Arrow Thursday: Protagonists

Since my obsession with Arrow doesn’t seem to be abating, I’m going to put up a post the day after the show airs for the rest of this season. I’ll try to talk about writing craft, but sometimes you just have to say, “Oliver, you dumbass, you deserve everything you’re going to get for that.” But first, this:

Community Rules: Treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Do not say somebody is wrong, say “I respectfully disagree.” Any comment that refers to anyone in a derogatory way is going to get trashed. Any comment in a sarcastic, snide, or demeaning tone will be trashed even faster. Any comment that refers to Oliver as a man-whore is okay.

Of course, the show isn’t coming back until Feb. 26, so maybe this is a good time to look at some of the major aspects of the story in general. Like, say, Our Protagonist, Oliver Queen.


Yeah, he’s kind of grim.

The Protagonist is the character who owns the story. His goals, his drives, his hang-ups, his screw-ups fuel the story. (He does not make the story, though; that’s the antagonist who shapes the narrative in the way he or she pushes back.) Therefore when designing a protagonist you need somebody who is . . .

• Fascinating (because he’s the guy we’re going to follow through the story)
• Flawed (because people who never make mistakes are not fascinating)
• Sympathetic or at least Understandable (which means he should not kick puppies or sleep with sisters)
• Vulnerable (gonna have to balance the abs-and-arrows with something that could kneecap him)
• Driven (has a strong goal he’ll die to achieve)

For the first episode, Oliver was pretty much abs-and-arrows, but that was needed to establish the baseline. On the island, he was mostly wimp-and-whine, but that was good, too; it showed how far he’d come in five years. Leaving Oliver to grim fortitude, however, was going to make viewers turn the channel, which in fact many of them did. So the key with protagonists is to establish them in their stable lives quickly and then start throwing rocks at them, goading the protagonists to actions that will cross boundaries and change their characters or at least their expressions.

The problem was that, as a vigilante, Oliver was already crossing boundaries: he put on a hoodie at night and went around the city shooting arrows into rich people. After several episodes of this, it got old and kind of depressing. Meanwhile back on the island, Wimp-N’-Whine was changing and growing. It almost seemed as if the writers felt that Oliver’s growth on the island meant he didn’t have to grow in the present. They did try to throw rocks at him by giving him a really angry ex-girlfriend, but since that just made Oliver more stoic, it wasn’t a help. In order to get a protagonist out of his stable world, you need to get his attention, shock him awake so that he moves out of his rut and starts plowing new paths.

In the case of Arrow, Oliver met two people new to him, people he didn’t have history with, people he was going to have to establish new relationships with. The people from his old life automatically saw him as the old Oliver; new people didn’t have that to fall back on, so he had to readjust. It’s not surprising that it’s the new people–Diggle and Felicity–who see him as he really is; they don’t have any investment in who he used to be. New relationships mean new paths and–once Diggle and Felicity joined him in the bat cave–a new life with a new family. They were the catalysts who turned the story around because they turned Oliver around; if you trace Oliver’s character arc from the first episode to the present, the things that have had the most impact on him aren’t his best friend’s death and the earthquake machine; those things just made him grimmer. The big catalysts are Diggle and Felicity.

That means that when you watch Arrow, you get three Oliver Queens: the old Oliver on the island, the new Oliver pretending to be the old Oliver in Starling City, and Arrow, the hero who works with Diggle and Felicity to save the city. Oliver does pretty well when he keeps those three identities separate, its when he gets them confused that people tend to say, “Oliver, you’re an idiot.”

Even so, he’s a great protagonist: driven, active, skilled, sympathetic (mostly), vulnerable because of his connections to people, and constantly evolving. He makes mistakes which is important in a hero-protagonist–you don’t learn if you don’t make mistakes–he generally cleans up after his mistakes, also important in a hero-protagonist; he admits others to his secrets and treats them as equals; he evolves a kind of moral code (he really is trying to stop killing people); he interacts with family and friends and doesn’t consider himself above them; and he’s not good at everything, which makes him a lot more human. Some of Oliver’s best moments are when he’s unsure: asking McKenna out on a date, telling Felicity that he needs her, trying to endorse his mother for mayor right after he’s learned that she’s a liar and a cheat. He also has a dry sense of humor that offsets all the grim, and he’s content to be a straight man for the more mercurial members of the cast, confident enough in himself not to demand the spotlight. There’s a reason this show is so popular, and about half of it is because Oliver Queen is a great protagonist.

Now if he’d just quit doing sister acts . . .

Bonus: Here’s a short history of the Green Arrow in comics.

266 thoughts on “Arrow Thursday: Protagonists

  1. You know how often female characters on male-protagonist shows are defined by their relationships with the heroes? I find it funny that on this blog we have defined Oliver almost entirely by his relationships with the women in the show.

    1. I watched maybe two episodes of Arrow–from the very beginning–and the writers never gave me a reason to keep watching. I just didn’t care about Oliver or the world that the writers were building. I returned an Arrow DVD to Netflix with some episodes unwatched, something I almost never do. The question that I then asked myself was one I think about a fair amount–about gendered viewing/reading.

      Do men watching Arrow define Oliver by his relationships with the women in the show? Or does the stuff that left me uncaring about this show after just two episodes actually drive the viewing for males? I think that women read across the gender divide more easily than men. I read science fiction as a teenager in the 1960s. I have never met a man of my generation who read romance as a teen.

      Is this changing? Is the gender divide closing? Are Arrow’s fans distributed across the genders?

      1. That’s a good question. The discussions here on Argh have centered on the relationships which I think have become a bigger part of the show (must go back and watch the first season again) and that really skews the perspective because it’s basically an action show, Oliver against bad guys, with family and romantic relationships as complications. A lot of the people talking here (including me) see the show as a romance with action interruptions, so we’re not exactly watching the same show that the writers are writing.

        My guess is that most men watch for the action which is pretty good for TV, and see the romantic/sexual relationships with the women as the tradition reward: he does good, he gets the (hot) girl. It’s a sub genre that’s worked for centuries because women have learned to read/watch narratives with a male protagonist and rewrite them to focus on or at least emphasize the participation of The Girl. The writers’ problem is that most of the internet buzz is generated by women, I think. So the show has shifted (I think) to accommodate that demographic while still keeping the main focus as Oliver fights bad guys.

        I really have to watch the first season again. I’m going solely on memory so I could be completely off base. Oh, and you should give it a try again. If you quit after the first two episodes, you missed Felicity; whether you like her or not, her impact on the show has been remarkable. I think her appearance is what began the skew toward relationships and romance.

        1. Yeah I was going to chime in and say that Arrow really changed a lot about itself after the first handful of episodes. If you go back and watch that 1st season you can actually see and feel them tweaking what wasn’t quit working. The show in the beginning vs the show at the end are quite different. Come Season 2 there’s a lot of changes, which I think made a lot of sense, especially as you could tell the writers were trying to give Oliver’s core trio (Oliver/Felicity/Diggle) a more logical reason to be spending all this time together with him.

          The introduction of Felicity’s character in episode 3 really did change things and open up a much needed aspect of Oliver’s character. I think season 2 brought in more humor and let a lot of the characters lighten up as well. But yeah, Oliver definitely becomes more likeable after that introduction. It added an odd human element, a warmer, more likeable glimpse at Oliver and I think it showed audiences that — somewhere under all that stoic, tortured, brooding — there was hope Oliver could be a character worth investing in and one we’d want to spend time with.

          Huh. In a way? That first Oliver/Felicity scene was like that promise a book makes when you hit that first page. Here’s the story. This is the tale. He will become a man you like. We promise. I think the problem, for lack of a better word, comes in when that “he’ll be a better man” story promise came about because of that Oliver/Felicity moment. It kind of mentally made me, at least, think: and he’ll become that better man alongside this relationship with Felicity. You know, I’d never thought about that before. How funny.

          But I know I’ve commented before that I’d resigned myself to investing only in the “Guy Story” of Arrow — the action stuff — with absolutely no romance to root for. Then Felicity Smoak strolled through the restaurant doors to give Oliver her copy of the book. Not only was that scene just beautifully shot (the lighting, the colors, etc) but the minute they had that “Can I trust you?” exchange I was hooked.

          “There it is!” I thought as Oliver and Felicity turned suddenly serious with each other, honest and open, vulnerable and connected, and most importantly *real.* “There’s the romantic story I’ve been waiting for!”

          1. I bought it for sure when he crawled into her car after his mother shot him. Especially Felicity’s “Suddenly everything about you just became so unbelievably clear,” while he’s bleeding into her backseat carpet. I thought, “Okay, if they’re taking her into the bat cave, I’m in.”

          2. That was another awesome scene, Jenny. I remember being so excited that she’d learned his secret and was being brought into the fold. Best decision Arrow/CW ever made.

      2. @Pam Regis
        I thought I’d chime in and offer a few tidbits (culled from various web sources) about the demographics of Arrow viewership.

        The CW is a joint venture between CBS and Warner Bros. Basically they merged the UPN (owned by CBS) and WB (Warner Bros) networks. Their target demographic is 18-34 and is heavily skewed toward women. Advertisers like that demographic: 18-34 year olds are perceived as less like to have formed brand loyalty and can be swayed by advertising. And women in that age group are faster to adopt new technologies, are slightly more likely to have a higher education level, and single ones are more likely to be making larger purchases (i.e., homes).

        Why is The CW female skewed? This is in part because the strongest shows brought to the joint venture by WB (which had more programming and higher viewership than UPN) had majority female viewership: 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, etc. Pre-CW WB also had Buffy and Angel. The CW just built on that existing female viewership.

        So more women watch Arrow then men. One of the reasons Arrow is a breakout hit for The CW is that it attracts a larger (than most of their other shows) male audience.

        There is a reason that Oliver is frequently shirtless. The CW execs and the producers know their audience will enjoy the view. Word-of-God confirms it:

        1. Huh. That is all really good to know. I remember when it became the CW, but I had no idea that it was a merger (I kind of always assumed some mystical company full of attractive people had bought the channel). And if they acknowledge and actively seek out 18-34 year-old women, a lot of the shows make a lot more sense.

          It actually makes me really happy to know this. It’s like we’re not just editing these shows to be more female-inclusive, they actually are trying to be so in the first place.

    2. Spot on.

      I found it telling how often he was referring to himself in the third person. Oliver’s the person he wants to be, Olly’s the bad layer he’s trying to scrape off, and Oliver Queen’s the mask covering it all.

  2. First I want to say how much I appreciate your feeding this addiction in this forum. It’s awesome.

    I agree that Oliver Queen is a great protagonist – and one who makes some of the stupidest mistakes ever particularly when it comes to women. He really just doesn’t get it, but then I don’t think he had the best role models given his parents. One of my favorite things about Oliver is how he does seem capable of learning – and he does admit his mistakes. Given that, I am so very hopeful that the whole new mess with Sara will create so many new learning opportunities for him. (And I am really surprised at myself at how quickly I went from really liking Sara as a character to hating her and wanting her to die – or at least leave town. At the same time, I don’t hate Oliver. I just think he’s an idiot man whore. I really thought better of Sara, however. Double standard on my part?)

    I think things are going to get much, much worse for Oliver before they get better. And at this point, I think he deserves whatever comes his way for being so stupid.

    Now here my question – no doubt Oliver Queen is a great protagonist, but is he a hero? What’s the difference?

    1. A hero has a moral dimension: He’s Good because he saves people, he protects his community, he’s brave, he’s noble, he fights evil, etc. He’s not without flaw, he makes mistakes, but he is clearly The Good Guy. That’s Oliver.
      A protagonist is just the character who owns the story, so while Macbeth can be a protagonist, he’s no hero.
      Sometimes you get the anti-hero who works outside the law and does bad things but is still admirable; that would be Red in The Blacklist or Han Solo (who shot first).

      1. An acquaintance and I were having that conversation about Oliver. I think what I’m failing to realize is just HOW amoral Oliver actually was. We don’t generally get heroes who are that far outside of redemption. If you go back and listen to some of his conversations early on with Tommy (and the scene where Thea gets arrested for B&E and Moira’s laissez-faire parenting style), you get a pretty good picture of Ollie. In some ways, he really was shaping up to be a warmer, fuzzier Caligula. No boundaries, no holds barred, no thought for anything but himself. I’m not sure he could be used as a hero, because most people would really think he was not even able to be redeemed.

        Therefore, when he does backslide to his old ways, he backslides a LOT. And Sara, frankly, is an enabler. (Don’t get me started on her.)

        In a way, though, I think it makes Oliver that much more of a hero. My husband (the consummate DC fan) and I recently had a long discussion about whether most people, if they had superpowers, would actually use them, and if so, if they would use them for good. When you really think about it, most people probably wouldn’t. It would take a combination of someone who had the moral fiber both to take a stand and also to suffer physical and mental punishment for doing so. It would also take someone who was willing to give up a lot in their personal life. Combine it, and think of how often people squirm out of doing even the simplest things because it inconveniences them, and you get the idea.

        Oliver doesn’t have a superpower, but what he does have is almost as good: unlimited wealth and a host of people who are willing to excuse him *anything* and never say no to him.

        In that position, how many people would turn away from the temptation to do whatever s/he wanted that pleased them, and spend their time putting themselves through a demanding ritual and *then* get shot, stabbed and kicked around in defense of someone else? Probably not many. It’s that much harder if you’ve never been given any moral guidance, and Oliver clearly was not. But he’s trying. It’s just that the destination to his journey is somewhere in California and he’s starting barefoot in Maine.

        Which is why I think Digg and Felicity are both so important to him. They say no. Neither of them are at all impressed by his wealth or status — and I can’t think of anyone else who doesn’t take that into consideration. Without those two, his well-meaning efforts to clean the city would have just turned him into a thug. I think we saw the first real change when he wanted to go threaten one person, and Felicity locked the door, then quit when he tried to intimidate her. She was also unimpressed when he came crawling back, and I bet that was another first.

        Anyway, my two cents.

        By the way, true story: during the first episode, I turned to my husband, who’d recommended the series, and asked him if it was a Hamlet/Lost mashup. Lo and behold, what’s one of Felicity’s first lines? Comparing the situation to Hamlet.

        I started liking her right then. 🙂

    2. Paula, I think you raise a good point re things getting worse for Oliver. I have memories of a recent comment by the actor who plays Oliver saying “We’ve seen him start to play better with others, but that’s really going to be tested over our next stretch of episodes because right when he thinks that everything’s starting to come together, everything falls apart.”

      1. And I would feel sorry for him if he hadn’t yanked the bottom out of his own world. Stupid and cruel is no way to go through life, son.

        1. I’d have felt the same way. Poor Oliver. But in this case? It seems like he just pushed that domino over all by himself and is the creator of his own misery in this one. So am I going to be left watching it, thinking, “Dumbass. You deserve this! Think next time. Think!”

          1. I think that can be really effective for character arc if it’s done well, though, because he’ll have to come to grips with his own culpability in the latest disaster. I’m looking forward to seeing him take his beating, figure out where he went wrong and then make good because he’ll have to really LEARN from this one and then he’ll never do it again.

            That said… just ick. Oliver, you are a moron.

    3. I don’t hate Sara, nor am I really disappointed in her. I’m more disappointed in the writers of Arrow. I don’t begrudge either character wanting comfort, but just not with each other. Mostly because they have an amazing dynamic as friends and fellow survivors, and I don’t really think Oliver has that dynamic with any other female character in the show. Its like they don’t think he’s capable of having any kind of relationship with any woman without it turning into sex. I know that they set Sara up in the last few episodes to be semi in love with Oliver, but that was pre-Island Sara and pre-Island Oliver. They’re totally different people now. It didn’t feel right in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Sara, I love how much she’s grown and changed in 6 years. But I have to admit that when they started kissing in the Arrow cave all that I could think was “man, she’s gonna get fridged”. The writers on Arrow are good. But they’re not great. Especially when it comes to female characters *cough*Laurel*cough*. (btw, I only give them partial credit for the creation of the wonderful Felicity. From what I understand that happened mostly by accident). I just have this gut feeling that they’re going to sacrifice another female character (hello Shado, we miss you) for the sake of manpain and drama (and for the sake of Laurel taking up the mantel of the Black Canary….which seems to be the direction they want to go in *sigh*). Not looking forward to it. At all.

      1. I think she’s going to get fridged, too. If she ends up long term in the bat cave, I will be very surprised.
        But then I was very surprised when she and Oliver leaped on each other, so what do I know?

        1. I’m actually worried we’ll get an announcement soon that the actress playing Canary now is going to become a regular. The producers finally have a Black Canary many fans don’t seem to actively hate (though that last scene in the last ep may have turned off some).

          1. You know, I really don’t see this. I think they’re developing a story line for the Lance family which I think might be a mistake because once again it’s not feeding the main plot. I’m sure it will down the road, but right now I’m looking at all the Lance family scenes and thinking, “What does this have to do with Oliver vs. Slade and why should I care?” Aside from Quentin, that is one unpleasant group of people, and they’re taking screen time away from the people I care about in the bat cave while Slade is evidently off playing solitaire instead of moving against Oliver. You have to make me care about a subplot NOW, not just imply that I’ll care later. But I absolutely don’t see any pandering to the Laurel character in particular.

      2. I’m not sure where this will end up in the queue, hopefully right under Rach. Rach brought up a valid point about Sara and Oliver. I think that was my greatest disappointment with the ending was that they just jumped in the sack! These two had a great friendship going, I really felt that dynamic when she first appeared revealed herself to Oliver. There was a sense of solid friendship — they were both on the same journey and were on par with each other skill wise. Now I did expect them to revisit the possibility of rekindling their relationship, but figured they would realize –> been there done that, it sank. Oh well!

        Then I remembered a ski instructor of mine describing the differences in they way men and women approach things. The women approach a slope and kind of mentally plan their path and then proceed. Men just go and deal with it on the way down. And maybe since Sara is a lot like Oliver in some sense now — boom! Act now, deal with the fallout later LOL I think these two are too much alike and that’s where they will run into problems.

        1. I totally get that men and women approach things differently and have totally different thought processes, but I think if that’s the “excuse” by show writers for why they have characters do things, it really sells male characters short and creates an unrealistic standard for the women. It starts to feel like the writers are just shrugging and saying, “Well, boys will be boys.”

          The thing for me with Oliver — since we’re talking about protagonists — is that… isn’t he supposed to be smarter than this? He spent 5 years apparently thwarting plots and out-maneuvering all these villains (Fryers, Ivo, whoever else is coming), gaining the ability to plan elaborate plots, and then comes home determined to make things right, both to balance out his dad’s mess but also straighten out his personal relationships. And this is where I start mentally tripping up. If you know the exact steps that led to blowing apart your life, if you saw the pain it created the first time, if you’re back and determined to “atone” for it all, why the freaking bloody hell would you go and do the exact same thing? That’s just dumb. Or worse yet? Thoughtless, callous, and mean.

          No matter how angry Oliver was in that moment in the lair, it was just a dumbass move and I have a hard time saying, “Well, men don’t think, so it’s okay.” (Just to be clear, I’m in no way saying anyone here suggested that in any of their replies). People have been speculating over Felicity’s motivations in the next episode and kicking around “I don’t want her to do dumb things,” “I don’t want her to be stupid,” and “I don’t want her to be a damsel in distress” (again, totally get that) but Oliver stepped right up on the I’m-Dumb-Landmine. LOL.

          When I look at Oliver/Sara, I thought the show was doing a pretty decent job of creating a nice friendship between the two. I figured it wouldn’t be more because Oliver’d been there, done that and surely he wouldn’t put his head in that lion’s mouth again. Then the show went there. Not only that, they went and made the same mistake they made in Season 1 with Oliver/Laurel. They Insta-ed it in a way that dents Oliver’s character and made me want to smack him.

          Heck, the writers put the same Caring Cart before the Why Do They? Horse. They didn’t give me the time or chance to decide for myself what was or wasn’t in the Past on that island. In the Present, I saw Oliver feeling guilty over the whole mess. I’ve seen him want to try to make things right for himself, for Sara, for the Lance Family, and of course he cares. I’m sure they couldn’t go through all the island stuff without caring about her. But that’s the problem. They’re telling me that. They haven’t shown it to me, and that’s the part that’s starting to irritate me.

          Stop telling me what the story is and start showing me.

      3. “(and for the sake of Laurel taking up the mantel of the Black Canary….which seems to be the direction they want to go in *sigh*). ”

        I don’t want to be repetitive but ‘urgh’..I hate the above..I hate that CW/ARROW is still too blind or just ‘don’t care’ and will follow through with the whole ‘She’s’ it!!!

        I mean, so far, CW/ARROW has tried too HARD to make the A/A look bad or just destoryed their storyline so that “larueL” can be looked upon with sympathetic eyes but all it’s doing too me, is causing me to HATE her more and more! I don’t feel sorry for her one bit..Not with what Sara is doing; even-thou Oliver is single and Sara does have the right to date whomever she wants..I just can’t get over the fact that it was “laurel” that started all and I will never get over it and feel sorry about donig whatever she did..I think, the show could’ve gotten my “sympathies” for her IF ‘laruel’ wasn’t such a arrogant/higher then thou outlook to herself etc and is she didn’t sabotaged her sister first, then I’d probably be more sympathetic toward what happend in 2-13; but nope, I’m not.

        Am I mean for thinking this way, maybe but I always believed in ‘karma’ and ‘what comes around goes around’.. Wrong way of thinking?? NOPE. Do no harm unto others and NO harm will come to you..Naive but still….

        1. Well, in that case, Sara has some bad stuff heading for her. You don’t get a free pass to betray your sister just because she betrayed you, otherwise the world would be in chaos because everybody would be seeking petty revenge. Each person is responsible for his or her own acts, which means that the only people Karma isn’t bearing down on right now are Diggle, Felicity, and Thea.

          1. Sara deserves it! The only way this subplot will work for me is if both sisters finally say, “Ollie, we’re done with you. We choose each other instead.”

        2. Sometimes I wonder if shows just think: let’s dump on this character and do all these mean things to them! with the assumption that will make a viewer care about their fate. The problem is, as is mine with Laurel, that if I don’t care/relate/invest in her in anyway, they can do whatever they want to with her and I’m still not going to care. But give me a different character who I even kinda like (like my previous comments on Justified’s Ava) and slam her in a difficult position and in less than 5 seconds you can make me fall in love with her on the spot, care about her fate, and root for her to find a way out.

  3. I can think of a few book series that I’ve stopped reading because the protagonist never changes, never grows. And the tv show Supernatural which is going on 9 years now and nothing has changed with the two male leads. Same character, different conflict. There’s no character arc for them.

    Abby on Sleepy Hollow had a nice arc. Going from episode one where she’s too afraid to admit that there are demons out there then to the end of season one where she willing to stay behind in Purgatory so she can face Moloch and is ready to fight.

    So for an ongoing series or book series I have to see some growth or change -good or bad- in the protagonist to keep me interested in staying with that character.

  4. Nothing to do with Arrow, but could I ask a writer favour of one of you lovely US women?

    I have a book that’s supposed to be in a Countdown Deal over at Amazon–only it’s not showing the $.99 sale price for me. But Amazon folks assure me it does for them. Thinking maybe it’s because even though I’m going to .com that because I’m outside US, it’s not showing for me. Problem is, I don’t feel right announcing it on my blog etc. without knowing for sure it’s up.

    Could someone please check The Pas de Deux and let me know? Thanks.

    Btw, did notice a Lani book in the countdown sale–Ex & the Single Girl–great chance to pick up:)

  5. Hi Jennifer, I love your books and I love your more now because you are an Arrow fan, YES! Also I want to tell you that I agree with all the post you have written about Arrow, it’s like you are reading my mind (maybe because my dream is to be a script writer?) No kidding! Every time I read one of your entries is like… “Ok, this woman knows how things work, I love her!” Anyway, I’m really curious about the Olicity development and how the writers will treat this relationship considering this is not a romantic show. They did it great until last episode when I was completely shocked watching Oliver and Sara together… and not because I ship Olicity but because it was a kiss out of nowhere! it was like: “WTF? You are friends with no sexual tension at all and now THIS? No freaking way, sorry” I was disappointed with the writers and I still am, most of all because the keep teasing us with tweets just to play and make us miserables. But, my question is: as an amazing writer, how will you develop Olicity from now on? I know that’s is really complicated to give me details but just a general view or the story lines you will follow with them. By the way… many fans of Tumblr want you to write a fanfic about them… yes, we are crazy I know, but we love you! Thanks again, you are amazing. BD

    1. Hi, BD!
      I can’t write fanfic, I’m past deadline on four novels, but thank you for asking.
      I have no idea what the writers are going to do. My hope is that the Sara thing is to put the Black Canary romantic plot line to rest, but for all I know, they could be planning a wedding as a season finale. I’m in the same boat you are, just waiting to see what they do next. I do think they know how important Felicity is to the series overall so i’ll be fun to see how they develop her, with or without a romance

  6. You are spot on about how we view people or protagonist of a story in relation to others. Let me be honest, during the first couple of episodes, Oliver did not leave much of an impression on me. I mean I was impressed by the opening sequence when he climbed up the rocks bare feet like a cross between a reptile and Tarzan in the island and how he took on 16 guys single handedly when he was kidnapped. But for me, he became more human during his interactions with Tommy and Thea.
    His interactions with his mother and the love of his life Laurel left me cold and that was way before Felicity Smoak was introduced but he was fun and loving with. Tommy and Thea and that endeared him to me. When Felicity came along with that perfect meet cute scene, I started rooting for the protagonist because there were three characters with whom he had this amazing chemistry and if these three people like him despite his obvious shortcomings, then there must be more to him than meet the eye. I warmed up to Diggle Oliver bromance after that.
    In addition, I refused to believe the writers when they say that Felicity was only supposed to be there for one episode, they have introduced every non familial female character on the show as potential Oliver romance, hence both Felicity and Amanda Waller are a lot younger and prettier than their comic book versions. I would not be surprised if Oliver hooks up with Amanda Waller in season 3. The producers knew exactly what they were doing when they introduced a cute blonde girl who is obviously flustered when she meets a rich handsome guy who happens to be her boss, sort of. It is the first meeting of many a romantic comedies and romance novels. I have read many when I was younger.
    I think the only reason they did not go there with Felicity is when they realized they have stumbled upon this thing that can be this show’s perfect slow burning romantic arc like Joey and Pacey from Dawson’s Creek and something that will fan many a fandom wars and launch many ‘ships’.
    Now the character of Felicity has grown so larger than life that for many of us (and that includes me) Felicity’s happiness and success as a character is more important or at least as important to me as Oliver’s journey. If he hurts her, I will boo my tv screen and probably throw popcorn at him. If they do not get romantically involved, I want her to grow stronger on her own. She is the best friend you want to win no matter what and I think that too is another problem that Arrow writers are now facing. What do you think Jenny?

    1. I think they really did not see Felicity coming. But I also think they’re pretty fast on their feet and they worked her in pretty quickly.
      Also the actress playing Amanda Waller looks exactly the comic book character in the New 52. The earlier version, not so much.
      And I would agree that they’re saving Felicity for the long term except the producers have said they aren’t although they’ll say damn near anything, so who knows?

  7. Let me preface this with the following: I have not watched Arrow yet, but the DVDs are sitting in the pile. I have read your posts, but not the comments.

    I don’t have an answer to this but it is something I’ve been thinking about based on your posts. I thought I’d let everyone else think about also: How important is the Arrow cannon? I’ve never read anything prior to the tv show. Are there enough fans out there like me that the writers have some room to make changes? I say this from the perspective of the shippers. Obviously the is a huge ship for Felicity/Oliver. Does he have to end up with the Black Canary that no one seems to like?


    1. The canon is such a garbled mess that anything is possible. They’ve already made several changes in it, so they’re not completely constrained, but a lot of the fun of the show is seeing things from the comics show up on the screen, so they’re walking a narrow line.

  8. Jenny, based on your definition of a hero I would have to agree that Oliver is one. And your advice – “stupid and cruel is no way to go through life, son” – neatly sums up why I can’t root for him at the moment. Though I’m not invested in Laurel, his actions in the last episode are just that. So I’m rooting for her, for Slade to pull the rug out from under him, and for Felicity to “win no matter what” without him.

    Though I’m not particularly impatient for the next episode, I’m curious about how the writers evolve Oliver out of this.

    1. I think the problem may be that they don’t think they have to evolve him. Although if there’s backlash on the net, they may be realizing it. I stay off the fan boards so I have no idea what the reaction has been.

      1. That is a problem, then. It would be difficult to root for a hero who is blind to why his most recent whoring with Laurel’s sister is cruel. There’s not much point in watching for me if the hero remains emotionally dense to actions that are clearly hurtful to someone he claimed to love and claims he still cares for. I don’t expect him to be perfect, but grow a little, please. I did check out some fan boards; there seems to be some anger and disappointment midst the Laurel, Felicity, Sara and even Oliver fans. The producers and writers pulled a stunt, and it’s backfired to some degree. Most will continue to watch to see how it plays out, but if Oliver can’t acknowledge at some point how hurtful this second go around with Sara is to Laurel…I don’t know.

      2. I think sometimes the Executive Producers, Arrow Writers, and actors themselves (Stephen Amell included) are such fanboys/fangirls of their own show, they don’t necessarily see the “mistakes” in the show. For example, they love keeping people guessing, so the fact that people were surprised, pissed, elated, etc. at what happened could be simply chalked up to people REACTING to the last few minutes of the last episode. It’s that “bad press is better than no press” thing. I have been on the fan boards (I know, I should stop. They are SO upsetting and vile, but it’s my version of a daytime soap opera addiction), and the response has been “Felicity needs a hot, new man,” “At least it’s not Laurel,” “Black Canary and Green Arrow, as it should be!,” “That’s okay…slow burn, baby…” (for Olicity shippers who think the Sara hook-up is mostly a roadblock to the endgame of Oliver-Felicity). I didn’t see anyone who said, “This show just jumped the shark,” which is the kind of comment (in high numbers) that should worry producers. Basically, people are still willing to tune in, so from where the show runners are standing, they did a good thing. They hooked people, and they’ve got viewers who want to see what happens next.

        I keep asking myself the same question: how important is the canon? The Eonline love triangle poll has Oliver and Felicity at 76% (For perspective, there are 12 couples…I believe Oliver-Felicity are in the top 3 that squashed the competition-which is crazy for a show that had an epic love story already set up). There is a new poll on that has them at 88% (down from 93% when the poll opened). Let’s just assume now that you are never going to appease 100% of your audience with what you do with your story, but if you’ve got 76-80% of your viewers going in one direction, that’s pretty much as good as it gets. If Oliver and Felicity were on rotten tomatoes, they would be a “Certified Fresh” couple. So if they still plan to push the canon love story…I’m just really, really, really interested in the conversations going on in the writer’s room at this point! I really hope they choose a side and go with it. I’d appreciate the show more if I didn’t have to worry about how else they’re going to ruin the romantic subplot, and as a direct result, Oliver Queen’s personality!

        1. What’s interesting to me is who is influencing whom? Is the audience and its reaction influencing the writers or vice versa? I can’t help feeling that the writers, if good enough, could get us on board with exactly what they want us to get on board with — of course to some degree. Of course no one can ignore the Felicity Smoak problem (that Jenny so awesomely explored, which got me to this blog to begin with), but I get the sneaking suspicion that Felicity is the beloved character she is today b/c the writers agreed to make her so. What the writers giveth, they can take away. Of course, they’d be foolish to destroy such a character b/c even they could see that they had something really great in that character. I also wonder how much of these developments can be personal as well. The actress Emily Better Rickards seems very likeable. People want to see her succeed. Can there be an element of liking the the actress behind the character as well? I am curious about how this unfolds. I wish there were no cannon b/c none of that means anything to me. But I know it exists. I am hoping the writers just do it right, whatever they decide to do.

          1. I definitely think that when writing television, you have to pay attention to audience response. It’s why the producers, writers, and actors are always looking at the ratings. They tease an episode a certain way, and then they look at how that episode performs.

            I think maybe the Sara-Oliver hookup came about because they needed to fulfill the canon BC/GA hook-up. Now, they are trying to see whether that is a love story that will work and click with the fans. If Sara doesn’t die by the end of the season, I’m willing to bet next Valentines’ Day, the polls will be Sara-Oliver and Oliver-Felicity (and, maybe, since they introduced Sara as BI–they won’t say it, but she IS) Sara-Felicity. I hope the show runners surprise me and choose one love story for THIS version of Green Arrow and stop teasing shippers. It really is the most frustrating aspect of this show.

            I hope the rest of the season explores Oliver-the-protagonist in his other roles, specifically as CEO of Queen Consolidated. I really liked seeing that version of him, and it’s been a little heavy on the vigilante-ism lately. There’s much more opportunity to write humor when he’s trying to convince everyone he’s just a normal billionaire CEO. I think that’s part of why his scenes with both Felicity and Diggle resonate so well with the viewers. For example, with Felicity, he tries to convince her he has all these friends (some of these are paraphrased, based on what I remember):

            Oliver: My friend is really into archery. Apparently, it’s all the rage these days.
            Felicity: I don’t see why, it looks utterly ridiculous to me.
            Oliver: Hmm..

            Oliver: My friend is developing an energy drink…it’s supposed to be great for curing hangovers…
            Felicity: If it’s an energy drink, why is it in a syringe?
            Oliver: I ran out of sports bottles.

            Oliver: We’re late.
            Diggle: The good news is you get to make your dramatic entrance.
            Oliver: Oh I’m just happy Oliver Queen has a reputation for showing up late.
            Diggle: You know, I’ve been meaning to tell you it really wears me out no end the way you refer to yourself in the third person like that.

            It’s also why his scenes with Barry were so funny.

            Barry: I’m guessing you don’t know how hard it is to break someone’s neck.
            Oliver: Hm? No. No idea.

            Too much Oliver-as-the-Arrow gets boring for me, but because they have been so focused on moving plot along lately, I’ve been missing spending time with the lighter versions of Oliver Queen.

        2. Never going to happen..They’re going to PLAY us all like TV has always done..

          I always wonder if CW/ARROW/it’s PPL/Ex-Prod etc knows about the MANY POLLS out there and do they care or even take it into consideration at all??

          1. The polls only represent a tiny fraction of the Arrow viewership. Polling 1% of the average viewership would be about 30,000 people. The one online poll I looked at had about 700 votes.

          2. I think they are aware of the polls, depending on which website it’s on. Eonline and TVguide, for example, are much more reliable than some fan website that uses poll daddy. Andrew Kreisberg, one of the executive producers, tweeted about the TV Guide Oliver-Felicity poll ( Agreed, polls can only test for a very small percentage of audience response, and there is a science to analyzing them, plus they have to account for a margin of error. In the polls with Arrow, however, even accounting for 10-15% margin of error, you still have Oliver-Felicity coming out on top. Plus, the results seem pretty consistent in favor of Oliver-Felicity (several polls have Olicity “winning” as the most popular ‘ship of the show…which is why Lauriver fans and purists accuse the show of so much fan pandering). For Valentines’ Day, both the CW Arrow and DC official twitter accounts teased an Olicity-themed vine with Emily Bett Rickards:

            Stephen Amell posted this a meme on his Facebook page:


            The problem is that the executive producers DO encourage the shipping–ALL of them. They do things like this, but then they also do interviews where they talk about the epic love that is Oliver and Laurel, and whether the relationship between Sara and Oliver is viable. So, basically, they are leading on all the different ‘shippers who make the show so popular in social media sites. This is a problem because obviously, Oliver can only end up with one girl…and because it does make it seem like fan pandering. It’s one thing to decide, “We weren’t planning to go in this direction, but okay…we think this might turn out better” and another to say, “Well, we can go in this direction, but let’s tease this and this and this just in case the backlash is terrible.”

          3. I’d think networks would go more by the extensive data collected by Nielsen’s, focus groups, their own internal monitoring, 3rd party companies whose job it is to monitor and collect statistics, etc. Online polls are pretty much nice fanbase “bragging” material but that’s about it, imo.

          4. Nielsen isn’t of much value by itself any more. So many people, especially the demographic the CW aims for, watch the show streaming that the number of people who are actually in front of their TVs when the show airs is probably nowhere near the total number of viewers. The first part of this Wired article talks about how Twitter is being used, too. Online polls, not so much.

          5. Oh there are definitely ratings/technology issues. I know Nielsen has its issues keeping up but they try and some of their traditional analytical data is still relevant. I know they’re also monitoring what sites people visit. They were even talking about apps to monitor mobile devices. It’s going to be fascinating to see if anyone can come up with an accurate system for modern technology and what that translates to for ratings of tv shows. You wonder just how much it’ll turn the perception of “successful” vs. unsuccessful shows on their ears.

          6. Aren’t the Nielsen ratings used mostly to gauge viewership for ads? So the stuff that’s streaming wouldn’t be relevant to them. The studios would know the numbers for the paid streaming services, I’m fairly sure. It’s all about revenue streams. This stuff makes my head hurt.

          7. With Nielsens, they know what you watch (live), who is watching it, for how long, if you change the channel, etc. They also know your occupation, your salary, type of car you drive… LOL. They know a lot because you have to fill out that information. When I was a household a few years back they’d started monitoring the computers too, what sites you went to, where you watched TV shows online etc. I can’t believe they’re only just now going to factor that into ratings. I know it definitely factors into ad ratings, but I think those are more set by sweeps periods, hence tv shows often hold their “best” episodes, biggest guests, and large stunt episodes for those times. My rep was always fascinated by the fact I watched a lot of tv on mute during my day with the closed captioning up.

          8. They care that it’s being talked about, sure. But they don’t care about this sites stupid poll or this sites stupid poll because all those polls truly do is drive traffic to those sites to up their hit counts and, thus, their ad rates/revenue. It’s meaningless to the shows producers and writers.

      3. That’s my main problem with Oliver’s writing. I personally can tell that they’re trying something with Laurel’s character while I think even Oliver’s evolution suffered for Laurel’s evolution (the most recent betrayal by Oliver.) I still don’t understand why they haven’t fully utilized Laurel in the plot after two seasons but I can’t really say her character isn’t changing or going through an evolutionary stage.

        1. I don’t know that I see the character evolving. I see things being done *to* her to make her suffer but I don’t see her changing. It feels to me like she gets to cry more and lash out more but the end result for me is still the same. I think the writers are trying, too, but what they’re trying isn’t working for me, and I do agree: IF what the writers are going for in all this is stuff for her, it is causing dents on other characters I do like and that’s just not cool with me. Toss the bad apple, not the whole bushel. But if it’s all for the sake of conflict/drama and plays into story coming that we haven’t seen yet… well, we’ll find that out soon enough.

          1. Except the Laurel is evolving and will continue to evolve.

            She’s been stuck in the same emotional pressure cooker for six years with no way to release the steam that’s built up for whatever reason. She hadn’t been able to grieve for Sara or be angry with her. She had to keep that to herself because Sara’s her sister and because she had to try to hold her Dad together, too.

            She could be angry at Oliver because he was “dead” and not her sister. But then he came back and, “oh I can’t be mad at him now because of all the pain he went through.” Laurel has never been “allowed” her emotions.

            She reached a point after Tommy died and the kidnapping by the Dollmaker where she’s finally feeling things again but, because she’s never dealt with those feelings healthily, she’s turned on herself with the drugs and alcohol to keep herself together.

            I think once someone tells her it’s okay to fall apart emotionally and no one will think less of her for it and that they (I swear I will scream if her parents aren’t right there alongside Oliver) are there for her, she’ll quit with the drugs/drink and deal with the emotions healthily. This will allow her to get past all the anger and grief and hate and guilt.

            That’s as valid an evolution as any other on the show.

          2. I agree, absolutely.

            But I don’t see how any woman could go back to a man who lied to her, slept with her sister, helped torpedo a romance with a man who really loved her and who later died, lied to her again about her sister being alive, and then slept with her sister again. She’d have to be such a masochistic doormat to go back to him at that point, that I’d write her off.

  9. Ah, where to begin? This is what happens when I take a couple days break. Tough to catch up! First, thanks so much Jenny for doing this. This is what my husband calls my Arrow bookclub. Haha. It truly is b/c the level of discussion, is so much more than like/hate. We do get down deep. Love it. Second, I must say the writers of this series are doing something right, b/c I don’t think I’ve gotten this invested in a show in a long while. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was the Felicity intro that did it for me too. Granted, the actress took a small part and ran w/it, but the writers gave her some awesome lines to run with and her development just gets better and better! I keep watching to see how she develops, I hope they keep developing her character regardless of her relationship w/Oliver. Third, speaking of which, all those who stated they like Oliver more b/c of Felicity, I hear ya! When someone you like and respect vouches for someone else, you like them through their eyes. I see that with Oliver. Okay, I love Oliver regardless. I love a good brooder. But, only if that brooder has capacity to be light, and Felicity does that for him. She makes him more human and relatable. The fact that he is impressed by her and sees how awesome she is makes him more relatable. We say to him “I know, right? Is there anything she can’t do?” And when she looks at him with respect, we see it too, because she is like us. Which brings us to the big question of where do we go from here, how will this relationship develop, and will we be satisfied if it’s platonic? I must admit, I want them together, eventually, especially if they set it up so that she’s in love with him. Because, as many have pointed out, we want our friend Felicity to be happy. And we want our hero to be smart enough to recognize her and see her as we do. Now to Oliver’s Lance sister triangle. Yes, not smart, but looking at all the comments, I started to wonder:
    1) we liked Sara, some of us b/c we preferred her to laurel, could making Sara less likable be a way for us to like Laurel more? Jenny, you mentioned that between laurel and Sara you’d be team laurel. Maybe that’s what the writers are intending. How do we make people like laurel more? Pit her against someone we like less? We identify with Laurel b/c we understand why she is so angry, and Ollie and Sara aren’t making things better.
    2) I agree that Sara/Oliver kiss seemed off b/c it came out of nowhere, and is worse than any other random Oliver hook-up b/c of the sister thing. But I really think if they developed the Ollie/Sara relationship on the island, I could be convinced. But they have to do it right. Because at the end of the day does love really conquor all? If that is what is developed from the island? I don’t know. But in talking about all this I do wonder if the writers are puppeteers and we are puppets being directed on what to feel, etc. If it’s done in a clever way, I’d be okay with it.

    1. It makes me hate larule even more if, by chance that CW/ARROW is destroying or has destroyed a perfectly good character just too UP luarle!! URGH! I bet that’s exactly what they’re doing..

      It’s funny..I heard from EVERYWHERE else online or somewhere that CW/ARROW is trying too HARD to promoted the actress ‘kc’..They want to make her a star and another rumour is something less pleasant but I know I can’t say it here, so, I’ll pass..LOL..

      1. You know, the one thing I’ve learned from being even a marginally public figure is that rumors are almost always started by somebody speculating about something, and then those rumors are picked up and spread by people who have an investment in that rumor being true. Since this is a place where we talk about writing and story, rumors about the production staff just aren’t of much interest here because they’re pretty much meaningless.

    2. I think the CW definitely watches their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Twitter is actually where I find out about the polls. I also read/saw an interview somewhere where one of the producers said “We’re very aware of what gets people excited…” after being asked a question about Olicity. Stephen Amell himself has said that he likes Twitter and Facebook because he gets to see what works and what doesn’t work in an episode.

      I think the reason the romantic subplot is so weak is that there is a little too much looking at responses of fans (this is a complete assumption, based on this subplot being all over the place). A great majority of viewers (most of whom were not comic book fans) responded positively to Felicity, but purists and comic book fans were rooting for the Laurel/Black Canary hook-up and accused the show of fan pandering. There is no way for them to go in the direction of a Felicity-Oliver hook up without being called on catering to the Olicity fandom. But then, if they continue with the canon relationship, they run the risk of turning off a very loyal, very vocal fan base. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t, and right now, they seem too chicken to go in one direction and deal with the backlash.

      Sorry for going off tangent. Now, back to the writing…

      1. Strip out all the fan stuff for a moment. Let’s say Arrow was a store and it sold two flavors of ice cream. One flavor, their first, is called Green Arrow. Later, they add another flavor called New Arrow. Customers come, customers go. A couple of years later the store has to strip down to one ice cream flavor. Customer rebel against the idea that they’d drop Green Arrow because that was the original flavor. “There’s history there!” they declare. “This flavor made your company!” At the end of the day, the store sits down and examines its sales for the last 2 years. Green Arrow ice cream was outsold by New Arrow 6:1 (randomly making up this number, obviously). Does Arrow store keep Green Arrow ice cream because that’s the original or does it go with New Arrow because that’s the one bringing all the people to the store?

        Clearly I have no clue what brings viewers to Arrow. I’m no mind-reader. But at the end of the day Arrow is a business for the CW. It has to generate and generator viewers. Sure they can say stick to canon but if, at the end of that day, the majority of your viewers tune out and don’t come back, what’s the point of that? The show, and the people behind it, are looking to keep it on the air and successful as possible. Yes, they are clearly going to tick off some part of their fanbase but if you’re that ice cream shop, are you willing to tick off that 1 Green Arrow Ice cream fan or the 6 that buy New Arrow?

        And let’s not forget the DVDs, t-shirts, toys, comic con tickets, etc, etc, etc.

        1. LOVE the analogy, Julie. I’m all for the New Arrow.

          Wait, the New Arrow flavor has chocolate, right?

          1. Of course! 😉

            I also meant to tack on there that, as the owner of the Arrow Store, I wouldn’t care if the Green Arrow lovers claimed it was pandering to the newer fans (or new fans claiming it was pandering to the old if I picked that). Those kind of claims never hold water with me because it, again, assumes something nobody but Arrow/CW knows: that the majority of Arrow viewers know/care about the comic canon. At this point, we’ve seen so many TV shows and movies reinterpret classic canon sources (Superman and Wonder Woman are a thing now with nary a Lois Lane in sight) is anybody really that surprised by it anymore?

        2. The problem is, they’re not stocking two shows, one of which is selling better. There are the comic books which have been selling for forty years to one kind of customer, and now they’re making–in progress–one show that has a long term, five year plan worked out–that they’re selling to another kind of customer although there’s a lot of overlap. So to continue your analogy, they used to make Green Arrow cake. Now they’re expanding to Arrow ice cream. They worked out the recipe, they bought the ingredients, they’ve made a couple months supply ahead. As customers give them feedback, they can tweak the recipe ingredients the next time they make an ingredients order, they can change the recipe, but they still have weeks of ice cream to sell before then. And when they get customer feedback, the whole thing starts all over again. Plus they have that five year plan for the ice cream, and if they’ve ordered five years worth of a crucial ingredient that some of the customer don’t like, they have to look at their five year plan to figure out how (and if) they’re going to deal with that or just hope customers learn to like whatever it is. And finally, they’re still selling Green Arrow cake, so they have to be careful what they do with the ice cream because if everything works well, they’ll sell a lot of cake and ice cream together, but if the ice cream becomes too different from the cake, some customers will reject both.

          If I’m writing a novel, there’s a point at which I have the big moments planned out. If I’m getting beta reads on it, and most of the people who read it dislike one major character, I have to seriously consider how much of that novel I’m going to throw out before it’s changed so much it’s not the book I was writing. If I like what happens when I take that character out, I’m good, but if it pulls something irreplaceable out of the story, I’m done. So it’s really complicated.

          1. Oh it’s totally complicated and of course there’s way more too it when you look at the whole story aspect of the writing. My focus was more for the “you have to go with this over that because it’s the traditional version.” No show wants to sink itself. LOL. It kind of goes hand in hand with what someone observed above (or is that below?) in the comments about shipping/teasing/dragging it out. That’s why they do it, of course, so that you have as many people watching for as long as possible. That, too, carries its own pitfalls. LOL. Seriously, I don’t know how any show does it when they get into positions like this.

  10. Hi, Jenny. I’ve been lurking since your fabulous article “The Problem with Felicity Smoak” and have enjoyed the respectful and thoughtful comments examining the characters in the “Arrow” universe. Since this will be a weekly feature I want to have an opportunity to join in on the fun.

    It’s fascinating to read that many people didn’t consider Oliver likable in the first two episodes. I loved the pilot and got into Oliver’s story right away. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman who loves all things action, including Superhero action. I’m very much into seeing the parkour and martial arts techniques whenever Oliver jumps from rooftops and fights criminals. However, I’m equally invested in romantic comedy and romantic subplots. To me, it adds that special spark to the story.

    I loved the dark, grim nature of Oliver’s character because it showed how much he had changed from a shallow, trust fund brat into a serious, focused avenger seeking to save his city. I understood his methods were questionable due to the hellish environment of the island where the only code of honor was to kill or be killed. We were introduced to this when he and Tommy were kidnapped in the pilot. It was our first glimpse of his highly skilled abilities to carry out his father’s last wish/mission. I wasn’t turned off when Oliver killed his captors because he saw one of them kill a man coming out of a warehouse to see what was going on. Before Oliver broke the kidnapper’s neck he said, “You killed that man.” It gave me the notion that he wasn’t going to indiscriminately kill people. There was still good inside him. From that moment on I sensed the show wasn’t about Oliver being the full-fledged hero from day one. It’s unraveling his multi-season journey from “the vigilante” to “Green Arrow.”

    Although I enjoyed the first few episodes, the main problem for me was Oliver acted too much like Bruce Wayne in “Batman Begins.” The way the vigilante interacted with Laurel was similar to how Batman interacted with Rachel Dawes. It was only when Diggle and, especially Felicity, were introduced into Oliver’s life, the show slowly gained its own identity.

    Speaking of his interactions with Laurel, I wanted Lauriver to happen… at first. I’m very familiar with the GA/BC history from the comics and the “Justice League Unlimited” animated series. I was curious to see how “Arrow” would re-tell this well established canon relationship. But there was one scene in “Vendetta” (season 1, ep. 8) that made me stop and re-examine the way I felt about Lauriver. After Oliver and Helena shared their table with Laurel and Tommy and left the restaurant, Helena declared, “I saw the way you looked at her. That kind of love doesn’t die.” I said to myself “what look?” I didn’t see anything epic between Oliver and Laurel. This disconnect continued throughout the season, including the episode when Tommy broke up with Laurel in “Home Invasion” (season 1, ep.20). After Oliver killed the hitman, Tommy saw Oliver gazing up at Laurel as she walked the kid up the stairs. Tommy claimed Oliver was still in love with her and said, “If she ever found out you really are (Oliver as the vigilante), she would choose you.” None of these observations from other characters convinced me of how powerful Oliver and Laurel’s love should’ve been.

    Yet I felt obligated to see this through because it was canon. It was supposed to happen. That was my reasoning for not paying attention to my growing attraction for Oliver and Felicity. I knew the look Oliver gave when he first saw Felicity all glammed up in “Dodger” (Season 1, ep. 15), the writers were opening a slight possibility for another romance on the show. I chose to ignore that feeling. I didn’t think the writers would have the guts to abandon comic canon. Thank God they did! Since season 2 started I’ve been totally invested in Olicity ever since! It feels so natural and effortless. I don’t just see the on-screen chemistry between Stephen and Emily, I feel it. Feeling these deep emotions leap off the TV/movie screen (and novel pages) is the most important element in any romance. I have to believe that these two characters will motivate each other and become better people. Laurel inspired that motivation in Tommy. Felicity definitely inspires that in Oliver (and vise versa). That’s why I’m so pissed at him after last week’s episode. He regressed into “Ollie” and Sara regressed to the petty, selfish little sister. These aren’t the character traits I’m eager to watch in coming weeks and how their “relationship” will change the dynamics of Team Arrow. Nope. Not one bit.

    1. I have that kind of reaction to a lot of different shows and movies when they’ve built in an existing love story that they “tell you” is so wonderful and all consuming but yet, for some reason, fail to put backbone into it when they actually show the people together. Some movies/tv shows do it really well. I’ll use an example Jenny brought up before in the old Thin Man movies. Nick and Nora Charles are already married at the start of the series and they are so good, so fun, so caring with each other that you totally believe they’re in love. But these shows need to give me something I can feel and see and go, “Yep, there is it. There’s the love” and stop just telling me I’m supposed to feel it. I really do wonder, now, if Jenny was right too that the show just sees the romantic thread of this show as a lower priority and figured the rest of it – the action, adventure, and abs {wink} – were more important. It’s a really interesting question.

      1. I love “The Thin Man” movies. I bought a few of them. I think many writers/producers see the romantic subplot as a lower priority because they believe “the Moonlighting curse,” which I completely disagree with. There were a lot of behind the scenes reasons why Maddie and David’s romance failed (Cybill Shepherd’s pregnancy, a long writer’s strike, Bruce Willis filming “Die Hard”, etc.) This “curse” was used as an excuse not to have romantic pairings get together. They thought it would ruin their shows.

        Thankfully, this kind of thinking is slowly waning. Shows like “Castle,” “Bones,” “The Office,” “The Big bang Theory” are proving that bring couples together can work. I always believe if the characters are strong enough and are well developed they can withstand any situation, even after a romantic pairing starts (and sustains) a relationship.

          1. That’s very true. That’s why “Arrow” should be careful with how they map out these romantic subplots. One false move can undo everything they have carefully built with Olicity. The Oliver/Sara kiss is still recoverable. We’re only in season 2.

          2. All things considered I still don’t believe in the “curse.” Many shows could’ve dissected what went wrong with “Moonlighting” at the end and tried to correct the problem. Try to make it better. I think that’s what some shows are now doing.

    2. Speaking of Ms.Rachel Dawes..Who liked her at all..I didn’t..I found her selfish overall..She just rubbed me the wrong way..I don’t know..I’m glad she died but it’s not like I liked BM with CW any better..I always thought BM liked/loved Vicky Vale..??

      1. I always feel sorry for any character who gets fridged; it’s one thing to die fighting for something you believe in, another to die because some superhero needs a tortured reason to kick bad guy butt.

        1. Surprisingly enough, Arrow fridged a male character first! Tommy’s death is the ultimate fridging because not only was it meant to drive Oliver’s “journey toward being a hero” storyline, it actually is driving Laurel’s storyline. So Tommy got fridged for man-pain and woman-pain.

          Poor Tommy.

          1. I thought of that, too. I was explaining fridging to Pam and realized that the only one Arrow had done was Tommy which was kind of a step forward. Kind of.

  11. I am a big fan of Felicity, Team Arrow and then Oliver. Without the introduction of his two partners, I would have stayed gone after the pilot and not come back – like ever. Bringing in Diggle also allowed TPTB to get rid of those annoying voice overs in the early episodes – Give the man a medal.

    So as things stand in the Arrow universe I am very invested in certain story lines one of which is how Oliver plays against the villains.

    Having just watched a latest trailer for episodes 14/15 I am rubbing my hands with relish, because what’s coming is going to have so much more of an impact on Oliver’s extended circle than the whole Laurel/Sara drama (which yeah he totally bought on himself – he shouldn’t have ignored Dad’s advice on that front when Robert told him no good thing would come of it!) because …….*Spoilers*

    We finally get to see Slade do more than clench his fist and voice threats. And in the official epi description for 15 Oliver learns that Slade is in Starling City, Alive.

    Wouldn’t it be delicious if Slade feigns understanding and forgiveness while working on his plan to completely ruin Oliver.

    But if not, Team Arrow undergoing a growth phase also leaves it incredibly vulnerable for Slade to get to individuals if thats part of where they take the story. It also makes for some potentially dynamic moments between Slade and Sara – after all, Oliver chose Sara over Shado and Slade knows it.

    And while Oliver is not the same person who stuck an Arrow in Slades eye the first time it will be incredibly interesting to see if Slade gets close to his goal (Like Meryln did in Season 1) and how Oliver handles someone who seems to now be immortal. Also now that Season 3 is a go – could Slade be the big bad for more than one season? Part of me would like that because he is more than just a cardboard villain.

    All the extra conflict coming Oliver’s way certainly makes his very bad hook up decisions far more tolerable (though not excusable).

    Can I be greedy and ask what next’s week topic is about? – Will we discuss Felicity deserves someone better (or what does ‘deserve’ even mean) at any point.

    1. Antagonists. I want to look at the villains that have been in the show already and the ones in the canon. The Felicity/Laurel stuff just polarizes people and really doesn’t lead anywhere interesting because it’s all speculation (although the Valentine’s Day post tomorrow is about love scenes so knock yourself out there). With antagonists, we can talk about why they’re important and what makes a good one. And I post pictures of Seth Gabel and John Barrowman chewing the scenery.

        1. I had to check the IMDB to see which episode that way. He was terrific in that. Did you know the actress who plays Beckett was in that episode?

        2. Is that the Russian mod serial killer? I LOVE that episode. However questionable characters in later seasons found Brenda’s methods there, the FBI should not be giving serial killers alibis. He deserved what he got.

          1. Yes, the one with the mob where Seth Gabel played the son that had a thing for killing prostitutes. Such a good episode. He did a terrific job in that and I loved Brenda’s character in those seasons. She was smart and cunning and had that whole code she worked by, even it crossed legal lines. It was an interesting study on Law vs Justice.

          2. It was also a good flaw to give her; what she was doing was wrong but it was what we wanted her to do: get that bastard by any means necessary. So when it brought her down, she’d planted the seeds of her own destruction, but we weren’t saying, “Brenda, you idiot,” because we were culpable, too.

      1. Oh meant to also add… when we talk about villains, I’d like to hear what you think of Blood so far. I’m kind of disappointed in that so far. Same with Isabel. I know there’s more episodes left in the season but I’ve been unimpressed with those 2.

        1. I’m right there with you about Blood. I haven’t been impressed with him. Long before Slade was revealed to be pulling his strings, Blood seemed to come off as a small time player to me. Isabel on the other hand has more potential. She can get under Moira’s and Felicity’s skin at the same time for different reasons. She might be feeding Slade inside information about Oliver and Queen Consolidated. She can glide under the radar much more effectively than Blood can ever do with that skull mask.

  12. Thanks for writing about this! I found this on the Smoak and Arrow tumblr, and I’m happy I did! I try not to theorize too much about shows because that is a slippery slope for sure. (And I fell too hard for the love story in Sons of Anarchy, and I’m still scarred.)
    As for the latest Arrow episode, I’m glad Oliver is flawed. I completely agree, no flaws = uninteresting. As someone who would like to see some long term Oliver/Felicity romance, I also really want to learn more about Felicity before that happens! And Oliver has some serious issues to work through before he can be in a healthy romantic relationship with anyone!
    I’m just super hopeful that the writers/producers understand the magical Oliver/Felicity/Diggle dynamic and keep it going!

  13. I keep hoping that maybe Sara and Oliver didn’t actually follow through with sleeping with each other. Like maybe it was a kiss and the start of some groping but that they will come to their senses before it goes too much further.

  14. “I hope the rest of the season explores Oliver-the-protagonist in his other roles, specifically as CEO of Queen Consolidated. ”

    Yes, this … it would definitely be good to see a little bit more of this side of Oliver. The show did spend a chunk of the first few episodes setting up the challenges he faced at Queen Consolidated. I was intrigued by Isabel Rochev and thought she’d be a great antagonist for Oliver. He would have to use a little bit more of his brains instead of his brawn. He has to work with Isabel for the good of his company, but also keep an eye out so she doesn’t actually take it away from him. I really wanted to see his character growth from the business school dropout to confident CEO (did he have his own Abbe Faria on the island who gave him a crash course in business and economics?), but I guess it’s too late now.

    1. “He would have to use a little bit more of his brains instead of his brawn. ”

      Exactly! I actually think Stephen Amell is least enjoyable when he plays the vigilante version of Oliver Queen (unless he’s working out, without his shirt on, in which case I don’t really pay attention to the acting). I do like the distinction he gives those two versions of Oliver. When he is working as the vigilante in the Arrowcave, he sometimes comes off rude to me, which I guess is necessary because the pressure is life and death. For example, when he finds out Bronze Tiger escapes, he asks Felicity if she knows where he is heading. When she says no, he replies, “Get one.” He’s pretty much always barking orders at her, which I can forgive when I take into account the context of those scenes and how important time is.

      In contrast, when he is Oliver-the-CEO-billionaire, he is much more respectful. He says please consistently and uses a softer tone, like when he asks her to book a table at the restaurant for him, Diggle, and Carly in the season 2 pilot, when he asks for coffee for him and Sebastian Blood (and who doesn’t love her response?: “You know, I would Mr. Queen, but it seems someone has broken our coffee maker….VIOLENTLY!”), or when he asks her to deliver something to Isobel Rochev. He requests more than demands.

      So, Jenny, maybe when they say everyone is going to be challenging him in the Arrowcave, it means people with the equivalent brawn. In terms of brains, Diggle and Felicity have always been regarded as equal, but many times, they have questioned Oliver going out and doing something, and he’s done it anyway. When Felicity tells him he’s going up against someone whose body mass is almost the equivalent of concrete, he says “I’ve beaten someone like this before,” goes, and has to get his ass saved by Diggle, Felicity, and Barry. Then in the next episode, he does it again. She tells him that he can’t go, and he does anyway (and when Diggle challenges Sara leaving, she does anyway, too). When Diggle tells Oliver Roy is a loose canon, he doesn’t listen. So, yes, they challenge him, but in a way, they can’t really do anything about him not listening. Roy, with his superhuman strength, and Sara, with her League of Assassins skills, would be a different dynamic because they would be more of the brawns and less of the brains (I am not so keen on the idea of seeing this, but I am just trying to understand what the producers might have meant).

  15. Revisiting the end scene with Sara as well as the upcoming episode with the Lance family reunion. My other problem with this scene, apart from me just seeing a real solid friendship forced to becoming sexual, was that it was a total throwback to season 1 — which personally I was quite happy with where season 1 was, IN THE PAST. WHY go BACK!?

    Then I happened to think, the EPs had to know they had struck gold with Team Arrow last season because they spent the 1st half of this season building up Team Arrow as well as Oliver’s connection with Felicity. They have created a solid foundation with this team. But the EPs have stated that they don’t like to bring something up and then just drop it, never to speak of it again. In this regards they were speaking of the Flash and why Barry will continue to be mentioned and why Felicity will be that link. With this in mind, could they be totally deconstructing the season 1 relationships so they can tackle the elephant in the room and move on with the story? Example:

    Act I — Build upon the end of last season, strengthening Team Arrow as whole and building solidifying Oliver’s relationships with Diggle and Felicity.

    Act II — Revisit the SL from season 1 with the Lance family, i.e. Laurel and Sara to tie up the loose ends.

    Act III — With everything in turmoil, and balls aplenty of story lines in the air, see how many we can close with a loaded quiver. In other words, Who The Hell Knows.

    Now what that means in Act II for the Lance sisters by finally putting to bed (ha ha) the sister act, I don’t know. My vote is keep Sara the BC and make Laurel cross to the dark side. But that’s me.

    I’ve seen speculation making Sara a Regular, but I have serious doubts on this. My thoughts are that Sara/BC is too much like Oliver /Arrow. They are both on the same journey at the same relative point on said journey and both on par skill-wise. I think it would take away from Oliver’s journey to have another on there with almost the same story (although I might find hers even more compelling since hers would delve into the League of Assassins) on a regular basis. I think the show has characters enough whose stories need to be explored and adding the BC might make it top heavy. I think making her recurring would allow more leeway in exploring her character as she comes back to help with certain starry arcs. But that’s just me! LOL

    1. Claire Rose, that’s my worry, that the producers would stick with the Black Canary/Arrow romance and make the character/actress a regular. But they are just too similar at this point and the Arrowcave IMO really needs fewer superheroes.

  16. Okay, I’ve been trying to format my thoughts ever since the episode aired but they keep piling on top of each other! Let me give it a go though.
    You know, I was think about growth in it different forms and I wouldn’t say that Sara and Oliver have really grown emotionally. They have changed, yes, they’ve become more responsible, they’ve learnt to sacrifice, they’ve learnt to survive. But these qualities I think make sense in terms of what they’ve been through. Sara fell off the Queen’s Gambit, both she and Oliver went into survival mode. Since then it’s been either live or die. They were always fighting, always in constant fear. They never really had time to deal with their emotions. While in some ways they grew as people, in other ways they stagnated. Working out, fighting, sex is how they learnt to deal with their emotions. One the island itself, in a span of a year and half, Oliver had been tortured, killed, lost Sara once, saw his father kill himself, learned how to fight, learns Sara is alive, enters in a relationship with Shado who then dies because Oliver is forced to make a choice between her and Sara. Meanwhile, Sara ‘dies’, was probably manipulated into a relationship with Ivo, saw him torture people, betrayed Oliver and earned his trust. We still have three more years to go. Oliver still has to join the Bratva and Sara, the LoA. Oliver did’t have the ability of letting anyone know he was alive. Sara did, but I doubt the circumstances were that accommodating.
    I thought these exchanges were very telling at where Oliver’s head was this episode,
    S: Hey, thanks for calling me. And I never did ask you. How did you find me?
    O: I wasn’t going to lose you again.
    O: Your entire family needs you . . . and so do I.
    There was also the ‘Not again’ he could barely get out. Oliver has already seen Sara die twice. Once when QG went down and we know she’s due to die at some point on the Island again. This was after they’d gotten closer and even started protecting each other. A third time, I think, wasn’t something Oliver was even willing to think about.
    But Sara does bring baggage into Oliver’s life. She is not only a reminder of his pre-island days but also of all they went through after. This leads me to his scenes with Moira. He was over-identifying with her. He even says ‘our secrets’ when he had it out with her. Oliver had an affair with Sara who is Laurel’s sister; Moira had an affair with Malcolm who was his father’s friend. Both are also holding some pretty big secrets. While he’s angry at himself for trusting her, he’s also now worried about Thea. If when all this culminates together she doesn’t take any of their secrets well, she won’t even have her mother to depend on. He has no means of protecting his family and there’s nothing he can really do about it. Add this to the situation with the Mirakuru, Oliver was completely unhinged.
    Then you have Sara, who came home to have her ex-girlfriend kidnap her mother, has a fairly violent interaction and was headed straight to suicide to protect her family. Considering the way her father reacted, I think it gave her hope that her mom and sister would do the same. She did have a point, it has been six years. She hoped that in that time things might have thawed. After all, Oliver has a decent enough relationship with her. But hope is a fickle thing and hers were poured ice cold water on. Sara already has a very low opinion of herself unsurprisingly. So when Laurel yelled at Sara telling her that she didn’t deserve anything and that she stole her life, she validated everything Sara was thinking about herself. Then, you also add in that if Laurel hasn’t forgiven her for something that happened 6 years ago then what happens when she finds out all that she had to do to survive after. It was all her fears staring at her in the face in a span of a few hours.
    Home has been a very happy fantasy for both of them, especially when they spent the last few years in proverbial hell. They didn’t factor in that home might not be all that easy either. In fact, especially for Oliver, home is quickly turning out to be just as bad. Villains, psychotic exes, earthquakes, family and friends constantly in peril, Tommy dying; the Island is gradually looking better in fact. At least there, they were clear on what they had to do, it was either live or die. Here they have to factor in family, friends and feelings. The difference between right and wrong matters more when it’s not just yourself you have to think about.
    So they both ran. But instead of running away, they ran to each other. After all, who better to turn to when everything around you feels like its falling apart that the person you think and know won’t judge, will stick bye you and who truly understands what you’re going through? Who better to take comfort in than someone who you know won’t break because they’re just as broken as you are? Who better to offer that tiny bit of pleasure that the person that someone who has that same pain and darkness in themselves that you do? It isn’t a good idea; it’s actually a terrible one. There will be consequences, there always are. But it was inevitable, I think. Even if Sara hadn’t seen Laurel or Oliver hadn’t learned about Thea’s paternity, at some point they would have gone to each other. If it’s not one thing going wrong, it’s another. They aren’t thinking about the consequences. With everything else that’s wrong about their lives and the amount they have already paid, the effect of something that brings them comfort is not something that’s going to rank very high. This isn’t even about Laurel anymore. I doubt Sara or Oliver think all that much about their affair, they’ve done far worse since then that have had terrible effects they’re still dealing with. This was solely about them.
    It’s selfish, yes, which is in stark contrast to their other actions in the episode which were decidedly unselfish. But I find their reactions also very human. Weirdly enough, it makes me like them more than I already do. Despite all that they’ve been through, the mistakes they keep making, they do try to be better, to be more. They don’t give up on life. They fight.

  17. I just wanted to thank you for making this a weekly blog thing and helping to feed my obsession. Very much looking forward to it.

  18. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and analysis of Arrow. Would love to read you analysis of Moira Queen, Thea Queen & Malcolm Merlyn.

    1. Malcolm’s coming right up next week with the Antagonist’s post, and since I’m fairly sure Oliver’s family is going to go into meltdown shortly, the Queens will probably be coming right along.

  19. I love coming here to read all the post..I had to go back and READ the post of “urghlareoll” and eventhou I don’t like her, I had to read ALL that was posted and then come to this one..

    So many insightful thoughts on Oliver and Felicity or Oliver and Sara happening just to BOAST UP “larjela” in whatever ways and to GAIN sympathy in the eyes of the viewers and it seems to be working since most are pissed at Sara. Between Sara and laurel, no-matter what, I’d pick Sara.. I just don’t feel sorry for her/laurel! Having all this boasting of ‘laruel’ just to have the other characters be brought down/dumb-down due to her, is never going to work in my eyes but that’s just me. Ep 12/that whole file ep, was just ridiculous.. It just makes me think, how stupid can one get to not check or sense the emptiness/thinness of the file…I mean, really!?

  20. Jenny, I should take your counsel to stay away from social media. The CW released stills for episode 2×14 and was enraged by the one of Felicity on the floor cowering while B.S. Canary (that’s what I’m calling her now) postures in the face of the Clock King.

    After the ending of 2×13, I don’t want to see the protagonist or B.S. Canary “saving” Felicity. It feels like a stunt to get people to like the B.S. and O ‘relationship’ – if Felicity likes Sara then those who like Felicity will like her, etc.

    The other part of this is that the show runners gave interviews stating that the Clock King was Felicity’s “opposite number”; as a result, I had been hoping that we would see Felicity save herself by using her considerable brain power, while B.S. and O are being busy idiots messing with Laurel at the family dinner. Alas, it would appear not.

    At this point the thing is that I wouldn’t have any issue with Diggle, who was training Felicity in season 1 to physically defend herself, helping Felicity out.

    I wonder if I would have the same reaction to the B.S./Felicity/Clock King scene reflected in that CW still if I were ‘reading’ it? There must be some aspect of having to ‘watch’ it that makes some of those like me who had a problem with the 2×13 ending want to break things. Any thoughts?

    You said at one point that Felicity is “the third rail”. I know I could be totally off base, but I feel like the writers are messing with her to get buy-in for the B.S. & O mess. Approach with caution, Arrow writers.

    1. Anna, I totally agree. I was really upset by that still. I feel as if we are being told we need to like BS Canary. Oh, look, she’s so awesome! She saves Felicity! GROSS. I hope that’s not how that scene plays, but my faith in the Arrow writers is dwindling. Nothing is guaranteed to make me dislike a character as much as having the writers tell me I need to like her because she’s awesome. If she were so awesome, she wouldn’t be such a mess. They will lose many viewers if they tear down Fecility in an attempt to make us like Sara.

      1. Yeah, this is getting ridiculous. Being a mess makes her less awesome how?

        If you notice the other pics, you’ll also see Felicity standing by the motorbike, while Sara runs off somewhere. I’m guessing the whole team are on site with Felicity co-coordinating the mission. The PR says she gets into trouble, I’m guessing it happens after this slide and she runs into the CK at which point Sara also enters, So,

        1) If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the CK is waving a gun around. I expect Felicity to be scared (I also think she’s probably hurt). I don’t expect Sara to be scared , this is what she’s trained for. I don’t mind Sara saving Felicity physically. The latter can’t fight. How is she going to save herself? Also, I’d rather have this scenario where a woman is saving another woman, that have Oliver save Felicity yet again.

        2) However, The Clock King is supposed to be Felicity’s first rogue. That means she has to measure up against him. She has to be the hero. There’s no point in getting her own rogue otherwise. Since Felicity’s strength lies in her intellect, she’ll have to outsmart him. There are two more pics of the CK where it looks like everything around him is falling apart. If you’ve watched the promo you’ll notice something similar happen when Felicity and Diggle are at the lair. What better way to get to come out on top that to beat your opponent at his own game? I’m guessing Felicity will figure out how to do to him what he did to them. She’ll not only be saving Sara, but the city as well.

        I’m hoping all this leads to scenes where Felicity is being given self-defense lessons in the subsequent episodes. Sara needs the light Felicity brings to Oliver and Diggle and Felicity could use another female in the lair.

        3) Women saving each other and being friends is a good thing for this show. I doubt that they’re going to have Sara save Felicity just to get us to ‘like’ her. I’ve been keeping a pulse on things. Sara is liked by the fandom. They might be disappointed in her after the 2×13 ending, but they do like her still. Her value doesn’t solely rest on whether she sleep with Oliver or not. Also, if the thought that saving Felicity or general interaction with her would get us to like her then Laurel would never have gotten that ‘fire her’ scene at Verdant. They also just had Moira threaten Felicity in the last ep.

        I have faith in the writers. They haven’t disappointed me yet. But then again, the sex thing didn’t put Oliver and Sara on my shit list either.

    2. “Alas, it would appear not.” – Anna

      Hmm, see for me, that’s the thing. Since the episode hasn’t even aired yet and all that’s been shared are promotional pictures for the episode, I don’t think we know anything about what ultimately happens or how it all goes down. So, for me, it’s impossible to comment one way or the other until I see how the writers actually have it all play out.

      That said, looking back at all the centric-episodes that Arrow has done… Nobody on this show saves themselves, not even Oliver, really. Diggle goes to a Russian jail but to get out, Oliver still needed to show up. Roy needs saving all the time. Oliver shows up. All the other women on the show… wait. Let me think… Yeah. I think they’ve all needed “saving” by Oliver/Arrow or at least assistance in the end and I think it’s because Arrow really is “Oliver’s story.”

      When I read about this episode I didn’t think that it was going to be about Felicity saving herself or needing to “prove” she’s worthy. I thought it was going to tackle and address more the issues/fears they raised in the previous episode about abandonment and letting people in only to find that they don’t need her/want her/will walk away. I assumed (such a dangerous thing lol) this episode would, in the end, solidify the team as a Team and show that it’s not a one way street here. They care about Felicity as Felicity, not just because “Hey we need a hacker. Eh, she’ll do.” I also figured it would give Felicity a war story and scar of her own since those elements were really pointed out in the episode summary that was released (i.e. every is sharing war stories and comparing scars and Felicity starts to feel…)

      I think the issue here is: What are the writers trying to achieve and say with this episode? Viewers might be expecting one thing (Felicity is strong and doesn’t need anybody!) while the writers might be trying to say, “Felicity has found people who care about her and this team is pulling together tighter than ever.”

      But it’s hard for me to speculate about anything because nothings happened yet and we have another week before Arrow returns. Grrrr! This break is killing me. After it airs then I think I can weigh in more and pick things apart. 🙂

      1. Regarding Oliver saving everyone, you’re right. He was even saving Shado, who we know trained him! I think the show is beginning to get ready to gear away from that. With Sara coming in, the playing field evens out a bit. Also, Slade will be a major factor, some who is not only strong but also has the Mirakuru factoring in. He cannot be an easy foe.

      2. You bring up a very good point. Everyone on this show needed to be saved at one point or another. I don’t think of Felicity as the typical damsel in distress because she’s part of the team. Criminals don’t go after her solely because she’s close to Oliver. When she went to investigate the mobile truck carrying Vertigo it was part of the mission. When she volunteered to be bait for The Dollmaker it was part of the mission. So was going undercover counting cards at an underground casino. When these missions went south, she needed back up. It just so happens that her back up was Oliver. It’s not that different from Det. (Officer) Lance and his partner Hilton needing back up when they went up against Cyrus Gold. They didn’t get it, costing Hilton’s life and Lance was badly hospitalized.

        As for Sara rescuing Felicity, my first reaction was I didn’t like it. If it weren’t for the 2×13 kiss I would’ve loved it. However, I’m going to wait and see what the proper context of that scene will play out. Even though I’m still bothered by all this Oliver/Sara business, I still want Sara and Felicity to be friends, to some degree.

      3. ” I also figured it would give Felicity a war story and scar of her own . . .”
        And suddenly I want Felicity to get a tattoo. Oliver has a lot of them, why can’t she have one? Or maybe she already has one. In which case I want to know to what it is and where.

        1. I thought the same exact thing. Scar first. Tattoo next (if she doesn’t already have one). And if she does have one? We totally need to hear it and find out the story. But yeah, I think that’s going to be the point of this episode: to formally make Felicity “one of them” and let people know: she’s a hero in her own right just like everybody else on the team.

    3. I saw the same thing, and thought it so odd. I was so hoping Felicity would be able empower herself. I hope it’s not what we think. I hear so much of the “Sara belongs w/Oliver” but the only reason given is b/c she is BC and that is canon. If that’s your only reason, then for a person who knows nothing about the comic, it’s not sufficient. But will I like Sara more b/c she is badass and saves Felicity? I doubt it b/c I am already so invested in Felicity’s character on it’s own. It would just depress me if they make her weak in order to demonstrate someone’s else’s strength.

  21. I started watching this show because I liked the comics (not all out geekdom, but I knew enough to be dangerous) and I love, LOVE action.

    That being said, the other day I went back and rewatched the Pilot and something struck me. I remembered seeing this pilot when it first aired and being drawn more to Tommy LOL The actor had a charm and easy going manner about him. Granted, Oliver was fresh off a five year sentence on the island of Hell, but he was just so stiff and well, blah. And then the scenes with Laurel DID NOT help. The action was GOOD though and THAT is why I stuck with it. People go on about Oliver’s abs, and workout scenes, etc. but those do nothing for me — I want story, not THAT LOL I would actually cringe because I would think “oh, here is the gratuitous CW body flaunt or sex … meh.” Give me action, give me story, give me DEPTH.

    With this in mind, Felicity came along, and we got a HUMAN reaction from Oliver — something went ZING. But I wasn’t here for a relationship, even though they were trying to tell me that’s what Laurel was for. But I LIKED Felicity, really enjoyed her scenes. However, Felicity was in small scenes so really the only thing that kept me hanging in there was the action, because:

    I liked Tommy more than Oliver (except the few scenes he had with Felicity)
    I was tiring of the let me flash my abs and waste story time — this just DOES NOT work for me
    I was struggling with the supposed love story. I wasn’t seeing what they WANTED me to see it — if they deleted them, I wouldn’t have cared.

    The ONLY thing keeping me was the action and some of the stories, as well as what little we got of Felicity — fortunately though, her scenes seemed to be increasing. But the thread holding me was weakening.

    Then like Julie said that scene in the cafe with Felicity and Oliver happened and I sat up and was like “what are they doing here?” Will definitely tune in next week. Then Oliver went to FELICITY after he was shot. Again, I sat up — “they’re messing with me now, but I’m liking this!” Again, I’ll tune in next week — I’m getting a little more hooked. Then Felicity LOCKS THE DOOR of the foundry and goes toe-to-toe to Oliver! WTH this is really getting good! In that same episode, Oliver does a double-take of Felicity in the gold dress, and I throw up my hands because now I know I am going to like this, but at the same time “WHAT ARE THEY DOING!”

    I didn’t need to be told, coerced, or tube fed the idea that Felicity and Oliver were good together, REALLY good. But I didn’t want to duped into liking something and then watch something good go to waste because of their insistence on Laurel.

    Then with season two it was like a totally new show, emphasizing all the good that kept me going through season 1, and the first half of the season was BRILLIANT! Story, action, Felicity and Oliver, Team Arrow. Woohoo! I am now totally vested in this show! LOL And you know what? There was prob 1 shirtless scene and zero sex and these were some of their most watched episodes LOL.

    Before posting this I saw the posts regrading the pictures that were release. To me they are simply just that, pictures. there’s no substance to them. I’m a photographer, and these aren’t released to tell a story, it’s simply to capture a moment in a portion of a story where you have no idea what happened just prior to pic or what happens just after. It’s to wet the palette of a starved audience on a two-week hiatus LOL

    What I get from the pics are that I LOVE Felicity’s outfit! B)

    I am so ready for this break to end! 🙂

    1. I love this take on it because while I like the action scenes, I could live without them, I’m here for the relationships (all kinds of relationships, I’m a character junkie). This just underscores for me how many audiences this show serves which is one of the reasons it’s doing so well. I’m not excited about the action scenes, but they’re done really well and they don’t bore me, so hey, I’m good with action scenes. Claire, you were there for the action scenes but then when the stuff with Felicity put interesting relationships on the screen, hey, you were good with relationship scenes. The key is balancing all of that and keeping it all good, which isn’t easy and which they’ve been doing a pretty good job of.

      And I’m with you. You can’t extrapolate anything from pictures except “This is what this moment looks like.” I’m okay with Felicity’s dress, but the shoes have to go. Loving the Canary’s boots, though, because you can, you know, RUN IN THEM. Get Felicity some flats, stat. Also Sara looks amazing as the Black Canary.

      1. It’s funny but for some reason lately all I keep thinking is how fantastic Felicity would look in a retro 40s/50s style wardrobe. It makes me wish for an Edith Head type designer because that woman seriously knew how to dress people.

        As for the shoe thing, I find most women on shows wear ridiculous shoes. I figure it’s because they’re trying to visually even out the height thing so it’s partly a practical issue, partly sexist twaddle. LOL. I can’t ever wear shoes like that. I’d break my neck.

        1. Oh, she’d look terrific in retro stuff. You know, something with personality. I think it’s a bad thing when all the women of a certain age on a show could swap wardrobes and nobody would notice.

      2. Balance is definitely key, you’re correct, because while I hung on for the action, it was by a thread because the main relationships weren’t doing it. Once Felicity’s role became larger and there was a shift towards more Team Arrow — boom! it started to click.

        OMG, don’t get me started on the shoes. My favorite character on TV was Ziva David of NCIS. She KNEW how to dress as a special agent out in the field and I loved that about her! Cargo pants, comfy shoes for chases, climbing whatnot, and most importantly, her hair. She had long beautiful hair, but if her hair was down while in HQ and they departed for a crime scene, she ALWAYS arrived at the scene with her hair pulled back and prob in a ball cap. They were crime scene investigators as well as reg investigators, but who investigates a crime scene in heels and long flowy hair? When she was in the field, she was all in. That’s what I loved about the actress, for as hollywood as TV can be she focused on making it somewhat realistic — especially in the makeup dept! Cote de Pablo is REALLY missed LOL

  22. Convincing points about what the photo does or does not imply.

    I’ll try to get back on topic – the Protagonist – and put the rage about B.S. aside. I’ll look forward to reading about how others see Oliver’s characterization in the next episode. Right now, given that the show runners in interviews seem to indicate that Sara is a female Oliver, I’m inclined to think the man-whore is whoring it up with himself.

    1. Ha! “Whoring it up with himself” indeed! Had not thought of it in those terms. Makes both of them quite self-centered on a whole new level!

  23. With respect to some of the highest rated episodes involving no sex: Yes, I think the highest rated this season were the Barry Allen eps.

    I like Felicity’s outfit minus the shoes. I also wish they would put her in trousers or suits occasionally, so that she doesn’t look some stereotype of a 22 year-old admin assistant. I think Felicity is supposed to be 26 but Emily Bett Rickards is only 22. Regardless, Felicity does not look 26 in the ponytail (which I like) and the short dresses.

  24. I’ve been thinking a lot about the canon love story. The number one backlash against Oliver and Felicity is that it goes against the canon, and I really want to understand the purists here. So I thought about it, and if they had set up a show where Clark doesn’t end up with Lois, would I be okay with it? I have ultimately decided that it would depend on the history they gave Clark and Lois.

    The Oliver, Laurel, Sara mess is just about the worst thing about Arrow. At the beginning of the series, we find out Oliver cheated on Laurel with her sister. He comes back and Laurel’s pissed. Right there, it’s already hard to root for that love story, but it’s canon, so let’s stay invested. Then, Laurel starts dating Tommy, Oliver’s best friend, who is actually a nice guy. Tommy says Oliver’s still in love with Laurel (which I didn’t see based on the chemistry–but that’s subjective, so I’ll move on), but he tells Tommy to fight for Laurel. Then, right after doing that, he goes after Laurel and sleeps with her, and Tommy sees all this and is heartbroken (Dear show…Tommy Merlyn was too likable for Oliver and Laurel to get away with that). As if all that wasn’t enough to hate this love story, we then find out that five years before, Laurel suggested she and Oliver move in together, and his response to that was to say yes to her face and then leave on a boat WITH HER sister (I really felt like he didn’t love her in this scene). Then, Tommy dies. Really, show? (And if I were Oliver, I’d be more guilty over having slept with the girl Tommy was in love with than being called a murderer…I’m pretty sure the sleeping with Laurel thing hurt Tommy more than the killing bad guys thing.)

    Then the second season begins. It turns out Sara is alive. Suddenly, Oliver is saying things to her like “I need you,” and “I can’t lose you again,” and we are supposed to buy this despite the fact that he was supposedly in love with Laurel at the end of the last season. And, because all that wasn’t toxic enough, he sleeps with her. AGAIN. And in this next episode, he goes and has dinner with her family?

    So, Oliver is a billionaire CEO vigilante who is smarter than he looks with everything but the Lance sisters. My problem with everyone who says Laurel and Oliver, or Black Canary and Green Arrow need to be together because it’s canon is that the comics did not have this terrible backstory. So, basically, despite the fact that the history of the characters is different, purists say the outcome should be the same. I don’t get it. If Oliver stays with one of the Lance sisters, it would ruin his character for me. He’d be too stupid for me to like. I don’t know that I can stomach him fighting bad guys as the Arrow if I don’t feel like he’s a good guy as Oliver Queen–and this whole subplot makes me not understand who this character is.

    I just watched The Scientist again, and the worst part about THAT episode is Felicity’s boob window dress. She is a crime fighter! Not in the way Sara, Oliver, Roy, and Diggle are, but she does fight crime. Unless part of her training is to learn how to use stilettos and pumps to defend herself, those shoes need to go. I completely agree, Jenny. Get the woman some flats. The first thing that struck me about the promotional photos was: What is she doing out on the field in THAT outfit?

    I’m in a nitpicky mood. I usually love the show enough to overlook all these things, but then I have some days when I feel like, “how can you guys do such a good job writing all of THIS and then come up with THAT?” I wan to have faith, and reserve judgment, but the end of the last episode has made that much more difficult.

    1. That’s a good point about the back story not being the same as in the comics. I don’t know who came up with that back story, but it’s kneecapping Oliver every time he turns around.
      The real problem with the costuming is that it’s flattening character which is the opposite of what it should be doing. If Felicity was dressed like that and ended up in the line of battle accidentally, that’s one thing, but if she went out on the street knowing there was going to be trouble and put on heels and a pencil skirt, she’s dumb. And she’s not dumb.

      1. I can get past the lack of chemistry. I can learn to sympathize with Laurel (I don’t know that I’ll ever like her, but I am getting to a point where I can at least sympathize). However, I don’t see myself ever getting to a point where I’m going to accept Laurel and Oliver, or Sara and Oliver (as Black Canary and Green Arrow) as THE epic love story of this show. Even when you take Felicity out of the picture, Oliver’s just not a likable character to me when he’s with either of the Lance sisters because the choices he makes run contrary to his character’s development.

        For example, they have managed to set Oliver up as sensitive and compassionate. He is all about right and wrong, and when he makes a mistake, he owns up to it and he tries to fix it. He apologizes to Diggle for not being there when he and Carly broke up, and he goes to Russia to make it up to him for choosing Laurel the first time (in Home Invasion). He overreacts to Barry, but then re-invites him to the Queen Consolidated party to make it up to Felicity. He decides he’s not killing again to honor Tommy’s memory, because he has to “become something else” (a hero versus a murderer).

        Then, there is Laurel. He sleeps with her sister. Six years pass and granted, there’s not much to undo that, but to sleep with Sara AGAIN? What happened to Oliver Queen, the man who seeks redemption? It sounds like it isn’t a one-time thing–he is actually going to explore whether he can have a real relationship with her. It makes me dislike him SO much. How can I root for a love story that makes the protagonist worse instead of better?

        1. I am very much on the same boat with you. Both those ladies make him the worst version of himself. I really did want to root for a GA/BC love story because that is canon, however they made a mess out of their backstory with sister swapping that it just turned me off from Oliver. That is not a good thing. So I want to see him near people like Quentin, Diggle and Felicity. More Thea/Oliver would have been nice too, except now they have a huge secret looming over their heads. I think the reason I find Oliver/Felicity so attractive is that she is shaping and molding him not just a better hero, but a better man, a better version of Oliver Queen. She sees something in him that I don’t think Oliver sees in himself yet. Diggle is the guide, he is the man who gives him wisdom, but Felicity is his rock, his moral compass, his hope to push him to be better in all aspects. Diggle is silent partner who helps with his advice and has his back, but Felicity pushes his boundaries and teaches him that “there is another way”. THAT is what you want in a friend and in a romantic partner. Someone who makes you better. So when Oliver falls back into patterns that starts chipping away at the man he is becoming and he starts making those mistakes again, for drama and shock value (from the writers p.o.v) I start to feel bitter and angry at the hero. I, honestly, at this moment, would not trust Felicity’s heart with him. I want her to stay away because I don’t trust Oliver, and that is not a good feeling to have for your main hero. Having Oliver sleep with every woman that comes across his path is yet another thing that grosses me out. I loved seeing Oliver make a mistake once, like leaving Diggle out to dry, but then apologized and then earlier this season had his back. It was nice growth and character development. However, episode 13, literally left me in shock at how many hits his and Sara’s character took and I can’t fathom why the writers went this route other than to shock the audience and bring on some childish, unnecessary drama. What the writers don’t, IMO, understand is that drama can happen without chipping away at your characters. And that a romance can be a healthy, drama-free one and still be interesting, and the drama can come in the form of action, villains and inner turmoil.

        2. Maybe that’s the root of the “canon” love story problem I have w/ Arrow. Maybe it is that GA’s and BC ‘s love story in the comics isn’t all that “epic?” Maybe you can’t compare them to Lois and Clark (although I don’t know how their romance is portrayed in the comics either) because the GA/BC relationship isn’t such a great romance. Yes, they ended together, but should they have? If that’s what the writers have to work with, then maybe the relationship is not meant to be that great. Frustrating for those of us not familiar w/what’s “supposed” to happen and who want a good romance that makes sense. Although, if the romance wasn’t all that great in the original, you’d think people would be fine w/changing it. Who knows?

    2. The number one backlash against Olicity is it doesn’t work/exist even if people are screaming “look, chemistry” about them. It’s the exact same reason Lauriver doesn’t work for some people.

      1. As much as chemistry is a subjective thing, I don’t think it can be completely discounted either or else movie studios and tv networks wouldn’t chem-test actors together. Some actors – regardless of skill/talent – do “click more” with other actors. It’s why we often see the same actors paired up in movies together over and over again. People loved the William Powell/Myrna Loy combo. Hepburn & Tracy. Bacall and Bogart. Even today you see movies, particularly bromance movies, feature the same pair of actors because for some reason they play really well together on the screen.

        There’s a ton of reasons I can explain why I like Oliver and Felicity together beyond “they’re hot and have great chemistry!” and I think I did that in some post around here somewhere. And I can list the reasons Laurel doesn’t work for me as a character and Oliver/Laurel don’t work for me as a couple in a more articulate way than “They have no chemistry.” But I think when it comes to people who don’t always know all the ins and outs of story development, character, couple etc., they can’t point to it and say “I don’t like XYZ because her conflict and his conflict fly in the face of each other” or “this backstory makes their characters unsympathetic.” All some can do is say “I don’t like their chemistry” because it seems to sum up the failure of that emotional/mental “click.” It’s like looking at a painting. I don’t have to understand strokes, light, perspective, etc., to know that when I look at it it just doesn’t move me.

        So yeah, chemistry isn’t everything… but it doesn’t hurt either.

        1. But, see, you know they had to have screen-tested Katie and Stephen together. So the casting directors, who are paid to notice these things, had to have seen chemistry or they wouldn’t have cast Katie. But perhaps they didn’t take into account the overall story line at the time.

          Aren’t you more likely to be “moved” by a relationship that starts out as happy-go-lucky and smiley and jokey because, as humans we crave happiness, than one that starts out with pain? As the old saying goes, you draw more flies with honey than vinegar.

          I think the Arrow writers made a serious mistake in setting Laurel and Oliver up as antagonists to start for that very reason. They’re never going to win over the fans adverse to Oliver/Laurel romantically. BUT… I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing in the grand scheme of things because they’re as often apart romantically as they are together. So long as they continue to show that, despite everything, there’s just a deep love between the two, I think it works.

          1. My favorite stories that move me are about people caught on a moment of change who, through the story, deal with adversity, confront their deepest fears, and overcome it all. If, in the end, that means finding love too? Even better. Those stories give you something to root for. If a character is happy and content in their life and everything is moonbeams then there’s no reason to stick around for a story. The happiness isn’t the beginning of the story… it’s the end.

            I read a book once where the hero was alone, scarred, and suffered horrible loss (dead wife, dead kids, etc). The heroine was alone, scarred, had suffered horrible loss of her own (abduction, nearly murdered, unable to have kids as a result, etc). Two lonely, hurt people somehow came together, fell in love, overcame their fears and damned if I didn’t get teary at the end of that book.

            Another book I read had a woman who was afraid to get attached, afraid to fall in love, etc., who ended up falling for a man with a sick (as in thought terminal) daughter. She let herself fall for this family, love them, need them and Bam! ex-wife returns and the heroine thinks she lost it all. Of course it all works out and Hero and Heroine get together happy days! but it was so well done and its that struggle, that emotional ride, that makes the resolution matter.

            So no, I don’t think I am more likely to be moved by happy relationships from the go. Yes, we crave happiness but we also crave stories that assure us that loss and pain and even the worst circumstances (including our own fears and flaws) can be overcome and that no matter how dark our current day is? Tomorrow will be better.

      2. CJ wrote:

        The number one backlash against Olicity is it doesn’t work/exist even if people are screaming “look, chemistry” about them. It’s the exact same reason Lauriver doesn’t work for some people

        I guess I belong to those viewers for whom the Olicity chemistry doesn’t work, no matter how many posts I read where people praise their on screen chemistry. I keep hearing about this intense and electrifying sensual/sexual chemistry between Oliver and Felicity, but I just don’t feel it/apprehend it myself. I have the impression that many Felicity/Olicity fans take the Olicity chemistry so much for granted that they more or less expect all viewers to feel it as well, thereby forgetting that chemistry is in the eyes of the beholder.

        However, even though we may seem rarer than Unicorns, there are quite a few people I know who only perceive a friendship chemistry between Oliver and Felicity. I think they have a nice rapport, but I personally do not get any “feels” when I see them together, and no matter how much I’ve tried, my eyes are blind to the “eye sex”, the sensuous touches and the repressed feelings of passion that many other “Arrow” fans detect whenever Felicity and Oliver are interacting with each other.

        Nor did I really register the jealousy that overtook Oliver when Felicity and Barry had their little flirt (which was supercute, BTW). Maybe I just interpret Oliver’s (or Stephen’s!) clenching of his jaw in a different manner than many social media oliciters?

        I do think that Oliver and Shado were great together, and I enjoyed Oliver’s brief romance with McKenna, mainly because it was the closest he’s ever been to a normal relationship with dating etc. These were real, adult relationships in my opinion, even if they were brief.

        I’ve been wondering if it’s maybe the real age difference between Emily and Stephen (ten years) that makes me feel like Oliver is more like an older brother or even father figure to Felicity (and we know now that she has father issues). I know that many posters here will tell me that no brother touches his sister the way that Oliver touches Felicity. That is true, especially in later eps where the writers have ramped up the Olicity romance a bit. But even when Oliver grasps Felicity’s hand and looks her deeply in the eyes, I still feel more of a concern for someone that he cares for (and who he knows has a crush on him) than any real sensual/sexual passion. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to imagine them ever being intimate with each other. So, as CJ points out, there are viewers who won’t be ecstatic if the “Arrow” TPTB decides to make Oliver and Felicity a real romantic couple with everything it entails. Of course, we are in the minority, but I’d still wish that some Olicity fans stopped treating the Oliver/Felicity roma chemistry as if it were a foregone conclusion, rather than a personal feeling on their part. That holds true even if this personal feeling is shared by a lot of people….

        And not all fans who fail to see the Olicity chemistry are Laurel fans or Laurel/Oliver shippers. Some fans may even prefer him with Sara or any other woman who comes his way, and other fans are simply not interested in romance. These non-shipper fans would even claim that a romance between Oliver and Felicity could destroy the “Arrowcave” dynamics.

        1. I loved Oliver and McKenna! I don’t even care. The little picnic on the floor of Verdant before they opened… so cute. I also wished we’d gotten more of them and Laurel/Tommy at Tommy’s birthday dinner.

        2. I agree that chemistry is subjective. There have been romantic comedies where people raved about the chemistry that I could not see.
          I think the real problem, though, isn’t chemistry. It’s the lack of direction in the writing. Tomorrow’s post is based on an e-mail conversation I’m having with Pam Regis, our academic romance expert, and she talks about the romance contract between the writer and reader, the establishment of the love interest on the page or screen. Arrow hasn’t done this since the beginning with the Oliver/Laurel contract, so that leaves a lot of white space for the viewer to fill in, and viewers have done it by choosing a woman in the show and investing in her, which is really dangerous because they’re doing it without a contract with the writer. That investment then depends on the relationship between the viewer and the character she’s chosen, not on the story the writer is telling, because the writer hasn’t given the viewer enough information about that story. Which is why this whole thing is turning into a train wreck.

          1. I have that same chemistry disconnect in a lot of rom coms (especially the newer ones) Then there are other times chemistry seems to zip off the screen. Is that all writing and no acting talent or – when it really works – is it a combination of the two? Maybe we’ll never know. I think that’s why we’re all so fascinated with the discussion here, because we can pick and poke at the writing. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s post. It sound fascinating.

            By the way. This?

            “…so that leaves a lot of white space for the viewer to fill in, and viewers have done it by choosing a woman in the show and investing in her, which is really dangerous because they’re doing it without a contract with the writer. That investment then depends on the relationship between the viewer and the character she’s chosen, not on the story the writer is telling, because the writer hasn’t given the viewer enough information about that story. Which is why this whole thing is turning into a train wreck.”

            just made a part of my brain explode. I had to read that a few times. LOL.

      3. It’s because “chemistry” is subjective, so it leaves the choice of the love interest up to the reader/viewer which is a very bad idea. Tomorrow’s Argh: The Romance Contract.

  25. Julie H’s observation about the shoes that they’re trying to visually even out the height thing so it’s partly a practical issue makes sense, but not when Felicity is out on her own investigating the Clock King. It does make her look dumb, yet her character profile indicates a genius-level intellect. I figure it’s a CW bias that the hero could not possibly be attracted to a supposedly ‘nerdy genius’ if her wardrobe wasn’t sexing up the workplace. I hated the boob-window dress in The Scientist. While I have nothing against the clothes in themselves, I haven’t been a fan of most of what they’ve put Felicity in in season 2. Arrow claims to be superhero show that grounds itself in reality, yet I don’t find Felicity’s business attire realistic. I work for a large organization; though I’ve mentally questioned some people’s wardrobe choices, the vast majority of women in my organization do not wear skirts that tight and short or heels that high.

  26. Character violation indeed. Emily Bett Rickards has said that she has been fighting to keep the ponytail. I’m glad she’s winning on that front at least, and I’d be right there with her if she was fighting to get Felicity out of the ridiculous workplace and in-the-field costuming choices.

  27. “You have to make me care about a subplot NOW, not just imply that I’ll care later.”
    – Jenny

    This was mention way above but it reminded me of a conversation I had with friends this weekend. We talked about Arrow like we always do (LOL) and we were all really excited about the idea that, supposedly, Season 3 will be more “intimate.” This set off a debate over why that made us so happy when we like the show as much as we do.

    In the end, it all came down what Jenny touched on in her reply: I want to watch what I care about now, not spend all this time now with people I don’t like but the show keeps insisting I will “later.”

    Previous to this, Arrow spent more time on the people I liked, was excited about, and made me look forward to the show every week (Oliver, Felicity, Diggle, Quentin, even Moira, etc). Lately, however, Arrow has really flipped that and now they’re leaning more heavily on the unpleasant characters. It makes sense because they’re moving toward the final part of the season, but I’ve noticed that the characters I like have been inched more and more to the sidelines and it’s made me impatient when I watch. I don’t want to know more about the characters I don’t like. When I do I just find out I dislike them even more! LOL! So it feels like a waste of time.

    I get Arrow is an ensemble show, that everybody deserves development, that my favorite characters aren’t everybody elses….and Arrow is still a very enjoyable show (very!) but I’ve found myself thinking a lot these last few episodes, “Why should I care? I don’t like these people. Can we please get back to the good stuff?”

    You can feel the writers trying to make these “unpleasant people” work in the dynamic structure of Oliver and these other likeable characters, but man, the longer this goes on I think they’re never going to make them click in the same way. They feel like Round pegs in a show of only square holes and no matter how they keep trying to jam them in there, they’re still always gonna be Round Pegs.

  28. I was rereading the main post and had a question, Jenny.

    Every great character needs flaws. Without them, the protagonist would be boring, absolutely. So far it seems we’ve felt Oliver’s mistakes are more missteps. What flaws do you think Oliver has that works on the show? Are there ones you’d give him that the show hasn’t (yet)?

    1. I think his grimness works well; he’s had a terrible time on the island, back home things are going to hell, people dying, everything he believes about his family upended, his romantic life always ends in injury, death, and tragedy, he has a reason to be grim. But he’s changing, so starting him at bottom in the cheerfulness arc is giving him a lot of room for growth, which he was doing nicely.

      I think his arrogance is a good flaw for the same reasons. He’s handsome, he’s rich, he’s powerful (CEO), he’s the world’s greatest archer, he beats up bad guys and saves the innocent, he has a reason to be arrogant. And again, starting at the level of power and skill, it gives him a lot of room to arc in accepting his other weaknesses, treating others as equals, etc., which he’s doing.

      The only flaws that are bad are the ones protagonists can’t evolve from.

  29. I had an issue with the Oliver/Sara hook up mainly because it chipped away at two characters I wanted to root for and regressed them back to before the Island. I don’t mind flawed heroes who make mistakes. What I do want, however, is a hero that learns from his mistakes. Oliver took two hits IMO during that last episode. One was falling back into nasty habits by being with Sara, knowing that Laurel is going on a downward spiral, and the other is keeping Thea in the dark about Malcolm being her father. Season 1 Oliver wanted to be forgiven badly for the mess he made and for the cheating. He knew it had caused a series of events that took him and now Sara on a journey from hell. Knowing this he should not have fallen back into it this quickly when he should have realized what a mess it can lead to. Sara who was quoted as saying “the past should stay in the past” and having not the best reunion with her sister, should not have fallen back to Oliver knowing this would break Laurel and knowing Laurel is in a terrible place right now. These two came off as selfish. Then there is Oliver, knowing he should have been the one to tell Slade about Shado, as he said in the episode prior to this, and knowing that Slade found out another way, which had made things worse, decides to hide this fact about Thea’s real father from her, knowing that this could come back and bite him in the butt, because we know that Thea will find out and once she realizes Oliver knew will be in full on rage mode. This is a betrayal. Yet he has learned nothing. Look, I don’t mind heroes who are flawed and make mistakes. But not learning from those mistakes makes me not want to root for them. What was the point of making those mistakes, if not to learn from them? Both Ollie and Sara took hits during that episode and their characterization started chipping away. I have never felt any sort of connection to Laurel, but these characters are supposed to care about Laurel, so when I find myself saying, “These people are terrible to someone they are supposed to show some care for”, I start to side-eye both and not want any of my favorites, mainly Diggle and Felicity, anywhere near them, because I do not trust them considering they are willing to hurt someone so close to them yet again. So at the end of the day this has nothing to do with any couples, but about two characters who I did not believe would act that way after the hell they with through the first time. So when I start to see a pattern of Drama >Characterization, that just spells bad writing to me.

    1. That’s a really good point about not telling Thea. I agree with all of this, but that one sticks out. She’s an adult, she’s going to find out, the only way he can protect her is by telling her now. It was so smart of the writers to have Felicity tell him in the same episode that she found out, not drag it out. It would be great if Oliver did the same thing.

      My writing question with the whole Oliver-Sara mess is if the writers knew what was going to happen and deliberately created the controversy, or if they thought that the hook-up was a good idea. Actually, there may be a lot of viewers who think it was a good idea for all I know.

      1. The Thea thing you know is going to blow apart and I want to know what Oliver’s reasoning is for not telling her. Simply because it would hurt her? Because he doesn’t think she could handle it? Hm. Oliver thinks Malcolm is dead so, really, what harm would it do her? Wouldn’t he rather have her find out from him than some muckracking media person who stumbles upon it? I want to hear him vocalize this reasoning to someone because if the situations were reversed, wouldn’t he want Thea to tell him?

        ITA with Jenny about the question for the writers re deliberately creating controversy or just the hook up thing. And yeah, there seem to be quite a few people who didn’t have a problem with the hook up at all. I think, however, if Oliver turns into a sexual ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth between too many women too often this is going to get old. But even if it’s just ping-ponging between sisters…. um. ew? EW! Okay ew! Wow. There’s a mental scenario I’ll need bleach for. Ugh. I just skeeved myself out.

    2. That’s a really great point, and one that I totally missed. We’ve just seen Oliver repeat his two biggest mistakes from that year on the Island in the space of one episode. I have to wonder what kind of resolution that’s building to, because it can’t possibly have been an accident on the writers’ part. Must re-watch episode…

  30. I am in the same boat as Julie when it comes to the Lance family — dealing more with characters I could care less about (with the exception of Quintan though). Honestly, what does this add to the show? The only thing I keep coming back to (with HOPE) is that they are really going back to season 1 to wrap up this Laurel and Sara mess and HOPEFULLY be done with it, because it really is painful to watch. They didn’t hook me in season 1 with this story and now I’m being tube fed the whole thing again, blech. I am hopeful of their intent, but in the meantime I am developing a serious eye twitch whenever they come on screen.

    That is a good point Sam — about Thea — one I didn’t even think of with everything else going on. Thea is going to find out one way or another, better it come from her big brother. You’re correct, you would think Oliver would have learned the lesson of keeping secrets. Maybe Felicity will talk with him about it, especially since it was their conversation about Slade finding out about Shado from another source other than Oliver that probably gave Felicity the bump in her telling Oliver the truth. Maybe right after she disinfects the foundry LOL

    Sara and Oliver — good idea or plot to create controversy. My hope is that it is part of the plot to drive Laurel over the deep end leading her to becoming one wackadoo villain traveling to path of vengeance, I can see THAT. I dare them to go that route LOL We’re seeing what, three journey’s of becoming a hero (four if you include Felicity which I will 😉 ) Why not see two people being driven to villainy (Slade and Laurel)? I’m totally game.

    When I read that “writing question” Jenny, it brought to mind a quote that I read in an interview:
    “They [Felicity/Oliver] definitely will face obstacles down the line. The burgeoning relationship between Felicity and Barry Allen from episodes eight and nine, that gets addressed from the Oliver side of things very directly in episode 10. For sure anyone who wants Oliver and Felicity to romantically hook up, Barry is a serious impediment to that. Then we’ll be throwing another impediment in their path in a reasonably short order.”

    That last sentence really stuck out though as this was an interview prior to “that scene.” So can we take that to mean that S/O are also being used as a plot device (correct term?) for O/F seeing as how they are being referred to as an “impediment” to Felicity and Oliver? Then again this could also be the EPs talking it up as such because they like to torture the fans LOL Meaning, our intent with the whole Sara Oliver story is really to see X, but if we say it’s an impediment, we keep this huge fan base happy by throwing them a mealy bone. ha ha Who knows :))

    1. Anna, I had to look up what the actor said. Here’s what he said (from Facebook) –

      “East Coast… That was the most passionate, fantastic response to one of our episodes I’ve ever seen. I’m staying spoiler free for the West Coast / remainder of Planet Earth, but let me just say this: My favorite characters on television are flawed; because – non Arrow spoiler alert – real people are flawed. Real people have messy lives. Characters with cracks are more interesting. I will defend this point to the death. Again… what a response. Passion from fans is the very best thing.”

      Now I’m going to have to skim through the replies just to see what the vibe was from this small pool of people. And you’re right, too, Anna. Complex or WTF? LOL. There’s a big difference. I really, really wonder sometimes if the issue here is that the CW/Arrow is used to writing for a much different (i.e. younger) audience and Arrow is skewing older, so you get a different life experience and reaction to things they consider “normal” on all their other shows. I can see I’m going to have to go dig around for articles on their demo breakdowns. I could have sworn I saw something about that somewhere.

  31. “My writing question with the whole Oliver-Sara mess is if the writers knew what was going to happen and deliberately created the controversy, or if they thought that the hook-up was a good idea. Actually, there may be a lot of viewers who think it was a good idea for all I know.” – Jenny

    I think the writers did deliberately create the controversy. I’m not a member of Facebook, but the beauty is that you don’t have to be to read comments on the pages for TV shows. The show runners had the lead do a live Q&A on the Arrow Facebook to coincide with the West Coast airing in order to ‘prepare’ viewers for Heir to the Demon. At the end, Stephen Amell noted the passionate response and made an observation about believing that complex characters are the most interesting; wish I had the exact quote handy, but I don’t.

    I didn’t read all the comments from that Q&A, but the most passionate response seemed to be to the ending. While some of the comic book fans liked the idea of the canon BC and Arrow hook-up, most had a WTF reaction.

    While I appreciate the lead’s observation about character complexity, it doesn’t seem as if most who had the WTF reaction saw the hook-up as reflecting anything particularly complex about Oliver or Sara.

      1. Thanks, Julie! And my regrets to all for referencing the incorrect coast for that Arrow Heir to the Demon Facebook Q&A.

    1. I’m scrolling through posts and just saw a meme that just nailed the problem. Picture of Oliver/Laurel embracing from Season 1 I think, and the caption says: I pretend I love you… but I keep doing your sister.

      I’d laugh if that wasn’t sadly really accurate.

        1. I loved someone else’s response on another fan board that Laurel needs a copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Julie, I’d love to see the meme!

      1. I hate to waste a post on just Bwaaaaaa haaaaa haaaaa, because yes, that is perfect, so I will also add a little more commentary about the CW.

        Originally it seemed their shows skewed more towards that younger female audience, but I read recently that with the addition of The Originals and Arrow, they are trying to get a slightly older audience. Not sure. I’ve caught an episode or two The Originals but nothing consistent, so can’t comment. So I’m curious about the reaction you saw on FB Julie, was it more WTF? Do you think that those reactions came from the older audience? Because my husband and I are the “older ones” in the crowd and I can tell you both of our reactions were definitely WTF. Even though I figured something would be coming, it still seemed completely out of left field. My husband wasn’t happy and I don’t talk Olicity with him. LOL That was his honest reaction to it. I had looked at the comments on the CW Arrow page when they posted EBR’s pic and I was surprised that there were A LOT of males on their with that same kind of “what the hell were you thinking Oliver!” I kind of left the age demo conversation and swooped into gender, but I found it interesting that so many males out there seemed to have that same reaction LOL

        I just had another thought so I am going to leave those topics completely and enter the realm of Canon. Last night my husband and I watched Wolverine with the kiddos. I had been keeping up with the movies when they first came out, and I distinctly remember the MOVIES trying to push Jean and Wolverine. I vaguely remember from comics and cartoons that the attraction was pretty one-sided and she eventually Scott. ANYHOO, I lost track of the movies and missed a few in between so as we’re watching Wolverine last night I’m #1 completely lost as to why Wolverine is out there wandering alone and #2 Why dead Jean is blaming Wolverine for her death, but also telling each other they love the other. O.o SOOOO, long story short, to hell with Canon, drop the BC GA angle and Felicity and Oliver can live happily ever after. Ha ha And that’s what I took away from family movie night — I’m too obsessed with this show :))

        1. I didn’t read all the 1,000+ comments (can Facebook be anymore annoying when it comes to trying to read through all those things?) but the reactions are mixed. Pretty much what you’d expect, ranging from “Oliver’s supposed to be with the Black Canary, it’s canon” to “but Sara isn’t the BC!” to “this came out of nowhere and doesn’t make sense” to “Oliver doesn’t know better?” to “Ugh I like Oliver with Felicity, why is he being such a jerk?” to “Pick a love story and stick with it on this show!” LOL.

          It’s impossible to know age or even sex from a Facebook page, so no clues on that. Though since this conversation happened I’ve made it a point to ask friends about what the guy-Arrow-watchers in their lives have been thinking. Surprisingly, even the guys who do know the Arrow comics are fans of Felicity and like her with Oliver. Obviously this isn’t a scientific study, just an informal polling, but still interesting.

  32. Julie, there’s also a meme based on a photo of Roy, Arrow and Canary with the three fingers sign in celebration of Arrow being renewed. Someonecropped it to just Arrow and Canary with the caption. “We kissed and ruined an awesome episode in just 3 seconds.” LOL.

  33. It’s interesting that we’re all talking about how age/experience might be affecting our experiences with the show, along with how the latest Sara/Oliver hookup makes the protagonist look, because I realized that a lot of my ongoing reaction to that last scene is based on a lifetime of watching on again/off again romances on television, and what those romances do to the characters involved.

    And for me, the result is rarely anything good.

    I think arguably the worst case was Ross/Rachel, where Ross transformed from an funny, sweet, intellectual guy in season one to a controlling, inept, frequently stupid guy, with a relationship that gradually got more and more emotionally abusive (within the limits of comedy.) I loved first season Ross; hated 10th season Ross.

    Fitz/Olivia is another example: I understand why they are off/on; the show has thoroughly explained it to me and I buy it, but the longer that lasts, the more toxic and horrible that relationship gets and the less I like either of them. I’m mostly watching now in the hopes that Olivia shoots Fitz in the last episode.

    But Friends was a comedy where I was supposed to laugh at the characters, not with. Scandal is a show about politicians where I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to like most of the characters because, well, they are politicians.

    Arrow is a superhero show. I want to be able to like and cheer on the protagonists. With Oliver that’s often difficult because wow, can he be a jerk, although he’s getting better at apologizing afterwards. But he’s already got that going against him.

    And now, he’s back on in what is now officially an on again/off again/on again thing, and my expectations are that this is going to make me like him a lot less because that’s what has happened in other shows with an on again/off again romance. That might not be fair to Arrow, especially since as I just said it’s a very different show, but it’s coloring my expectations.

    1. “I realized that a lot of my ongoing reaction to that last scene is based on a lifetime of watching on again/off again romances on television, and what those romances do to the characters involved.”
      – Chris

      I think this contributes to why TV struggles with viewers these days. There’s a lot of wariness in viewers now. A seemingly shorter attention span. Plus I do think viewers are burned out on certain show structures. Look at Lost. A lot of people loved that show and hung in there for, what? 7 years? waiting for the answer. Pull aside the curtain and it’s either magic or a flop. LOL. But the ramifications of the viewing experience was a whole pool of viewers who now look at new shows and think, “That’s another Lost. I’m not investing another 7 years (if the show doesn’t get canceled first and leave me hanging completely) only to have it end and leave me disappointed.”

      Taking it back to romances and shipping… I think people who have gone through waiting for a romantic pairing to pay off to get the burn out. The show drags it on to long (ahem. Bones. Castle. Insert a billion others here), throws in 3rd parties (again, Bones. Castle. etc) for no other reason than to create drama to drive the couple apart, or just creates artificial conflicts that don’t ring true to the couple. That doesn’t even touch the whole “Do I trust the show to give me some kind of payoff after years of investing in these characters?”

      Viewers are so different now. Online really impacted just about every form of business out there – music, books, etc – and TV definitely feels that pinch as viewers become more social with each other too.

      And I have no real idea what point I’m making. I think I’m just musing. LOL.

      1. X-Files was the one that broke me. No reason for them not to be together, and then evidently something happened off screen and they had a baby.

        1. OMG. That! Another fabulous example. It’s like show runners are so afraid to test that if-they-get-together-viewers-will-get-bored-show-dies theory (that whole Moonlighting Syndrome thing with was less about them actually getting together than the horrid flipping writing they used to get them there) that they’d rather grind the show/couple into the ground via a holding pattern than actually show a progressing relationship with commitment. Oy. The X-Files. I’d almost managed to forget that mess at the end. Though I still say Dogget and that chick got a raw deal and the show could have totally transitioned to a new team and kept going. Ah well.

      2. Okay…to try to get myself to think a different way about the Oliver-Sara thing, I rewatched a Hawkman (Carter) and Oliver scene from Smallville’s Absolute Justice episode. In the scene, Hawkman describes to Oliver his relationship with his wife Hawkgirl. Oliver says, “I’ve never had a connection like that with anyone…at least not one that lasted.” Hawkman responds, “That’s because you hide it. You don’t want anyone to know how important they are to you, so you act like a jackass.”

        I wonder if Arrow’s writers are expecting us to see that about their Oliver. Certainly Arrow’s Oliver can be an ass, and one could view the latest hook-up as Oliver and Sara having self-destructive tendencies and sabotaging their other relationships.

        From a character evolution perspective, at the end of Absolute Justice Smallville’s Oliver asks as he walks through Watchtower’s doors, “Anybody home?” Chloe and Martian (John Jones) are there. Chloe asks, “What’s up?” Oliver: “Nothing…actually. I was wondering if anyone’s hungry?” Chloe looks surprised, there’s light banter and the three head out.

        I always took that scene as Smallville’s Oliver taking Hawkman’s words to heart and the Chloe-Oliver ship started and evolved to a very adult and health relationship. There were struggles and setbacks, but with a realism that never undermined the sense that they really loved each other. Mind you, there was no sister-swapping backstory in Smallville Oliver’s playboy aspect….

        So…with respect to Stephen Amell’s relevant comment that real people are flawed and have messy lives. Yes and yes, but real people who make the same stupid, cruel mistake over and over aren’t usually well thought of or sympathized with. This is the issue with Arrow’s Oliver.

  34. I’m poking around demo/viewer information while I do my laundry. I know. I live a wild life. LOL. But I’ve found little bits of information interesting like:

    – Majority of audience is female but they’re gaining young male viewers (credited to Arrow and Supernatural and the young male audience is something the network is actively pursuing)

    – Arrow S2 is the CW’s “most watched series” with 3.9 million viewers. It’s also #1 in its time slot “among men 18-34” with 1.4 million.

    – 40% of the CW audience comes from online streaming. Arrow S2 saw a 25% increase in digital viewing vs. S1

    – Median Age of CW Viewers:
    2011-2012: 37.1
    2012-2013 – 41.7

    I was kind of surprised about the age and sex gap for Arrow. I mean… how do you write one show that appeals to, say, a female of 40 (totally stereotyping them as married, working, with kids, etc) and a “young male” audience? Can you even do that? Hmm.

  35. This morning I decided to watch “Heir to the Demon” again. After spending time with this blog, I’m trying to watch more for the writing and the storytelling. I tried to focus mostly on Oliver and his story.

    I think the first thing that struck me is that they seem to be re-writing Oliver as they go. Watching this time and knowing what was coming, I think perhaps his “pressuring” Sara to come with him on the trip, his “I lost you once,” his putting a tracker on her so he could find her seemed out of character to the Oliver in previous episodes. I know they share a history, but it seemed that the writer was giving a different version of the history we’d seen before. I will need to watch those earlier episodes again, but as I remember all of their past scenes (both in the present and on the Island), they didn’t really seem that close. The way they originally wrote Sara leaving with Oliver seemed to be a way for him to make sure that he and Laurel wouldn’t end up together. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with his caring about Sara herself. Now, however, it seems as if the writers are tweaking the story to make it seem as if Oliver actually cared about Sara. (Based on the scene I’m remembering, it even seemed as if it was Sara’s idea to go, but my memory could be wrong.)

    I have a hard time buying this new spin on the relationship because of their initial scenes on the freighter and on the Island. Then there was the fact that in season one, Oliver talked about Laurel to Slade and Shado, but he never mentioned Sara. In fact, Shado didn’t even know Sara existed until she appeared on the Island.

    If we hadn’t seen them together on the freighter or on the island, if he had ever mentioned her to Slade or Shado, I might find it more believable, but up until this episode with those two or three comments by Oliver, there never really seemed to be that kind of relationship. I think they had to have invented Sara as we know her now between season 1 and 2 — and are trying to catch up. (We know they recast the actress.)

    [Total aside: This is where I get confused with canon. Based on my very limited knowledge, there was no Sara. There was a Dinah & a Laurel as Black Canary at different times. If Sara, a character who I don’t think existed in the comics, is now BC, then how is that considered canon? I understand the arguments for canon, but it seems as if the writers are pretty far afield of canon, so I am not sure were should ever expect them to follow it.]

    I do think that those comments from Oliver regarding his feelings for Sara could have been the writer’s idea of foreplay to set up the end. (The writer really needs to read a few romances!) Watching it again – from the idea of story – I could have bought the hook up if had been something more. It should have been hot, but instead it seemed a little forced.

    Another thing that struck me was Officer Lance calling Oliver to come to the hospital to see Laurel. I didn’t really think about it when I saw the stills for the dinner, it after watching the episode, I wonder if Quentin and/or Dinah invited Oliver to dinner. There’s been lots of speculation that it was Sara, but I think it makes more sense that it was one of the Lances in the hopes that he could get through to Laurel and make her accept Sara. I suspect, however, it’s going to come out that he (and Quentin) knew she was alive and that they are now a couple. I also wonder if it will come out that Sara & Nyssa were a couple – I would think that Quentin might be confused given that Sara just told him about Nyssa & now she’s back with Oliver. I can see him blurting that out as well. What I can’t figure out is where they are going with all this. I wonder if they know.

    And if it does come out that Oliver knew that Sara didn’t die on the yacht, then Officer Lance is an idiot if he doesn’t figure out who the Arrow is. Just saying.

    And watching it again – knowing what was coming – made me love Laurel for the first time ever. I loved her speech to Sara. It was spot on especially when you know that Sara is going to keep on “stealing” her life.

    On a different note, one of my favorite things this weekend was stumbling across some tweets from Celina Jade (Shado), where she’s discovered the Arrow fan fiction. I loved her reaction to someone’s saying that the new trend (since the end of 2.13) is to writing Felicity hooking up with Slade. (Her reaction was “send it to me – I need to read it.)

    1. That was my major sticking point. I didn’t see anything in the past or present that justified what they were doing, given what had happened in the past.

      You know, one of the things we talk about in writing is the sense of the authority in the text. That is, when you read a book, there’s a sense in some books that the writer is just riffing, doesn’t have a plan, and it get annoying, but in other books, you can tell the author is in control, that even if you don’t understand exactly where the book is going, you can feel the structure underneath, there’s somebody in control. So when something surprising happens, you think, “Hello?” and then it all falls into place because the cues were there all along, it makes sense, there’s an authority in the text.
      That last scene made me think there’s no authority in this text because so much of that episode was just excellent, paying off so many things like the Tempest account and Malcolm’s threat and the assassins coming for Sara, and then at the end, the last scene, where all the emphasis in the story goes, it’s a giant WTF? If they’d even set it up in just that episode it would have been workable, but out of nowhere? It has nothing to do with Oliver being flawed and everything to do with sloppy storytelling.

      That’s really interesting that the fanfic is pairing Felicity with Slade. How much have you damaged your hero when the fans would rather have a character they care about hook up with a demented killer instead of him?

      1. “…then how is that considered canon…”

        It’s not, and that’s the thing Arrow is so loosely based on the comics and beyond characters names and the point (ha ha no pun intended) of Oliver being a bow & arrow wielding crime fighter, everything on Arrow has been re-imagined & reinvented.

        I’ve seen the Slade/Felicity thing popping up here and there. The logic behind it seems to be punishment — Oliver should “lose” Felicity to Slade to make Oliver feel bad, to realize his feelings for her, or to fit into the whole Slade corrupts Felicity by convincing her Oliver is the big, bad guy who never cared about her etc, etc. I’m not loving that because I’d want to beat Felicity with my laptop if she went down that road just because Oliver’s banging some other chick. Again, what I like most about Arrow and what pulls me back week after week is that Team Arrow trio (Oliver/Felicity/Diggle), their friendship, trust, and loyalty to each other. I don’t want to see them turn on each other and have it descend into being enemies or hate. Yuck.

      2. Ooh. Authority in text. You know, Jenny, that’s a really good point with Arrow. There are times they have clearly planned things and clearly brilliantly and woven in all these threads so well that you just marvel at the artestry of how well they put it all together. Then you have the WTF moments come in bam! all the cards get thrown up into the air & makes you doubt they have any plan at all. Oddly enough the well-crafted part is the actiony/big plot stuff while the personal relationships, the intimate parts of characters, fall on the WTF non-planned side.

        Oh dear. That’s not a good thought, is it. Is this the problem with Oliver’s character and his relationships? Apart the purposeful progression feel of Oliver/Felicity (which seems very controlled and purposeful) the rest seems all chaos. Did the writers think they had a plan going into this with Laurel/Oliver that got kicked out of control because the viewers weren’t having so now it IS out of control?

        I loved how, in S1, Arrow presented Moira as a bad guy. She was all cloak and dagger behind the scene and you thought she was the bad guy. Then they turned around in an episode and wham! suddenly you saw her in a whole knew light and realized she was also a victim. I don’t mind that kind of surprise, but again, that was so obviously purposefully done it seems in startling contrast to some of the other stuff we’ve been talking about. For me the emotional ties and motivations need to be consistent because otherwise I start feeling like – from ep to ep – I don’t know these people at all.

        I don’t know that I’ve ever had that problem with a show. Usually if the characters are interesting enough I can handle a lackluster plot. But what do you do if the plot is all you have and its the characters themselves that are the mess?

        1. That’s a good point, about the action vs the relationships. The relationship that Oliver has with Felicity that works is non-romantic; it’s the “I need you,” “You’re not my employee, you’re my partner,” “Pride” stuff. It’s part of the action plot. Which kind of makes me hope they never go for the romance because if they turn it over to the people who gave us the Laurel-Oliver-Sara mess . . .

    2. Wow! That never clicked with me before about why that WTF moment at the end never made sense and felt completely off. It wasn’t just NOT set up in the episode, but yeah, your right — it wasn’t set up EVER. Which makes perfect sense and why I always got more of a good friendship vibe from them! Huh! Yeah, it does make me a bit concerned for the romance side for Felicity and Oliver LOL Maybe they SHOULD hire one of the fanfic writers — or have Jenny consult with them 😀 I have only read a couple of the fics, but I did see Celina’s tweets. That was really sweet of her, AND she has sent them to the rest of the cast as well! LOL

  36. I noticed that the fan fiction slowed down to a trickle after the episode aired – and it usually explodes. Then about a week later lots of fan fiction dealing with the fall out appeared. Now I’m seeing more and more of it with Felicity and Slade. There’s also been talk of them on some Tumblr sites.

    I haven’t seen much if any new Laurel/Oliver fan fiction in the last couple of weeks. I haven’t seen any Oliver/Sara at all.

    Really interesting blacklash from the fandom.

    1. There’s NO Oliver/Sara fan fiction? Whoa.

      So there was nothing in that scene that inspired any of the writers to go further. Speaking just of story, not of ratings or anything else, if you can’t even get anybody to write a scene where Laurel walks in on them and guns them down, you’ve hit a major cold spot in storytelling.

      1. You know I actually saw a comment on the # of Arrow fan fic out there. Now I have to look for it. Ah ha, here it is. Someone had commented, “1.6k arrow fics on, and 1.2k of those are olicity.” I thought that was interesting too.

  37. Julie, I agree with you. I don’t like the Felicity/Slade thing either. I do find it an interesting reaction, however, from the writers in the fandom. While I’m not a huge Barry/Felicity fan, I wouldn’t mind Barry waking up and Felicity having some fun with him for an episode or two. That girl needs some fun!

    1. I’m with you, too, on the Slade/Felicity romantic thing. I interpreted it though as 1) the Olicity fandom wanting Oliver punished; 2) “That girl needs some fun!”; 3) a Tumblr post from someone stating, “Let’s be clear. We will always care more about Felicity than we will Oliver.” So it would seem some of the Olicity fandom is on the side of Felicity comes first.

      I would look forward to Slade/Felicity interaction of the non-rom variety. Both actors seem to have chemistry with everyone, so I think any scenes between the two would be very watchable.

        1. Julie, I wanted him to work for it before this second round of Sara mess. Oliver is a wreck and my fear was that he would destroy Felicity if the writers hooked them up too soon. I also wanted the slow burn because I wanted to see Felicity evolve.

          Another thought: I’m recalling a review of the episode in which Shado asks Oliver “who is that girl / how do you know her” about Sara. The critic noted that you could see Shado’s love for Oliver die (props to Celina Jade in that scene) when he tells her that Sara is Laurel’s sister. I would think that would happen with Felicity as well when she finds out they are at it again, but I don’t think the writers will write her reaction that way.

          1. I remember that review, Anna, and see… if the writers wrote that and they knew how it would affect Shado – who had been sleeping with Oliver and falling for him over that entire year — am I really supposed to believe they’re clueless on how it would impact the audience, let alone Laurel, when they had Oliver step on that landmine a second time in this last episode? And if they did get it, what. the. hell? Or are they so boys with toys that Oliver Queen is supposed to be coming off like James Bond? Because while that might be entertaining for a movie that comes out once every 2 years, every week gets a little old. LOL.

          2. Don’t confuse the writers with the actress. There may be nothing on the page that says, “Shado’s love for Oliver dies in this moment,” it might be the actress interpreting the role (and good for her, too).

          3. Anna, I remember that scene. Celina Jade did a great job. I think Felicity might feel that way, but she’s good at building walls so I don’t think she’ll let it show. I think that they will have Felicity be “Of course, he’d choose her. She’s everything I’m not.” The show runners are hinting that Felicity will resume her training. That makes me think that they are going to go the friend route with Sara & Felicity.

            And it’s also interesting how much Sara/Felicity fan fiction has been posted in the past couple of days.

          4. Paula, I’d rather see Diggle train Felicity. It was his idea in the first season.

            I’ve no issue with Felicity being friendly to Sara, though I think she should be wary because she knows the Laurel-Oliver-Sara backstory.

    2. It’s a very interesting reaction given that fan fic writers grab their pens to work out their anger at a show or to “fix” things that the show misses like possible ships or almost-couples that viewers like.

      “Speaking just of story, not of ratings or anything else, if you can’t even get anybody to write a scene … you’ve hit a major cold spot in storytelling.”
      – Jenny

      It’s so funny because that’s what always inspires people to start writing fan fic in the first place. That burning desire to “set things right.”

      I think this goes way back to a question we kicked around before: how long can a show waffle between couples without picking a lane before you lose viewers? I think it was in response to a review that said it could deal with dueling pairs but three was too much.

      1. There’s another funny meme someone posted to the lead’s facebook page. It’s a screen capture of Oliver-Sara kissing with the caption, “Last time we did this, we brought down a yacht.”

          1. I saw a few others.

            “We pretend it’s Green Arrow based but in fact it’s still Hung …but this time I don’t need the money.”

            “Are you a woman? For sure I’ll sleep with you in an episode.”

            And yes, Jenny. yes it is. LOL.

      2. I remember that review, Anna, and see… if the writers wrote that and they knew how it would affect Shado – who had been sleeping with Oliver and falling for him over that entire year — am I really supposed to believe they’re clueless on how it would impact the audience, let alone Laurel, when they had Oliver step on that landmine a second time in this last episode? – Julie H.

        Julie, I still think it was a calculated stunt that may prove to be a miscalculation. I think they saw the positive reaction to Sara (Caity Lotz brings a wonderful physicality to the role) as Canary and thought it would translate to two dueling ships – Oliver/Felicity and Oliver/Sara. It doesn’t seem to have quite worked out that way. They forgot that most people – whether they’re invested in Laurel or not – would not take well a second round of sister swapping.

      3. I was thinking that they’d be writing the Oliver-Felicity love scenes that the show’s writers weren’t doing, and that they’d switch over to finishing the Oliver-Sara scene. But you could’t pay me to touch that Oliver/Sara mess, that dynamic would need so much fixing you’d never get to the scene. I could fix Oliver/Laurel before I could fix Oliver/Sara.

    3. Paula, I would have enjoyed a Barry/Felicity coupling. They were mirrors of each other, much like Oliver and Sara, however one is fun, light and healthy and IMO could withstand the test of time, while the other would be a on again off again type of relationship between two dark, tortured souls with ten tons of baggage who’ll eventually drown in their darkness. Barry is the type of guy I’d trust with Felicity’s heart. If he wasn’t shipped off to another show, I’d love to have him and her end up together. The writers are making Ollie, IMHO, someone who a lady can not trust. I mean I’d trust the guy with my life, I would not trust him with my heart and that is where the romance subplot falls apart for me. If I can’t trust the man how can I root for any pairing? It’s getting to the point where I like the Arrow more than I like Oliver Queen. If they can not do a romance subplot right then dump the whole thing and move on, or as Jenny put it, pick a lane and stick with it. Right now they are juggling Sara, Felicity and Laurel. Then we have his ex Helena coming back to town. It’s confusing and disgusting.

      As far as Slade/Felicity–I would love for them to share scenes and for it to happen a lot and often. These two characters have such an intense screen presence, much like Moira, where you put them together in a room and there is bound to be fireworks (not of the romantic variety). I’d like it to be dark and twisted, like him capturing Felicity and toying with her, or torturing her. I don’t think Felicity and who she is as a person, would ever fall for Slade or date him. I harp on Ollie’s characterizations’ taking hits and not liking it, so I can’t want the same to happen to Felicity. So far, she is someone with good sense, high morals, and someone who has good instincts. She’d know Slade was shady from the moment she met him, if they keep her in character.

      We talk about Ollie the protagonist of the show, yet as the episodes go on I find the side characters far more fun to watch. Slade, Felicity, Diggle, Moira, all have my attention. I just can’t find a man like Oliver, as a human being, attractive or fun to watch especially when he keeps making the same mistake over again. I like the shady grey/bad characters like Slade/Moira because they are bring a aspect of darkness and what chaos will they reek next so that is always a delight, but they are supposed to be bad and do bad things so when they do shady stuff I get it, but Oliver and Sara are supposed to be heroes so I think I have a higher standard where they are concerned. Felicity and Diggle have my heart because they both have such a strong moral compass. I know them as people and their code of honor. They seem like the real heroes. I root for them to find happiness and get the upper hand. With Felicity, I want to grab her and hug her, give her some hot tea, and protect her from the world, I want to be her friend/sister. With Diggle, I want to stay by his side, call him if I’m in trouble, because I know he’d be there in a flash (ha! see what I did there) have him as a big brother/protector. Yet with Oliver/Sara, I’d keep them close, but have one eye on the both of them so they don’t do anything shady. That is what that last episode did to me, and I don’t like that feeling. So these side characters who are helping the heroes (Ollie/Sara) seem like more of heroes to me than the actual heroes, if that makes any sense. Flawed or not, I need consistency and that ending threw out the people I thought Ollie/Sara were trying to become.

      1. It’s funny. I’ve never been a fan of same/same couple combinations. When it comes to Barry and Felicity, they were okay but I didn’t feel enough pop dynamic for them. It’s the same thing with the Oliver/Black Canary thing. Damaged with Damaged, Geek with Geek, Adventurer with Adventurer… whatever combo you can come up with, I prefer combos when they seem opposite but have core qualities that make them click together into a more complex unit.

        It’s like Romancing the Stone. Would it have been anywhere near as interesting if Joan had been a capable, robust adventurer like Jack? Or if Jack and Joan had both been bookish introverted “librarian types” in the middle of the forest together? That’s one of the reasons I really like Oliver and Felicity. They seem so different from each other. You think there’s no way they could work let alone be friends or romantic, but the more you learn about them and see them together the more you see the unexpected clicks that make them perfect. I guess I always feel like the character gets more depth/development that way because the write can’t just say, “Well she’s X Type character and he’s X type character so of course they work together and there ya go.”

        1. Julie, depending on how it’s done I don’t mind two people who are very much alike. Barry with his “you don’t have to thank me, but you should thank her, instead of being kind of a jerk”, made me realize that this guy is sweet, he is trustworthy, and he’d be something good for her. They connect on a healthy, normal, light level. Where two people being too much alike could turn into a negative thing is the type that Ollie/Sara have. Too much baggage, too much damage to have a healthy, functioning relationship that can last. Could you honestly feel secure in a Oliver/Felicity pairing with the person Oliver is at the moment? He totally lost me with Sara and before that with Isabel too. He uses sex as some sort of healing method. If something is going wrong–have sex, if a girl talks Russian and shares some sob story you connect with–have sex. It’s like his go-to method. Felicity at her core isn’t someone who can have sex and just have it mean nothing. See episode 2.06 at her disbelief when Oliver says “it didn’t mean anything”. It doesn’t register with her to behave that way. I think Ollie/Felicity have the same, eye on the prize, in regards to saving the city, but on a personal level, one is far more mature than the other. I think, whether it’s true or not, that Oliver subconsciously picks relationships or women that knows he won’t have a future with. That is the only explanation for the Helena’s, Sara’s, Laurel’s. Shado on the Island was a more we can die at any moment sort of thing. While that cop he dated was hunting his alter-ego and he was lying to her all the time. Nothing long-lasting IMO would develop and I think deep down he knew it. Felicity is a one man type of gal with devotion and loyalty and trust in relationships. I think she’d be the type who would take sex as a big step and not something for fun or to play around with, whereas, Ollie is quite the opposite. He is just everywhere in that aspect so in good conscious I can not want Felicity near that, because this Ollie, would emotionally destroy her, albeit unintentionally. But like I said before, Felicity would be the best thing for Ollie(which was why I found them so attractive and appealing) , but would Ollie be the best thing for Felicity?

          1. When I said like/like I mean character archetypes –

            As for Oliver and Felicity and whether or not I could trust him with Felicity… I don’t know. So far Oliver hasn’t treated Felicity the same way. Their relationship is different and the show has, unintentionally or not, established a platform of friendship, respect, trust, etc., between them. Could I believe that Oliver would treat Felicity with the same recklessness? I’d like to think not because so far his relationship with her has been established in a different way than the other women. Look how he was with McKenna (was that her name? The cop? He treated her very well, cared deeply, wasn’t a dick, and hurt when he lost her through no fault of bad behavior). So we know Oliver can be a good guy, a good boyfriend, and a good man. We’ve seen him do it. But get him around this Lance family and the stupid comes out to play. LOL.

            Which brings up another issue for me with Oliver’s recent choices. I know Quentin doesn’t know Oliver is Arrow but it’s going to be clear that Oliver and Sara are banging again. I can’t see Quentin being amused by the fact that Oliver, once again, is dragging his daughters into the same scenario that blew his family apart. Quentin is Arrow’s ‘teammate’ too. How exactly does Oliver see this going? Of course that’s assuming Oliver thought about any of it. But knowing what happened the first time, again… Good Idea/Bad Idea.

  38. Long time lurker and first time poster. I couldn’t resist this one. As someone who has been immersing herself in fanfic both pre and post this episode, I have noticed a marked difference in fics written. Many of the writers have, unsurprisingly, noted their disappointment in the last scene. Numerous fics have appeared where Felicity is now being romanced by strong and successful characters such as Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and even a Marvel crossover. Some have Felicity leaving the team, others have her staying but one this seems consistent, that Felicity chooses to get out and get a life independent of Oliver Queen. This so clearly leads back to previous conversations had on here about the real need to develop Felicity’s backstory.

    On a personal level as a viewer who would have normally identified as wanting Oliver and Felicity together, I find myself preferring her with other viable alternatives such Bruce (not viable in Arrow given Gotham has Batverse largely tied up) and Dick Grayson (a personal favourite). The character development of both Oliver and Sara have been compromised by that scene. I saw comments made on SA’s Facebook account by a professional scriptwriter who essentially agrees that the last scene came out of nowhere.

    Should I find it reassuring or concerning that other writing professionls are also respondinng with WTF?

    Apologies for poor formatting, I’m sneaking this in on my iPad during my lunch break. That is how addictive your community is Jenny!

    1. It’s not me, it’s the company. The commentary is always better than the posts here.

      And oh, good, somebody who’s up to date on the fan fiction. I’m fascinated by this. It was really interesting seeing how the fans responded (novelists get beta readers, but after that all the feedback we get is after the book is published when it’s too late to fix anything), but the fans who are into writing story themselves are a subset that really interests me. Where’s Pam? Regis, we need some academic study on this stuff, it’s great. If their story instincts are to go away from Oliver, this next episode had better be a massive save. Maybe the first scene will be Oliver in the shower and it’ll turn out it was a dream . . .

      1. Sadly Jenny, if interviews are anything to go by, it seems that this is going to turn into a romance/relationship for what seems like 5 episodes or more. The way they could have saved it is if they instantly regretted what happened, realized it was a mistake, realized that it was more the heat of the moment and they should never cross that line because of the past and because of the same person they care about (Laurel), and then leave it to rest. Yet if you read Caity’s interview, it seems they are trying to find happiness and love in one another after all they have been through. Lol. That just made me shake my head. So, so wrong.

        1. Yeah, I saw that too. I’m not sure how much of it is taking liberties with the hype (something Arrow tends to do) and how much of it is actual We’ve Decided To Be A Couple. I’ve learned to take everything they tease with a huge grain of salt because, imo, they over-pimp and later, you’re like, “that’s it?” I’m hoping this is one of those instance. Don’t mess with my Team Arrow, dudes. Cause that is the thing I come back for.

  39. But, but, his name is Ollie not Bobby!!

    You may be interested to know that Cat Winchester a romance author is sufficiently passionate about Arrow to have written a couple of fanfics about it. Most recently and relevantly, she’s got a great multi-chapter fic in progress where a Bruce Wayne is putting a smile on Felicity’s dial and providing very healthy competition for Oliver. I’m including a link FYI

    I wonder if the writers really comprehend how much of the viewing audience they may be alienating …

  40. Speaking of Shado, I thought her disgusted reaction to Oliver admitting that he’d slept with both sisters wasn’t so much her falling out of love with him, but a quick nod from the writers/producers towards the fan reaction from the pilot episode. I had the same feelings about Felicity’s “Fantasy Island” comment – the writers lampshading some of the show’s more, um, questionable elements.

    But whether or not that reaction was scripted or the actress adding her own interpretation, it was on screen and not edited out, which means we’ve had a character just a few episodes back show disgust at the thought of Oliver/Sara getting together. That….doesn’t seem to bode well for this relationship.

  41. Sam, Julie —

    I saw the producers telling us this would last for five episodes, and rather than thinking, wow, Oliver finally has a romance that’s lasting more than two episodes, I thought, auugh, I don’t want to watch this for five episodes. I was even more negative about this than when I heard that we were getting a five episode Laurel focus.

    Part of the problem is that I had some hope that the five episode Laurel focus would finally lead to something interesting for Laurel. Next episode will be the tell, I guess, since that’s supposedly the last of this five episode arc, but it’s not looking good so far, which is not boding well for this five episode arc. But the larger problem is that although I can sorta buy this as a heat of the moment kinda hookup (with the caveat that I think both the Helena/Oliver hookups and, oddly, the Isobel/Oliver hookups were better developed), I am having serious problems buying this as romantic or even as a relationship right now. I realize this is a very soapy show, and I’m good with that. But a show which has not allowed Moira and Walter to get back together yet after last season when the “only” thing that happened there was Moira lying to Walter and agreeing to his kidnapping, somehow thinking that Oliver and Sara can be romantically involved this soon after “well, this started when I was your sister’s boyfriend, and then, we were both on a ship and nearly drowned, and as a result you were tortured and raped, and then tortured and raped again, and then, thinking you were dead, I came back home and slept with your sister again and meanwhile you fell in love with a ninja who kidnapped your mother to get you back…” Yeah, I’m not feeling the romance. A few lingering looks prior to the hookup would have helped, but even then.

  42. “well, this started when I was your sister’s boyfriend, and then, we were both on a ship and nearly drowned, and as a result you were tortured and raped, and then tortured and raped again, and then, thinking you were dead, I came back home and slept with your sister again and meanwhile you fell in love with a ninja who kidnapped your mother to get you back…” Yeah, I’m not feeling the romance.
    – Chris

    Wait. What? You’re not hearing the Lion King’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight? Really? LOL! The way you phrased that made me laugh my butt off.

    I’m actually with you on the reaction to the 5 episode focus announcement the writers did. Talk about a mood killer. I mean, when you have a character that seems to be a major issue to a good percentage of your audience? Hyping it as that-character-centric doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. Turned my excited ice cold dead, and now I know this newest drama is going to play out over another 5? {blows raspberries} Less than excited and it’s such a shame because I was nothing but excited until this soap opera mess was introduced.

    I really thought we’d left the soap stuff behind in Season 1 because Arrow’s been so brilliant this year. It started off so good and all that Team Arrow focus was its strength made me hope the show runners took the media feedback to heart about what its strengths & weaknesses were. Then they went and did the same thing again this last week and I have the urge to bang my head on the desk.

    But yeah, I was fine with Helena/Oliver. I understood that. I even got the Oliver/Isabel thing (even though I really don’t like her and so far am bored with her), but this development just blows my mind and not in a good way. I should be really excited about moving into the last 1/3 of the season. Instead, I’m experiencing that same sense of ‘Ah hell, they’re gonna blow this’ like I did when that whole Oliver/Laurel/Tommy mess kicked in to high gear. Messing up this stuff once I can forgive. Fine. Cool. The show’s trying to find its footing. But twice? Really? I have such a hard time believing it’s an Oops.

    1. Wait, when was Sara raped? I missed that! (I fast forward or grab ice cream or chocolate during the island scenes though, so I miss a lot)

      1. I think it was implied in what we’ve seen so far, especially when she gave that, “No woman should ever have to suffer at the hands of men” line to Sin. Plus she spent a lot of her off camera work going after people attacking (attempting to rape) women.

    2. AMEN SISTAH! Part of me wants them to air so we can just get it all over with, but at the same time I am filled with dread because I am afraid where they will be going. I am hoping they will put a stake in it and we can MOVE ON! This revisit to season one is killing me. I may actually forgo live viewing — see the fallout and determine whether I watch a portion if any at all LOL The eye twitch may be at an all time high.

  43. One of my peeves about the writing in general is the amount of re-conting that is done from episode to episode. For example in epi 2.06 Oliver is smart – he realizes that Moira being found not guilty after her trial doesn’t make sense. And we really haven’t seen any other glimpses of this kind of intuition since.

    And there are all the other mentions in the discussion above of the scenes or dialogue that just made people go WT because it doesn’t marry up to what has gone on before.

    Just wondering how much of the issues I have with the story lines or character development would be solved if they had more time to review previous episodes, longer deadlines to write or less writing teams….So far in Season 2 there have been 11 different combinations of people for 13 episodes (as I count on wikipedia) with more writing partnerships coming up leading to the Season Finale.

    Probably wildly impractical to cut down the number of writers, but sometimes I do feel that consistency (and authority suffer).

    And on a completely different tangent – If we follow the Soap Opera path that Arrow has shown, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if when we see Isabel next time (epi 18) that she is planning to take Oliver for all his worth and her leverage is that he knocked her up in Russia….which will lead Sara to say ‘I am leaving you’ because the writers like to add this level of ‘complexity’ and what not to the story. (lol)

    1. Yeah, I’m waiting for Isabel to turn up pregnant, too. It would be one reason for her absence; she’s off gestating so she can show up ready to give birth, thus proving once again that Oliver is an idiot for not using protection. I sincerely hope I’m wildly wrong on that one.

      As for different writers, almost all series shows do that. That’s why a show runner is so important, somebody who knows the overall story and can read scripts and say, “No, this violates the contract we have with the viewer, this violates this character’s basic psychology.” It’s a show runner problem, I think, and beyond that a basic misunderstanding of how romance works. That’s not a huge surprise, this isn’t a romance it’s an action/adventure, but if you’re going to make romance your B plot, then you really need to understand how to plot one.

    2. Ugh. I have a no-baby policy with shows. I’d have to see how they did and what the point of it would be but yeah, that smacks of a Jump The Shark moment. I wouldn’t trust Oliver Queen with a puppy at this point let alone a baby. LOL. He’s not even responsible enough with his own life (see last episode ending) let alone the life of a baby, and if he’s out there banging women without protection in this day and age? He went from dumb boy to just clueless and ew.

  44. Ash, I hope not (to the Isabel pregnancy), but at this point, I wouldn’t even be all that surprised! I might quit watching – but I wouldn’t be surprised. I agree with you 100% on the writing. It’s as if they don’t watch their own show for the details or character development. My hope, however, is that Isabel is working with/for Slade. (After all #18 where she returns is called “Deathstroke.”) My other hope is that by the end of 18, we are done with the Oliver/Sara love affair forever.

    Of course, I do hope that Felicity manages to find out that Merlyn got Moira off, and then Moira put a hit on him with the League. I’m guessing that might have something to do with Nyssa’s promised return before the end of the season. And if Felicity does find out, I hope we get to see her tell Oliver. I would much rather have seen their discussion than the kiss at the end of the show.

    1. Paula, I’m wondering where they’re going with Felicity in all this too. It feels like they’re going somewhere with her and, if the writers are to believed, her parents/backstory will start to move in more for Season 3. See, there’s that thing again. When it comes to the action story plot they do a good job setting things up. You get into the romance part of it and it’s spaghetti. I wonder who handles that romantic aspect of the show. They need to work the two teams (Action Story & Romance Story) together in meetings more or something to get them all on the same page.

    2. I’m looking at the writing credits for each show and they seem to have a good number of women on that staff. I wonder how much input they have in terms of where the story goes? Or just how they are reacting to this swapping sisters storyline. I’m not sure how writing for TV works. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during their discussions. Did anybody raise a hand when they came up to the last scene and said, “Uh? WTF?”

      1. It may not even be gender. Women screw up romance writing, too. You really have to understand the genre.
        I’ve been e-mailing with Pam Regis, Argh’s resident academic romance expert, and tomorrow’s post is going to be some of the observations she made based on my summary (she gave up on Arrow after the first couple of episodes, I think).

        1. Whoa. 1 episode. LOL. Arrow must have reallllly rubbed her the wrong way. I have a friend who had the same exact reaction. Trying to get her to even look at the screen when it’s on is like dragging her over broken glass. I look forward to her observations.

  45. So I was reading posts on other boards and saw some interesting comparisons. One such was comparing the upcoming Lance dinner to an episode of Dynasty where insane Crystal starts throwing plates and then Laurel and Sara end up fighting in the fountain a la Crystal and Joan Collins ROFLMAO I was cracking UP! Is THIS what the writers want to be compared to?

    Then another thought occurred to me. Episode 17 is titled Birds of Prey, but seeing how all the players (Sara, Laurel and Helena) are former lovers of Oliver, maybe they should retitle it “Catfight in the Oliver’s Hen House.” I’m sure someone out there can come up with something wittier so feel free. But just the thought of this now … Arrow moves from action series to slapstick LOL Way. To. Go.

    1. You know, Laurel doesn’t belong in Birds of Prey unless she’s a lot better at computers than I thought. That would be Felicity.

      I’d kind of like Laurel to become the bad version of Black Canary and go join the Sirens, with Harley, Selina, and Pamela/Poison Ivy. I love those women. Come to think of it, if we ever need to get rid of Oliver, he can go hit on Pamela. One kiss from those poison lips . . . oh, wait. Herbs.

      1. Oh, you didn’t hear the hoopla over that one then. When the title was released, the Felicity fans were very excited, then the EPs hinted that it is the beginning of BoP and that we prob wouldn’t see Felicity in that role. It would be the Huntress going wacko and trying to take out her father again and Laurel getting caught in the cross fire having to be rescued by … Sara/BC. And then the fandom erupted LOL So, yup, those are the players –> Laurel, Helena and Sara. Felicity might be there somewhere but not “in the role we expect”. :/

        1. And didn’t they say that Sara was going to try to kill Helena? That sounds more like a Dynasty episode than dinner. Ha! I hope Felicity stays far away from that group.

          1. I still think they hinted that as the Birds of Prey progressed to the version people think of from the comics (Arrow’s interpretation of it, of course) that Felicity would become part of it. You know, at this point Arrow writers have made a few promises (more intimate Season 3, Felicity’s backstory/parents playing out in a bigger story for Season 3, etc) the more I’m kind of waiting to see if they actually carry through on them because that’s a big part of viewer/reader trust. If you say you’re going to do something, you better or else I won’t trust that anything you put on the screen will ever pay off for me.

        2. Can you link to where they actually mentioned Felicity at all in talking about Birds of Prey? Because all I saw was them mention the actual superhero names of Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle and they’ve never actually said Felicity is meant to be Oracle. Felicity as Oracle is more a fandom thing.

          1. Various sites and articles have repeated the same quote but I think they all basically use the same quote from Guggenheim on Felicity taking over the “Oracle” role:

            “She plays a role, but not in the way you’re hoping,” said Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim. “Hopefully we’ll get there–that occurred to us as well but we didn’t have an opportunity to do that in [Episode] 17.”


          2. @Julie H.

            Thanks for the link! I hadn’t seen that. I’m wary of Guggenheim because of his record of baiting, though. I’d been looking at Felicity as Oracle too, and liking the idea, but when they mentioned that the Birds of Prey episode was more about Laurel/Sara and Helena, I started leaning towards Sara. I just don’t see how Felicity as Oracle works with her being so integral to Oliver’s operation and possibly to The Flash. When would she sleep?!?!

        3. You know, I’m okay with Arrow messing with the Suicide Squad and the assassins, but they should not screw up Birds of Prey or Sirens. I don’t want either one of those groups servicing Oliver’s story, in any aspect of the word “servicing.”

          1. Well, right. So that’s why I don’t see Felicity being Oracle if she’s still going to be on Team Arrow. You can’t have the Birds fighting Team Arrow for “custody” because their missions are equally important. Same with The Flash, tbh.

          2. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sprayed Felicity with Raid and made her Poison Ivy.
            Ignore me, I’m grumpy today.

          3. Jenny: I’m just wondering since you’re not okay with them screwing up Birds of Prey or the Sirens, why would you be okay with Sara’s Canary being in the Birds when she’s not the Black Canary that actually existed in the Birds nor does she come close to being the same character except in looks? Why would you be okay with your Laurel as “Bad” Canary being in the Gotham City Sirens when she was never affiliated with them in the first place? Wouldn’t that be messing with/screwing the two factions up?

            In the same vein, if you don’t want them screwing up BoP or the Sirens, can you maybe understand the feeling of those that see the very possibility of Laurel not becoming Black Canary (I or II, pick your favorite flavor/belief) as a betrayal/TPTB screwing things up?

          4. As I understand it (could very well be wrong), Birds of Prey is kind of a revolving door so different women have been part of the party since the beginning. (Wasn’t Poison Ivy in there at one point?) I really see the two groups as a kind of Good Powerful Women/Bad Powerful Women rather than any particular combination of characters (although Sirens is new enough that there are only the original three, right?). So I’m not worried about them playing with the characters within the group as long as they don’t make them victims or girlfriends or anything else that defines them in terms of a male presence. I know they all started as extensions of male heroes, but one of the things I like about them is that they struck out on their own. Even Harley eventually shot the Joker.
            My protest about Gotham is that if Fox claims the characters, since they’re contemporaries of Bruce Wayne, they’ll be in elementary school or younger, so they can’t be the adult characters I like. Fox won’t use them but won’t let anybody else use them. Although Harley’s in one iteration of the Suicide Squad so maybe Fox will let her go.
            Basically, I’m fine with changes in the canon as long as they don’t change the qualities that are important to the characters I love to the extent that I can’t recognize them (if Harley started taking her meds and became sane, for example). I’ve read very little Black Canary, but Laurel on Arrow has never seemed to reflect the Black Canary in the comics, so they’ve already shifted that for me, although boy does she physically resemble some of the versions of her.

      2. Maybe Sara’s going to be the Arrow version of Oracle? I say she gets injured and put in the wheel chair and that ends the Canary thing and leads to Laurel taking over the BC mantle. Sara already has all but the computer thing in common with Oracle. Her father is a cop and she was a superhero (Batgirl) before the Joker crippled her.

        1. Yes, but the computer thing is her skill, her role in the community. She’s going to have to know more than how to Google.

          1. No, I know. But she could have that skill for all we know. I imagine being with the League, she’d have to be doing some background computer work on her own because it’s not like she could be off on some assassin assignment and calling back to Assassin HQ for hacking help to pick an electronic lock or something. Y’know?

          2. Nope, gotta see it on the screen. That is, I’m perfectly willing to assume that she has the same computer skills as everyone else in her demographic, but unless there was a computer class in the League of Assassins’ How To Kick The Crap Out of Everyone program, she’s not going to have the skills to be Oracle. They gave Oliver five years on an island to learn to shoot a bow and arrow, I’m going to need see evidence of something similar for anybody they bring on as Oracle.

          3. Ugh… why can I reply directly to some of your replies but not others? I don’t get it! Anyways…

            Re: Laurel not reflecting the BC in the comics. I kindly beg to differ. She’s compassionate, cares about the underdog, isn’t afraid to go outside normal channels once she’s exhausted the “legal” way of getting justice. Their values are much the same and they are both idealistic almost to a fault.

            Meanwhile, let’s look at Sara. She physically resembles BC. She can ride a motorcycle. She can fight. She’s got the sonic Canary Cry device. That’s really all that connects her to the BC character. Her moral core is nothing like Black Canary’s and you can’t even blame that on the pain she suffered on the Amazo, the Island and then with the League because she was spiteful, selfish and devious even before all that happened.

            It’s really like Laurel got all the mental/moral traits of BC and Sara all the physical ones. Frankly, I think it’d be easier to buy Laurel picking up the physical stuff than it is to buy Sara all she sudden changing who she is on the inside.

          4. Because there are over 200 comments on this post so we broke the blog.
            I’m up late tonight, so I’ll put up the next post and close the comments on this one.

            The problem with the character of Laurel in the comics in comparison with the character of Laurel on the show, is that the TV Laurel was kneecapped before she started with that toxic back story. So she starts out bitter and broken-hearted over a back-stabbing sister and a cheating Green Arrow. That shapes her character from the beginning, and I’m pretty sure none of that was in the comics.

      3. Or Laurel could actually be BC II just like in the comics because it’s BC II that was in Birds of Prey, not BC I.

        1. I’m hazy on Black Canary early history. Did they have both at the same time? Because I can tell you as a writer, I would be all over that, but only if Laurel took her Black Canary to Sirens and Sara took hers to Birds of Prey. Bad Canary/Good Canary, and I know which one I’d root for. Talk about well-established conflict, too. They’ve been knifing each other for years. Picture me rubbing my hands together in glee.

          1. I’m not sure if Dinah Drake Lance stopped being BC altogether before Dinah Laurel Lance became BC II. Dinah Laurel was training to become a superhero though, against her mom’s wishes, at the time that her mother was still BC.

            I think we can safely rule out Arrow sending Laurel to the Gotham City Sirens as Canary in any form. Fox basically owns the whole Batman continuity now for their Gotham TV series. Even though Gotham is meant to be a prequel, Bruce Wayne will exist there. I can’t imagine they’d let any of their most popular characters ie any of the Sirens go play in Arrow-land, even if they aren’t on Gotham right away.

            It’s the same reason why we’re probably never, ever going to actually hear the names Bruce Wayne or Batman on Arrow.

          2. Well, hell. So that means I won’t see Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy unless they’re eleven years old or thereabouts, which is long before they’re Harley or PI. Two elementary school science nerds, which could be fun, but not as fun as two batshit insane women with no limits and keen senses of humor. I’m good with giving up Batman, but I really wanted those Sirens. It doesn’t seem fair of Fox to bar them if they’re not going to use them. Grrrrr.

  46. I keep reading comments wondering if TPTB are “ruining” Sara to try to make the audience like Laurel more. I have to question if these people ever understood Sara and her Canary character at all?

    Sara is acting exactly the way Sara always was portrayed as having acted prior to the yacht. Her father says something about her dropping out or getting kicked out of school when she came to visit before the yacht. So, his opinion of her wasn’t so great. Laurel makes the comment about “I wasn’t trying to be a bitch” being the title of her autobiography.

    She’s been portrayed as having tortured people for Ivo. She’s currently leading Oliver to lie to Slade about what happened with Shado. Do you really think she’s doing that solely to protect Oliver? Hell, no. She’s protecting Oliver because he’s the only thing protecting “her” from Slade. In the upcoming episodes, she’s going to try to influence Oliver to kill Ivo so he won’t tell Slade about happened with Shado. She’s also going to be intent on killing Helena.

    She also did the exact same thing she did that started her life traumas off by sleeping with Oliver to spite Laurel.

    This is our supposed heroine “Black” Canary? We can argue all day long about how they changed this from canon or that from canon but canon Black Canary was not this Canary that Sara is portraying. Sara is the exact opposite of that Black Canary.

    Ignoring that, Sara’s “Black” Canary is also the antithesis of what season two Arrow is supposed to be working toward. She’s a killer. He doesn’t want to be a killer. She’s selfish. He’s moved on from the list because the list was about selfish revenge.

    If the people that have been saying “Sara’s Canary is so awesome and I totally buy it” don’t see these simple things about the character, I’m more inclined to believe they only like Sara’s Canary because it’s not “Laurel’s” Black Canary.

  47. You bring up some valid points CJ about Sara’s character. I think that last press release really got the cogs going with me about Sara’s intent. That phrase about Sara taking Oliver aside and wanting him to kill Ivo. There was something very ominous in that wording. Why phrase it that way? Another red herring? My thought right now is “trust but verify” when it comes to Sara. I still like her, but will approach with caution.

  48. First, let me say “Thank you”, Jenny, for posting your Arrow show analyses. I found Arrow S1 on Netflix over Christmas and got hooked. Luckily, the show was on hiatus so I was able to catch up on S2 as well. I checked out a few fan blogs which led me to your posts. I have to agree with others here that some of the fan sites can be a bit scary and it was nice to come here and see the show discussed in a more rational and respectful manner. The Oliver/Sara hookup was a “WTH” moment for me as well and agree that it seemed to come out of nowhere and lacked buildup. But then I feel that the entire romance subplot on this show is confusing and poorly done. I understand that this show is an action/adventure show and so the action plot of Arrow fighting the bad guys every week is the #1focus, but the writers/producers did go ahead and make romance the #2 plot, so I am wondering why the writers are not giving it the level of attention it deserves. I find this strange since the writers made (or attempted to) Oliver’s relationship with Laurel a large part of his character development in S1, showing how much he had changed from the douchebag pre-island Oliver to more mature, learning from his mistakes, “trying to be a hero” post-island Oliver.
    He apologizes to Laurel for sleeping with her sister, he tells Laurel he’s not that selfish guy anymore, he’s changed. Except he hasn’t-soon as Sara makes a move he’s right back doing the same thing. Maybe I could have bought it if Oliver & Sara realized right away big mistake but instead it’s going to be 5 episodes of “trying to make this relationship work”. I am not seeing the character development (and I’m not sympathetic either). I have to wonder what is the writers intent with this relationship arc? Is it truly just a plot device to satisfy the GA/BC cannon while killing the “Lauriver” relationship once and for all as some fans have said?

    1. I think the whole Sara/Oliver thing is about them seeing how bad they are for each other and how they bring the worst out in each other, tbh. As much as I wanted to believe, in my admitted anger in the wake of the hook-up, that they were trying to kill Lauriver, it doesn’t really change a thing about Lauriver. All it’s going to do is get Oliver & Sara to realize how toxic they are for each other and how they bring the worst out of each other.

      It doesn’t change who Laurel is at all. Laurel, after getting over her shit, is still going to be the same person who Oliver said the very thought of kept him alive. So if Oliver finally does grow up, I don’t see how Sara/Oliver is a roadblock to Laurel still feeling a deep love for him, even if it’s not romantic. Lauriver, for me, is as much about their pure love as it is their romantic love.

      1. You know, I don’t think of Laurel as having a snit. I think of Laurel as being legitimately angry over her sister’s treatment of her and her family. I’m completely Team Laurel on that one; I cheered when she threw the glass at the door. Somebody has to grab Sara and say, “Hey, sometimes it’s not about you, think of others sometimes.”

        1. Jenny, was this in reply to me? Because I said after she gets over her “shit”, not her “snit” LOL. Because, oh no, you know I think she is completely justified in her reactions.

  49. On February 17, 2014 at 7:37 pm Jenny said…
    “At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sprayed Felicity with Raid and made her Poison Ivy.
    Ignore me, I’m grumpy today.”

    Right there, too.

    Also not feeling any Arrow love today; just hope to read about Laurel giving Ollie and Sara a verbal pounding.

  50. I have to laugh here, because before the hiatus, I was saying, finally, this show has figured out how to write a slow burn romance…

    …and now here I’m reading several comments saying this show doesn’t know how to write romance and I’m just nodding my head right along with them. And that’s even after an episode that threw in a couple of the standard long burn romance beats for my favorite Oliver/Felicity ship…(Moira saying that she could see how Felicity feels about Oliver, Oliver assuring Felicity she wasn’t going to lose him….)

    1. Chris, I wasn’t a big fan of that Moira line to Felicity. First, they seem to have met maybe twice before that; two, I don’t think Felicity looks at him with “love” in front of other people – not outside of the Arrow cave anyway.

      I’m kind of tired of the writers beating us over the head with Felicity’s feelings for Oliver. It’s coming across to me as a lot of stroking of Oliver’s ego by the writers.

    2. Ha ha! You’re not alone! Going along they were doing a pretty good job, keeping it all on the side, subtle hints, just some good things — but then they dropped this sledgehammer at the end that I didn’t get! I mean I KNEW in my gut that they were going to explore Sara and Oliver, but I thought this would be done AFTER the nail was in Laurel’s coffin. This was off and just felt wrong.

      They made a return visit to season 1 in a bad way, and I was headed somewhere with this train of thought, but I got distracted LOL Basically, it’s a MESS. They were doing somewhat well and then SPLAT, brain matter on the sidewalk.

    3. I agree with you Chris that the romance subplot on this show is one of its weaknesses, and has been since S1. I feel the writers made a huge mistake making Laurel/Oliver past loves with the backstory that he slept with her sister. To me that is something that you don’t come back from, relationship wise. I never bought into their ” epic love”, and I wasn’t seeing any chemistry between the characters. I actually preferred Laurel with Tommy in S1. When they had the flashback episode where we see young Laurel and Oliver, all I could think was- what does she see in this guy? OK-yes he’s handsome and rich, but surely there were lots of cute rich boys at that private school she attended along with Oliver and Tommy that would have treated a girl right.
      But the show seemed determined that O/L were “the couple” so I resigned myself to the fact.
      I was quite shocked in S2 to see the show basically put O/L on the backburner-I had figured there would be lots of angst, longing stares, etc. this being the CW network- and start pushing the possibility of an Oliver/ Felicity pairing. Felicity is my favorite character and I really love the Oliver/Felicity dynamic but I figured it would stay in the friend zone. Now suddenly it’s Sara. It’s very confusing. I definitely don’t want to see Felicity pining away-hoping that she will get her own boyfriend-maybe even Ed Raymond, who was her husband in the comics. Although I don’t think that will happen this season. The producers gave an interview saying that if The Flash series didn’t happen or got canceled they definitely wanted Barry to stay on Arrow so I figure they will keep the Barry/Felicity option open.

      1. I really, really need Arrow to not bring the Flash to the show if that series doesn’t get picked up. For me, Arrow needs to stop bringing more people to the party and start giving focus to the characters I came to this show for the first place: Oliver, Felicity, Diggle, etc (even Quentin, Moira, Thea). Plus the more they add people with super powers, the more I think they’re running the risk of making Oliver secondary in his own show. For me, the writers need to focus and not get distracted by more “shiny,” if that makes sense.

    4. You know, if they admitted they were writing a slow burn romance, it would be okay. Then Sara would just be one of those mistakes people make while they’re trying to figure out their romantic lives. They’re trying to have it too many ways. Pick a lane, people.

      1. You wonder if the show thinks that by *not* vocalizing a set love interest they can hand on to as much of its audience for as long as possible when, really, it’s starting to confuse a lot of people and give them viewer exhaustion.

        1. You are so right, Jenny. I wish the show would make a clear decision about the romance subplot. Maybe then the writing of it would improve since they would have a definite path to follow and viewers wouldn’t be scratching their heads.

    1. LOL. Nope. It’s still a good show, I just want it to quit futzing around, clean up its plots, and get back to what it does best: Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle fighting the good fight against really colorful villains. Wish they hadn’t killed the Count.

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