When fans were first introduced to Oliver Queen in the Arrow pilot, we met a shell of a man who struggled with an overwhelming darkness that he seemed destined to make his home in. This hero that we were supposed to follow and supposed to invest in was closed off and aloof. He was unsympathetic.
But in one fateful moment in the show’s third episode we watched as Oliver Queen walked into Felicity Smoak’s cubicle and cracked a smile for the first time, showing us that perhaps this was a journey we could be invested in.
That’s the moment Arrow changed. For the better.
Over the course of now four seasons we’ve watched as Oliver Queen has evolved from vigilante to hero facing bouts of adversity that had he been alone in the darkness would’ve spelled his end. But along the way Oliver developed two of the most important relationships in his life: his friendship with Diggle and his friendship-turned-true-love with Felicity.
The fact of the matter is that Felicity Smoak saved Oliver Queen from himself. First it was through her kindhearted nature as a member of the team, then it was through her loyal friendship, and finally a romance of epic proportions that has breathed sheer happiness into a man who has never believed he deserved it.
But the great thing about Oliver and Felicity’s relationship is that is wasn’t spawned overnight. It was a gradual, organic development that formed the strong foundation that defines their relationship to this day. But their love also transcends physical boundaries. Their relationship has never been about the physical intimacy but about the spiritual intimacy that has bonded these two from the start. Their relationship has been built upon a strong foundation of trust that has been heartfelt and inspiring to watch. Their mere presence around each other is enough to tame even the roughest of waters. It was that soul-to-soul connection that I, as well as thousands of fans, easily connected to.
Now, I’ve made my love for Olicity pretty clear in my three years covering Arrow for Fangirlish. In fact, I’ve practically shouted it from the rooftops. So I’m not just writing this for the sake of writing. This has a purpose.
When it comes to opinions in fandoms I’m someone who respects individuals’ opinions and preferences to an extent – that extent being rational reason. But a recent article from Forbes.com titled “Arrow is Dead, and Olicity Killed It” spawned what you could call a “passionate” – passionate here meaning a downright uproar – response from me. And one thing you should know about me is that when I’m angry I write. And I am downright livid.
Now, to be honest I didn’t read anything of Forbes’ article past the horrid title (that’s enough to show you what little sense the author possesses), but my friend and fellow avid Olicity shipper and Fangirlish writer was kind enough to inform me of the hilarity contained within. Things like, “Arrow lost its greatest hero when they killed Laurel” or “Laurel died because she posed a threat to Olicity.” Can you believe that last one?
[Update: I’ve read the Forbes article and it’s even worse than I thought seeing as there are ZERO arguments in it. So clearly I made the right choice not reading it in the first place.]
Not only is that laughable because Laurel has never been a threat to Olicity, but it’s downright disrespectful to write off Laurel’s death as something petty and something other than the significance it will serve for the characters on this show moving forward. Everything isn’t all about shipping, okay Forbes? Sometimes significant events actually serve to drive the plot forward. I’m just saying.
Obviously my article is a long-winded but passionate rebuttal to Forbe’s not-so-well-thought-out argument (and this isn’t the first time they’ve dumped on the pairing) that was clearly intended to piss off a segment of fans rather than to actually serve a meaningful point.
When you think of superheroes you think of their heroic identity; their skill; and you think of that one person in their life that makes their life worth fighting for. Love has long been a part of everything in this world – whether it’s in fiction, our own lives, or hell, even comic books. Love is what makes life worth living. It’s what makes you feel so much passion for something that’s out of your control – like an OTP or those comic books.
Love in the world of a superhero’s journey is representative of that hero’s journey. That means that every significant relationship that he/she has ever had has shaped him/her in some significant way. And there is no more relationship more important than the hero’s true love. That true love inspires that hero when he/she needs it most; they inspire the hero to keep fighting despite the challenges; they show the hero what it means to truly be heroic.
Love it or not, Felicity Smoak is the true love of Oliver Queen’s life on Arrow. If you can’t accept it then you should move on because things will only get worse for you from hereon out.
When it comes to Oliver and Felicity something you often hear is the contrast of light and darkness. It’s something that has been essential in their relationship. Oliver has shrouded himself in this darkness for so long that he nearly lost himself. But Felicity represents that light that has been able to pull him back from the brink, as well as inspire him to believe that there is a light inside of him, as well. Because no matter how much Felicity might represent the light in Oliver’s life, at some point (as in the current time frame of Arrow) Oliver is going to need to rely on his own light.
The most important thing that Oliver needs is love. Love leads to trust; love leads to reassurance that he’s not the monster that he tells himself that he is even after four years of growth that has established him as a true hero. Felicity has been integral in that journey. She has believed in him when no one else did; she has inspired him to be the hero that he has always been destined to be. And it’s damn beautiful.
When it comes to Oliver and Felicity something important you need to remember is that this is a symbiotic relationship. It’s an equal give-and-take. It’s not just Felicity inspiring Oliver to be a better person; it’s Oliver inspiring Felicity to be something she never thought she could become. They have brought meaning to each other’s lives in a way that you never dream can happen. But it does. Because it’s meant to be.
For three seasons now Arrow has been cultivating Oliver and Felicity’s love story. It’s been a natural progression in their relationship that has never felt forced, which you have to admire the writers for so beautifully cultivating a relationship and letting it go where it needs to. It’s a relationship that has inspired a fandom to open their hearts to this pairing and spread their love throughout all realms. It’s a relationship that has created a passionate fanbase unlike any other. Passion is a huge part of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. Passion is essential.
When it comes to relationships the essence of true love is that someone makes you a better person. And it’s not by their actions. It’s what comes from them inspiring you to want to be a better person. Oliver and Felicity both inspire each other to be better versions of themselves, and they’ve proven time and time again that they are stronger together than apart.
Arrow has never been governed by comic canon, and that’s what has made it so great. Arrow has been allowed to explore this, for the most part, unknown hero and his journey to becoming a hero we can all look up to. But the important thing to remember is that the hero never gets to that end point by himself. He’s always surrounded by people in his life – whether it’s his true love (Felicity), family (Thea), and friends (Diggle, Laurel, Tommy, etc.) – that shape him into becoming that hero.
When you say that Olicity killed Arrow you’re essentially saying that Oliver’s journey has killed the show. Do you understand that? Oliver’s relationship with Felicity is a significant part of his journey, and it has made him the hero that everyone has wanted and known he would be.
So you can cry about your comic canon and complain that there’s too much romance and not enough action, but the fact of the matter is that the only reason we give a damn about the hero in the suit is because we give a damn about the man or woman underneath.
If you give a damn about Oliver Queen at all then you give a damn about the man he is; the man he was; and the man he has become. And that man – this Green Arrow that he’s finally become – is a result of his relationship with Felicity Smoak on top of other relationships. There is no Oliver Queen without Felicity Smoak. There is no Green Arrow without Felicity Smoak. And Arrow without Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow is, why I should say, nonexistent.