Title: Arrow: “The Slabside Redemption” Review
Release Date: November 26th, 2018
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
I would like to go ahead and take this time to thank stunt coordinator James Bamford and new showrunner Beth Schwartz. Although I’m sure I’ve said this before and there are many other production staff members that have attributed to this incredible season, it’s these two people who, in my opinion, have brought Arrow back to its roots.
Yes, after what seems like years, we finally have an episode that is 100% dedicated to Oliver Queen AKA the Green Arrow AKA the name of the show. Arrow has been (mostly) clicking when it comes to juggling its many storylines and characters but it was nice to see Oliver get some heavy screentime here.
For those of us who have followed this series from the beginning, we knew what we were watching. The acting and budget were on par from what you would expect from a CW show (the Arrowverse has gotten remarkably better in those aspects since). What made Arrow interesting was the Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy feel to the series, fun action pieces, and the compelling storylines to follow.
Looking back, I never would have expected to enjoy seeing Stephen Amell in the role of Oliver Queen as much as I do now. Like Charlie Cox as Daredevil, I can’t see any other actor as the Emerald Archer. Amell just owns this role whether he’s playing The Hood or the reformed Green Arrow. He’s able to transition from both the “monster” and the man so easily. That was never more transparent than in “The Slabside Redemption”.
Have my overall thoughts changed on Ricardo Diaz as a main big bad? Nope. Not one bit. I still strongly stand by my thoughts that the show has vastly underutilized Kirk Acevedo in the role as The Dragon. That being said, this was the first time I was interested in the character in a while (probably since his flashback episode last season).
There are also some quick nitpicking plotholes to address regarding Diaz’ plan. For one, he haphazardly walked in and out of Slabside without any guard catching him (despite Oliver screaming that the man in front of him was Ricardo Diaz). Not only that but his takeover of the prison itself was too far-fetched and easily done in my opinion. I know that the writers were probably trying to show that he still had some Kingpin-like connections but it came off a bit forced to me.
I don’t even know if he died there at the end and honestly, I don’t….really….care. Let’s just move on to the next big bad as quickly as possible.
Now that I’ve gotten my nitpicks out of the way, we can get to the rest of this remarkable episode. When I saw that James “Bam-Bam” Bamford was directing this, I knew right away we were in store for some epic action scenes. And I’m glad that I wasn’t disappointed.
When this show wants to be, it can be one the most enthralling action series on air today. To sum it up shortly, the only two words I kept saying every time a fight broke out was “awesome” and “brutal”. The Bronze Tiger/Arrow team up, Sampson’s death, and the final fight with Diaz all fit that brutally awesome description.
So yeah, we got our adaptation of Escape From Supermax. A story that was supposed to be shown on the big screen but was instead stripped apart for Arrow to play with. Oliver has changed his perspective on some of the criminals he’s put away and some that he thought was innocent.
The way the show has used Michael Jai White’s Bronze Tiger in the past has never sat well with me. I’m ecstatic that this story has propelled him to possible future appearances down the line and has made him the great character I knew he could be. There was nothing more intimidating in this episode than Bronze Tiger casually walking with his knife towards the outmatched inmates. For some reason, he reminded me a lot of Jason Voorhees there.
Oliver also got some new perspective on his new sidekick, Stanley. I’m still taking credit for being right about the character’s dark side in my review for “The Longbow Hunters”. Although he wasn’t a pawn for Diaz, Stanley was pretty creepy on his own. Yeah, the dude is a bonafide serial killer and has completely lost all of his marbles at this point. It kinda fits that he would be one of the worst criminals in Slabside and he would also be one of the few who got out alive (R.I.P. Brick). It’ll be interesting to see if Arrow brings this character back this season to exact his revenge on Oliver Queen.
Verdict: “The Slabside Redemption” was the exclamation point on Oliver’s stint in prison and the adaptation of Escape From Supermax. Honestly, it felt like a season finale episode. Was it all worth it? Yes. This makes the all-time list of great Arrow episodes and I can’t wait to see what the rest of season seven has in store for us.
Did you enjoy this week’s episode of Arrow? Where do you see the series going next post-Diaz? Let us know in the comments below!
- The focus on the action
- Oliver vs. Diaz (hopefully for the last time)
- Despite me disliking his character as of late, Kirk Acevedo in the role of Diaz
- Can't see anyone else other than Stephen Amell as Green Arrow
- Stanley is an interesting villain to follow up on later down the line
- Bronze Tiger was the MVP of the episode
- An epic conclusion to Oliver's prison arc
- Diaz' plan went a little too smooth
- The guards in this prison are incompetent
- Brick's death (not really a negative as it was done well, just hate to see the guy go)