Arrow, Season 7, Episode 7, “The Slabside Redemption”
Our long national nightmare is over. By all indications, Ricardo Diaz — the Cleveland Browns of Arrow villains — is dead. True, we saw no body, but we can prey his death sticks this time around, because bringing him back would undercut what was one of the most scintillating episodes the series has produced in a long while. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:
What’s the scoop: No more split stories. Ollie is shipping out on the same day Diaz is transferring in. Of course, Diaz pays off a guard, and mayhem begins. Simple, elegant, and Laurel-free.
Meanwhile in B-plot land: Same as above. No side stories either.
On the island of the future: None of this either.
Sex and the Olicity: They gave fans what we have been yearning for all season. The sunlight of freedom may have been the first to kiss Oliver’s face; Felicity wasn’t too far behind.
What about the action: It was wall-to-wall, edge-to-edge. The prison riot allowed plenty of opportunity for the kind of closed-quarters fighting made famous by Daredevil and Into the Badlands. Arrow‘s version wasn’t as brutal as the Devil in Hell’s Kitchen, or as balletic as the Badlands, but given the restrictions of both budget and network censors, this episode pushed the limits. The best battle happened when Ollie and ex-ARGUS agent Turner teamed up to fight their way through the commissary to Diaz. The final battle between Ollie and Diaz was indicative of the whole Diaz arc: a lot of brutality and exposition from Diaz, and a quick reversal by Ollie at the end.
What’s next: That weasel toady sidekick escaped from prison, and took Brick out along the way. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see him.
Last impressions: It’s extremely difficult to pull off an episode like this, and the degree of difficulty only increases when you consider Stephen Amell was likely doing some kind of work on the Elseworlds crossover. Oliver is a much, much different man than he was when this series began. Despite all that happened to him in prison, Ollie stuck to his new code by punishing (not executing) the wicked, and protecting the innocent (even if the halos on the guards are a little tarnished). Ricardo Diaz has more than served his purpose, so bring on the next villain and stoke the fires of Old Team Arrow vs. New Team Arrow, Ollie is coming home.