WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Arrow.
Mum was the word from The CW regarding the storyline of "The Slabside Redemption" - the seventh episode of Arrow's seventh season. The official synopsis from the network said only that Oliver Queen "makes a choice that will affect his entire life, as well as the lives of everyone he cares about." The preview pictures for the episode only showed Oliver Queen in prison, talking with Ben "Bronze Tiger" Turner - one of his many former enemies, who is also locked up inside of Slabside Penitentiary.
Given the episode title is a reference to The Shawshank Redemption, one might presume that this episode would involve Oliver Queen escaping from prison. This would seem a safe guess, although Oliver had already resisted one attempt at escape, reasoning that if he leaves prison illegally he'll have to live the life of a fugitive for the rest of his days and that is one thing he refused to put his wife and son through. It would also be unnecessary, given that the previous episode of Arrow ended with the capture of crime-boss Ricardo "The Dragon" Diaz and the FBI agreeing to a deal that would see Oliver Queen released following Diaz's capture.
Sadly, Diaz's arrest proved to be short-lived. He managed to escape custody, only to turn around and attack Slabside Penitentiary. Armed with a newfound set of superpowers, Diaz was determined to destroy the one man who had ever proven a threat to him - the former Green Arrow, Oliver Queen. Now that the dust is settled, here are six questions we have in the wake of the latest battle between Green Arrow and The Dragon.
6. Is Derek Sampson Dead?
First appearing in the Arrow season 5 episode "A Matter of Trust", Derek Sampson was a drug dealer who found his body enhanced through a stroke of luck. Repeatedly shot by the vigilante Wild Dog, Sampson fell into a vat full of his own designer drug, Stardust. Sampson was presumed dead and drowned, but he later awoke on the mortuary slab and strangled the coroner who was about to perform an autopsy on him.
Acquiring a modicum of super-strength and enhanced endurance along with a healing factor and an inability to feel pain, Sampson would go on to repeatedly menace Star City - first as a solo act and then as part of Prometheus' plot to destroy Oliver Queen. Despite his powers, Sampson was incarcerated at Slabside Penitentiary rather than at the metahuman prison facilities at Iron Heights. It was here that he formed a gang with Danny "Brick" Brickwell and Ben "Bronze Tiger" Turner.
The events of "The Slabside Redemption" saw Sampson hampered after Oliver Queen cut his femoral artery, giving Sampson about six minutes to seek treatment before he bled out. He was later set ablaze after Ricardo Diaz triggered an electrical fire in the prison cafeteria to cover his escape. While it seems unlikely Sampson's healing powers would allow him to recover from that amount of damage, Sampson's death is never actually confirmed.
5. Who Is Stanley Dover (And What Did He Do To Go To Slabside)?
Oliver Queen's one ally in prison for most of Arrow season 7 was a weaselly man named Stanley, who claimed to have been wrongly convicted of murder. Attaching himself to Oliver and offering his services as a sidekick, Stanley would become a target of Oliver's old enemies, Brick, Derek Sampson and Bronze Tiger. When Stanley was accused of having stabbed an abusive guard to death, Oliver was quick to presume Stanley's innocence and tracked down the murder weapon, which lay the blame on Bronze Tiger. It was only later that Oliver realized that Stanley had knowledge only the real killer would have had and that he had inadvertently helped Stanley to frame an innocent man for his crime.
The events of "The Slabside Redemption" confirmed Stanley's vicious streak. He drugged Oliver with a stolen hypodermic needle full of sedative in a desperate bid to beg for help in escaping from Slabside. He would later stab Brick to death as he eventually made his own way out of the prison, using a secret tunnel in the prison's morgue. It was in this scene that we finally learned Stanley's full name - Stanley Dover.
Created by Kevin Smith for his classic Green Arrow storyline Quiver, Stanley Dover was a serial killer who preyed on young children, known as The Star City Slayer. He was also a practitioner of dark magic, who was sacrificing children in a bid to trap a demon known as The Beast With No Name. Stanley befriended a newly resurrected and amnesiac Oliver Queen, intending to place his soul in the hero's body after helping Oliver to reestablish himself as Star City's protector. The plan fell apart, thankfully, and Stanley Dover found himself paying the price for his misdeeds with a one-way trip to Hell.
4. What Will Stanley Do Now That He's Escaped?
While it seems unlikely that the Arrowverse version of Stanley Dover will have a similar sorcery-fueled background, his escape from Slabside Penitentiary can't help but spell trouble for Oliver Queen. We don't know the exact circumstances of the killing that sent Stanley Dover to prison but given his aptitude various forms of murder, it seems likely he might be a serial killer of some kind. Perhaps he will try to aid his "friend" Oliver in earnest by targeting other villains in Star City? Or perhaps he'll turn his attention on targeting Green Arrow's friends and family to repay Oliver for his refusal to help Stanley escape?