Saturday, October 11, 2014

Arrow 3x01 - Two Seasons Worth of Shipper Angst Resolved and Destroyed in the Space of an Episode



The first episode of Arrow season three did not disappoint. I knew it was going to be good from the promos, but it exceeded my expectations, which is saying something, because if you've read this blog long enough, then you know I always tell it like I see it!
SO. That ship. I know I'm not the only fan who thinks Oliver and Felicity are too adorable. I don't think I've ever said that about a TV couple before. But its true about Oliver and Felicity, there is just something about them that makes you get all mushy.
From the start of the episode, it was apparent that in the five months that had gone by since the Arrow took down Slade, things had become calm and somewhat predictable in Starling City. Team Arrow had been spending their days putting away criminals and mob bosses, slowly but surely cleaning up the streets to the point where crime rates were at their lowest level. Laurel made the observation that soon there wouldn't be any criminals left to put away.
On a more personal front, Roy had nicely settled into the team, and I loved that he was fully kitted-out in this opening episode and doing some crazy Oliver-esque stunts. Dig had settled into domestic bliss with Carly and was waiting for the arrival of their baby.
As for Oliver and Felicity, it was apparent that Oliver's admission that he loved Felicity, despite trying to claim it as a ruse, had broken down the final barriers between them. If ever I've seen two people who technically aren't together act like a couple, Oliver and Felicity are definitely it. Which makes it all the more frustrating that Oliver can't see it and continues to push her away. But I'll get more into that in a moment.
So with this new-found awareness between them, Oliver and Felicity were in a really good place. Armed with advice from both Dig (and later Sarah, though that was after the fact) Oliver decides to ask Felicity out on a date. Their interactions in the next few scenes was where the adorable mushiness came into play. They were both nervous when meeting up at the restaurant. Oliver voices the question of what do they have to be nervous about, to which Felicity responded with a typical Felicity-ism "We've already exhausted every topic that one would normally talk about on a first date. And a second date, and a third date, and every date, actually. And I've already seen you shirtless. Multiple times... shirtless all the time." I'm sure there wouldn't have been many people who weren't having a giggle over that.
So the date was going really well, with Oliver opening up to Felicity about some of the things he hadn't told her before, admitting that she had changed his life the minute he'd walked into her office for the first time. After this, he all but says he wants to be with her... except before Felicity has a chance to reply or clarify the meaning of his words, everything gets blown to hell. Literally.
The look on Oliver's face when he wakes up from the explosion says it all. I knew in that moment how the rest of the episode would play out (and I'd also like to say I totally called it in the last Arrow post I did! Although, it was probably easy to predict...) but even so, the writers didn't disappoint in drawing out the angst of the Olicity ship.
Felicity isn't dumb and she knows Oliver better than anyone. She knows how he is going to react about this, in fact pretty much everyone knows how he is going to react. Dig tries telling Oliver not to overreact, but Oliver claims he let Felicity distract him, and if his head had been in the game one hundred per cent, then he might have realized something was up with the last guy he took down, who had planted a tracker on him.
This is then reinforced when he gets hit with a dose of the newest version of Vertigo, which shows a person's greatest fear. Oliver sees himself, and then later admits to Felicity that he is scared of what will happen if he lets himself be Oliver Queen. What he fails to realize is, because of everything that happened to him, he couldn't be the old Oliver Queen ever again, even if he tried.
However, his desire to have a life outside of being the Arrow is more than apparent, when Oliver tells Dig that with Carly and a baby on the way, he has the life that Oliver himself can never hope to have. When he says this, he looks at Felicity, and its all there in his expression, his desire to have that with her, but shadowed by the painful knowledge he never will. 
So, worried that either he is going to hurt Felicity, or that she will end up physically hurt by being with him, he tells Felicity they need to talk. She asks to put it off, and then later admits that she doesn't want to have that talk, because as soon as they do, it will be over.
This scene was done so fantastically by the writers/directors. You can see Felicity is already resigned to what Oliver is going to say, but then she gets rightfully frustrated with him and says "Say its never going to work out between us, say you never loved me."
And how does Oliver respond to that? He freaking kisses her! Its that moment where he can't take it any more, and maybe just needs one moment of something for himself before he pushes it all away. Totally unfair on Felicity, but I think this is what also strengthens her resolve. After the intense, yet reserved kiss, in which its easy to see they both want so much more, Oliver murmurs "Don't ask me to say that I don't love you."
I'm pretty sure everyone who ships Olicity, or even just likes the show, couldn't have watched that without their heart breaking, just a little.
I'm not really sure what Oliver expected from the kiss and this admission, in fact, maybe Oliver didn't know himself. Yet I'm pretty sure he and everyone watching would have been stunned by the strength of Felicity's convictions. She replies with "I told you as soon as we talked, it would be over." Before walking away from him. Of course, before Oliver can really process this, he gets a phone call from Barry Allen, who needs advice about becoming the Flash.
However, this wasn't even the biggest shock of the night. The episode ended with Sarah being killed -- something I totally didn't see coming, and something the show's creators had kept under wraps quite well, I believe. 
The writers have set some high bars to continue on for the remainder of the season.There's a new guy running Queen Consolidate, who is somehow set to become a new player. He's charming, and obviously interested in Felicity. He's offered her a job at QC, even though she hacked all his systems as revenge for stealing the company from Oliver. Whether this extends to him also being attracted to her remains to be seen, though this would obviously be an easy place to inject some more tension into Oliver and Felicity's relationship, especially if it seems Felicity is looking elsewhere, away from Oliver.
However, it also wouldn't surprise me to find QC's new CEO ends up being the new villain of the season.
So, here's some of my predictions:
1) I think Sarah getting killed is going to push Oliver way back into the darkness, and convince him that he made the right choice in pushing Felicity away. Felicity and Dig (and to an extent, Roy, though he obviously has his own Thea-releated issues going on) will try to bring him back again, there may or may not be a conversation between Dig and Felicity where Diggle tells Felicity she is the only one who can get through to him, though since Oliver pushed her away, she doesn't know if that's true.
2) Felicity might take the job at QC under the new CEO Ray Palmer. This might be to get inside information, or as a way to get the company back, or maybe just because she needs the money. This will obviously put her in Ray's path more and more. He might even put the moves on her, resulting in a lot of Oliver angst and jealousy.
3) I can see Felicity eventually deciding she can't do Team Arrow any longer, that being around Oliver and knowing they can never be together is too painful. She'll decide to leave, and Oliver will be stoic and accepting, but secretly heartbroken about it. Either he'll let her go and then at some stage realize he has to get her back, or at the very last second, he'll beg her not to leave him. There might be some words spoken about her being his light, and without her, he'll get lost in the darkness, or something as equally romantic.
4) On the other hand, Oliver might slowly come to the realization that by not being with Felicity, he's only hurting himself and her, and they spend so much freaking time together, and already act like a couple, they might as well enjoy all the benefits, though I think this scenario is more unlikely. 
5) Though Oliver is still insistent that he and Felicity can't be together, the building tension will eventually get to breaking point, and they'll have one night/moment together. Felicity will end up pregnant, making things even more super-complicated (this one is totally not going to happen. I mean, the first part might, but not the pregnant part. That's me just going overboard shipping and fan-fictioning)
6) The girl Oliver got pregnant before the shipwreck will turn up with Oliver's kid in tow, with the explanation that she'd heard his mom had died and thought it was time he knew the truth. This will definitely cause complications all over the place, changing everything from the way Oliver sees himself and his life, to his relationship, or non-relationship with Felicity.
...I did have some more, but I seem to have forgotten them! When I remember, I'll come back and update the post.
But for now, I just have to say that Arrow is easily my favorite show on TV, and if the last two seasons are anything to go by, then we're in for one hell of a ride over the next few months. 

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