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*There are spoilers in this article if you don't want to know anything about Arrow before it returns! *Arrow ended the first half of Season 5 on a crazy cliffhanger as Laurel Lance turned up in the Arrow Bunker in the final moments of the midseason finale. Laurel was rather memorably killed off toward the end of Season 4, and her appearance in the Arrow Bunker has had fans wondering for weeks just what could have happened to return her to the land of the living. Now, a promo for the second half of Season 5 has hit the web, and it actually already answers the question of what brought Laurel back to life. Check it out!
As it turns out, the Laurel who passed away in Season 4 was not brought back to life at all for Season 5. Instead, the Laurel who Oliver found in the Arrow Bunker was an imposter posing as his old pal. Katie Cassidy is back; the Earth-1 Laurel who became Black Canary is not. From the looks of things, the Laurel who appeared in the midseason finale is none other than Black Siren. Apparently, Team Arrow should have had a more intense vetting process before bringing out the bubbly to celebrate.
Black Siren made her Flarrow-verse debut on The Flash Season 2. She is Laurel's Earth-2 doppelganger, and she became a minion of Zoom who visited Earth-1 to bring some mayhem to Central City. Unlike Black Canary, Black Siren doesn't actually need any technology to unleash a Canary Cry on her enemies. Instead, she is a metahuman who needs only to open her mouth and scream to subdue those who oppose her. The version of Laurel in the new Arrow promo is using a Canary Cry without the aid of a necklace or accessory, so it's probably safe to say that Black Siren will be the Laurel to hang out with Team Arrow when the show returns in 2017.
The reveal via trailer that original recipe Laurel Lance won't be back will undoubtedly be a bummer for fans of her character, but it's not a huge surprise. Given the great lengths Arrow went to back in Season 4 to drive home the fact that Laurel was really, totally, truly 100% dead, many fans suspected that the Laurel who appeared in the midseason finale was not going to be a resurrected version of the Laurel we'd come to know over the first four years of the series. Nyssa even ruled out Lazarus Pits as a way to resurrect her almost immediately after she died. Unless Arrow used the Flashpoint timeline as a "Get out of death free!" loophole, Laurel 1.0 was dead. It was always more likely that the person in the Bunker was an imposter, whether as a Laurel doppelganger from another Earth or a shapeshifter or even an android.
The reveal probably won't shock to many fans, but the fact that the big midseason finale cliffhanger was resolved via promo nearly a month before the midseason premiere is a surprise. Either Arrow has a lot in store in the first couple of episodes after break and Laurel's return won't be the most important thing that happens, or Arrow just spoiled one of its biggest storylines in Season 5 to date.