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Warning: major spoilers ahead for the sixth episode of Arrow Season 7, called "Due Process."
In a departure from tradition, Arrow kept the big bad from a previous season around to menace the good guys of Star City in the new season. Ricardo Diaz was still at large when Season 7 kicked off. With the help of the Longbow Hunters, Diaz expanded his reign of terror in Star City despite his reduced circumstances following the Season 6 finale. Now, the events of "Due Process" have set the stage for an epic and long-awaited confrontation between Oliver and Diaz. Here's how it happened.
Felicity's tracker on Silencer seemed poised to pay off, but she learned that she underestimated her enemy when she, Rene, and Black Siren unexpectedly met the forces of ARGUS and the SCPD on the scene, which had been rigged to explode with Anatoly on hand. Everybody escaped with their lives, but it was a very close call.
The good news is that Felicity managed to rope Anatoly into helping, although not without threatening to put him on a no-fly list that would definitely keep him from a happily-ever-after in the Maldives after Diaz had his Bratva brothers slaughtered. Her ruthless streak continued when she almost let Anatoly get killed for the sake of data retrieval.
Everything came to a head when the good guys were faced with the need to disarm a bunch of bombs at the exact same time or else let a whole lot of innocent people die. Diaz was on hand and poised to win the day... until an arrow messed things up for him. Yes, the new Green Arrow (who looked decidedly feminine this week, if you ask me) turned up to apprehend Diaz.
Huzzah! Diaz has been arrested! There were a few moments of doubt that he would survive long enough to be sent from holding to prison, as Felicity stopped the security camera and strode in with a gun, intending to kill him.
Diaz taunted her when she didn't pull the trigger right away, but she might have done it all the same if Black Siren in her District Attorney role hadn't arrived to stop her, telling her that they needed Diaz alive to get Oliver out of prison. Black Siren had worked out a deal with the feds to hand Diaz over in exchange for Oliver.
Yes, Ricardo Diaz is headed to federal prison, and the promo for the next episode proves that we're not in for a peaceful and violence-free hour of television. Now that Diaz has been arrested, there's really only one place Arrow could send him: Slabside. Of course, his capture coincides with news that Oliver is going to be sprung from the clink. If Arrow took place in a perfect world -- or even over on The Flash or Supergirl -- then Oliver would leave Slabside behind right before Diaz crosses the threshold, never needing to meet him ever again and instead heading off into the sunset to retrieve William with Felicity at his side.
Alas for Oliver, that's not the kind of thing that happens on Arrow. His time in Slabside is likely to overlap with Diaz's, if only for a little bit. The men have a lot to work out with each other, and I foresee that working out happening via flying fists, blunt objects, and anything in the prison that can be sharpened into a shiv. Oliver's final hours in Slabside could be very bloody.
While that's terrible news for Oliver, it's kind of awesome for viewers who love the kind of action Arrow has become known for. Would Arrow really place the hero and his current nemesis in an inescapable stronghold at the same time without pitting them against each other? Daredevil already proved that superhero series can produce epic fights set in prison, and that battle was between Matt and a bunch of side characters. Oliver battling his primary villain with sky-high stakes? Sign me up!
Of course, we'll have to wait and see if Arrow embraces the Daredevil-esque prison madness and puts its hero through the wringer to take down bad guys ahead of a final battle with Diaz. It's entirely possible that they don't get the chance for another throwdown. Diaz will undoubtedly be pulling plenty of strings, and most of the folks on the inside have no reason to love Oliver. Only time will tell how the show will handle the situation. An unleashed Oliver would be a sight to behold; is he really that character anymore?
Only time will tell. Check out The CW on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Arrow, and be sure to join us in counting down the days until the big "Elseworlds" crossover hits the airwaves and puts a seriously wild twist on the Arrow-verse. Be sure to swing by our midseason TV premiere schedule.