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Character Development: Detective Lance Faces an Old Foe, Arrow “Broken Dolls” 

Broken Dolls
Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

This week’s episode was filled with so much good (and creepy) stuff, but nothing stood out more than Detective Lance. He was the MVP of this episode as far as I’m concerned and I figured it was the perfect week to highlight how far he’s come. While I’ve never disliked Detective Lance, watching him continually try to capture the vigilante, even when he repeatedly came to his assistance, was somewhat frustrating last season. But once Detective…or should I now say Beat Cop…Lance was demoted, he took off his blinders and became more open to the truth and the reality of working for the good of the city.

Lance: “This city needs help. I guess I’ve just become less particular where it comes from”

I never thought I’d say this, but I actually really enjoyed seeing him team up with the Arrow. Granted, he’ll never be able to reach “Diggle-status” but the rapport that the two of them shared was efficient, enjoyable and even gave the good ol’ detective a chance to be funny.

Lance: “So this is what a typical night is like for you? Just a little breaking and entering?”

I particularly enjoyed their first outing to the lawyer’s office where they had a little of a good cop/bad cop thing going on. After the Arrow literally arrows the lawyer and then continues to demand answers, Lance gives us a final zinger to round out the scene.

Lance : “I’m sorry he just gets enthusiastic sometimes.”

Who knew this curmudgeon could be funny?! But it was not all fun and games. This was a very personal case for Lance, as he was trying to recapture a creepy criminal who he had previously put away. And apparently, this was a case that took him down a deep dark hole as the victims were the same age as his recently deceased daughter.

Saving them made up for the fact that he couldn’t save her. But before he could catch “the dollmaker,” eight victims had died and he feels responsible for each and every one. However, he wasn’t the only one who took this case personally. Lo and behold, it was during the earthquake (which Oliver continues to feel responsible for) that the prisoner escaped and now Oliver feels the need to make this priority before another victim is doll-ified.

Broken Dolls
Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

But back to Detective Lance. The personal element of this case also gave us another chance to see Lance’s soft side and that while he may be stubborn, he isn’t stupid. Even though it takes being kidnapped by the dollmaker himself, Lance helps his own daughter to see that her own sense of vengeance towards the Arrow may be misplaced. She clearly holds him responsible for Tommy’s death and will do anything to take him down, which is ironic since she was so “pro vigilante” last season (which Oliver conveniently pointed out to the good detective). Nevertheless, Detective Lance shares his own story of misplaced grief in hopes of helping her to see that she is doing the same.

Lance: “Grief has got a way of shifting people’s beliefs”

While I’ve had a great deal of frustration this season watching Laurel hunt down the vigilante, this reversal of roles between father and daughter (and the fact that he is the one who helped her to finally accept the truth) was actually nice and definitely added to Lance’s depth as a character. He’s capable and willing to change and truly fight for what’s right.

Now if only the rest of Starling City would be so willing to see the reality of the situation and learn from their mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating vigilante-ism or breaking the law, but as Detective Lance gives his version of thanks to the Arrow, he points out that sometimes the end really can justify the means.

Lance: “I may not always agree with your methods, but I can’t argue with your results.”

Detective Lance, you’ve come a long way since season one and I like it. A lot. I liked seeing you work with the Arrow and Diggle and Felicity at the end of last season and I like it even more this season. And I want more. Even though you’re just a beat cop now, you’ll always be a detective to us. Keep up the good work.

Watch Arrow Wednesdays on the CW at 8/7c.

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