Why Thea Queen and Laurel Lance Are the Most Relatable Characters on ‘Arrow’
Recently, a list of Hollywood’s Best 50 Female Characters came out, and on that list was none other than Felicity of the CW’s Arrow. She is quoted by EBR as being “relatable and grounded,” and fans are running wild claiming she is the most relatable character on the show, and one of the most relatable on television currently. I’m here to challenge that notion.
Thea Queen and Laurel Lance are messy characters, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. They have been through hardships, they have made bad decisions, and they have paid the consequences of those bad decisions (a lot of the time made by other people in their lives). They both have dealt with extremely heavy and realistic problems that don’t fall into the realm of magically curing paralysis or somehow feeling no guilt for the death of over 10,000 people. These problems include grief, depression, addiction, and guilt.
Both Thea and Laurel were forced to overcome the grief of losing Oliver instantly. They were both forced to grieve alone in fact. Thea’s parents had one another and shut her out to cry by herself, and Laurel’s parents divorced, her father became an alcoholic, and she also lost her sister, who was sleeping with the love of her life when she “died”. So, Laurel was also forced to deal with the knowledge of that betrayal. While the circumstances regarding these loses are heightened for the sake of television, they still are grounded in realism. Everyone has dealt with the loss of a family member or an incredibly close friend, and everyone has been forced to deal with the grief that comes along with.
Another thing both Thea and Laurel were forced to go through was addiction. To deal with her grief, Thea began using drugs to cope with the pain she constantly felt, which lead to incredibly negative actions on her part. She was forced to face those consequences and better herself because of them. Laurel, on the other hand, fell into an alcoholic addiction once she lost Tommy, whom she believed to be the new love of her life, and was again left by Oliver, whom she believe would help comfort her in a time of need. Add in the fact that alcoholism runs in the Lance family, and Laurel suddenly becomes a figure for all those struggling with addiction or those who have someone close to them who is struggling with it. And it was constantly thrown in her face. Not only that, but Laurel was forced to overcome her mental illness on her own while also being forced to relive her presumed dead sister and ex-boyfriend once again rekindling their relationship. These women grew from these tragic circumstances they found themselves in; they felt pain; they cried; but they became stronger.
Probably the most relatable thing these women have been forced to overcome is guilt. In season 3, Thea found comfort in the one person she believed would never lie to her: her father. But unbeknownst to her, Malcolm forced her to kill Sara, someone she considered a friend, and once Thea discovered what she had done she was forced to deal with the aftermath. She did not run from it. She faced it head on. She confessed to Laurel, who strongly embraced Thea with open arms and assured her it was not her fault. She confessed to Nyssa in hopes that it would free her from the pain she is feeling. Thea was brave; she was incredibly brave. In season 4, Thea was once again faced with a tremendous amount of guilt as she was forced to choose between killing people to satisfy her bloodlust or let herself die, and she decided the later. She was willing to give up her own life so that she would not hurt anyone else.
Laurel, after being constantly lied to, made the decision to resurrect her sister Sara after she was murdered. Afterwards, she was forced to deal with the guilt and trauma that Sara would endure. While she knew what she did was wrong, Laurel wanted her family back; she did not want to lose her sister again. But her hypocritical ex boyfriend constantly threw it back in her face, and Laurel had enough. She finally stood up. She knew what she put Sara through. She knew the guilt that she was facing, and she didn’t need to be constantly reminded of it.
These women have, without a doubt, the strongest character development on the series. No, they are not perfect. No, they are not witty. And no, they are not just “relatable and grounded.” They are inspirational. They taught us that you can fight back, and that you can overcome your struggles even if everyone around you is telling you that you can’t. It’s okay to be messy. You can pull yourself back up. They felt real things, and it made them real people.