EDITORIAL: Does Detective Lance Know?
It’s has been two and a half full seasons since Arrow began its successful run on the CW and since then there have only been a few major complaints, the first is that Laurel is “whiney”, which I have addressed in “EDITORIAL: In Defense of Katie Cassidy’s (Dinah) Laurel Lance”, and explained the reasoning by the complaints about her character. The second complaint I will be addressing is “Is Quentin Lance the worst detective in history?”
The answer to this is quite simple….no….because logic would dictate that Detective…Officer….Captain Lance….knows exactly who the Arrow is.
Three seasons in and about 200,000 people have learned Oliver’s identiy, but of all of those who have learned it, only two have actually deduced it that the show has acknowledged:
1) Helena Bertallini aka the Huntess: Oliver essentially served this one up on a golden plate to her by telling her about his crucible and the breaking into her house, so personally I still would count this as ½ telling her.
2)Moira Queen: Yes…Moira told Oliver she deduced it after the Undertaking, but then we saw her for all of 30seconds after the big reveal…and then she was killed.
Personally I would like Ray Palmer to also deduce the Arrow’s identity…the man is brilliant…and clearly looks up to Arrow and Arsenal, so I would be curious is he follows suit in attempting to figure out who his idols are.
Touching back on the Detective, just based on skill, and not due to his interactions with the Arrow, Quentin Lance made his way all the way to Detective, and then eventually Captain. In that time he has had numerous hints given, and also given numerous hints that he does indeed know who the Arrow is, but choses to keep it a secret for the greater good, and the respect he has for the hero.
Lance says it best himself in the episode The Man Under the Hood:
Quentin Lance: Listen to me, there was a time when I would have sold out my badge to find out his name. You know that. But then I realize I didn't care who he was. In fact I didn't even want to know who he was.
Laurel Lance: Why not?
Quentin Lance: Cause if I knew I knew who he really was, then he'd become a person right? Maybe he's got a family. Friends. People that care about him. Someone with a life. That he couldn't be what I needed him to be. What this city needs him to be. It's the Arrow that matters. The man under the hood isn't important. Look at me. Can you imagine what it's like to be him? What he has to live with day in and day out, what that's gotta be like. Hey. The least I can do is sit here and do a little bit of time for him.
I will now mention a few key hints and scenes that show Det. Lance should and probably does know who the Arrow is, as well as reveal how I would like this powerful secret to be revealed.
Season 1 began like no other TV show I had ever seen, the vigilante…was actually suspected of being the vigilante. During the first five episode we see Oliver Queen called into questioning time and we see Det. Lance bombard him with questions. It is from this episode, to the end of the season that we know that Det. Lance still thinks Oliver is the Arrow, every interaction with him is just as resentful and rudely portrayed as it is whilst Lance is with the Arrow.
It isn’t until…
We don’t really see a shift in how Lance treats Oliver…until he accepts the Arrow as more than just a vigilante. Season 2 showed us strongly that Lance’s views of the Arrow had shifted…but then forgot to mention how his views for Oliver also seem to have shifted. No longer was every conversation with Oliver about making him feel guilty, they were just normal conversations. This dynamic has further improved going into the shows third season.
Various Facts that Show Lance Has a Chance of Knowing Who Oliver Is:
S01E01 – Pilot – Oliver Queen and the Arrow return/come to Starling City at the same time…and Oliver Queen is the first person the Arrow (Vigilante/Hood at that time) saves…and Oliver is the only one to see him.
S01E05 – Damaged – Not only does Lance bombard Oliver with questions, but he also learns here that Oliver was tortured on the island…and that he came out of that torture as a changed man.
S01E09 – Year’s End – It is Lance that deduces that a copycat archer is killing people, we soon learnt his is Malcolm, the Dark Archer as the show calls him…but again it is Detective Lance that deduces that it is not the Hood killing people.
S01E10 – Burned – Lance learns of Laurel and the Hood’s connection, figures it out on his own, he also begins to believe that the Hood keeps a watchful eye over Laurel
S01E19 – Unfinished Business – Lance is suspicious of what lies beneath Verdant
S01E23 – Sacrifice – Detective Lance works with Felicity completely for the first time, and knows she both works for Oliver and the Hood in order to stop the earthquake device in the Glades.
Note these are only SOME of the moments in Season 1 that show Lance may just know Oliver’s true identity
S02E01 – City of Heroes – This episode started a trend that continues even to this episode…Lance CAN see the Arrow’s lower face, he makes remarks here and in other episodes to either the Arrow’s grin…or solemn attitude
S02E03 – Broken Dolls – Officer Lance uses the Arrow’s connection with Laurel in order to get him to save her, not that he wouldn’t have eventually, this further shows Lance recognizing the fact that the Arrow is a guardian angel in some sense protecting Laurel.
S02E04 – Crucible – In this episode we see Lance turn to Oliver for help with Laurel, this marks the first noticeable shift in how Oliver is treated by Lance.
S02E13 - Heir to the Demon – Sara is revealed to be alive (Lance finds this out), marking an end to his true hate for Oliver…however he seems to have given up that crusade long before this episode.
S02E19 – The Man Under the Hood – Lance delivers the following lines:
S02E22 – Streets of Fire – By this episode we know for a fact that Lance knows Oliver and Sara are in a relationship, and that Sara is the Canary, who is always working with Arrow.
Note these are only SOME of the moments in Season 2 that show Lance may just know Oliver’s true identity, also … I am forgetting the specific episode, but the Arrow receives a call from Lance as Lance is speaking to Oliver…and Oliver plays it off with no questions asked.
S03E01 – The Calm – Captain Lance dismisses the Arrow’s actions and tells the City to accept him as a hero
S03E02 – Sara – Capt. Lance openly begins to maintain contact with Team Arrow, just in case there are any emergencies
S03E11 – Midnight City – Captain Lance becomes the only one who doesn’t know Oliver’s secret that clearly Oliver isn’t around and according to Felicity the Arrow is “gone”
Note these are only SOME of the moments in Season 3 that show Lance may just know Oliver’s true identity
How I would like it to be revealed:
If the city sees Oliver as a hero, Captain Lance playing devils advocate becomes a little bit useless, despite the fact that I think Laurel has suffered enough I think it would be a very fitting end for Lance to reveal he knows on his deathbed.
This or…they could take a queue from the Flash and have a cop, Joe West, know who the hero, The Flash, really is
But back to my ideal reveal (that rhymes!!!)… Imagine Oliver, after Ray finds out who he is gets his company back, it seems to only make sense to me that Ray won’t own Queen Consolidated (hopefully renamed to Industries) until the show ends. Oliver is giving a speech to the people of Star City when a marksman takes aim, and much like in Dead to Rights Lance notices the snipers red dot crossing Oliver’s chest and dives in the way and takes the bullet. As he lays dying…
Oliver: Why did you do it?
Lance: Because…this City…this City needs the Green Arrow.
This end sets him apart from the likes of Commissioner Gordon, especially of the Nolanverse, seeing as he deduced the heroes identity, and ends up taking his own life for the greater good of the city.
The end all be all of the situation is, the evidence is two fold…
1) Quentin Lance has been presented with plenty of evidence in deducing who the Arrow is