The Problem of Felicity Smoak

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Sometimes one character can upset a whole story plan.

Several years ago, I decided to write a book with Davy Dempsey as the hero. The first scene was on a boat where he was doing something nefarious–I forget what–and he ran into a woman who was also doing something nefarious and they were threatened by somebody with a gun and escaped and ended up in a room–this was a long time ago, people, I do not remember the details–and banter ensued, and I knew it was going to be terrific because I had this plan: he was a conman and she had two distinctly different lives and personalities she was living, and I’d done all kinds of research on the Double and the Shadow, and can you just imagine the chemistry of two people who were that duplicitous finally making a connection? So Davy was standing in the doorway and Eve was sitting on the bed–must have been a motel room–and I kept writing with the intention that he would cross the room and kiss her. Except he wouldn’t go. I could not get him to move, no matter how much snappy banter I wrote, he wouldn’t go near her, and she was completely uninterested in him. I remember sitting back in my chair at one point and saying to the computer screen, “You know, I have a plan here,” but he was immovable. So fine, somehow they end up back at the family’s art gallery and her little sister walks in the room, and she’s not beautiful and she does not have a double personality, in fact, she’s practical, hard-working, focused, the rock at the center of her dysfunctional family, and the next thing I know, she and Davy are having bad sex on the couch in the office. All the stuff about the Shadow and the Double went out the window with that beautiful story plan, thanks to Tilda who was supposed to be a minor character.

The good news was, the new story was better than I had planned. Which is why, as they say in the military (well, as Bob used to say), a plan is only valid until it meets the unpredictable human factor; then you adapt to reality. Put another way, your plan for your story only works until you meet your characters; if they don’t fit the plan, you have to change the plan to fit your people and create a new normal for the plot. Anything else is futile.

Which brings us to Felicity Smoak. Felicity began as a minor character in the world of Arrow, the TV version of the Green Arrow comic book series. I’m not sure why I began watching Arrow, it’s not my kind of story, but once I started watching, the character of Oliver caught me, especially the way he was rendered by Stephen Amell, a guy who looks like a more-muscle-than-brain surfer but who is doing an amazing job playing a selfish playboy turned grim avenger with a savior complex who spends most of his time pretending to be a selfish playboy. It’s great super-soap-opera, plus there’s his mother, a Gertrude if there ever was one; and his little sister, a brat with a heart of gold; and his best friend/sidekick, a good guy with a score to settle; the bad guy, played by John Barrowman which says it all, and Oliver’s former girlfriend . . .

And that’s where they lost me, with Laurel aka The Black Canary, the great love of Oliver’s life, because Laurel is a crusading do-gooder with no sense of humor, a beautiful woman made of self-righteous cardboard. What Oliver saw in her I could not imagine; my guess is that the writers were hamstrung into making her the character from the Green Arrow stories which meant making her an incredibly beautiful, incredibly serious, incredibly noble future superheroine, a lesser, female doppelganger of Oliver. If I wasn’t such a ‘shipper, I’d have been happy to toss Laurel overboard with her sister and follow the rest of the characters around–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where every single character is so over-the-top screwed up–but I am a ‘shipper and Oliver is so alone and my romance-writing radar kept looking for somebody to fill the void.

Then in Episode 3, Oliver needed some computer help and went to his company’s IT department (did I mention Oliver is immensely wealthy?) and there was Felicity, pushing up her glasses and stammering and then tilting her head at him when he fed her a ridiculous lie, and for the first time in the run of the show, grim-to-the-point-of-catatonia Oliver smiled for real, not as part of his charade. (Amell has said that wasn’t planned, he just couldn’t help it.)

I’m not the only one who saw that smile. As Episode Three aired, the showrunners watching the show’s twitter feed saw it explode with “blonde IT girl” tweets, followed by a phone call from the president of Warner Brothers who said, “I love the blonde computer girl.” So Felicity’s one-time-only-appearance minor character became a recurring character who grew in importance until she became one of only two people who know Oliver’s secret identity, which made her one of only two people he can be himself with. All of which was followed by a flood of internet pressure to make Oliver-and-Felicity happen because it was already happening.
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Of course much of this is due to Emily Bett Rickards, the actress who took the Felicity role and didn’t just run with it, she jumped tall buildings in a single bound with it. Her charm and intelligence and zest infuse what could have been a trite, geeky loser character. Add to her performance the very real screen chemistry she has with Amell, and the Arrow writers were already dealing with something beyond their control. But there’s more to this than the casting and performances, good though they are. The writers have, whether they wanted to or not, created a near-perfect romantic dynamic, something they could not have done with the characters they inherited from the Green Arrow stories.

First they made the character of Felicity an engaging combination of conflicting traits: she’s unsophisticated with people and very advanced with computers, she’s intrinsically sunny but capable of embracing real pain, she’s shy and unsure of herself but determined enough to stand up to an angry Oliver and leave him flat when he crosses her moral line. She’s a complete, complex character in herself, the antithesis of Oliver’s grimly serious, amazingly attractive, all-powerful, single-minded persona. There’s something about a grim, tortured, extremely hot avenger whose sanity is iffy paired with a sunny, geeky girl in glasses who believes in fighting for good without getting all angsty about it that creates not only great, crunchy scenes but also balance. Oliver without Felicity is a humorless bastard, doing good outside the law, coming very close to crossing the line into evil. Felicity without Oliver is stuck in the IT department, wasting her amazing talents fixing executives’ online screw-ups, hemmed in by her determination to be a good girl. Oliver and Felicity together mean that Oliver smiles and Felicity saves lives, that Oliver has somebody to say, “You’re going too far” and Felicity has somebody to invite her to break into a casino and cheat at cards, which means they reach the goal of every great romance story: they’re better together.

The writers haven’t messed with that dynamic. Even when they glam Felicity up to go undercover, she’s still Felicity, and even when Oliver is grimly focused on his mission, he still makes deadpan jokes in her ear. Add to that their clear and growing platonic allegiance to each other–Felicity gets angry and quits but she comes back because she knows he needs her; Oliver puts the mission before everything else until Felicity is in danger and then he throws the plan away to get her out–and the “better together” is reinforced.

But that surface trope of “opposites attract” and its awful cousin “You complete me” wouldn’t be enough without the second key to a strong romantic relationship: they have the same core beliefs. No matter what Oliver was before he was shipwrecked, he’s a good man now with a burning desire to save people from predators. And no matter how reluctant Felicity is to work outside the law, if somebody is in trouble, she doesn’t hesitate. So their crunchy differences notwithstanding, Oliver and Felicity have the same values, the same it’s-got-to-be-done-so-let’s-do-it, matter-of-fact approach to their responsibilities to the human race. They may argue about their methods, but they don’t argue about their goals.

Which brings us to the third component, one of the strongest building blocks of any romance plot: Oliver and Felicity work together on something they care desperately about, achieving those goals. Their relationship is not built on physical attraction or the potential of a physical relationship, they respect each other’s strengths, they’ve learned to cooperate despite their differences, and by the end of the first season, they need each other because only they and Diggle, the third in their triumverate, can do the job. In fact, they’re the only ones who can understand the job in all its Byzantine, secret-society, hidden identities plot insanity. They’re not just working together, they’re risking their own and each other’s lives together for a cause they believe in, and that builds a bond.

The slow build of that working relationship has been tremendously effective. One of the most interesting things about the fan reaction to all of this is that the Oliver-Felicity ‘shippers talk about Oliver and Felicity finally becoming a couple in the third or fourth season. You’d think that the average romance fan would be rooting for at least a kiss in the second season, but I think they recognize that the fun of Felicity and Oliver in the first season was watching it happen, and that the strength of the future relationship is best built over the long haul. Arrow is not a romance novel; it’s a superhero story with a romantic subplot that leaves people cold and a friendship subplot that people are hot about. When you have readers or viewers saying about the arc of that subplot, “Not yet, I want to see this happen,” you’ve put a very strong relationships on the page or screen.

But for the Arrow writers, there’s that source problem: Oliver is destined to marry Laurel, which means that Oliver-and-Felicity are off the table, not gonna happen, thanks for playing, unless the showrunners are willing to jettison the Black Canary for the Blonde IT Girl. They have, in short, the Felicity Smoak problem: you think as a writer you have control of your universe and you do, until your characters and your readers or viewers react in ways you didn’t foresee. At that point, you’d better learn to be flexible or go down fighting a losing battle. The characters are always right.

The good news for Arrow is that the showrunners have already shown a cheerful enthusiasm for dumping some of the chaotic Green Arrow bible to make their stories better. That coupled with the equally cheerful enthusiasm they have for Felicity in interviews, and I’m starting to have faith that the people behind Arrow know what the military knows: a plan is all well and good until it meets Felicity Smoak.

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Then you go with Felicity.

131 thoughts on “The Problem of Felicity Smoak

  1. Wow, I thought because I was a ‘shipper that I saw it. And I’m not online re: tv shows much so wasn’t aware of the buzz. I wanted Laurel to work but maybe it’s because she’d played to solemn/quiet in the show that she doesn’t show Oliver at his best. Oliver doesn’t do that for Laurel. At least, not this version of Oliver. Maybe his character arc would take him there, if the writers stick with Laurel+Oliver. Yet, Felicity would work easily for me.

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  2. There was never any chemistry between Oliver and Laurel, but I really like her relationship with her dad, played by Paul Blackstone. I think there’s a good storyline there that I hope the writers will continue.

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    1. It was remarkable how little heat Oliver and Laurel generated when they finally got together.
      And Paul Blackthorne makes every scene better. Even his tendency to chew the scenery works well here since Laurel has such a low affect.

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      1. Paul Blackthorne makes everything better, period. They never should have cancelled The Dresden Files. (For so many reasons. Dammit.)

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  3. “The good news for Arrow is that the showrunners have already shown a cheerful enthusiasm for dumping some of the chaotic Green Arrow bible to make their stories better.”

    It probably helps that the source material is so, as you put it, “chaotic”. It’s hard to complain about scriptwriters making changes to the characters when they’re pulling from a medium whose writers regularly, even habitually, completely redesign characters and start them over.

    That’s actually one of the reasons I gradually quit reading comics, lo these many years ago; the character-reboots were happening a little too frequently, and too many of them weren’t plot-driven; they were Author Ex Machina, and while I can forgive that every once in a while, it still looks like extremely lazy writing. On the good side, it give newer writers a lot more leeway to drop things that aren’t working, especially when they’re pulling the characters into a new medium… even if, occasionally, that leeway includes categorically ridiculous ideas like Wolverine having originally had “bone spurs” instead of cybernetic metal claws.

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    1. Especially with the girlfriend-in-the-refrigerator problem. The Black Canary’s back story is so ridiculously convoluted (it’s her! no, it’s her daughter!) plus the whole torture mess would be horrible on TV. They’ve done a lot to undercut Oliver’s catatonic superhero personality by adding Digg and Felicity, neither of whom were in the original, and he’s not the Green Arrow yet so they’re really building his back story in a new way. I don’t think he had family in the original, either, did he? It feels as though they’re working the way I work with fairy tales: take the basic story and the things that make it powerful and build on that. Aside from the awful Black Canary back story, the real problem is that the actress was handed an awful character and proceeded to flatten her even more. She’s so beautiful and she’s so good that she’s one dimensional, even with Paul Blackthorne who pretty much makes everybody he’s with look better. So I think it was a combination of things. I’m very interested in this next season because they did what too few shows do, they ended the season’s story, no cliffhanger. Which means next season is Oliver picking up the pieces–best friend’s death, failure of his mission, mom in prison–which is so much better than a stupid cliffhanger. That alone would make me send the writers flowers; if they don’t screw up the Oliver-Felicity-Diggle team, they’ve got me for another season for sure. Plus I love the subplot with the little sister finally finding her way.

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      1. This just popped up on io9 Morning Spoilers:
        “Arrow has finally added the Black Canary, but she isn’t going to be Laurel Lance. The show has decided to bring back the “golden age” Black Canary and cast Caity Lotz as Dinah Drake. She will start as a recurring character, and eventually develop into a series regular.”
        This does not bode well for Felicity.

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        1. Hard to say. I’m guessing the goal for Arrow is for 5 seasons (since we’ve got 5 years of flashbacks to the island). Bringing in a potential new love interest in season 2 might actually be a good way to stretch out the slow, steady development of Oliver & Felicity’s relationship, while adding some official on-screen romantic sparks that are missing right now.

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          1. Well, there is that old jealousy-spurs-attachment thing. But I fear that the Green Arrow/Black Canary thing is so legend that that’s the future.
            Of course if the Black Canary turns out to be smart, funny, kick-ass, and not impressed by Oliver’s abs, all might be well.

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        2. No, no it doesn’t. But it doesn’t sound like a bad decision, offhand.

          Also, I just went and read up on Black Canary’s backtory (or backstories, because… yeah. Sheesh.) and, well, gah. If I were trying to write her into a television series based around the Green Arrow, I’d barely know where to start. And yeah, there’s more girlfriend-in-the-refrigerator stuff there than I’d realized, though I can’t say I’m surprised to find it.

          But then, well, I’d rather have pitched something like the most recent Blue Beetle, if I were a screenwriter pitching a comic book hero project.

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          1. I just read the Watchman prequel for the Silk Spectre (Amanda Conner is amazing) and I might go there. But the one I’d really, really, really like to do is Wonder Woman. Have her wake up with amnesia in the hospital and have to piece together her own back story while somebody is trying to kill her–“Wait, I’m IMMORTAL?”–that would be fun. Plus the invisible plane. “Do I have a car?” “You have an invisible plane.” “Where is it?” “Wherever you parked it last.” “I HAVE AMNESIA, YOU DICKHEAD.” My Wonder Woman would have a dirty mouth. And smaller boobs. I love the comics but I’ve seen enough balloon boobs to last me the rest of my life. Also, somebody would put her in a refrigerator and she’d beat the crap out of him.

            I may have some issues that should prevent me from ever writing Wonder Woman.

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        3. Unless they pair Dinah Drake with Laurel’s Dad, which is where I think she may have started. In which case, Felicity would stand a good chance. Although, harder to image a 50+ year old woman as a superhero – at least from a TV ratings perspective.

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          1. They’ve already brought in Dinah Drake; Alex Kingston plays her. Remember when Mom showed up sure she’d seen little sister in a photo?

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      2. I agree with it all but for the little sister. Can’t stand her. Wish she had been killed instead of Tommy.

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      3. My responses didn’t appear under the comment I replied to. Don’t know why, but sorry.

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  4. Hey, if writers can change the storyline for True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels), they can certainly change the storyline for Arrow. Good writing is good writing When you’ve been offered the bonus of an unintentioned, but much better romance, why not milk it for all it is worth?

    I’m behind on my Arrow viewing, but the first couple of episodes were good. The casting has been stellar with the exception of Laurel (absolutely no chemistry between her an Oliver, like zero). I think the casting of Stephen Amell to be the best. He has the look of a total bastard which works for his character’s mission.

    Now I need to go to my Netflix and see if it’s on instant streaming or I’m going to have to suck it up and get a season pass from iTunes.

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    1. LOL people talk as if this whatever this is a “new problem”. Its a cliche geeky character problem actually that fandoms seem to be obsessed with.

      Ever had of Chloe sullivan, Stiles Stilinksi & Sterek, yes sometimes supporting characters and non canon ships can become more unexpectedly popular, that is not to say they are actually better for your show or better than other characters, even if they are its not like you dont need other character or you should totally write to service the fans. The only upsetting thing to your story if you allow the fans to detect what goes into it. Whatever they do, if they give into the Felicity fans, they are going to be in more worse off situation than they currently are in and this show will go down. Writing fanfiction and destroying your vision of the show is never the answer. Felicity as a character has actually gone down ever since the show started to pander to fans in the second half of last season, and this can only get worse with a full season.

      Arrow is in so much crap right now because the show don’t know what it wants to be, a real superhero show to be taken seriously or a gigantic mess of fan fiction and service.

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      1. It’s the tension between the Green Arrow bible and the show Arrow; they’re not the same and never have been. So while I agree absolutely that letting readers/viewers dictate what a story should be can and often does lead to disaster, I think staying faithful to a character who has had several different story lines since 1941 is also disastrous. I don’t know of any long running comic book adaptation that hasn’t had to jettison some of the baggage that different writers in different eras piled on. Plus the Black Canary back story is a mess, it’s been rewritten so many times. Morning Spoilers on io9 says that the series is going back to the earliest Black Canary which means Laurel doesn’t get to suit up. How that plays out is going to depend on where the story goes. It’s not so much that the writers have to respond to the fans, it’s that the writers have to deal with what they have made, and they’ve made an Oliver-Felicity relationship that’s very strong, whether they did it on purpose or by responding to the actors’ work.

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        1. Well i do like some of the beautiful things written here because I am a big fan of Felicity too (even a big fan of the Oliver/Felicity relationship, which I see as a PLATONIC and good friendship), i do not see their chemistry as romantic at all but great platonic chemistry but everyone is entilted to their opinion. Im also a big fan of the other characters as well including laurel and helena whom the fandom hate extremely. But i just think its unfair that people put characters like Felicity on a pedestal and other types of female characters’ are looked down and their strengths isnt recognised, its also problematic too for felicity that fandom has idealised her so much as cant do wrong, what happens then when her flaws start to show. Like I said its really not a new problem, if it was the first time but it isnt, i have seen it over and over again which has led me to believe that fandom just love and appreciate a certain type of character more, and it doesnt necessarily mean that there is something thats wrong with the others. Trying to fix those characters to appease fandom would actually be a big mistake, what fandom is essentially saying is we dont like diversity and variety, which cant be good for the show. Felicity does not exist in a vacuum she needs other characters including Laurel to keep this show going. I agree and love a lot of Felicity’s “power”, i just wish other characters’ power would be recognised as well.

          {Which brings us to the third component, one of the strongest building blocks of any romance plot: Oliver and Felicity work together on something they care desperately about, achieving those goals}

          Yes i do totally agree with this, working together helps strengthen the relationship. But I just think there is some short sightedness in fandom, this seems to be one of their reasons to love Felicity/Oliver together, or value Felicity more and the fact she knows his secret. Except the part its not unique to them or wont always be. Its not like Oliver/Laurel have not worked together before and after today with that faux news about new Black Canary and its now been cleared it wasnt really true, looking more like Laurel will be BC and that means more working with Oliver. She isnt always going to not know Oliver’s secret and she isnt always going to not be on the team, some Felicity/Oliver fans make it like its such a big deal, newsflash we are not in season 5 or 10. its only second season soon and there is plenty of time for Laurel to know the secret and even become part team, I just think as it is now some of the points used to elevate Oliver/felicity are superficial, what happens then when one day those start to apply to Laurel, Oliver/laurel. Why cant people be patient and allow laurel to grow and become more relevant to the plot as well as her and Oliver’s relationship to grow, instead of saying after just one season they have failed.

          its funny though someone mentioned smallville because they are quite some parallels, e.g Chloe was popular as Felicity is, and Lois Lane received lots of hate and people even hated her with Clark, this was more at the beginning but things changed as the series progressed, until one season Chloe began to receive hate and Lois became less hated and gained her own fanbase. People can ship what they want, have no problem with Oliver/Felicity shipping, but relying on external forces changing or not isnt really bright imo.

          Im not against writers listening to their fans but it has its place, as much as Felicity is likely more popular, other characters like Laurel still do have their own fans too, are they not worth listening to, or why should shows only listen to one section of fandom.

          One of the big test for Felicity is yet to come this next season when she will be a regular, some of the novelty will be gone and will the writers be able to keep the same momentum in writing. She will not likely be able to escape the dreaded love interest curse that inflict so many CW characters and shows. Fandom loves to criticise and pick on female characters too at every little thing, will Felicity be able to escape that for seasons. I think this coming season will be a lot more even to compare Felicity and laurel as they were in different places this season, as well to really see how strong and awesome her character is, It not fair the way I see it that people dont consider the backstory and circumstances Laurel was in at the start of the season, while Felicity was a blank state. i just think its too soon for all this praise or what not, having been in fandom for years I do know fandom politics can change during the years. Characters that are popular may not always be unchallenged and unscrutinised, characters that are hated may not always not be loved or not have a passionated and dedicated following. People can jump ships, new ships may form, unpopular ships can even become popular. And no Im not the one to say that shows should adhere strictly or 100% to a source like with this Green arrow bible, I do love change sometimes, but I absolutely loathe change that is mainly motivated by fan pandering as i think its unfair and selfish, when other fans arent considered too. Hopw can one possibly please all fans and Im more of the old school of thought that the showrunners should be in control and this is their story.

          Note this is not just a reply to your posts/article but a general response about lot of things I see in fandom and wanted to address.

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          1. I agree that the showrunners have to be in charge.

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot–the commentary on this post has been, as usual, more thought-provoking than the post–and I think I feel about the Green Arrow comics the way I feel about my own books when somebody options them for a movie. People say, “Aren’t you afraid they’ll ruin your book?” and I say, “No, my book’s over there on the shelf. The movie will be its own thing.”

            I think one of the keys in any adaptation is that it’s like translating a story into a new language. The language of novels is not the same as the language of graphic novels is not the same as the language of episodic television which is not the same as the language of screenplays. So you have to change the source material when you adapt. The relatively short story/issue span of a graphic novel, even serialized, means that it has to focus on the main conflict, so Oliver’s huge new family in the TV series wouldn’t have fit, but the television series stretches out for a lot more time and allows a lot more subplot complexity (by which I do NOT mean that graphic novels are simplistic; I love comics), so they were always going to add things to the Green Arrow story for TV.

            I’m really fascinated by the Oliver/Felicity dynamic because I’m teaching in a program for writing the romance novel, and I’ve had to analyze how romances work (plus that nine months of doing Popcorn Dialogues when all we did was analyze how romance worked on the screen), and while my first response to the Oliver/Felicity thing was just the usual fansquee “They’re so good together,” when I took the relationship apart, it was really pretty much a perfect romance dynamic. The big problem with the Black Canary, as I see it, is that she’s Green Arrow Lite, so a lot of the crunch isn’t going to be there. I think it’s the problem any time you have an Incredibly Hot Guy in a romance with an Incredibly Hot Girl; there’s nothing there to make the romance work except Oh-my-god-you’re-hot. Hitch (another Popcorn Dialogues analysis) had the same problem: two beautiful leads we didn’t care about, and a mismatched subplot romance we were crazy about. There has to be something that makes the romance crunch, or it’s just beautiful people feeling each other up.

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  5. I got a total kick out of seeing this. I’m a huge Arrow fan as well and just love Felicity Smoak’s character. I think her romantic pairing potential with Oliver Queen is outstanding. I really hope that the writers “get it.” Oliver and Felicity, alone, are good, but when they’re together they’re “better.” I’m hoping that before the show comes to its last season they’ll have worked to give them the romance they deserve and that the viewers are already responding to and wanting.

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  6. Thank you so much for writing this, and putting to paper [so to speak] so eloquently and beautifully everything I feel about Arrow, and Felicity Smoak.

    The funniest part about this is that this serendipitous chemistry between Oliver Queen and the sidekick geek girl too smart for her own good happened once before, in the last two seasons of Smallville. That version of Ollie wasn’t as dark as Arrow [well, the show wasn’t about him], but he fell hard for Chloe Sullivan, Clark’s best friend and Girl Friday, and it all happened because the actors playing Chloe and Ollie decided to infuse some romantic subtext into one scene in one episode [9×05 – Roulette], and the writers room realized the had a goldmine in their hands. And then both media and fans embraced the relationship. The characters had their trials and tribulations, but they ended the series happy together.

    Seeing Felicity and Oliver interacting in Arrow is like deja vu for me. A very welcome deja vu, mind you — I can completely separate one Oliver from the other — and maybe it even validates my insane ‘shipping of Chloe and Oliver on Smallville. In the end, I’m just extremely happy the Arrow writers seem to love Felicity as much as I do, and I really hope they’re able to let her relationship with Oliver continue to progress organically.

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    1. I just wrote in response to another comment that paying attention to fan demands can be disastrous, but it can also be very smart. Whedon was going to kill off Spike until he was so amazing on the screen. I’m pretty sure Spike’s affair with Buffy wasn’t a long term plan, either. But I think it has to be when the showrunner and writers look at the screen and say, “Wait a minute, I can work with that,” as opposed to saying, “Okay, that’s what people want, let’s shoehorn it in even though we’re not enthusiastic about it.”

      However, now that there’s a new Black Canary heading to town, things could be different. And it’s not like Oliver has a shortage of possibilities. There’s also Shado and McKenna and the Huntress. Really for such a grim guy, Ollie gets a lot of action.

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      1. Oh, definitely in agreement that shows shouldn’t do fan service, but when a one time guest actor shines, the smart thing usually is to try and get them back. And this kind of chemistry — like James Marsters had with SMG, and EBR and Amell now have — it makes for BETTER tv, I’m always grateful when showrunners realize that and run with it, even if it weren’t “the plan”, or in case of derivative work, even if it doesn’t follow the original canon to the letter.

        As for the news on the Black Canary cast, the Arrow execs are saying the new actress is not playing BC: http://www.tvguide.com/News/Exclusive-Arrow-Boss-1068064.aspx — this make a lot more sense than them having three different women named Dinah on the same series.

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      2. A sidetrack onto Spike as I think about what you said on the elements of romance: one, there was definitely spark between the actors so there was that charisma, but it seems that they also shared core values and beliefs — even as evil Spike, his core drive was always to love and protect. Plus, he struck me as the only man/vampire in Buffy’s life who was smart enough for her — who actually loved smart, snarky language as much as she did.

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        1. I think Angel was smart, but he was so swamped with guilt and angst, and Buffy was pretty grim, too. Spike, on the other hand, had no guilt at all, so that was refreshing. Angel felt slower than Spike, more careful, which was good, but not as exciting. Spike’s biggest asset as a character was that he went all in on love. When he fell in love, he plummeted. One of my favorite episodes ever is when he has Drusilla, Harmony, and Buffy chained up underground and he just rants at them about love. Anybody else, I’d have said, “Ew,” but since he loved all of them, he wasn’t going to hurt them, so you just laughed.

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      3. You know that dog in the cartoon that gets distracted by a squirrel? Well, that’s me as soon as you say, “Spike.” Spike?!? Where?

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  7. I was only peripherally aware of this series’ existence, and now I’m going to have to go out and find it. And then find the time to watch it, somehow.

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    1. @Jenny, I think you need to do a post on TV shows to watch. Argh has directed me to some of my favorite tv shows, even got my husband addicted to them. Shows like Grimm and Longmire have made me wish (almost) that we still had cable.

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      1. You know, I don’t watch that much TV, but when I find a show, I get rabid. Have you seen Person of Interest? It’s amazing. I have high hopes for Karl Urban’s new one, Almost Human, this fall because, well, Karl Urban. If you want to be heartbroken by a cancellation, I think The Unusuals is on Hulu. Only ten episodes because the ABC execs are idiots. And then there’s Life. I’m going to be bitter that they cancelled Life forever.

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        1. I have Life on DVD; just thinking about how stupid NBC was is still painful. Person of Interest is so great – thrilled Sarah Shahi is going to be a regular next season. And more Amy Acker is always good, even if Root is insane. I love the way they’ve developed the ongoing story-lines and recurring characters, which is something CBS shows in general have not excelled at in my experience. I want it to be fall already.

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          1. What I really like is that even though Root is batshit nuts, she not stupid and she’s right most of the time. She’s going to have to cut out the torture and kidnapping, but I think she and Harold could do some damage to the gov’t heavies in the second season. God know what John and Shaw are going to do. And I want more Zoe, too.

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          2. Love Zoe, and have since the first episode she was in. The two of them undercover in the ‘burbs was one of my favorite episodes.

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        2. Oh, gawk, Life. What a great show. I, also, am bitter about that cancellation. Amidst all of the dreck, there’s some outstanding story-telling going on on TV.

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        3. OMG, Person of Interest just suddenly got REALLY GOOD this season. Season 1 was “meh”, but all of a sudden things started to gel for the two main guys. Then the writers ratcheted things up and introduced Samantha Shaw. So good. Cannot wait for the new season to start.

          Yeah, I also still bitter about Life. Loved from the pilot to the glorious last episode. Rot in hell NBC!

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          1. Honestly, I thought it was excellent from the beginning. Then it got even better. There’s not a weak link in that cast, they are all excellent. Plus the bad guys are such bastards. That’s always good.

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      2. I’ll second that. I like Longmire, too, but beyond that I mostly watch British mystery shows – New Tricks, Inspector Lewis, Endeavour and (my favorites) Midsomer Murders. My husband was into comics as a kid, and knows all the backstories. This could make it a problem for me watching this series, because he’ll point out the places that stray from the original. We’ve been married a long time, but I will never understand how he can totally get into comic book heroes, but can’t understand fictional vampires. (He says: “How can they go out in daylight? Everyone knows vampires can’t go out in daylight.” I say: “This author’s vampires can go out in daylight. Deal with it.” He says: “The author can’t just change the facts.” Me: “So it’s a FACT that vampires can go out in daylight?” (It goes downhill from there.)

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  8. This is everything I’ve been thinking but wouldn’t know how to write! Have the Arrow writers seen this because it’s brilliant & it is what the majority of the fans are thinking. I was starting to lose interest in watching Arrow until Felicity caught my attention again and now I’m hooked. I tweeted to the arrow writers that they are so lucky to have had this romance drop in their laps. The chemistry is incredible! I so enjoyed reading this blog post… You made my day:)

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  9. I stumbled on the Arrow TV show by accident. What I saw, I liked. Then with a little digging I found out that what I saw and liked was not what the show was. Color me confused, how can it be that I found Oliver & Thea to have such incredible chemistry that I thought They were the couple? How is it that Laurel & Oliver are suppose to be destined when she clearly is better with Tommy?
    I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing Felicity in this mid season episode and when I in ally did…. Magical! She is such a bright light.
    I happened across the interview on Larry King Live and the look on the mans face when he was told “Olicity” were not a couple and Felicity was not a love interest … Priceless

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  10. Before I typed that reply above I was exhausted, heading into true fatigue. I apologise sincerely for “to” instead of “too” and a shitload of run-on in that response. now that I’ve had a two-hour nap, shower and dinner I’m thinking clearly. Going to sleep early and get 8 hours sleep so that I can be less incoherent tomorrow. 😀

    As a peace offering 😉 I leave you with “George RR Martin is not our bitch” acknowledgement by Paul and Storm. With a little help from a friend and well… you’ll see
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?client=mv-google&gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=xwUpVKsq0Lo

    Backstory if you need it: http://www.journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html?m=1

    And: it’s finally Ironic. Alanis’s song fixed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en-GB&client=mv-google&gl=GB&v=32LCwZFoKio&fulldescription=1

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  11. I absolutely love the show Arrow!! And I absolutely love Oliver and Felicity and I do have to say that Felicity is my favorite character of the show.

    I noticed in one of the comments that they were going to change the fact that Laurel was no longer going to be Black Canary but a new character and you said “that does not bode well for Felicity”. However, I disagree. I guess since the writers were so willing to drop the idea of Laurel being Black Canary and making it a completely different person gives me much hope. Because if the new person comes in and the chemistry is just as stale…maybe there will still be hope for Oliver and Felicity!! At least my inner fan-girl hopes so!!!

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  12. I think the news this morning that Laurel will not become Black Canary doesn’t really change anything. It may not mean they’re as willing to diverge from canon as you hoped, but it certainly at least addresses the chemistry problem with Laurel.

    However, I think in the long run, they can throw as many love interests at Oliver as they want (which they apparently are doing considering Summer Glau’s character is also allegedly a potential love interest) and it likely won’t matter. First, because of the excellent reasons you listed for why Felicity is a great romantic foil for Oliver and second, because unless these actresses have blistering hot chemistry with Amell, the problem remains. Even so I don’t know how any new character is going to be able to compete with the relationship and history Oliver and Felicity will have built up. Even if this new person knows his secret, they are going to have to challenge him in the same way she does or it’s not quite going to be there.

    I honestly think their best option would be to find Felicity a non-Oliver love interest if they are going to have any hope of changing people’s minds.

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    1. I like that idea just because it could be a wake-up call for Oliver (jealousy really does make people fall in love). One of the things that I like about that scene in the elevator when the Smarmy Guy gets on and flirts with Felicity is that Oliver waits until he after he’s hitting on her to knock his papers into the hallway. Completely deadpan, of course, and probably just part of his plan to get to the 24th floor alone, but I still see some jealousy there. Because I am a ‘shipper.

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      1. I laugh every time I watch that bit of the scene. He sighs when the guy gets on, sure, but it’s when the guy calls Felicity “Sweetie” in that sleazy tone that Ollie drops his gaze and makes that annoyed tsk sound Plus, the guy just said he was going to floor 13, right? Whether it’s semi-platonic, subtext-ridden protectiveness or outright jealousy, I can’t say, but it’s glorious either way.

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      2. That scene is hilarious. Made especially so by Amell’s facial expression. Oliver was having none of that swarmy flirting. He could have let the guy go up with them and there wouldn’t have been a problem. Instead, he got rid of the problem, so he didn’t have to witness this guy hitting on Felicity for 13 floors. Too funny.

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  13. I loved the way Davy’s story actually turned out 🙂 Tilda is one of my favorite characters ever, and that is one of my two favorite Crusie books (the other being Welcome to Temptation, which also had Davy..)

    I tried watching Arrow and gave up after the first couple because it was so unrelentingly grim and violent. Sounds like I missed the good stuff.

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    1. Tilda is DEFINITELY one of my favourite of your characters (her and Min). I’m so glad ‘Faking It’ turned out the way it did!

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    2. I like it. I think it made a difference that I started late and caught up on Hulu. I think I probably watched three or four episodes in a row, and Felicity is in Episode Three. There was a lot to like even without her. John Barrowman as the Big Bad, playing it absolutely straight? I’d tune in just for that. And Paul Blackthorne is always good, even if he is the bastard who shot Mozzie. And Amell is a surprisingly good actor, which is a good thing because his character is grim as all hell. I think they’re all strong except for Katie Cassidy and she just drew the short stick with that awful character.

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    3. Yeah, I was so bored with the Arrow pilot that I wasn’t willing to try watching it again, even when I had heard that Barrowman was going to be on it. Sounds like I need to try it again whenever it’s out on Netflix or something.

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  14. Also, not everyone reads comics. I don’t know anything about the Green Arrow except what little I saw on Smallville. Never heard of him before that.

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  15. Thank you so much for this article because this is basically everything us “shippers” and Felicity fans have been thinking/discussing since her first appearance and you managed to put it in words beautifully and coherently. Usually we just run around the room screaming how perfect they are LOL so thank for actually breaking it down the way we all think in our heads. This is definitely a post I’ll be linking everyone to.

    I agree that writers and showrunners should never let fans dictate how a show should run, but they absolutely cannot ignore the fans’ demands and wishes. It’s undeniable that Felicity is a fan favorite and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. They can’t push her to the backlines, they can’t give her short and sporadic scenes. She did steal the show and whoever dislikes her will just have to deal with it because that’s where the buzz is. I have seen SO MANY comments about how the trio is their favorite part of the show, so Olicity and the trio are spects of Green Arrow that should definitely be explored.

    There’s nothing wrong with deviating from comic canon so they can tell their own storytelling with this show, specially because the comic book format and plots are specific to people who enjoy comic books. And the truth is that Laurel Lance simply didn’t work, that’s why so many people prefer Felicity, and frankly, the writers have to work around that. That’s how tv works.

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  16. Thanks for the commentary! I too LOVE Felicity!! Favorite character on Arrow. I’m sad they killed Tommy off. Didn’t see that coming.

    As you know the new person isn’t going to be Black Canary – that’s still Laurel.

    Kind of re-energized to have season 2 start. I know filming has commenced.

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    1. I’m looking forward to the new season because it really will be new. They seem to be working in Whedon-Buffy mode where every season is a complete arc that makes the lead reinvent himself (or herself) the next season. It’s really a show that got better with every episode in Season One, so I have very high hopes.

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      1. Oh that’s also VERY good point. See how the season started out – equals their originals views and ideas, and how it changed as the story moved along and fans gave their opinions, letting them know what was working and what wasn’t. That’s why the season go a LOT better as it progressed.

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  17. The characters are always right. This is a fact worth remembering. And repeating. Can I quote you?

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  18. I totally agree that writers should take their cues from the characters and the way they evolve.

    I haven’t gotten to Arrow yet but it’s kind of disappointing if they’re portraying BC as humorless or dour.

    I am a massive fan of Gail Simone’s work on the comic book series Birds of Prey so as far as I’m concerned Black Canary is destined to fight crime alongside wheelchair-bound computer genius Babs Gordon, have an uneasy alliance with Huntress and exchange an endless amount of witty dialog with everyone and form long lasting tight friendships with an amazing group of women.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birds_of_Prey_%28comics

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    1. I must try that again. Was put off by balloon boobs. but I’ve heard great things about Simone. I love what Connor did with the Silk Spectre.

      Oliver is a really interesting character because he’s a very angry man who represses his anger during the day and pretends to be a dumb playboy and then at night he lets the anger out and beats up bad guys. I think one of the things Amell brings to the role is that he does have a sense of humor and knows how to underplay. He’s never boring.

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  19. This is a show that benefits from marathon viewing. Started after the finale had aired and watched it all in about a week and a half. Loved Felicity immediately, and was really rooting for Tommy and Laurel (who, like Felicity and Oliver, were better together). I’m half hoping they put Oliver and Laurel together, see how much it doesn’t work, then break them up and move on. Really looking forward to the next season and seeing the fall-out from the finale; I was both surprised and impressed there wasn’t a cliffhanger.

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  20. Yay! I finally get a chance to sit down and respond to this blog properly (I replied earlier as I was running out this door this morning). And now that the whole “black canary” rumor dust has settled, I can talk much more clearly.

    My disclaimer is I have no clue about the comic book canon of Green Arrow and, really, have no interest in knowing it or feeling like the TV show has to adhere to every single “fact” that happened there. There’s a huge difference in translation between what works in a book vs. the screen (big or small), so I’m not married to anything in terms of what has to/has to not happen. All I know about these characters is what the TV show is telling.

    I loved Arrow when it started. Oliver Queen was that fabulous combination of wounded warrior and billionaire, tortured and trying to make amends, do right, and (eventually) become a hero. He had to keep that facade of smarmy playboy in place while secretly working in shadows to be the bigger, better man. I loved that conflict. I loved the whole twisted family dynamic. I loved the stunts and the action and the eye candy wasn’t bad either. Grooooowl! Stephen Amell is hot. I’ve got friends who tune in & feel ripped off if they don’t get him shirtless & exercising at least once an ep. I loved the conflicts for Oliver. I loved the themes of family and trust and loyalty and honor. I even liked him butting heads with the cop (Dresden Files!).

    The one huge gaping hole in the entire show was the girlfriend angle. Yes, I know, this is his comic-book-soul-mate. Yes, I know comic book canon says etc etc etc BUT as a viewer? I care not. I only care that – whenever I see Oliver with this girlfriend – I want to either:

    A) fall asleep (no chemistry, too much harping, shrewish, tedious, and dull & constantly changing “who” she is in what feels like attempts to make us like her which don’t work )

    or

    B) punch Oliver in the face because he’s doing such non-hero-worthy things like abandoning his partner (Diggle) going into battle because Oliver needs to “help” the girlfriend? His teammate was going to face an internationally famous assassin and Oliver couldn’t even text him to say, “Dude, can’t make it. Duck bullets on your own or reschedule trap. Hs&Ks – Ollie”????? The only reason the partner survived was because the hitman has standards and won’t kill anybody he doesn’t get paid to kill.

    Then there was the whole “man up, Tommy” conversation Oliver delivered right before – like an hour later – Oliver’s hot footing it to said mutual girlfriend’s house to have sex with her. And don’t even get me started on the fact that his ex girlfriend stayed behind to collect papers in the seasonal finale resulting in a totally needless death all because she was just too stupid to live. See? And we’re supposed to LIKE her?! Ugh.

    No matter what the writers seem to do, Oliver gets around this girl and she makes him stupid and unlike-able. I swear, these are the only moments in an otherwise flawless series where I actually, actively, *dislike* the hero. I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t like feeling that way. So I resigned myself to just accepting that Arrow was one of those shows where I’d like everything about it BUT the romance (which is a horror for me because I love a good romance). But I sighed and accepted the fate. Until…

    Felicity Smoak. LOVED her! When she showed up in episode 3, I laughed. I loved that Oliver got to smile and relax and be “real” for a minute. I loved that Felicity had brains and sass and that head-cock when he handed her a line of bull was great! It showed Felicity wasn’t going to be snowed by this guy and wasn’t afraid to say something about it.

    It wasn’t until the episode where Felicity called Oliver to the diner and give him her copy of the secret book and they had that whole “Can I trust you?” conversation that I saw that POW! SPARK! Pretty shiny awesome chemistry that said: These two? These two can be something *awesome!*

    Can I Trust You Scene (skip to the 1:20 mark) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7TChkzYZJk

    They’re both great characters on their own but when they get together? They hum. There’s a “likeness” about them – those core qualities mentioned in the blog post – that pulls them together like a magnet. Yes, they’re 2 totally different people with two totally different backgrounds and experiences, but they are so alike when it comes to loyalty and honor and trust and friendship…who doesn’t want that in a potential mate?! You sense a deep loneliness in both Oliver and Felicity and you know that they’ll find the balm to that in each other.

    Felicity’s whole reason for joining Oliver’s team was to find his missing step-father (her boss). “I want to find Walter,” she told Oliver. “He was nice to me.” I instantly fell in love with her (and am dying to find out her backstory). Plus those scenes when she would meet people and say things like “I’m nobody” or Oliver would step up to her and say, “This is Felicity. She’s my friend.” You just warmed to them. You want Oliver and Felicity to be together because you know that with each other they’ll find someone worthy of them, their personal code, all that trust and honor and respect. You don’t want them to drift off to other, less deserving (less like-able, less interesting, less complex) people “just because canon dictates it.” We don’t feel with Logic. We feel with our hearts. With our emotions. And Oliver and Felicity touch that. You can’t help but love what’s slowly developing between them.

    I know Oliver would never hurt, betray, or turn on Felicity and she would never hurt, betray or turn on him. Oliver’s over romantic option? His ex can’t decide from one episode to the next if he’s a monster, a savior, a cold-blooded killer or the city’s hero. Felicity has – from day one – looked at who Oliver is today and seen the hero he’s becoming. Like she told the cop at the end of the season, “He’s willing to risk an awful lot for the people of this city. That kind of makes him a hero, doesn’t it?” She knows. And whatever screw ups Oliver might have along the way, Felicity stands by him. She’ll call him on the garbage (like the assassin/Diggle thing) but she doesn’t abandon him. They NEED each other and that’s creating a tighter bond between them than what’s developing between Oliver and his ex and that’s the problem I think Arrow’s going to have on the story front: We’ve meet a lot of women in Oliver’s life and the only one who really suits him, challenges him, and makes a great partner is Felicity. You *root* for them to be together. You care. And that’s a lot more than I can say about any of his other relationships. I prefer caring over apathy.

    I see a lot of people kicking around this notion that too many shows do the Geek/Hottie thing. I think that really is shortsighted and only looks at 1 aspect of their characters, which isn’t fair at all. Felicity (and Oliver, too, of course) is more than just her smarts. She’s doing things with the team beyond just sitting at a keyboard and hacking while the men go out into battle. She’s been in the field. She’s been an active team member. She has skills beyond computers and hacking. Does she punch people out or fire a bow? No. But that’s what creates balance in a couple, too. Where one might be physically strong, the other brings more brains. Where one has knowledge of weapons and poisons, the other brings knowledge of history, gems, card counting, etc. They are fully functional people on their own, but bring them together and they become even better.

    Plus, there are only just so many archetypes in the fiction universe and the whole Warrior/Librarian model is a hot preference for a reason, like Romancing the Stone’s Jack and Joan or The Mummy’s Rick and Evie. They bring out things in each other, teach each other things, and tap into the hidden desires and talents that other people didn’t appreciate. Rick loved Evie’s wild spirit and she loved his adventurous ways, but she loved him for how well he understood people the way she understood books. Together they were an unstoppable duo. Oliver an Felicity bring exactly that expansiveness to their pairing.

    I love that “opposites attract” structure because you find out their really not opposites, at least in the really important ways. In fact, they’re like two pieces of the same puzzle or a lock and key that fit together and open only for each other. I don’t like “sameness” (2 characters that are so alike they’re essentially just the male/female version of the same person) because it gets stale and boring soooo fast. It’s over in interest and conflict before it even begins, like (ahem), Oliver and his ex. I think one of the reason some of their fans are pushing so hard to get to this Black Canary thing nownownownow is because they, too, are bored and think jumping the gun to take this character to that point will somehow make it better. It won’t.

    I’m one of those viewers who is being ridiculously patient with the idea of Oliver and Felicity getting a romance because I do enjoy them working together as a team and I’m hoping that Arrow will stick around for multiple seasons. I do fear that pushing their romance to happen too quickly results in having something stupid break them up and force Felicity away (or out). So I’m okay with a slow building closeness over multiple seasons. Would I turn down a kiss in Season 2 that surprises them both with feelings? Heck no! I’d be all for that! But I like that slow, romantic build that just leaves you dying to see more, too. And banter. Did I mention banter? Oliver and Felicity give GREAT banter (and eye sex)!

    Now that the dust has settled on the rumors and we all have a better grasp of what the writers are aiming for with this whole “black canary” story, the selfish part of me is relieved because honestly? I know Oliver and his ex are only going to get more boring, which just means Oliver and Felicity will get that much hotter. LOL. The other part of me sighed in disappointment at the rumor getting straightened out because part of me wistfully hoped the writers would “Do Over” and try to fix the glaringly obvious Ooooops they made with Oliver and his ex’s storyline.

    Then my evil kicks in and I’m back to being selfishly happy and thinking: Oliver and Felicity! here we come!!!!!!

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    1. I agree with everything here. I really hadn’t thought about Laurel that much, but you’re right. Laurel makes him worse and Felicity makes him better.

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          1. Whew. Thanks! My friends and I all love the show and Oliver/Felicity, so we tend to analyze the whys a lot over lunch & when we “watch” together via chat each week. LOL. I like to know why couples work and don’t work for me, so this particular subject is close to my heart.

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    2. Great post! I must agree completely with Laurel (and kid sister) behaving in Too Stupid To Live ways. Oliver asked Laurel to promise him not to go into the Glades that night. She does. Her father who is looking at the device calls her to tell her to get out now & I love you with a minute left on the timer. Does she go? No. She stays until the 3rd guy who loves her comes in and rescues her from under collapsed building material & ends up dead because she was a stubborn idiot. Likewise, little sis upon hearing at her mom’s news conference that this device will destroy the Glades, doesn’t call her ex-boyfriend to warn him, she drives into the chaos. TSTL – both of them.

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      1. I’m more forgiving of it in Thea because she’s young enough to grow out of it. With Laurel there’s just no excuse.

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        1. I have no problem with Thea. She’s seventeen at the beginning of the show, she’s been spoiled rotten, she lost her father and her brother when she was twelve and her mother withdrew from grief, then her brother came back and is withdrawn, too, plus there’s something making her mother even more withdrawn than usual, she has unlimited funds and no supervision, and then her stepfather disappears, too. Under the circumstances, I think she does fairly well, and when she does screw up, after she throws her fit because she thinks her mother is cheating again, she apologizes, goes to work, hunts down her purse-snatcher, and starts to grow up. I particularly like the way she doesn’t bat an eye about Roy being on the opposite end of the social structure, and how determined she is to help him.
          As for running into the Edge when it’s about to blow up, I’d say it was an eighteen-year-old-thing to do, except everybody else in the cast ended up there, too. So I’d blame the writers for that one. If you’re going to blow up a city, put your characters in earthquake zone.

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          1. Generally I like Thea, and in the last half of the season she came really far. There were just a few episodes in the first half where she came off as bratty and reckless, but yeah, with all the things she had to deal with, not surprising. And also, teenager. Oliver grew up, and I always expected him to make sure she did too. I love his scenes with her; Thea makes him better, too.

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    3. Great post! Not long at all because you brought up things I hadn’t even considered. The parallels the couples of Jack/Joan & Evie/Rick are dead on. Didn’t see it, but you’re absolutely right. That’s exactly why they work.

      I also am totally on board with disliking Oliver whenever he’s in Laurel’s orbit. It was a slap in the face to see the Team Arrow dynamic break down because Oliver chose Laurel without a second thought to Diggs. It went against everything the writers had established to that point and made me like Oliver less. I don’t want to dislike Oliver. I love Oliver. But there was no getting around the fact that Oliver was a bad friend to both Digg & Tommy near the end and it all centered around Laurel.

      The exact opposite happens with Felicity. She is good for him. Not only because she brings light to his darkness, but she also brings reason and thought to his mission. She makes him take stock of everything instead of narrowly focusing on what these people are suspected of doing. She makes him think. She makes him a hero and not a vigilante.

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  21. There is an interesting parallell between “Olicity” and “Sterek”. Of course, the “Teen Wolf” showrunners chose the opposite route from the one you suggested and defied fan expectations:

    http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/jeff-davis-teen-wolf-sterek-canon/

    One problem that the “Arrow” producers will have to consider if they are willing to jettison the Black Canary for the Blonde IT Girl are those viewers/fans who ship Laurel and Oliver. Contrary to common opinion there are quite a few of them out there, although they are probably not as numerous as the “Olicity” shippers…and for natural reasons they may not reply to this blog entry! The showrunners have on various occasions commited themselves to the Black Canary/Green Arrow pairing, and those who have invested in the Laurel/Oliver relationship are probably going to feel rather cheated if the writers decide to change their main romance arc. They might even become so angry that they stop watching the show. Of course, if “Olicity” really is as immensively popular as it is made out to be, it won’t matter that much, since the loss will be marginal.

    Established comic book canon is also a bit of a problem when you’re discussing a series that is based on an established source material. Even if the showrunners are willing to consider an Oliver/Felicity pairing/endgame, DC comics might not allow it, because they are commited to decades of “Green Arrow” comic book history. Finally, there is the question of how important the online “shipper” community is in relation to the overall worldwide viewership. I would say that this is the most important question since the bottom line for the networks are the ratings.

    Of course, CW has a history of catering to the online fandom, which is evident in the development of the storylines in “Gossip Girl” and “Vampire Diaries”. This means that anything might happen, especially if the writers think that the show will benefit if they make Oliver and Felicity the show’s main romantic couple. Of course, if the process of getting the two of them together is going to take four seasons (provided that the show even lasts that long!), they have to decide what to do with Laurel in the meantime. If Oliver, as Stephen stated in a recent interview “always will pursue Laurel, because she is the love of his life”, it will be quite difficult to fit the evolving Felicity/Oliver romance into the scheme of Oliver pursuing and eventually getting together with Laurel! Of course, Stephen is only saying what he’s been told to say, which means that he will say something else if the showrunners do decide to drop the Laurel/Oliver romance and implement a long-term plan to make Oliver/Felicity the endgame couple.

    IF they decide to make Felicity and Oliver endgame, I think the writers have to make up their mind what to do with the Laurel/Black Canary, since they just can’t kill her off. For example, should she remain single or should they hook her up with another man? Pairing her up with another man would require even more extensive changes in the comic book canon, so the best decision would probably be to let her stay single.

    All the above show IMHO that there are many more difficulties when it comes to changing the main story arc when you are writing for a comic book-based TV show than when you are writing a novel. It’s a lot easier for a novelist to change his story along the way, because he/she is the only one involved in the creative process. A TV show is a huge machinery, which (among other things!) involves actors who have been cast to play a certain role, as well as a team of writers/producers/net work suits who all have their opinions about the development of the story. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what will happen in season two!

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  22. This was an excellent deconstruction of some of the issues with Arrow at present and that surprise/quirky chemistry is always an interesting thing. When you take two characters who you really don’t plan on getting together and suddenly they have this weird chemistry that you never intended but can’t ignore, that’s always fun.

    I do, however, take issue with your description of Black Canary in the comics:

    “What Oliver saw in her I could not imagine; my guess is that the writers were hamstrung into making her the character from the Green Arrow stories which meant making her an incredibly beautiful, incredibly serious, incredibly noble future superheroine, a lesser, female doppelganger of Oliver.”

    Have you read any comics featuring Dinah at all? This is not Dinah. Especially if you’re reading the Birds of Prey era Dinah and even the post-reboot. She’s got a sense of humor, she loves dirty jokes, has a heart of gold and is the one who gives people second and third and fourth chances. (she’s not self-righteous at all) And she’s not a lesser, doppelganger of Oliver in the slightest. She can kick Oliver’s ass and he has admitted on many versions that she is ‘better’ than he is when it comes to being a superhero. She also does not suffer from ‘women in refrigerator’ syndrome unlike what was mentioned up above. She survived her torture and became a better hero for surviving. I don’t particularly love the fact that she was tortured and depowered, but she spent quite a long time proving that she didn’t need her sonic cry and could get by on her martial arts prowess and smarts alone.

    The TV version of Laurel has very little in common with the comics version of Dinah that I know and love and this makes me sad. Comics Dinah is FUN. Unfortunately, Laurel is not and I concede your point on that. The writers tried too hard to push the melodrama by having Oliver sleep with her sister as part of the backstory, which is something that I think most women would have a hard time forgiving and it just put the narrative in a very uncomfortable place for those two characters and the writers have been trying (and failing) to write their way out of that ever since.

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    1. Good catch. Nope, my brief acquaintance with Dinah was in one Birds of Prey which I assumed had nothing to do with the classic Dinah. So I was wrong about her; thanks for pointing that out.

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      1. Dinah’s history is quite often convoluted, so that’s understandable. But she is definitely a well-rounded character who stands on her own. In fact, she’s had several love interests of her own, and has also had a lot of interesting stories without love interests. I think that the character of Laurel is suffering from the showrunners trying too hard to make her stand for something that Oliver wants but can’t have and not trying hard enough to develop her as a character in her own right. As a huge fan of comics Dinah, I’m hoping this changes with season two for sure. On the other hand, Felicity was a character that was brought in for a planned cameo and an easter egg of sorts since Felicity Smoak is a small character in the greater DC universe. So because there wasn’t much planned, I think they allowed her to develop on her own once they saw just how great Emily was (and she really, really is. Even if I don’t ship Felicity/Oliver, I adore Felicity to bits and pieces and can see WHY people root for them.)

        I would love to point out that it’s not unheard of for DC to allow breaks from comics canon and in fact, the New 52 reboot shook up everything, including retconning Dinah and Oliver’s romance to the point that they don’t even know each other and Dinah is currently married to someone else. Before the reboot, the two had divorced and gone their separate ways into separate titles. And of course, Smallville had a Black Canary on the show but the DC bigwigs allowed the Smallville writers to pair Oliver with Chloe Sullivan, another smart, sunny, tech geek, cute blonde. So I think at this point, all things are possible!

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        1. I’ve been rewatching the show, and I think the problem really isn’t that Felicity is so wonderful, although she is, it’s that Laurel isn’t. I don’t know if it’s the character or the actress (although I liked her as a demon on Supernatural), but my wanders whenever she’s on screen and she has no chemistry at all with Oliver, which I think is a bad thing. I think a lot of it is that the only women on the show that make him smile are his sister and Felicity; nobody else transforms him, and he doesn’t transform anybody else. You know when two friends fall in love and you can see it because they transform when they’re together, just in little ways? I get hints of that with Felicity but never with the others. Oliver just stays Oliver, keeping his secrets. Well, there was the Huntress, but that went south fast.

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    2. What Kelly said about BC could totally apply to Felicity. Wouldn’t it be insane if they really threw canon on its ear and made Felicity the Black Canary.

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  23. Just a small addition to my post. It’s a fun take on “non-canon” ships:

    http://ihogeek.com/2013/03/30/sterekfeels/

    Of course, the blog deals mostly with “slash” ships, which for natural reasons almost never become canon. From this perspective “Olicity” is more likely to happen in the “Arrow” universe.
    If you find this inappropriate/irrelevant, I presume that you will refrain from posting it!

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    1. The only inappropriate things are personal attacks or cruelty to children or animals. After that, we’re pretty open-minded, although NSFW is frowned on just because we don’t want to become a banned site. I’m expecting slash ships to become a lot more popular given how fast everything is changing. Until then, we have Captain Jack.

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  24. Got a laugh today when I saw links to this fabulous analysis of Oliver/Felicity on Arrow floating around on various Arrow Olicity blogs & on Twitter as more people keep discovering it. Such a great write up and so true and now it’s almost Season 2 time. I’m excited about how their relationship will grow, deepen and evolve as hinted at by the execs of the show. Thanks again, Jenny!

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      1. The poster for season 2 is amazing. I want one! LOL! The new commercials for the season look really good too. I’m a big fan of action (and romance) so I’m really excited about what’s to come and I won’t lie. Oliver and Felicity swinging through that window and dodging an explosion got me super psyched about the show.

        One thing I wanted to chime in about was this idea of “fan pandering” and canon changing. Popularity of characters on tv shows has changed the direction of several shows and to the better. Justified on FX comes immediately to mind. Boyd (played by the always talented and amazing Walter Groggins) was supposed to die after the first episode. As fans of that show know it was the huge positive response to that character that made the writers rethink that and now – what? 5 seasons later? – Boyd is a integral part of the show. I don’t think viewers can imagine it without him. I know I can’t. Is that “pandering” or is that recognizing opportunity, grabbing hold, and making the most of it?

        I can’t turn on the news or read a paper without hearing about how traditional TV is dying and how shows are in a battle for survival and ratings. If viewers respond to something & are organically excited about a character, why wouldn’t the show, which is a business at its heart, take advantage of that?

        As for the debate about canon and it never being broken… I’ll point to one of the oldest canons around – Sherlock Holmes – for that one. CBS now has Elementary and in it they have shattered canon completely. It’s modern day. It’s not London, but NYC. Holmes is a recovering heroin addict. Watson? A woman, not a man. She’s also not a doctor anymore. She’s a sober companion. Mrs. Hudson is a transgender friend, not an elderly landlady. That’s before we even touch on what they’ve done to completely rewrite Moriarty and Irene Adler. Everything’s been reimagined and reinvented on that show and all that canon destruction nabbed CBS almost 9 million viewers for the finale. Not “huge” numbers but significantly more than CW’s Arrow gets each week.

        Then there’s Iron Man rewriting canon with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. The success of the movies totally rewrote that relationship (not saying they weren’t on again off again lovers in the comics prior to this but Pepper Potts married someone else).

        Change can be good. It’s not easy, especially when a show is based on a well-known source with fans of its own, but reinvention of “classics” is pretty common. Nothing stays the same. Heck, look at what’s coming for Superman in October. They’re reinventing that for a line of comic books all about Superman’s romance with Wonder Woman with nary a Lois Lane in sight. And why? Because DC Comics wants to attract female readers with more romantic storylines.

        Things change. There should be good reason for those changes, but they shouldn’t be shunned simply because “that’s the way it’s always been.” Who knows what could happen if Arrow decides to give Oliver and Felicity a shot? Sure it could wind up being nothing… but it could also do great things and open a whole new door to future Green Arrow canon. We won’t know til they try.

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        1. Eh…I really wouldn’t pick Elementary as example. This show might have gone too far with the reimagining, by totally rewriting the past of every single canon character to a point, that a lot of Sherlock Holmes fans don’t really consider it an adaptation. There is a line somewhere when the rewrite stop being a rewrite and starts to be something so different that you wouldn’t even recognize the characters if they were named differently. And it is always misleading to compare the numbers of different networks, to see how well a show really does, you should compare it to the network average (CBS always has higher ratings than CW), and perhaps look up how the show does compared to the last show which had its airing spot. Then there are also aspects like weekday and if it has a good lead in show to consider. It is much more than just looking at the numbers.

          I also doubt that “more romantic storylines” really work to attract female readers, especially considering that the male idea of this usually ends up with the female being written like Laurel, as a love interest instead of a character.

          Otherwise, I agree with you. I don’t believe though that giving Oliver another love interest would cross the line. This is not Romeo and Juliet, Comic book heroes have alternating love interests all the time (I guess Spiderman is the big exception, and even there the writers decided to end his long standing romance with Mary-Jane). Plus, especially Superhero stories tend to be more about having a concept and playing with it. More or less every successful series goes thought a reboot sooner or later. As long as Arrow keeps the concept, it should be fine.

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          1. I love what they did with the first new episode. It feels like a reboot with all the characters older and wiser with more sophisticated goals. There are so few shows that are willing to up their game in the second season (Person of Interest does it beautifully), so even though all the windows in the Queen building are made of single pane glass and the cords on the blinds are extremely long and well anchored, I pretty much was with them for everything but the clothes they put Laurel and Felicity in, not to mention the worst eye shadow in the world on Felicity (what is she now, the IT hooker?). I particularly loved the incredibly cheesy land mine rescue. That’s how a hero does things, people.

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          2. Loved the first ep of the new season. Lots of action, which I always enjoy, and the fight/rescue scenes were terrific. I loved the landmine rescue. Great way to kick the episode off. I liked a lot of the changes Arrow’s made so far. I like the much more integrated feel they’re working with to try and get Diggle and Felicity into Oliver’s normal “day” life as well as Thea and even Roy a little closer. Walter coming back was a nice surprise too. And hey, Felicity jumping out of a plane? How cool was that?! Also loved seeing her come to Oliver’s rescue. That was a nice change up.

            As for the clothes… eesh. I don’t mind them upping the sex factor with characters but the CW sometimes has very odd taste in clothes. I liked Felicity’s lip look in the ep but the eye makeup was a bit much. I wonder if it’s because they’re trying to work it with the glasses & that always makes eyeshadow a challenge.

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          3. That’s interesting about Elementary. I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, always have been since I was a kid, but I love the show. I don’t think it’s hurt it at all. But really my point was that it hasn’t really hurt the show’s ratings either by straying from the canon material. I think people who are fans of the original source for anything assume its common knowledge. But this day and age I think there’s a huge knowledge gap (be it age, time, whatever) between a canon vs. tv or movie adaptation. I mean… how many people who went and saw Iron Man knew anything about the comics? I’m betting it was the majority. So I’m betting the same with Arrow. I don’t think the average viewer is going in thinking “the show MUST adhere to the comics or I won’t watch!” They – just like me – want to be entertained every week. If that sways from canon, I really don’t think most will know or care, but clearly that’s just my opinion. 🙂

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  25. Hey so I’m not sure if someones already said this but if you watch smallville, Oliver is in it also, but he doesnt end up with Laurel/Black Canary he ends up with a girl named Chloe. So I feel there is still hope yet.

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  26. This is a great analysis, totally on the point. Me, I’m not sure if I want Oliver and Felicity together – I enjoy the friendship so much that I nearly fear that the romance would destroy it. Seeing how the writers handled the main romance so far, I bet they wouldn’t be able to resist to throw unnecessary roadblock on the way, perhaps even destroying what makes Felicity so much fun in the process.
    But one thing for sure, Oliver/Laurel was poorly planned and thought out. There was too much baggage between them from the get go to make me route for them. And yes, Laurel is just so serious all the time. I think that it why she meshed with Tommy so well, because he was a fun-loving guy who pulled her out of the office and she was the kind of girl who wouldn’t allow him to slip back into bad habits. But for Oliver, who already is as serious as he can gets, she is totally wrong, he needs someone who helps him to loosen up a little bit and see the happiness in life.

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    1. I think that’s why they’ll tease Oliver and Felicity and make baby steps of progress with them (unless the ratings are really bad and they need to do something to shock and pull people in). I’m a fan of opposites on shows. I think it’s more interesting and compelling and I think that’s why the Tommy angle worked. It just plays better with more sparks and clicks.

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    2. “especially considering that the male idea of this usually ends up with the female being written like Laurel, as a love interest instead of a character.”

      I think this is the main problem with Laurel. I haven’t read the comics, but in the show, she’s written to appeal to men. Actually, I think she’s written to appeal to men some years ago. She is just not interesting to be one of the main characters, in my opinion.

      For me, the romance between Oliver and Laurel was spoiled by Tommy. Tommy was a very likable character, and I was rooting for him when he was trying to make it work with Laurel. The way Laurel treated him in the end turned me against her. Even then, I would have liked her more if she weren’t so humorless and filled with angst. Felicity brought levity and wittiness to the show, I couldn’t not like her, I love witty characters.

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  27. Since the replies to this blog entry has been made mostly by Felicity fans and “Olicity” shippers, I thought I’d chime in with a few remarks from the opposite camp, that is from those of us who are not convinced that Felicity and Oliver are a match made in heaven!;-). To show that I’m not the only one who has some reservations about the “Olicity” ship, I will quote this sensible assessment of the Felicity character from an online source. I think gives a pretty good picture of how an average “non-shipper” viewer, who is positively predisposed towards Felicity views her:

    I came late to the party, therefore I missed all the fangirling and gushing over Felicity, and by extension, the desire for an Ollie/Felicity pairing.

    Personally, I enjoy seeing the character, but I’m not in the pairing camp. I was also a bit put off by the fact that she joined Diggle on his quest to locate Oliver. That seemed a bit much, in my opinion. I’m fine with them teaching her how to defend herself; everyone should have even rudimentary self-defense skills, so that part makes sense. But setting off to the island? Not something she should have been doing at this early stage in her ‘hero training’.

    For what was supposed to be a one-off character, it actually does make sense that Felicity gets elevated to trusty tech sidekick, because she’s actually useful. Should she get more screen time? Less screen time? Less lines? I don’t care what happens, so long as it’s an organic, sensible, logical progression for the character and the overarching plot.

    Felicity is clearly attracted to Ollie, and her Freudian slips are giggle-worthy, if not slightly inappropriate, which she is quick to acknowledge. As much as the mushy, teenaged fangirl faction wishes to see them together, I hope it’s only in Felicity’s wildest dreams – dreams that we will never be privy to.

    In the end, she’s a likable character without being ‘annoying’ (as some perky, tech-savvy female characters tend to be *cough* what Abby Scuito from NCIS has become*cough*) and she helps serve as Oliver’s conscience along with Diggle. I like that she was initially in it to help find Walter, but discovered her skills were actually useful to Oliver. She found her calling, and it made sense for her to join the team. end of quote

    I think the poster made som good remarks, which I will elaborate a bit on in the following comments:

    1. Felicity is a likeable character with a role to fill as part of the “Arrowcave” team, together with Diggle. However, unlike what some of the more ardent Felicity/Olicity fans like to believe, she is not the hub around which Oliver’s life or the “Arrow” show evolves. Furthermore, I find a bit hard to understand how Felicity can be the one who will make Oliver a hero-if there is anyone among the “Arrow” characters who has taken the role as Oliver’s mentor and moral conscience in season one it’s Diggle, not Felicity. As for season two Stephen himself has declared that it is Tommy and the impact of his death that will set Oliver on his path to becoming a hero.

    Furthermore, “Arrow” has a host of likeable and well-loved characters besides Felicity, whose stories some of us find more interesting than the Oliver/Felicity ship, such as the Thea/Roy relationship or Oliver’s relationship with those who are near to his heart, like Moira, Thea and Laurel. Felicity may be a very important character to many viewers, but not to all of us! Apparently the average Joe viewer feels the same way, because despite the clearly Felicity/”Olicity”-centered promo campaign and Felicity’s more prominent role in the plot, the ratings for the season premiere did not skyrocket. They were, in fact, lower than the ratings for many season one episodes where Felicity was not featured at all. And in the end of the day, it is the ratings that matter to the networks and not the Internet social media buzz. If the ratings are not satisfying from a business POV, the show will be cancelled, Felicity or no Felicity..

    2. Having Oliver keep Felicity on a leash just to please the online shippers is not doing Felicity’s character any good. For those of us who don’t feel the electrifying chemistry every time Oliver and Felicity are in the same room her presence in some scenes in “City of heroes” seemed somewhat contrived and pointless. As the quoted poster points out, there was really no reason why Diggle couldn’t have gone looking for Oliver by himself-but then the writers couldn’t have included the “shirtless Oliver on top of Felicity” moment, which was clearly fan service. Her presence at the Isabel Rochev meeting was likewise not really motivated from a plot POV-unless her role was to pass around the bagels!;-) And to show that these complaints about “fan service” are not only coming from “Laurivers” or Katie Cassidy fans who are bitter that Felicity stole Laurel’s thunder, here are a few quotes from posters who are not at all Laurel/Katie/Lauriver fans, quite the opposite:

    I don’t see the “great chemistry” that some people claim to see between the two characters or actors. Especially on Oliver’s side as his entire demeanor towards her just scream platonic. That’s like saying he and his sister Thea on the show have such great chemistry they should hook up…

    Sorry but I just do not see it. I don’t get anything more than a platonic reaction from Oliver in regards to Felicity. (Whereas you could tell from the very beginning he wanted Helena). It’d be like being with your little sister or something.

    I think their chemistry is being ruined by all the forced teasing they are doing to please shippers. I wish they could go back to the Oliver/Felicity of early season 1 before the shippers invaded the writing room.

    Its all I can see now. Ollie lands on top of Felicity? Fan service. Ollie saves her from the gun shots through the window? Fan service. It takes me out of the show now. end of quotes

    So, for those viewers who are not “Olicity” shippers, scenes like the one on the Island may not induce any “feels” at all. In fact, the only “feel” I get is a feeling of slight amusement with the writer’s ingenuity when it comes to setting up “Olicity” moments for the shippers. And to be honest, I think that those who support the Oliver/Felicity pairing would prefer to see them in genuine romantic situations, rather than “faux-romantic” ones….Of course, one could argue that the “Lauriver moments” are “fan service” as well. Firstly, if only 20% of the viewers want to see Oliver and Laurel together, as some “oliciters” claim, it could hardly be called “fan service”, right?;-). Secondly, Laurel and Oliver are the show’s “narrative ship” and therefore these scenes have a function as a part of their ongoing romance arc. It doesn’t really matter if some people feel/think that L/O lack chemistry or that their scenes are boring to watch-in the show’s fictional reality Oliver is in love with Laurel and she is in love with him, and they would be together if they could. That is how they are written and for many viewers their romance arc is engaging just because it does have a clear trajectory that will be followed as the show progresses. The Felicity/Oliver relationship has a clear trajectory as well, but unless the writers decide to do a 180 turn, it will evolve as a friendship relationship. In this context the scenes with “Olicity” ship tease are just what the term implies…isolated moments thrown in to please those who want to see F/O romantically involved, while still keeping the main Felicity/Oliver relationship arc in the friendship zone.

    If my guesses about the direction the show will take with regards to the issue of Felicity/Oliver and Laurel/Oliver, I think it would be better if the writers let the shippers out of the writers’ room and started developing Felicity as an independent character with her own back story and storyline. My guess is that what the average non-shipper viewer would rather like to see is “an organic, sensible, logical progression for the character and the overarching plot” than plot twists and scenes which are mainly there just to please a fraction of Internet shippers. Felicity is really a blank slate when it comes to characterization, and that’s what I think the writers should focus in in season two. And the writers decide to abandon canon and go for a real Felicity/Oliver romance/relationship, it will make their relationship more interesting for those who are not feeling their emotional/romantic connection right now.

    Finally, for the record, I don’t think that all fans who support the Felicity/Oliver pairing are “mushy fangirls”….I know some quite mature and rational viewers who would like to see them together, although they may be more aware than your average tumblr teenager that their OTP might not happen. And you will of course find as much “gushing” and “fangirling” in the “Lauriver” camp as in the “Olicity” camp!

    This reply was not meant to slam those who would like to see Oliver and Felicity as a romantic couple and possible endgame, just an attempt to show that the same screen material may elicit very different responses from different viewers.

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    1. Tastes are tastes and opinions and preferences of viewers are always personal. So I won’t try to debate all the points in the post. I find that when viewers dislike things (and I mean viewers I mean general people people not poster) they can find a million reasons why it doesn’t matter or is just a tease or it’s “only” internet fans and why it shouldn’t count and how it’s pandering and fan service… the debate could spin around in circles forever. As for Oliver and Felicity’s future and what it could and/or will be? Who knows. We won’t know til it’s over. But the one point I did want to correct was the ratings information.

      Updated info came out today and the City of Heroes ratings went up almost another million people: In total viewers, Arrow saw a 34% gain over L+SD viewing, gaining nearly a million viewers (2.73M vs 3.68M). In adults 18-49, Arrow grew 41% (0.93 vs. 1.3), and in adults 18-34 it increased 27% (0.85 vs. 1.08). TV viewing habits are so fickle these days. Lots of people watch by DVR so you always have to wait for all the adjustments days later.

      So does this mean “the clearly Felicity/”Olicity”-centered promo campaign and Felicity’s more prominent role in the plot…” can be credited for contributing to that increase? Only CW and its focus groups can know for sure. I’d certainly only be guessing.

      But anyway, just wanted to pop in to correct that small point.

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  28. I’m actually really happy about the ratings! I hope they will remainin in that range, because it means that the show will have greater chances of getting renewed.

    You’re right about differing preferences. However, I still think that “shipping” isn’t as vital for a show’s survival as it is sometimes made out to be, especially not when it comes to an action/adventure show like “Arrow”. The average viewer watches for the whole “package”, so to speak, and not for any particular “ship”/character. Many male viewers like Felicity a lot and enjoy watching her on the show. However, my impression from various forums is that many of them are not at all interested in seeing her romantically involved with Oliver. So, given that “Arrow” has a large male demographic, there are quite a few viewers who feel that Felicity and Oliver are just fine in the friendship zone. The new spoiler information about a possible friendship/romance between Felicity and Barry Allen/The Flash might be a sign that the “Arrow” TPTB are not planning to go for a serious “Olicity” romance any time soon. Of course, with a few more seasons ahead, there is no way to predict what will happen in the future.

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  29. A small addition concerning the ratings…The season premiere of “Arrow” did not do better in the ratings than many of last season’s episodes, at least not according to the comments on this site:

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/10/14/arrow-the-tomorrow-people-see-big-live-3-ratings-gains/209081/

    “So Arrow got the same numbers as it did last year at this time but in live +3 day. I remember it got 3.7 million viewers for episode 4 last year and a 1.3.”

    “And arrow even with dvr barely got a 1.3 which is what it regularly got last year without dvr.”

    So, the it’s not the like the promise of more Felicity/Olicity drastically increased the number of viewers who tuned in, since the season premiere ratings remain more or less equal to many season one ratings….

    Anyway, I’m still glad that the ratings went up, and I hope they will remain solid (for CW, that is, because for other networks they’re peanuts!). I think that season two will offer some really good superhero television and hopefully that is reflected in the ratings.

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  30. Jenny, there’s a new spoiler tease out there about meeting one (or both) of Felicity’s parents this year on Arrow and I’m curious what your thoughts are about direction for “who” they are/what they do. I’ve got a few theories…

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    1. in your opinion, what are the realistic chances of the writers willing to give olicity a try, and even let it be endgame? While we wanted laurel-oliver to work, it just didn’t and now it seems like it’s time for a change

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      1. You asked Julie, but I’ll weigh in: I’d say there’s a chance. They just made Sara the Black Canary; that’s new. And frankly, at this point, the whole Sara/Laurel/Oliver triangle is such a mess you’d think they’d run screaming from it.
        My other faint hope is a Birds of Prey spinoff.

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        1. my thoughts exactly, considering that this is a tv show we have seen writers listen to what the viewers want and adapt to that. oliver and felicity do have the makings of being a fantastic couple but it should be a slow burn and take time to build up momentum. As far as laurel goes, i think her whole messed up relationship with oliver just holds her back as a character and i want the writers to break away from that and allow her character to develop independently (which leads to me saying i hope for a Birds of Prey spinoff as well)

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          1. You know, I like what they’re doing with her alcohol problem. She was so damn perfect before, she was flat, and while I’m not crazy about the actress, they gave her absolutely nothing to work with. Now that she’s drunk and bitchy and she’s a lot more watchable because she finally seems human. Also I give her points for admitting she was projecting the blame for Tommy’s death on Oliver when the thing that sent Tommy into the Glades was her stupidity. Although still not her fault, Tommy’s decision.

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      2. Late in replying but I think there’s definitely a chance. Stepping back from the whole viewer preference thing it sure seems like the media & entertainment outlets respond to and promote “Olicity” and the Oliver/Felicity duo (romantic or not). It just seems to initiate buzz and excitement. I have a hard time believing any show, in an age where tv shows are scrambling for any recognition, ratings, competition, etc as they hemorrhage viewers, would not take that into consideration. I waffle on when I think the show would/should actually “go there” with Oliver & Felicity though. Wait til later (if there is a later) season or do it now and hope that helps extend the life of the show? Of course ratings don’t look bad for the show, so hopefully we’ll easily see a season 3.

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  31. i think i can agree with that, but you’re right katie cassidy is not doing the greatest job with portraying laurel. and is it just me, or is there something missing in the whole laurel-oliver dynamic (chemistry wise)???. but she is more tolerable now that she’s not just perfect, gorgeous laurel.

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  32. I wasn’t truly on board with the show Arrow until Felicity and Team Arrow. Stephen Amell is fantastic but one man cannot hold a show alone, he needs to have other characters to interact with and draw things out of his somewhat catanoic state at times. They had to even resort to voice overs to give the audience some idea of what was going on behind his facade (which were not successful)

    Sadly, as a fan of Dinah, I am terribly disappointed to say her character Laurel Lance in the show is irrelevant in too many ways. No disrespect to Katie Cassidy who was great in Supernatural (playing Ruby) however her character falls flat.

    From the pilot she…to put it politely needed to remove a stick from a certain area.

    She was sanctimonious and irritating. I tried week after week to force myself to like her as a character, and Oliver and Laurel. However it was impossible. Then as I was planning on putting the show on the back burner, enters, blonde IT girl. From the get go, I knew she was something special. It seriously was a “who is that girl?” moment. It only got better as the episodes went on, I found myself desperately watching the guest star list appear on screen and hoping to see it read ‘Emily Bett Rickards’

    Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards have fantastic chemistry. This post just explained it beautifully. The one loop hole people seem to forget is Dinah and Oliver to separate in the comics. So it is MORE than possible for Oliver and Felicity to be “endgame”.
    However the question remains, who can bear to watch the tedious lack luster scenes between Amell and Cassidy as they try and convey “love” with pursed lips and heavy breathing?

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    1. Yes! That is exactly how I feel. Chemistry cannot be forced, it ruins a ship and sinks a show (at least to ppl who don’t care for the lackluster ship)

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    2. “The one loop hole people seem to forget is Dinah and Oliver to separate in the comics.”
      That’s right! What I was thinking about is that the writers can easily get Oliver and Laurel married and separated with Felicity still being around.

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  33. Jenny, I would love to get your opinion on the Oliver/Felicity arc now that there have been a) some intense conversations accompanied by grimacing: “Because of the life I lead…” and b) the introduction of a rival and a charming, delightful one at that in the shape of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. Do you think this is just to divert Olicity shippers into another camp or to bring out some excellent brooding jealousy and then self-awareness in Oliver?

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    1. Morning Spoilers on io9 seems to indicate jealousy as a wake-up call. At this point, I love Arrow so much, I’ll take whatever they give me, even without an Oliver/Felicity ‘ship. This week’s episode was so good. The stuff with Barry Allen was really wonderful, Moira turning Malcolm over to the League of Assassins was fabulous (nobody chews scenery like John Barrowman), and then there was Ollie getting a double dose of whatever that stuff in the syringe is . . . I was going to post about that episode because it’s such a great example of keeping a story moving; that sucker never stops.

      I did love it that after Ollie made Barry hit the road, he invited him back so Felicity could have her dance. Good old self-sacrificing Ollie. I think that’s why he shot Roy in the leg. He couldn’t shoot Barry, so . . .

      What was the question? Oh, the ‘shipping thing. Barry Allen gets his own show shortly; they were going to do a back end pilot on Arrow, but Grant Gustin is so very good, they’re just making it a regular pilot, so Barry will go back to Central City and get hit by lightning, and Felicity will stay where she is and very possibly get hit on by Oliver. He was not amused this week. Which he deserved. That whole “with the life I lead” bit is just cowardice; she’s down there in the Bat Cave with him every damn night, she knows exactly what kind of life he leads.

      You know what there wasn’t any of this week? Laurel. That helped keep things moving.

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      1. I think you’re right about Oliver’s cowardice and it’s definitely another interesting element of his and Felicity’s relationship. She is ALREADY in pretty deep, she was as soon as she accepted the notebook from Walter. She’s Oliver’s assistant, she regularly does illegal/dangerous hacking work, and as Isabel points out, anyone working at QC already thinks that they sleep/have slept together. Felicity in many ways is the BEST romance option because anyone else he becomes entangled with is going to become a target when they weren’t before whereas Felicity already is. Minimize the damage maybe? Also smush faces with someone you actually want to smush faces with. It’s probably that last bit that’s genuinely scary for him.

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      2. You know, I really had doubts about Felicity/Oliver being in a position come season 2 for a kiss but now… I would be really surprised if they didn’t have a lean in/pause/rethink/withdraw moment if not a “kiss” provoked by being in the field together as a cover.

        It was a great episode (again). I just love the whole show and I’ve said it before but, while I love Oliver and Felicity? As long as they keep working together on the show, doing the Team Arrow thing, doing the will they/won’t they/might they dance, I’ll totally be fine with them dragging things out. It’s a show that’s 98% pure entertainment. Been a long time since I enjoyed a show this much. It feels really great!

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    2. I think it was to give Felicity some love and some personal development, contrary to popular opinion she is not an object that belongs to Oliver, she is her on person with a life of her own. They dont have to try hard to divert the Olicity fans, Emily/Felicity can have chemistry with a rock.

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  34. Just watched “The Scientist” episode. Oliver and Felicity displayed more chemistry discussing a flopped party than Barry and Felicity showed during a “romantic” dance. If the writers don’t develop a deeper Oliver-Felicity relationship, then they’ll be force-feeding viewers with a pre-conceived notion rather than responding to the evidence before their very eyes. That’d be lazy and cowardly writing.

    By the way, I’d never heard or read the term “Olicity” until I started researching fan reaction to Arrow 2×08. I wanted to see if other viewers found the Barry-Felicity infatuation as rushed, forced, underdeveloped, and almost jarring as did I. Guess I’m not alone.

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    1. I think the whole Barry thing is Felicity finally having somebody who speaks her language. I think the writers put it in to make Oliver jealous to give him a wake-up call, and to set up The Flash series, which I will be watching. My favorite part this season has been when Felicity came in while Oliver was talking to Isabel and basically said, “I need to talk to you NOW” and made him leave to deal with a problem. That’s a huge character arc from the IT girl who said, “These look like bullet holes.”

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      1. I’m still kind of puzzled why the press for this show, and many others, keep insisting on the idea that “like” characters are best suited to each other. I’ve always been an opposites attract kind of person. I find it far more interesting. It’s like, how can these two people who seem so different ever possibly find a way to get along let alone fall in love? until you realize their differences are what make them better when they’re together, and that the strength of one (say Brawn) fits perfectly with the strength of the other (say Brains) and that their core qualities (be it loyalty, honor, duty, family, whatever) make them not so different after all. When 2 characters are just opposite sex mirrors I’m so bored. I like the Pop! Bang! Whiz! of the opposites. Keeps me on my toes, like Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series.

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  35. I was so-so on Arrow until Felicity was featured more because I did not care for Laurel and did not feel a relationship between Laurel/Oliver would last or be healthy. I don’t feel they should be together and I don’t root for them. I think they would be better with other characters that don’t have such a painful history. There, in my opnion, isn’t a spark in their scenes. I was going to stop watching bc I was annoyed with their pairing.

    I used to watched General Hospital and chemistry is everything. There can be a great couple, then one actor leaves and the character is recast-the couple flops with the new actor chemistry . I understand sticking to a plot line yet there shows needs to flow. Look at Supernatural, the chacter of Castiel was meant to be a few episodes and he has been on the show as regular/or guest star for four+ seasons. Chemistry and the dynamic it provides makes or breaks a storyline/show.

    Pairings cannot be forced, it shows. They has to be an organic chemistry for a pairing to have a real “OTP spark” regardless of comic cannon.

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  36. Totally and completely enjoyed every ounce of this post. A lot has changed since July, though. How do you feel the show is handling the tiny spark that has been kindled in Season 2?

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    1. I think they’re doing it really well. They’re not rushing, and they gave Oliver a good psychological trigger with the jealousy. It’ll be interesting to see how it (and if) it plays out.

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      1. I agree! And I look forward to a slow burn. I adore Felicity, and I feel like a lot of the viewers do too– because we ARE Felicity. We are the awkward (albeit not as attractive) tech geeks in our offices trying not to get caught staring at our really hot office mate that we just know is destined to end up with the gorgeous, leggy brunette. We are hopeful and thoughtful and try like hell to do more right than wrong at the end of the day.

        I admit to being a little attached to the character because I understand her, I wish nothing but the best for her, and I really, really hope she gets the guy.

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  37. Felicity is an odd piece in the puzzle board that is Arrow. Completely lovable, yet, humorously odd. Initially, her preordained space in the world of Arrow was meant to be small. Just two scenes in episode three. Then, we saw it, felt it, tilted our heads a little at her ease of presence next to our hero. Our tortured, tormented, glass-half-empty archer cracked a genuine, out of character smile in their first scene together. A smirk that gave us our first feeling of innocent amusement in an otherwise dark and heavy world. Naturally her place on the show grew larger, along with our adoration of her. With many more scenes she continued to amuse us and Oliver. And how could we not be captivated by her? Her mental make-up is just so easy to relate to. Smart, strong, compassionate, but not without her moments of doubt, vulnerability, aloofness. She was the one I could relate to.

    Now, the thing that has me geeking out on a weekly basis. She’s been humorously crushing on Oliver since the beginning. Anyone with eyes should be able to see that. But that piece of the puzzle has already been filled with the canon character of Laurel — The on-again off-again, married then divorced, supposed “love of his life,” Laurel. (Just a side note: I can’t stand a self-destructive love. It’s Einstein’s definition of insanity.) So, this IT girl, who I can’t help but root for, is undoing 50 plus years of canon without even trying. Felicity could very well be endgame and her only weapons are her smarts and her good heart. She’s not the Black Canary, she has no history with Oliver, she can’t physically fight, but she’s invaluable to his team, to his moral compass, and to his heart health. She means so much to him. I’m sure he can see that. But I can see how scary that game is for Ollie to play. There is a very real danger involved with being his number one person. The survival rate of that position drops significantly. If something horrible happened to her, which is a very real possibility, it can destroy him in a way I don’t think he could ever recover. And that’s what makes her underdog love story so interesting to me. The real love and danger of being together or the safer emptiness of being alive.

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  38. I think after Arrow Season 2 Episode 9: Three Ghosts, some of us are still recovering from the moving and powerful Olicity scenes. To be honest, I am personally glad the writers have realized they struck gold with the chemistry we’ve seen brewing since last season between Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. Of course there probably are a few hard core comic book fans screaming foul at the writers of Arrow for not sticking with Laurel and Ollie as endgame.

    Yes, Laurel’s downward spiral probably will lead her to take on the mantle as the Black Canary, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she has to end up with Oliver in the end. Might I remind these same hard core comic book fans that as of The New 52, Oliver and Dinah are divorced and the writers of both comics have said they don’t plan on bringing them back together anytime soon.

    furthermore, Arrow does have a creative license to tweak certain things, and they certainly did by keeping Moira alive (she died in the comics) and adding Oliver’s sister (who is really his half-sister, but my point still stands). So is it really so bad that the writers – like many of us fans – have noticed the lack of chemistry between Stephen and Katie and are now going in a different direction?

    Speaking off a different direction, it is no secret that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) made a big splash in the two episodes of Arrow and did take a liking to Oliver’s Girl Friday. The jealousy Oliver felt didn’t need to be said in words but in the body language itself. But while Belicity blossomed, I was sitting in my room watching the episode gleefully. Because Felicity + Barry = a jealous Oliver, which further entails even more revealing moments to come.

    If Olicity is truly going to be endgame (a slow burn of the relationship), it’s probably for the best. Since Felicity became his executive assistant, the two have grown closer. From a realistic point of view, the bond of their friendship needs to continue growing deeper. While Diggle might have been the one Oliver chose to tell some of stories about the Island, it was awesome to see him more relaxed and laughing and just overall having a good time.

    Oliver shooting three arrows at The Count seemed a bit much if he only considered Felicity as a friend. Even if he was still going to kill him for trying to hurt his friend, just one arrow would have sufficed. But to me, Oliver was clouded with rage, mixed with panic at the thought of losing Felicity; so he didn’t think… he just reacted. That action speaks louder than words ever could. Not to forget the previous Olicity scene we got in Arrow Season 2 Episode 6. Oliver probably thinks that if he gives into his attraction towards Felicity, it could become something more.Which other villains will use as his achilles heel like they attempted with Laurel last season.

    As we’ve seen from the island flashbacks, not only does Oliver have his own team in Starling City but he once had one on the island as well. At some point he did start caring for Slade and Shado, and assuming one becomes Deathstroke and the other one is in fact dead, then it’s safe to say that he doesn’t want the same to occur to Diggle and Felicity.

    Since late in Arrow Season 1, other (dangerous) people – like Helena – have known about Felicity and – as seen in Arrow Season 2 Episode 1 – not only is Felicity in danger because of helping The Arrow, but also because of her association with Oliver Queen. Both have many enemies and if we put ourselves in his shoes, he’s trying (in vain) to keep her at arm’s length to protect her. But, hopefully, he will end up coming to the realization that the girl for him is Felicity because – not only does she know both sides of him, but she also accepts him as he is – scars and all. Lastly, I think Felicity being included in the montage of Slade’s dialogue was an even bigger nod at the writers making Olicity happen.

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  39. “But for the Arrow writers, there’s that source problem: Oliver is destined to marry Laurel, …”

    They, Oliver and Laurel, are also destined for Divorce. Laurel divorces him in the Comics.

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    1. True but since the new 52, they dont even know each other! So they could go with Laurel being Black Canary, marry Oliver but end up in divorce or they can keep Sara as Black Canary, have Oliver end up with Felicity and slowly face out Laurel. Laurel is the weakest link.

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  40. Along with my love for this show (since episode 3 and Felicity), I love a well thought-out and well written argument, and this is one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. I can think of nothing to add.
    Kudos to you.

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