Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Wednesday’s Arrow.
The CW’s Arrow said goodbye to a member of the team during Wednesday night’s episode, and the departing castmember was on board with the deadly twist.
“I was OK with it,” Katie Cassidy said during a recent press screening of the game-changing hour, which found Laurel being stabbed by Damien Darhk and later flatlining at the hospital. “We all sort of came to an understanding that this is what was going to happen, and it made sense to me.”
“The shock value is good” and gives the writers’ room “a jolt,” she continued. “It’s such a turn in the story that it gives them so much more to do and places to go with it. Otherwise, I feel like shows can get stale.” (Click here to read executive producer Marc Guggenheim’s explanation for the decision.)
To be sure, Cassidy got her own jolt when she learned that it would be Laurel in that flash-forward grave from the Season 4 opener. “I actually had found out right before [shooting] the court scenes” in the episode “Broken Hearts,” the actress recalled. “I just was like, ‘OK, I need to put this on the backburner for now,’ because I had a huge day of all legal jargon.”
Then came the tough task of filming the lawyer/superhero’s heartbreaking final moments. “That scene when I’m in the hospital and I say goodbye [and] I say to the team, ‘I never wanted this. I was thinking of giving up the Black Canary. I can do it,’ it was so real shooting it,” Cassidy shared, “because it was my saying goodbye to the team and all of us. So it definitely wasn’t difficult for me to get to that emotional point.” As “hard” as it was to deal with the overwhelming feelings in that exchange, “I felt like that was good,” she added. “It was genuine, and it was real.”
Looking back at her time on the CW series, “Since Season 2 up until now, Laurel has had a truly amazing journey,” Cassidy said. “They’ve written so well for me, and I’ve had such an incredible arc.”
Given her love of playing a comic book crimefighter come to life, it’s no surprise that Cassidy says that trying on the Black Canary jacket — which she got to keep, along with the mask — was one of her most memorable moments on the show. “I still get a little choked up talking about it because I was so excited,” she shared. “I’d been waiting for that moment. That, for me, was sort of the turning point. My character had a really hard time [in Season 2]. As an actor, the writers were writing so brilliantly, and it was great to be able to take on that challenge and go there and then hit rock bottom and come back on top.
“Also, fight training and getting to be a strong female character who’s also out there kicking some ass was something that was cool,” she continued, “and I had a blast doing it.”
Cassidy will also miss the camaraderie of the job. “I love everyone on set, I love our crew,” she said. “Being there for four-and-a-half years, they’ve become family, so it’s hard not to get to go into work everyday and get to work with such amazing people. That part is certainly sad.”
It’s lucky then that death isn’t necessarily the end for an actor in the Arrowverse: Cassidy appears via flashbacks in Episode 19 and later this spring will play Earth-Two’s Laurel, aka Black Siren, on The Flash, in addition to lending her voice to Vixen Season 2.
“In the future, you never know what can happen,” Cassidy admitted. “As they know, I’m always happy to come play with them if they time travel and whatnot.”
As for Laurel’s legacy, it’s “definitely important” to the actress that her character be remembered as someone who “was always such a good person and had such a good heart and was a fighter.”
Arrow fans, what did you think of Laurel’s swan song? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!