Warning: spoilers for last night's Arrow episode are ahead!
Laurel Lance, a.k.a. Black Canary, met a tragic end earlier this this year in Arrow when she was killed by Damien Darhk, but that wouldn't be the last fans saw of her. Along with appearing in a flashback in the Season 5 premiere, Katie Cassidy reprised the character last night in Arrow's part of the Invasion crossover, in which Oliver Queen was trapped in a Matrix-like simulation where we was about to marry Laurel. It was one of the many touching elements that celebrated the show hitting 100 episodes, and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg made it clear that it wouldn't have felt like an anniversary episode without Laurel involved. he said
She's such an essential figure to the show. She was the second lead on the show, and even though the show evolved, Laurel was at the heart of it --- she was Oliver's great love, she's Sara's sister, she's Lance's (Paul Blackthorne) daughter. Even if we get to 200 episodes, Laurel will always be at the heart of the series.
Kreisberg provided the above comment in an interview with Variety, saying that even though Arrow has evolved since Laurel Lance's death, she remains and will continue to be a key figure on the show. It definitely would have felt weird if Laurel hadn't shown up in the 100th episode, especially since this simulation (which Thea Queen, John Diggle, Sara Lance and Ray Palmer were also trapped in) also included Moira and Robert Queen, both of whom have been long dead. The simulation showed what Oliver's life would have been like had he never become the Green Arrow, and while Oliver was clearly at peace in this alternate reality, he soon realized it wasn't real and left it behind to return to the conflict against the Dominators. That included giving up his happiness with Laurel on their "wedding night."
While last night's Arrow episode allowed Oliver Queen to give this simulated Laurel Lance a proper goodbye, this isn't the last we've seen of Katie Cassidy on the show. Back in October, executive producer Wendy Mericle revealed that Laurel will show up in the midseason premiere and will be "alive and well." Mericle wouldn't elaborate on how this will be accomplished, though she did hint that Flashpoint may have something to do with her return. Unfortunately, that doesn't clear up the matter much. This could mean anything from the Earth-1 Laurel we watched for four seasons being miraculously brought back to life to her doppelgänger from Earth-2, known as Black Siren, being brought in. However the writers and creative team pull this off, Laurel fans can look forward to her continuing to play a role on the series in the near future.
Arrow will air its midseason finale next Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST/PST on The CW. New episodes will then return on February 1. Click here to find out when your other favorite shows will return midseason.