A version of this post originally appeared on a TV.com forum on February 14, 2015, under my Titan4lizife username.
As bad as it is to be a citizen of Starling City — with those yearly acts of terrorism — it seems like being a woman in the Arrowverse is even more terrifying. One day, you’re living it up; the next, you’re being shot in the head, stabbed in the chest, or murdered via some other gruesome (and unnecessary) means. It’s time to call a Ya-Ya Sisterhood meeting to discuss five demises that could have been avoided.
Sara Lance / The Canary
Cause of death: Shot thrice in the chest by Thea, who was under Malcolm’s mind-control herbs, in order to manipulate Oliver into fighting Ra’s al Ghul (season three’s “The Calm”).
Don’t let that lengthy c.o.d. fool you, we all know that Sara died so that Laurel would take up the Canary mantle. Sure, we can understand the writers’ reasoning: inundating Starling with two Canaries would be overkill, and why would Laurel don that trendy buckle suit if Sara were alive and well?
But, until “The Calm,” Sara was alive and well and living in Nanda Parbat. Couldn’t Sara have come back to Starling after the summer hiatus, realized that the city had gone to the dogs (again!), and simply asked Laurel to take up the mantle in her absence? Laurel’s an ADA (albeit she’s no Cabot or Novak); her father’s a cop; her sister’s a vigilante; it’s obvious that crime-fighting is in her blood. If Laurel saw that the justice system in Starling was failing the city, like she did in “Left Behind,” I’m sure a sisterly talk from Sara would have been enough to convince her that more vigilantes were needed.
Yes, letting Sara live would have meant writing some other reason for Ra’s’ wrath on Starling and Oliver, but putting her on a bus, rather than in the ground, would have meant future team-ups and further growth for Arrow’s best heroine.
Moira Dearden Queen
Cause of death: Impaled by Slade Wilson, in fulfillment of a promise to Oliver, as revenge for the death of No. 3 (season two’s “Seeing Red”).
I’m still trying to figure out what Moira’s death accomplished. Sure, it allowed Thea to go off with Malcolm and become the best version of her character, but what did it do for the eponymous hero?
Remember when Pa Kent died on Smallville? Remember the impact it had on Clark, on the viewers, and on the remaining story lines of that season? Well, you won’t see any of that here with regards to Mama Queen’s death. Of course, we have to recognize the differences. Jonathan died midway through Smallville’s fifth season; Moira died two episodes before Arrow’s season-two finale. Smallville had time to deal with the repercussions of Pa Kent’s death, while Arrow had to do away with the season’s Big Bad and tie up several loose ends before the break.
Moira’s death feels unnecessary because it was not the call to action for Oliver that it could have been. Oliver was going to fight Slade whether or not Moira had died. He did not need more ammunition to face Slade, who had already ruined his relationship with Thea, and who had been promising to make him suffer. So Mama Queen ultimately died so that we could get a nice shot of that lair that we haven’t seen since “City of Blood.”
Cause of death: Shot in the head by Anthony Ivo because Oliver (supposedly) chose Sara (season two’s “Three Ghosts”).
Sara died so that B. Canary could rise, and Shado died so that Sara could become Oliver’s island girl Wednesday. Just as two Canaries would have been overkill, two women helping Oliver survive on Lian Yu would have completely overwhelmed viewers. So the moment Sara showed up, she brought Ivo and his out-of-left-field ultimatum in order to (as Voldermort said in Goblet of Fire) kill the spare!
Supposedly, Shado died to spur the animosity between Slade and Oliver (even though Slade and Shado weren’t really a thing, and Oliver really wasn’t responsible for her death, but reasons Mirakuru), but couldn’t another really thin scenario have caused contention between the two brothers? Couldn’t there have been some other horrible misunderstanding that made Slade hate Oliver, and that forced Oliver to stab him in the eye and leave him for dead? After the eye stabbing, Slade’s hatred would have been justified — after all, he’s a comic-book villain; he wouldn’t really need any other motivation to want Oliver to suffer.
Obviously, Shado would not have been able to spend all five years on the island with Oliver, but she might have escaped somehow, joined the Triad, and would have been able to visit Starling in present day as more than a ghost.
Isabel Rochev / Ravager
Cause of deaths: Shot in the chest by John Diggle; neck snapped by Nyssa al Ghul (respectively, season two’s “The Man Under the Hood” and “Unthinkable”).
I’m not as upset about Isabel’s death as I am about how underused Summer Glau was. I’ll forever hold a grudge against Arrow’s writers for having Glau and Sean Maher in the same season without any Firefly shout-outs. What a waste!
But, unlike the three previous women, her death kind of had a point. A lot of season two was devoted to showing Oliver as a reformed murdered, so Isabel’s death — at Nyssa’s hands — demonstrated the difference between the League of Assassins and #TeamArrow.
Still, there’s the issue of Isabel’s backstory. Her motives weren’t as fleshed out as Sebastian Blood’s were. We know that she had an affair with Robert Queen, but why was she so obsessed with him after it ended? And what exactly was the nature of her relationship with Slade? So much of her character is still a mystery that she should have lived if only to answer our questions.
Felicity Megan Smoak
Potential cause of death: Laurel’s much-needed character development.
Yes. I know! Felicity is still alive — if you call being locked in the Arrowcave living. During the recent Canary trilogy, Felicity hasn’t really been a stable character. She’s been consistent in giving lip to Oliver and pep talks to Laurel, but her other actions have been suspect. And she was mainly parked behind her desk during “Canaries.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Lauricity (if that’s a thing). I want them to be friends. I want them to support each other. What I don’t want are cat fights or love triangles with them and Broody McBroodster.
I’m also a fan of Felicity standing up for herself against Oliver’s decision to team up with Merlyn, and against him treating the team like disenfranchised citizens. I’m just afraid that the writers will sacrifice Felicity — limiting her role on the team and the show, and making her more unlikable — in order to make Laurel more tolerable.
It’s hard to deny the show’s record of tearing down (graphically murdering) one woman in order to build up another. They’ll probably never kill Felicity — not only would fans desert the show in droves but she’s also a strong connection to The Flash and (potential) Atom spin-offs. While they could always put her on a bus to one of those shows, they probably won’t do that either; instead, they can lock her in the foundry, or in that office at Palmer Tech, and only bring her out (for interesting story lines) when the team needs a guide to Central City.
It doesn’t seem like we’ll have any female casualties this season, since the likely candidates are Maseo, Akio (seriously, what happened to that kid?), Merlyn (again), and Ra’s (ha ha ha ha). But there’s always the chance that Tatsu or even Amanda Waller will be unnecessarily killed sometime around the season finale, or Nyssa may be killed so that Talia can be introduced.