ARROW continues down its Arrow-less path, but with a little more success. “Crossing Lines” works to explore what the new season’s tone is. Each of the protagonists get time in the spotlight. The core characters – Oliver, Felicity, and John – all get something of substance to do. “Crossing Lines” is the strongest episode of the season so far, because it really packs a punch.
The standout of “Crossing Lines” is definitely Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity. Felicity becoming more of an action-ready vigilante is interesting. While her moral dilemma is something we’ve seen with Oliver many times, but Felicity makes it new. Her storyline helps wrap the other Team Arrow friends into an unknown world. She even gives Agent Watson some interesting screen time (at long last). Felicity anchors an episode of ARROW that really elevates the season.
The Oliver prison plot still isn’t very strong. “Crossing Lines” definitely brings some exciting action back to ARROW. However, many of the characters in prison with Oliver weigh the episode down. The Bronze Tiger sympathy angle only works because it’s Michael Jai White saying it. Oliver’s small prison friend adds nothing to the story. Especially since we know Level 2 is the really dark area, it’s hard to know why we spent so much time with the Level 1 losers. That said, Oliver getting his hands dirtier with every day is an interesting enough arc.
The story line with the least impact was John and Lyla’s mission. It’s nice to see them back, but it’s a familiar story. Their relationship, and the secrets they keep, has been explored many times. The reason why it’s forgivable is because it’s nice that John and Lyla are present again. John Diggle hasn’t gotten his due in season seven yet, but “Crossing Lines” sets up an arc for him. Where he and Lyla will go from here makes their smaller problems okay.
“Crossing Lines” represents ARROW’s turn into real action. All three leads, as well as Diaz, are finally making big moves. After a slow introduction to season seven, ARROW has finally kicked things into gear. With any luck, the series will continue riding this momentum into a more dynamic season.