The heroes that we’ve met on Arrow — from Oliver Queen to Felicity Smoak-Queen to John Diggle to Roy Harper to Thea Queen to Laurel Lance to Quentin Lance to Dinah Drake to Rene Ramirez to Curtis Holt — they’ve all crossed a line at some point in their journey. Sometimes multiple times. They’ve all broken the law or done something that borders on questionable.
But sometimes, you have to cross the line if it’s for the greater good.
Heroes work outside of the law. They’re presented in a way that they do what law enforcement cannot. They do things that are against the law because the only code they answer to is their own moral code. Now, depending on perspective that sounds absurd that you’d call those that break the law heroes.
But again, perspective. The law only goes so far. There’s only so much that law enforcement can do. So where do you turn when a line needs to be crossed in order to save the city? Vigilantes. Heroes. It’s what they do.
There was an interesting dual perspective regarding the law and whether it’s enough in Arrow’s third episode of season 7, “Crossing Lines.” Even Samandra Watson agreed that the system is broken — which is why vigilantes go to the extremes that they do — but she also noted that the system needs to exist.
Episode titles are usually a pretty good indication of the theme of the hour, but “Crossing Lines” hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one. In prison, Oliver had to cross a line to put himself in a position to find a way to Diaz. In Star City, Felicity had to cross a line in order to put herself in a position to find a way to Diaz. In Zurich, Lyla had to cross a line in order to get evidence needed to pursue an important lead.
Crossing the line isn’t always necessary. It’s also not always necessarily the right thing to do. But when it comes down to it, sometimes you have to take that important step to deliver justice. Crossing the line is part of a hero’s resume. But if it’s putting your own moral code in jeopardy, you’d better make sure it’s worth it.
Let’s break down “Crossing Lines” and find out what awaited Oliver in prison, the lengths to which Felicity will go for her family, and Lyla and Diggle show us what a working couple looks like.
An Unlikely Team-Up
When you’re backed into a corner and find yourself forced to pursue a psycho lizard that has ruined your life much like a soggy burrito, you sometimes have to turn to an unlikely source. That was the case for Felicity, who in last week’s episode went to the woman that took her husband from her, Agent Samandra Watson, for help in catching Ricardo Diaz.
I continue to be intrigued by the same-track mind of husband and wife as both Oliver and Felicity are doing whatever it takes to find Diaz and to protect their family. It’s why Felicity goes to Watson, because she can’t get Diggle and ARGUS’s help. So why not turn to the FBI and the woman that wants Diaz almost as bad as she does?
While Watson initially takes some convincing, Felicity’s plan to lure Diaz to the CDC with the goons that do his fighting for him is enough for her to bite. Felicity counted on Watson’s intense desire to catch Diaz, and it paid off. So together with Watson, Rene, and Dinah, Felicity leads the way to the CDC with the intention to finally put an end to the lizard that should’ve died a long time ago. Scratch that, he’s no dragon. He’s a cockroach.
While things didn’t work out as they should’ve — mostly because this show is so intent on dragging this Diaz shit out for awhile — this was a chance to further show the desperation and obsession on Felicity’s part to catch Diaz. It’s been months of torture for her and her family, and the only thing that matters right now — besides her family — is catching Diaz.
There have been teases that Felicity’s is going down a dark path this season, and you can certainly see the motivation behind it. She’s lost everything. Her son is away at boarding school. Her husband is in prison. And she’s angry. Her intention is to ruin Diaz the way he ruined her life. For Felicity, that means crossing some lines. That means turning to unlikely sources for help. That means sometimes not recognizing yourself in the mirror.
But at the heart of this is the reason why she’s doing all of this: Her family. Her husband. Her son. Her friends. Hell, even the innocent people of Star City. And Felicity feels alone in this. Sure, they’ve stuck her with Rene who yearns to go back to life as a vigilante — even if it means throwing away everything Oliver did for him — but make no mistake, Felicity feels alone in this. She has to fight for it all on her own. She has to make decisions on what lines are worth crossing. She really doesn’t have anything to lose, since it’s all been taken from her. And there’s nothing more dangerous.
All For His Family
“Everything I do is for my family.”
Just in case you had any doubt why Oliver is doing what he’s doing in prison, Arrow makes sure to remind you a weekly basis that Oliver is a man driven by his love and desire to protect his family. There’s no line to big to cross. There’s no pain too big to stop him. The one thing that has driven him since he stepped foot into Slabside has been Felicity and William. So if going to Level 2 will help him find the person that can lead him to Diaz, you know damn well Oliver is going to cross that line.
Oliver should know better than to trust anyone. Especially in prison. While this lapse in judgement would be enough to end some, it’s never enough for Oliver Queen, even as he nurses a self-inflicted stab wound in the process. But if there was a chance to find someone who knows where Diaz is, you know damn well Oliver is going to go there.
When Oliver finds himself in some Prison Fight Club, he easily takes out Samson before lunging at Brick, the so-called leader of this place. Oliver wants the demon, someone who knows where Diaz is. Brick tells Oliver that the only way to the demon is by way of Level 2, a place that may be underground or may be above ground, I really have no idea. But it’s not a good place. Hell, even Brick and his boys are lounging on Level 1.
But knowing that getting to Level 2 could lead him to the demon, Oliver does what he has to in order to get even an opportunity at this person. He masterfully filets an entire staff of guards using a shiv and then surrenders himself to the guards and to Level 2. Whatever the hell awaits him, it’ll be worth it. Because it’ll bring him a step closer to taking down Diaz.
For the Greater Good
One of the things that I so desperately want from Arrow is to show us what a couple that works together actually being a couple and working together. We’ve seen it with Oliver and Felicity (and I need more.) We’ve seen some of it with Diggle and Lyla, and we got more in “Crossing Lines.”
Anytime Lyla is on my screen I feel like this show is better. Her dynamic with Diggle is refreshing and beautiful and imperfect in all of the best ways. They are Oliver and Felicity just a couple years in the future, as these actors have always said. So it’s always nice to play with these parallels.
In “Crossing Lines,” Diggle and Lyla (along with Curtis, because this show has no idea what to do with these newbs besides forcing them on established regulars) traveled with Zurich in order to extract some important information for ARGUS. The operation went smooth — too smooth — so you knew something else was afoot. And that just so happened to be Lyla withholding something from John that had to do with handing over information to a mystery someone.
When Diggle confronted Lyla about it we got to see what a couple that works together looks like. There are fundamental disagreements in the workplace, but it also translates to their personal relationship, as well. Being a team — at work or elsewhere — is about trust. And that’s what Diggle was so adamant about.
But Lyla did what she did because sometimes you have to cross a line for the greater good. She’s been working on closing a case but was told there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue. So she did what she had to do. She procured some information in exchange for the evidence she needed for the greater good. When Diggle asked why she lied to him, Lyla told him she was merely protecting him from this because he made it clear he wanted no part in this when he chose not to don the Green Arrow hood.
This made for an interesting parallel because Diggle’s reasoning behind not suiting up and Lyla’s reasoning behind going to extremes is to protect their son. They just had a different perspective on how to do that. This episode served to deliver some understanding on both sides. But perhaps more it opened the door for Diggle to return as a vigilante/hero. Diggle understands that crossing the line is sometimes necessary. He knows better than most. He’s done it for so long. Maybe seeing it from Lyla’s perspective — that this is a way to protect JJ — will give Diggle a push to return Team Arrow once it reforms.
There Continues to Be No Point Having Diaz on This Show
If this show is going to force Ricardo Diaz on us, can it at least make an effort to make him look somewhat threatening. Because all I see his this dragon/cockroach shooting up, handing the fighting off to his minions, and being completely useless unless he has a gun.
Not to mention there continues to be no excuse for why this character is still around other than The CW paid him too much and now feels the need to get every penny out of him. Listen, CW, cut your losses. This is the one thing hurting this show right now.
Here are the things that Diaz does well:
- Force others to fight his battles
- Make faces when he’s shooting up on drugs
- Shoot a gun badly
- Steal valuable screen time
- Remind us just how good Josh Segarra was as Adrian Chase
- Remind us how bad of a villain this Diaz is
Things he doesn’t do well:
- Be a good character
- Be a good villain
- Be a good anything
- All of the above
Then you had Diaz shooting up with something and punching a wall and being all, “I’m a badass” when even the dog could take his ass right now. Like I’m supposed to care about anything that’s going to happen involving this cockroach?
Just tell me how much longer we have to deal with this laughable excuse of a character/villain.
Arrow airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.