This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out last week's review here.
Arrow has had a rocky month. The entire arc this season has been a questionable choice, but it’s managed to toss in some good episodes while rehashing the same old stories. Even with that in mind, the last couple of weeks didn’t even make the “decent” list. But “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” is here to break the unfortunate streak and course correct damn near the whole season in a short forty minutes.
If you saw the stinger last week, you know the plot. The episode’s story wholly revolves around Oliver Queen’s trial, but a surprise pops up every now and again, and not all of them revolve around Tommy Merlyn’s “return”. Let’s get the couple that don’t make a whole lot of sense out of the way so we can get to the good stuff. The first is Dinah changing her stance mid-sentence in the beginning of the episode. She’s flippant about Oliver going to prison, and then all of the sudden it’s all very serious and should be avoided at all costs. The other is basically in the same vein with Diggle making his way to Kaznia to get their face-switchy friend to bring Tommy back from the dead for a day.
It checks out that none of Oliver’s team would want him to go to prison, no matter how done they are with his bullshit, it’s just strange that we’re focusing on everyone trying to kill each other one second, then folks putting their lives on the line to save Ollie. Families are complicated, but a little bit of transition can go a long way.
Now, on to the goods!
Ricardo Diaz started off as deeply interesting, then became boring in the span of about two episodes. It’s not that the character changed, just that the writers were focusing on another part of him. As it would happen, that other part of him is so eye-rollingly textbook that no one deserved to sit through an entire episode outlining it. But now we’re back! The thug is an afterthought in “Docket No. 11-19-41-73”, and we’ve returned to the man who always manages to be one step ahead. Bringing Zoey into the courtroom while Rene was testifying was so delightfully evil, and he had an ace in the hole for Team Arrow’s Tommy play as well. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t account for Laurel Lance.
Honestly, had Diaz not been a complete monster, he could have kept Laurel as his ally forever. He has the power and money to keep her entertained, but after forgetting who she was for a hot second, Black Siren remembers that she’s no one’s punching bag. Diaz threatening her and slamming her against the wall is the final push Laurel needs to lie to the court and say that Tommy Meryln was the Green Arrow all along. Her move ultimately culminates in months of Diaz’ plans being thrown out the window, and now he’s back to square one when it comes to taking down the Green Arrow.
As we’ve seen, you never want Ricardo Diaz to feel desperate, and it looks as if things are going to get a lot more bloody as a result. Since he can’t undo Oliver, he’ll simply end him and everyone he loves. It looks as if some folks he doesn’t even really like will be added to that list as well, considering Diaz captures a murderous Black Siren before she can off him. All of that is next week’s problem, though. For now let’s talk about all of the other things “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” gets right.
It’s amazing how much forgiveness a moment of self-awareness can grant a show. As he’s leaving, Human Target has a throwaway line to Oliver – “Try not to need me again. At least for another year”. We see you, Arrow writers. Taking a moment to laugh at yourself is great, but I think we can all agree that we never want to see anything akin to this trial go down ever again.
In addition to Tommy returns, better villain-y, and self-owns, Stephen Amell really brought it this week. The score helped nudge his emotional moments along quite a bit, but seeing the humanity in Ollie is always so refreshing. Admitting to his lawyer that he is the Green Arrow without hesitation, followed by his brief monologue about how he wants to have a life for himself and his family after he hangs up the hood was a series best. Little moments like that can make or break an episode, and Arrow so rarely utilizes that option the way its other DCTV counterparts do. You know what else Arrow lacks in? Levity. But Ollie even tells a little joke this week! He may not like puns (correct answer, puns are trash), but he’s not above tossing out a joke when a friend has a gun pointed at him.
We’ve seen season six take a bit of a step down from season five, but here’s hoping that this episode helped set them back on the right track as we near the finale. Rene was where the fracture started, and while the two teams aren’t going to start a sing along together, tonight’s reconciliation could go a long way in two episodes.
If you had thoughts on this week’s episode, you know what to do!