Thursday, May 17, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 23 - Life Sentence

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.



Plot

With a new ally on his side, Green Arrow may be able to bring down Ricardo Diaz and save Star City, but even though the war may be won, not everyone may survive the final battle...


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (invincible villains who win even when they lose) and Jeff Lemire (character of Ricardo Diaz, mention of Longbow Hunters)


Goofs

Again, one wonders why Diaz hasn't just killed Black Siren by now? It seriously undercuts the idea that he's a dangerous lunatic who overacts to any slight or act of treachery if he spares a dangerous metahuman serial killer with no qualms about killing who turned on him once or if he has enough coherence to try using her as a bargaining chip to manipulate Quentin.

I know Agent Watson is meant to seem unreasonable, but she's not wrong in pointing out that Black Siren is a known murder, a wanted criminal, a fugitive from justice and that the only person who believed her "I could be good" act is Quentin. And even he isn't buying it anymore and is just pissed because he does not want to see someone who looks like his daughter die yet again.

How in the name of the many ridiculous gods of the DC Universe did Diaz survive getting blasted off a roof by a concussive sonic blast at close range, after being beaten half to death to Green Arrow and still manage to survive a water landing to swim away to safety?

Why doesn't the FBI arrest Black Siren? (Did Oliver's deal give her immunity too?)

How did Black Siren get a hold of Sara Lance?

Why had nobody told Sara about Black Siren?

Katie Cassidy's expression (or lack thereof) as everyone else is having an emotional response to the news of Quentin's death and Oliver's arrest defies belief.

So... the next step is Team Arrow exposing Agent Watson for refusing to do her job without a quid pro quo, right?


Performances

Paul Blackthorne gives a stellar final performance as Quentin Lance.

Caity Lotz's presence in this episode is largely wasted, but she does a fantastic job with the brief moments she has.

Stephen Amell has a great performance here, but the scene between him and Paul Blackthorne as Oliver once again calls Quentin the father he never really had is truly heart-breaking.


Artistry

Good effects work and choreography on the opening fight scene, particularly in regards to the Canary Cry effects and the T-Sphers are used.

The script is solid, with a reoccurring theme of Oliver making his peace with everyone and shaking hands with them.

The lighting and rain effects during the final Green Arrow/Diaz fight look good, even if the slow-motion effects are a bit much.


Trivia

Once again, the title card only features Oliver's arrowhead symbol and not all the symbols of the other Team Arrow members.

The Longbow Hunters were a villain group formed by Ricardo Diaz during Jeff Lemire's run on Green Arrow, made up of villains who had a grudge against Green Arrow. The line-up included Diaz himself, Brick, The Red Dart, Killer Moth and Count Vertigo.

In The Arrowverse, The Longbow Hunters are some legendary group that Diaz has made contact with. Anatoly has heard of them but thought they were just a myth. Oliver says that they are three assassins whom even The League of Assassins were afraid of. The last one reportedly died in The 1950s.

Oliver makes a second Green Arrow costume for John, saying there's no rule that there can't be more than one Green Arrow.  For a time in the comics, there were two Green Arrows, with both Oliver Queen and his son, Connor Hawke, using the name. The same legacy ideal applies to Flashes, with both Barry Allen and Wally West using the name The Flash in the current DC Comics Rebirth reality. Even before that, there was the Jay Garrick Flash working with his younger counterparts.

Ricardo Diaz's third hideout is said to be an abandoned chemical factory on the border of Pennytown. In the Green Arrow comics by Benjamin Percy, Pennytown was a borough of The DC Comics version of Seattle. It also the name of a district in Star City in The Arrowverse - one that has fallen on hard times and lies near an airfield, but is not as bad as The Glades.

The prison Oliver Queen is sent to at the end of the episode is Slabside Maximum Security Prison. In the original DC Comics universe, Slabside Penitentiary was the name of a maximum security prison for Metahumans, which first appeared in Green Lantern #51 (May 1994). It is nicknamed The Slab, because those who are sent there only leave it once they are "on the slab". (i.e. dead)


Technobabble

Felicity is given control of the FBI's Keyhole Satellites.

The bombs in Diaz's booby trap are said to be made of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) As a dry solid, TATP is an extremely sensitive white crystalline powder that can explode under heat, friction or mechanical shock. Being difficult to detect and made from reasonably common chemicals it has gained notoriety as a weapon used by terrorists, some of whom have dubbed it ‘The mother of Satan’ because of its instability.

Felicity is able to piggyback of a radio signal going to the explosives, saying she can probably fool the triggers into thinking the people inside the warehouse aren't moving by cloning the signal. She winds up having to bounce the signal off of several satellites, delaying it long enough for everyone to flee the warehouse.

Oliver was able to get close enough to Diaz for long enough for a digital sniffer that Felicity made for him to read Diaz's drive. They have all the information on his entire network.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Green Arrow is addressing the FBI agents and everyone else in SCPD HQ. His mask is off and his hood is down.)
Green Arrow:
Diaz clearly has a third base of operations we don't know about.
Wild Dog: Yo, Hoss? Mask?
Agent Watson: Mr. Queen and I have come to an understanding. Even if we didn't, your identity is hardly a well-kept secret, Mr. Ramirez.
(Wild Dog pulls of his mask.)
Wild Dog:
So... you're done trying to throw us in jail?
Green Arrow: Everyone has immunity from prosecution, Rene. The FBI recognizes that Diaz is the clear and present danger.
Wild Dog: Better late than never, I suppose.

(John looks down at the second Green Arrow costume Oliver made for him.)
John: I really thought I wanted this mantle. It means something. (looks up to Oliver) You've made it mean something. When our city looks at it, it gives them hope, Oliver. And it would be diminished if there was more than one.
Oliver: For everything along the way... thank you.
(The two shake hands.)

Oliver: When I first met you, (chuckles) I didn't think you were much more than a thug in a - heh - ridiculous costume.
Rene: You're no prize yourself, hoss.
Oliver: I judged you. For far too long, I judged you. And that was a mistake. I'm sorry. I think that you're a good man, Rene. I think you're the type of man this... this city deserves.
Rene: I know it seems like I don't give a crap about what anyone thinks. But this means a lot.
Oliver: Good.
(The two shake hands.)

(Quentin hangs up his phone and looks straight ahead.)
Quentin:
Anyone ever tell you it's rude to sneak up on people?!
(Behind him, Oliver has the decency to look embarrassed as he walks around in front of Quentin.)

(Oliver asks Quentin to trust him when he says he can save Black Siren.)
Oliver: We've known each other for a very long time, Quentin.
Quentin: (snorts) A lifetime. Yeah. We've come a long way, you and me.
Oliver: (smiling) It's been getting better, since the first time you arrested me.

Oliver: The FBI's only objective is Diaz. They're going to do their best to keep Quentin safe, but they don't care if Black Siren is collateral damage.
Dinah:Your point?
Oliver: My point, Dinah, is that it's up to us to keep her safe.
(Dinah gives Oliver a side-eye glance.)
Oliver: I know you have put your vendetta aside for the sake of the mission.
Dinah: And you want to make sure I keep it that way?
Oliver: I want to say thank you.
(Dinah looks stunned.)
Oliver: It takes a very big person to not... seek vengeance for someone they love. If I haven't always been sensitive to that, I'm truly sorry.
Dinah: I'm sorry I was so hard on you. (pauses) You know, the truth is... I respect you more than you could ever know. You've put together a team of heroes. That's no small thing.
(They shake hands.)

Felicity: What is going on?
Oliver: What do you mean?
Felicity: I mean you've been doing the Oliver Farewell Tour all around this place, including giving John "The Hood". You know, everyone is wondering what did you have to give Watson to get her to give us immunity? I'm just going to go out on a limb here... and guess that it was giving up being The Green Arrow.
Oliver: ... sort of.
Felicity: You can't be serious! What happened to becoming your best self?
Oliver: I don't know if I believe that anymore.
Felicity: Oliver, this is who you are! You can't let Watson get in the middle of that!
Oliver: She's not. It was my idea.

Quentin: You did good, Oliver.
Oliver: Thank you, but it's not over yet.
Quentin: It is for you.
(Oliver looks at him and just raises an eyebrow.)
Quentin:
Am I wrong?
(Oliver shakes his head.)
Quentin: I've been dealing with Samanda Watson for months. There's no way she was gonna help you without strings attached. (sighs) But those strings, Oliver... that's a hell of a sacrifice.
Oliver: I had to look at the way I've been doing things. It's not working. I lost my city. I lost my team. There's a penance for that.

Oliver: Quentin, I hope I took the time to tell you , uh... you're a really good father.
Quentin: So are you.
Oliver: (choking up) I had a good example.
Quentin: Yeah, your dad was a good man.
Oliver: (on the verge of tears) I'm not talking about my dad.
(Quentin looks surprised but just nods.)

Felicity: During your trial, you said that you didn't want to go public, because you wanted a life after Green Arrow. This is that life! You could-
Oliver: I wanted to stop Diaz. And I wanted to save you and William more.


Continuity

The FBI and Star City's vigilantes all attack SCPD HQ and Diaz's hideout together.

Oliver secured immunity from prosecution for all of Star City's vigilantes.

Lyla, John Jr., Zoe and William are at the NORAD Bunker.

Oliver makes another Green Arrow costume for John, saying there's no rule that there can't be more than one Green Arrow. John refuses it, saying that having more than one would diminish it.

Anatoly gives Oliver the address Diaz gave him for the meeting with The Longbow Hunters.

Diaz threatens Black Siren to get Quentin to kick the FBI out of Star City. Quentin refuses.

Diaz somehow gained access to a metahuman power inhibiting collar.

The address Anatoly gives Oliver turns out to be a booby-trapped warehouse full of explosives. Wild Dog and Agent Watson are trapped inside when the trap triggers.

Diaz figured out that Anatoly was the traitor and promises to take days to kill him.

Ricardo Diaz can speak some Russians.

Rene becomes shell-shocked again, after nearly dying pulling an FBI agent who was paralyzed with fear from the exploding warehouse.

Oliver tells Quentin that he was able to beat the lie-detector five years earlier by controlling his heart beat.

It is revealed that Quentin has had a pacemaker ever since Season Three.

Quentin tells Diaz that The FBI is tracking him by satellite when Diaz doesn't bring Laurel to the meeting site and insists that Quentin hold a press conference to order The FBI to leave Star City.

Oliver realizes later that Quentin told him about his pacemaker, so that Felicity could track it, because Quentin knew that Diaz wouldn't honor his agreement and that he'd be searched at his meeting with Diaz.

Diaz's third hideout is revealed to be an abandoned chemical plant on the border of Pennytown - a district of Star City when has been mentioned before in 405 and 505.

Quentin is shot by Diaz when he refuses to deliver his press release.

Diaz is about to shoot Black Siren when The FBI and Star City's heroes arrive.

Black Canary removes Black Siren's collar and helps carry Quentin out of the base.

Green Arrow has Diaz beaten when Black Siren sonic screams him off of the roof and into the bay.

Diaz escapes, but Oliver got to him close enough with a digital sniffer to get all of the information from his drive.

Oliver hands the information on Diaz's network over to Agent Watson, who says that Diaz escaping doesn't alter their deal. Oliver says he is aware of that.

Quentin is septic as a result of his wound. He asks Rene not to call him Hoss at his funeral if the surgery goes bad.

Black Siren called Sara Lance to tell her she might need to come be there in case her father died.

Sara Lance had apparently not been told about Black Siren's existence.

Quentin Lance dies during his surgery.

Oliver is revealed to have made a plea bargain with the FBI - turning himself in and a full confession on a list of federal charges in order to save everyone else.

Felicity refers to how they broke John out of prison in 504.

Oliver says he's being transferred to a Supermax and that Agent Watson has already threatened to arrest the rest of Team Arrow if he ever tries to escape.

Oliver confesses to the public that he is The Green Arrow.

The prison Oliver is sent to is Slabside Maximum Security Prison


Location

Slabsite Maximum Security Prison


The Winick Factor

Heavy. From the invincible villain who accomplishes his goals even in defeat (Diaz has gotten Oliver Queen out of office and into prison is still running The Quadrant, even if he's lost his foothold in Star City's government) to the government officials that are more concerned with bringing a good guy down than serving the common good.


The Bottom Line

An ugly, bittersweet mess. There's a lot of good moments here, but they are moments that should have come earlier in the season and only serve to telegraph what is blatantly obvious - that Ollie sold himself to save the rest of his team. The grand irony is that after everyone else except Felicity abandoned him, he chose to sacrifice himself to save everyone... except he one person he should have spoken to before making this kind of decision. Then again, Ollie wouldn't be Ollie if he didn't do the wrong things for the right reasons for the sake of protecting people who don't need his protection.

It's apparent now that they are are going to use Season 7 of Arrow to play out the "Green Arrow in prison" movie that David Goyer never got to make. Hopefully that will be short-lived, because as the first few episodes of the middle half of Season 4 of The Flash proved, things get dull when your main hero is in prison.

Apart from that, it's pretty clear what happens next. John bcomes the new Green Arrow. Roy Harper comes out of hiding to help. Diaz continues to be invincible. New Team Arrow will kinda just be there. And they'll probably use Quentin's death to fuel Black Siren becoming a hero.... even though by all rights she should be in jail with Ollie, if only for having facilitated Diaz's escape.

I suppose it will be too much to hope that this was all according to plan. That Black Siren and Diaz are still working together and that everything we saw before was a play. That Black Siren didn't blast Diaz but carried him to safety with her cry (a trick we've seen Black Canary do) and that all of this is just to get her in with the rest of Star City's vigilantes so Diaz can stick the knife in later.

Unlikely, I know, but that thought will keep me warm over the next few months.

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