Diaz owns pretty much all of Star City at this point, but even with all that pull, he still had a whole lot of trouble getting Oliver Queen to stay behind bars.
Spoilers ahead for “Docket No. 11-19-41-73,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Thursday, May 3, 2018, on The CW.
You have to wonder just how much they plan it, but both Flash and Arrow have featured courtroom episodes this year — and both of them were resolved in pretty much the same way. On Flash, Dibny face-swapped as the late Clifford Devoe to get Barry out of jail. It seemed clever at the time, but the Arrowverse is returning to the well a bit too often. This week’s Arrow saw our old pal Christopher Chance (aka the Human Target) show up in a jaw-dropping cameo as the late Tommy Merlyn to claim he’s actually been the Green Arrow all along. It was fairly easy to see coming, sure (especially after that Flash episode just a month or so ago), but it’s still so darn fun to see Colin Donnell back on this show that you can forgive it.
With Diaz effectively owning the judge and jury, Oliver’s trial was essentially glorified theater. Even a literal confession from a masked superhero falling through the ceiling couldn’t get the guy a bit of reasonable doubt. It made for a nice change of pace to send the action to the courtroom for a week, plus we got to see Donnell dress up as the Green Arrow, but more than anything this was a showcase for just how deeply corrupt the institutions of Star City have become. It took Christopher Chance literally replacing the judge to overrule the jury’s verdict to get Oliver back home to Felicity and William.
Diaz’s grip on the city is made even more clear when Diggle snaps and takes a swing at him for threatening Rene’s daughter (a brutally sneaky move to ensure he would testify against Oliver). The Star City Police Department is essentially working private security for Diaz in broad daylight in the middle of the street. This city isn’t failing. It’s failed. It’s over. Diaz owns it, from the sewers to the skyscrapers. It’s hard to say where the show will go over the next two episodes before wrapping up the season, but even if Oliver does manage to take out Diaz, it’ll almost certainly take longer to “save” Star City. Because it’s rotten to the core. There’s a fascinating story there to tell, but who knows if that’s the direction they’ll take it.
*Easter egg alert: The episode’s title, “Docket No. 11-19-41-73,” was a not-so-subtle nod to the comic origins of the Green Arrow. The character first debuted in the November 19, 1941 issue of More Fun Comics. Which issue, you ask? No. 73. Well played, episode naming team.
*So let’s talk about Diggle for a moment, shall we? With most of the action relegated to the courtroom, the episode opened with one heck of a set piece for Oliver’s former partner. Diggle literally parachutes into a war zone and takes out dozens of enemy soldiers, plus a Jeep, to free Christopher Chance. Look, it was a lot of fun, but dang. If Diggle can do that, maybe Oliver really should give him back the hood for good. ‘Cause dude’s got gae.
*It took a while, but Laurel finally takes her stand against Diaz on live TV, testifying that Oliver is innocent of being the Green Arrow. She was inspired to that move by Quentin, and it seems they’re finally putting Earth-2 Laurel on a path toward redemption — assuming Diaz doesn’t just kill her first. Kudos to Laurel for trying to take on Diaz on her own, and if nothing else, she’s finally showing a bit of that old school Canary fire.
*Though the various teams have been fractured over the past few weeks, it seems everyone comes together with Oliver’s life on the line. New Team Arrow tried to protect him in court, while Diggle goes Rambo to bring Chance in for the ruse. Seeing Oliver and Rene finally make up in the closing moments was a good note to end on, because there’s no doubt this team vs. team story is really wearing thin. Here’s hoping that’s resolved or at least sidelined as the show heads into the offseason and gears up for Year 7.
*Next week: With his jail plan derailed, Diaz finally decides to use his considerable resources to come headfirst at Oliver. The first footage seems to show a full-on SWAT team opening fire on the Queen family dinner, so yeah, it’s safe to say things will be escalating over the next few episodes.