Arrow recap: Oliver, Felicity, and Lyla cross lines in pursuit of justice
If the episode’s title didn’t give it away, “Crossing Lines” is all about, well, the wayward members of Team Arrow making some risky, line-blurring decisions in pursuit of the greater good — or at least, what they perceive to be the greater good. In other words, it was just another day in the world of Arrow. Let’s dig in.
We begin in media res with a bloody Oliver holding a shiv and facing down some guards, who are similarly bloody and injured. From there, the episode jumps back and shows us how we got to this point. In the wake of getting Officer York booted, Brick decides to hold up his end of the bargain (or at least pretend to) and tells Oliver that a man named the Demon is the one he wants to talk to about Diaz and the attack. With York gone, Brick even offers to arrange a meeting between Oliver and this mysterious Demon. (Start taking bets about who the Demon is because it’s almost definitely someone we’ve met before, but I can’t guess who it might be).
That night, Brick arranges for all of the cell doors to open, which gives Oliver and his new sidekick a chance to make their way to the Demon’s cell. Spoiler alert: the Demon isn’t there, but Bronze Tiger is and he’s waiting to kill Oliver on Brick’s orders. Even though he’s still injured from, you know, stabbing himself in last week’s episode, Oliver makes quick work of Tiger and his men, and then forces Tiger to take him to Brick, who is in the mess hall doing something (If you’ve watched any show or movie before, you can guess what Brick’s up to).
Along the way to the mess hall, Bronze Tiger points out Oliver’s flawed heroism; Oliver stabbed himself to save York, but he’s clearly willing to stab Bronze Tiger because he views him as nothing more than a criminal (even though Tiger did actually save Lyla while he was part of the Suicide Squad). Since the show began, Oliver has had a black-and-white view of criminality: if you commit a crime, you’re bad and that’s it. But now behind bars, he’s being forced to reevaluate his views, which is frankly an unexpected yet welcomed development.
The trio makes it to the cafeteria, where Brick has set up a fight club because even he can’t avoid a cliché. Short story short: Oliver enters the ring and faces Derek Sampson. By “faces” I mean he wrecks Sampson, breaking (or dislocating? I don’t know how this all works) both of his arms in another example of the brutality of the show’s prison fight sequences. Oliver’s ruthlessness in the fight reminded me of how he carried himself in season 1.
From there, Oliver scales the cafeteria and confronts Brick, who is surrounded by crooked guards and reveals that the Demon is actually on Level 2. Realizing the only way to get what he wants is to visit Level 2, Oliver attacks all of the guards with a shiv and essentially gets his wish. He crosses a line once again to get what he wants. We’ll see next week whether or not it was worth it.
NEXT: Goodbye Agent Watson
Meanwhile, on the outside, Felicity continues her crusade to get Diaz and fully devotes herself to the idea that sometimes you need to go outside of the system to get justice (a.k.a. Team Arrow’s operating philosophy). This week, she essentially strongarms Agent Watson, who has been ordered to drop the Diaz case, into working with her. Diaz and the Longbow Hunters are targeting the CDC for some reason, and Felicity wants to setup a sting operation to catch them in the act of their robbery. Although it feels like we’re inching dangerously to “Felicity cries in every scene” territory of season 3, I still appreciate the desperation of Rickards’ performance, plus you can easily read it as her trying to manipulate Watson into helping, and it works.
So, Rene, Watson, Felicity, and Dinah throw on FBI jackets, lie their way into the CDC, and proceed to set a trap for Diaz, who shows up with the Longbow Hunters to steal some compound that will increase his strength. The plan is for Dinah to confront Silencer while Felicity tries to lock Diaz in the lab. Of course, this plan all goes to hell, and Watson and Rene have no choice but to confront the baddies while Felicity tries to regain control of the system and seal the doors. Surprisingly, both Rene and Watson manage to hold their own against the assassins, but it’s not enough and they’re forced to escape. Rene runs off to help Dinah with Silencer, but she gives him the slip, too.
And by “gives him the slip,” I mean that Rene, on Felicity’s orders, lies that Silencer got away so that he and Felicity could take her captive and interrogate her themselves #VigilanteJustice. On paper, however, the operation looks like a failure, which leads to Watson being relocated to a desk job in Washington D.C., a casualty in Felicity’s war to get Diaz. As was the case with Oliver, we’ll have to see whether or not Felicity’s decision to cross a line and screw over an ally will actually be worth it. As of right now, I’m very interested in seeing how far down this dark path Felicity goes because it’s definitely way more convincing than when she joined forces with Helix in season 5.
Meanwhile, Diggle, Curtis, and Lyla miss the Team Arrow reunion because of a mission in Switzerland. While Curtis hangs out in the van Chuck-style, Diggle and Lyla infiltrate a high-security bank in order to steal some data about shady financial transactions. Everything appears to go off without a hitch, but then Curtis discovers that someone copied the data they stole in the middle of the operation. The three of them were the only ones who knew about the op, and Diggle and Curtis didn’t copy the data, which means Lyla must’ve broken out her Amanda Waller impression again.
Worried that his wife was doing something shady, Diggle follows and eventually confronts Lyla about stealing the data. In a surprising twist, however, it turns out Lyla had very good reasons for doing it. She discovered a suspicious amount of money changing hands and warned her superiors about it, but they chose not to do anything. So, she decided to pursue it herself — hence the off-the-books mission — because it was for the greater good. Although Diggle hates that she lied to him about it, he understands that feeling since it’s what drove him to work with Oliver for six years, and he just asks that he let her in on this because they’re better when they work together, as they’ve proven time and time again.
Three weeks into Arrow season 7 and Oliver is still in prison; however, it feels as though the show is starting to stack the deck in favor of him and the rest of the team returning to his vigilante ways once he makes it out (which he obviously will because the show’s called Arrow). Why else spend most of this episode having Felicity and Lyla make strong cases for being willing to step outside of the lines for the greater good? I’ll be interested in seeing just how the show works its way to redeeming the concept of Team Arrow as the season continues.