Spoilers ahead for the Season 6 finale of Arrow, called "Life Sentence."
Arrow never holds back on ramping up the intensity for season finales, and the stakes were as high as they've ever been for the good guys in "Life Sentence." Between Ricardo Diaz's control over the city, the loss of resources with the destruction of the Arrow Bunker, and the complication of Samanda Watson and the FBI, Team Arrow had a lot on their plates. Fans also knew that the finale was going to say goodbye to a major character who has been around from the very beginning: Quentin Lance. Back in early May, news broke that Paul Blackthorne would leave Arrow at end of Season 7, and fans had to wonder how the show would send him off. Thea got to leave alive and well, but would that be the case for Quentin?
As it turns out, sadly, survival was not the case for Quentin. Emily Bett Rickards, who plays computer hacker extraordinaire Felicity Smoak, spoke with CinemaBlend about her reaction to Paul Blackthorne's exit, saying this:
I was shocked when I found out in a way that I felt like a pillar was being taken away from my house. I don't get to work with Paul a whole lot and both of us always ask to work together more, and knowing that it's not necessarily as much of an option anymore kind of crushes me a little bit because working with Paul is so interesting and invigorating as an actor. As far as his character goes, I hope we did it justice and I think saying goodbye to him as a character was really hard. As it should be! Saying goodbye should be hard. It should be hard. It always is hard. I hate goodbyes. I hate them, I really do.
"Life Sentence" finally delivered the answer to the question of how Quentin would leave the show after six years of ups and downs, and it was absolutely heartbreaking. After spending most of Season 6 hoping Black Siren could be reformed into a woman like the Laurel he'd lost, he came to her rescue from Ricardo Diaz. Refusing to step aside when Diaz pulled out a gun, Quentin took a bullet for Black Siren. At first, it seemed that it was merely a flesh would that could be fixed with surgery, but surgery didn't go well. According to Star City's one trustworthy doctor, Quentin seized while on the operating table and was deprived of oxygen for more than seven minutes. Quentin died.
On the one hand, it was something of a shock that a longtime series regular died. On the other hand, the episode did a pretty good job giving Quentin a solid sendoff. Quentin got some touching farewells and some big heroic moments in the final battle to take out Diaz, at least for now. One of the saddest things about his death may be that Sara arrived at the hospital, but not until Quentin had already died. She didn't get to say goodbye to her dad, and her dad didn't get to see her one more time.
The news of Paul Blackthorne's departure broke only a few weeks after Arrow star Stephen Amell shared a set photo of Oliver sitting at somebody's hospital bedside, and that somebody looked awfully tall, which likely meant either Quentin or Diggle was hurt. Even before his departure was confirmed, Quentin seemed like the more likely candidate. After all, Diggle had already gone through enough health problems due to his nerve damage in Season 6. More misery in the hospital just wouldn't have been fair. Still, seeing Quentin in that hospital bed wasn't easy.
Quentin's death was unfortunate for Emily Bett Rickards as well. She revealed that she wished she could have worked with Paul Blackthorne more during their time on the show together, and they were rarely able to join forces on the small screen. The good news is that the end of the finale set the stage for Rickards and the rest of the cast to take the show in some incredibly new directions. Oliver is locked up in prison after admitting that he's the Green Arrow, leaving Felicity to raise William, Diggle to possibly take on the mantle of the Green Arrow, and Ricardo Diaz in the wind.