Arrow Season 6 Episode 23 Review: Life Sentence

at .

Tissues, anyone? On Arrow Season 6 Episode 23, we see just as many situations that give life as they take it away, and it has left many viewers an emotional mess. 

The good news? Laurel is alive, Star City gets to live another day, and we finally get Sara's reaction to E2 Laurel.

The bad news? Oliver is left in a supermax prison surrounded by many men he's personally put in there, Quentin Lance died, and oh, did you get that? Freaking Lance died. 

An Epic Final Battle - Arrow

It's hard to find the right reaction to this monumental decision to kill off Lance. One the one hand, it makes sense for the narrative.

Lance didn't really have a purpose in the last two seasons of Arrow. He was sort of the liaison between Oliver and the police department for a while, but then that job began to overlap with Dinah Drake's role. 

Oliver: You're a really good father.
Lance: So are you.
Oliver: I had a really good example.
Lance: Your dad was a good man.
Oliver: I'm not talking about my dad.

As Oliver so poignantly points out, Lance was a father-figure for him, but let's be honest, it's not like Oliver is good at taking advice from anyone. So, there was only so much Lance could do in that role.

And even as mayor of Star City, Lance would've just devolved back into an information liaison between city officials and the vigilantes.  

However, this information doesn't make Lance's, and thereby Paul Blackthorne's exit, from the show any easier. Blackthorne has always been a phenomenal actor. His scenes are provocative, no matter which emotion he's trying to draw out, whether it's elation, sadness, anxiety, etc.

Quentin Lance Close Up - Arrow Season 6 Episode 23

Let's face it. Lance may be on par with Oliver when it comes to the grief he's had to take at this point.

Sara "died." He grieved. His wife left him, and he grieved again. Sara comes back but dies again, he grieved. Laurel died, and he grieved again. He thought he killed Siren and left her, and he grieved again. It's like death stalks the Lance family and this dance with death ties into a significant point. 

Get Comic Con HQ via Prime Video Channels to Stream Original Series, Past Comic-Con Panels & More!

The Lance family has just been Arrow's reservoir for grief through death. It's a bit ridiculous how many times members of this family have had to grieve the death of someone in their family.

Quentin and Diaz strike a deal - Arrow Season 6 Episode 23

And then to kill him it in a very similar way to how Laurel died? At this point, I wonder if it ever crossed the minds of the writer's to just write him off to run away with Felicity's mother or find life somewhere else.

That way, we wouldn't have had triggering flashbacks of Laurel's death, another Lance family death trope wouldn't have popped up for the fourth time in the series, and we wouldn't have to sit through another theme on revenge.

Related: The Flash Season 4 Episode 22 Review: Think Fast

And if you all haven't noticed, that's exactly what they've set in place for Siren with these events. Siren knows Diaz is alive and there are no doubts, she'll be out for blood.

Siren isn't an idiot. She knows Diaz has to die; she just wants to be the one to do it on her terms. 

Diaz: This is my city! You want to stop me?! You’re going to have to kill me!
Siren: He's right, Oliver. Oh, and the movie with the dog was Old Yeller.

He tortured her, beat her father, and then shot him. There's no way she would let Oliver give him an easy death. Did you all see her face when Diaz shot Lance, and she looked up and told Diaz she would kill him?

A part of me wants Siren to have this because she deserves to get her revenge for what he did to her and her family. However, the other part of me is just tired of the revenge theme every season. 

It's just as I got tired of the Oliver and Felicity arguments getting in the way of their fieldwork. I'm actually pleased Oliver didn't tell Felicity he had planned to go to jail for two reasons.

Green Arrow On the Hunt Season 6 Episode 23

First, we'd have to deal with another argument filled with passive aggressiveness, Felicity beseeching Oliver to understand, and Oliver remaining unmoving.

Second, once Oliver gives in to Felicity's requests, he would end up doing the wrong thing and ruining this whole redemption expedition he's on by going to jail, which is the best decision he has made all season.

Oliver has been continuously hypocritical regarding his "no kill" rule. Many of the other characters have called him out on his superiority toward others when the only person with a larger body count than him are the villains of the show. 

Team Arrow with the FBI Season 6 Episode 23

This way, he can solidly say he has paid his due. He did the crimes, and he did the time. Obviously, his time gets to be shorter than other people since all of his murders were for the greater good, but the time should be done nonetheless.

Related: Arrow Season 6 Episode 22 Review: The Ties That Bind 

Because of that, Oliver ends up in the slammer, and it counts as a major win, along with the fight scenes, the pacing, and the phenomenal moments between Oliver and Lance before he dies. 

Now, Arrow Season 7 is ripe with new possibilities. Where will everyone be in six months? I doubt they'll break out Oliver before they explore how jail life has been treating him over the hiatus.

We know Dinah Drake, Curtis, Rene, and Diggle will still be out in the field. Felicity couldn't stay away from the action if she wanted to, so I'm sure she'll be a super mom who makes lunch and runs her company by day and helps fight crime by night.

But Laurel -- Dinah Laurel Lance -- what will she be doing? I'm sure she'll be narrowing her search for Diaz on her terms.

Siren Screams - Arrow Season 6 Episode 23

However, Diaz won't be sitting at home twiddling his thumbs. His face twisted with rage at seeing Oliver tell the world he was the Green Arrow before he went to jail. Diaz will be on his mission to take Star City, and this time, he'll probably make it his mission to take down everyone in Team Arrow as well. 

Okay. We’re going to do this another way. This time, I’m not going to count! Your daughter’s brains will be splattered on your face!


By the end of the season, we see that Diaz is beyond done being civil. So, you better believe when he comes back, he's going to come back harder, meaner, and with a whole new game plan.

Team Arrow no longer has the element of surprise by gaining a mole. You better believe Diaz will account for his old mistakes in trusting too many outsiders, but with the Longbow Hunters on your side, you don't need an army anymore.

What did you guys think of Arrow Season 6 Episode 23? Did you love it? What were your favorite parts?! Start a conversation in the comment section below!

To catch up on this crazy season, watch Arrow online now at TV Fanatic.

Life Sentence Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (108 Votes)

Candice Horde was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in July 2018.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Arrow Season 6 Episode 23 Quotes

Don’t let [Diaz] take this city!


Oliver: They don’t care if Siren is collateral damage.
Dinah: So, what are you saying?
Oliver: I’m saying it will be up to us to keep her safe.