Arrow: Eleven-Fifty-Nine Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

After six months of endless fan speculation, Arrow finally revealed the grave’s occupant.

Warning: Major (character death) spoilers ahead.

Well, all of my guesses about who was going to die were completely wrong. Were there aspects of the episode that I would have wanted to change? Sure. But, “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” was an episode that had a superb last act that emotionally hit all of the right notes.

Laurel Lance was revealed to be the flash-forward’s grave occupant. The last act of the episode was done so beautifully. Between her conversation with Team Arrow and alone with Oliver, she said everything she needed to say. It was emotional and poignant. So many characters on the series have died unexpectedly and haven’t really had the time to say things they wanted to say. Watching her say a goodbye was so heartbreaking.

What I didn’t like was how hard they foreshadowed her death. From the first ten minutes of the episode it was clear she was the one who was going to die. The writers hit on it so hard that it almost made me roll my eyes. At one point she even held up the Black Canary mask and said, “One last time.”

I appreciate that the character went out doing what made her feel alive, unlike some shows where a stray bullet will hit a character and they’ll die. (I’m looking at you, The 100.) Or even Tommy’s death in season one where he died when a building collapsed. Speaking of Tommy, I miss that character so much. At least Laurel and Tommy are together now.

Out in some corner of the Internet, I’m sure there are conspiracy theorists saying she faked her death so Team Arrow could get a one-up on Darkh. Sure, her sudden seizure was suspect. But it was exactly that, sudden. With medical care, things happen where one minute a patient is stable and the next something goes wrong. Was it weird that they panned out silenced the dialogue when she asked Oliver to do something for her? Yes. I don’t really have an explanation for that one. It’s just another secret for Oliver to keep.

If the death was fake, I don’t see how Oliver could come back from that. He’s lied way too much, enough so that it drove Felicity away. I could never see Oliver allowing Diggle to bear the burden and guilt of Laurel’s death for no reason at all. And I could never see Oliver making Papa Lance go through a daughter’s death for the third time if she wasn’t really dead. Strategically, it would make sense. Darkh is so unstoppable with the magic stone head that they do need a one-up on him somehow.

Seasons two and three were rough for her character and it finally seemed like Katie Cassidy – and the writers – had fallen into a rhythm with Laurel. The character was at her best when she didn’t have to deal with addiction or making horrible decisions while grieving for her dead sister. Instead Laurel was at her best kicking butt, providing an emotional shoulder to cry on, and to provide the occasional quippy one-liner.

Arrow lost an original series cast member in Cassidy. During the last act when everyone was huddled around her hospital bed, you could tell there was some real emotion behind those tears. Even though the writers never really knew how to use her character, it wasn’t Cassidy’s fault. She made the most of it and there were specific episodes that truly showcased her acting range and ability. In “Eleven-Fifty-Nine,” Cassidy went out on a high note.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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