No one expected that when Felicity Smoak made a cameo in Arrow’s third episode the impact that she would have on the show. What was originally intended to be an Easter Egg grew to be the show’s fan-favorite character. Meet Emily Bett Rickards. Though I’m sure you already know her, but you get the point.
Over two seasons, Felicity Smoak has evolved from Easter Egg to Team Arrow member to the love interest of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). And while some people – and I mean comic canon and Lauriver shippers – will argue that it’s simply fan service (which isn’t even actually a thing, thank you very much) or that it’s forced, the simple fact is that it’s not. It’s the culmination of a two-year relationship and insane chemistry between the actors. It’s not forced. If anything that would be the definition of fan service if it even existed, which it doesn’t. It’s been a natural progression that has captured the hearts of viewers and even the actors and producers.
Sometimes Plan A doesn’t work out. And sometimes Plan B comes out of the middle of nowhere and suddenly everything you’d been missing on your show is laid perfectly right in front of you. That’s what happened with the phenomenon known as Olicity.
It’s the cliché superhero troupe in a way, but every superhero needs that one person that they need to help them be the hero they need to be. And for Oliver that person has been – and will always be – Felicity. And it’s not just in a romantic sense. Felicity has always been the most important person to Oliver in terms of being a hero and the best version of himself long before he manned up and finally asked her out on a date. When others said, “No you can’t,” she’s been the one that’s always said, “Yes you can.” When others *cough* Laurel *cough* said, “He’s a killer,” she’s been the one who’s said, “You’re a hero.”
There’s no denying that heading into the show the producers were going for an epic love story between Oliver and Laurel – The Green Arrow and the Black Canary. But thanks to the two characters’ toxic past relationship (sleeping with her sister not once but twice *shudder*) and the complete lack of chemistry between Amell and Katie Cassidy, it just didn’t work.
So as the producers saw the character of Felicity work well amongst Team Arrow and how the fans embraced her and even wanted her and Oliver to be romantically involved, they changed their plan, as it more often than not happens in television. And I feel I need to point it out again, this is not fan service. Fan service doesn’t exist. Television shows are always evolving as the show runners see what works and what doesn’t work, what resonates and what doesn’t.
Two years later, Oliver and Felicity finally went out on a date. Granted, it didn’t end so well, what with Vertigo blowing up the restaurant they were eating at, causing Oliver to retreat back to his brooding, self-sacrificial self and pushing Felicity away. But in a way, the ruined date and Oliver pushing Felicity away, granted for reasons that are absurd, (be on the lookout for another editorial on that) is the best thing that could happen for them.
Why? Because now they’re both going to be forced to fight for each other. To fight for this relationship. Without conflict there is no development. It’s also a revealing sign from the writers that these two are long-term. They’re not a quick relationship to please fans (another public service announcement that fan service does in fact not exist), they’re endgame.
In every epic superhero romance, the two parties have to be torn apart before they can come together again. And that’s what’s going to happen this season. We’ve already seen it in the first two episodes of season three, Oliver pushing Felicity away because he would rather be alive even if it kills him that he can’t be with her. Knowing she’s alive is enough.
While Oliver believes that he’d destined to succumb to the same fate as Sara, he doesn’t want to die down in the foundry. He wants to love, but he doesn’t believe he can. And yes, Felicity will have one, possibly two other romantic possibilities (Barry Allen and Ray Palmer), and yes, Oliver will have to deal with this, but they’re just more obstacles that they must overcome to find their way back to each other.
I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be painful as hell. Hell, it’s been excruciating in the first two episodes this season alone, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’ll serve to strengthen an already solid relationship and the characters, as well as provide comfort for fans of Olicity that this relationship isn’t just another notch in Oliver’s belt. This is the epic love story that Arrow (and Oliver) have been waiting for.