Warning: major spoilers ahead for Episode 19 of Season 4 of Arrow.
The first 18 episodes of Arrow Season 4 built toward a big death that would land one of Oliver’s nearest and dearest in a grave, and we had to spend most of the season wondering just whose name would be engraved on the headstone. We learned back in “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” that Laurel Lance was the unlucky person to lose her life, and this week's “Canary Cry” featured her funeral. The funeral took an unexpected twist for all of the non-Team Arrow mourners when Oliver used his eulogy to announce that Laurel was the woman behind the Black Canary mask. It was a respectful moment of Oliver giving credit to his fallen comrade while also denouncing the false Canary, and I’m sure it won’t backfire on him at all.
Just kidding. All things considered, Oliver honoring Laurel by outing her as the Black Canary wasn’t the smartest thing that he’s ever done. He may have been able to spin a story about Laurel making a deathbed confession to her pal Ollie, but somebody is going to realize that her buddy, the Green Arrow-shaped Oliver with the Green Arrow-esque scruff, is totally the Green Arrow. Throw in the fact that he’s attending the funeral with the Spartan-shaped Diggle and the Speedy-shaped Thea, and he’s practically advertising that Team Arrow is on the scene.
Even if Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E. are no longer in the dark about the identities of our merry band of vigilantes, there are plenty of other villains out there (and creepster Star City citizens) who could easily follow the few degrees of separation between Laurel Lance/Black Canary and the rest of the team. Given that Oliver has just lost a member of his team, he really should have been more cautious about security. Honoring Laurel is all well and good, but spilling her secret so quickly and permanently wasn’t his best move.
Laurel’s identity as the Black Canary should have remained a secret for practical reasons as well. She may have been one of the good guys, but Laurel was engaging in very illegal activities as the Black Canary. All of the cases that she handled as an assistant district attorney would potentially be tainted by her evening activities going public. Cut-and-dried cases could be reevaluated. Sentences could be overturned. Bad guys could be returned to the streets.
The Arrow interpretation of law and order has never exactly been realistic, and I'm certainly no lawyer, but an assistant district attorney who was secretly a law-breaking vigilante who liked to pound on criminals with blunt objects should cause a lot of problems for Star City. Oliver may have wanted to pay respects the only way he knew how, but criminals who were put away by Laurel’s prosecution probably don’t have the same level of altruism. H.I.V.E. might not be the only batch of bad guys troubling Oliver and Co. in the near future.
The good thing about Laurel being publicly credited as the Black Canary is that the show does seem to have closed the book on her life. From Quentin’s failure to find a way to resurrect Laurel due to Nyssa awesomely taking out the Lazarus Pit to the characters seeing Laurel’s body for themselves to Laurel being buried beneath a headstone identifying her as the Black Canary, it’s safe to say that Arrow has gone the extra mile in settling the question of whether or not she is coming back. Oliver telling the world that Laurel was the Black Canary could mean big trouble for him and the rest of Team Arrow, but it was good for the audience to see her character quite definitively laid to rest. That, my friends, is what they call “closure.”
Only time will tell if the funeral admission will spell disaster for Oliver and the rest of the good guys of Star City. Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Don’t forget to check out our schedule of summer TV premiere dates to see when some of your favorite shows will return to the airwaves.