Arrow returned from a month-long hiatus tonight, and it dropped a pretty big bombshell for what's to come.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Arrow, "Collision Course", below!
Tonight's episode saw the two factions of Team Arrow going to war with each other, trying to figure out what exactly to do with Laurel Lance/Black Siren (Katie Cassidy). They quickly learn that Laurel has taken out a large sum of money from a bank in Corto Maltese, which could help Star City survive its economic failures.
But Old Team Arrow and New Team Arrow didn't agree how to handle that, largely because Dinah Drake/Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy) still wanted to kill Laurel out of revenge. The two teams found Laurel and Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) in a cabin in the woods, and quickly fought each other over Laurel's safety.
Laurel was able to escape the scene, but it was unclear exactly where they went next. That is, until the episode's final scene, when she walked up to a random guy on the street. She identifies herself as Laurel Lance - as in, Earth-1's Laurel Lance - and explains that she's been kidnapped for the past two years.
So, where do things go from here? For one thing, it almost completely changes the course of Earth-2 Laurel's storyline, as she is essentially unable to operate from the shadows the way she has for the past few seasons. As fans have seen in the photos for next week's episode, "Doppelganger", Laurel will first be using her somewhat-new identity to recuperate in the hospital, and probably heal from her recent injuries in the process.
In a way, the possibility of Black Siren having to directly deal with Earth-1 Laurel's identity is something that's been hinted at for quite a while, with fans unsure exactly how it would come about.
"She looks exactly like Laurel Lance, she is Laurel Lance," Stephen Amell said last September. "Laurel Lance is the most famous dead person in Star City, so eventually, at some point, if she is reintroduced into public life, how do we unpack that? I'm excited for that. That's the dynamic I think could be interesting."
And after the events of this episode, Laurel assuming the identity of her Earth-1 counterpart could very well provide her with some sort of plot armor. While New Team Arrow is clearly still intent on tracking down and arresting Laurel, this arguably adds a pretty big complication to that. After all, New Team Arrow just walking in and arresting a woman who the city sees as their beloved district attorney/former vigilante sounds pretty difficult.
But even beyond that -- what exactly could Laurel's life look like now? Will she have to essentially play the role of who Earth-1 Laurel was, or will she be able to form her own path? Will she start suiting up as Black Canary, or will she get her own new costume (as a photo from Cassidy has led fans to speculate)?
And could pretending to be Earth-1 Laurel actually help further her down the path to redemption? After all, seeing Laurel naturally come into a less villainous role is something fans have wanted to see for almost a year now, and would make quite a bit of sense within the confines of the show.
"Yes, I do think there's a chance at redemption for her." Cassidy told ComicBook.com last year. "I think there will be people who understand when she has the opportunity and once we learn what she's gone through, why she is the way that she is. I think people will be able to relate to it, have sympathy for her. I think there's a chance at really helping her get back to who she is at her core, and potentially not be so crazy, and have a good side to her, but I think as time goes on we'll learn that."
And who knows? Laurel slipping into her Earth-1 counterpart's role could very well be the way to do that.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.