TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 18 "Eleven-Fifty-Nine"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 18: "Eleven-Fifty-Nine"
Synopsis: Oliver and Diggle learn that Merlyn is going to try to break Darhk out of prison. Meanwhile, Laurel gets a surprising offer and Felicity has a heart-to-heart talk with Curtis.
Review: The season premiere of Arrow's fourth season began the tease of a character whose death would have a major impact on Oliver Queen. Halfway through the season, we learned that Felicity was the sole character who could not be in the coffin that made Oliver so distraught. Well, tonight we finally learn who died and it was none other than the Black Canary, Laurel Lance. Spoilers of this reveal had been cropping up online all week but even watching the episode without that prior knowledge would have made it pretty easy to figure out that Laurel was going to die. In typical network television fashion, Laurel was given multiple send off moments that involved her "last night" and her uncertain future. While these cliches don't lessen the dramatic impact of this episode, they certainly were not necessary.
With Damien Darhk in prison, Malcolm Merlyn is tasked with retrieving his idol and breaking him out to ensure that HIVE's Genesis plan goes off as expected. Andy Diggle tells his brother and the team about Merlyn's plan for a hijacking, but it ends up as an elaborate ruse so Merlyn can break into the Arrow cave and steal the idol. Laurel and Thea fight him off, but he escapes with the goods. Providing the idol to Darhk, we learn that one of the sections has been removed, rendering the idol useless. Oliver voices his distrust of Andy which Diggle doesn't even want to hear. When they track down Merlyn, Andy takes an arrow for Oliver, but the sacrifice doesn't endear him to anyone but his brother. Oliver finds Andy searching for the missing piece of the idol and tries to torture him but John intervenes and sends Oliver off.
Meanwhile, Oliver arrives to give a concession to Ruve Darhk as she accepts the mayoral win and offers Laurel the job of District Attorney. Laurel contemplates it but her father tells her if she takes it she will need to give up her alter ego as the D.A. has round the clock protection. When talking to Oliver, he is supportive of her taking the job and letting her vigilante duties go as that was only to deal with Sara's death. With Sara no longer dead, Oliver suggests that Laurel return to her passion for the law. When an alarm is raised at Iron Heights Prison, Laurel decides to don the Canary mask one last time as they try to stop Darhk once and for all. When they arrive, Captain Lance creates a diversion and the team enters. John brings Andy to Oliver's disdain and they begin their assault.
Before we get into what happens next, let me quickly recap the Lian Yu flashbacks. By now, we know the idol on the island is the same as Darhk's idol, or at least a variation of it. Oliver realizes they cannot stop Reiter while he has control fot he idol so he and Taiana trick the Shadowspire soldiers to head into the cave and they detonate C4 to lock them in. Before detonating, Oliver shares his photo of Laurel which he credits as helping him through his first stint ont he island. The two promise to find each other's family to tell them if the other doesn't survive. Oliver then detonates the explosives, locking Reiter forever. Or, at least until next week. While I have been very critical of the flashbacks this season, I do enjoy the way they connected Laurel to the story, but it was a very unsubtle hint of her fate just minutes later.
After a showdown between Thea and her father, the team convenes in the mess hall of the prison where Darhk is keeping guards as hostages. There, Andy is taken hostage which prompts Oliver and Diggle to stand down. When they do, Andy reveals he has been working for Darhk the entire time and hands him the missing piece of the idol. Just before getting his powers back, Thea shoots Darhk with two arrows. Bleeding out, Darhk needs to sacrifice some guards and inmates to regain his strength. Once he does, he freezes the team with his powers just as Oliver gets off a single shot. Darhk catches the arrow and then stabs it into Laurel's abdomen as punishment for her father betraying him. Oliver rushes her to the hospital where Laurel responds well to surgery. Felicity arrives and everyone wishes Laurel the best. In a moment alone with Oliver, Laurel tells him he will always be the love of her life even if she isn't his. She then asks him for a favor. Moments later, we see doctors rush in but they are unable to save Laurel who dies on the table. Captain Lance arrives but collapses when he reads his daughter's fate on Oliver's face.
The emotional finale of this episode was palpable and it will clearly drive Oliver to the darkest place he has been since the first season. But, I am note entirely convinced that Laurel is dead. Arrow has set a precedent for characters we believe to be gone to come back (Sara, Slade, Malcolm, Thea, etc). If Laurel is truly dead, it is a ballsy move for the series of which she has been an integral part since the first episode. I have enjoyed her transformation from civilian to hero but the team was getting too big and the focus was shifting away from Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow. Hopefully we will find out more very quickly when Arrow returns in a few weeks.
Next on ARROW: The next new episode airs April 27th