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Arrow - Life Sentence - Review - "Recap Ready for Season 7!"

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With Arrow returning this week for its seventh season, I thought this would be a good time to remind us where we left off. “Life Sentence” was written by the team of Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim and was directed by James Bamford. The episode saw the death of Quentin Lance, and I think the loss of Paul Blackthorne is a major one – to say nothing of the character. But then, I felt it was just one more misstep in a season that saw the ratings plummet. Season seven sees the show get a new showrunner in Beth Schwartz. I’m holding out hope, especially because Schwartz started with the show on day one, that she can re-capture what made this a great show to begin with. I’m also pretty excited by the number of women in her writers’ room!

I didn’t make much of a secret that I didn’t like much about last season, and the season finale didn’t change my mind. The episode picks up with Watson (Sydelle Noel) and the FBI joining forces with a reunited team to take down the SCPD. Really? The FBI can do a better job than ARGUS? Whatever. It happened. Let’s move on. We do get a nice, big fight scene. Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) naturally isn’t there. He ends up in the back of Anatoly’s (David Nykl) car. At least we’ve kept Anatoly back on our side. Once he knows Diaz suspects him, Anatoly just turns himself in.

Meanwhile, Oliver (Stephen Amell) spends most of the episode apologizing to the entire team after they spent the entire season being idiots towards him (insert whatever bad words you like here to refer to all of them). And of course, he keeps the secret of what deal he made – because we had no idea what that could have been… (insert eye roll here)

Diaz uses Laurel (Katie Cassidy) as bait to get Quentin – now Mayor – to tell the FBI to go away. After Quentin tries to set Diaz up, the team and FBI end up in a trap set by Diaz and barely make it out. I will give Rick Gonzalez (Rene) some love for his phone call to Zoe to tell her he’s proud of her and loves her when he thinks he’s going to die.

Diaz calls Quentin again to make a deal for Laurel. Oliver follows Quentin and tries to get him to trust him. Quentin reminds Oliver that he has a pacemaker – and then breaks the plan and goes with Diaz. Of course, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) can track Quentin via his pacemaker. I did like Felicity calling Oliver on his world tour of apologies. She knows that the deal can’t be good and doesn’t want Watson to get in the way of Oliver’s quest to “be his best self.”

Meanwhile, Diaz has beaten Quentin and thrown him in with Laurel. He threatens to shoot Laurel, and she doesn’t believe he’ll do it, so Quentin ends up taking the bullet for her. Mind you, if he was aiming at Laurel’s head, it’s a bit of a miracle that Quentin gets in it the belly… Diaz is about to shoot Laurel when the team arrives…

Major fight ensues… Diaz and Oliver end up fighting it out on the roof. I will say that this particular fight sequence was beautifully shot. I loved the slow motion capturing the rain water spraying off them as they fought.

Oliver finally gets the upper hand and Laurel shows up and screams Diaz off the roof and into the water – which is not that far away. Oliver points out immediately that there’s no way that that fall killed Diaz. So. Is Laurel really working against Diaz or did she just intentionally save him?

Watson is skeptical that Diaz could have survived. More importantly, however, Oliver was able to use Felicity’s tech to clone the USB around Diaz’s neck, so they have everyone who was on Diaz’s payroll. Watson insists that nothing alters their deal.

At the hospital, we learn that Quentin is septic and about to go into surgery. Did anyone think that he could possibly survive when he was in Laurel’s death room?? We do get just a brilliant scene between Blackthorne and Amell that just underscores what a loss this is for the show. This is one of Amell’s best scenes of the season as well.

      Quentin doesn’t know the details but he knows that the deal is going to prevent Oliver from going after Diaz himself. Oliver confesses to him that the deal is his penance for losing the team and the city. Oliver tells Quentin that he’s a really good father. Quentin tells Oliver that he is too, and Oliver says he had a good role model – and clarifies that that role model was Quentin.

Sara (Caity Lotz) shows up after Quentin has gone into surgery. She asks Laurel if she is like “her” Laurel and she confesses “hardly at all.” While everyone is waiting for Quentin to come out of surgery, Watson shows up and takes Oliver into custody. Before they leave, Dr Schwartz (Venus Terzo) tells everyone that Quentin died in surgery. Can we take hope from the “no body” trope? It’s telling that Sara turns to Felicity for a comfort hug – and Laurel has no one.

Naturally, the episode ends with emotional scenes between Felicity – he tells her not to try to break him out of SuperMax – and William (Jack Moore). And then Oliver confesses to the world that he is Green Arrow. He clears Roy – freeing the way for Colton Haynes to come back to the show – and commends everyone else who has died trying to save the city. He then asks his friends to continue the mission to save Star City… and then he’s hauled off to prison where everyone is out for his blood. Any bets they just put him out in general pop?

I’ll admit that like most people (if the ratings are any indication) my love of and interest in this show really flagged this past season, and I was ready to be done. However, with a new showrunner, I’m hoping we will get back to the roots of the show – though I don’t know how we do that with Oliver in prison and not the Green Arrow. Will Diggle (David Ramsey) actually wear the suit Oliver got for him now that he’ll be the only one? My hope is with Schwartz actually focusing just on this show, we’ll at least see better storylines with attention to detail, consistency, and logic. What did you think of the finale? Last season? Are you looking forward to this season? What are you hoping to see? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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