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Arrow: Life Sentence

"I'm not alone."

It’s only fitting that this season finale of Arrow was as much about self-reflection as it was about action. We could discuss what it means to be a hero and whether Oliver is qualified to be one. But that’s not the question Oliver needed to answer for himself. He had to answer the question that most of us struggle with. What does success look like and is he willing to pay the price for it?

Oliver has always wanted to save his city. That was never in doubt. Over the course of the last six years, with the possible exception of Adrian Chase, there has been someone who wanted to destroy it for their own ends. The others would have leveled Star City, but Diaz was more insidious. While Oliver and company were busy saving the city from megalomaniacs, he corrupted every level of government for his own purposes. That kind of war cannot be fought by one man. You need an army to fight an army. Only at the end did Oliver understand.

Many grievances were laid at Oliver’s feet this season. He doesn’t communicate well. He doesn’t trust his team. His focus was split in too many directions. He was unwilling to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. In my opinion, these are unfair assessments. Oliver is not without his faults, but Oliver trusted his team until he was given a reason not to. As I’ve said before, being Mayor and being the Green Arrow was part of the same mission for Oliver. His responsibilities may have been tearing him apart, but his focus was unwavering. And given the number of threats facing Star City on his watch, I defy anyone to say that they would have seen Diaz’s plan coming.

It took the NTA time to process what happened and the opportunity to watch Oliver during his trial and making his final stand against Diaz before they remembered why they were willing to follow him in the first place. He never asked anything from them that he was not willing to give threefold. And even when they were fighting, he cared for them. He put their safety above his own which all you can ask of a leader.

And as their leader, he ensured their safety, the safety of his family, and the safety of his city at his expense. Because at the end of the day that’s what success meant to him.

Oliver wasn’t the only one taking stock of their life. Laurel tells Sara that she’s not at all like Earth-1 Laurel. However, she is similar enough to want to take Star City back from Diaz even at the risk of her life. Maybe Quentin taking a bullet for her might not have been in vain. I thought next season was going to be about Laurel the anti-hero. Instead, I suspect it may be about living up to Quentin’s hopes for her.

And then there’s Quentin. Fatherhood has been one of the overarching themes of this show. Oliver’s father may have sacrificed himself to save his son, but it was just as much to avoid the consequences of his actions. Slade put his work above caring for his son leaving the boy to interpret right and wrong for himself and coming to all the worst conclusions. Cayden’s son died without ever knowing how much his father loved him. We don’t know what happened to Diaz’s father, but his absence certainly had an effect. Oliver is still learning what it means to be a parent. Even Rene is willing to put himself in harm's way despite there being no one to care for Zoe if anything happens to him. But as Oliver said, Quentin has been the shining example.

His love extended past his own daughters to include Oliver and Earth-2 Laurel even though they didn’t deserve it. Oliver broke the heart of one of his daughters by leading his other daughter to what everyone believed was her death. Yet, Quentin found it in his heart to forgive him. Laurel threatened almost everyone Quentin cared about on multiple occasions, and in the end, he took a bullet for her. He will be sorely missed.

The rest were just lovely moments that spoke volumes interspersed with some kick-ass fight scenes. Rene’s phone call to his daughter. Dinah handing the gun to Laurel in their attempt to rescue Quentin. Sara’s smile when she first saw Laurel and her awkwardness as reality set in. It was nice to see Sara on Arrow again, though it was a shame she did not get a chance to say goodbye to her dad.

Which brings us to Diaz. His instincts about people have always been spot on despite him being temporarily convinced otherwise. He was right about Cayden, Laurel, and Anatoly, not to mention Quentin and Oliver. And while his grand plan to take over Star City may have fallen to pieces, he succeeded in taking over the Quadrant which has its hands in pies throughout the country, and it would seem he also has the Longbow Hunters in his back pocket. His quest is far from over.

This season has brought us full circle. It began with Oliver and a team that he assembled and had full confidence in. He believed that they would cover for his mistakes and succeed where he failed. It ended the same way. His team may be a little more widespread, and there may be a few personnel changes. But he still believes that they will protect his city even if he’s not there to lead them. For now, that will have to be enough.

It wasn't perfect but it was pretty damn close.

4.5 out of 5 city saving digital sniffers

Parting Thoughts:

Curtis was doing pretty well for a guy that was stabbed last week.

If Quentin knew his daughter went up against Diaz and that he was still alive, where did he think she’s been all this time?

By Oliver’s second handshake, I knew the immunity agreement didn’t cover him, although the title of the episode didn’t hurt.

Considering that Diaz wanted Quentin to go on TV, you would think he would have left the face alone when he was beating the crap out of him.

Quentin’s death leaves Star City without a mayor. Again. (Tears, what tears? It’s just really dusty in here.)

Does Oliver’s immunity agreement extend to Anatoly? Or, will they be given adjoining cells once more?

Oliver’s uniform said Slabside. This was originally a metahuman prison located in New Jersey. It was then relocated to Antarctica but who knows where it will be in the Arrow-verse.

Longbow Hunters was the name of a criminal organization led by Junior Diaz in Seattle. It’s also the name of a Green Arrow three issue comic mini-series. To the best of my knowledge. They are not related.


Diggle: “Oliver, our disagreement was never about the uniform.”

Diaz: “The relationship between me and your daughter, it took a turn.”

Watson: “I’m ready to come down on him like God’s own righteous fury.”

Diaz: “I don’t think your daddy loves you anymore.”

Oliver: “I think that you’re the kind of man this city deserves.”
Rene: “I know you think I’m the type of guy that doesn’t care what this city thinks but this means a lot.”

Quentin: “Anybody ever tell you it’s rude to sneak up on people.”

Oliver: “It takes a very big person not to seek vengeance for a person that they love.”

Dinah: “You put together a team of heroes. That’s no small thing.”

Oliver: “You think that fall’s going to kill him?”
Laurel: “A girl can only hope.”

Watson: “We can give you your city back.”

Quentin: “If this thing goes the wrong way and I don’t make it, don’t call me Hoss at my funeral.”

Oliver: “I had to look at the way that I’ve been doing things. It’s not working. I lost my city. I lost my team. There’s a penance for that.”

Oliver: “All of you please take care of one another.”

Quentin: “You did good, Oliver.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.


  1. The scenes I found the most interesting in this one were Quentin's death, and Sara meeting the other Laurel. I wasn't surprised that Oliver had made a deal, or that Laurel was on the right side in the end. Sort of sad that Diaz made it, although with the amount of time they invested in him as a villain, not surprising.

    At least William has Felicity. She makes for one heck of a stepmother.

  2. Oliver's goodbye to Quentin choked me up even before we learned of his death. His loss will be felt for a long time and I completely agree with you about Sara and Laurel.

  3. Too bad I knew some vague spoilers that another character was leaving the show. After Rene surivved the bomb I knew it had to be Quentin. So sad to see him go. And just as I'm starting to reread the Dresden Files. I saw Paul Blackthorne fisrt in that failed sci-fi channel adaptation of Jim Butcher's fantastic book series.

    I'm sure Oliver will spend 2-3 episodes tops in prison next season so that did not make such a big impact as losing Quentin.

  4. A good episode, although I hated that Oliver is in prison at the end. After all that he's sacrificed for his city, he deserved better.

    Quentin will be missed, still don't like the new recruits though. They just took up screen time and didn't add anything to the show.


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