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Undoubtedly, the sudden and surprising return of Laurel Lance in the Arrow Bunker at the end of episode 5×09, ‘What We Leave Behind,’ has caused quite a stir among the fans of Arrow.

The death of Laurel’s character last season was arguably one of the most controversial moves in the show’s history. Even with the cheers of her return, many people are rightly skeptical of how she has come back and if it’s a true “return”. The producers were pretty adamant last year that their move with her character was permanent and would not be reversed.

There has been a lot of stirring since the CW released a trailer for the midseason premiere of Arrow. In the trailer, we see a Laurel who is alive and well but suddenly turns on the team with a non-gadget meta-human Canary Cry. This had led many to believe and assume that without a doubt, the Laurel that welcomed Oliver in the midseason finale was actually Earth 2’s Black Siren.

But is it that simple? Is there another possible explanation for Laurel’s return? Is it Black Siren, or it is the same Laurel that we saw last season? First, I’ll examine a few possible explanations for Laurel’s return, then I’ll dive into my speculations over the whole issue.

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Hallucination

Just before Laurel’s shocking return, Oliver and Susan Williams shared a kiss while drinking vodka with Russian writing on it. This was obviously intended to be seen since the camera focused so heavily on that bottle. Many believe Oliver was in some kind of dream state or hallucination when he saw Laurel.

Earth-2 Black Siren Laurel

If you remember from Season 2 of The Flash, Laurel’s doppelgänger from Earth-2 made an appearance and fought against the Flash as Black Siren. After being defeated, Earth-2 Laurel was locked up in S.T.A.R. Lab’s underground meta-human prison.

(Total sidebar, but does this bother anyone else? Not only are metas just locked up in the basement of S.T.A.R. Labs, they virtually never even acknowledge that they have dozens of deadly people below them?).

Anyway, because this character was never killed off or sent back to Earth-2, some people believe that the Laurel we saw in the bunker is actually Black Siren and has been recruited by Prometheus or someone else to get to Oliver.

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