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Laurel vs. Thea: Who is Arrow's Queen of Awful?

By Craig Wack | TV | November 19, 2015 |

By Craig Wack | TV | November 19, 2015 |

Before this past weekend, MMA fighter and wooden cameo actress Ronda Rousey was considered an unstoppable force of nature both in and out of the ring.

After a few haymakers to the face and a swift boot to the head, Rousey’s aura of invincibility was gone.

The aftermath got me thinking about if other absolutes around the pop culture universe are under threat. In particularly, is Laurel Lance still the worst character on Arrow?

This season, Thea Queen has gone from drunken outsider to full-on member of Team Arrow as Speedy. But has she brought the kind of awful that can dethrone Lawwrel, whose developed the kind of disgust around here that is downright tradition? Let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Crime Fighting Costume
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Both Laurel and Thea fight crime in costumes that copy the styles of characters who have left the show. Laurel didn’t have the equipment to fill her sister’s tactical bustier, so she’s opted for a black leather speedsuit. She ditched the platinum blonde wig this season for her natural hair, which only makes it more obvious that it’s Laurel in that getup. Now that Roy has left to cash in on that sweet, sweet freemium games money, Thea has chosen a red leather ensemble complete with hood. It also covers her navel, which further throws people of the trail that Thea and Speedy are one and the same.

Who’s more awful?: A catsuit and a Zorro mask do not a good disguise make. Laurel wins this round.

Family Ties
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For all the superhero daring-do, at its heart this is a show about family. It’s been a motivating factor for every character on the show at one time or another. Laurel’s immediate family is Sara and Quentin Lance. Despite being dead for most of Season 3, Sara is enough of a fan favorite that she’s been resurrected and spun off to a new show. While often the worst detective on TV, Det. Lance’s heart is in the right place at least. Thea on the other hand, has Ollie, which is a huge plus, obviously. But the downside is that her biological father is Malcom Merlyn, wearer of the mantle of Ra’s al Guhl and leader of the League of Assassins. When there’s some distance between the two, it’s not so bad, but Malcom keeps dropping in with terrible plans like this week’s offering: turn Thea into Dexter Morgan.

Who’s more awful?: Seeing as how Malcom’s grand scheme is the reason why Sara died and Season 3 of the show was so bad, Thea is guilty by association.

Career Choice
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When not in crime fighting mode, Thea and Laurel both hold down day jobs. Laurel works in the District Attorney’s office. Thea ran a successful nightclub before now helping out with Ollie’s mayoral campaign. While Laurel’s resources would be handy if Felicity the superhacker weren’t around, it seems like that connection would become grounds for so many appeals if the Black Canary alter ego were uncovered.

Who’s more awful?: The jury finds in favor of Laurel.

Fatal Flaw
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Both Thea and Laurel have past issues with various intoxicating substances, so that one is a push. After her dip in the Lazarus Pit, Thea has developed a case of chronic bloodlust. She’s doing her best to pevent her millennial angst from getting a body count, Thea’s discovery this past episode that Damien Dahrk’s power sucks the bloodlust out of her can’t lead to positive places.

Who’s more awful?: Bloodlust is a helluva drug, all Thea here.

Fighting Style
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There are advantages to having a brother who is a crack shot with a bow and a father who has the toughness to lead a League of assassins. When not overcome by the desire to pummel people to bits, Thea is an ass-kicker who’s a valuable asset in the field. Ollie even gave her a tricked out motorcycle with swanky red LED lights on it. As for Laurel, she has her sonic scream, which makes her look like a cat in heat when she uses it. Her lack of situational awareness also is so bad that Team Arrow counts on the bad guys to get the drop on her and plan accordingly. Twice, twice in the last episode, Diggle swooped in to save Laurel’s bacon after she wound up with a gun to her head.

Who’s more awful?: If you are literally going to fight crime, you literally need to know how to fight, Laurel.

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While it wasn’t the first round knockout of the past, Lawwrel remains champion by majority decision.

For discussion of other comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Pajiba commenter Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes.