Faced with the realization that he helped frame an innocent man for murder, Oliver Queen is looking for a way to make amends to Ben Turner. Freedom is the last thought on his mind, until his friends and family arrange a plea-bargain to free Oliver in exchange for the captured Ricardo Diaz. Unfortunately, Diaz has his own mad plans and Oliver will be forced to make a choice that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone he cares for.
Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie.), the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game (plot of a hero trapped in a prison with a number of villains, while his worst enemy taunts him over the public address system) and The Shawshank Redemption (title, plot involving a good man being sent to prison and his eventual escape)
Oliver seems to shrug off the sedative Stanley gave him really quickly.
Slabside does not seem to have any kind of fire suppression system, in violation of numerous federal laws that not only require prisons have sprinkler systems but have specially designed sprinkler systems that cannot be tampered with.
The CGI fire effects are painfully obvious, particularly in the shot where Diaz says "I'm a lot stronger now."
John Diggle vanishes completely in the pull-away shot from the prison as Felicity and Oliver kiss.
Michael Jai White has a fantastic turn here as Ben Turner. Hopefully Oliver will be able to make good on his promise and we'll get to see him more in Season 7 as a special ARGUS agent.
Stephen Amell manages a perfect intensity as Oliver Queen in this episode, and you can see the change to the man he was in his eyes.
Whatever else may be said about this episode, the fight scenes are all fantastic.
Stanley's full name in this episode is conformed to be Stanley Dover. In the comics, Stanley Dover was the name of a serial killer and sorcerer who preyed on children, known as the Star City Slayer. He befriended an amnesiac Oliver Queen in the story Quiver, intending to use dark sorcery to place his soul inside Oliver's body. His plans were eventually stopped by The Monster - a friendly demon who had attached itself to Stanley Dover's grandson.
Slabside Penitentiary is a Level 4 Super-Max Facility. It has 50 guards on duty at any time, each of them a trained professional.
When your femoral artery is cut, you have maybe six minutes before you bleed to death.
The Longbow Hunters left Diaz a device capable of blocking all the phone signals in and out of Slabside Penitentiary.
Diaz's device also allows him to trigger an electrical fire after pulling two wires out of the wall in the middle of the prison cafeteria and touching them together. This also shorts out the security system.
Oliver Queen: I'm gonna speak to Lyla Michaels at ARGUS. And... I'll just... see if we can make some kind of deal. Okay?
Ben Turner: Yeah. I know how much promises are worth to people like you. Especially when you make them to people like me.
Oliver Queen: That's not true.
Ben Turner: Yeah? You think I'm a criminal. You said it yourself. And criminals belong behind bars. Isn't that right?
Oliver Queen: I think that years ago you saved Lyla's life. Now, I don't know if you can be that kind of hero again. But I think you deserve the chance to try.
Oliver Queen: Ricardo Diaz is here and he will not think twice about killing us all!
Brick: No. He won't think twice about killing you. You see, I just met him. He seems a reasonable chap.
(Ben Turner has just helped Oliver fight Brick and Derek Sampson)
Oliver Queen: Turner? How did you get out of your cell?
Ben Turner: How did you get out of yours?
(Oliver is trying to get Bronze Tiger to help him take on Diaz.)
Ben Turner: There's no "we." I saved your ass so you could get me a deal with ARGUS. Doesn't mean we're some kind of team.
Oliver Queen: Did you hear Diaz? He's killing hostages. You said I was wrong about you? You said you've changed? Prove it.
Oliver Queen: Hey, maybe... maybe prison has changed me? Compromised my judgement of people?
Ben Turner: You sure that's a bad thing? (pauses) Look.... no offense, but the old Green Arrow? He wasn't the best. He saw the world in black and white. But now you? You know there's grey out there too. Maybe that makes you a better hero?
Ben Turner: I know it's bad for you, but do you really think you're going to stop Diaz with a can of soda?
Oliver Queen: We're about to find out.
Just about every moment of Kirk Acevedo's hammy performance.
Stanley's "I didn't have a choice" speech.
Diaz: I promised myself I'm never gonna die in prison and I'm gonna take you with me! (To make this worse, this line is said as he's standing in the middle of a prison cafeteria)
Oliver is told to be ready to be escorted to Receiving and Releasing in six hours.
Ricardo Diaz paid off one of the guards taking him to Slabside to help him escape.
Stanley asks Oliver to get Laurel to help him with his appeal.
Oliver tells Stanley he knows he killed Dunbar and that he will see him face justice once he is out of prison.
Oliver tells Brick that he'll never see him again after that day, though Brick says Queen will be back in prison sooner or later.
Oliver tells Ben Turner that he is going to get him out of The Hole and try and get him released into something like the Suicide Squad program. He also makes reference to Ben Turner saving Lyla Michaels' life in 216.
Oliver finishes reading The Count of Monte Cristo and focuses upon the final words "Wait and Hope."
Diaz goes to visit Oliver in the visitor's area.
Diaz tells Oliver that he was told that Oliver was being released that day and couldn't let his last chance at payback get away.
Oliver kept the materials to create an explosive hidden in his shaving kit. He uses them to free himself from his cell.
Ben Turner escapes his cell as well and helps Oliver to save some of the guards.
Stanley drugs Oliver to try and get him to help him escape through the morgue.
Derek Sampson is set on fire when the cafeteria is set on fire.
Diaz rips up Oliver's picture of Felicity and William.
Oliver beats Diaz up, leaving him locked inside his cell.
Stanely's last name is confirmed to be Dover.
Stanley Dover kills Brick before making his escape through the morgue.
Ben Turner is Inmate 5545.
Oliver leaves his copy of The Count of Monte Cristo in Ben Turner's cell.
One of the guards thanks Ben Turner for saving his life.
John Diggle and Felicity Smoak are waiting for Oliver as he leaves prison.
The Winick Factor
Everything about Diaz's plan to attack Slabside Penitentiary requires a Winickian level of coincidence and plot convenience to work. From there only being one guard on the drive to the prison (who Diaz is able to convince to take a bribe on credit), to his being able to work his way into the visitors area without ID, to somehow managing to run into the only guards in Slabside whose response to people being where they shouldn't be is to ask them who they are instead of going straight for the taser.
The Bottom Line
A horribly uneven mess. The fight choreography is fantastic and Stephen Amell and Michael Jai White have great chemistry together, which makes their scenes together magic. By contrast, every moment Kirk Acevedo is allowed to make dramatic speeches with randomly emphasized words and dramatic pauses is like fingernails on the chalkboard of your soul and the CGI is horribly applied in certain key scenes. Still, the good outweighs the bad... barely... and promises a lot more good in the future.