Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Arrow and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.
Today, we’re breaking down episode 10 of Arrow, “Blood Debts,” where we discuss Felicity’s paralysis, Oliver reverting to his old ways, John making progress with Andy, and that final flash forward scene that answered one definitive question but left us with many more.
In this episode we saw Oliver revert back to his old ways in order to track down Darhk. What were your thoughts on that?
To be honest I kind of expected it. Oliver is, if nothing, someone who will fight to protect those that he loves, but if we learned anything it’s that Felicity is the only one that Oliver is willing to kill for, to get this find of vengeance for. While obviously the goal is for Oliver to be able to exist as a hero in his own light, Felicity has been the one guiding his way and helping breathe that humanity back inside of him. If you take that light away, Felicity, then you’re going to see Oliver lose control. Remember why we said we were adamant that it wasn’t Felicity in the grave? This is why. Oliver was in control at that grave, if it was Felicity he would not be able to hold himself together. That’s what we saw in this episode. Damien Darhk hurt Felicity, and Oliver was going to make damn sure that he paid. But it was nice that we saw Diggle remind Oliver of how far he’s come since we met him in season one. He’s regained his humanity with the help of Diggle and Felicity. “Don’t lose the thing that made her fall in love with you in the first place,” Diggle tells him. And he’s damn right. All Oliver needed was to see Felicity to be centered.
I sort of expected him to, so I can’t say I was surprised. I mean, he’s evolved and everything, but he’s still Oliver. He’s no so evolved that he knows how to deal with his feelings in a constructive way. That’s still asking too much of him. He’s on the right path, yes, but if he acted in a completely mature way, how boring would that be? No. We want our superheroes to be good, yes, but we also want them to be human. And that’s what Oliver’s reaction was – human.
Oliver was afraid. Was I frustrated with him? Yes. Do I understand his reason? Yes. I would’ve been the same way. Here’s this wonderful and shining beacon of light and hope that has always guided him. And now it’s hurt. His avoidance of Felicity was him trying to figure out how to go forth. When he did he came to her, even if Thea was the one to give him a little nudge. He’s going to support her and guide her through the troubling time ahead of her. Support people!
A lot of the wake of bodies were not exactly Oliver’s fault though, right? It looked more like the ghost soldiers are kamikaze and would rather die than give Oliver information. Just by questioning them, I suppose, since he knew this about them that he contributed to their death. So in a way, I understand his frustration and lack of remorse in the body pile. Anyone willingly helping Damien Darhk is accessory to murder and possibly aiding in the largest culling of human populace to date on the show.
We finally learned Felicity’s fate: her spinal cord is permanently damaged and they say she’ll never walk again. What are your thoughts on this and do you believe it’s permanent?
To be honest I initially wasn’t exactly thrilled for the storyline if only because I’ve waited so long for Felicity to get her own arc and I’m worried that it won’t live up to our expectations. But after thinking about it and considering how all signs pointing this to be an arc where the focus is solely on Felicity and she’s not being used to prop up another hero (I’m sorry, but it’s happened too much), I’m excited to see Felicity go through her Island and emerge even stronger than she already is. We will see the rise of Felicity Smoak as she’s eventually able to walk again (and in plenty of advance of her and Oliver’s wedding). But the thing is there’s nothing wrong with Felicity being in a wheelchair. It doesn’t inhibit the hero that she is. Sure, Felicity’s going to struggle with not being able to do everything she was before, but Felicity is still going to be the badass hero she always has been. Her disability doesn’t matter just like it wouldn’t matter in real life. But we all know that we’ll see Felicity walk again if only because she looks too damn good in heels.
At first I wasn’t too happy about it, but that was when I thought they were going the Oracle route. Now that I know they’re not, I’m here for this. Emily Bett Rickards is an exceptional actress, and she has the range to pull this off. I have no doubt I’m going to get my heart broken into a million little pieces in these coming episodes, and I’m going to love every second of it.
That being said, this is Arrow. There’s no way this is permanent. No way. Smart money’s on Curtis somehow finding a way to cure her, mostly because the whole Curtis-you-have-6-months-to-invent-something-that-saves-the-company thing, but also because Ray is gone, so Curtis is about the only option we have left. I love Oliver, but he’s not going to find the way to cure Felicity. The fact that they made such a big deal about it being permanent also points to the fact that it’s probably not. Not that it would change anything if it were. Felicity Smoak is just as awesome in a wheelchair, and, if this last episode proved anything, is that, despite Felicity’s fears, this changes nothing for Oliver.
Not that we ever expected it to.
Nope. It's Arrow. Their main ingredients are angst, pain, and miracles. Oliver got stabbed through the chest and fell off a cliff. Sara was shot multiple times and died. Hell even Thea died! Did they stay dead? No! Miracles happen left and right in this show. If they can be raised from the dead then she can walk once more.
This is just a stepping stone in Felicity's journey and the one she shares with Oliver.
No idea how to process this announcement except to have hope it is not permanent. She combined with the science/tech genii she surrounds herself with will get innovative and make her mobile again. Although I do suspect she will face struggles with her self worth and adaptation to the modification to her limited self.
There was a great scene between Oliver and Felicity in her hospital room when they were discussing what he was doing but also where Felicity seemingly tried to give him an out following her paralysis diagnosis, but he shut it down definitively. What did you think about that scene?
It’s almost like you could say that we essentially got a proposal both in the mid-season finale and mid-season premiere. How many fandoms can say that? This scene represented everything that I love about Olicity. The actors; God, how perfect were Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in this scene? At this point they’ve played these characters and this relationship for four years and everything is just so flawless and emotional that there’s nothing like it. They understand the love and the bond between Oliver and Felicity as much as the fans connect with it. And it’s Stephen and Emily that have made that possible.
This was such an emotional scene as we saw Felicity in a vulnerable state. She had just learned that she was paralyzed – possibly for the rest of her life – and she was afraid of losing Oliver. For Felicity that’s always going to be her concern: losing those that she cares about. It comes off of her abandonment issues with her father. But Oliver pushed those thoughts aside with an adamant declaration of his love for Felicity as he put that ring back on her finger and declared, “For better or for worse.” And if there’s any couple where those words legitimately ring true, it’s Oliver and Felicity.
Can we say perfect scene, perfect moment? Arrow is a good show that can sometimes border on great, and it’s scenes like this that push it over the edge. This is a superhero show, yes, but it’s not all about the action. It’s about the people. It’s about Stephen Amell saying more with his eyes than with his words. It’s about Emily Bett Rickards, looking as pale as un-Felicity like as we’ve ever seen her, showing both vulnerability and strength without even opening her mouth. It’s about two actors who just make each and every scene they are together amazing, just because their chemistry is off this world. And, it’s about those two actors getting the right words, being able to convey the exact sentiment.
And this scene is also just …a culmination of a journey. Their vows might not be exactly valid, but Oliver and Felicity essentially tied the knot in this moment. That’s what for better and for worse means. It means always. The rest is just putting their money where their mouth is (and, boy, will they have to). If the writers had hired a sky-writing team to spell out OLICITY IS ENDGAME, it couldn’t have been any clearer at this point.
HE'S SUPPORTING BAE! It was the culmination/result of all that has transpired in their relationship. She has supported him through thick and thin. Now it's his turn to step up and show her show much of a hero she is. Her disability isn't going to stop her from being a badass. Oliver will make sure to remind her.
Felicity giving him an out was a small sliver of fear that will rear it's ugly head in the next episode. Until then Oliver stomped it down while showing her he's there 'for better or for worse'. *sobs*
Completely, hopelessly in love are these two. Their destined for each other to the end of times. It was such a moving moment and testament to what makes this pairing popular with the fans, what makes me ship them.
We saw some progress between John and Andy Diggle in this episode. What did you think about that, and do you think this is the beginning of some reconciliation between them?
One of the things I’ve really admired about this storyline is that this isn’t something that’s going to come easy for either John or Andy. When you consider where John’s head was at prior to learning the truth about Andy, he was willing to risk everything in order to find out what happened to him and you bet your ass that he’d give anything to have his brother back with him. Only when he got his wish he’s realizing that it’s harder than he could’ve imagined. Here is his little brother who now seems like a complete stranger to him. Not only that but he’s aligned with an evil, sadistic man who hurt a woman who is, for all intents and purposes, his sister. He feels betrayed. So naturally, from the start of learning the truth, he’s wanted to approach this from a violent standpoint because that’s the only way he could.
But after having a nice heart-to-heart with his gorgeous, heroic wife Lyla, John came to realize that he should approach this situation with Andy from a brother standpoint. He’s harbored all of this hate and anger – rightfully so – towards Andy after he learned that he was a bad man. So in his mind the second that he learned the truth about who Andy was he stopped being his brother. But in order to use Andy to help them find Damien Darhk, John is going to need to take a lighter approach, which we’ve seen him start to do in this episode. Andy just might be key to stopping Darhk, and perhaps John will save his brother in the process.
I really enjoyed the John/Andy Diggle in this episode, somewhat surprisingly, because before, I haven’t really cared that much for this storyline. But, hey, they wore me down. Or maybe they didn’t. Maybe it was just that David Ramsey’s performance was so incredibly touching that it elevated the whole scene and made me pay attention.
So, now they’ve got me. Now I sort of care. And I really do believe this is the beginning of some sort of reconciliation for the Diggle brothers. The thing about John Diggle is that he never really accepted his brother for who he was – and how can you help someone be better if you can’t accept who they are? Likewise, Andy never felt like he could be himself with his brother, so instead of trying to be better, instead of looking for a way out of his problems, he just lied. Their whole relationship was, in the end, based on lies. So, they really, really have a lot of ground to cover, and that’s before we even get to what Darhk did to Andy.
It was pretty dark in the beginning. Diggle still saw Andy as a piece of garbage and not his brother. That man locked away was part of an organization that hurt one of his besties. To Diggle he needed that separation. Then Lyla came around. This smart unicorn of a woman made Diggle realize that the boy he knew was still in there, he just had to reach out and try.
It's a small reconciliation that will either a) snowball into more and lead into them helping each other out or b) lead them down a path of destruction because Andy doesn't care at all. Either way it's going to be amazing!
There seems to be this wall Diggle's brother puts up every time he approaches him and if I were not already certain that Darhk was evil, I would be worried that Diggle and Oliver are not seeing the whole picture. Andy has dark secrets. How deep they go, in my mind, no doubt lead back to Diggle's role in Team Arrow. Andy and Diggle are cut from the same cloth, and Andy's silence keeps him and his family safe. Which frankly, it seems as if Andy could care less about himself so what does that say about his motivations?
We saw Thea struggle with that inner darkness in this episode where she was being egged on by Anarky. Do you think Thea's blood lust will turn out to be a bigger issue moving forward?
Assuming that this is Thea’s season-long arc then, yes, this blood lust will continue to be an issue that Thea wrestles to maintain control of. We saw her internal struggle in this episode as someone from her past – Anarky – returned essentially reminding her that she does have the ability to lose control and, I don’t know, set someone on fire. It was interesting that Anarky seemed to develop a sort of unhealthy obsession with Thea after she “saved him” and he kept encouraging her to embrace the blood lust within and sort of be just like him. But this is another part of Thea’s journey as she finds herself entranced by darkness but wanting to be a hero. This has become too much of a focal point this season for it not to be a focus moving forward.
I don’t know how they could bring this up, make it an issue like they have, and then just drop it. I have a feeling this is not a problem that’s going to be resolved this season. I feel kind of bad for Thea, because she’s strong, so strong, really, to try to fight this, but I just don’t know that she can. This, to me, it’s one of those, ahem, supernatural solution, kinda things. And, with so much going on, it doesn’t really feel like something they can resolve this season.
Also, the whole Anarky thing? That’s coming back, and in a big way. I don’t see any way that it doesn’t. If they were gonna kill him, they would have done it this episode, not off-screen. No, he’s coming back, and his “connection” with Thea is something to keep an eye on. Thea has managed to resist the bloodlust so far, but she’s going to snap sooner or later, right?
My money’s on sooner, really.
Absolutely. They still haven't finished that trail of thought yet. Also the fact that she was so tempted by a meer weirdo in a mask means that it's bubbling just underneath the surface. It's waiting to reemerge and assert how much control it still has over her. She'll turn a new leaf though when she uses that power inside of her to do something different...LIKE KILL DAMIAN DARKH!
Yes! And I am hoping without reason that despite its horrible sway over Thea that it comes in handy in defeating Darhk.
In this episode we learned that the big bad of Damien Darhk might be just part of the problem. What were your thoughts on Darhk's wife and the potential threat she might pose?
I absolutely love the prospect of Damien Darhk being a Big Bad that is actually an extension of an even greater Big Bad made up of multiple entities, especially his wife. It’s refreshing to see a woman in charge and in power. And if I’m assuming correctly – due to some set photos – she will challenge Oliver for mayor of Star City moving forward. So this is her becoming more directly involved in this plan to rebuild the world, and part of that is stopping Oliver Queen. In four seasons now we haven’t had a Big Bad that was a woman, and it’s interesting to see the way they might be playing off this duo of Darhk and his wife. And I already hate this woman and her sneer. This should be interesting moving forward.
First of all, let me just say that I’m very excited to see a female character who gets to be a villain for the exact same reasons as the ‘bad guy’ and who isn’t painted as softer, more understanding or whatever, just because she’s a woman. It speaks to the fact that these producers, these writers, do a great job with female characters in general. Women can, and often are, the villains. Just as they are many other things. And in a season when the writers are trying to showcase how Oliver and Felicity make each other better, how their relationship is the thing that brings light into their lives, well, Damien Darhk and his wife are the other side of the coin. Just as you can have a partner who makes you better, you can have a partner who encourages you along the path to darkness.
And in this case, they really pull it off, because like two minutes in, I already hate this woman. The only reason I’m not inclined to say she’s worse than him is because I haven’t seen her pull off any magic tricks. But, other than that, the two seem to be on the same page. And that doesn’t really bode well for our heroes.
They're partners in crime who are on the same page and it's scary. You don't just have one big bad planning to take over Star City, you've got two! They're going to infiltrate the city anyway they can aka the race for Mayor. But wait...what's that in the horizon?! It's Oliver and Felicity! A dynamic duo out to defend this city! Watch out bad guys! I'm not worried...much.
She is very scary! There seems to be no sympathy in here; only an insane dedication to the cause. Yeah, when Darhk shows more humanity than you, then yes, you are the scariest in the room.
Now we officially know Felicity isn't in the grave. What were your thoughts on that end scene -- Oliver and Felicity in the limo -- and who do you think is in the grave?
Let’s be real, who actually believed that Felicity was the one in the grave? It was never a concern here, but it’s still nice that the writers have officially confirmed it. So they can stop with these promos that seemed to hint that Felicity was dead. Felicity is not in the grave, pass it on. Okay, so now that we know who isn’t in the grave the main question turns to who is in the grave, and I’m sticking by my decision that it’s Laurel in the grave. There’s been so much build-up and hinting at it being Laurel that if it turns out to be someone other than her it’s going to be really disappointing from a story standpoint. Once again in this episode we heard the “she can take care of herself” hinting that she might not be able to sometime in the future. There continues to be no Laurel-centric storyline other than helping out Team Arrow and contributing to Sara’s resurrection storyline, which launched her into Legends of Tomorrow. It just seems at this point that Laurel’s story has been achieved. So what now? If the producers are looking for a major character death that will definitely get the audience talking it’s Laurel. All the clues point to her. How can it not be?
Now about that end scene with Oliver and Felicity…To be honest, I know that they’re not in a good place at that present time, but I was just too damn elated that they finally revealed that Felicity isn’t in the grave. With that said, there was so much tension between the two of them in that limo that you just know that the truth about Oliver’s son was revealed. How could it not? This was a storyline that didn’t make much sense with Oliver intentionally lying to Felicity about it basically setting up a big reveal that will drive a wedge in between the now-happily-engaged couple.
But then again it makes sense if Arrow wants Oliver and Felicity’s wedding to happen in the show’s 100th episode next season. So while Oliver and Felicity might not be in the best place, we’re going to see Oliver fight to make it up to Felicity and regain her trust, capped off with a second engagement in the season finale. This is all part of the great and epic love story that is Oliver and Felicity. There’s no growth without hardships. There’s no epic love without that development. But have no fear, Oliver and Felicity will always find their way back to each other.
I’m pretty sure here at Fangirlish we always knew Felicity wasn’t in the grave, but now we have confirmation. We can stop talking about it. My money’s still on Laurel, and at the point, it’s not even that my money’s on Laurel, it’s pretty much that I can’t imagine it being other way. This whole episode screamed SETUP. Laurel was not only the voice of reason, she was helpful, nice, effective in the field, supportive of Quentin/Donna, and she called it like it is – even if Oliver had an answer for her. Even after that, though, she still didn’t back down. She was the best version of Laurel we’ve seen in a while, and at this point, that’s just suspect. Why now? What are the writers planning for her? Don’t tell me they’re planning nothing. They’re always planning something. And something, this time, means, to me, that Laurel’s the one in the grave.
Now, the end scene with Oliver and Felicity …that was bad. That hurt. But, in a way, it was also kinda good. We already knew something bad was coming. We even knew something bad was coming via Baby Mama and William. But, whatever comes, Felicity and Oliver are still there, together, in the same car. Maybe they’re not a couple at the moment (Felicity is sans ring), maybe they just called off the engagement for a while, but either way, despite the distance, the two of them are still partners. And that means that, whatever happened, they can get through it.
The other thing of note in that last scene is that Oliver reaches for Felicity, and then changes his mind. I don’t know that he does that if this is all about William. Also, Felicity seemed to be the one going down a dark spiral. She wasn’t you have to kill him and end this Felicity, she was livid. She wanted revenge. That’s a clear departure for her, and proof that maybe, just maybe, it’s now Oliver’s turn to be the one to not only choose the right path, but guide Felicity along the way.
I'm a little thrown off by the 'who's in the grave' question. Felicity was obviously very upset about this person's passing. The way she held her self away from Oliver, poised and ramrod straight, speaks volumes. She lost someone close and she can't bring herself to open up to even Oliver because she will collapse. I've been adamant that the person in the grave is Laurel but how can that be? Felicity and Laurel are companions/friends/teammates but there's a spark missing there. I haven't seen a bond formed between them that is just there own. That's the only way I could see it being Laurel in the grave. But then again Felicity could be holding herself in that manner because of baby mama drama dropping into their lives just as they lose Laurel. It's a combination that would cause anyone to withdraw and assess.
Let's also make a special side note on Felicity not wearing the engagement ring. She could have simply lost it, gotten it resized, or Damien stole it off her finger and then sent it to Oliver on a fake finger making him flip out and do something crazy! (As Oliver would do to protect bae.) She could have also taken it off as a symbol. Felicity needs time to reassess where they are in their lives together and if they're truly ready to commit to each other when he can't tell her the whole truth. She loves him way to much to derail his Mayor race with a scandal so she's going to make him work for it. This is not the end!
Can I say, nothing has changed in my speculation? Do adore Felicity in her vengeance mode. And frankly the first moment when Dahrk showed how he thought people were expendable that he must die. Those types of villains don't stop except for death.
What are your thoughts on "Blood Debts?" Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!
Join us for another Arrow roundtable next Tuesday!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.