Arrow's Writing Failed Laurel Lance and Felicity Smoak

Arrow may have been a popular series for its eight-season run, but it definitely had some issues in the writing department. Even the show's most ardent fans will typically bring up two of the show's biggest problems, which just so happen to be two of its leading ladies. After being trashed as a character time and time again on Arrow, Laurel Lance went on to artificially prop up the eventually hated character of Felicity Smoak.

This ended up failing both of the characters, as neither of them reached their full potential and were merely eye-candy to be fought over in love triangles and increasingly poorly written romances. The precedent for this happening to Felicity, however, was already set when the show seemed determined to fail Laurel.

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How Arrow Failed Laurel Lance

Dinah Laurel Lance was introduced in the show's first episode, and she was obviously meant to become some version of the Black Canary, Oliver Queen/Green Arrow's love interest in the comics. Unfortunately, the road to realizing this was rocky indeed, and fans initially weren't very endearing toward Laurel. The character was a far cry from the more confident and proactive vigilante heroine of the comics, and she came off more like a character from a generic soap opera that people constantly accuse CW shows of being.

On top of that, she became the second Black Canary after her sister Sara became the first. While this lines up with the comic book Dinah Laurel Lance being the second Black Canary after her mother, it wasn't aided by the fact that Sara was a more beloved and better-written character than Laurel. Thus, when Sara was clumsily knocked out of the way to make room for Laurel becoming the Black Canary, it didn't feel organic or earned.

Instead, Laurel spent most of her time in love triangles, first between Oliver Queen and Tommy Merlyn, and then between Oliver and Felicity Smoak. Thus, she didn't receive the character development needed to actually become a likable character in those early seasons of Arrow. Sadly, by the time that she was a fully formed and actually well-liked Black Canary in the show's fourth season, she was killed off, building the road to fans turning on Felicity.

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How Arrow Failed Felicity

Initially, Felicity was a fairly well-liked character, with her quirky tech girl persona not yet becoming a meme among the Arrowverse shows. This comedic element allowed her to contrast the far more serious characters of Oliver and Diggle, while her tech skills allowed her to still be a vital part of the team. Unfortunately, her increased popularity led to increased screentime, which became the downfall of the character.

In pivoting Oliver away from Laurel after the second season, the writers instead shifted his romantic attention toward Felicity. This was after, of course, a failed and utterly poorly written romance with fellow tech person Ray Palmer. With more screentime and focus, Felicity's schtick became a lot less endearing, especially when Season 4 made her Oliver's one true love instead of the Black Canary. Fans hated this move, especially with how Laurel died, and the fact that a mostly original character took the place of one of DC's top superheroines as the Queen of Star City didn't help. This bad decision was the result of such reactionary treatment toward Laurel, however. When the writers seemed to catch on to how unpopular this take on Dinah Laurel Lance was, instead of making her more like the comics, they simply focused less on her and more on Felicity. This made both characters worse, and once Laurel became a far more likable and interesting character than Felicity, the show just did away with her.

Arrow simply didn't know what to do with these major female characters. They were either part of love triangles or reduced to mere tropes and roles, with characters like Moira and even Thea Queen being much more well-received. Their superior writing likely stemmed from their never having to be part of Oliver's love life, with Thea and Roy Harper's relationship ironically being fairly liked among fans. Sadly, Arrow became forever tainted with the cementing of the Olicity romance, and it all started with how poorly the show treated Laurel.

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Timothy Donohoo (1407 Articles Published)

Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing. A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.

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