Arrow’s seventh season finally starts to get its footing. Like Sunday’s Supergirl episode, the flagship CW superhero show cuts to the action. Team Arrow (minus Oliver) takes on Diaz and his Longbow Hunters. All the side characters get a satisfying role in the conflict, and even Oliver plays a part in it. The prison conflict isn’t great, and the flash-forwards still have no root in the present, but the big group reunion works well. “Due Process” moves a lackluster season in a better direction.
While Oliver still plays a minimal role in his own show, his friends anchor the episode well. Uniting the squad so they can all butt heads keeps the world of Arrow concrete. The Felicity-Diggle conflict is interesting, and the B-Team characters bounce around them for great support. Laurel’s storyline also sets up a clear role for her in this new world, without distracting from the main plot. There’s a clear goal for them to conquer, and they accomplish it, albeit with a lot of inner-team arguing. It’s a clear and strong story, where every character matters.
If only the other Arrow storylines were as important. Oliver is still the least interesting main character in the season. It’s nice that Stanley, Oliver’s meek prison buddy, finally gets a little depth. However, the Stanley twist doesn’t offer much much to support the main story of the season. Likewise, the flash-forwards with William aren’t impactful, because there’s no clear reason for them to exist. Sure, the future might be scary, but that’s true all the time. When will Felicity’s dive into darkness have a big enough effect to warrant this new dark timeline? Arrow has refined its main story, but the other arcs don’t have an impact yet.
The biggest problem the season seems to have is Diaz. While the character is a bit more frightening this season than season six, he’s still not a major player. As I’ve said before, Diaz is like Arrow’s version of The Governor, from The Walking Dead. Keeping Diaz around makes it seem like Arrow has run out of cool villains. While we can assume Diaz isn’t actually going to prison just yet – especially after taking that strength serum a couple episodes back – the show hinting that his days may be numbered feels like a repeat of The Governor’s prolonged stay on The Walking Dead s4, which weakened that whole season. Hopefully, Diaz won’t do the same to Arrow.
This is not a great episode, but it is a great improvement for the season. There are still a lot of holes that need to be plugged – how much this new Green Arrow matters, what makes Felicity go full heel, etc. What this season is supposed to be about, and when it’ll get there, is up in the air. However, at the very least, “Due Process” offers an action-packed episode with an intense story. Hopefully the rest of the season will follow suit.