Diaz’s plans tend to make less and less sense as they go along, but hey, this episode was still a bone-crunching romp, so it’s hard to complain too much. Also, the prison storyline has officially come to an end.
Spoilers ahead for “The Slabside Redemption,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.
It took seven episodes, but Oliver Queen is finally a free man. Having Oliver in prison made for an interesting diversion from the status quo, but more than anything, it provided a conduit to give Oliver some much-needed perspective about his quest to save his city. Will it stick long-term? The jury’s still out on that one, but still, it was a welcome bit of narrative direction.
Oliver spent the first third of this season adjusting to life behind bars, stepping deeper and deeper into the morally gray area in his quest to stop Diaz. While behind bars, Oliver did everything from assault prison guards (a whole lot of them) to accidentally frame a man for murder. It’s been a ride. His final day in prison found Oliver teamed up with Ben Turner, aka Bronze Tiger, a former Suicide Squad member who had been running with Brick’s crew in prison. While on the Suicide Squad, Turner had saved Lyla’s life, and Oliver finally comes to see that maybe even a former supervillain should get a shot at redemption.
The two become unlikely allies during the prison riot, and the team-up made for one of the better combinations of the past season or two. Seriously, what do we have to do to get Bronze Tiger a spot on New Team Arrow? Setting Turner on the path to redemption seems to have also helped but Oliver back on his own, and it seems he’ll be suiting up and hitting the streets next week. So, will we see a new side of the OG Green Arrow? Only time will tell.
As for the Big Bad, Diaz took over Slabside all in a failed attempt to kill Oliver. Why he opted to do this in the prison, after breaking free from his transport detail, isn’t exactly clear. Diaz could’ve just as easily slipped back into the wild and targeted Oliver once he got home, but that’s not quite as cinematic as a prison riot backdrop. As for the rest of the prison gang, Brick is seemingly dead at the hand of Oliver’s former friend Stanley. Stanley also makes his escape from Slabside, so look for the murderous little creeper to resurface at some point down the line.
This week brought us no B-stories, and no flash-forward saga — and was all the better for it. The final story of Oliver’s prison stay deserved all the focus, and it handled the pressure well. Easily one of the show’s best episodes of the season, logic gaps be damned.
So Diaz is presumably left almost-dead-but-still-alive at Slabside, so his story is likely not over. Also, he got an assist from the Longbow Hunters, who are still roaming Star City.
Having Oliver free, and seeing how he adjusts back to life in the outside world, should be a compelling story. Also, what will happen when Oliver runs into the mysterious New Green Arrow? Speaking of which — any new theories on the New Green Arrow’s identity? Lyla seems to be an interesting theory making the rounds, though it feels like a bit of a stretch.
Next week: Oliver is back in the hood and shooting arrows at bad guys with reckless abandon. Then, not long after that, we get “Elseworlds.”