'Arrow': Why Black Siren Can Still Be Redeemed

Arrow is currently at the tail end of a month-long hiatus, meaning viewers won't have to wait too long to see what happens next with the various costumed citizens of Star City.

In the meantime, fans have speculated quite a bit about what will come next for the series, wondering what exactly Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) is after, how Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) will re enter the fold, and the like. And one question has popped up quite a bit as well: what is next for Laurel Lance/Black Siren (Katie Cassidy).

Earth-2 Laurel has been a bonafide fan-favorite since she first appeared in The Flash's second season, with her presence only growing as she jumped over to Arrow a little over a year ago. More often than not, she has been an adversary of Team Arrow, largely through her work with both Adrian Chase/Prometheus (Josh Segarra) and Cayden James (Michael Emerson). But almost since she made her first debut, fans have been eagerly wondering what Laurel's future holds, and if there's a chance that she could join the good side.

This conversation has only increased in recent months, caused by both fan discussion (shout out to the #RedemptionForBlackSiren hashtag) and Arrow itself. Over the course of the season, Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) has grown to see the good in his daughter's doppelganger, after she set him free from a hostage situation. Since then, Laurel's redemption has been teased more and more, with Quentin introducing aspects of Earth-1 Laurel's life to her, and Laurel offering to essentially sacrifice herself during the villain team's standoff with Cayden.

Even then, not everyone has come around to the idea of Laurel's redemption, with some citing particular instances in canon, or just wanting to see Laurel continue to operate in a sort of fun villain role. But in a way, the apprehension about Laurel getting redeemed -- and even the apprehension that some Arrow characters have shown about it -- feels like its missing the point.

Let's talk about the elephant in the Arrow Cave: Laurel having a hand in killing Vincent Sobel/Vigilante (Johann Urb) in "All For Nothing". While Laurel has killed or injured an array of people over her Arrowverse tenure, this particular scene rubbed quite a few Arrow fans the wrong way, and led to some arguing that Laurel is too far gone to become a hero.

So, let's put aside whether Laurel wanted to kill Vigilante, as an argument can be made that she was essentially being forced to by Cayden. You know what Arrow has proved, time and time again? That killing someone -- even a supporting character who some were invested in -- does not make you irredeemable.

Almost everyone on Team Arrow has notable deaths under their belt for one reason or another, whether it be Felicity Smoak's Havenrock, John Diggle's time in the military, or Dinah Drake's quest for revenge when she thought Vince had initially died. Heck, most fans have lost track of the number of people Oliver Queen has killed over Arrow's past six years.

And even looking at the track record of past Arrow villains, characters have ended up being seen in a positive light quite a bit. Malcolm Merlyn went back and forth from a mastermind to a sort of awkward family member over the years, and ultimately died in what was regarded as a hero's sacrifice. Slade Wilson arguably had the biggest heel turn of all, going from delivering the most shocking kill in Arrow's history to teaming up with Oliver in a matter of a few years.

All of those characters have gotten second chances, and are seen as the heroes of the story in one way or another. So why can't Laurel be a hero as well?

Which by the way, some of the apprehension around Laurel's redemption can probably be contributed to the fear of the unknown. We largely don't know a lot of her Earth-2 backstory, aside from pieces of her childhood and how she got her powers. We know that she's experienced a lot of loss -- namely with Earth-2 Quentin and Oliver -- which somewhat motivated her to lose hope and put up a guard. Outside of that, things are somewhat... vague.

But just because we don't know what the exact circumstances of her Earth-2 life were, that doesn't mean we can't relate to the way that she handles loss. After all, characters losing those close to them, and how they choose to deal with it, is arguably one of the biggest storytelling components of the Arrowverse. Nearly every costumed character in the Arrowverse, in one way or another, is motivated by the dark moments of their past, and was given a set of circumstances that allowed them to rise above it and be a hero.

Just because Laurel's circumstances were different, just because she essentially fell victim to the Joker's "one bad day" principle, doesn't mean she's exempt from that.

And you know how we know that? Because of Earth-1 Laurel.

A lot can be said (as in, too much to write here) about the cards that Earth-1 Laurel was dealt over her Arrow tenure, and how some of the show's fans chose to respond to that. But Earth-1 Laurel rose up through a hell of lot, becoming a hero both in response to her latest bout of grief, and as a sort of response to the world around her.

Sure, the minutia of her and Earth-2 Laurel's lives might be different, but the sentiment is still the same. Black Siren hasn't had a perfect record, but if she were to sit down and have a conversation with Earth-1 Laurel, odds are that Earth-1 Laurel would see the good in her, and would want to help her let her guard down and try to see the good in the world around her.

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Redemption for Black Siren would not only hammer home one of the messages of this season (and of Arrow's entire tenure), but it would serve as justice for those who were badly burned by Earth-1 Laurel's death. And sure, we might not know what Laurel's redemption would ultimately look like, whether it's having her become a part of Team Arrow, having her go off and be a hero in another city, or having her join Legends of Tomorrow. But getting Laurel to that point would be a step in the right direction regardless.

Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.