As Arrow moves closer and closer to the finale of season 2, the big question that everyone seems to be talking about is, “who’s not coming back for season 3?” For some reason, there’s this idea out there that someone HAS to die in order for us to have a good season finale. Honestly, I like every character on this show (Yes, boys and girls, that includes Laurel. And yes Jon Campea, that includes Roy) and I don’t want anyone to die. However, I know how these shows work, and it’s probably inevitable - both because of how high the stakes are and because of some spoilerish set photos that hit the net recently (although I don’t necessarily know the context because I try to avoid spoilers, so it could be a flashback). Unfortunately, one of our beloved characters is probably going to bite the bullet this season. So, the question is, who’s it going to be?
I think pretty much every character on the show at this point has been named a potential victim for the season finale by some fan out there. Laurel, Sara, Det. Lance (and yes, to me he’ll always be “Detective”), Thea, Dinah Lance, Moira, Blood, Roy, Malcolm, etc., The only names I haven’t really heard that much are those on our beloved “Team Arrow” in Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity (although I’m sure some of you out there probably have them on your kill lists as well). The only people I really think are safe are Oliver (for obvious reasons) and Felicity (at least for now because we need her for the Flash series).
If you’re going to kill someone in the season finale, the only legitimate reason to do so, is so that it will advance other characters in real significant ways, a la Tommy’s death in season 1. (Sorry Laurel haters, but not liking someone is not an acceptable reason to kill them off. These are people lives we’re talking about here for god’s sakes!). Tommy’s death really did touch all of our main characters lives in some important way; the most obvious being Oliver and Laurel. Most of the people on the list above, while it would be tragic for some, don’t have a lot of potential to affect everyone on the show in a significant way. The one, or one of the few, that I think is going down – and I really am sorry to say this – is Sara (I know, it’s not a new suggestion).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Sara on this show. I love her as Canary. I love her as the steadying influence and partner she’s been to Oliver. I love her chemistry with the rest of “Team Arrow.” I love her big sister mentality towards Felicity. I love seeing the Lance family back together and her relationship with Laurel. And I love Caty Lotz as the actress playing her. But Sara’s death really is the only one, I think, which has the potential to affect almost, if not every, character on this show. I hate to say it, but I don’t think Sara makes it out of this season alive – and it’s not because Laurel HAS to become Black Canary. That may happen down the line, but it’s not the main reason.
It has to do with what I dub, “The Triangle.”
I noticed something back in episode 216, “Suicide Squad.” Although she was only in the episode for a brief few scenes, this was the episode where I think Laurel turned a corner and I started to like her again. In this episode, I noticed that the "triangle" that Oliver and Laurel were in from season 1 seemed to have reversed itself in this episode. Let me explain. In season 1, Oliver came back from the island to find Laurel (his former lover) and Tommy (his best friend) having moved on and in a serious relationship with each other, and had to come to terms with him being on the outside of that. In season 2, we have seen Laurel come back from own little "island" of addiction and alcoholism to find Oliver (her former lover) and Sara (her "best friend") in a relationship, and her needing to come to terms with that. In season 1, **spoiler** Tommy was the part of that triangle who died and as a result, inspired Oliver (who was on the outside of the relationship) to rethink his purpose and become something greater in The Arrow. If we extrapolate from that scenario what could happen at the end of this season, I think we see Sara (playing the role of Tommy) dying and inspiring the person on the outside of "the triangle" (Laurel) to become something greater (than just a drunk again). Sara’s the connective tissue between all that's happened this season, and her death would serve many a purpose and have the greatest effect on all of our characters leading in to season 3.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes, with Sara dead, that does leave a “hole” in the Black Canary area. And yes, Laurel does have a long way to go before putting on the blonde wig and picking up the bow staff. She also has a long way to go to make it believable and acceptable.
IF, Laurel is to eventually become the Black Canary, the first question and most important question we need answered is, “Why?” All of our heroes (and villains too) on this show have a reason for what they do. Oliver wants to save his city. Roy wants a purpose to his life. Felicity and Diggle believe in what Oliver is doing. Even Slade, Isabel, Helena, Deadshot, and so on, all had reasons for what they do. So, why would Laurel eventually want, or need, to eventually take up her sister’s mantle when she can do good as an attorney? The obvious reason is to honor her sister’s memory. But second, and most important, it must be because her current method of doing good is no longer available to her; and for Laurel, that means the law. We’ve already seen Laurel lose her ability to practice law once this season, and right now, while she’s back for the moment, I think she’s skating on thin ice. Maybe it will be because she tries to blackmail D.A. Spencer one too many times and overplays her hand. Maybe it will be because Slade kills Sara and the police and law couldn’t stop him; even when they had him for kidnapping Thea. Maybe it will even be because she finds out Blood actually is the guy in the mask and she was right all along. Whatever it is, something has to make Laurel lose faith in the system to have her pursue “alternate routes” of justice. And she just happens to know the identity of a certain vigilante in Starling City who could help her. Whatever happens, IF Laurel becomes Black Canary, something major needs to happen to her to push her over the edge, and Sara’s death (and maybe even Det. Lance’s death for that matter) is what does the job. There’s been a lot of talk in the fan community, and the show for that matter, that in order to become something more than what you are, you need to go through a crucible, and Laurel hasn’t gone through one yet. I disagree. This whole season has been one big crucible for Laurel. Maybe not in the same way that Oliver or Sara experienced, but it was a crucible nonetheless. She did experience severe emotional pain with everything she’s been through since last season (Losing her boyfriend and sister only to find out they were having an affair with each other, her parent’s divorce, her dad’s alcoholism, Tommy’s death, multiple kidnappings and attempts on her life, her own addiction problems, a DUI, losing her job, her sister coming back from the dead to find out her and Oliver were together…am I forgetting anything? Girl has been through a lot!) She hasn’t necessarily experienced the physical pain that Oliver and Sara did, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary. Emotional scars are the ones that never heal fully. So yea, Laurel has been a little whiny this season, but has seen some $#!+ and I give her a pass.
How she eventually might become the Black Canary is another conversation entirely - and really, I’m sure we all could dream up any number of ways she gets her training (Oliver is the obvious choice, but he hasn’t really had much success training sidekicks so far). Laurel becoming Black Canary though is not the purpose of this article. It’s how Sara’s death would affect our group. Oliver would be shaken up by the loss of a lover, partner, and friend; Felicity and Diggle too (well, maybe not the lover part). Det. Lance would lose his daughter…again, though this time for real, but he also knows who she is and how she spends her nights. And Laurel of course loses her sister. Aside from Oliver, who do you think will be affected the most by Sara’s death? I think it’s Laurel, and she stands to be the person who would be affected moist. Most people want Laurel to be the one that goes this season, but I’m sorry I don’t see that happening. I think it will be our beloved Sara (at least).
If you’re going to kill someone off on your show, there has to be a larger purpose behind it other than, “Laurel’s a whiny B*&^%. I don’t like her! She should DIE!” And there has been A LOT of that this season (same of Agents of SHIELD, but I digress...). To me, the fact that so many people didn’t like her earlier this season, but did like her last season and are coming back around to her now, tells me that the writers have been doing their job. The other reason to kill someone off is that it shakes up the status quo for season 3. Whose departure do you think affects the most what happens next season? Sara. Whose death do you think will have the most far reaching consequences? Sara. Whose death has the most emotional impact? Sara. Who is it that most people don’t actually want to die? You get the point.
I hate to say it folks, but the writing is on the wall. I love her, I’ll miss her, and I don’t want to see her go. But I have a strong feeling Sara will not be joining us on Wednesday nights at 8pm next year. Oh yea, there’s also the fact that all season, she’s been listed as a “guest star” instead of as a main cast member. What does that tell you? Who knows though, I could be totally wrong. And even if I’m not, there’s always the Lazarus Pit...
UPDATE 4/25/14: After the events of "Seeing Red" this week - mainly that Sara broke up with Oliver, telling him that she couldn't be with him anymore - it looks more and more like Sara is pulling away and preparing for her exit. With her realizing that there is still a killer inside of her, will she perhaps commit some irredeemable crime that will lead to her needing to be killed off? Further, her parting words to Oliver about him needing to be with someone that brings out the light in him were a little ambiguous. Who was she talking about? Felicity? Laurel? His as-of-yet unnamed baby momma? Someone else entirely? It's hard to say. But whoever it is, it's looking like it won't be Sara.