It’s been a while since I’ve written an Arrow review. Well, not that long in Arrow time, but in real world time, it’s been a while. (*waves* I’m filling in for Alyssa. Don’t run. I promise this review is still worth it! I actually have good things to say this time!). Last time I did I struggled to find something good to say. Season 5 was, truly, the darkest timeline, and for a long time after it, despite the fact that promotion for Season 6 sounded good and the writers/actors were saying all the right things, I wasn’t sure I could make myself trust.
Then season 6 started and yes, it was better. It was still Arrow and some suspension of disbelief was still necessary, but I was, surprisingly, enjoying the show. I didn’t trust it yet – I still don’t – but I could at least stomach it.
Which is when they gave me Olicity.
I’m not usually a person who watches a show just for an OTP. I love my romance as much as the next person, and I’m not at all ashamed of it, romance is a part of life, after all – but in general, when I watch a show I watch for many more reasons than just a romance.
Badass females. Friendships. Plot.
(Shocker, I know, that my female brain can process plot. Miracles might never cease. *wink wink*)
When it comes to Arrow, though, I’ve felt, especially during the past season and a half, like the writers have disappointed me in every respect, and true, that also applies to Olicity, but hey, if they’re going to fix at least Olicity, I can hang onto my OTP and stay afloat till the rest of it starts clicking.
And boy, is Olicity giving me enough to keep from sinking. Olicity is like a flotation device right now, but not one of those tiny ones you use in your arms, no, but like a big pizza, not a slice, the whole freaking thing, and family size one to boot.
So, let’s go into the OTP, Oliver’s choices, and of course, the one and only Felicity Smoak, as we discuss “Reversal,” aka the episode where everyone, absolutely everyone, was shipping Olicity. (INCLUDING ME)
WHO IS FELICITY SMOAK?
The thing about Felicity Smoak is that, despite the fact that she’s been involved with Team Arrow from the beginning, she’s hardly ever been on the field, and for that reason, there’s a level of separation between her and what’s going on. She is, in many cases, as responsible for all the good they’ve accomplished, and as responsible for some of their mistakes, but she doesn’t feel that she is, at least not like with Cayden James.
Havenrock might have been the exception to this, but then again, Havenrock was an active choice, not collateral damage. And even then, the show did anything but deal with that in a responsible way that actually explored the ramifications to Felicity, because Arrow Season 5 was – you know – the time we speak not of. Bad, bad, bad.
This time, maybe because the show seems to have decided to stop playing games, or maybe because the plot requires it, it looks like we’re in for more than a little exploration of Felicity and the ramifications of her decision to release James.
It’s important that we remember, as we’re going down this rabbit hole, that the attitude that led Felicity to release James at that point is not a new thing – Felicity Smoak has, indeed, always been a ‘the end justifies the means’ kinda gal, it’s hard to be involved with a vigilante team and not be. This is who Felicity has always been, she just has never been allowed to explain the guilt that comes with it in the same way Oliver ‘Queen of Manpain’ Queen has.
Also, it’s important that we remind ourselves that the person Felicity is, the one who, at the time, made the decision to release James, is not a bad person. Oliver says it clearly, but we need to remember it. She’s a woman who made a decision with the information she had at the time, and if that decision turned out to be wrong, that doesn’t make her a bad person, and it doesn’t make her any less of a hero.
Let’s not fall into the trap of judging a woman way more harshly than we would a man. Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that Felicity has to be this paragon of virtue to be our favorite. Let’s not define her character by one mistake. Let’s remember that this is Felicity Smoak we’re talking about, and we’re only on episode four. Things might look bad right now, but our girl always, always finds a way.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN “FAMILY”
Arrow has never exactly been subtle about, well …anything, and if the anvil-sized hints that Oliver/Felicity and William are soon to be a family are not hitting you hard enough, then you’re probably just desensitized from all the hits the Trump administration has been delivering.
Hell, William wanted to come to dinner. Which, honestly, someone sit down and explain to the kid what a date was and how his dad still has a lot of shit to make up for if he’s going to have a stepmother.
But it’s not only that, it’s that this date is almost a replica of their first one, down to the clothes and that’s because this, right here, right now, is Olicity’s new beginning. Except this time, they’re both on the same page. This time they’re ready, not just to date, but to be partners, to support each other through thick and thin, to trust each other, to respect the other’s choice.
In short, they’re ready to be that family that William needs.
“The Mayor’s” girlfriend sounds nice. You know what sounds better? The Mayor’s WIFE. It’s coming, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s only like two seasons overdue.
THE JOY OF ROLE REVERSALS
Character growth looks even better on Oliver Queen than stubble does, and let me tell you, that man can rock the stubble. Especially because this is not the character growth that requires someone to be at death’s door and is not a result of blood and gore. No, this is the character growth that comes with actually taking a step back and internalizing things. No longer is Oliver reacting out of fear – like he’s done for most of the major decisions he’s made in his life. This time, Oliver is seeing himself, and Felicity clearly and he knows, not just what he wants, but what she needs.
And he’s sure he can provide it.
I feel like we need a pause for dramatic effect here or something. Yes, Oliver Queen, the same broody mess who cheated on the supposed love of his life with her sister, the one who lied to his fiancé about something that was going to change her life, that Oliver Queen has learned a thing or two about listening to your partner. About respect.
Season 5 was a mess of extraordinary proportions, yes, but if it turns out Oliver learned something from it, it might have been worth it.
This episode does such a great job of showcasing why Olicity works now, in a way they never did before, because they do this amazing thing called showing us BOTH sides. There’s the “This is how it felt to be you, is it?” from Oliver and the “Is that how I sounded all these years?” from Felicity that are proof that both of them, maybe because of their position, probably because the time apart has afforded them some time to think, and certainly because the writers seem to have a better idea of what they’re doing are finally taking the time to see things from the other person’s perspective.
Even that doesn’t go smoothly, because Oliver is Oliver and Felicity is Felicity and she’s trying to protect him while he’s trying to protect her, which is what they do with people you love, but you want to hear the big difference? This time, they actually talk about it. Felicity expresses her needs out loud, and Oliver does this wonderful thing called listening and respecting her decisions.
Respect is sexy, what can I say?
At the end of the episode, because Oliver and Felicity communicate, they’re able to find a compromise, with Oliver sitting in the Overwatch chair, guiding Felicity out of trouble, the voice in her ear when she needs him most, just as she was the voice in his ear for so long.
It’s like we’ve come full circle. For so long Felicity was there to be proud of Oliver, to be steadfast in her belief for him and now Oliver is there to do the same, to say the words out loud, to be her port in a storm.
Equals at last, in all respects of the word. True partners at last. The season is just starting, and we know a lot of shit is going to come their way. That’s the way of life, and the way of TV. But right now, I don’t think there’s anything that can take these two down. Now I see the difference, now I see the growth. I’m still not sure the journey they took to get here was necessary, but I’m starting to think I can forgive Arrow for it if this is the final result.
My feels. MY FEELS.
Other things to note:
- As cheesy as the whole intro still is, every time Oliver says “the best man I know” in reference to Diggle, I feel my heart grow a little bit.
- Katie Cassidy is rocking that short wig. Can we keep it?
- Cheesy AF, yes, but I love the new intro. SUE ME.
- That lady that interrupted Oliver and Felicity’s date is the Olicity fandom, only with a little more chill. Though I bet she was only pretending to have chill, and once they turned around she started live-tweeting their date on twitter.
- Felicity playfully kissing Oliver goodbye as she leaves their dinner date is already better than anything that happened in Season 5, and I don’t even mean just with them.
- I get Felicity is Felicity and she’s the best, but if she’s not needed urgently, couldn’t they have let her finish her date and had Curtis doing the basic stuff?
- Wow, Curtis read my mind. I’m shocked.
- But hey, “get your man,” Felicity. GET YOUR MAN.
- I take it back, Curtis IS the Olicity fandom. Also, they used the word shipper. It’s like my worlds are colliding.
- Am I the only one who doesn’t need a redemption arc for Black Siren? I love when she’s evil.
- Remember when Felicity used to be embarrassed to make suggestive remarks to Oliver? Those were the days.
- “I know how much you love to say I told you so.” “No, that’s you.” “Well, consider this an early Christmas gift.”
- EVERYONE’S AN OLICITY SHIPPER.
- Felicity not lying to Diggle is my aesthetic. It’s like the show suddenly remembered these two are friends.
- I’ve never watched Lost, so any and all opinions I might now hold about Michael Emerson are new. With that being said, I have to admit the guy gave me chills.
- Self-awareness is a good look on you, Oliver.
- WE DO NOT GO OUT ON THE FIELD WITHOUT MASKS, FELICITY. WE. DO. NOT. GO. OUT. WITHOUT. MASKS.
- I love that when Oliver said “she’s fine” Diggle hesitated because WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO CALL OLIVER NOW?
- Rene’s fantasy football remark is the most relatable thing he’s ever said.
- I’m gonna give Arrow a pass on how long they took to get Felicity to the idea of replicating her implant because this was a really, really good episode otherwise.
- At some point in the future Felicity’s going down for Cayden James’ crimes. IRONY, THY NAME IS ARROW.
- Is Slade’s request like, time sensitive? Do you have time for a little desert first Some ice cream? A chocolate bar? Not asking for much here.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW.