmer of hope is this year’s posse of villains: Cayden James, Black Siren, Anatoly Knyazev, Vigilante (Dinah’s ex), Ricardo Diaz (Richard Dragon) and someone we don’t know much about named Boots. So many characters could mean Black Siren, and our qualms, will dissolve into the background and leave that small redemption tease with Quentin Lance alone. The show also has bigger problems, now that all of Team Arrow is gone -- the new Black Canary, Mr. Terrific and Wild Dog all left after Oliver spied on them to find out who revealed his true identity to the feds. Black Canary had a nice talk with her ex, Vigilante, so she may be headed onto the evil side herself. (Don’t get me started on two evil Black Canaries...)

Even though both Black Canaries and actresses are amazing versions of the character, there’s not enough time develop each storyline to its full potential. It’s a disservice to Dinah and Laurel to make them share the spotlight -- villain, vigilante or hero. One solution is moving Black Siren to Legends, a team of reformed villains like Captain Cold and Heat Wave. There's even an available spot, now that Firestorm is gone, and a White Canary / Black Canary duo on the Waverider would be amazing. Regardless of how, we can only hope the latter half of Arrow Season 6 can find a way to fix this Black Siren problem.

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