Arrow’s uneven sixth season ended with a couple of major developments for the show: First, Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), the season’s ultimate big bad, managed to evade being caught, which means he’s back this year. Second, and more importantly, Oliver went to prison after publicly confessing to being the Green Arrow in order to save the rest of Team Arrow from suffering the same fate. Now, it’s time to dig into what those game-changing twists mean for the show’s seventh season, which kicked off tonight with the solid, twisty, and table-setting “Inmate #4587.”
Picking up five months after the events of the finale, the hour wastes no time in revealing how Oliver’s doing behind bars. Spoiler alert: Not great, Bob! Surrounded by criminals he’s put away (like Bronze Tiger, Brick, and Derek Sampson), Oliver is trying his hardest to keep his head down and ignore his heroic impulses because he believes that’s the quickest way he’ll be reunited with family. But, that’s obviously as hard as it sounds for Oliver, and both Stephen Amell and the script effectively convey just how much Oliver is struggling. Look at the pained expression on Amell’s face when he decides to walk away instead of protecting a nervous new inmate named Stanley, who is a big Green Arrow fan and gets beaten up by Brick and Derek Sampson because they thought that would coerce Oliver into helping them with some shady operation. As Amell teased, the Oliver we meet in this episode is very unheroic.
“Inmate #4587” draws a pretty obvious yet effective parallel between Oliver and Felicity’s situations. Like her imprisoned husband, Felicity is trying to hide who she is; except, in this case, she’s living as a pink-haired barista because she and William are in protective custody since Diaz is still at large. Furthermore, Rickards also does a great job of showing how the isolation for witness protection pains her, especially in the scene when she comes home from work and is reunited with William. You can feel that there’s something missing in her life. But, that’s all about to change because Oliver’s worst nightmare comes to past.
In the standout sequence of the episode, Diaz attacks Felicity in her apartment while his men do the same thing to Oliver as he’s taking a shower in prison. The much-touted naked shower fight scene more than lived up to the hype and the trailers. It was brutal, visceral, and reminiscent of the fights on The Punisher, which were more concerned with conveying the toll violence takes than being cool. As Oliver tries to defend himself, one of Diaz’s men eventually emerges and tells him that Diaz found Felicity and killed her.
Another spoiler alert: Felicity and William survive Diaz’s assault. And the Felicity who comes out of the attack has been galvanized to fight back. She pays Oliver a visit in prison and reveals that she plans on sending William to boarding school so that she can leave the witness protection program and focus on capturing Diaz. Obviously, Oliver isn’t too keen on this idea, but he really has no place to say anything since he made this whole deal without consulting her in the first place. However, Felicity isn’t the only one who has had a fire lit under her behind.
NEXT: A new Green Arrow