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Now, I know that this Laurel/Felicity discussion somehow became a heated topic again (and here I thought tumblr loved Felicity!), but there is something bothering me about how Laurel is portrayed in the shows after her, well, death. Something that really reminds me of Arrow Season 4, and is thus likely a staple of Marc Guggenheim's writing, rather than any particular character favoritism.

The issue I'm talking about is what some people remember as the "Felicity is strong, great and powerful" joke. The joke itself being based on "Blood Debts", where several characters praised Olicity to each other while she was lying in the bed, crippled, with Andy Diggle seemingly turning a new leaf after John told him about how such a great woman had to suffer because of him.

It's a basic violation of the "show, don't tell" principle, where the character's importance is reinforced not through viewers respecting them for their actions, but with other characters talking about just how cool the character in question is. In the most egregious form (see any of the current "All-New All-Different" Marvel books... or, rather, don't) it takes the form of out-of-universe narration itself praising the character as the greatest thing since sliced bread (see the "Yes, Queen!" cringe moment from the issue one solicitation of "Captain Marvel").

In Felicity's case, we knew her to be a great hacking expert, an inventor and a brave person in general, but when Oliver and Laurel were so busy discussing how "She's stronger than any of us" between each other the whole episode, it really stank of forced writing. The reason for such a tactic of writing, I suspect, is to overshadow the cliche "villain tries to get at the hero by attacking a girl" plot, which by itself sounds, at the very least, outdated. Trying to both use this plot device AND not lose their face with devaluing Felicity's character as such, the writers have other characters state in the viewer's face that, yes, despite being treated as a classic damsel, Felicity's totally a strong character. This attitude doesn't leave the season until the finale, with Felicity being shown as always right, never being called out on her hypocrisies, and finally being much more instrumental to the final plot than the emerald archer himself.

Now, what's Laurel gotta do with this?

Well, think about Laurel's character progression as the Black Canary. After being lied to for two seasons and jumping from "genuinely wronged by Oliver" to "unreasonably angry and vindictive" all the time, she eventually decided to pick up her sister's Canary mantle, was taught that vigilantin' ain't easy, but generally proved herself during the Brickwell plot, and after Oliver tried to put the cowl behind him, led the Star City vigilantes in his absence. Her positive traits are courage, optimism, refusing to give up.

However, for all her bravery, Laurel has never been depicted like some sort of SUDDENLY A SUPERFIGHTER (unlike, say, Thea). She was never especially proficient as a vigilante (which is pretty realistic, what with her being a lawyer, and not a League of Assassins recruit like her sister) and needed the experienced Oliver to come back and help. She's been more of a "heart" than a "muscle". Plainly speaking, her Black Canary arc was ended abruptly, before she actually did anything worthwhile with the mantle. For all her inner strength and bravery, Laurel was ultimately an example of how dangerous vigilantism can be for the unprepared.

...Except now she is treated as the goddess of Team Arrow. Posthumously. Everybody compares new recruits with her. Everybody asks "what would Laurel do?" (seriously, Thea? You barely interacted with her!) De mortuis aut bene, aut nihil, I know, but suddenly treating her as THE female vigilante of Starling is as bad as the "great and powerful Felicity" stealing all the spots last season. It's retroactive continuity, built with one goal - to "apologize" for finishing Laurel's own arc abruptly and out of nowhere (heck, you can even see that some of the shots of The Grave in 1159 have William's name on it).

Related to that, the original Canary, Sara Lance is forgotten in Arrow for no reason, with barely any joint continuity with the Legends. Jeez, why doesn't a time traveling daughter come visit her father, who's drinking himself to death out of grief? Getting actors together is hard, but at least drop some mentions, keep the continuity together! Don't act as if Laurel was Lance's only daughter!

In my humble opinion, such writing makes the development of characters look extra artificial and (in Laurel's case) brings them down to a level of "informed importance", which is not seen on screen in any way. Instead of telling about how Laurel was such a great Black Canary, show why she became so valued by the city and other vigilantes so much. Just "being an inspiration to Oliver" is not enough.