Arrow ‘Life Sentence’ Episode Review: Oliver Shakes Many Hands

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The Arrow Season 6 finale, ‘Life Sentence,’ delivered an action-packed episode with a few twists and turns along the way. Oliver and the team battled Ricardo Diaz alongside an unorthodox ally…

So, this is it, another year done and dusted. While it might not have been Arrow‘s finest hour, it certainly succeeded in wrapping up Season 6 in a satisfying way. ‘Life Sentence’ managed to finish a number of long-running plots from this season and saw Oliver shake many hands along the way.

If you like action, you will certainly have enjoyed this episode. While last week started with a quiet moment before exploding into life, ‘Life Sentence’ delivered huge action sequences from the word go. This theme continued throughout as Team Arrow and the FBI hunted down Diaz.

A lot of praise has to be given to Kirk Acevedo’s performance as Diaz. Where before he was calm and calculating, he’s become increasingly unhinged over the last few weeks. This week was no different, and it was a delight to see him revel in the change to his character.

‘I Am The Green Arrow’

The biggest plot-point that was wrapped up was the issue of the Green Arrow’s identity. All season long, we’ve seen Oliver struggle to maintain the duality in his life. First, the FBI chased him during the early part of the season, then his trial just a few episodes ago; he’s certainly fought to keep his two lives separate.

As it turns out, the second thing Agent Watson asked for last week was Oliver to turn himself in. Not only did Oliver do this, he finally revealed to the press once and for all that he is the Green Arrow. Finally, a line was drawn on this issue after it kept rearing its ugly head.

This all seemed a little inevitable during the episode. Oliver took it upon himself to go on a bit of a goodbye tour. He shook hands with Diggle, Quentin, Rene and Dinah over the course of the episode. Each time, he tried to do right by them. With Diggle, he offered him his own hood for example.

Wild Dog’s Development

Rene is a character who’s gone through a great deal of development since his introduction. Oliver’s talk with Rene was a rather on-the-nose analysis of the character, but it was certainly effective. When he was first introduced, Rene was a thug, but he’s developed into a three-dimensional character.

For a second, I wondered if this was going to be the end of his vigilante career. Particularly, after the phone call he made to Zoe when he thought this was the end. Praise must go to Rick Gonzalez as you could see the fear in his eyes when he made that call. Thankfully, he made it out alive, but you do have to wonder how long he’ll stick around, especially with his PTSD.

Goodbye To Quentin Lance

Quentin Lance
[Credit: The CW]
It was announced a few weeks ago that Paul Blackthorne would be leaving the show, so of course we all knew where this was going. But this didn’t make Lance’s goodbye any easier. Over the years, Quentin has gone from antagonistic detective to loyal deputy mayor, and he’s been an excellent character.

Most of all, he’s been a father figure to Oliver, particularly as their relationship turned more amicable. It was great to see Oliver acknowledge this in his heartbreaking goodbye to Quentin. Hats off to both Stephen Amell and Blackthorne in this scene.

It was also nice to see Sara return with her father in the hospital. It’s often so easy for characters from other shows to be forgotten about (Wally West anyone?) so it was fitting to see her appear. It might have only amounted to a quick cameo, but Caity Lotz made the most of it. First, her awkward discussion with her not-sister and then the anguish of losing her father.

Where Does Arrow Go From Here?

There’s a number of ways we can go from here. The most obvious will be an adaptation of the cancelled film: Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max. With Oliver incarcerated, it’s surely only a matter of time before the team, including the returning Roy Harper, try to break him out.

Presumably, Oliver’s imprisoning will be the reason behind Roy’s return. With his former mentor in prison and the fact that he no longer needs to run from the law, it would make sense that he’d feel the need to take up the mantle. The question is: will Roy return as Arsenal?

Another interesting development is the fact that Diaz survived his battle with Oliver. Black Siren appeared to have killed him when she intervened at the last second, but this was not the case. We see a shot of Diaz alive and well at the end, presumably with the people who rescued him from the river. With the pointed reference to the Longbow Hunters, it’s possible that they were the ones who rescued him.

So, that’s it, the curtain drawn on Season 6. But there are clearly seeds planted for the show’s return. As promised, the status quo has changed for the team, we just have to hope that the writers follow through this time.

Oliver Behind Bars
[Credit: The CW]
See our review of the penultimate episode, ‘The Ties That Bind’ here.

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