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Spoilers ahead for Episode 18 of Arrow Season 7, called "Lost Canary."
Now that Arrow is ending after its shortened eighth season and news broke that Emily Bett Rickards will not be around following the end of the seventh, big twists feel like their consequences could be permanent. Now, the events of the Birds of Prey-esque episode resulted in a Black Siren twist that could mean the loss of another major character on top of Felicity Smoak. Is Earth-2 Laurel Lance gone for good?
Laurel didn't handle Emiko's move to frame her for murder well, and she went on a crime spree with her former shady pal Shadow Thief. Dinah was all about bringing Laurel in for murder, and Laurel's crime spree wasn't exactly persuading Dinah to give her the benefit of the doubt. Still, Felicity wanted to believe her friend was still the reformed woman she seemed, so she called Sara up to take a break from Legends of Tomorrow and help deal with Laurel at large.
It took several more crimes and a fight sequence between Sara, Dinah, and Laurel (with an intervention from Felicity that fortunately did not have fists flying), but Laurel finally came around and realized that she deserves to fight for redemption for her own sake, rather than for any other characters.
After coming to this realization, Laurel decided that she needed to "go home" to right some wrongs she'd left behind on Earth-2. She said her goodbyes, was given Earth-1 Lauerel's Black Canary suit, and all signs pointed toward Katie Cassidy's second character being written out of the show.
Well, things may not be as they seem. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz weighed in on the twist to TVLine, saying this:
Katie does not leave the show; she comes back this season. It appears like [she leaves], but it’s not true. She’s still [part of the show].
Katie Cassidy is returning to Arrow, but she's played enough different versions of Laurel Lance that we can't definitively say that she'll be back as Earth-2 Laurel. That said, the final scene of the episode may have revealed the way for Arrow to keep Katie Cassidy on board without cutting Laurel's Earth-2 redemption tour short and bringing her back.
The final flash-forward of "Lost Canary" saw Mia facing off against a very dangerous enemy who caught her by surprise before she even got to try a sneak attack. Fortunately, a save came in the form of a Katie Cassidy Canary blasting the baddie away with her cry. Mia said that she recognized this new Canary from the documentary filmed back in the 150th episode, so it's pretty likely that this is the reformed Earth-2 Laurel Lance, returned to Earth-1 to help Felicity's daughter.
Arrow can keep Katie Cassidy in the mix without bringing Laurel back to Earth-1 in the present by simply isolating her to the flash-forwards. Roy has only appeared in the flash-forwards so far, so it wouldn't be unprecedented for Arrow to do it with Laurel. My money is on any appearances from Laurel in the rest of Season 7 -- or at least until the season finale -- happening in the future.
Hey, maybe she's in the running to appear in the potential Mia Smoak-centric spinoff. Stranger things have happened with Laurel Lances in Arrow. Remember how original recipe Laurel was somehow ready to hit the streets as Black Canary after a few boxing lessons? Besides, who knows what the Arrow-verse is going to look like after "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and the end of Arrow?