‘Arrow’ 5×19 Roundtable: ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Last Wednesday’s episode of Arrow served as the prologue for this Wednesday’s episode. But it was “Dangerous Liaisons” that reminded us that Arrow can be great when it remembers to focus on what makes it great.

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Nora, and Charles are breaking down the latest episode of Arrow, which has us loving Arrow‘s focus on Original Team Arrow and their relationships, as well as what Olicity and Dyla need to do to come to understandings in 5×20.

Describe your thoughts about “Dangerous Liaisons” using just six words.

Alyssa: This is the show I love.

Lizzie: Is the mid life crisis over?

Nora: Felicity is why I love Arrow.

Charles: Don’t mess with Felicity Megan Smoak.

Describe your feelings about “Dangerous Liaisons” using a gif.

Alyssa:




Lizzie:

Nora:

Charles:

What have been your thoughts about these past couple of episodes. Do you think that the season has improved? Why?

Alyssa: There’s definitely been a noticeable shift in Arrow’s focus ever since the Prometheus reveal — for the better. Arrow is at its best — and is Arrow, quite frankly — when it’s focusing on its core characters, which are the beating heart of everything. And I feel like we’re getting back to that. Moreso, the producers have been at this long enough to know what makes Arrow work and what doesn’t. Olicity, OTA, complex big bads, and family have been elements of this show that have defined it, and Arrow is finally paying attention again. I feel like these longer seasons actually hurt Arrow and these other comic book shows. They need shorter seasons so as to avoid filling in the gaps between the overall storyline for the season.

Lizzie: It’s like the knowledge that they’d missed up finally caught up with TPTB, or, at least, finally got into their thick little heads. The writers can spin this any way they want to, but truth is they tried a soft reboot at the beginning of Season 5 and people were just not buying it – but they stuck to their guns (for longer than they should have, really), hoping that people would just come around, and then they realized that no, that just wasn’t going to happen and had to do a complete 180 and go back to focusing on Oliver, Felicity and Diggle. Because that’s where the show has always thrived. That’s what people wanted to see.

Nora: There’s been a major shift in these last few episodes of Arrow and I’m really excited about it. Ever since Adrian was revealed as Prometheus, it’s like Arrow was knocked upside the head and they realized we haven’t been paying attention to our core characters this season. We’re getting back to a focus on Diggle, Oliver and Felicity, which is where the show thrives. In these last few episodes, Rene, Curtis, Dinah and Quentin’s storylines have been B plots, which is how it should have been all along. Yes, they’re all series regulars, or soon to be, but there should be a difference between OTA and the other members of Team Arrow, in terms of the weight of storylines. I think it kinds of stinks that these back half episodes have been so great because I would’ve loved to have seen this dynamic from the beginning. Instead of getting bombarded with new characters and constant “filler episodes.”

Charles: Better focus on the core characters aka Felicity, Diggle and Oliver. The show is always at its best when the focus is on OTA. Now this is nothing against the newbies, Thea, Lance or anyone else but these three are the heart, mind and soul of the show. As this arc is slowly getting the end, they are finally letting them explore the relationships between these characters. We are seeing all three make hard choices in their lives and it is finally coming together in this Prometheus/ Helix arc.

What were your feelings about Oliver & Felicity in this episode using a gif?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Charles:

Oliver & Felicity’s relationship issues boil down to a matter of trust. What are your thoughts on that and how these two can ultimately come to an understanding?

Alyssa: Usually when there are issues between two or more people they can be narrowed down to trust or understanding. This has been an issue that has been boiling beneath the surface for some time — as in more than a year, a full year worth of story. Oliver and Felicity never had closure following their breakup over a year ago. It was an issue that was neglected in the Arrow writers room and made to appear to be neglected by Oliver and Felicity over the past year. They never talked about the reason for the split. The reason Felicity broke up with Oliver isn’t because he lied about William; it’s because she didn’t feel like he trusted her the way that two people getting married should. The issue at the core of this breakup and tension has been trust. And I’m glad the writers finally acknowledged it. I’m glad that Felicity told Oliver that he doesn’t trust her. This is going to bring forth some great conversation that’ll ultimately help them come to an understanding.

Speaking of which, I feel like the writers picked a good time and place for Oliver and Felicity to address their issues. Sticking these two people, who have avoided being alone with each other and talking about matters, in the bunker alone and forcing them to confront their issues is brilliant. Also weaving Adrian Chase into this is a nice touch. Oliver and Felicity are going to have no choice but to talk things out. They both need to let their grievances air. They both need to listen to each other. They both need to be open to compromise. Once they do, I feel like they’ll come to a better understanding and fix the obstacle that’s been standing in the way of their reunion.



Lizzie: I think it’s always been about trust – Oliver broke Felicity’s trust and that’s why she broke up with him. After that the writers broke our trust by brushing this all aside, but hey, it seems like they’re now ready to remember the relationship that they built for 4 seasons, so at least that’s good.

Back to Olicity – I think that Felicity’s issues clearly played a role in the breakup, but Oliver was in the wrong, and from what we know, he didn’t really try all that hard afterward to convince her that she should trust him, which is so unlike Oliver that it’s almost like we’re talking about another person entirely. He betrayed her trust, didn’t even say sorry and then just let it be – and then, in this episode, when Felicity asked for his trust Oliver was basically like, no, can’t do. So yeah, there are issues there, and it all boils down to trust, not love.

Can they come to an understanding? Yes – if they both accept that trusting someone means not always being there to take care of the other person, that it means trusting that they can take care of themselves, that they know what they’re doing and that they have the other person’s best interest at heart, always, even when it doesn’t seem like it. If this were the Oliver and Felicity from last season, I could have said that was easy, but this is season 5 and I know nothing, I’m Jon Snow. But after last episode, I at least have some hope.

Nora: It was about time we acknowledge Felicity and Oliver’s issues. I wish this happened a little earlier in the season, but at least we get to see it now. When they broke up last year, it was because Felicity didn’t feel that Oliver trusted her. He didn’t trust her to know about William and that was the last straw for her. Over the course of five years, Felicity has trusted Oliver wholeheartedly. She’s always right behind him when he stands firm on a decision. That’s trust. Oliver, and frankly Team Arrow, have never had that kind of trust with Felicity. They always wonder if her idea is really the best course of action to take. This episode put that right in the forefront. When Felicity has an idea on how to find Prometheus with the help of Helix, no one is on board. They all assume Felicity’s plan won’t work. I’m glad Felicity finally confronts Oliver about his lack of trust in her this week. While it came almost a half a season too late, I’m glad it’s finally being discussed.

I think Felicity and Oliver can come to an understanding when it comes to trusting each other. I think it will take a long conversation where they air out what has been bothering them and maybe why there is this lack of trust on Oliver’s side. Felicity continues to trust Oliver, even though this week she finally takes a stand and goes against him. We need to see Oliver back Felicity and that trust being built up. Yes, Oliver’s always had trouble trusting people, but after five years of Felicity standing beside him, I think it’s time he opens up.

Charles: This has been a long time coming and I wish this has happened earlier in the season honestly. Felicity’s trust in Oliver has always been there even when Oliver did some questionable (Being generous here) decisions. Felicity is just asking for one time Oliver trust her here. Oliver on the other hand, doesn’t want Felicity to turn into him basically. His fear is that this thing with Helix will.

These two coming to a understanding has to have them open up, especially Oliver. One reason, the main reason, Felicity left him is because of his unwillingness to open up to her. With the explosion at the end of the episode, this now leads them to being alone. Hopefully, this will be the thing that leads Oliver to open up finally about everything.

What were your thoughts on Diggle & Lyla using a gif?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Charles:

Right now, Diggle feels like he doesn’t recognize his wife as Lyla has crossed some questionable lines. What are your thoughts on Dyla in this episode and how they can emerge from this conflict intact?

Alyssa: While this storyline absolutely terrifies me, I have to admit that I’m very intrigued by it. Mainly because of what Diggle told Lyla at the end of the episode: “We’ve been down this road before. We know where this fight takes us.” We didn’t get to see Dyla’s origin story, only their rebirth. I feel like bringing them back to a place of miscommunication and lack of understanding is the perfect way to test all of the ways their relationship has strengthened since the first time they were married.

As for how they emerge from this conflict intact, I feel like there needs to a lesson learned here. They’ve been in this same place before. Only the last time they were here, it was the end of their marriage. This is a chance for growth for Diggle and Lyla. This is a chance for them to fix what they did wrong the first time by doing the opposite. It almost sounds like they gave in too easily last time. Relationships are about work. A lot of work. Working through issues sometimes can take some time. Diggle and Lyla need to focus on that communication and understanding if they’re to emerge from this still intact.

But then again I’m all: If you break Diggle and Lyla up, I will cut you.

Lizzie: I find myself thinking that I don’t know why this is a thing because, in my head, I keep thinking that Lyla has been head of ARGUS for a while and what exactly did Diggle expect? Where they even talking about stuff when they were home or was it just avoidance hour? Why is the most mature couple in the show suddenly shown to be a couple that just wasn’t communicating well? What other thing are you going to ruin for me, Arrow? What else is left?

What I want from this is for them to explore it without breaking up, I want them to find a middle ground, and for that they have to actually TALK, which I assumed they were doing because they were supposed to be the ideal, but whatever. I don’t want them to give up like last time, and I want to believe the writers are trying to tell a different story here, one about how to grow together, one that will help Olive and Felicity too.

And if they aren’t, I have my pitchforks ready.

Nora: I’m also terrified by this storyline, but I totally understand where Diggle is coming from. Lyla is descending deeper into ARGUS and her role as leader and with that comes some terrifying decisions. I think Lyla does come from a place of compassion towards Diggle. She doesn’t want him to get hurt, but then again she’s married to Diggle. If anyone were to help her with these tough, sometimes questionable decisions, it would be Diggle. I like that this storyline will explore what broken them up many years ago. We’ve only heard about that, but never seen it. It was hinted at this week and I think paralleling the two conflicts in their relationship will be very interesting.

Unlike the first time they were married, I think Diggle and Lyla are much stronger. They know how to trust each other, they understand each other’s jobs and are willing to fight to stay together. Last time they simply rolled over, this time Diggle and Lyla will both fight. I think they will emerge intact because of everything they’ve lost and gained in these five years. They need to communicate and determine that they can indeed trust each other with anything. I’m interested to see where this takes these characters. I would be devastated if Dyla broke up, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. They’re strong and they know relationships require work, heck, that’s why Diggle knows just what to say to Oliver to get him to talk to Felicity. Dyla, I’m rooting for you!

Charles: Diggle and Lyla have had a rough time of it lately. John believes Lyla has crossed some lines that are pretty tough to come back from. I wish we could have got more Lyla this season so this could have been fleshed out more but I understand why not.

As for if they can emerge through this conflict intact, yes and no. Yes I do think they will still be a couple after all of this is said and done. However, I also believe that damage is slowly being done to Dyla. You have to remember that this isn’t their first go around as a couple and that didn’t end well if memory serves correct. So while I hope they can survive this and think they will, the wounds may fester for quite a while.

After seeing his daughter for the first time in a long time, Rene finally made the decision to fight to be a part of her life. What are your thoughts on this storyline?

Alyssa: Rene hasn’t been my favorite character this season — in fact he’s ranked near the bottom. But I have to admit that learning some of his backstory, with his daughter, has definitely endeared me to him. And I guess that’s a good thing since he’ll be sticking around next season. Amazing how getting to know these characters actually endears your audience to them — versus shoving them down your throat for no apparent reason.

Rene’s storyline with his daughter involves one of my favorite new dynamics in Rene and Quentin, who have this sort of father-son dynamic that is quite satisfying. Quentin was the one that pushed Rene in this episode to fight for his daughter. Sure, Rene feels like his daughter deserves better than the drunk that passes out and is awoken by his injured daughter’s cries. But Rene is human, and we humans learn from our mistakes. Rene certainly has paid the price. But he’s also changed. He’s finally become the father that his daughter deserves. Even when he insisted on staying away, it was Quentin who threw Rene into the deep end when he set up a meeting with his daughter, which was all the motivation Rene needed to fight to get custody of his daughter back. And, shocking, I’m actually quite excited about seeing this play out.

Lizzie: No one likes Rene, and honestly, no one’s that emotionally invested in him, which is probably why they brought his kid on, as this is about the only type of storyline that could touch us all. In that respect, they succeeded, I was surprisingly touched by it, at least while it was happening. After it was done I went back to not caring.

Nora: I’m sensing a trend among us, but Rene has also been my least favorite character. I haven’t enjoyed his storylines this season and it could be equal parts me not liking his character, but also being annoyed he became such a big character so fast. He took away time from characters I already loved, like Thea and Felicity, so I was upset from the beginning.

That being said, I think his storyline with Quentin and getting his daughter back will be interesting. In this episode, I enjoyed seeing Quentin helping him and really relating to him. Quentin knows he’ll never see Laurel again, he’s finally accepted this, but he can’t stand by and watch another father lose his daughter. I’m excited to see where Rene’s storyline goes and how fighting for his daughter will change him. We’ve only seen him as a broken man without a family, so I’m wondering how being a family man will change him. I’m excited to see this play out, but I actually think I’m more invested in Quentin’s side of the storyline. His involvement in helping Rene.

Charles: Rene has been by far and away my least favorite of the new members. I’ve found him insufferable at times and his interactions with team members have always left me wishing this guy had gone into banking instead of crime fighting. I know people have warmed up to Rene over the season and that’s okay. Maybe by season 6, I will be a bigger fan of Wild Dog’s..

As for the storyline with his daughter and why he had her go, it was fine. Including Lance in the storyline as a quasi-father figure to Rene was the best move to make. Quentin has had nothing to do this season except his drunk storyline so having him be in this storyline  works. Now as for Rene and his daughter, yes I think he will probably get her back. Since this is Arrow though, we probably will never see her again either. Okay, that’s a bit crude but with the way the remaining episodes look, this might have to go on the back burner till season 6.

The next episode will be all about Oliver & Felicity coming to an understanding. How do you foresee that happening?

Alyssa: Simply put, they’re going to be forced to talk to each other. I mean it sucks that it’s taken this long for Oliver and Felicity to have a conversation about their trust issues — even more so that they have to be forced to. But it’s actually quite brilliant. How do you make two people talk who have been avoiding said talk for over a year? Lock them in a bunker where their arch nemesis is trying to torture or kill them.

In order for them to come to an understanding, Oliver and Felicity not only need to talk, but they need to listen. They need to be open to having a somewhat difficult conversation and be open to looking at it from both of their points of view. They’re not on the best terms right now, which is what makes this even better. They can’t run from this; they can’t hide from this forever. They need to address the issue of trust that has plagued them this past year. They need to admit that they were wrong. They need to be willing to do their part to fix this. Once they come to an understanding, I feel like that’ll be the launching point for the long-overdue Olicity reunion.

Lizzie: I don’t want to get my hopes up, I don’t want to get my hopes up, I don’t want to get my hopes up. Simply put, I don’t trust the writers to have Olicity handle this as adults. I want them to, and I desperately hope I’m wrong, but I’m all out of trust. Because Oliver and Felicity don’t just need to talk, they need to listen to what the other is saying and not react defensively – something they have yet to prove they can do, or something the writers have failed at, I’m not even sure. Either way, moving forward will only be possible if both of them want to and if both try, and it doesn’t mean their issues will be fixed right away, but there is a path here and I hope they can finally take it.

But my trust? Talk to me next season and maybe. Right now I’m firmly in wait and see mode. I want to believe, but, you know …I’ve always been more of a Scully type.

Nora: Alongside numerous other Olicity fans, I’ve been waiting for this episode since it was announced. I know it’s going to be a great one simply because Amell and Rickards work so well together. Their characters are simply stronger when they have scenes together. This episode is going to force Felicity and Oliver to confront their issues. They’re literally trapped with each other for the foreseeable future. They’ve been avoiding each other for the better part of the year, so now is the time to air everything out. Felicity needs to discuss how she needs Oliver to trust her, while Oliver needs to finally open up to Felicity and express how much he needs her. I’ll be very interested to see how this conversation plays out and what their dynamic is when they eventually escape the collapsed bunker.

I think I’m also most excited about the parallel between their breakup last season and this forced conversation. When they broke up, Felicity got feeling in her legs and literally walked away from Oliver. In this upcoming episode, Felicity can’t feel her legs and is forced to stay and literally crawl to Oliver. I think this is a great parallel Arrow is setting up. I’m just excited for this episode all around and can’t wait to see it unfold.

Charles: 5×20 has brought a lot of excitement to the fans and it’s mainly because it’s a Oliver/Felicity bubble episode. My excitement is that they are finally going to have a long, deep conversation about what has happened. I hope it is brutal ,soft ,raw and emotional. Oliver and Felicity needed this conversation a lot sooner but finally having it now after the events of this latest episode feels right. My hope is that after this conversation, they have a understanding. Once that happens, the road back to Olicity can finally get going again.

What was your reaction to that 5×20 promo using a gif?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Charles:

Arrow airs Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW. Check back for a new Arrow roundtable next Wednesday!



Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor, DC TV & One Chicago Writer

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper. TV and Sports Editor. I write about DC TV and One Chicago. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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