First meets are crucial in making a romance plot work, and an excellent example of a successful first-meet scene comes from a non-romantic interaction on the TV show, Arrow, done in one minute and two beats.
The protagonist, Oliver Queen, is destined to love another woman. The antagonist, Felicity Smoak, is just a one-time character. There is no romantic tension in this scene, no appreciative notice of each other’s physicality, no moments of recognition, no touching. It’s just the billionaire owner of a company asking an IT girl to pull some information off a damaged computer. And yet, this is the scene that launched a thousand ‘shippers and changed Felicity Smoak from a spear carrier to a main character in the series. This is the power of the well-written first meet.
Things to look for in this scene:
Clear Goals: The protagonist, Oliver, enters with a clear goal: get information off a stolen hard drive without alerting anyone that he’s a vigilante. That means he’s come to this place—his own IT department where he has maximum control—and this person—a lowly IT tech who has no power at all to question him—in order to get a concrete, physical goal—information off a computer. No viewer gets confused as to why this scene is happening. I know the “every scene must have a clear goal” feels limiting to writers, but it’s actually freeing: you never have to explain or justify why the characters are doing something, so you can concentrate on how they’re doing it, character in action, which is where all the fun is anyway, especially in a first meet scene.
Character Vulnerability: Oliver’s antagonist is Felicity, an IT girl. The scene tension begins in the first beat when she looks up and sees the owner of her place of employment standing in front of her. Her goal is to keep her job, so all she has to do is shut up and get him the information he needs, but because she’s surprised, she babbles. That means the first beat win goes to Oliver, even though he didn’t intend to catch her off-guard. Still the billionaire just made the IT girl stammer, and that’s the real strength here: these are not two professionals exchanging information, this is a powerful, confident man and a vulnerable, nervous woman, and that vulnerability means that we worry. Even though we know Oliver is a good man, we also know he’s not the most sensitive guy around, and even though we don’t know Felicity at all, she’s so likable and so unprotected here that we lean forward to make sure she’s going to be okay.
Then Oliver smiles at the babble. Since Oliver pretty much never smiles unless he’s pretending to be something he’s not, that real smile says that’s he’s connected, there’s a crack in the tough facade, and now he’s vulnerable. Not a lot, but there’s definitely a crack where before there was just solid granite. And since the person who made that crack is babbling, likable Felicity, readers and viewers sit up a little straighter, aware that something is going on even if the characters don’t see it.
That all happens in thirty-two seconds. No long set up, just “Hi, I’m Oliver Queen,” followed by babbling, followed by viewer/reader anxiety, followed by a smile, followed by viewer/reader awareness.
Character Change: The conflict escalates because nervous Felicity can’t stop being Felicity. It isn’t just that she babbles, although that’s endearing, it’s also that she’s too smart and straightforward not to give him the fish-eye when he gives her a patently ridiculous story about the computer. His position is that it doesn’t matter what he tells her, she’s an IT monkey and she’ll have to do the work, so he doesn’t bother with a better cover story. Her position is that she may be an IT monkey but she has some pride, and while she’ll still say yes and get the information, she’s not going to pretend he’s not lying in his teeth. So she moves from babbling to the fish eye, from somebody we worry about to somebody we cheer for. That’s character arc, change on the page, and it makes the scene dynamic.
Somebody Wins: So the conflict escalates in the second beat because his lie is ridiculous, which causes her exasperation as demonstrated by the head tilt, which makes him smile again, and Felicity wins both the second beat and the scene because the guy with the upper hand has changed and now he sees her not as “IT Girl” but as Felicity. The connection, platonic and professional, is established, but so is . . .
Expectation: The best first meets work because they spark expectation in the reader or viewer. The need to know what happens next, the desire to see these two together again, is the single most important factor in a first meet scene, and this little one-minute scene creates powerful expectation. If you can do that on the first page of a romance novel and then keep building those expectations, you’ve solved half your romance writing problems.
The only You Tube video I could find of this scene (note to self: learn to edit video) has both scenes with Felicity from the third episode of Arrow, so you can stop watching at the one minute mark, the point at which the scene shifts to the two of them looking at a computer screen:
Four other reasons why this one-minute scene is important for romance writers:
1. It demonstrates that a first meet doesn’t have to be about love or sex or romance in any way. Neither Oliver or Felicity at any time in this scene thinks, “Well, hello there.”
2. It shows that it doesn’t matter at all what somebody looks like or is wearing unless the detail is significant in some way. The facts that Felicity is blonde and Oliver has incredible abs are completely irrelevant, but if I were writing this scene in a novel, I’d put that company ID around her neck; it marks her as somebody within his control, his subordinate since he doesn’t need an ID to travel freely through the building.
3. It shows that the elusive element of character chemistry is not delivered with clever banter or great boobs or abs, it’s people reacting as themselves under pressure from each other, changing each other. Felicity is endearing in this scene because her reactions characterize her, but those reactions happen because Oliver underestimates her and then pushes her too far. In the same way, her babbling and head tilt push him out of safe, distant superiority into a recognition of her as an individual, forming a connection that isolated Oliver neither needs or wants, even at this minimal level. (Reluctant chemistry is the best kind because it shows how powerful even a small connection is.) This is why the cute-meet scene can work really well sometimes and fail utterly other times. It’s not about the cute, not about how they look or how snappy their dialogue is, it’s about how the characters surprise each other into vulnerability, about how they react to those surprises, about how they transform each other even if it’s only slightly. Chemistry isn’t about sex, it’s about impact.
4. It shows that scene length is no indicator of importance. This scene could have been four times as long and would probably have had one-quarter of the impact because part of its power is that it takes one minute to change from Billionaire Company Owner vs. IT Girl to Oliver vs. Felicity. The fact that at the end, he’s not thinking, “This woman will become my partner in fighting evil,” doesn’t matter. What matters is the impact they have on each other in such a short time and the desire that creates in the reader to see them interact again.
So how do you blow a first meet scene? Make the characters invulnerable.
Vulnerability is always the key to creating relationships; without vulnerability you have two hard shiny surfaces that can’t attach. The following Oliver/Laurel scene is their first meet in the series, although they have a prior history with each other. That prior history is irrelevant in this discussion because “first meet” also means the first time the reader/viewer meets the relationship, so this is the viewer’s introduction to the great love story of Oliver’s life. But Oliver is detached because that’s Oliver’s go-to coping mechanism (granite, remember); the fact that he’s genuinely contrite is obscured by his distance. Laurel is distant because she’s been hurt so badly and because she’s so angry, but all that shows in this scene is the anger. Which means this is a cold, hostile woman berating a cold, guarded man in a scene in which neither of them changes because neither of them shows enough vulnerability to allow a change. That means that the viewer is given nothing to build future expectations on and in fact, actively hopes they never meet again because these people are unpleasant to watch: two hard, shiny surfaces who make each other colder by their proximity.
Small wonder that when Felicity started to stammer two episodes after this and Oliver smiled, viewers looking for a relationship for him said, “Oh, THERE it is,” and settled in for the long haul in spite of the show’s clear intentions for Laurel as Oliver’s romantic lead. And I do mean, long haul. Thirty episodes later, the Oliver-Felicity non-romance has evolved to this:
So in thirty episodes, the relationship has escalated to standing really close and a shoulder clasp. But look again because the changes are huge, changes that can be easily seen because this scene is an echo of that first meet, this time reversing the dynamic. This time Oliver’s the vulnerable party; he doesn’t babble, but he does address his apology to his quiver, a gawky move the complete opposite of his assumption of power in the first meet. He’s standing and Felicity’s sitting at a computer, the same physical dynamic as that first scene, and he’s asking for something again, but it’s forgiveness this time, emotional connection, and he’s shifting uncertainly on his feet, not standing rock solid and confident. He even bites his lip at one point, and his voice goes up from tension in his attempt at platonic cheer (“Barry’s gonna wake up”). Meanwhile, Felicity is still and distant, holding all the power because, as he’s forced to tell her, he needs her. So on the surface, it’s just a hand on a shoulder and an admission of partnership, but it’s also a huge relationship arc, powerful not just because it’s a good scene but because of the expectations set up in that first meet.
All of which is to say, first meet scenes are crucial to making a romance plot work. (It should be noted that Laurel is still supposed to be Oliver’s One True Love. I have no idea what show the people who keep saying that are watching, but I don’t think it’s this one.)
202 thoughts on “Writing the First Meet Scene: Arrow”
I have never seen Arrow, but I’ve been seeing a lot about it online lately. It sounds like something I’ll have to check out.
Oh my god, you SHOULD check out, Jenni is right, she´s the writer, am the viewer and loved them together.
Have to confess that I stopped watch the show by 4 episode because I knew that Laurel is “the true love” of Oliver and knew that the IT blonde girl didn´t have a chance with him….but I couldn´t stay away from the show when months later my daughter told me “Hey mom you should see the IT girl she came back…”because my daughter knew that the only person a loved for Oliver with, was Felicity Smoak…and am still here, waiting for that romance that the writers promised me without say it.
Can I tell you guys about the no good, awful day that was Sunday?
I’m dog sitting a rottie and a Pomeranian. The mom is in the states (visiting sick relative) and the dad is on a coast guard ship. For some reason the dad shaved the Pomeranian and gave her a huge gouge in the belly area. And then he got called to the ship…. So I did basic first aid, and this wound is really deep, through the skin to where I could see squishy membrane… I called the mom to discuss going to the vet, because stitches were needed, and she agreed.
Little Coco is the sweetest little girl, 9 years old, and her people love her with food, so she’s massively overweight. The vet agreed she would need stitches, and took her to put her back together. We were at the vet for hours. Little Coco stopped breathing after anesthetic, and didn’t come back, even after the vet worked so hard and I held her paw and cheered her on. I was on the phone with her mom for hours, and her dad hasn’t returned yet. I keep going over all the choices that were made, and I can’t think of a single thing I could change to save that little sweet baby. Sorry for the downer post hi-jack, but I loved that dog like she was my own, and I miss her terribly.
I’m so sorry that happened. You did your best, though.
It’s so, so hard to lose a pet any time, but really hard when you second guess yourself. I did that with Lyle for months after we lost him. Sometimes, you just have to let go.
Thank you for the breakdown of why Laurel didn’t seem to work the way the writers intended.
I love the beats as wins approach. It make understanding a scene’s protagonist and antagonist easier.
You’ve made me a bit of an editor even though I’m not in any field of publishing. A friend of mine is a writer and is trying to do a full length novel (she has published a short story) and because of what you teach here, I was able to help her make her opening scene sharper. Thanks.
That is so sad. I have a Pomeranian, my second, as I lost my first 6 years ago at age 15 and still haven’t gotten over it. I keep mine shaved, expecially in summer because she gets so hot…you have to be very careful and I’d never try it myself. So sad, but as CateM said, you did your best. It’s hard when its on your watch…
Sorry for your loss, must have been a horrible day
That was a no good awful day! But you couldn’t let Coco’s insides come out. You did the right thing taking her to the vet. She will be missed but this is not your fault. Hugs!
I’m going to agree with Kelly . . . that kind of wound really isn’t a home-remedy kind of thing. You needed to take her to vet, and things went wrong, but it’s not your fault. You did the right thing. My sympathies to you and the owners.
So sorry, AnnG. So hard. You made the choice to try to help, though. That’s all anyone can do. The rest was out of your hands. Wishing you peace.
God, I’m so, so sorry. You’ve basically just lived one of my nightmares.
Listen to what everyone is saying, though, because it’s true. You did the right thing. You did the only possible thing, really. If you’d just left that cut with a bandage, she would have been in much worse pain and the outcome would likely have been the same. At least this way she had a chance, and died somewhere safe, warm, and with someone who loved her right there with her.
Again, my heart goes out to you. Much love.
Oh, ow. I’m so sorry, I know how much you can love the dogs you take care of.
If I recall, the saga of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance (Laurel for the TV series) went something like got together, broke up, got together, broke up, got together, got married, got divorced, so it was always uneven.
I’ve given up trying to figure out what’s going on. But I do feel that I have to warn people that this show is not a romantic comedy, and that the Oliver-Felicity thing may be just a barrier they’re developing for the canon romance. For this lecture, it doesn’t matter, I just needed a short example of a strong first meet.
I think it’s all going to depend on how much the show makers stay wedded to the comics. I think the only people rooting for Laurel are the hardcore comic fans because that’s How It’s Supposed To Be, Dammit.
This Oliver Queen has already had a relationship with an actual Black Canary and someone some people seem to be insisting will eventually be a Black Canary. I’d say the Green Arrow/Black Canary canonical status thing has been adequately addressed in this part of the multiverse.
Wait a sec!! That post was supposed to be a ((((HUG)))) for AnnG and this was supposed to be my reply to the Arrow post. Sorry if I seem all insensitive, I guess the first post didn’t go through.
I love reading your breakdowns of Felicity and Oliver, I’ve watched the first season and when it started it was so dark and grim, everyone was under a cloud, then suddenly there was this cool blonde IT girl who brightened everything up, even if it was just because Oliver tended to come up with even sillier stories when he needed her help.
Kay, you bring up a good point with me. The show, and Oliver, were so grim and dark that — while i liked what I saw in the first few episodes of the show — I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend vast amounts of time with Oliver. As a character, was he someone I even really liked? I wasn’t sure. Felicity brought out a much needed aspect in him. That first smile, that first real glimpse of Oliver when he met her… that was what made me sit up and think: Okay, this is a guy I could like. There’s more to him than I think. And really, every scene they have together brings that side of Oliver out. I need that, particularly after he left Diggle swinging in the wind to face Deadshot by himself and nearly got him killed despite promising he (Oliver) would be there to back Diggle up. I still have a hard time with that choice on Oliver’s part. I have trust/honor/loyalty issues and that really set Oliver back for me. I still don’t like to talk about it. LOL.
It goes back to vulnerability again. She made him vulnerable by making him smile spontaneously. I think if they’d done the same thing with the Deadshot episode, it would have been easier to take. I like it that Oliver made that mistake, it made him human. but I think they needed to show that he made it out of vulnerability, that Laurel had played the you-owe-me-you-killed-my-sister card, that he was torn. It did accomplish one good thing as far as characterization: it put another crack in the granite. Oliver didn’t just apologize, several episodes later he went to Russia for Diggle, and when Digg thanked him for having his back, he said, “Now you know what it feels like,” which is Oliver-speak for “That thing with Deadshot and Laurel will not happen again.” I don’t think it was an accident that it was Deadshot story again, either. The Russian story was the echo of the original Deadshot betrayal, but this time Oliver got it right. Character arc. It’s a good thing.
That’s a good point and I did like that Oliver came through for Diggle in the pursuit of Deadshot this year. I think they’ve done a great job of showing the cohesion of the team (loyalty and trust) this year especially. I don’t mind Oliver being human and making mistakes but man that one was hard to take for me. LOL. Fortunately Oliver’s grown a lot since then and I feel like I can relate to him far more than the very beginning of the series. 🙂
And in the second scene in the first ep, he makes himself vulnerable by referring to his less than stellar academic background. Yes, it was droll humor, but it’s admitting to a failing, rather than pretending he knows what she’s talking about.
The problem is that this point I’m pretty good with Oliver and Anybody But Laurel…I mean, despite Felicity’s opinion, I like him and Summer Glau, or him and THIS Black Canary, or him and Felicity (but I really like Felicity and Barry). But Oliver and Laurel are just horrible together.
There was a point in the scene where Ollie apologizes 30 episodes later where I was cheering that he should kiss her. I get why that would have been wrong for their characters at this point but it was a perfect moment for a kiss. The look, the pause. The shoulder clasp?
Anyway, love this post.
Also saw an advertisement for Mindgames. Looks very interesting.
I think that’s what the writers were doing. It was right there, but it’s the wrong time. And Barry makes a very good barrier because Oliver’s right: she safer with Barry. Of course, Oliver doesn’t know Barry’s about to turn into the Flash. That Felicity knows how to pick ’em.
It is not just Oliver and Barry, Felicity endeared herself to Sara Lance who is current black canary. I guess our girl endears herself to all heroes and heroines.
That’s an interesting point. We’re talking about that in the McDaniel classes: one of the ways to characterize is to show how other people feel about your character. If characters we like respond well to the character, our estimation goes up. If character we don’t like approve of her or she approves of them, our estimation goes down. Which is why Sarah likes Felicity and Isabel doesn’t like her.
I still think Oliver/Felicity’s first kiss is going to be an “in the field”/undercover type scenario so that they don’t mean to kiss but the reactions they both have shock them both and send them rushing away from the other, insisting it didn’t mean anything and they’re “just friends.”
Honestly, I cannot see Felicity pulling off an undercover kiss. Or Oliver getting distracted enough to go for it. Oliver has a lot of focus when he picks up that bow. Life on Mars went that way so that Sam and Annie’s first kiss was a quick marital peck at a party where they were both under stress and focused on the job. The series ran for two years without a kiss, but still arced the romance beautifully. I remember watching a interview with John Simms (maybe on the DVD?) where he said that the last scene of the last episode had a stage direction that said something like “and then he snogs her face off after two years of sexual tension.” What I’m afraid of is that they’ll go for that dumb oh-my-god-we’re-in-love-let’s-have-sex-RIGHT-NOW that screwed up the long running romances on Moonlight, Northern Exposure, and Castle (even though I’m not a Castle fan, that annoyed me). Love is not sex, people. Making love is not rolling around breaking things. Look at Out of Sight: that’s the way to get to a first sex scene.
Hmmm. True. It will be interesting to see how (IF) they do have a kiss the writers decide to let it unfold. I’m a sucker for the falling in love part of stories and the tension. I hated how Remington Steele finally got there. Ditto with Moonlighting. I was eh on Castle’s. Now I have to go look at Out of Sight to see how they did the first sex scene. I don’t think I’ve seen that.
Very true. I don’t know if Barry was brought in because they’ll use him & Felicity as tension/barrier to her and Oliver or if it was to give Felicity someone other than Oliver because they want to keep Oliver with Laurel to be true to canon or if both those things were fortunate bonuses because they really just needed to introduce him for the spin off.
Barry was never going to be a regular; he was brought in to set up the Flash series. So unless Felicity moves to Central City and Rickard leaves the show and joins The Flash, Barry’s role in Felicity’s life is to make Oliver jealous.
So happy you talked about Arrow’s Oliver/Felicity from a first meet perspective. It was a terrific meet and I know that I was totally intrigued and definitely felt that “lean forward” as it played out. Oliver became someone likeable in that scene and I really think you needed to see that shift in his demeanor. Felicity was just awesome and likeable and I know I was rooting to see more of her.
But what nailed it in this write up was this:
“Small wonder that when Felicity started to stammer two episodes after this and Oliver smiled, viewers looking for a relationship for him said, “Oh, THERE it is,” and settled in for the long haul…”
That is EXACTLY what I experienced when Oliver and Felicity met. That instant Oh! THERE it is! The only romantic option presented on the show that I felt was good for Oliver, good for Felicity, and going to be Oh so much fun for me to watch unfold. They really have, whether intended or not, set up the classic romance reader expectation with Oliver and Felicity and I really hope they intend on doing something with it or that “reader expectation” is going to disappoint me greatly when they “mislead me.”
I was really curious what you thought of the Oliver/Felicity developments in the last episode (the shoulder clasp & apology). I really liked it but I didn’t realize it was a play on that first meeting with role reversal. And you’re right, it was another step in the expectations set up in that first meet. I do think Oliver’s still of the mindset of protecting her by distancing her because his life is no good for her and I’m really curious what will eventually change that because something has to.
As for the instance some have that Oliver has to end up with the other chick isn’t based on anything in the show at all but the expectation of the comic books. I don’t know if that’s really fair (using that word with great reluctance and because I can’t think of another appropriate word) given that the show *is not* the comics. For me, knowing next to nothing about the comics, the show is building the expectation of a romance for Oliver and Felicity and if they suddenly deny that and just dump it, I know I’d feel very cheated as a reader/viewer.
Thanks again for the awesome analysis, Jenny. As someone who writes, I always learn so much and when you use examples I’ve actually seen, it really helps me. Now I have to go back and rewatch their scenes again. Like I needed the excuse. LOL. Now I can claim educational purposes!
I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the way a romance reader looks for a relationship to latch onto, even if what she’s reading/watching isn’t a romance. Even people who aren’t romance-first people will look for the romantic subplot; it’s why so many adventure stories have The Girl. The problem with a lot of those stories is that The Girl is either tacked on as a reward (and pretty much says, “Be careful” as the hero rides into action and then rewards him with a kiss) or gets fridged so that the hero has a reason to roar across the scene in vengeance (and that’s not just in the comic books, either).
One of the things I find really interesting about the failure of the Oliver/Laurel romance is that the show made the same mistake a lot of romance writers do: they thought that “beautiful” was enough to motivate love. Two hot people standing next to each other? How can they not fall in love? Beauty is enough to spark infatuation, and Laurel is lovely and slim and all the standard American definitions of beauty. But unless that beauty is brought to life with vulnerability and wit, she’s just a magazine page. Felicity was not set up to be beautiful–glasses, pony tail, non-revealing clothes, etc.–because the Arrow people evidently think that’s enough to remove beauty, so when they took off her glasses,let her hair down, and put her in a hot dress, I thought, “Hello, they’re playing with the love interest.” And this season, they have her in impossible outfits with cutouts that are so unprofessional that she looks like Oliver’s personal hooker, and then she gets all upset when people think they’re sleeping together. It’s one of those dumb decisions that make me want to call the costume department and say, “Let’s talk about character.” It’s not that I don’t want Felicity to get dressed up for parties, it’s that I want her glasses on. I don’t believe the same Felicity who gets flustered about double meanings would put on a backless dress. In comparison, look at the first time Leverage put Parker in a hot dress and sent her to chat up a villain: he made a perfectly normal, not threatening pass, and she put a fork in his hand. That was using uncharacteristic costume to make the character uncomfortable and motivate action. Felicity puts on a dress with a boob window and a skirt up to her butt and still acts exactly the same. It’s just dumb storytelling.
Where was I before I went on that costume rant? Oh, right, reader/viewer expectation. They’ll look for a romance, but you have to give them something to latch onto. As for the future, this is Arrow. Anything can happen. I don’t think they can fridge Felicity–Person of Interest lost viewers when they killed Carter, and that was actually smart storytelling–but there are a lot of ways a romance can believably go south. Like neither party making a move for ten years.
The only outfit I’ve really had an issue with is the boob window one. The rest are pretty tame for tv standards. Tv is visual. The fact that Felicity’s character has not changed with her outfits leads me to believe it’s only for the benefit of those watching. Visually makes her more appealing to the male audience (not for Oliver) and also the female audience. I love her clothes. Some of her earlier outfits where pretty bad (loved her though!). The fact that they care to appeal to these audiences in regards to Felicity seems like a good thing to me as far as the future of her character. I read somewhere that they are not getting rid of the glasses or the ponytail. And I do love that in two pivotal Olicity scenes in Episodes 9 and 10 she was in her standard glasses and ponytail.
No double standards with this show. They do do the same thing with Oliver. How many times did they show him working out in Season one, lol. He has had his shirt on a little more this season though.
Look at Doctor Who and the care they take with wardrobe every time there’s a Doctor change.
Look at Finch’s clothes on Person of Interest. Every damn suit is a masterpiece that shows dry, distant Finch has a peacock within.
Look at Sherlock’s coat, practically a character in itself so that when Irene puts it on over her naked body, it’s sex on the screen.
I don’t think writers should spend a lot of time detailing what people are wearing in novels, but on the screen, the visual is hugely important in characterization. And Felicity’s inconsistent wardrobe flattens her character.
One “transformation” outfit I loved was Kaylee’s party dress on Firefly. It was awful and she loved it, and then all the snots at the party made fun of it and she still loved it because to her it was the most beautiful dress in the world and it made her feel like a girl and because of that, by the end of the episode, by damn that was a beautiful dress. One of the most emotional examples of costuming I’ve ever seen, enhancing character while reinforcing it.
They could do amazing things with the way they dress Felicity, not to mention the way they arc her character, but she consistently has two costume modes, Geek and Hottie. It’s demeaning and it undercuts the character. The actress was talking in an interview about how anxious she was to see where Felicity lives because that’s so important to her characterization; her clothes are equally if not more important. It’s just annoying as all hell that so many other things in this show are done so well and then the costuming is lazy.
Imagine Felicity going from T-shirts to a suit, trying to be an executive and dealing with the contrast between who she is and what she’s wearing. Think of the story detail that could come from that. The problem is, I think, that Felicity is still defined by her relationship with Oliver. We don’t know who her friends are, where she lives, where she hangs out after work, nothing. Compare her to Diggle, about whom we know a lot. I know a lot of the stuff they’re doing with Felicity is scrambling to catch up because she wasn’t part of the original plan, but she’s been around for thirty episodes. It’s time to see her as a complete character on her own, not just another woman on a CW show.
As for shirtless Oliver, yeah, they overdid that the first year. It almost seems as though the show was begun as another CW Pretty People show and then the acting and writing raised it to a different level and they’re moving up in sophistication. But Felicity’s still wearing boob-window dresses which is just dumb.
YES. THIS. BOTH OF YOUR ABOVE CLOTHES-COMMENTS. Because costume is important, that’s why costume design is a job in the first place and often a hugely important one at that.
And I will admit that I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of Arrow (the very first two which have made me wary of watching more because Laurel annoys me), but I love seeing the Felicity/Oliver stuff online because they seem so right together. And then all of a sudden there’s masses of cleavage and skin and slathered on make-up. And I got confused because, as someone who only knows the relationship secondhand, I assumed it meant Felicity was gunning for Oliver’s attention in an unsubtle, slightly stupid way.
And I love both Kaylee’s dress and Parker’s stab moment. I cheered loudly at both (well, for Parker, it was more an “Aw honey I’m so sorry about how crazy you are but I love you so much”).
I’ve got a running joke with my husband that most guy’s stories begin with “Well, there was this girl…”
It is a prime motivation for heterosexual males.
Ha! Parker stabbing that guy with the fork was fantastic. I loved that scene. Parker’s such a fun character. I still miss her. I have no idea what CW thinks when it comes to clothes on its shows. It’s like they don’t make the correlation between character and clothes. It’s funny though because when Arrow started the complaint with Felicity was: why does she have to be a typical nerd girl, awkward and socially inept and “badly dressed?” Why can’t she be smart and sexy? All shows do this… And then Arrow went and changed it and it’s the opposite argument. I like the geeky but it’s CW so I sigh. I think, of all the shows that do the best job with clothes and character, it’s CBS. Elementary has some of the best wardrobes around.
What’s sad is it’s not all CW shows, or at least not all the time on some of them (especially in the olden days when it was less ‘Pretty People’ and more ‘Interesting People Who Also Happen To Be Pretty’). Supernatural used to do a wonderful job with clothing. At the start, Dean wore layers and layers of nice-but-serviceable guy clothes, while Sam looked more like a regular suburban college student. Then as time went on Sam’s outfits became more like Dean’s, all these clothes that are comfortable and sort of nice and can be worn for ages, as befits two brothers who essentially live in their car. And the characters themselves understand the importance of costume–they have a selection of suits, priest’s outfits, etc., that live in the car so they can change instantly into authority figures.
Veronica Mars also did a good job with clothing. In flashbacks to life before everything went to hell, Veronica’s clothes would be softer, more traditionally feminine, maybe some pastel coloring, while her regular clothes were darker, more severe, and looked more like what you would find on a teenaged BAMF than on a teenaged girl. They also consciously color coded the outfits of her two main love interests for the first season (not so much the second, because Interest #1 left).
How I Met Your Mother, though not a CW show, also does pretty well on making clothes part of the character. Barney with his suits is obvious, but they also had a subplot for how Lily always wore designer outfits, usually never the same one twice, even though she wasn’t supposed to be hugely wealthy. After a couple of seasons, it was revealed that Lily was in massive, horrific credit card debt because she could not stop buying clothes. They took what could have been just another example of sitcoms not recognizing that real people have finite wardrobes and a finite budget for clothes and turned it into a feature of her character.
I get the Felicity dressing up and stepping it up a notch though. Anyone who has ever had a crush on a coworker finds themselves caring a lot more about how they look. But you’re right that Felicity’s look was too dramatically changed. Plus, I love the button-up shirt and pencil skirt look on her! Stephan Amell mentioned Felicity’s new sexy look when asked about changes in Season 2, and it would have been funny if Oliver and Diggle mentioned/noticed since it is quite obvious. I think that would have be rather funny.
To me it would appear they are setting up Oliver and Felicity as more than a “just a barrier they’re developing for the canon romance” of Oliver and Laurel. A perfect example is the kiss that did not happen. It’s too soon. They are doing with Oliver and Felicity what they did not do with Oliver and Laurel. They are telling the story.
I think another good indication of this is the women in Oliver’s life. It they were a mere roadblock I believe Felicity would have been given the same treatment as Sarah, Helena, McKenna, Shado, Isabel, etc. No buildup. No story. They were just together. Still wondering how the whole Shado thing developed. Anyway, they are making Felicity rootable.
There are other little things I’ve noticed in Season 2… Felicity saying “Stay with me” off camera and out of sight followed by Ghost Shado saying the exact same thing on camera. Felicity putting the mask on Oliver and saying he looked like a hero. There are more example of this. It’s in the details.
I hope I’m not seeing things that aren’t there and it’s just wishful thinking on my part.
I loved your article!
To add to my comment, it would seem that the show runners have a hard enough task to make Oliver and Laurel rootable/likeable already. Adding a more rootable/likeable barrier (Oliver/Felicity) makes no sense.
One of the things that cracks me up about this show is that Oliver is a distant loner who meets more women than most guys meet in singles bars. Even Isabel delivered to his hotel room. Of course, they all turn out to be disasters, but still, Ollie gets a lot of action for somebody who runs a company and a bar by day and shoots bad guys by night. Excellent multi-tasking.
(It should be noted that Laurel is still supposed to be Oliver’s One True Love. I have no idea what show the people who keep saying that are watching, but I don’t think it’s this one.) — I want to applaud you for that one.
Thank you so much for this in depth analysis on why first meets are so important for a romantic arc. Oliver and Felicity’s first meet is memorable, while his first meet (again) with Laurel is rather… forgettable.
I hope you include Arrow in more of your articles in the future. Perhaps after season 2 has come to an end…?
I have notes on why the series works as a whole. Lately I’m fascinated by the way TV works–Arrow, Person of Interest, Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Blacklist, Leverage, Life on Mars, Life–so I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with a full series analysis on what the writers are doing here. They’ve made some dumb mistakes but they’re very light on their feet, so they’ve made some brilliant saves, too.
One of my favorite things with Leverage is when it comes to the topic of coming up with new ideas. Writers are always worried about something “new” and original when Leverage is an updated A-Team with an Ocean’s 11 flare. I wish they’d have done better with it that final season. I think it could have lasted longer. *cue Leverage mourning*
The smartest thing a storyteller on TV can so is, when a story arc is done, end the series. The UK’s Life on Mars is sixteen episodes, and the BBC was willing to go for more, but they agreed with the show runners, start strong, end strong, and because of that the show is legendary. I wouldn’t be making fun of The Mentalist now if they’d ended the series when Jane shot Bradley Whitford as Red John. I loved some of the Leverage last season shows, but a perfect ending would have been “The Last Dam Job” when they defeated Victor, the bastard who’d brought them together in the beginning. That was a beautiful story arc.
That was so good! That’s exactly where I thought they should have ended it too. It was a great strong point and a perfect bow out. So many shows stay too long. I kind of admire the ones with the guts to say, “That’s it. We’re done. We know you want more but if we do, we don’t think it will stay quality.” Justified (FX) just recently made that type of announcement.
You are a fantastic writer. I found “The Problem with Felicity Smoak” online through fan boards, but after reading it, I started reading other essays on your blog…and then I went to Amazon to order your books. I can’t wait to read more from you!
Oh, thank you.
You are going to love her books! Which ones did you get?
I totally recommend Agnes and the Hitman. I think that’s one of my favorites. LOL. I’m such a bloodthirsty little thing.
Yes, the 3 I use to hook people are “Agnes and the Hitman”, “Bet Me”, and “Welcome to Temptation” depending on what they tell me they like. All are fabulous!
“Bet Me” will be my maiden voyage.
Thanks for all the suggestions, I’ll look the rest up. 🙂
Yay! A new convert/friend. Welcome.
And I second the question–which ones did you get? Or rather, which one are you going to read first?
this was a great read indeed! i love how you analyse the dynamics of that first meet and most recent one! and the relationship arc in between those two.
sometimes its hard for me to put into words why i fell for felicity , and here you are putting words to my reactions and showing us we did not react out of the blue but due to a stimuli on screen
chemistry is such an elusive thing to capture on screen that i can’t imagine why the writers wouldnt pursue it to its conclusion , as for me the word i think of in regards to laurel and oliver is toxic , they’re not good together they bring out the worst in each other and make each other worse , they hurt people when they’re together and that shouldnt be the case ! from the onset even in flashback they’ve alway had a negative impact on each other, he cheated on her with her sister and likely other people
now i have a question , you’re a writer and the arrow show has writers , explain what could they possibly have been thinking giving laurel and oliver such a toxic background ?
to me its their fault they sabotaged that relationship before it even started , and they had months of prep work doing the pilot etc and none thought “this isn’t going to work /it won’t be well received”
i’m really curious about that …i knew this show was going to try the laurel/oliver route in this new version as that did not take organically in smallville world where that oliver queen ended up falling in love with clark kent computer whizz sidekick chloe sullivan
and comic fans weren’t happy but smallville fans who had watched these two relationship unfold over the years were over the moon as they had great chemistry and it just felt natural
i was willing to like laurel and oliver , well give them a go out of good-will but those first few episodes were like drowning in a lake in antartica and then felicity happened and i never looked back nor care too , she was unexpected and yet it felt more right and more real than anything else , she allowed us a connection with oliver
i’m def in for the long haul , i’d love to see them recall years later how they met !
One of the things I like about the Oliver characterization is that the writers are working against the hero stereotype. Oliver in the past was a selfish bastard, and the show really pulls no punches in setting that up. I think a lot of it in the beginning is showing that Oliver is his father’s son, and his father is the guy who would shoot a surviving crewman and then himself so that Oliver will live to right his wrongs. Not to save the son he loves, although he obviously does, but to send his son back to fix his legacy. It’s a selfish move that is right in line with a lot of the stuff that Oliver does, most notable letting Diggle down to answer Laurel’s call. So Oliver’s arc is away from being his father’s son and toward being his own man. You want a great arc, you start low, and sleeping with your girlfriend’s sister and causing her death (except she survives) is pretty low.
To tie that to the romance arc, they start as far away from a happy ending as possible,and then through growth and character change establish a new relationship, this one not built on hormones, money, and good times. It could have worked if it had been done differently.
This brings up an issue I have with a story I’ve been trying to work on. My hero is just so… ugh! His motivation seems so non-hero/self-serving/selfish at the beginning, so I keep second guessing it. Grrrrr.
All motivations are selfish at base. Even the mother who sacrifices her life for her child does it because she can’t live in a world without her child. That doesn’t mean that people don’t sacrifice for each other, aren’t noble. But human nature means there’s always something in it for them. The key is in how they implement that motivation. For example, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be rich. There’s something wrong with exploiting people, lying, cheating, stealing, and above all there’s a lot wrong with hurting people. If your hero wants to be rich and has invented a widget that will keep people warm in winter at low cost, he deserves to be rich.
The reverse is true, too. A hero who wants to alleviate the grossly uneven distribution of wealth in this country is admirable; if he blows up buildings to do it, he’s scum.
No goal or motivation ever has a clear moral definition outside of its context. Hitler wanted to help Germany recover when its inflation levels were so obscene people were starving. Good goal, inhumanly evil context and implementation. Jenny McCarthy wanted to prevent autism so she spread the idea that vaccines cause autism; good goal and motivation, terrible context and outcome.
Actually, some of the greatest villain-antagonists in storytelling have noble goals and motivations; that’s what makes their drive to achieve those goals so strong. And some of the best hero-protagonists (male and female) have had ignoble goals and through the struggles of the plot, have risen to greatness, character arc. (I give you Han Solo.)
Hm. Hans Solo is a really great example. I think that is my fear with this hero, that his actions are more exploiting, little caring for the impact of it on the heroine, who of course he doesn’t know at the time, but still. It feels self-serving and I keep circling around it wondering if it’s as ugly as I think it is. I think at this point I’m hyper sensitive about it and over-thinking it. That’s a trend with me lately. LOL. Over-thinking the writing. Grrrr.
I think usually in good stories, eventually the hero or heroine is brought to a situation where the stark self-interest comes into conflict with what is Right. They may have previously done good things motivated by blatant self-interest, but sooner or later they face a choice where good and self-interest diverge. In the case of Han, he was led onto the path of Good by self-interest (making the money to pay off Jabba meant getting Luke, Obi Wan and Leia safely back to the Rebel base) but eventually he makes the choice to come back and help them even though it works against his original self-interest.
I”m a visual person. I have visual memory and because of ‘event’s’ that has happened in my life, I have had to learn to read people fast as a ‘survival’ mechanism. Putting what I see and/or feel into writing though is the hardest thing. With this post, you’ve basically put into words what I’ve not only seen but what my gut was saying. Brilliant words of deduction.
I remember in season one Mr. Amell went to CC in San Diego and did quite a few interviews. There was one with the THR where along with other actors from ‘Bones’ ‘Dexter’ ‘Fringe’ ‘Once upon a time’ ‘Elementary’ they shared experiences in their lives and Joshua (Fringe) said something about how ‘you can’t fake chemistry…the audience and fans are no fools’ to which the camera panned to Stephen and his expression was priceless. With that in mind, I viewed other videos of him interacting with Katie on other panels and Cons…they just don’t have it…in one instance, she was talking and Stephen didn’t even look at her. As opposed to when he did interviews with EBR, Stephen not only looks at Emily but he always smiles. On the other hand Emily seems to have a great deal of respect for him. (In her tweets she calls him Mr. Amell) which is so cool. This comes through on screen as well.
Glad I’ve found you and your blog. Hope you don’t mind but from now on, I’ll be following your posts with great interest.
We’re delighted to have you on Argh. Welcome.
When was this so called ‘THR’ group interview shoot?? Could you give more reference to it..It sounds interesting and the ONLY panel/interview I’ve come across is the one at comic-con???
CW will force the relationship of O/L down the viewers throat, no-matter what and even going as far as KILLING off the likable/great actress that plays BC*present* just to give L the role.
I honestly DON’T get why the writers/producers/Exec STILL, will insist on a O/L pairing TILL the end! URGH!
As for this article..I LOVE IT..I loved the FIRST ONE(The PROBLEM that is FS) and I loved this one, and hope to see more from you..
Amazing article and it really summed up why I always felt so distant with Lauriver (Laurel/Oliver), yet with Olicity it just seemed to click. Thinking of that, I also remembered the first time I REALLY rooted for Sara, and that was after she met Felicity and in typical Felicity fashion, she rambled, and Sara’s response was a smile and “You’re cute.” I have been rooting for a Sara/Felicity friendship ever since. (Funny enough, those two also have chemistry with each other and I can seriously see them being best friends.)
What I want to know is what you thought of Laurel and Felicity’s first meeting? Because you have a point in stating that sometimes they use a character we like as a device to prop us up to characters we should/should not like, i.e. Sara and Isabel.
Yet the first time we saw Laurel and Felicity together… Felicity complimented her and rambled, calling her “gorgeous Laurel” and clearly just respecting her, yet Laurel had this… indescribable expression on her face. As if she was trying to figure out who Felicity was and who she was to Oliver instead of focusing on the actual meeting of Felicity. And it happened again in the party scene in season 2, when Felicity asked Laurel if she could talk to Oliver alone.
So… why do you think the writers haven’t attempted to make the bridge between Felicity and Laurel a little clearer? A little nicer? If the words “You’re cute” were enough to make me love Sara, should the writers have done more with the Laurel/Felicity first meeting?
Just wondering… Thanks again!
First of all, i want to say thank you for that great article.
That’s said, i believe Sara was already likable since the roof scene. She was obviously caring for Oliver and the connection between them was more than nice to watch.
This feeling remained at the Queen’s mansion and become stronger with Felicity inter action.
Even though I don’t watch Arrow (I’m not a big TV viewer) I loved reading this, watching the videos, and thinking about writing those first meets. I have a manuscript that has proven difficult to write. Several times I’ve walked away and said that I was done, and that I would never finish the darn thing. Now I realize there were two scenes where I had that niggling thought that something didn’t ring true. I glossed over them, or buried the thought and moved on with the writing. You know I’m going to say it, but it’s true, it’s the first meet. (Or re-meet as they have a past history.) I think I tried to make the story sexier, but…it was too soon. For both of them. They deserve better. Thanks so much for this. I love the way your brain works. : )
I like your brain, too, Roben.
I think part of the problem with first meets is that we know where they’re going to end up, so there’s a temptation to rush it because we’ve already made that journey for them in our heads. The key is that the reader hasn’t.
Exactly. And if my characters had done the deed on first re-meet, and were true to character, they both would have recoiled. They’d have run a mile in opposite direction. Ha ha. So, yeah, some word hacking and chopping happened yesterday. More today. BUT, I took that first trimmed, slightly reworded sex scene and moved it to the end of the story, so no real harm done in losing valuable words. And the story has gained more tension…of the good kind. ; )
After this last episode of Arrow tonight I now have a whole new problem with the romance angle on this show. The whole island revelation between Oliver and his ex’s sister came as a surprise to me. How am I supposed to, as a reader/viewer, want the hero (Oliver) with a woman (the ex girlfriend) who knew about her sister’s crush, manipulated them apart, then took advantage of the situation so she, herself, could start dating Oliver? Flash forward to the future… How can I NOT want Oliver to end up with Felicity who seems to be a nice, caring, loyal, trustworthy person? The ex has now taken the role of Mean Girl in need of comeuppance. Now I feel like I’m reading a romance thinking, wait, she can’t win! No!
Unless, of course, Sara was lying (which on this show she totally could have been) but I’m stumped on why she’d be lying and what she’d get out of it in that time. Had to toss that option in there as well. But I think we’re supposed to like Sara. Granted this is island, tortured, not-sure-where-she-stands-yet Sara but still.
I saw this also. As a viewer it made me like the ex’s character even less and made me think a little differently about the ex’s sister. I loved the question the poster above posted about the first meetings of Felicity/Laurel and Felicity/Sarah. (I hope it gets answered.) Coupled with the Felicity/Sarah interaction, this new revelation seems like audience is suppose to root for her.
I can’t find the question you’re asking about. Ask again?
I won’t get the latest episode until tomorrow, so you all are on your own talking about it until then.
“On January 22, 2014 at 11:41 am Maya said…
Amazing article and it really summed up why I always felt so distant with Lauriver (Laurel/Oliver), yet with Olicity it just seemed to click. Thinking of that, I also remembered the first time I REALLY rooted for Sara, and that was after she met Felicity and in typical Felicity fashion, she rambled, and Sara’s response was a smile and “You’re cute.” I have been rooting for a Sara/Felicity friendship ever since. (Funny enough, those two also have chemistry with each other and I can seriously see them being best friends.)
What I want to know is what you thought of Laurel and Felicity’s first meeting? Because you have a point in stating that sometimes they use a character we like as a device to prop us up to characters we should/should not like, i.e. Sara and Isabel.
Yet the first time we saw Laurel and Felicity together… Felicity complimented her and rambled, calling her “gorgeous Laurel” and clearly just respecting her, yet Laurel had this… indescribable expression on her face. As if she was trying to figure out who Felicity was and who she was to Oliver instead of focusing on the actual meeting of Felicity. And it happened again in the party scene in season 2, when Felicity asked Laurel if she could talk to Oliver alone.
So… why do you think the writers haven’t attempted to make the bridge between Felicity and Laurel a little clearer? A little nicer? If the words “You’re cute” were enough to make me love Sara, should the writers have done more with the Laurel/Felicity first meeting?
Just wondering… Thanks again!”
I think you have to be careful about overthinking and overwriting when you’re working on a story. My guess is, it’s in Sarah’s personality to say, “You’re cute,” and it’s in Laurel’s personality not to. The whole “you’re cute” thing could easily be patronizing; it assumes a closeness that’s not there yet. Laurel wouldn’t cross that line; Sarah would without meaning to patronize (I’m guessing, based on what I’ve seen of both characters).
So my guess is that a brief exchange like that was probably based on the kind of thing the character would say rather than any subtext.
But this new thing is very deliberate characterization because it’s so elaborate. And it actually makes Laurel a lot more interesting to me. Laurel as perfectly beautiful, perfectly good is just cardboard. Devious Laurel, driven Laurel, Laurel with some emotions . . . that has potential. Probably not with Oliver at this point, but it puts an interesting slant on the whole Original Guilt thing. Before Oliver was Laurel’s boyfriend who seduced her little sister. Now he’s a chew toy in a tug of war between two determined sisters. This is good stuff.
Wait, Laurel manipulated Sarah and Oliver apart before she started dating him? (Yes, I am sixteen, thank you.) I haven’t seen this episode yet, but ye gods, if the writers put that in there, Roy’s not the only person on this show who just took an arrow to the knee.
Sarah had a crush on Ollie. Laurel knew. Tommy was throwing a party and Sarah snuck out of the house because she knew Ollie was going to be there. Laurel got jealous and told their dad. Cops raided the party. As a result Sarah was grounded for a month. It was during this time that Ollie and Laurel started seeing each other.
Sarah told this story to Oliver on the Island. Oliver said that that didn’t sound like Laurel to which Sarah relied that people are not always what they seemed.
This scene had me thinking about what the writers intended for us to take from this. It changes how we think the whole Ollie/Laurel/Sarah thing went down.
Oh good, Sasha, you caught that too! Sara told that story and, while I’m a fan of the ex girlfriend, that story caught me off guard. I love complex characters wwith layers but that just took my opinion of the Laurel and shoved it down further than it already was.
And yes, Jenni. That is exactly the story Arrow put out last night. Laurel (not dating Oliver yet but aware of her sister’s massive crush on Oliver) manipulated Sarah and Oliver apart and got her sister in trouble and grounded by having the cops bust up the party. By the time she was free again, Laurel and Oliver had begun dating. I just recoiled in an instant. I mean, what woman hasn’t – at some point in her life – experienced this kind of person? They don’t become our friends. They become enemies/people we know to never trust and to always avoid. I’m supposed to invest in that? I’m supposed to root for present day Hero Oliver to be with her?
I talked to some guys after the show who had no issue with it whatsoever. “Oh, I’ve run into lots of girls like that. Oh well.” The women I talked to were angry. “They’re supposed to be sisters! You don’t DO that to your sister! Over some jerky guy!? No!” And then there were those who dismissed it with, “Well Oliver slept with Sara while dating Laurel so he’s just as bad so how can you want him with Felicity and yet not want him with Laurel?” to “it’s out of character for Laurel so I don’t believe it and Sarah’s a liar!” I argue the last one because I found that whole we should move in together scene in season 1 was very manipulative, and again… why would Sara lie?
Arrow to the knee, indeed. Ouch.
Darn typos! That should have been: ….while I’m NOT a fan of the ex girlfriend, that story caught me off guard.
I don’t know, it seems like the whole addiction storyline was suppose to make her seem less perfect, give her layers, make her more interesting. Finding out that she ratted out her sister over a guy did not make me more interested in her character. It seems like she cared more about Ollie than her sister. But when Oliver came back she hated him, but loved her sister. Seriously, the girl was not even happy he was alive. I just do not feel any genuine emotion from this character. She’s cold, so she leaves me cold.
I think if there’s evidence of character growth, it’s forgivable. That is, Oliver-in-the-past was a rat bastard. Being tortured on an island for five years gives him time to ponder things. The same thing could be true for Laurel, tortured by her sister’s death, it’s just not on the screen. It’s really fascinating how badly Laurel’s character is when the rest of the characters are so good. I can only assume that they thought the actress’s beauty would carry it and didn’t give her any way to make the character breathe. All Laurel ever does is make speeches which would have to be hell to make interesting and dimensional. And yet they wrote that throwaway first scene for Felicity with babbling and suspicion. Even if the actors hadn’t had chemistry and even if Rickard hadn’t really taken that one minute as far as she could get it, the dialogue and characterization the writers gave her was ten times better than anything they’d given Laurel. Even when Laurel was sympathetic in her scenes with Tommy, she still had the flattest dialogue in the cast. I really think the character is a failure of writing made worse by cold acting. There were a million ways to make that character interesting. Now it feels like they’re throwing everything against the wall to see if it sticks. Drug addiction! She knows Blood’s secret! She stole her sister’s boyfriend before her sister stole the same guy from her! And none of it really matters because I still can’t connect to the character. The most emotional involvement I’ve had with Laurel was in the last episode because the actress is looking so ill.
If I were writing this in a novel, I’d just accept that the character was an unpleasantly perfect do-gooder and turn her into a vigilante, one of those ends-justify-the-means people where she starts offing the people she thinks are the bad guys. Make her the dark version of Arrow, which come to think of it, would practically be a black hole; Oliver’s not exactly Bright Arrow.
Great comment! This is exactly how I feel towards the character. I assume you watched last night’s episode. I felt like it was a last ditch effort to save the character. (The rest of the episode suffered from it. I noticed more plot holes than usual. ) I do think it’s primarily the writing, but the actress could deliver some of the lines a little bit softer. You’re right, no character growth. Laurel still seems just as cold and bitter as she did last season. When Oliver met her on the roof as Arrow, the first thing she said was “You’re late (in the most unpleasant tone).” I’m like, really? After she almost got him killed and HE was doing HER a favor. I probably had more problems with this line then the whole sister thing, lol. I’ve tried with this character.
I think it’s pretty gutsy on the part of the writers to bring the character so low. It should push her to the edge. The edge of what, I don’t know, and at this point don’t care as long as Oliver doesn’t go back to her and drag down this terrific show with a lot of I-have-to-save-her stuff. Laurel hitting bottom and coming back on her own could be great; Oliver lugging her dead weight through the rest of the season, not so much. Nice save on Blood’s part, too, although at some point, somebody has to say, “If he’s innocent, why did somebody break in and steal his file?” Also, yay for Roy getting some kind of control, and good for Sin for getting him help and Thea for sticking with him. That’s a subplot with a lot of juice in it. Extra points for Sin and Thea not being jealous of each other.
Oh, excellent post, excellent embeds — I’m really going to have to see if my DVD store carries Arrow.
I have to put this disclaimer up: all I know of the story is these three clips, and what I picked up in the comments. Looking at the clips, I really see this as a workplace partnership. I don’t see so much romance. There’s a second there, just when the shoulder grasp happens, that things are held a little too long (copulatory gaze), but the moment passes, and I don’t see any signs of regret or “whew, dodged that bullet!” that I would expect to see if they are secretly pining for each other.
Workplace chemistry has been around for a long time — those hardboiled detectives had the super-wonderful, sexy secretaries that they didn’t dare mess with because they knew She was the one who kept the agency going. (I’m sure some of those turned into real romances, but I think a lot of them stayed as mutual respect.)
Men and women have shared the workplace for decades, and it would be very nice to see more male/female buddy partnerships, where co-workers don’t have the hots for each other, but respect and even love each other in a platonic fashion.
I can see a woman writer pulling this off with a female audience.
However, I don’t know how men would think about it. It seems like the overwhelming pop consensus is that men want to have sex with everything, and even a “platonic” relationship is only platonic because the guy is reining in his desires so he doesn’t screw up the friendship. That said, sex isn’t romance.
Reading the comments though, it looks like the writers really are trying to set up a secondary love interest. In the clips, Oliver has a history of cheating, so maybe it really is a legitimate romance, only this time Oliver is being the good guy and not cheating (although it sounds like fans would like Oliver to be honorable by dumping Laurel).
One final silly thing — every time I see Oliver/Laurel, I flash to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Did the original writers see the couple as a really dark comedy team? Or is my brain just finding really weird patterns?
The original writers started seventy years ago, and I think she was called Dinah then. But I’m not sure.
Yeah, stuff happened in those intervening thirty episodes that definitely put a romance subtext here.
When the show started, I was tweeting with a fan of the comics. This led me into Wikipedia. Dinah Drake was the original Black Canary and she loved and married Larry Lance, a detective. Due to comic book story restarts, there became two Black Canarys in different timelines/universes and it got explained by the second one being Dinah Laural Lance, the daughter of the original Black Canary and Det. Lance. Dinah Laurel Lance meets Oliver Queen & they fall in love and get married but in a very convoluted way with many stops and restarts and at least one imposter wedding… Truly the DC universe is a soap for super heros and super villains. There was also weirdness with a kid and another woman. I forget some of it.
It has been fun learning about some of the villains and how the arrow writers are translating them into the tv show.
Wow! 70 years? That sounds like a lot of story . . . .
Perhaps this is one of the problems with doing fanfic (and doing remakes are basically professional fanficcing, in my opinion) — you don’t always have the freedom to follow the story because you have to stick to the canon. Or . . . do they? Can they just cut loose at this point and let Laurel and Oliver and Felicity grow into their own universe?
(-: Silly newb questions . . . I have to watch these shows.
Felicity was never part of the Green Arrow story. They’ve made a lot of changes, so yes, I think they can. What I’m finding most interesting is what they’re doing with the character of Laurel right now. They’re clearly trying to reboot her. As a writer, I find that fascinating to watch. We do it all the time in rewrites on novels, but we do it quietly and nobody watches. These writers are doing it in front of millions (no exaggeration) of very critical fans. There’s a high wire act for you.
I completely agree. I watched some of the recent Stephen Amell interviews, and before the Barry episode aired, he was on the “Oliver is jealous” side. In his most recent People’s Choice (I believe) interview, he says he doesn’t think Oliver is jealous; that he wants Felicity to be happy. He says this with a smile like he’s trying to convince everyone, or like maybe he’s been coached into saying it. And then, in another USA Today interview, he talks about how dynamic a future Laurel/Oliver scene is. It all reeks of damage control to me!
Unfortunately, they are fighting a losing battle, in my opinion. Even if they managed to unravel the Black Canary storyline with more finesse than how they set up the love story, I don’t see how they are going to create chemistry where it doesn’t exist. I find Stephen Amell’s acting least convincing when he is opposite Katie Cassidy, like in the scene where he says he wanted to die so many times, but in the end, there was something he wanted more. That’s a line that SHOULD have made me melt, and yet there was nothing beneath it. He may as well have been reading directly from a script. In comparison, opposite Emily Bett Rickards, it’s like he is always trying to stifle a laugh or a smile. And, it makes me wonder if they write in the script how often he is supposed to touch her shoulder or her arm. It happens VERY often.
I am conflicted about whether to continue to invest in this “ship” because, while I only tuned in to one season of Smallville, I am well aware of the Chloe Sullivan character and how that turned out. The difference, I tell myself, is that I don’t recall Tom Welling and Allison Mack having the crazy chemistry of Stephen Amell and Emily Bett, nor did the writers bother fanning the flames as much as they seem to be doing on Arrow. Of course, the concern is they are fanning it to keep us tuned in, only to pull the rug out from under us when Oliver ends up with Laurel.
I really hope the Arrow EP and writers know about your site and are visiting it! The intelligent discussions and insights you have, coupled with a deep understanding and knowledge of how these things are supposed to work, need to be put out there!
He said Oliver wasn’t jealous? Poor guy, the show runners are giving him whiplash. That was clearly written and clearly played as jealousy, other characters even commented on it. He’s the lead spokesman for the show and he usually does such a careful, positive job of it; they must have changed the party line on him.
I’d pay to hear the meetings behind the scenes. They have a show that is universally admired with one character who is described as “problematic” or worse in nearly every article written about the show. (I really do feel for Cassidy on this; it has to be brutal.) It’s not a show that’s squeamish about killing off characters or changing the source material, so I’d love to know why they’re trying to save the character. They may have Laurel woven into the master plan so completely that they’d have to do a major reconception of the show to cut her loose, and if so, I feel their pain. I’m in a similar place with You Again, looking at sixty thousand words and thinking, “So I’m going to have to trash about 50,000 words here.” I’ve been denying that for about ten years, so I’m not throwing stones.
I was thinking about this last night (working on character lectures/comments for McDaniel), about how I’d feel about the story if they pushed Laurel back into girlfriend mode, and I realized that the stuff I’d been saying about character maps, about how characters are gears, is really the key here. I love this show and its outrageous plot lines, I’m not just in it for Oliver and Felicity, but if Laurel becomes important again, Oliver’s romantic lead, that means Felicity has been rejected which would make me angry on that reader/viewer involvement level, it would mean that Oliver has made a bad choice (that whole if a character likes somebody we don’t like, our estimation of him falls), it would mean that I have to watch Laurel a lot more which cuts down on the pleasure of watching the show, and at that point, I don’t know if the fun of watching Roy become the Red Arrow or seeing Sarah as the Black Canary, or the team take on Slade, all great stuff, is enough to balance Oliver being such a masochist as to go back to Laurel. I think a show can survive if it’s pretty good without any parts that people actually hate (something like Teen Wolf), but I’m not sure viewers will stick around if a show is part terrific and part oh-please-not-this. There’s only so many times in a program you can go out for popcorn to avoid a character/story line. I think it works in novels, possibly, because people can just skip the boring parts (although the parts people actively hate are probably harder to deal with), but film is harder unless you can easily fast forward through the parts that make you want to throw things at the screen. And if Laurel is really woven through the story, if she’s not only the love interest but she’s going to take the Black Canary from Sarah and become part of the team, that might do it for me. She’d be too integral to the story to avoid.
She needs a reboot because the season one version was too stupid to live, with the one kick ass exception in the night club early on. Otherwise, TSTL over and over again.
She (the character, not the actress) is just so unlikable that she poisons every scene she’s in. Even the last episode when they pretty much stripped her character down to rebuild her–I’m still fascinated by that as a writer, doing that IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY so they can see the reboot–she was still one cold woman. Isabel has more warmth than Laurel. I know I harp on this but VULNERABILITY. They’re pretty much made Laurel hit bottom, and she’s still not vulnerable, no matter how much the character pleads and cries. I just don’t buy it. And I’m wondering if it’s because after a year and a half, it doesn’t matter what she says, I feel as though I know who that character is, and she’s basically cold and arrogant and self-serving, so now that she’s in trouble, of course she begs and weeps.
I think you can change character perceptions in a long-running narrative, but you have to do it through action, and the character’s actions are still awful. She says she loves her dad, but she stole his pain pills while he was recovering from an injury and was still in pain. Who does that? If the injury had healed and he had some left over tossed in a drawer, I wouldn’t have blinked, but they showed Quentin still in pain and without his meds. Yeah, I know addicts do that, but she’s a district attorney with money and rich druggie friends. She could have gotten pills anywhere. She asks Oliver to meet her, and when he does, her first words are, “You’re late.” She just assumes she comes first.
I really do not like that character. I try to separate it from the actress who is really being given a thankless job, but then the actress gives interviews and sounds just like the character–“Bring it, Felicity, Laurel’s got this”–and I think, “Really? You’re really like that?” Because that could explain a lot. Bad characterization is a large part of this, but the way a film of ice forms on the screen whenever that character shows up is part of it, too.
I am still catching up with the comments, but I had to make a quick comment on this (your statement of still not connecting with Laurel). This is it! I felt like this episode was constructed with the sole purpose of giving Laurel a purpose — the weakest character = weakest episode to date. I still really don’t care for her, if anything I am a little frustrated that they wasted a whole episode on this character and I still feel nothing. GAH! I was hoping the writers could pull something off, but if anything it just made me more indifferent. Where can they be going with her? My theory is that she will in fact turn into a villain. But see even with that, I would still be indifferent. I have more sympathy and excitement for the big bad Deathstroke than I do Laurel. Who knows though, maybe I could care for her as some evil doer …
The one thing I do like about Laurel is that she’s implacable. If she wants to stop you seeing a guy she likes, she calls in the police. If she wants you arrested, she waits for you in a dark office with a SWAT team. I’d love to see her team up with Slade and take over. The fact that she has no sense of humor would be a plus there.
I have to add to my previous comment, because like I said, I’m playing catch up with all of these fantastic comments! But you hit the nail on the head with “I just can’t buy it!” and I really have to wonder WHY are they going through this effort for a character that has ZERO chemistry with the rest of the cast. I mentioned in the above comment about having more sympathy for Deathstroke/Slade and you yourself brought up Isabel as well. I don’t trust her, but I GET her. There is a huge difference — the character meshes with the story and Summer is fantastic as the cold bitch. I thought perhaps they are going to make Laurel a villain, but I happened to think, I LIKED Slade before his downward spiral, I FEEL for him and his love for Shado. I feel NOTHING for Laurel.
I, too, have been reflecting on why I preferred Oliver and Felicity. Upon reviewing their first few scenes (the first meet was great, but so is the scene where he and Diggle ask Felicity to do a spectral analysis on vertigo in a syringe…Oliver says “I’m very particular about what I put in my body,” to which Felicity responds, “I noticed. I mean, not noticed, right?” The camera pans to Oliver who actually laughs, like the actor just couldn’t help it (imagine a blooper reel, only in this case, Stephen Amell manages to salvage his reaction and finish the scene). As I went through the scenes, I realized that Oliver and Felicity are interesting because we are watching them get to know each other, versus Oliver and Laurel wherein we are TOLD that they love each other and there is a lot of history there. Yet the more we learn about their relationship, the more impossible it becomes to root for them.
Case in point, we find out Laurel suggests she and Oliver move in together, and then Oliver runs off with her sister. We are supposed to believe that he is so in love with her, and yet the very mention of living with her sends him into another woman’s arms! Then there is that revelation in the last episode that Laurel told on her sister to get her grounded so that she could start dating Oliver (which definitely makes Laurel more interesting, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t make me root for her and Oliver when it seems there is so much deception at the foundation of their relationship). Add to that, unfortunately, Katie Cassidy–whether it is the writing or her acting (it’s hard to tell at this point–but going through her previous roles as a demon on Supernatural, which I watched, and what I assume as-a-not-so-nice-person in the reboot of Melrose Place, which I did not watch, casting her as a love interest we were all supposed to fall in love…well, she doesn’t have very much experience in the sweetheart role). Add to that, in all the episodes she has been in, we know barely anything about her, versus what we have learned about Felicity (who dyes her hair, is Jewish, went to MIT, is allergic to peanuts, etc.)
At the end of the day, it’s no fun to root for a relationship you never saw develop, with one person you don’t really know and therefore can’t root for. It seems to me, based on Stephen Amell’s latest USA Today interview, that we may have seen the end of Olicity for the time being (he teases Oliver/Laurel moments), and that the writers are possibly trying to salvage Laurel’s character and the canon relationship. The problem is, it’s too late. Oliver may still be trying to figure out what Olicity fans already know for sure: we’re in love with Felicity.
You noticed actress who plays Laurel was looking sickly too? I missed this week’s episode but even last week she looked wrong/off. I will catch up never fear even though I read the comments & thus the spoiler.
The writing is excellent and I am 100% in favor of the Good Guy Takes Down Greedy 1% Evil motif, but I would be lying through my teeth if I said that a smoking hot Taurus being a bad ass — with or without his shirt — did not hook my viewer loyalty.
Based on the recent developments I want to say the writers will give Olicity a chance. However, listening to Stephen Amell hyping all the Lauriver scenes makes me wary, (however, this proves that it’s kind of sad they need to talk about how great a scene is to get people invested in it) maybe the show runners are telling him to say that stuff? At the end of the day, it’s really up to the CW and they usually listen to fans and what they want. What amazes me is that Arrow wasn’t meant to be a romantic show, Lauriver was their main pairing and fulfilled the romantic aspect that a tv show must have, we were just supposed to accept that. Then, Felicity came along and suddenly Olicity is one of the most talked about couples in years, showing up in articles, polls, top ten lists, and talk shows. I don’t think it is possible to under estimate the immense media presence of this couple. That being said, I have no idea if Lauriver is still the way they plan to go (it actually seems like this time around Laurel is not being used as the love interest). Also, that whole speech about being partners that Oliver gave to Felicity at the end of 2×10 shouldn’t be taken lightly, Oliver is not a man who easily admits he needs someone (Stephen and Emily executed that scene perfectly). What are your thoughts on Olicity and the show’s recent developments? Everyone, please chime in, I really want to know!
I think there is a very slim chance that Olicity is going to be endgame although i would love that more then anything. Writers/producers are so committed to salvaging Laurel as a character and her becoming BC that they are doing some pretty unusual things rather then just writing her off. That alone is very indicative. They are wiling to jeopardize show in order to save one character almost everyone hates. They are all comic fans, they all want Laurel and Oliver together and Laurel to be BC and are not backing down.
Apparently, that last scene in 2×10 was meant to be platonic (or so it is being spinned now). Amell says he and Emily wanted people to believe that–as though we are supposed to believe it was only him acknowledging how important she is to his TEAM.
I enjoy Arrow on so many levels too, but I must also confess that while I tuned in to the first few episodes with enthusiasm, the prevalence of angst and lack of levity made it easy to constantly miss episodes and not bother catching up. After reading about the Olicity phenomenon, I decided to give it another shot on Netflix. Without Felicity to bring lightness not only to interactions with Oliver, but also with Diggle, as well as adding more depth and intelligence to how The Hood “solved” crimes, I was HOOKED (who can forget the Oliver/Felicity diner scene? “It’s not how I typically get my information.” “How do you typically do it?” “I find the person…and then I put the fear of God in them until they talk…but we can try it your way.”) And I agree–if he chooses to return to Laurel–I don’t think the storyline, good as it is getting, can sustain my attention. I would hate not only that Oliver is pining over Laurel, but also that Felicity was rejected. It would change the dynamic of the show too much for me.
I have heard from a number diehard fans of the canon Green Arrow and Black Canary who have said that they are okay with changing the love story in the television show because the chemistry just isn’t there. There are those who claim that there IS chemistry between Amell and Cassidy, that the Lauriver fans are just not as vocal as the Olicity fans. I don’t doubt that there are people out there miraculously rooting for Laurel and Oliver, but I do think they are seriously outnumbered. I found a poll wherein Olicity won 85% of the vote, with only 15% for Lauriver. When you go on Youtube, there are far more videos for Oliver and Felicity than Laurel and Oliver, and when you actually watch them, there is no candle to which couple clearly deserves to be endgame. I say make Laurel the BC, but let the love story between her and Oliver go. Play to Katie Cassidy’s strengths–she’s good at cold and bitter, so use that to create a badass BC…but stop trying to convince us that’s who Oliver should be with.
And Jenni–I, too, felt for Katie Cassidy until I saw the same interview wherein she said “Bring it Felicity, Laurel’s got this” and it just turned me off. Even in her interviews, she brings no warmth into the room. Emily Bett, on the other hand, wins me over with every interview (I love the one where she admitted playing Felicity has made her more awkward in real life).
I think a lot of people are reading things into interview comments, too, that aren’t necessarily there. Amell never said anything was “platonic.” And very recent comments by a bunch of different Arrow cast/crew have made it very clear they’re away of the potential romance between Oliver and Felicity. I think what they want people to “buy” and “believe” is that Felicity is an important, integral, important part of the team not just Oliver and Diggle’s side kick ride along. She’s not his “secretary”, she’s his equal. But for me it’s what on the screen and what’s on the screen is something completely different. Where the show goes from here, who knows, but so far the writing has clearly left the window wide open for romance.
Darn it, the blog won’t let me reply to the actual comment.
Jenny said: I know I harp on this but VULNERABILITY. …her first words are, “You’re late.” …I really do not like that character.
I noticed this trend almost instantly on the show in season 1. If you go back and watch most of her scenes (if not all) they ALL start that way. Even what should have been a nice scene at the club with Oliver started with “This coffee is awful.” Then Felicity stumbles into the scene, stammers around, notes “beautiful Laurel” before saying, when asked who she is, “I’m nobody.” Compare the two women and how can you not like Felicity and want to step up to her side and be her friend?
I don’t know why (for some) strong heroine means “mean” and b*tchy, even in narrative. I mean, if the heroine is petty in her own mind, how can I ever like her? Yet Felicity is often called “weak” because she can’t physically beat someone up. Yet I find Felicity a really strong person with integrity. If I needed to pick someone for my best friend to help me out in a jam, it’d be Felicity and yeah, part of that is her vulnerabilities because I think we can all related to them. It makes her human and caring.
They see Felicity as weak? That I don’t get. She’s made Oliver back down several times. She has no problem sticking up for herself. She does have an unfortunate habit of needing to be rescued, but so do Thea and Laurel and Roy. You hang out with the Arrow, you’re gonna get rescued. It’s funny, I can understand why people are pulling for Oliver and Sarah to be a couple; it wouldn’t be my pick, but I get why they want it. But I do not see why people like Laurel, and I really would like to understand that. It’s interesting to see why people respond to one part of the story instead of another, I’d like to see what’s working narratively for her, but I’m just missing it.
Of course the only way to really evaluate the story is to ignore all the outside fan and PR stuff that swirls around it and just concentrate on the story, but my anti-Laurel bias is so strong, I don’t think I’m seeing it clearly any more even in isolation. I can’t remember when I’ve actively disliked a character more. I don’t think it’s because she’s bitchy. I adored Cordelia in Buffy from the beginning even though she was a horrible bitch. But there was so much LIFE in Cordelia, I think. She was funny in her obliviousness, but she was strong, too. And the actress was tough but she gave the character warmth. So now I’m trying to figure out why I’ll buy characters like Cordelia or Sally and Anderson on Sherlock or Root on Person of Interest, think their characters are terrible people but still be glad to see them when they show up, and then just frown when Laurel appears. Is it entertainment value, that those characters are just enjoying the hell out of being themselves and tackle being horrible with gusto? I always argue vulnerability, but those characters weren’t vulnerable for a long time and I still wanted to see them. It’s as if they show up and add color and excitement to the story, and Laurel shows up and the story gets duller, even if what’s happening is actually good story. She got a lot of good story in that last episode, and I was still hoping she’d go away.
Interesting point lots of people made in comments of the latest episode reviews online: they didn’t appreciate how everyone else had to suffer in an episode that was meant to save Laurel’s character. Diggle had how many lines? Felicity was in how many scenes? Oliver was dull and angst ridden, again. Personally, I didn’t like the last episode much. While the story of Slade as Deathstroke definitely compelling, they basically took out all the elements that makes Arrow work for me–Diggle, Felicity, and Oliver working together.
The more they move away from the central three, the weaker the center of the story is. At this point, the three of them are almost the protagonist, not just Oliver. I did really like the Roy subplot, but then I like Roy and Thea, and I think he’s about to get folded into the group. But yes, more Diggle. His subplots are always excellent. You know, he’s one of those characters who is always right, and yet he’s never insufferable about it. And it would be good to know more about Felicity, round out her character.
I think that’s the thing with the show. There’s so many characters we do like — Oliver, Felicity, Diggle, Quentin, Moira, etc — and don’t have to “work” to try to like and that we’d like to see the show focus on & give time and attention to to round out, explore, unfold backstory, etc., that I think I kind of resent when they choose to focus on a character I just feel so irritated by. I mean… I’d much rather have spent last week learning more about Felicity’s backstory or more of Diggles, or heck, Roy.
And yeah, Jenny, some argue Felicity is “weak.” I don’t see it from the media, more viewer backlash, saying she needs to be rescued on all the time (but who doesn’t on a super hero show? lol!), can’t get into physical fights, is nothing but the geek panting after Oliver, etc, etc. and yet they’ll turn around and say Laurel is a strong woman. So I dunno. I guess it just depends on your definition of strong.
I loved Cordelia. I think she did a fun “bitchy”. There was energy and I think charisma is an important part of making characters like this work. It’s like Boyd on Justified. He’s a wicked, awful character, but he’s just so much fun and in a weird, twisted way, you do understand him and his “code”. I don’t have that same reaction with Arrow. There’s no love-to-hate there. There’s no Ooh she’s on the screen, what’s she going to do now? I normally don’t do that one shows and, like mentioned above, Arrow isn’t about Oliver/Felicity for me. I enjoy so much more about the show and have from the beginning. Is that part of the annoyance? That almost everything about the show rocks and is so enjoyable so when you get this 1 aspect of it it just pulls everything else down because it’s the one character on the show that is just so blah compared to the others? I have some level of curiosity about all the characters on this show but this one person. I’ve tried and now it seems like everything the does just confirms my first reaction. Now it’s to the point I can’t even bother to try to care.
That’s a really good question.
I’m fascinated by this as a writer for so many reasons, not the least of which is the passion of the warring factions and the fact that the writers are having to work out this reboot in front of so many people. Novelists fix their problems in private and then present the finished story to the world; these people are trying to fix a character while people are shouting advice at them. I’d lose my mind.
But I think you pinpointed something in your comment: You think Cordelia and Boyd are fun even though they’re awful people. (I don’t know Boyd, but Cordelia was a riot.) For you, Laurel isn’t fun, isn’t entertaining. (Okay, for me, too, but I’m trying to be analytical here.)
The thing is, the whole downward spiral could be just as entertaining as anything else on there; Malcolm or Moira popping pills would use the scenery as a chew toy. The Huntress’s spiral into murderous rage was entertaining; Roy’s problems with his drug-induced super powers have been entertaining, I loved the Count and his batshit rampages, so why isn’t Laurel’s over-the-top rage and fall entertaining? It makes me crazy that I don’t know. The only way I can figure out how to make that character work is to turn her into a villain. I think she’d make a terrific bad guy, grabbing Blood by the throat and telling him that everybody she loves has deserted her and now she’s going to make them pay and he’s going to help her, trapping that little rat between her and Slade, not to mention giving Slade one of his goals of corrupting people Oliver cares about. I think that would make her sullen, self-involvement a strength, not a weakness. She could still beat people up, still cry all over her father, still flaunt her sense of entitlement, it would just be entertaining because of whose side she’s on. And it would be a lot better than fridging her so that Oliver has some new angst; he’s full up on angst already.
The more I think of it, the better I like it. Laurel partnering with Slade might even one-up Slade in the crazy.
I’m the same way. I NEED to know why things don’t work for me whenever I read or watch a story. Boyd, btw, is fantastically played by Walter Goggins is kind of a Felicity story too. He was supposed to be in 1 episode (the pilot) and then killed off. Instead the fan reaction was huge and he stayed. Now, what? 5 seasons later? I’d say 1/2 the show is easily devoted to Boyd each and every week. Sometimes I think I like him more than I do the hero of the show. LOL.
I’ve thought since season 1 that Laurel and Slade could be interesting good. I thought they’d have an interesting dynamic and chemistry, plus play up the opposites roles I prefer in my pairings — Slade being the rough, blunt, violent warrior and Laurel being more the prim, proper, icy lawyer.
I think it could be good to take her to the villain side. Let her go evil. Let her want revenge on the people who have wronged her and made her suffer. Let her team up with Slade. Let her get the upper hand on Blood and have it lead her to Slade & have them team up. See? THAT I’d be interested in.
As much as I fangirl over Arrow and Oliver and Felicity and have opinions on the show, I know everybody has an opinion about what should or shouldn’t be on the show and they’re not shy about sharing it with the writers, producers, and actors. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them trying to turn out a quality show with everybody shouting at them. I’m just really hoping that they’re not so blindly determined to force something in the story that’s going to take a show I love so much and just kill it. Sigh. So far they’ve done a good job but this last week made me leery.
Oh, and I LOVED The Count’s batshit craziness. Loved him. I’m so sad he died. 🙁
Somewhere there’s a Lazarus Pit. I wouldn’t count the Count out yet.
Oops, I think his name is Walton Goggins. I never get that right.
I agree with you for the part of making Laurel a “bad girl”. It will make the all storyline so much more fun even for Sara and Lance.
But i’ve been thinking and imagine Summer Glau playing that character and in my mind it was a totaly different show … so
I loved Cordelia so much, I actually rooted for her more than I did Buffy sometimes.
It’s just hard not to love her. She was HILARIOUS.
Also, Oliver said in latest episode (2×11) that he didn’t have a blind spot for Laurel any more. Because she accused Sebastian, but on this particular manner she was right. So there will be a lot of anger and blame when he finds out that she was right all along. See how the writers don’t let them ‘break up’…
While the writers seem to be hell bent on saving the Laurel character and promoting her every chance they get in interviews and such, I do think that they aren’t blind to Olicity. If Stephen and Emily can get die hard comic book fans to support Olicity than anything is possible, anything! We also need to remember that during Slade’s monologue they showed Felicity for corrupting those he loves, the writers could have easily chosen to show Laurel or the safe options Moira and Thea or maybe even Laurel and Felicity both, and yet they chose to show Felicity. That’s got to be a deliberate statement on their part.Oliver and Felicity were even nominated for the first round of people’s choice awards for best on screen chemistry before they had even hugged, let alone kiss (which still hasn’t happened). And if the the writers really are ignorant to what everyone wants and will continue with their Lauriver fest then why haven’t they let Olicity happen and then break up? They’ve got to know that the more this continues, the stronger people’s feelings about Olicity will get. At the end of the day, it’s really about what the CW wants. If the writers don’t give them what they want, then Arrow isn’t really in a safe position. And I think it’s safe to say that the CW ships Olicity (they put out messages every now and then asking viewers if they like what’s been going on with Olicity so far).
It goes back to what Jenny said about what TV show she’s watching. It’s not the Lauriver show. They are making Oliver and Felicity a rootable couple. Now why would they do that…
They could have had her say a lot of different things here…. “Go home.”
Starting with this season I feel like they slip in an Oliver/Felicity moment in each episode.
Maybe I’m reaching, lol.
I’ve been really curious about the fan reaction to this so I took a break this afternoon and read some fan boards. That’s a little scary. I think it goes back to something I learned a long time ago as a published writer: nobody reads the same book no matter what you put on the page. Every reader is a collaborator. Because millions of readers/viewers watch this show, the writers have millions of collaborators, many of whom have sorted themselves into the kind of romantic subplot story they’re telling themselves. So you have Oliver/Laurel shippers who see one thing in the story, and Oliver/Felicity shippers who see another, and Oliver/Sarah shippers who see something else, and that’s all fine, expectation about the story future is a huge reason people tune in every week, that’s what the writers and show runners are counting on. What surprises me is how vehement the factions are; they’re like Congress, unable to support their faction without demonizing the other. So while I see clear evidence that the writers are building and teasing the Felicity-Oliver subplot, there’s also evidence that they’re starting to do the same with Laurel/Oliver plot again, setting up a reboot of the relationship. On the one hand, that’s tiresome of them, gaming the viewer and, since they’re clearly aware of fan boards, playing factions against each other. That’s bad, but as Neil Gaiman once said of George R. R. Martin, the Arrow writers are not my bitch, they do not have to do what I tell them to do. Still, if they screw with their viewers too much, they’re interfering with that collaborative aspect of storytelling, making the viewer the object of the game instead of a partner in the story. One or both sides will lose (there’s still Sarah and even Isabel in there), and it’s a bad thing to make your readers/viewers feel like losers.
The io9 article said the same thing I’m thinking now: Pick a lane, Arrow. You can tease one relationship or the other and I’ll stick (yes even if it’s Laurel), but if the show is playing will they or won’t they with two different women while trying to also tell the story of Big Three in the Bat Cave fighting evil, Roy’s growth into a superhero, Moira struggling with Malcolm over the truth about Thea’s parentage, Thea and Roy’s relationship, Isabel’s plan for Queen Consolidated, not to mention Slade building an army of supermen to ruin Oliver’s life, Laurel’s rehab, and whatever the hell Felicity, Diggle, and Walter are doing besides sitting on the sidelines waiting for some story . . . If this was a story about Oliver Queen’s love life, you can spend screen time on two women. Since this is a story that always shoves ten pounds of plot in a five-pound episode, teasing out a confusing, mixed-signals subplot that doesn’t have that much impact on the main plot is just a waste of screen time. It feels like we’re being gamed. I don’t like it.
What we need to do is get your articles featured more prominently any way we can…until the Arrow Writers realize they SHOULD be your bitch!
My aunt was surprised to hear I’m following “Arrow” now. She said she started it and just couldn’t keep going. I told her I left the same way until the introduction of Felicity. I showed her some of the scenes on YouTube and now she is planning to try it again.
That’s the thing. You take fans who don’t know about the canon, show the footage between Laurel and Oliver and then Oliver and Felicity. Everyone I’ve shown has chosen the latter. But since I have a very finite number of people willing to listen to me analyze this show, I think trying to turn the Arrow writers into your bitch is a much better strategy!
I think the Arrow writers have enough people telling them what to do. I’m really in this for how it expands my understanding of what makes a romance plot work. It really is an interesting phenomenon to analyze, even if I do get sucked into the fan squee. (So much for detached analysis.) Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I’m an observer in this game, not a participant.
I think the questions you pose are important ones, and should the writers take notice and ask the same ones, there is a real chance of propelling Arrow into a show that transcends the usual CW fare in terms of romantic plot. I keep reading, “It’s the CW, they’ll fan the flames both ways because that’s what they do” and I think, “Come on, CW, if you ever want to be recognized as one of the big boys, make some big boy decisions!”
On the one hand, the writers have The Problem With Felicity Smoak. But the other way of looking at it is, they got damn lucky. I still maintain that without Oliver’s interactions with Felicity, his angst would have become insufferable in the long run. In watching Stephen Amell’s fan interviews, I realized the guy’s clearly got a great sense of humor, and in his interactions with Emily Bett as Felicity, that part of him comes out. Felicity has made Oliver more real, more natural, more human, more likable…and it’s made me as a viewer want to get to know him more. Because of that chemistry, even in Amell’s scenes when Oliver is angry or jealous or irrational or stubborn, he can still be lovable.
(I need to point out that this is also why they really need more Diggle–I love the bromance there, that it’s Diggle who is Oliver’s true confidant, like when he confesses that in the five years he was gone, he wasn’t always on the island…I really hope in the build up of Slade’s plan, the one thing that makes it fail is Diggle–that opening up to Diggle in the way Oliver has done was something Slade did not predict, and therefore, Diggle is the one who saves the day…one thing show runners need to be aware of is that relationships between characters are important, and it’s not just the ones between opposite sexes. Supernatural is most fun when Sam and Dean are playing off each other in a quirky, brotherly way. My favorite Vampire Diaries moments are when Stefan and Damon work together.)
The EP said they like to surprise viewers, so I hope this is one of those times. While everyone is anticipating a Laurel and Lauriver reboot, they are really just finishing that storyline and writing her off. Slim chance, I know, but the fan girl in me can dream!
I don’t think there is another side to flame. It’s pretty lopsided in favor of Oliver and Felicity, from both the fans and the media. There is so much buzz surrounding this couple, and they are not even a couple. It’s crazy.
One of the producers mentioned, “One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from working with Greg Berlanti, whose obviously had such amazing success in television, is to always have a really great plan, and then always know when to let the plan go.” He was talking about Oliver and Felicity. Also. said something about doing what feels right. But who knows what plan he is talking about. Could have been about the show in general.
I thought this too, but it isn’t the official CW Arrow page that ships Olicity–it’s the unofficial page: https://www.facebook.com/CWTVArrow
It says FAN PAGE/UNOFFICIAL.
This is the official Arrow page: https://www.facebook.com/CWArrow
I hope you’re right guys, cause i’ve never shipped anyone in my life like these two. They have crazy chemistry, it’s not normal 🙂
I read a comment that stated something about the writers choosing to show Felicity as someone Oliver loves in Slade’s monologue and that got me thinking. That is a very deliberate and quite forward statement as they could have chosen Thea, Moira, or Laurel (which quite honestly were the logical options). Why would they show Felicity? This is huge if you think about it, they practically confirmed that Slade would go after Felicity to hurt Oliver. The show runners have already shown us Laurel’s “torture” as Sebastian tells Slade that the job is done after kidnapping Laurel. In my opinion, it always seems like the most important/significant person is always the last one that something happens to, to have a greater impact (in this case it would be Felicity). I would also like to point out that Oliver’s reaction to Felicity being kidnapped by the count was by far the strongest reaction he’s on the show to anyone being hurt, it surpassed his reaction to Thea, Moira, and Laurel being hurt by far. As far as Laurel goes I have to admit that though Oliver cares about her very much (how could he not, he’s her oldest friend) the writers really haven’t made their interactions so far romantic. Also, Jenny brought up a very good point in saying Arrow is not a romantic show that pays much attention to love triangles and such. If they really weren’t planning on Olicity then why the slow burn, why these little moments that really aren’t necessary, is all this really just to appease shippers? That being said the recent interviews about a fantastic Emmy caliber Lauriver scene really has me worried, however I view this as a last ditch attempt to get people back on board the Lauriver train. If this fails then quite frankly speaking, they’re screwed. But still, how can we ignore the fact that without any kiss, romantic declaration, or even sense of romance (some would like us to believe that Olicity scenes are platonic) Olicity is being compared to “epic” romances such as Klaroline, Delena, and Joey/Pacey of Dawson’s Creek. Speaking of Joey/Pacey that was a situation very similar to Olicity. The writers of that show had this whole plan where Joey and Dawson would have this legendary romance and end up together, but then Pacey came along and in one scene threw all those plans out the window. The series ended with Joey and Pacey ending up together, while Dawson the main protagonist ended up alone. In an interview Katie Cassidy compared Lauriver to Dawson and Joey. I’m curious, she practically stated that they weren’t going to end up together and were doomed. Anyways, thoughts anybody???
My thought at this point is that Arrow needs to clarify this subplot and move on because it’s going to knock off the balance of the series. If the fan attention was on Oliver vs. Slade, then generating controversy would make sense, but directing fan energy to a subplot seems dumb.
This is a really dumb analogy, so forgive me, but the whole thing really does remind me of Congress, the Republicans seeing the passion of the Tea Party and trying to use it and ending up being tied to its tail, creating a lot of conflict instead of the positive action they wanted to take and damaging the party in the process. I don’t think there’s a political aspect to Arrow, but after I surveyed fan sites and comment sections today, it looks to me as if the Arrow show runners saw the spike in popularity for Felicity and decided to use it to create buzz, and set loose the Kraken instead. Now, no matter what they do, some faction is going to be furious, and since the factions are already furious . . . I think the only thing they can do now is pick a lane in the romance subplot, and go back to focusing on Oliver the Hero instead of Oliver the Lover. Or fridge both Felicity and Laurel and start over, which would probably tank the series.
I really, really do not envy Arrow writers on this one.
This jumped out at me: …I have to admit that though Oliver cares about her very much (how could he not, he’s her oldest friend) the writers really haven’t made their interactions so far romantic.
This brings up another issue and I know someone commented on it above. One of the big problems I’ve had is that I never, ever felt the epic love Oliver had for her. Not once. I never understood it. I didn’t understand why he carried her picture all these years, especially when you saw them interact or saw the flashbacks to times when they were supposed to be in love. I didn’t buy that Oliver did all that junk because being in love with her scared him sooooo much he had to push her away.
The show spent all this time telling me they were in love, telling me they were this epic couple, building up this “There is no one else for one but the other” and “it’s always going to be Laurel for Oliver,” yet any time they were together, I just sat there thinking: Is Oliver really this stupid? Why is he so devoted to this chick? I don’t see it. I don’t understand it. I certainly don’t FEEL it.
Instead it all came off as Oliver clinging to a memory that didn’t exist in order to survive a horrible ordeal. Yet the more we learn about his years there, the more people they fold into that ordeal, the more and more confused I get about why that Laurel touchstone was so important. They’ve toned down on that this season, only really mentioning it (and that photo) once, I think.
And while the romance angle of the series IS a minor plot in it, the show producers kind of shot themselves in the foot with this by making it (the Laurel/Oliver/Romance angle) such a heavy drum beat in Season 1. So people – like me – who were so dissatisfied with his romantic options really wanted an alternative to the Debbie Downer relationship they were dooming Oliver to for the future. Then in walked Felicity Smoak and poof! Future found.
As for Slade’s monologue, i don’t think that is important because there were also Roy and Lance, i think that it focused on team Arrow and that’s why there were no Moira, Thea or Laurel. I remembered one other important thing, i don’t enjoy triangles and i think majority of people also don’t. Mulder and Scully, Meredith and Derek and now Castle and Beckett – you always knew that they would end up togehter, there was no serious threat and it was great watching them burn slow. Here, writers definitely haven’t made the choice yet and that’s the problem. They can’t do razor walk for much longer. I mean, they could that would be counterproductive. Although i’m a shipper, i am realistic and super analytic (because of my job) so i noticed little things that make me believe that Oliver and Laurel are endgame. Like in episode in Russia, everybody saw some hidden declaration of love between Oliver and Felicity, i saw another level of friendship. In Blast radius also that ending scene, it had such a bro-sis wibe to me. So i would appreciate if writers could just cut that triangle and make up their minds because i don’t want to spend couple of seasons thinking and hoping for one thing and have another at the end.
Did anyone think that Slade’s monologue was important? I, for one, thought it was a very deliberate move on the writers part to have Felicity represent someone who Oliver loved. The writers could have chosen many other words, but they CHOSE to say love. Something this big can’t just be to please shippers, right?
Well, there are all kinds of love. Even if you don’t ‘ship Felicity, it’s clear that he loves her, just as he loves Diggle. He’d die for either of them. But as a writer, I’d have to say deliberately choosing to put Felicity’s face on that part of the vow has to have some significance, especially since Slade’s previous knowledge of Oliver’s great love was Laurel, given that he had her picture on the island and kept taking it out and looking at it. So if Slade’s thinking Felicity now, it’s because of something he’s learned about Oliver’s relationships since they got off the island. That could just be that Oliver’s not seeing Laurel, but he’s moved Felicity up to his office as his PA, which everybody in the company thinks means they’re sleeping together. The real problem with thinking that vow is a ‘shipping clue is that it’s in Slade’s POV, so unless he knows more than Oliver, he can’t assume Felicity is Oliver’s New Girl. So does he know about the Bat Cave and the Big Three? Is he going on the gossip from Queen Consolidated? Is he basing it on seeing Oliver and Felicity together? Also remember, Slade is completely batshit; he’s practically picking things out of the air at this point, so God knows what he really knows and what he’s hallucinating.
I still think Isabel ties to Slade somehow. Or maybe I’m just hoping she does because otherwise I’m sorely disappointed and bored with her because at this point I see absolutely no reason for her to exist. But if she *is* feeding Slade inside information about Oliver and the goings on at Queen Consolidated, then she knows there’s more going on with Oliver and Felicity than meets they eye. She’s pried about their relationship, if they’re sleeping together, etc., dropped the rumor that everybody at QC thinks they’re sleeping together. Interviews with the actress who plays Isabel have said she’s working to wedge Oliver and Felicity apart. I’m curious as to why she’s trying to do that and if we’ll see more of that. But yeah, I’m expecting one of these episodes to see Slade look over at his bed to find Isabel there. LOL. Probably after Oliver’s turned to her bed once again himself.
Oh and also, the comment about Stephen Amell saying Oliver wasn’t jealous was really misleading. The quote from the actor, not the comment left here, I mean. Amell made that during the People’s Choice Awards at the beginning of January (the 8th, I think) but it wasn’t released until just a few days ago (1/22) so it made it sound like he was commenting on “non jealousy” after episodes aired that clearly had Diggle pointing out his jealousy. But Amell made the comments before those episodes aired. Heck, before Arrow returned from the hiatus on the 15th. I think that’s why Amell tacked on the “Maybe… probably…” but it was a really confusing release order, so some took his remarks to be post Blind Spot when they were actually Pre Blind Spot.
I know the writers have said they have a short and long term plan for Oliver and Felicity. I’m really curious what it is and what backstory they’re going to do for her. We’re supposed to find out something about her in the 13th episode. Hoping that still stands given they said they know what her story is, who her parents are (bet that ties into Firestorm) and that they need to push it back because it’s going to be a “big” plot thing. See, when they say things like that, I – as a viewer — really hold them to it and don’t expect (no pun intended) to have it all be smoke they’re blowing up my skirt. 😛
Something else (speaking of Slade and his possible recognition of Felicity’s importance) there have been so many parallels made between Shado and Felicity, that even when they are on the island and five years in the PAST, the writers are showing us the importance of Felicity woven throughout where she isn’t even PRESENT. That and these parallels are usually pretty significant. Slade must SEE something of Shado in Felicity, I’m guessing. But how? I think like Julie and it ties back to Isabel. Also, why are the writers going to this effort for a character they aren’t planning on being end game? Laurel is present on the island via a photograph and it’s like meh, it’s just paper with an image. They made Felicity present on the island through a strong, lovely, caring warrior woman named Shado who saw the good in Oliver and his potential. I laugh, because Laurel can’t catch a break on the island either, at least there though she is true to form, one-dimensional.
I don’t see parallels between Shado and Felicity at all. What am I missing?
I actually see more parallels (at least in event) to Island Oliver and Present Day Felicity in some scene sets ups — the most glaring being when Oliver stepped on the land mine and Slade saved him vs when Felicity stepped on the land mine with Diggle essentially repeating Slade’s actions though Oliver came to the rescue on that one. But the Shado/Felicity thing I don’t see either. I know some want some kind of forced choice in the present, a repeat of Ivo making Oliver “choose” between Shado and Sara only with Slade making Oliver choose between Laurel and Felicity and I really hate that idea because it’s a no win. But yeah, I don’t see parallels between Shado and Felicity either, at least not that I’ve noticed. I’d be curious to see what I’m missing as well.
I typed this up and just saw Julie posted some as well — rather than edit, I will just apologize for the repeats! LOL
Ahhhh! I compare this to going down the rabbit hole when I start looking at this. Because you also have the parallel of island Oliver/Felicity — But theirs seem to be more in the physical sense — but put there none-the-less by the writers. Throwing up on the beach when they each first get to the island. Stepping on the land mine — even Diggle’s actions are the same as Slade’s are with Oliver.
In the Doll Maker episode island Oliver is worried about leaving Shado behind at the fuselage, but Slade tells him of Shado “her life, her choice”. Supporting her because she’s a strong woman who knows her mind. In the same episode, Felicity tells Oliver “my life, my choice” about acting as bait for the Doll Maker.
In 2×01, Shado was taken by the men from the boat and one was hurting her. Island Oliver flew into a rage and beat the man’s head in with a rock, killing him. In a later episode the Count took Felicity hostage and was going to inject her with the drug and Oliver, who had vowed to not kill (and Felicity even reminded him of it while being held), put not one, but three arrows dead center into the Count killing him. Thea was held in the first episode and Oliver let her captors live, Laurel was taken by the Doll Maker and he let him live — Sarah was the one to kill him.
After the killing, Shado spoke to Oliver about what happened, consoles him. She mentions the opposing forces residing within everyone — the killer, the hero. Shado is the first in the past to reference “hero” and Felicity was the first in the present—last season with Lance in interrogation and then she again calls him that when she put the mask on him.
Then in the beginning of the episode (2×09) when they are trying to save him, he hears Felicity off camera say “Oliver, stay with me” and then Shado appears and reaches for him and says “stay with me”. In this same episode you also get Shado’s jealousy/disillusionment of Oliver when she learns Oliver was on the boat with Sarah and is like “what about your great love?” Echoing the entire audience at this point probably. Felicity herself shows uncharacteristic jealousy/frustration over learning of Oliver’s second island guest Shado. I say uncharacteristic jealousy because I stand by my thought that Felicity’s reaction to Isabel in “why her” wasn’t jealousy or wanting to know “why not me”, it was her being disappointed in Oliver FOR Oliver having made such a poor choice — Isabel was trying to take over the company and Felicity seems to be a pretty good judge of character whereas Oliver is a poor judge of character as confirmed by Moira.
The keep showing these connections between Felicity and Oliver, and then you have an interview with Emily Bett Rickards stating “they have a connection that no one else is gonna have. And that is a colossal deal.”
Then you can go into Slade/Oliver parallel — Slade trying to convince island Oliver that it’s better to stay unattached, a loner and he discovers too late that that prob wasn’t the best path—unrequited love with Shado. Whereas current Oliver is getting more attached to his team. There is more so if anon wants to fill in, please do — I could keep going, but like I said, rabbit hole.
I’m trying to think what that gets them thematically.
That is, Shado wasn’t Oliver’s partner, Felicity isn’t Oliver’s teacher. Oliver wasn’t partners with Slade and Shado the way he is with Diggle and Felicity, he was a student to both. So when I go looking for the subtext that a parallel between Felicity and Shado would create, something under the surface that would inform the story, I don’t see any. I think the three-on-the-island/three-in-the-bat-cave is another way to show how far Oliver’s come, but I’m not seeing any reason for anything else. I think if they were going to draw a parallel to establish subtext for Felicity as a love interest, it would be with Laurel, and that’s not there either.
I see one in episode 3 with the dollmaker story. Slade say “It’s her life, her choice” talking about Shado and one minute after Felicity say “it’s my life, my choice”when she’s going to serve at bait. And looking back at the season 2 i do agree, they have a lot in commun.
That does have to be on purpose.
So what are they building with that parallel? A couple of people have mentioned giving Oliver a second Sophie’s Choice, this time with Laurel and Felicity, and with that parallel (and Laurel echoing Sarah, who lives), things don’t look good for Felicity.
I’ve seen parallels in the male characters, Tommy as a foil for Oliver, for example, but the female characters seem to be all over the place, linked only by the concept of hotness.
The only parallel I saw between Shado and Felicity was in the Dollmaker episode. Slade said, “It’s her life. It’s her choice” to Oliver in reference to Shado. A couple of scenes later Felicity echoed the exact same words when volunteering to go into the field. It seemed too deliberate to be coincidental (from a writing standpoint.) I had already guessed at that time that Shado was dead and that Oliver wore the hood to honor her. How Felicity will play into the struggle between Slade/Oliver I don’t know. But Felicity strikes me as loyal to a fault – like she’d sacrifice herself for what she believes is right. I agree with Julie H. about Isabel, so I think Slade might know more than we realize. If Slade can drive a wedge there, he will. And if he can’t corrupt her she’s of little use other than as a pawn – making Oliver choose somehow. My fear is that the choice will be between Sara and Laurel (since Sara lived) and this is how they remove Sara from the show. If it happens I’ll be upset though because two characters I love will have died for one that makes me grind my teeth. I don’t see how that’s smart storytelling, really.
Love your blog by the way! And your books – I’ve been a fan for a long time, I just never knew you had a blog. 🙂
Hi, I’ve never been here but it is a fun place to be because you all are having a discussion that I want to be a part of!
I had to chime in because I also saw a lot of parallels between Shado and Felicity. Whether or not they are deliberate on the parts of the writers-who knows? It starts off with the fact that there are trios on both the island and the present day. Felicity and Shado are both technicians who were able to disarm bombs. Shado was even able to use the remnants of the bomb as a weapon to free Oliver again.
Also, he wears the hood to honor Shado and her father. However, Felicity is the one technically who is able to put the mask on him (symbolically and literally). Even though Barry Allen made the mask, it was his connection with Felicity that brought him into the group- basically her trust in him. Also, Felicity was the one who converted the foundry, their little arrow cave, into what it looks like this season. Back on the island, it was Shado in their little nook of the airplane fucilage. Physically, both are semi-petite women who pack a punch. Shado had this ability with the bow and arrow and she was pre-medical (basically an educated woman) and Felicity has similar technical expertise in that she’s also a highly educated woman. Finally, the scene when Oliver gave up his chance to leave the island by choosing to save Shado by putting an arrow in Friers (I think) is almost exactly the same as when Oliver put 3 arrows in the Count. I had to re-watch both scenes again because it is probably the strongest indicator. I thought I was reaching, but no- it really is the same intensity with which he kills both. English is not my first language so sorry if there are grammer mistakes!
Your grammar is great, no worries.
I guess I’m still not seeing parallels that are clear enough to say, “Yes, they did that on purpose.” But then sometimes I’m thick.
I wonder if they’re having more echoes of lines and similar vibes of situations (past vs present) not to establish parallels between characters (say, Felicity/Shado, which again, I don’t see cause there’s nothing alike there for me) but to more concretely anchor the flashback moments to the present for transition purposes. the My Life, My Choice comment wasn’t made by Shado. It was made by Slade. Felicity stepping on the landmine was Oliver on the island. So while I think experiences might be “like” the people getting them seem pretty random.
And yeah, Jenny, I had the same reaction to the whole Make Oliver Pick Between Laurel and Felicity (though choosing between Lauren and Sara would make far more sense to me) because it’s a no win. If Oliver picks Felicity to save and Laurel dies… that’s just blah. If Oliver saves Laurel and Felicity dies… I’d not only be super outraged given Felicity’s complete faith and loyalty to him through two seasons but my favorite character would be dead? I’d hate Oliver. It’d be the equivalent of him stomping a kitty with cleats. How’s that a good thing? I really, really loathe the idea of repeating that standoff. The idea that it’s be the 2 sisters with Sara choosing death to let her sister live makes me sense but, again, I’d be angry with the show because I like Sara better and why do I have to keep losing characters I actually like (Tommy, Sara, Felicity, whatever) to keep the *one* character I don’t like alive? That’d get really old for me really fast.
The only way it would make sense from a narrative POV is if this time he saved them both. He’s older, smarter, stronger, etc. To repeat the same thing makes no sense.
I don’t think they know what they’re going to do. Sometimes you watch a show and you feel that even though things are whipping by ou, somebody is in charge. Person of Interest, for example. On this one, I think they have their main plots nailed down, but there are other things they seem to be spitballing one scene at a time, like Felicity, or Diggle, or Walter. They’ve clearly got a plan for Roy, but I don’t know what the hell Moira’s been doing for weeks.
Oops. I missed your comment before writing mine below…so apparently, I just repeated what you said. Sorry about that!
No, it’s all good, thinking it through. No apologies.
Now I’m intrigued with the idea that the three on the island are set up as a foil for the three in the present.
Moira’s stuff is coming up. I heard a little something about that that should be fun. I think we’ll start to see that this week!
It would seem the more appropriate revenge for Slade is to make someone else choose between Laurel and Felicity so Oliver would have to accept someone else’s choice. That’s what happened to Slade — someone else made a life and death choice that affected Slade horribly. What if Lance was forced to pick? He would of course pick his own daughter, but how would that torture Oliver? We know he cares for Felicity. Would watching some else make a choice he would not have mafe be the more parallel revenge? Of course HUGE assumption here that he would even choose Felicity. And that scenario would not result in anyone’s death but would help sort through how he really feels about the two.
Thanks so much for the breakdown of the first meets in Arrow — that was fascinating and explained so much.
I too am finding myself wondering what exactly the writers are saying in their discussion rooms.
Primarily because, like you, I can objectively look at the last two episodes and see signs that the writers are heading back to an Oliver/Laurel romance. Heading back to an unpopular storyline is odd enough, especially since the showrunners have admitted that they know it’s not a popular storyline, so I can’t blame this on “they didn’t know” or “they aren’t aware.” But heading back to this after giving so many of the standard romantic beats to Oliver and Felicity — the “I can’t be with someone I could really care about,” the “I’ll come back/promise me,” the mask moment, the way Oliver broke his new no kill rule to save her — just seems more than odd.
Is it because the actress is under contract and they don’t know what else to do with the character other than have her be the love interest? Because even after two episodes focusing on Laurel, I’m still not sure that the writers have a grasp on Laurel. We’re supposed to feel sympathy for her since she’s right about Blood but no one believes her — except that in this same episode we are told that she called the cops on her sister so she could have Oliver. (Which, why? What about pre-island Oliver was so attractive? He seemed to be a complete jerk.) The writers wanted to remind us that she could be an Action Girl so they show her breaking into city files with the Arrow — except that this makes it look as if the assistant DA needs help breaking into files that she has legal access to. She has a keycard! They show her capable of defending herself with a gun — but have her shoot the guy in the back about five times, in a distinctly overkill moment. They tell us that she’s ending up at rock bottom – but thanks to her connections, she’s not facing jail time for the drug charges or a longer investigation into the killing of a cop, which makes it feel as if she’s getting away with stuff. (I hope the next episode addresses that.)
So what I see is the writers trying to show me an Action Girl who still needs to be rescued, a woman suffering from her own bad decisions who still feels like she’s getting away with it, and a character that still doesn’t feel real to me.
That’s why I’m primarily shipping Oliver/anyone but Laurel. I like Felicity and I think the hints of romance there have been fun, but I’ll still watch the show if Oliver ends up with Sara or Isobel or a person the show hasn’t introduced yet. I’ve heard hints that Oliver might end up back with Isobel this season, and I’m looking forward to that — I thought that was a business partnership/relationship that never got completely explored. I think it says something that I’m cheering on what was shown as a quick, meaningless hookup more than I am the supposed love of Oliver’s life. Sigh.
Regarding the Shado/Felicity parallels — if my memory is correct, this first came up because Shado was introduced in the same episode where Felicity found out that Oliver was the Hood (the Odyssey, last season). I’m not sure I see it myself, but then again I don’t want to — I don’t want Felicity to end up dead like Shado.
“I can objectively look at the last two episodes and see signs that the writers are heading back to an Oliver/Laurel romance. ”
Maybe I missed something, but I don’t see this.
I can see hints of it. Laurel’s going to be proved right, after all, and that will redeem her. She’s going to be in a very bad place and Oliver is a rescuer. The whole reboot smacks of trying to save the character, and there’s really no reason to if it’s not to be Oliver’s love interest. She doesn’t really have another role on the series.
I can see they are trying to reboot the character. I still don’t see the Oliver/ Laurel reboot, but it does make sense that it will eventually be for Oliver since she has no other purpose. Ugh. That last episode proved to me even more that character just cannot be redeemed.
The only positive critiques I’ve read about Laurel from the last few episodes is that people are glad she’s been given something to do. Most people’s opinions regarding her have not changed. She might have been given something to do, but I thought the last episode made her look worse. She is not carrying off the whole downward spiral thing. Maybe if she’d been a character I cared about before than I would care, but I don’t.
So, is she suppose to be a more rootable character on the other side of this? We shall see.
I don’t see the parallels either. If anything, what I see is contrast.
Yes, Oliver shot the guy holding Shado much like he killed the Count to save Felicity. But–and this is a big BUT–in the scene with Shado, she nods to him as if telling him to kill the guy, while Felicity specifically tells him not to (“Oliver, no, not for me.”). That is a pretty stark contrast between the two women, in my opinion.
In the scene where Shado says “Oliver stay with me,” at the same time that we hear Felicity say it offscreen, we have to take into account Shado is a ghost here. She is a figment of Oliver’s imagination–a manifestation of his guilt and demons. The point there, I think, was to illustrate how he vacillates between fighting and giving up. This culminates in him seeing Tommy (again, a figment of his imagination) who tells him to get up and fight. Shado is not a character in herself in this episode so what she says and does cannot be interpreted as something that she would actually say or do had she been alive.
If anything, the parallel being drawn is that there are three people working together on the island, and three in present day. By placing some similarities in there, we get to see character arc–how different Oliver is now. On the island, he is a follower; in present day, he is a leader. Diggle is not Slade, and it’s hard to imagine him going down the same path. And if Felicity was meant to be Shado, that first kiss would have happened last season. Instead, we see Oliver being completely honest with Diggle, and taking things slow with Felicity. He’s not the same guy he was on that island, and hopefully, it will make all the difference when Slade’s plan starts to unravel. The Oliver Queen Slade thinks he knows no longer exists.
As for Oliver choosing between Laurel and Felicity, I’m okay with this happening because I assume both will somehow be saved. Again, if you’re trying to build a character arc, sometimes you have to put your character in similar situations only to have them make different choices, right? (I’m not a novelist or story writer, more of an essayist, so I’m asking a real question here). It certainly makes more sense to me to do this than to re-create the same situation and have the characters make choices that yield the exact same results.
I don’t see any Felicity/Shado parallels, but there are some Team arrow/Team island parallels. I agree that they’re trying to connect Oliver and Laurel probably once more and see if fans dig it. They are rebuilding her and scenes between Oliver and Felicity in last episodes were more platonic to me than ever. I already explained that in 2×10 their last scene to me was so brother-sister. You’re my partner – that is not romantic, that is his recognition of Felicity as his true friend and probably something like his younger sister also. And in episode 2×11 Oliver said that he didn’t have blind spot for Laurel any more, but she’ll be proven right on this and we will have angry and quilty Oliver blah, blah… I hope i’m wrong but i don’t think i am. I just wish they didn’t ruin Felicity’s character or kill her off. And i hope they cut this triangle for good, if not by end of this season then by the end of the next one (3rd). I don’t think it’s fair to either Olicity or Lauriver shippers.
Wow, you guys are all making me really depressed with all these negative comments about Olicity’s potential! Does anyone want to cheer me up and say something that works in their favor, or really just reasons why we should have faith in Olicity and the writers. I’ve actually heard people from other fandoms say that the Arrow writers know what they are doing and we should have faith in them but it’s easier said then done.
EVERYTHING works in their favor the only equalizer is the fact that O/L are comic canon. I did post a quote from one of the producers who said he learned when to let go of a really great plan. I assumed he meant to let go when it wasn’t working and I also assumed it was in reference to O/L. I know those are assumptions, but still. Also, someone asked SA on FB about O/F and he said to be patient.
As far as what we are seeing on TV, I mentioned above that they have given us little O/F moments in each episode this season . I don’t feel like it’s to appease the fans, but to support a bigger picture (Oliver/Felicity relationship down the road).
I’m going to paraphrase. I don’t remember quotes verbatim. I’ll start with Season 2 episode 1.
Epi.1- Oliver says not everyone sees the real me. He says this to Isabel. He glances over to Felicity when he says this. We don’t see that it’s Felicity he glances over at until Isabel leaves and Felicity comes into focus. I felt like this was important because in Season1 they kept harping on the fact that Laurel knew him better than anyone (my eyes still hurt from rolling them every time this was mentioned). I know it’s been mentioned before during this season by Laurel (Epi 10, I believe) that she doesn’t know Oliver.
Felicity, this season, has taken on a more damsel in distress role (yeah, it sucks, but it’s a formula). This role in the comic book universe is usually saved for the hero’s love interest. In this epi she was saved from the land mine on the island and later in the epi, from the copycat hoods at QC. What I like about Felicity getting rescued as opposed to Laurel is that Felicity gets rescued by Oliver not the Arrow.
I never mind the rescues. If Felicity got herself in trouble by sheer stupidity, I’d have a problem with it. But Arrow is a super hero and super heroes need people to rescue. Oliver’s needed rescuing, Diggle has too. Heck, everybody’s needed rescuing at some point or other. LOL. It’s funny how nobody – and I mean this for any show not just Arrow – talk about women in need of rescue and the Damsel in Distress Syndrome but nobody keeps track of how many times a man needs it and there’s no like moniker for men. But yeah, Oliver’s saved Felicity. Felicity’s saved Oliver. I appreciate that give and take when they write. 🙂
I don’t think it’s doom and gloom for Oliver and Felicity’s potential. They clearly set it up to have that door open. If they didn’t want the option there they simply wouldn’t have gone there. They simply wouldn’t have acknowledged it, and they certainly could have left out the fact that Oliver was jealous. That was not at all platonic. I think the point people are picking at now is: what do you do with the OTHER chick? You either fix her and take another swing, pair her with someone else, kill her off, or make her a villain. But Oliver and Felicity are most definitely still on the field, imo.
I’m sorry 🙂 i didn’t mean to do that, i was just analyzing, over-analyzing 🙂 Of course i see potential, i my self am Olicity shipper. It’s just that i’m not high school girl so i tend to be more realistic. Couple of winds are at Olicity’s back and some are not.
First ones: Felicity is fan favorite, Olicity is one of the favorite ships at the moment, Laurel (and/or the actress) is the weakest link, CW aims at young audience probably 15-30 yrs so they take fans seriously.
Latter ones: Writers/producers are canon shippers, in Smallville Clark ended up with Lois *
* – this is tricky example for two reasons: 1. Smallville featured Green Arrow who ended up with Chloe but he was supporting character, 2. GA and BC don’t have epic love story like Clark and Lois.
There is no reason to apologize; we talk about story all the time here, and you said nothing inappropriate or out of line. I don’t think we have an over-analyzing line here. We love taking stories apart and poking at them, so you fit right in.
Epi 2- Felicity makes a big deal the whole episode about being a secretary and making coffee ( I know they were explaining/setting up her role in Oliver’s professional life), but at the end of the episode when Oliver is obviously feeling down about he’s being portrayed, Felicity puts aside her pride and brings him a cup of coffee. It’s just a little thing, but it’s about building a bigger picture. We see these moments between O/F, not O/L.
Epi 3- It’s my life. It’s my choice. I don’t think this was meant to parallel Shado, but Slade. Slade was the one who said it to Oliver about Shado. He said it in reference to a woman being a distraction. Maybe Felicity saying it made Oliver think back to that conversation with Slade. It reminded him that he needs to put distance between those who could be a distraction (Also, brought up again in Epi6).
Also, when Lance asks Oliver how Felicity was able to do what she did, Oliver smiled with pride. Seriously, that shot is not needed… unless it was to support a bigger picture.
There are many more instances in the rest of the episodes this season. I thought the O/F interactions were a bit more obvious in Episodes 6-10.
More recently in Episode 11 when Felicity tells Oliver to “Come home.” That line seems a bit more like partner partners and not work partners. They could have used a nuber of different lines… Go home, Come back, etc. Hmm, could it be to support a bigger picture.
I agree with Julie, they have set it up so that the door is open. As if they didn’t already have enough stuff going for them they are getting this set up. It only makes them more rootable. They are doing for O/F what they should have done or should be doing for O/L.
I just did a post on POV, and it made me think about Felicity’s POV. We don’t get it much.
That is, she’s almost always in a scene with Oliver or one of Oliver’s enemies who’s using her to get to Oliver, so she’s just part of his world.
Laurel has a job outside of Queen Consolidated, she has friends, she dates, she has a father, a mother, we’ve seen her apartment dozens of times. She’s a fully rounded character.
Felicity’s closest counterpart, Diggle, has an apartment, a sister-in-law, a nephew, a diner, an ex-wife, ex-military friends. He’s a fully rounded character.
Felicity has Oliver and Diggle and two desks, one at the company and one in the bat cave.
Until Felicity is more than an extension of Oliver, the show’s not taking her that seriously. She’s the ONLY character who has no family, no place to live, no friends. I don’t think she’s a major player in the narrative until they fix that.
Well, writers said that they have huge story for Felicity and that she has very mysterious past. But they are pushing that story into season 3 because they have so many stories right now. There is going to be a hint in 2×13 or 2×14 or smth like that.
Oh, that’s good.
I have this fear that they’re going to send her off to The Flash or put her in a Birds of Prey spin-off as Oracle. Although actually, that last one would be good.
Yeah I know. I had that same irritating thought about Flash but I thought Arrow did a good job of setting up that Barry has someone in his life he has that unrequited love for and they’ve cast his comic canon love interest (Iris I think her name is?) already so I’m thinking while we might see Felicity do crossover eps to help draw Arrow people over to give Flash a shot, they’re not going to put her there. More and more casting news comes out each day and they really seem to have a full plate of their own. The networks also tried a Birds of Prey series a few years ago and that flopped hardcore so I think they’ll be reluctant to give that another aggressive shot this soon. I just keep my fingers crossed that the Arrow execs get that Felicity Smoak is a great character and all that but Arrow (as a show) would, imo, greatly suffer if she wasn’t there. They commented during season 1 that Felicity came in and bam! fixed a problem they didn’t didn’t realize they had. Hopefully they still get that if they take her out of the equation now… the problem still exists.
I think they tried A Birds of Prey series a few years back. It didn’t do too well.
Yeah, it tanked, but this would be an Arrow spin-off, and Arrow at this point has some serious mojo. I’m expecting The Flash to be really good, too, so they could be starting a Law-and-Order like dynasty with this story universe in a couple of years. Of course, I also thought Agents of SHIELD was going to be fantastic, that Almost Human was going to be my favorite new show, and that The Blacklist was going to be too grim and ordinary to keep my interest. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It would depend on the scripts and the chemistry among the actors, but I could see Felicity and the Huntress having a great time together, once Felicity got over the whole she-threatened-me-and-tied-me-up-on-the-floor-of-my-office thing.
Her becoming the Oracle sound pretty cool though:)
They’d have to jettison the whole Barbara Gordon thing, but since they’re determined to keep the Batman universe out of the TV show (which is dumb), they’d have to jettison her anyway. So all they’d need is a computer hacker in a wheel chair. (DO NOT HURT FELICITY.)
Yeah, they said they wanted to do her story justice and there was just too much going on this season. Do you have any ideas on who is Felicity Smoak or how would you write her backstory?
I think a lot of the fun of Felicity standing next to Oliver is that she’s so normal. He has a tortured past and a secret identity; she’s just really happy doing her job and watching the salmon ladder. The stuff I’d wonder about as a writer is what she wants from life, what her dreams are, who her best friend is, where she goes after work. The stuff that would make her a fully rounded character. Is there a sister who eats ice cream with her and watches movies? Does her mother call and ask her if she’s flossing and if she’s met anybody nice yet? What was the quote under her school yearbook picture? It’s the little things that build a character. I remember years ago (decades ago?) on Cheers when Sam finally got into Diane’s bedroom, her bed was covered with stuffed animals, each of which she’d named and each of which he threw out the window the minute her back was turned. Or the very smart, no-nonsense heroine in Dodgeball who’d decorated her apartment in unicorns. Maybe Felicity knits and she’s yarn bombed her entire apartment. Hell, maybe she lives with her mother. The possibilities are endless.
WOW! So many great responses regarding the parallels—lots of food for thought. Maybe “parallels” was the wrong descriptive to use then, perhaps similar instances? Someone above mentioned that they perhaps help tie in the flashbacks with the present which makes sense. It’s just interesting that it usually involves Felicity. When you think about it, Shado taught him to hone his skills as the fledging warrior and Felicity is helping to take the full on warrior and teach him another way. If you want to complicate it some more look at it as Shado also humanizing Slade, the full on lone warrior. I think of pre mirakuru Slade as where Oliver was at the beginning of Season 1 — lone warrior. But unlike the trio on the island, Oliver is letting his team ground him and humanize him.
After the Sara/Shado choice scene on the island, I saw many people thinking the same fate would befall Sara/Felicity or Laurel/Felicity and I actually NEVER saw that as a possibility. It seems redundant and uncreative where we have seen the Arrow writers come up with some pretty creative things. For all the “parallels” I thought I saw before, this is one I just can’t see happening.
I am really looking forward to the training Roy scenes as there is so much character development that can occur for the two of them. Arrow as a mentor? Roy as a student? I can see some good stuff happening.
Regarding Laurel and Oliver (why do I always want to put Hardy there instead of Oliver?!LOL) I think it is a relationship that will have to be revisited at some point so that they can finally close that lid with the final nail once and for all. I saw that writing on the wall with him dropping Laurel as his blind spot due to her being wrong about Blood. But yes, she will be proven correct and then Oliver will feel guilt (again). But maybe this will allow him to re-enter the relationship with eyes wide open so he can then depart said relationship the same way. Even with a reboot of the character, I just can not see that relationship taking root — the toxic baggage will still be there as will the same actress.
On the Olicity front, they just have to many positives in there favor. I mean the two don’t even have to be in the same room for the level of chemistry to come across. Look at “come home” and “what color are your shoes”. He just had to repeat what she said and its there, because it was the two of them interacting. He even used her language again when speaking to Roy — “there’s another way”. Who said that line first (Felicity) and who took it to heart (Oliver).
I think Jenny touched on it above if memory serves, is that the big problem here is that the writers haven’t made known to the audience the path Oliver will choose as far as romance. In Castle, you had the will they won’t they, but you knew the destination. I think the universe will be in an uproar until they know for sure that Oliver has chose the CORRECT path LOL Then it can be filled with all the fun little bumps and angst. I think though that the Felicity factor just really through the writers for a loop — WHICH I LOVE. Now for some BACKGROUND for her 😀
I love this latest interview:
I don’t think the path between Shado and Felicity it’s going to be the same, it’s too “predictable”.
And we have similar instance when Diggle said to Oliver (in episode 1×10) “you that the people that you let in are taking your edge, i think it gives you one…” In season 2 it’s Oliver who said that to Slade.
Good catch on the Diggle comment! I had not noticed, but that is so true.
Claire Rose, I just saw that interview with Stephen Amell and that brings up something I’ve been subconsciously thinking. When he talks about who he’s like Oliver to be with (and ducks that question as any wise, wise actor should), he talks about wanting Oliver to be happy and in a relationship where he can be himself and not always this brooding, angry, vengeance-driven character.
When I think about Oliver’s future and you do a little Christmas Carol version of it, picturing his fate with each potential love interest, in that big old cold Queen Mansion… I cringe at some options because you feel like they would be nothing but angry and depression and dark, while – with Felicity – I actually feel like his life would be better. I don’t think his fate would be sealed with brooding angst of his past that has never gone away and just colors his entire life. If it were a romance novel I think Oliver’s future with Felicity would be warmer, happier, and certainly a lot more fun with a lot more laughter. Yes, Oliver would still have the scars of his past but at least there would be something warm and soft and loving to come home to.
Is that why I’m so enamored by Oliver and Felicity? Because I think Felicity offers Oliver a more hopeful future, and because Oliver certainly expands Felicity’s as well? Her life without him seems so… beige. While with him, Felicity’s life turns all sparkly with possibilities (not to mention appreciate, love, affection, and loyalty/honor/trust).
I have to tell you Julie, I have to agree with you, but that last paragraph especially. I used to read romance novels back in the day — I lead more with Patricia Veryan. But, gosh for the past too many years I have been biographies, nonfiction, Economist reading loving Foreign Policy and Tom Clancy girl. I liked romcom movies, but as far as books, I had dropped all romance. These two have lead me to fan fiction during the hiatus. thereby rediscovering the romance genre through a show that I started watching for the ACTION LOL Now my action has beautiful sprinkles on it 🙂 I’ve also rediscovered comics too. I loved going to the comic book store on Post growing up and I have now hunted down a local comic book store to take my son and daughter. Of course these days I need to proof read some these! Ha ha! My husband was running errands with my son this weekend and my son wanted to stop by the comic book store right then. I have a smart husband “your mother would kill me if I took you first and she didn’t” ROFL
Felicity was never intended to be a regular character. O/L was suppose to be the will they or won’t they characters, but you knew they were endgame. That’s why people left the show after several episodes (Seriously, this is a common theme. It’s my story too.). This couple was just not appealing. So even though they didn’t intend it (this isn’t a Soap) they are left with a love triangle of sorts until they make a clear decision on this. I don’t think they will let this drag on. I believe we will know by the end of the season which direction they will take.
Claire regarding Laurel and Hardy 😉 i use to think they they needed to flatten their relationship, but i believe they did at the end of the season 1with their one night together.
Or maybe there’s just no need.
Just FYI, we have learned in the past that when a post gets to around 250-300 comments, the blog breaks, so if this post suddenly goes wonky in the comments section or if I shut down replies, that’s why.
Hi Jenny, are planning on doing more Arrow/Olicity posts? Your post about Felicity Smoak was quoted from so many times on Tumblr, you’re practically worshiped there 🙂
As Jerry Garcia said, worship is good until they come with the cross and the nails, which always happens sooner or later on the net. I figure the Laurel people will be coming for me any day now. But yes, I think my fascination with the show isn’t going away any time soon, there are just too many things going on in the writing that I want to talk about. I’m on the dashboard answering comments backwards, so I went into detail in my response to Sara which is probably below this. The Argh readers have always been really patient when I’ve gotten into an obsession before, so they can cope with some more Arrow, I think. If some people start to grumble, I’ll just put up a picture of Oliver’s abs at the beginning of the post. That’ll distract ’em. Although now that I think of it, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people have actually grumbled to me about posts here. There was that one woman who got fed up because I’d post about the dogs. I think she was just on the wrong blog.
You want hope for Olicity? I just found this. I’m not sure if it’s on purpose or an Olicity fangirl reading too much into it, but towards the end of this video, Diggle says: “You’re not the only one having trouble reconciling two sides of yourself.” Then he glances at Felicity and back at Oliver.
Jenny, I do hope you will write regular posts on Arrow. I have read both your articles several times…and I’m slowly making my way through the other posts in the blog. I have never tried Sherlock, but will dip my toes into it just so I can understand your posts on the show!
I have a whole-show analysis in draft form because I’m so fascinated by the way they’ve put a comic book on the screen, not just adapting the stories but using the underlying sensibility of superhero comics. It’s so hard to do right (look at Agents of SHIELD, for example) but when it’s done well, the way it’s done in Arrow and Red, it’s really compelling. Plus Arrow is just fun to analyze. I figured I’d wait until the season finished, but they’re putting it on hiatus for the Olympics, so I may do it now. It’s just so much fun to analyze and talk about, plus I think it has so many writing aspects for teaching purposes.
I’m really fascinated by the fan stuff that swirls around the show. Anybody who’s ever published a book has had to deal with fan feedback, but the idea that I would have to deal with it while I was writing the story is just confounding. If SMP decides it doesn’t want my episodic novel (they haven’t seen it yet and they’re wonderful to me, so not knocking my fabulous publisher), I think I’d do it as a series of short story/novella e-books, a story at a time, just to see what it’s like to get that kind of feedback, the affect it has on writing the rest. Dickens did that with his stories; the chapters were serialized so he got fan reaction while he was writing.
And of course what really fascinates me as a romance writer is the romantic subplots, why some of them work and why some don’t. It’s like a lab experiment: I get the romance plots and then the reader/viewer reaction to those so I can take them apart and see why that reaction happened. It’s a romance-writing wonk’s paradise.
Maybe I’ll put the show-as-a-whole post up now, and we can do Arrow Fridays or something for the rest of the season. The third season of Sherlock is breaking my heart, so that might cheer me up.
Having Arrow fridays would be awesome! The breaks for the Olympics are going to kill me though. Every time Arrow gains momentum there’s a break. Grrrr! And I agree, as a romance writer and reader why relationships work and why they don’t is what really intrigues me.
I know we’re tight on responses breaking the blog (sorry Jenny! LOL) but as I was watching TV tonight I realized something & it brought to mind Jenny’s previous comment here.
I know, Jenny, you said you’re not familiar with Justified or the story of Boyd (which is very similiar to Felicity’s insta fan favoritism). But because of that instant fan love, the show rewrote a lot of things, including the main love interest that was supposed to be Raylan’s (the hero), Ava. Instead, they had Raylan cheat on Ava with his ex-wife Winona. That sent Ava toward Boyd. After that, Raylan and Winona did their thing and I really disliked her but what was worse was that when Raylan was with her, I began to hate him. Him choosing Winona (who ended up stealing money from the police evidence locker and dragging Raylan into all that nonsense to cover for her) over Ava really decreaed his appeal in my eyes as I really liked and valued Ava more. They had Raylan do some really crappy things to Ava, even to the point where Boyd stepped up and told him: You’ve come to her house twice now and disrespected her twice. There won’t be a third time. I started rooting for Boyd (did I mention he’s a crazy whackadoodle of a criminal running around killing people, taking over the drug business, running a whorehouse, etc to Raylan’s federal marshall job?) over Raylan because I really felt — and still do on a lot of levels — that Raylan diminished his worth/appeal by losing Ava the way he did.
So while I was watching tonight, thinking about that, I realized Ava/Raylan/Winona really mirror the paradox of Felicity/Oliver/Laurel for me. I’m hoping Oliver won’t make that same choice and mistake because I’ve actually already seen it, experienced it, and had it damage both a character I really, really liked in Raylan AND affect my enjoyment of Justified. I actually stopped watching the show for a good 2 or 3 seasons before even bothering to look at it again, and it really does stem back to those choices by Raylan.
Ack! Don’t do it Arrow! Don’t do it!
I think that’s key. The choices your protagonist makes do so much to characterize him or her. At the end of the day, we are the choices we make. So while it’s good that a protagonist be flawed and human, if he or she starts making choices that fundamentally change our concept of the character, the whole story shifts. The story always rests on the protagonist; kneecap him or her by disappointing or enraging readers and you’ve kneecapped your story.
So after watching tonight’s episode episode of Arrow, I’ve got to say the writers really seem to be throwing in all these Olicity scenes and they fit perfectly with the episode. Like Oliver saying he’s proud of her, Felicity patching up his wounds, Oliver looking directly at Felicitty while talking about love, Oliver leaving Laurel to someone else at Verdant and going over to Felicity instead, that little scene at the end about Team Arrow. Gosh, there was just so much going on this episode and it’s funny beacuse last episode we were all worried about the Laurel Arc overshadowing everyone else’s character and then this episode happened and it was just amazing. Thoughts anybody?
What struck me is how unlikeable Laurel continues to be.
I think the writers are pitting shipping shippers against each other as evidenced by the club scene when Laurel suggested Oliver make her his new secretary and fire Felicity. I do LOVE that Oliver had Thea get her a cab instead of taking her home. I am definitely liking him much more!
I hate to blame this on the actress, but this can’t be the writers’ fault: Katie Cassidy acting drunk was AWFUL. Stumbling all over herself, not being able to walk in a straight line, falling down. It struck me as a completely amateur acting–playing a drunk doesn’t get any more stereotypical than that.
My husband, who watches Arrow sporadically with me, said that her story didn’t fit in with everyone else. He said it was like the rest of the characters were on one show, and Laurel was in another that was accidentally edited into Arrow.
I was sitting peaceful and quiet in a corner about this one. LOL. That fired thing irked me. Yes, I know, drunk blah blah blah but as was mentioned in a podcast after the show — her behavior, drunk or sober, hasn’t changed. She’s the same unlikeable, spiteful, manipulative character and I don’t mean that in a “love to hate her” kind of way. It just makes her impossible for me to like. At all. And then, by comparison, there’s Felicity all through this episode being witty and charming and fun and supportive and just nice and all bantering with Oliver and I’m sitting there thinking, Gosh I love these two together. They’re so fun!
She’s just so good at being evil, it really makes me wonder if that’s where they are going. I really would not like it if the writers are trying to pit one group against the other, because 1. we should all be in for the Whole Show, which most are and it is certainly NOT helping Laurel’s character. LOL
On to happier subjects though — Felicity and Oliver! Jenny’s blog is a nice little cocoon where I can just dwell in Olicity goodness because while I LOVE the show as a WHOLE, this place is just like a girls spa day where we can relish in the love on this show LOL The look on Oliver’s face when he said “Pride” when referencing Felicity GAH! And she’s finishing his sentences now too. After that little partner scene, the energy level seems the same between them but maybe more steady and soothing. Getting that solid foundation set in place. So good though, all of it!
I think I love just about everything on Arrow. I’m a total fangirl for Oliver/Felicity and I love that little Olicity cocoon I can dwell in to talk about them. I think that’s why it irks me when other people bash the fangirling thing and insinuate that because you *do* like a couple you don’t/can’t like the whole show. The heck you can’t! I do! And the Oliver/Felicity as well as Oliver/Felicity/Diggle dynamic is a huge part of that. 🙂 Though honestly if they don’t take this ex girlfriend chick to the dark side and just let her go evil I’ll be really disappointed because that’ my last hope for her. I’m just done with her. I can’t find her enjoyable at all.
My favorite part of this episode, well next to Moira running for mayor, was Laurel drunkenly telling Oliver to fire Felicity and hire her as his secretary. It’s the Arrow equivalent of kicking a kitten, and the actress put a lot of heart into that line. And then Oliver gave her keys to Thea and walked back to Felicity and everybody’s heart grew three sizes that day. There must have been a lot of devious chuckling in the writers’ room on that one.
It does feel like they are now CONSCIOUSLY sabotaging her character (as opposed to previously, when they were unconsciously doing it). Last week, they put in that reveal about her calling the cops on Sara and complaining when Arrow is late to meet her. Then, this week, she suggests Oliver fires Felicity. On the flipside, they have Felicity saying, “Hi Laurel, how are you?” in response to that.
While I do prefer Laurel drunk and bitchy (just because that seems to come more naturally to Katie Cassidy as an actress), I can’t say I enjoy her character. My preference is still to write her off, especially since Oliver’s character (as evidenced in this latest episode) is determined to save people, and I don’t want to watch a show wherein he is constantly trying to save Laurel, nor do I want to tune in to watch him guilt ridden over the direction her life has taken.
I am pretty excited to see how Oliver will react to his mom running, especially since he has thrown his support behind Sebastian Blood.
I keep hearing that Laurel is the one and only, but I don’t believe it. I think it started that way in season one, but I’ve watched too many soaps to think the writers are still going that way. I don’t think the character is well written, but I also don’t think Katie Cassidy fits with the rest of the cast. She doesn’t seem to have chemistry with any of them. While I do love Oliver & Felicity together, I’d be okay if they stay partners and friends as long as he doesn’t pick Laurel over her. Helena was better. McKenna, while not great, was also better. Laurel is just a boring mess. And I think the writers are trying to figure out how to save her, but given the quality of the Laurel episodes, I really hope the writers keep Sarah and let Laurel be the Lance to die. I could see Sarah & Felicity becoming friends, but I can’t see Laurel doing anything that would make me want to watch. I can see Sarah fitting in as part of Team Arrow, but I can’t even imagine Laurel as Black Canary much less fitting in as part of any team. She’s too selfish to be part of a team.
LOL Jenny, I thought the same thing — both the Moira for Mayor which I just love and I hope that means we’ll see Walter more often and the drunken fire Felicity thing. I’ve said the same thing to people whenever a character is mean/bitchy/cruel to Felicity (and why Oliver’s character potentially walks that line, going back to that whole the value we place on character’s thing). Because people love Felicity so much, they’re protective of her and being that Mean Person to her is like stomping a kitten. LOL. Fastest way to get the viewer scowling at you in that “Shame on you, you bad person!” way and actually deepen that protective feeling toward poor, vulnerable Felicity.
Heart great 3 sizes that day. LMFAO!
Given the popularity of Felicity, I do wonder how the writers think they are going to redeem Laurel after that comment. If they are trying to make her sympathetic, they are doing a lousy job…but considering how good they are with the rest of the story, this has to be a deliberate attempt to…actually, I can’t finish that sentence because I don’t understand where they are going with this!
There is currently a poll on EOnline: TV’s Hottest Love Triangles. Take a second to vote, will you? Right now, the numbers are at 75% for Felicity and 25% for Laurel. It really should be more along the lines of 100% for Felicity, don’t you think?
Also, looking at the previews, it sounds like Sara was Nyssa’s lover. Oh Arrow! I SO hope that is true, because it would be awesome. AWESOME.
i really think that the whole sympathy for laurel isn’t working. and i think that the ’emmy caliber scene’ between oliver and her would make us cringe even more. the only character i can see him being with is felicity, i hope that we’ll see a back story!
Thanks for this posting and I love this whole discussion. I have struggled with my feelings about these characters as well. I do think the most consistent and interesting route for the writers to take with Laurel (and the one that would garner the greatest respect from me) is an evil Laurel. Dump the Canon, rather than to force something that we can’t buy. Laurel hasn’t been the nicest person from the start, and I think that is my problem with her. She has consistently come across as self-centered in most of the scenes, which makes it so hard to like her. I just remember the scene where Tommy just got cut off from his dad and he and Laurel were trying to get into an exclusive restaurant, but Tommy had lost his clout because he was broke. Instead of saying, “let’s go somewhere else” she was complaining and whining about being hungry and why it was taking so long. I felt so bad for Tommy as he was trying to please her. She seemed incredibly shallow. And then she jumped on Oliver’s (polite) offer that they join him and Helena and all I can think of was that she had no cares about anyone else but herself – didn’t think twice of Tommy’s pride or that they might be intruding on some else’s date. That was one example, but there are so many more if you were to look through all her scenes. Is this all part of a plan to break her down? If so, it worries me because they’ve made her into someone I don’t think I can ever like– she is just deeply flawed. So I agree, just jumping all in and making her a villian is the only way to make her character work for me.
We have learned through bitter experience that when the comments go much past 200, the blog breaks. So I’m closing these comments, not to shut down the conversation but to save the blog. Do a search for “Arrow;” there are other posts with more recent conversations that you can comment on.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
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