Laurel Lance has been a shaky character since the beginning of Arrow. Bearing the twin burdens of love interest and goody-two-shoes, she's flitted ineffectively around the edge of the series. This episode, "Blind Spot," made me want a whole Laurel Lance series - provided I could plot it.
The episode of the series featured some major character realignments. Some I've been waiting for impatiently for nearly a year. Some took me by surprise. One has me wanting a whole new series - the darkest one that DC will ever do, and yes I do include the Batman and Superman movies.
We'll start with the expected adjustment. It was meant to be the sting at the end of the episode, but we've all been waiting for Roy to join up with Ollie since the beginning of the series. Roy's been feeling the effects of the serum, and decides to confide in Sin and not Thea, because no younger character on this series has ever, to my knowledge, made a smart decision. This decision, though, is a doozy. Roy wants to flex his muscle on some bad guys. Sin finds out that a lawyer has been slashing hookers in the Glades, and everyone is too scared to press charges. Roy decides he needs someone to act as bait, and recruits Thea to dress Sin up as a hooker, saying Sin has a "date."
Sin is surprisingly up for this, and the outfit they pick is . . . special. The woman has the eyes of a raccoon, the sparkly jacket and tiny necktie of an 1980s keytar player, and her usual when-you're-a-jet-you're-a-jet-all-the-way pompadour. I am not in the least surprised that the lawyer is the first to pick her up, or to specifically pick her out of the many working girls on the strip. Anyone who would pay to have sex with someone dressed like that can only be a slasher. Roy manages to stop the lawyer from stabbing Sin, but frankly, he didn't need superpowers to do it. The guy is doughy, pasty-faced, and has the soft white hands of a member of the court of Marie Antoinette. When Roy really starts pounding on him, Sin tries to stop the fight only to get a Roy-fist to the side of the head. Roy snaps out of it, and they agree to call an ambulance while looking at each other, obviously thinking, "Why did we ever imagine that this was a good idea?"
Thea learns that her boyfriend beat a guy half to death and . . . utterly accepts him. Thea! Where is the brat I knew and loved last season? Roy refuses to tell her details, which at first surprised me. Then I realized, if he had told Thea about the plan, he would have to include the words, "I saw you, and within seconds knew that your idea of appropriate first-date wear would make any woman on Earth look like a prostitute. And not the kind that lives in a fancy house with velvet-covered chairs and a madame and goes out to 'parties' with oil barons. The cheap kind." Fortunately, Thea spills what little she knows to Ollie, and the Green Arrow finally his sidekick.
On the Island
The flashbacks are very effective this week. Ollie and Sarah get back to the abandoned plane, where Sarah, to Ollie's dismay, makes the case for giving Ivo the serum so he can continue experimenting on humans. Sarah says that Ivo isn't bad, just "tired and frustrated." Ollie, unsurprisingly, is not in agreement. Sarah, also unsurprisingly, steals the radio and sneaks out into the night to talk to Ivo.
What is a surprise is their conversation. It's a good, if sad and creepy, facsimile of what it's like to break up with someone who scares the hell out of you. Ivo, his eyes going wet and weepy, says he will have to live with the fact that he killed Shado for the rest of his life, that when Sarah's away he feels the darkness "circling in," and that Sarah needs to save him. Sarah said she felt grateful to him for saving her from the mercenaries, and proud to be part of project meant to save humanity - but now realizes that she would have talked herself into feeling anything as long as it kept her out of the way of his abuse. She's not going back. Ivo immediately reverts to type and tells her that he'll torture her in various horrible ways, but Ollie comes over and turns the radio off. (Correction: Sarah shuts the radio off.)
I do admit, I was expecting another betrayal, but this whole plot was a way to set up Ollie's distrust not of Sarah, but of Laurel. While Ollie and Sarah talked about the old days, Sarah revealed that she had a crush on Ollie, and she went to a party to see him. Laurel knew about the party and her crush, and tipped off the cops. By the time Sarah stopped being grounded, Laurel had gotten Ollie for herself.
Laurel Lance: The Series
Laurel goes through a lot this episode. Some of it is horrifying, and some is funny. The funny part is when the entire Arrow team tries to get their hands on a folder containing Alderman Blood's juvenile record. These people have hacked into every government agency and fought their way in and out of Russian prisons. This time they're pitted against a room holding extremely out-of-date records - and it almost defeats them.
For one thing, there is constant video surveillance on this room of old records. Multiple angles of video surveillance.
For another, the hired security guards who are watching this surveillance notice when Felicity cuts it off, and defeat the superhacker in seconds.
The security guards call the police to a break in at, and I can't stress this enough, a room full of old records. They're not even criminal records! They're juvenile civil records. Who comes? A goddamn SWAT team armed with the kind of rifles that release tens of bullets a second. And they use those bullets. I have to ask, what would they even say if they shot Laurel or Ollie dead? "There were people in a room full of dusty old folders. They ran away from us. So we shot them thirty times in the chest. It seemed the appropriate action."
After all of that, the folder is empty. (Slade stole it a week ago. His new mask looks cool.)
Alderman Blood responds to Laurel's efforts by having his flunky, Officer Daly, search Laurel's house, find her dad's pills, and arrest her. When Quentin confronts her, Laurel looks more agitated than she ever has, and this is a woman who was nearly murdered, in front of her father, by a guy who was going to pour molten plastic down her wind pipe. Still, the confrontation between her and Quentin is wrenching. We know she's telling the truth - that Alderman Blood killed his dad, committed (and then, at the beginning of this episode, killed) his mom, and is in charge of a huge criminal conspiracy. But she sounds utterly crazy, and we don't blame Quentin for walking away.
Laurel escapes charges for possession because Officer Daly kidnaps her and, posing as the "Skull Mask" master criminal, fights with Ollie. It looks like he gets the better of Ollie for a second - and Laurel shoots him dead.
In the end, Laurel isn't charged with anything, but has lost the trust of her friends and family, as well as losing her job. And not even she believes that Blood was behind everything anymore. Gaslighting achieved!
Look, I know that the rest of the season is going to involve Laurel getting clean and fighting her way back - but I wish it didn't. Because this is the Laurel Lance series I want. I want to watch her as an embittered, cynical ambulance-chasing lawyer. Unable to get any better job, she's living in her office, cooking on a sterno stove, eating cereal and drinking beer from the mini-fridge under her desk, pulling out a cot at night, and bathing in the bathroom sink. I want her to bully indecisive clients into lawsuits and rook them on fees. I want her to set up frivolous lawsuits against the Queens, the police department, and the non-profit law firm she used to work for. I want her going to a corrupt doctor for pills for her "back pain," and getting into fights on the phone with her dad, and crying and trying to get at the microphone during the best man's speech at Ollie and Sarah's big white wedding. It would be unrelentingly dark and horrible - but damn would Laurel Lance: The Series be amazing.