Olicity – From Private to Public Display of Affection – Part 2/4

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Season 1 left us with the impression that Oliver and Felicity finally managed to find a balance in their relationship, a solid friendship combined with a stable partnership ( if you didn’t read the first part, you can find it here).

However, as some of us were already leaning towards a more romantic relationship between the two, it was clear that there was some serious unfinished business between Oliver and Felicity. After one year of looks and rare touches, it was about time to develop more physical interaction between the two protagonists, mirroring the evolution of their respective feelings.

I’M HAPPY TO SEE YOU

Arrow producers and writers keep saying it : every season premiere is a microcosm of what will happen during the upcoming season. Well, Oliver and Felicity display of affection clearly falls under this statement in season 2. When you think about it, Season 1 had a strictly limited amount of PDA. We had pretty much nothing to feed our imagination and we craved for more interaction as the chemistry between the characters was off the charts. The season premiere of Season 2 delivered.

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The first scene between Oliver and Felicity finishes with our hero laid on his IT girl, half naked and sweaty. Can anyone see the allusion to a much more private display of affection? Like bedroom private? Of course I’m pushing it but the writers have intentionally dropped a PDA bomb in the first minutes of the episode. By doing so, they break the conviction that Oliver had in Season 1 : to protect Felicity, he has to keep her away, including physically. To save her life this time, Oliver has to physically get involved and to bring her close to him to ensure her safety. Once you end up in someone’s arms, it gets easier to be touchier, physical with this person… especially when this person is Oliver Queen. We transition to a glorious time when Oliver and Felicity will express their growing feelings for each other through gestures, marks of affection and other sweet words.

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Straight after this half naked scene, Oliver rewards us with a “I’m happy to see you” and a shoulder touch. HOLD ON A MINUTE! It’s 4 minutes and 16 seconds of Episode 1 of season 2 and we have more display of affection than during almost the entire Season 1! As surprising as it can be, this sudden change in Oliver makes perfect sense. Oliver lost Tommy and he hung up the hood. He lost his best friend without having enough time to tell him what really mattered. He didn’t express his attachment and love for his brother before it was too late. Oliver has a lot to learn from it, notably displaying his attachment and affection to the ones close to his heart more often and openly. As he hung up the hood, Felicity is not his partner anymore as team Arrow disappeared with the hood. She’s now a friend and as such he doesn’t necessarily have to push her away, the danger surrounded her disappearing with the vigilante.

As we are back in Starling City, Oliver and Felicity behaves closer than ever. During the first seven episodes of the season, they deepened their relationship and we see it. We physically notice the change and how naturally the two gravitate around each other.

One of the displays of affection that Olicity offers us at the beginning of the season is the gifts. Understand here, the little (or bigger) touches of affection, these things they give each other and that symbolizes the deepening status of their relationship.

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One of them is the Arrow Cave. Felicity literally rebuilt and upgraded the Arrow Cave for Oliver when he was away. In real life, this would equal to a homemade gift. She dedicated time and efforts to offer something personal and meaningful to Oliver. Something he cares about, something that is important to him and to them, something that will make his life easier. On top of this, she designed him a bow.

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A BOW. The quintessence, the symbol of what he is, the weapon that will save his life and protect him, something that will never leave him in his crusade has been created by Felicity. If we need a display of affection from Felicity to Oliver, I think we found it. She shows him here that she knows him by heart, she knows what is essential to him and that he doesn’t have to ask to have her support.

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Another gift that Felicity gives Oliver at the beginning of Season 2 is the famous cup of coffee (Did you know that this cup of coffee has its own Twitter account? Our fandom is A-MA-ZING!). Once more, Felicity shows Oliver that she’s here for him, no matter what, no matter the divergence of opinion they may have.

So you’ll ask me : but what does Oliver give Felicity then? Yes, Oliver doesn’t give Felicity anything material. He gives her more than that. He gives her a growing space in his life. He lets her come closer to him, to his heart. And when you realize how much Oliver has lost during the season 1 finale (his best friend, his city, his faith in his father, the purpose of his crusade, the trust in his mum), we can only appreciate even more what he gives Felicity. When Season 1 was all about keeping her at distance, he now allows her to be closer to him than ever. He listens to her advice, he values her opinion, he doesn’t even argue with her anymore when she wants to get in the field. She’s not an employee or even a subordinate in his team. She’s a part of Team Arrow, she’s his partner, she’s his equal.

I SEE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT HIM

If this dynamic is strictly between them, the biggest change at the beginning of the season is that people start noticing. People around them can see that our couple is getting closer to each other and there’s a simple reason to that. Oliver and Felicity do not hide the depth of their relationship. They touch each other, they smile at each other, they argue, they share knowing looks in public. Their relationship and their interaction are not limited to the Arrow Cave anymore. Felicity being Oliver’s EA, they merge their lives and they now can’t dissociate where the Arrow business begins and where their complicity ends. They live side by side.

So, who’s aware that something is going on between Oliver and Felicity? Who notices the display of affection? (despite us, of course!)

We have Diggle, who witnesses their domestic quarrel and pretty much everything without commenting on the situation:  

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Captain Lance who understand that Felicity might really believe in the Arrow to offer herself as a bait to capture the Doll Maker

Isabel Rochev who’s more than infuriated by Felicity’s behavior towards Oliver.

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And even Laurel can notice that something is up between her ex-boyfriend and his EA.

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Later on, we will of course have Moira

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And Barry

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But we will have time to go back to these last two ones later on.

I think you got it, everyone around them can notice that something is going on between Oliver and Felicity, everyone can sense that there’s more than just a professional relationship, everyone can feel the chemistry between the two.

Maybe everyone notices what is happening… Maybe everyone but not them. I think Oliver and Felicity are aware of their behavior toward each other but maybe not how obvious it is to an outside observer. They can feel the difference that a few months have made in their relationship but they don’t know where they are going. They show each other how much they care for one another byt they don’t put any word against their actions, they use gestures and look to communicate, rarely words. Unfortunately, it takes a painful event (and a painful episode) for them to discuss for the first time what may be happening between them.

Keep your enemy closer is one of these episodes again that makes our heart sing and bleed at the same time. In one episode, we have all the Olicity’s PDA we can dream about :

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And their opposite straight after :

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As Oliver spends his entire episode convincing Isabel that there’s nothing between him and Felicity and defending her, he ends up sleeping with Isabel and hurting Felicity at the same time. As long looks and shoulder touches are obviously not enough to fix the misunderstanding and tense situation between them, Oliver is pushed to vocally express what he feels and where the two of them stand at.

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Felicity, in her very own way, voices what she feels for Oliver, makes him understand how highly she values him, how much respect she has for him and how high her expectations for him are. In 15 sec, Oliver and Felicity manage to say so much and yet so little. They tell each other that they can’t be together but that they deserve good people in their lives. It’s a point of rupture in their relationship in season 2. As Oliver and Felicity were before totally unaware of the consequences of their behaviors, of their physical attraction, of how closer they become to each other, they will now on do everything to make people understand that there’s nothing between them. Somehow, they try to convince themselves by doing so. It’s always easier to believe a story if everyone does. This move from Oliver reminds me of Oliver from season 1. By telling Felicity that he can’t be with someone that he could really care about, he pushes her away romantically, he cuts her potential hopes and delimits where the boundaries between him and her are. Just like he did with her and the danger in season 1. Oliver has always wanted to protect Felicity. For the first time in their journey, he hurt her. He was the one who directly inflicted pain, an emotional pain. Everything he has tried to do to protect her failed because of a mistake, because of a moment of weakness. Fortunately for him, Felicity always finds her own way.

It was without planning on the Count to come back in Starling City. From one episode to the other, we can see an Oliver trying to push away Felicity and failing miserably when this one is in danger. Oliver can’t deny how much he cares about Felicity. As his mother is about to hear her sentencing, Oliver chooses to save Felicity. He chooses her over his family. He can repeat a million times that he can’t be with someone he really cares about, he chooses during “State vs Queen” to be there for someone he really cares about. He proves that no matter what, he will be here for her. He proves her as well that he would do anything to save her. If he has to break his vow and take a life, then, he will do it. Without an hesitation.

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 In one episode they prove their attachment to each other after this painful experience they shared in Russia. Felicity puts her life at risk to help Oliver in his crusade and Oliver kills for her. They show each other than their affection is limitless and cannot be threatened by anything but themselves.

I chose to stop here for today for three reasons:

-          Too many gifs in a single publication make phones and tablets crash and no one wants that!

-          Season 2 is sooooo big in term of Olicity that no one would want to read that much at once!

-          More importantly, we are about to enter a crucial point of season 2 after the 7th episode where Oliver and Felicity see other love interests impact their relationship and their behavior. The second part of the analysis for season 2 will focus on this.

Stay tuned! It won’t be long before the next chapter is ready :) 

Thank you so much for reading, your feedback is always really important and you guys have been amazing with me so… THANK YOU!

after dating for a while lavi is laying with his head in lenalee’s lap and he suddenly sits bolt upright, startling her, and she’s like, “what’s wrong?” and he’s staring into space like, “i love you” and she just laughs and says, “i… know? you say it all the time? i love you too?”

and she knows there’s something different about it but she can tell he’s not going to explain himself so she just leans on his shoulder even though he’s still spacing out

but at that moment he seriously accepts that he loves her and he’s suddenly trying to make all these grand gestures and she’s just. what. what is this.

he keeps saying that he loves her, too. repeating it to reassure himself that this is right. that it’s okay. because he made the decision and now he has to stick with it. even if it’s not okay, it’s what he’s doing.

Dem is one of the best people I’ve ever met and will probably ever know.

Not only are they cute and amazing, they’re okay with me babbling at them or rambling nonstop. They help me through emotional times, they laugh with me - and I draw a lot of admiration and inspiration from their art.

Dem is one of my best friends and God, they are so good to me; really, it’s incredible.

I enjoy talking to them immensely and reblogging or conversing about things they enjoy. They’re such a lovely person that it’s always a treat to do so.

I really hope they’re happy and that I can help with making them as content as possible. ♥️

ok. i’m going to let everything out. right now. i’m not going to stop to fix typos and i’m not going to stop to edit something out.

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recently my grades have been dropping and my system has been all over the fucking place and honestly it’s really messing me up? because a huge prt of me is actually content with my life and it’s refreshing.

something that really pisses me off though is hinata

he’s been so fucking whiny honestly and this is getting really off track already

okay

backing up

i have a chorus concert tomorrow and i know ill do good but there’s this girl who thinks every song is a pop song and she always gets us yelled at and i just…  nnnghhh shes so bad at singing she has a nice voice but.

um… anyways! enough with school. let’s talk about relationships!

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recently ive been feeling really dominant in the sense that i really really want to be treated like a prince but i know that would make citysystem uncomfortable but hmmmmMMMMMMMMMM i wouldn’t mind being held on a throne for a while! that would feel really good but then again citysystem isnt reaaaallllllyyyyyyy one for romance. it drives me soooo maaaaaad and i dont feel as if theyre giving me eeeenough attentionnnnnnnnnn uhuhuhu

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ummm im going to quit dangan mafia for the most part!!!! people have dwindled down to using scare tactics and nooo tht’s not okay with me. fucking assholes.

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ummmmm still thinking about the being treated by a prince thing!!!! yea!!!!!!!! please treat me like a prince uhuhuhu i am definitely royalty

trashy royalty at that! but still royalty!!!!!!!

soooooo treat me like itt

I held my boyfriend’s hand the other day. I caught it and held it until we reached the main gates of University College Cork, as I usually do on campus, only this time I didn’t let go after we’d passed through. We moved along the Western Road, toward Washington Street, and as we reached the innards of Cork City, something strange lingered over me.

I had become anxious, and soon I wasn’t speaking. I was afraid.

In my silence, I shot glances around, searching for anyone who might do us harm. I felt an unease as cars slowed down next to us. I wondered whether they would shout “Faggot!” or “Queer!” at us, as they had done before when I had been in previous relationships or had otherwise felt like showing my love and affection through the simple act of hand holding. I wanted to keep holding because it was cold, and my boyfriend’s hand felt so comforting, but I did not want to put him through the hurt and pain that words can cause. It was then that, having consulted my conscience, I almost let go.

But something very different happened. I felt a torrent of anger at the world. I felt angry at society for making me feel this way, for telling me that I can’t hold my boyfriend’s hand without feeling fear, without feeling trepidation, without feeling a niggling sense of shame. And I felt angry at myself for even entertaining the idea that this was not something that I should be doing. Suddenly I felt proud, and yet despite the fact that no one had yelled slurs at us, I still felt like it could happen any minute.

That day I felt so scared that I became angry at the homophobia that I had ignored since my teens, and I felt so angry that I couldn’t let go. I held my boyfriend’s hand all the way to Paul Street in the center of the city. I felt defiant, and elated that it felt normal to me, but I still felt afraid. I still felt anxious. I still felt homophobia.

—  The Day I Held My Boyfriend’s Hand | Olan Harrington for the Huffington Post Gay Voices
Olicity – From Private to Public Display of Affection – Part 1/4

                             

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We will all agree that the crossover between The Flash and Arrow was a massive success. If the two episodes focused on the cooperation between the two teams and on what it takes to be a hero, these episodes showed a considerable change in the dynamic between Oliver and Felicity. It made me realize how differently Oliver and Felicity interact in the crossover. They are closer but more apart than ever, they share so much but talk so little. I wanted to go through the episodes we have had so far, covering the three seasons of Arrow broadcasted so far and reflect on what can be seen from the outside, how Oliver and Felicity physically express their feelings to each other and how they have transitioned from a really private to an obvious public display of affection. This meta will be a three-part article, each one of them covering a different season. Let’s start now with Season 1.

SEASON 1 – “THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HER”

The season 1 of Arrow sets up the basis for Oliver and Felicity relationship. Not necessarily as a couple straight away but as two people who get to know, trust, appreciate and understand each other. The beauty of their relationship in Season 1 lies in the intimacy and privacy of their budding interaction.

“HI, I’M OLIVER QUEEN”

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Two main scenes are typical of this dynamic in season 1. When they first met in 1x03 and when Felicity gave him the notebook in 1x12. Two crucial scenes for the development of their relationship, two moments they share in private, far from anyone who could know them. Being away from anyone’s sight makes perfect sense as Oliver tries to keep Felicity as far away as he can from his nightly activities in order to protect her. The less she knows, the safer she is.

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Rewatching the 1x12 scene makes me realizes how natural, intuitive their attraction with each other is. Oliver thought straight from the beginning that there was something about her, Felicity felt like she could trust him without knowing him. They are attracted to each other despite any logic, any rational explanation. They try to explain it but they can’t, they just feel it. Their faces and looks speak for themselves. No physical contact is necessary to build the beginning of their journey together.

Their relationship in Season 1 relies on this. Two people feeling something, without really understanding what and without being able to put a name on it. If Oliver keeps his (physical) distance with her, it seems that the IT girl is growing on him. Oliver can’t help smiling when she’s around.

Then arrives the inevitable moment when Oliver divulges his secret identity to Felicity. Weirdly enough, this episode where Oliver is shot by his mother and where Felicity saves his life is the first episode where they touch each other. The first time Felicity lays her hands on Oliver, it’s literally to save his life. There’s no explanation required about the highly symbolic meaning of this fact. It’s in this episode that Oliver touches Felicity for the first time as well, when she agrees on being part of the team until they find Walter.

“ARE YOU IN?”

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This, funnily enough, looks almost out of character when you know (with a three-year experience) the strength of their chemistry. Hold on guys, where is the complicity in this hand shake?! Where’s the heat?! This moment is however crucial in Oliver and Felicity relationship as Oliver purposefully resets their connection. Felicity is not a stranger anymore, she’s not a girl he can smile at and charm with his charisma. She’s a member of his team and as such, she deserves respect and protection.

For a few weeks, there’s no display of affection from any of them. They enter a total different dynamic in their relationship. They can’t let words or looks betray what deep down they may start to feel for each other. They are part of a team now and as such, they need to put some distance between them. The danger and the emergency of their mission take over and both of them lose the innocence of the first moments of their story. Like everyone does. It gets serious and there’s no place for bright smiles and long gazes.

As soon as Felicity joins the team, she’s exposed to danger and her life is threatened. In Dodger, the only sign Oliver shows towards Felicity is the well-known eyebrow lift but never during this episode has he expressed any sign of affection.

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He always focuses on the mission more than on the members of his team. This makes sense as Oliver needs to shift his habits. From a solitary vigilante, he turns slowly into a leader. He cares for the members of his team but never can he show them how much he care for them. He can’t express his feelings, he can’t be weak. Oliver from season 1 is not an Oliver trying to figure out what is going on in his heart and in his head. He’s a vigilante who has a mission and only the mission matters. Felicity is not yet a love interest to him but a valued member of Team Arrow. Trust and consideration take time to develop between the two of them and it’s not without a few divergence of opinion.

The distance that Oliver puts between him and Felicity finds his paroxysm in the Return of the Huntress. In this episode, we understand the extend of the danger Felicity is potentially exposed to and the reason why Oliver doesn’t want her to get too close to him. At that very moment of their story, I can’t see Oliver seeing in Felicity a partner. Not just yet. This is too new, too fresh, he hasn’t evaluated the importance of her contribution and her impact in the team. This said, it’s pretty understandable. We have to remember that Felicity was only a temporary member of the team until they find Walter. Oliver couldn’t invest much hope and expectations in her when she could leave at any time. He couldn’t rely on her, create a need when he could lose her at any time.

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During this scene, Oliver literally shouts Felicity out. Literally. He yells at her and tells her to leave. His purpose is to keep her safe, to keep her away from the danger and Helena. Unfortunately, by doing so, he loses control and shows Helena that Felicity matters, that he cares about her. He opens the door to his vulnerability.

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When Helena finally attacks Felicity to learn when her father is being kept, Oliver lets his emotions take over and for the very first time, he cups her face. Out of relief. He makes sure that she is alright, that she’s not hurt. For the first time, he touches her to make sure she’s safe. This is a really intimate gesture. Touching someone’s face and allowing someone to touch your face is a sign of trust, of a form of intimacy between two people. More than just allowing him to reach for her face, Felicity grabs his hand. This sums up pretty well their relationship in Season 1. He cares and fears for her when she seems indubitably attracted to him.

From this episode, the dynamic changes slightly again and both of them starts to allow a bit more space for each other in their respective lives.

SHE’S MY FRIEND

Salvation deepens the status of their blossoming relationship. As Oliver and Felicity get to work with each other more closely, they get to know each other as well. They learn to know the difficulty of their mission and the consequences of it. Consequences on their private lives, on their minds and their hearts.

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Felicity admits she doesn’t have anyone but can’t see herself sharing her new life with anyone. Oliver’s face is pretty reflective of his situation. Once more he keeps Felicity at distance. He doesn’t show her any form of indulgence or compassion. He lets her deal with the harsh consequences of seeing someone die by herself.

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By the end of the episode, something shifts in Oliver’s mind. Felicity is not only a person who helps him. She’s a woman with emotions and for the first time, she triggers something in him, she harnesses this tiny bit of humanity that is left in him. Oliver touches Felicity’s shoulder and defines what will be their signature gesture, their very own way to express their feelings, to tell what the words can’t express.  By physically reaching to Felicity, Oliver lets her in. As her partner. Why at this very moment? Maybe because he saw the impact of the life that they lead on her, maybe because his sister almost lost her boyfriend that night, maybe because he realized she was not like him, resistant to emotions, or  that she needed him as much as he needed her.

If Felicity and Oliver’s partnership is now firmly established, it doesn’t mean that any of them would demonstrate any of their relationship in front of anyone. Yes, Diggle was there when Oliver touched her shoulder for the first time but it doesn’t mean that Felicity has any space in Oliver’s life. Felicity is part of Team Arrow but her connection to Oliver Queen is inexistent.

The Undertaking reminds us of that point really harshly. When Felicity interrupts Oliver and Laurel’s conversation, she confuses herself in excuses and states that she is nobody. At that point, this is very true in Oliver Queen’s world. Oliver Queen has no reason whatsoever to have a Felicity in his life. He’s a billionaire, back from the dead. Why would he reach out to an IT girl other than to set up his internet router? Oliver Queen and the Arrow are two separate personas and Felicity understands this. She’s not a part of this, of his world.

The Undertaking is once more one of these episodes where you can see a significant shift in Oliver towards Felicity. Through the episode, Felicity goes from “nobody”, to “partner”, to “friend”. For the first time in the history of Olicity, Oliver publically shows his connection with Felicity.

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If the fact that she is his partner is not a new thing, she now enters his world, Oliver Queen’s world. As opposed to the Laurel moment, Oliver steps forward and introduces Felicity as his friend. Not as Walter’s employee. He legitimates her presence in his life. Considering that Oliver has worked hard to separate his two lives, this is a sign that the two sides of his life start to slowly merge into a complete blur that will lead to the well known identity problem in Season 3.

As the season 1 arrives to an end, we understand that Oliver is still deeply attached to Laurel. We understand as well that Felicity, if any proof was needed, has quite a crush on Oliver. Who wouldn’t fantasize on this Apollo with an immense heart and an intense look? In Darkness on the Edge of Town, Felicity gives away her attraction to him as she babbles in his arms.

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The intimacy of the situation is noticeable as our two characters have never been that close to each other. We foresee the difference of feelings between the two protagonists : Felicity can’t hide she’s attracted to him in some way when Oliver is completely stoic. As usual, Oliver is focused on the mission and doesn’t give much away. And his heart and mind are still stuck with Laurel. He still hasn’t realized he is in the wrong and that this relationship won’t bring anything good to him. To be fair, this shows us that Oliver from season 1 is clearly different from the Ollie who left on a boat 5 years before. Oliver could totally take advantage on Felicity’s inclination for him. That’s something that Ollie could have done. But our Oliver cares for his partner, he cares for her safety. He doesn’t want to ruin anything between them and keeps things pretty straight forward.

Felicity shares these very same emotions for Oliver. She deeply cares for him and as Sacrifice kicks off we understand that she’s ready to do anything to protect Oliver. If no mention of his name is done, Felicity openly shares her vision of the Arrow with Captain Lance. She sees him as a hero and would do anything to ensure his safety, to make him reach the purpose of his crusade. She’s a now a connection to the Arrow for Captain Lance, connection that she doesn’t deny. She would prefer be arrested than giving him to the police.

Later, in the episode, when Oliver is about to fight his last battle against Merlyn, we catch a glimpse of what Oliver and Felicity relationship is at the end of the season. A pure trust, an infinite friendship and a limitless partnership. All of these go through the look they exchange.

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The entire season 1 for Olicity is built around this : meaningful looks and partnership. Through an entire year, our two favourite characters learn to know each other, to trust each other, to rely on each other and to care for each other. As Oliver’s love life is past complicated, Felicity stands still and tries not to divulge anything of her burgeoning feelings. This is made easier by an Oliver who keeps his distance with her, trying to protect her from the darkness and danger of his life. However, they start developing signs of affection that will become theirs later on : long, eloquent looks and light touches. As much as they have kept their relationship private and somehow secret, the end of season 1 is indicative of the bonds that have been developed between the two. As sure as Oliver is about to see his life changed forever by the undertaking, he can now rely on someone new in his life, someone who will be there for him no matter what, someone who will prove him that he can be loved and love in return.