In Review: Arrow – The Slabside Redemption

Oliver makes a choice that will affect his entire life, as well as the lives of everyone he cares about.

Synopsis: Oliver makes a choice that will affect his entire life, as well as the lives of everyone he cares about.

Review: The title of this episode is obviously riffing on ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, but instead of it being “Get busy living or get busy dying.” it’s “Get busy rioting or get busy dying.” It’s at the title where the similarities end.

The Story

Picking up from last week. Diaz has been captured and is being transported to Slabside and as part of a deal that Laurel has made with the FBI. Oliver is about to be released. But it doesn’t exactly work out that way.

Knowing that he is leaving Oliver has a few things to put right. One of which is the unintentional accusation of murder, which he fired at Turner, who was set up by Stanley. But time is not on Oliver’s side given that Diaz has used his own capture as a means of breaking into slabside and starting the mother of all riots in order to force a confrontation.

Thankfully Turner is in a forgiving mood and proves a useful ally for Oliver when he sets about protecting the prison guards and going after Diaz.

The Acting

Kirk Acevedo puts in a powerful performance as Diaz whose quest for revenge is so close to fruition that he can taste it. To say the final fight between him and Oliver is dramatic would be a huge understatement.

But it’s an understated and less obvious performance that caught my eye this week from Canadian actor Aleks Paunovic who played the lead prison guard. Paunovic is known for a fair bit of work in genre film and television and in his role as the guard he gets a fair bit to do and pulls it off seamlessly. In fact the scene at the close where he thanks Turner is well and truly built up too.

Kudos should also go to Brendan Fletcher for his recurring role of Stanley who after being found out by Oliver becomes totally unhinged and proves far more dangerous than anyone would have thought. Somehow I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this weasel of a killer.


This episode was a fast-paced thrill ride from beginning to end. All the actors played their parts beautifully and the stunt work was unbelievable. My guess is a fair bit of the show’s budget was spent on this episode.

It will be interesting to see how Oliver adapts to life outside of Slabside in the next episode and if he will keep his promise to Turner who observed that Prison life could well make Oliver into a better hero. One that can see the grey areas and work with them.

Arrow - The Slabside Redemption
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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