ARROW continues its seventh season with another okay episode. Despite what the episode title promises, “Level Two” really doesn’t raise the stakes. So far, the season hasn’t adjusted to its new status quo. It’s not that the series has no interesting characters outside of Oliver Queen. The problem ARROW is running into is working around Oliver, and unfortunately, the series hasn’t figured out the best way to do it.
Juliana Harkavy holds together the good moments in “Level Two.” While there’s some interesting stuff going on with Felicity and Rene, Harkavy’s Dinah Drake gives us the best moments of the episode. While her conflict with Rene has stretched across the season, “Level Two” gives us her perspective. Her side of the fight gets clarified, but it also evolves throughout the episode. ARROW gives Dinah some development, and some bomber take-downs. It’s this kind of clear episode storyline that makes good ARROW episodes.
Unfortunately, the other storylines fall flat. Aside from some Zoe developments, none of the other characters grow in interesting ways. Oliver’s interactions with the psych offer little to engage with. The boat dream with William was interesting, but his revelation that he’s “Inmate 4587” isn’t new. He’s been saying he’s Inmate 4587 since the start of the season. Outside of Oliver, the other characters stay the same – Felicity is angry, Rene likes the new Hood, etc. Outside of Dinah, ARROW has no compelling growth within “Level Two.”
The flash-forwards don’t provide much intrigue either. Much like the present timeline, Dinah’s arrival into the bleak future works. However, it’s still unclear what’s happening in the future – and why it matters to the present. How does The Glades building a wall make the police corrupt? What is William supposed to do with a map? Does any of this have to do with Diaz? There aren’t enough new development in “Level Two” to push ARROW forward.
There are some nuggets of intrigue in ARROW, but they’re few and far between. This episode doesn’t appear to have a big impact on the season so far. Maybe future episodes will tie everything together, but why hang around for resolution we may never get? ARROW needs to fix its pacing problems, and give viewers more to be excited about on a weekly basis. It’s unfair to expect Felicity or Dinah can trade off carrying the show.