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ComiConverse Contributor, Fanny Pack, is here to beg for more Thea Queen and tell you why we need more Speedy in our lives.
Major spoilers below for Arrow! If you are not caught up, go watch and read on.
Welp, the answer to the long-awaited question of “who is in the grave” was answered in Episode 18 of Arrow, “Eleven Fifty-nine.” Fans of Laurel Lance, a.k.a. the Black Canary, had their worst fears realized in this sad and somewhat underwhelming episode which ended with the stated time of death of our dear Laurel. Our friend Tatiana Hullender was spot on in her disappointment about Laurel’s demise and the poorly-handled character development we saw over the last few years for Ms. Lance; I, for one, agree that she was a victim of second-class treatment and cheap tropes. But now that we know Team Arrow will be pressing on without the Black Canary, where do we go from here?
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Laurel’s loss will be felt not only by our characters, but the audience too as the previously dynamic group make-up will suffer with the loss of such a pivotal female character. Just how will the writers fill this gap?
After all, how long can they employ the revenge bandaid before things get back to normal and Team Arrow appears truly thin in comparison to what it once was?
Felicity’s departure from Team Arrow (and don’t get me started about this one) only compounds the issues the show will face in the coming episodes. Arrow has a leading lady problem and my confidence is wavering that the writers will fix it. Felicity’s stint as Overwatch was ridiculously short-lived, and perhaps we will see a reprise of her role on the team… even though we’ve been led to believe that Curtis Holt might play understudy, at least for a while. In the meantime, Olicity fans weep steady tears with each passing day of separation between Oliver and Felicity; and not doubt Team Arrow suffers just as much as Oliver, himself. The last few episodes featured a little more of Laurel, likely on account of Felicity’s absence, and of course let’s not forget the impending death-related character development arc we Walking Dead fans are accustomed to seeing. The on-screen boost for Laurel was enjoyable for me because, I’ll be honest, I’ve fostered a love/hate relationship with her—cultivated over prior seasons’ out-of-character writing choices on her behalf. But now that Laurel is dead and Felicity is still holding steady her choice to leave the team, Speedy is the only lady left on Team Arrow.
I was excited when Thea Queen’s identity as Speedy in the series was revealed. Her character in the last season, like Laurel’s, has been subject to shallow writing. Her relationship with Malcolm Merlyn is one of the aspects of the show that really frustrates me: why did it take her so long to denounce him?
After she knew that he forced her to kill Sara Lance, how could she get past that?
Oh, simply for Merlyn to remain in a position to gain access to the team only to double-cross them later. Thea’s anger at Merlyn over his failure to give up the League of Assassins ring made her seem almost like a petulant teenager, angry at her parents for not letting her go to the prom instead of possessing the sheer rage she should have felt towards him for his revealing his true feelings on the matter of her life. The fight between Thea and Merlyn in Episode 18 also appeared simply convenient instead of truly intentional. What this conflict really needs is higher stakes.
What’s the way to do this?
Give me more Thea Queen, and I mean intentional, unadulterated layers of Thea Queen as a force to be reckoned with and a character of meaningful consequence.
Thea should be given her due. No more Thea in awkward romantic situations; Thea dealing with side-effects of the Lazarus Pit; Thea throwing a temper tantrum because her father wronged her. Thea is strong and wily, and though she didn’t spend 5 years bouncing between between survivalist and assassin, she’s been through the ringer and earned her due. And quite frankly, I am tired of seeing the women of Arrow fall prey to male-supporting plot devices and two-dimensional side-kick tropes. I understand that Oliver will always be the central focus of the show (and I am not complaining about that), but I’d really like to see one of these women portrayed as something more than Oliver’s ______. (See again Ms. Hullender’s call out on Laurel’s last goodbye centering on her prior romantic relationship with Oliver, I irrevocably concur.)
So Arrow writers, can we please get more Speedy now?
Fanny Pack is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @Onapack