Arrow recap: The 5 best moments from Season 7, Episode 11

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

This week’s installment of Arrow saw Oliver and Laurel reckon with sins past while Curtis began to question ARGUS’ methods.

Before the launch of Arrow Season 7, the show’s producers noted that this year’s theme would be redemption. And while that’s something the series has tackled in the past, it hasn’t addressed the subject with as much nuance before.

For the first several episodes of the season, the program forced Oliver (Stephen Amell) to confront his missteps as a hero. Following the major revelations Oliver uncovered about his family last week, he’s now confronting his mistakes as a man. Consequently, Arrow has been more engaging than it has been in years.

The show isn’t just compelling because of what’s going on with its titular character, though. As this episode confirmed, despite all the progress she’s made, Earth-2 Laurel (Katie Cassidy) still hasn’t earned her own redemption.

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Simultaneously, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Curtis (Echo Callum) are making the kind of decisions that they’ll regret for the rest of their lives. It’s nice to see that in what might be its last season, Arrow’s writers have managed to balance killer action, shocking moments and thematic unity.

5. “People without the last name Queen are human, too”

“Past Sins” began with Oliver trying to convince the citizens of Star City that it’s okay for the police department to employ a vigilante. Oliver, accompanied by Laurel, went on the local news to make his case, but a subsequent poll revealed the people still weren’t on his side. Things got worse when an electricity-wielding villain tortured a newsman for trying to make Ollie look like a hero.

Eventually, Oliver figured out the baddie was Sam Hackett. Sam’s father was David was the bodyguard Robert killed to leave Ollie enough food and water to survive the wreck of the Queen’s Gambit. Sam finally learned what happened to his father after hacking the files for Oliver’s therapy sessions in Slabside.

After a tense standoff at SCPD HQ, Ollie was able to subdue Sam. Later, in one of the episode’s best moments, Oliver went on TV and confessed to the sins Robert committed to save him.

Everything about Oliver’s storyline in this episode was well handled. Arrow’s villains rarely have the kind of logical motivation Sam had here, so that was a nice change of pace. Also, Amell really sold Ollie’s anguish about stopping a man whose life he unintentionally destroyed. It’ll be interesting to see how Oliver’s quest to write his wrongs resolves at the end of the season.

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

4. “You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing”

Although the big ex-vigilante TV special didn’t help Ollie, it did wonders for Laurel. The press hailed her as the best Star City district attorney in years and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) took her out for a wine date to celebrate.

However, at the bar, Laurel was confronted by Brett Culllens, a man Laurel believed she killed back on Earth-2. After receiving several threatening messages, Laurel tracked down Cullens and was almost killed before Felicity intervened.

Laurel finally confessed that she used her sonic scream to attack Cullens back on her Earth because he killed her father while driving drunk. She also told Felicity that she actually blamed herself for her father’s death because he went out to get her birthday cake. Ultimately, the cops picked up Cullens for public intoxication and it turned out he actually just hated Earth-1 Laurel. Felicity also found out Earth-2 Cullens survived Laurel’s attack.

After seemingly forgetting that Laurel was a supervillain for most of this season, “Past Sins” showed that Arrow’s writers don’t actually have amnesia. Despite her recent good behavior, she still views murder as a valid way to solve her problems. But this episode made a real case that she not only wants redemption but might actually deserve it. But before she’s redeemed, she’ll definitely need to apologize to Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) for killing her boyfriend that one time.

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

3. “There’s always going to be a logical reason to compromise”

Back in ARGUS HQ, Diggle continued work on reviving the Suicide Squad, which now goes by much less cool sounding name Ghost Initiative. To bring down terrorist financier Dante, John enlisted China White, Cupid and Joe Wilson. When Curtis found out what was going on, he chastised Diggle for employing monsters. Undeterred, John ordered Curtis to run a diagnostic on the Not-A-Squad’s brain bomb implants.

While the system check was being performed, Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) escaped his restraints, freed his teammates and murdered Curtis. As he was setting up a meeting with Dante, the Dragon realized he was actually in a simulation Curtis made to get Diaz to give up his secrets. John complemented Curtis for his work but refused to shut down the Initiative. And in another standout moment, Curtis said that while he won’t quit, he’s also done blindly following ARGUS’ directives.

Generally speaking, when Arrow has had two of its heroes get into a conflict, the story usually isn’t balanced very well. Typically, its plainly obvious one person is right and the other is just being stubborn. But this episode was different. Curtis and Diggle both have valid reasons for doing what they did and their disagreement is more about tactics than objectives. But as Oliver has been learning throughout this season, compromising your morals for the perceived greater good always has severe consequences.

2. “I see now you are different from him”

Although this week’s episode didn’t begin with a follow-up to Emiko (Sea Shimooka) and Oliver’s discussion, it was eventually touched on. Oliver tried to reach out to his newfound sister but Emiko pushed him away because she couldn’t let go of her resentment of their father. After he publicly torched Robert’s reputation, Emiko admitted that she misjudged her brother and might be interested in forging a relationship with him.

As Arrow has a tendency to draw out its soapy plotlines, it was refreshing to see Emiko and Oliver be so adult about everything. Ollie didn’t press when Emiko told him she didn’t want to see him and Emiko didn’t need 1,000 monologues before she agreed to talk to a man she plainly admires.

My only concern right now is that the show’s writers will have the Queen siblings reach an understanding right before Oliver is ordered to arrest the new Green Arrow. I can’t see the writers passing up so an obvious opportunity to generate drama.

1. “One by one, I’m going to kill you all”

Initially, I was pretty disappointed with the way Laurel storyline wrapped up in this episode. It seemed too contrived that Brett was not only the man she thought she killed but also wasn’t much of a threat at all. However, as episode’s last moment showed, that resolution was a misdirect. As Dinah received a threatening note in the same style as the ones Laurel had been receiving, it became clear that someone has a vendetta against all of Star City’s heroes.

This plot development was intriguing for a few reasons. One, it provided a much better resolution to Laurel’s subplot. Two, it furthered the idea that a lot of people in the city really don’t like masked vigilantes despite all the good they do. And three, it provides some context for the season’s flash-forwards. Between the present and 2039, something happens that turns the people of Star City against heroes.

Next. Arrow recap: The 5 most shocking moments from S7E10. dark

Given how much time this episode spent on establishing thematic parallels, I’m betting that something has to do with Ghost Initiative. If one of the group’s missions goes horribly wrong and results in mass casualties or destruction, the public would want answers. And I imagine there’d be a lot of outrage if it emerged that an ex-hero covertly assembled a group of villains to do his bidding. And that outrage that could evolve into the outlaw of anyone who wore a mask in Star City, regardless of their intentions.

What do you think was the catalyst for the grim future of 2039?

Arrow airs on The CW Thursdays at 9 pm EST.