Arrow Recap: Oliver Pays The Ultimate Price For His City’s Freedom In The Season Finale

Photo: The CW

Another season of Arrow comes to an end. Oliver once again rallies his family and friends around him to go up against Ricardo Diaz. While he is able to get his city back, the price he pays for Star City is greater than any victory.

After Diaz has remained one step ahead throughout the last few weeks, Oliver has finally sought out his last resort – he turned to the FBI and Agent Samanda Watson. Watson provides him with and his team with the necessary firepower and army to raid the police station, and take back control of at least one government body.

Unfortunately, Diaz himself has been on the move since the FBI has come to town. He has also grown his team and has added a group of assassins called the Longbow Hunters. Despite Anatoli’s continued help, the team walks straight into a trap. Rene, Watson, and half a dozen other FBI agents find themselves in a warehouse full of laser trip wires connected to several bombs that could easily take out their whole force. Rene, fully accepting that this could be his last moments alive, calls his daughter to tell her he loves her. Eventually, Felicity is able to delay the triggering of the bombs long enough for them all to escape unscathed.

Meanwhile Quentin is fighting his own battles, as Diaz has ordered him to use his mayoral powers to remove the FBI from Star City, Should Quentin fail to comply, Laurel dies. Quentin argues that he wants to see his daughter before any action follows, and Diaz eventually agrees. He takes Quentin to Laurel but continues to force Quentin to send the FBI away. Quentin refuses, and when Diaz threatens to shoot Laurel, he jumps in front of her and catches the bullet in his lower abdomen.

After realizing Oliver has been bidding his private farewell from everyone, which included giving John a copy of his Green Arrow suit, Felicity finally corners her husband. She asks him directly what it is that he gave Watson in return for her support and the team’s immunity, but they are interrupted by Curtis, who calls them into battle.

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The team is able to track Quentin through his pacemaker, and they are able to storm Diaz’s location. With the help of Dinah, Laurel is able to fight her way through Diaz’s men and they bring Quentin to a hospital. In the meantime, Oliver finally counters Diaz and comes face-to-face with the man who has held his city hostage for the past weeks. Just as Oliver is about take him out, Laurel appears and uses her canary cry to throw Diaz off the building and into the river.

While Diaz’s future remains unclear, Oliver is able to deliver the information the other man had stored on the drive around his neck to the FBI. The information of who had been working with Diaz frees his city, but Oliver is about to pay a much higher price.

At the hospital Quentin is being prepped for surgery. Beforehand he shares a gut-wrenching heart-to-heart with Oliver. Oliver tearfully tells Quentin that he is a wonderful father, and has been a role model for him. Quentin, in return, states that he is proud of everything Oliver has done. The two men have come far in the past decade, and it all culminates in their final moments together.

Just as Quentin is brought into surgery, Sara appears. The younger Lance sister had been called by Laurel, and for the first time they come face to face. Sara asks her whether she is anything like her sister, but Laurel denies any similarity between herself and her Earth 1 counterpart.

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Sara’s reunion with the team is cut short when Agent Watson appears to collect Oliver’s debt. Oliver finally comes clean to his friends and family – he agreed to take the fall for their immunity. Watson arrests him, just as Quentin’s doctor returns with sad news. Quentin seized during surgery, and he did not survive the procedure. Broken-hearted, and without given proper time to grief, the team has to watch the FBI take Oliver away.

Due to a delay in transport Oliver is given a moment with his wife. Felicity is quick to jump into action and claims the team has an idea on how to break him out of prison, but Oliver stops her. He explains that he wanted to stop Diaz and save the city and in turn his family more than a life after the Green Arrow, and he was ready to sacrifice his freedom for it. He asks her to be a parent to William, who joins them shortly after. The young boy is scared and confused, but Oliver promises to explain everything to him.

Oliver is then taken to a maximum security facility, but not before being stopped by the press. He publically admits to being the Green Arrow, and that neither Roy Harper nor Tommy Merlyn were ever actually the ones under the hood. As he comes clean and urges his team to continue saving the city, the FBI removes Diaz’s men from office. We also get a glimpse at a very much alive Diaz, who follows Oliver’s public speech. His reign isn’t over; it has clearly just begun. This season, however, ends with Oliver Queen behind bars.

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All in all this week’s episode titled “Life Sentence” is a rather solid finale for a disastrous season. Season six gave us the never-ending rivalry between OTA and NTA that quite literally no one asked for, it also gave us a constant back and forth between Quentin and Laurel, and the prolonged arc of Ricardo Diaz, a faceless and ultimately meaningless villain (that we really wish we’d gotten rid of by now).

But the finale had its truly wonderful moments, particularly the emotional scenes between Quentin and Oliver. The two of them have had a most elaborate rollercoaster relationship all throughout the series from bitter enemies to allies to friends, and eventually, to family. It does not come as a surprise, that Quentin Lance would not survive the finale, as Paul Blackthorne’s exit from the series had been announced several weeks prior. It was lovely to see him sent off with a big hurrah, and of course with his last (biological) daughter by his side. He will be truly missed.

It was also only a matter of time until Oliver would have to admit to his crimes, and considering the finale was titled “Life Sentence”, it didn’t come as a shock that his time was up. It was still heart-breaking to see him make this decision without his family. At least he kept with good ole Oliver tradition – making overly eager, ridiculously stupid decisions without accounting for anyone else’s feelings. Some things will never change. Now the true question is, how long will he actually be in prison? It’s a safe bet to say he will reclaim his freedom sometime in the fall …

So yes, the finale did not come with any surprises (which is nice, for once), and it didn’t really tie up the loose ends, but compared to the lackluster episodes we have been fed throughout the last few months, it felt rather thrilling to watch it all unfold. Let’s just hope that with a chance in showrunner, we will also have a change in pace. Beth Schwartz, the whole world is looking to you!

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Favorite Lines

Oliver: “I am the Green Arrow. I realize that I’ve denied that claim with the same conviction with which I’m speaking now. I have let good people stand accused of things that I’ve done. Roy Harper is not the Green Arrow. Tommy Merlyn is most certainly not the Green Arrow. These are two names on a long list of people who have given so much and sacrificed everything in the name of my crusade. Some of them gave their lives in the pursuit of one simple objective – to save our city. Star City still needs saving. Last night, we dealt our enemy a critical blow, but there is still work to be done, so I’m looking to the people of this city. I’m looking to my allies, to my friends, to my partners. And I’m asking them to continue, to keep fighting. I’m asking them to complete our mission, to save our city.”

Arrow returns with season seven this fall on The CW.

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Verena Cote

4YE's lead events editor. london-based tv enthusiast with a passion (but not necessarily the budget) for traveling and exploring the world. prefers dogs to humans. current obsession: getting into the good place.
Verena Cote
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