ARROW 7.06 Review: “Due Process”

Your party is next week, Curtis. Act surprised.

This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out last week's review here.

Arrow’s gone a lot of different directions since starting seven years ago, but one constant has remained throughout the show’s tenure: each one of us has both good and evil inside. “Due Process” examines that further, giving new dimension to several characters. But not Stanley. No, Stanley is for sure a shady little rat who is aces at manipulating the broken Oliver Queen, who feels like anything but a hero while in Slabside.

All of the threads (outside of the flash-forward) finally came together in one plot this week, with everyone joining forces to take on Diaz. That is, everyone except Black Siren and the new Green Arrow. Whoever the mysterious new vigilante happens to be is sidelined for obvious reasons, but Laurel gets the axe solely because of trust. The former villain storms off, but decides to keep playing along once Felicity promises she’ll bring her in the moment Diaz is captured.

Strangely, Diaz is captured. I suspect that’s because when he told Anatoly that he was going to help him destroy Oliver Queen, it wasn’t by levelling Star City. The first, and more likely, option is that Diaz wanted to be captured so he could get thrown into Slabside with Oliver (which we’ll see unfold in next week’s episode). The second is that Diaz wanted to break Oliver by breaking Felicity, but it seems unlikely that he has that level of intellect.

It appears the babble master of Team Arrow is spiraling down her dark path all on her own. Diaz is certainly the cause of that spiral, but it’s likely that no one’s pulling any strings to help quicken the process. Through the course of the episode, Felicity will feed Anatoly to the wolves and is ready to shoot a handcuffed Diaz while inside a police precinct. Thankfully “Due Process” is filled with strong women supporting each other. For the second time, Laurel stops Felicity from going dark side by the hand of a two-bit villain. It’s only fair, as Laurel needed a helping hand herself.

While sidelined by Team Arrow, Laurel sets her focus on Oliver’s appeal. Like his team, Oliver’s not quite ready to accept her help. Luckily for him, she’s a bad listener and does exactly what she wants when she wants to do it. She follows her appeal to the end, delivering an impassioned speech that ends in noting that “the hardest thing to do is be a hero when no one expects you to be”. The reformed criminal does her best and really kills it in court, and still it’s not enough.

The idea that she couldn’t get Oliver’s smug ass out of prison coupled with the fact that the the rest of the kids wouldn’t let her play with them pushes her over the edge. Laurel decides to show that judge just what happens when the Black Siren doesn’t get what she wants. That is, until Dinah steps in and reminds her of her own words. Black Canary may not have believed her when she insisted that she was changing to honor Quentin’s memory, but seeing her defense of their former “leader” was enough to convince Dinah of Laurel’s efforts.

“Due Process” was written by Sarah Tarkoff and Tonya Kong, and directed by Kristen Windell (all overseen by Arrow’s new EP: Beth Shwartz). It is so, so evident that women are being allowed to step in and have more control over these stories. The ladies in season seven have been given more autonomy than they’ve had in the entire series up to this point. Their scenes are compelling and only revolve around Oliver half the time rather than in their entirety. You might scoff at that percentage, but the dude’s still the title character. The show is always going to come back to him, but now its women are being given the opportunity to shine just as bright.

Two seasons ago I would have laughed at you if you’d said that the writers behind Arrow could get me interested in Laurel Lance again. Here we are, seven seasons in, and she’s back to being one of the more interesting characters for completely different reasons than she was back in season one. In the end, all of the women take the high road this week, and it’s all because of the support system they’ve built for each other. The flash forwards might indicate that that is all about to go to hell, but let’s just savor it for the time being, yeah?

As mentioned, Diaz is making a visit to Slabside next week. Laurel stops Felicity from shooting him with the knowledge that the FBI is willing to trade Oliver for Diaz, but something tells me that’s not going to stick after the two of them blow up the prison with their little war. All the same, let’s hear what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments!

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