ARROW “CROSSING LINES” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
It’s hard to think of an episode as on the nose with its title as this week’s Arrow. What starts out as a dark and moody disjointed sequence hinting at Oliver assaulting a guard instead goes the most predictable route, as it does with the other storylines.
Starting things out is Oliver, still trying to find Diaz despite being imprisoned. It all leads to a fight club in the prison — of course it does — this theme du jour can currently be seen on fellow CW show Riverdale as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows suit too. Despite being stabbed not long ago, Oliver beats up Samson, beats down a few guards, and gets sent down to another level that supposedly contains the man in contact with Diaz.
Diggle, meanwhile, teams up with Lyla and Curtis for a quick mission in Switzerland, only to find out his wife is selling their information to a criminal. She says something shady is going down at ARGUS, he gets mad because she didn’t let him in on this. Finally, then Felicity works with Dinah, Rene, and Agent Watson to try and grab Diaz and the Longbow Hunters again because the FBI isn’t making any progress.
On some level, all three stories could be potentially compelling, the problem is that beyond taking predictable turns, they lean too hard on the idea that Team Arrow is pure and innocent in its do-gooding. The idea that any of them still have any real lines to cross at this point is rather laughable. They’ve all done their fair share of line crossing, and everyone in the back half of last season went at each other like a free for all brawl. Even a secondary character like Lyla has crossed lines just by being in ARGUS. This is where having a prison storyline seven years in has its drawback: short of going on a massacre, there’s nothing truly awful that our heroes can do that’s really shocking, either individually or as a team.
This episode is also just a bit of a murky one to work out politically. I think the point of Rene and Felicity lying to Watson about not capturing Silencer to torture her was to show that even good people do bad things — a reflection of Bronze Tiger telling Oliver he’s a bad person who also helped bring down a terrorist, calling back to the Suicide Squad of season two — but it comes at the tail end of the episode and isn’t really discussed. Felicity and Watson have a back and forth about how sometimes the ends justify the means and red tape is too much of a hindrance, but Watson isn’t fully defined enough and her points come off as half measured.
This isn’t to say that the show shouldn’t get political, whatever that means in this context. But it, much like subtlety, isn’t exactly Arrow’s strong point and needs some more work to really land the way the writers want it to. Or at the very least, maybe not use some predictable plots to get their point across.
Diggle and Lyla’s son JJ is adorable, but that kid seems too big to be 3 or 4 years old.
If it weren’t for the first episode and Tiger acknowledging him, I’d be convinced at this point that Stanley was some hallucination Oliver manifested.
How much of a loser is Brick for making his fight club champion a guy who everyone knows can’t feel pain and has super strength?
No flashbacks this week. I’m actually kind of disappointed by that.
Diaz has super strength now thanks to the blood of someone, which helps, I guess? It probably won’t stop him from being blasted like an Angry Bird again if Laurel or Dinah face him.