Arrow recap: The 5 most shocking moments from Season 7, Episode 7

Arrow -- Photo: The CW/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow -- Photo: The CW/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

The Arrow Season 7 hot streak continued with an episode that saw Oliver face off against Diaz and almost all of Slabside’s prisoners.

Since its 2012 debut, Arrow has distinguished itself as one of TV’s best action series. In almost every episode, the show features at least one exhilarating practical action set piece. Unfortunately, because the program has been so consistent in that regard, it easy to take it for granted.

I think the show’s producers must be aware of this issue because “The Slabside Redemption” was packed with smartly-conceived, perfectly executed action sequences to function as a chest-beating declaration; nobody does action on TV better than Arrow.

It’s worth noting that this episode had more to offer than just exhilarating fight scenes, though director James Bamford did knock those out of the park. The episode was also very well paced and tightly focused. The set pieces were spaced out so they never become tedious and the decision to set almost the entire episode within Slabside for Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) last day on the inside was brilliant.

While it would’ve been cool to check in with the rest of Team Arrow or 2048, those scenes would’ve served as a distraction. In addition to featuring the best action of the season, this episode also cleared the decks. A number of conflicts and subplots that had been running since Season 6 were all boldly resolved. And a couple of seeds were also planted for the future. Like the rest of Arrow Season 7, “Slabside Redemption” succeeded because of the program’s renewed commitment to clear-cut storytelling.

Arrow, The CW
Arrow — Photo: The CW/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

5. “I know how it feels to be treated like an animal”

Following his capture in last week’s episode, it seemed that Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) was heading behind bars. However, the Dragon had other ideas. After writing a guard to arrange his freedom, Diaz paid a visit to Oliver in Slabside and pledged to finally end their rivalry for good. In one of the episodes most shocking moments, he made good on his promise by entering the prison courtyard, murdering several guards and announcing himself as the prisoners’ liberator.

I’m not sure where Diaz ranks within Arrow history with regard to body count, but he’s definitely one of the series most brazen villains. His relentless intensity and utter disregard for his own well-being have made him Oliver’s most daunting foe.

I can’t imagine any of the series’ other Big Bad leading a prison riot as a part of a revenge plot. And though he never broke Oliver psychologically the way Prometheus did, he did manage to hurt Green Arrow worse than anyone else.

Arrow, The CW
Arrow — Photo: The CW/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

4. “Been meaning to do that for a long time now”

When Turner/Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) was introduced way back in Arrow Season 2, he was a pretty clear-cut baddie.  However, his character gained more complexity the after he was defeated by Green Arrow and conscripted into the Suicide Squad. While on a mission, he selflessly saved Lyla and proved that he had the potential to be a good man. And in one of this episode’s most shocking moments, he realized that potential.

As Diaz’s assault on the prison began, Oliver escaped his cell to meet him. And so did Turner, with the intention of helping Oliver so he could put in a good word with ARGUS from him. But as Diaz began summarily executing hostages, Oliver asked him to help protect the guards and staff. And Turner actually agreed to the team up and saved several lives. He also killed Sampson (Cody Rhodes), so bonus points there.

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In addition to being a quality redemption arc for the character, Turner’s face turn also thoughtfully illustrated one of this season’s themes; Oliver learning that the world isn’t as black-and-white as he thought.

3. “I did nothing wrong”

In last week’s most shocking moment, it was revealed that the seemingly harmless Stanley Dover (Brendan Fletcher) killed a guard in cold blood. And in this week’s installment, Oliver reacted to that revelation by telling Stanley that he deserved to be behind bars. Predictably, Stanley reacted badly and later kidnapped Oliver mid-riot to plead his case.

In the classic supervillain fashion, Stanley ranted that he and Oliver weren’t that different because they both punish the guilty. He also revealed that he landed in Slabside because he killed several people who “deserved” it. Unsurprisingly, Oliver was not very sympathetic to his deranged would-be sidekick.

As Stanley’s comic book equivalent is a happy go lucky teen who has control over a benign monster, TV Stanley’s big speech was quite shocking. It seems that the Arrow producers wanted to prove they could give Zack Snyder run for his money.

2. “You’re not surviving this”

After battling his way through scores of bloodthirsty prisoners, Oliver finally had his big confrontation with Diaz. As the pair has had several knock down drag out brawls in the past and Diaz has recently gained superpowers, I didn’t know how this fight was going resolve. But after surviving a hellacious beatdown, Oliver finally slew the Dragon by ramming a blade into his chest. Subsequently, he finally got released from Slabside and wordless reunited with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey).

Now that it’s reached its conclusion, it’s clear that the Diaz arc was one of Arrow’s strongest. The Dragon easily ranks among the show’s best villains and his careful deconstruction of Oliver’s life was largely very well done. And it was satisfying to see Diaz’s death stem directly from his flaws. Had he not been so obsessed with revenge, Star City would’ve been his.

Though I’ll greatly miss Kirk Acevedo’s chaotic energy and quiet menace, I’m glad Diaz wasn’t kept around until he got boring. I’m very curious to see who’s going to take over as Season 7’s new arch villain.

1. “The only way out of this place is the morgue”

Although getting out of prison and killing his longtime antagonist for definite wins for Oliver, not everything in this episode went his way. After being disarmed and trapped by Oliver during the riot, Stanley later made his way to the morgue. And in the show’s most shocking moment, he brutally murdered Brick (Vinnie Jones) before using the Slab’s secret exit.

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As he is a serial killer who is totally obsessed with Green Arrow, we’re certain to see more of Stanley this season. I don’t think he really has the depth to be the Big Bad, but he could certainly be a chilling secondary antagonist. And given his ostensible innocuous, I bet we won’t see him again until the audience and Oliver less suspect it.

Did you find the conclusion to the Diaz arc to be satisfied?

Arrow airs on The CW Mondays at 8 pm.