I went into this episode with basically one thought, can the show make me misty over the death of...
While it wasn't incredibly affecting, it was very well done. It had all the pathos, grief, and tone of a funeral without feeling heavy handed or forced. That's a pretty narrow line to walk, and I have to give the writers, producers, and actors credit for nailing it.
Each character had a moment to express their anger and/or grief over Laurel's death. Felicity and Diggle both feel guilty, Thea felt a touch lost, Oliver was kind of all over the spectrum, and poor Quentin was in the kind of pain no one should have to suffer through. What made it worse was this was the third time he's had to deal with this type of loss. If his heart doesn't give out from this, I'd be deeply surprised.
At least he had Oliver to help him through those initial stages of grief. From his frantic search for a way to bring her back, to his acceptance that she was gone, all of it was difficult to watch. I knew if there was any way I would personally get affected by Laurel's death, it would be watching Quentin deal with it. His breakdown was tragic, and very well acted. So the answer to my question was yes, the show got me a bit misty over the death of Laurel Lance.
I also loved how all of our main character reactions felt genuine. Even Diggle going off half cocked to kill the new Mayor worked on an emotional level at least. The line from Ruvé to Andy made sense, and her death would be immensely satisfying since she is a player in whatever Genesis is. I don't know, maybe it is the Star Trek fan in me, but Genesis sounds like world-ending bad. Perhaps it actually is Genesis from Star Trek II, and the world might be destroyed in favor of a new matrix. Shudder.
What felt a little tonally off was how Oliver and Felicity vowed to kill Darhk at the end. It felt like they were both betraying Laurel's legacy, especially just after convincing Evelyn Sharp that killing wasn't the right way to honor her own family's deaths. I do get the impulse, he is evil with a capital 'E'. It just goes against everything this season has been about, and everything the Green Arrow stands for. And given the context of the episode, and Oliver's eulogy to Laurel, it goes against everything a true hero believes in.
Comic Book Bits:
Evelyn Crawford Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) is very likely a version of the Birds of Prey comic character Starling. In the comics, she worked directly with Black Canary as a part of the super hero team Birds of Prey. And in this show she had a fairly classic superhero origin story. She was a decathlete winner, competed in gymnastics, and her parents were killed by a super villain. If she doesn't become a superhero, she's going against seventy plus years of DC comics tradition.
In the parallel to Laurel's death, we got some details on the events set between seasons one and two. We got to see Tommy's funeral, and the off screen breakup of Laurel and Oliver, ending with Oliver jetting off to Lian Yu. Most of these scenes were neat, because we got to see Oliver and Laurel together again without compromising any current romantic entanglements (like say the way Oliver and Felicity are talking again). It was also a nice way to say goodbye to Katie Cassidy by giving her some nice dramatic moments in an episode where she also had to play a corpse.
This episode finally connected the scenes we saw in the first episode of the season. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if they connected quite as well as they should have, especially given Oliver and Felicity's desire to kill Darhk.
There was also a bit of continuity confusion, since Barry's appearance doesn't match up with what the character is dealing with on his own show.
I loved the fact that to honor Laurel's legacy Oliver revealed her secret identity as the Black Canary, which allowed them to put it on her tombstone. It was fairly touching to see that relatively small detail.
Nyssa's appearance was very understated; she was simply there to honor Laurel and grieve. It was also painful to watch her reject poor Quentin's desperate plea to resurrect his daughter.
Oliver: "All right, John. As the world's leading expert in blaming yourself, don't do it."
Oliver: "Do you know why I always blame myself in situations like this? Because at least it's an answer. Sometimes we just need a reason when a situation is completely unreasonable."
Felicity: "And here you are taking the blame for something that's not your fault. You're just one illegitimate child away from a really awesome Oliver Queen impression."
While not perfect, this was a very good episode with a lot of solid performances.
4 out of 4 Eulogies
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.