episode-still

Last night episode was personally the best episode arrow has ever produced. This was a very deep character study of oliver queen. It tied perfectly to his time in the island, his state of mind when he came back to starling as the hood, and present day oliver. After all, they are the same man just in very different states of mind.

To understand this episode properly I think we must remember that for five years Oliver Queen was a slave of circumstances and others. For five years his entire existence was out of his control. He had no control over his circumstances, over his body, over how his body was shaped into a weapon and how his body was used as a means to an end. For five years Oliver Queen wasn’t treated as a human being but shaped into a weapon that you could use as you pleased to achieve whatever purpose you had. 

That matters because all that contributed to how and why Oliver slowly but surely stopped seeing himself as a person as a human being. Instead for five years the darkest side of human nature were fostered and used and abused. He was constantly pushed into dark headspaces were he still had no control. Slowly he began to think of himself as a monster who carried great darkness with him. He began thinking he was irredeemable. 

Talia confirmed that for him. She saw that monster and that darkness. And she provided him with a mask to channel that into action. Oliver bought into that. I think for him that was who he really was…he wasn’t someone he was something. something else. He was the weapon that was in the making for five years. 

When Oliver came back to Starling city he really didn’t think himself as a person he thought of himself as something. Oliver Queen was just a vessel for the monster. He needed him because it gave him a form but really all he cared about was The Hood. 

S1 Oliver probably did find pay off in killing and to an extent it did probably bring him a sort of enjoyment. Not in the sense that he wanted to kill just to kill but in the sense that he believed he was helping but also he was finally in control again. Killing gave him control. This is a man who for five years was used and abused and forced into a weapon. So yes, finally having control over your body and skills was probably exhilarating to him. S1 Oliver was darkness. He was a man who believed he was a monster and irredeemable but if he had to live he was going to be in control and try to do something good. That’s why he did. But at first he had no motivation to try to find another way because he had no concerns over his humanity simply because he didn’t believe he had one. 

This is why s1 Oliver struggled so much with reconnecting with his family and friends. This is why s1 Oliver couldn’t trust his best friend, mother, and sister  would love present day him because in his mind there was nothing left of that person. Now he was a weapon. He was darkness and a monster. He still loved them though. Oliver has always loved them. It doesn’t matter how people used him or how they destroyed his perception of himself the one thing he never lost was his ability to love his family and friends with everything he’s got. But even then he loved them in the best way he could and for him that was loving them by keeping them away from the monster he saw when he looked in the mirror. He wanted to let them believe he was still the man they loved and lost because that would help them. And he could give them that mask. 

I think that changed slowly through Diggle & Felicity because Diggle & Felicity met Oliver at his lowest and darkest time. When he had given up on his humanity and his ability to be someone other than a weapon. Earning their trust and love changed him because they saw goodness in him. This was later extended to Tommy, Moira and Thea. Tommy finding out his secret and before he died telling him he wasn’t all those awful things. Moira telling him she knew and she was proud of him. Thea reacting with love, support, and pride when she found out about his secret. All these things scraped the rust that had formed over his perception of himself. So yes, he started to believe he is a hero and that made all the difference in his life. Oliver found a purpose in his mission of helping people. 

Its a beautiful story because when Oliver told Prometheus his friends are his strength he wasn’t lying.

 Oliver’s entire journey has been shaped by love. The love he has for his family and friends and the love they have for him. The love he has because at the end of the day he guarded this in the deepest part of his heart and never let anyone take that from him. He never stopped loving them. Their love for him because in a way it slowly began to rescue him. Their love prove to him that he was worth loving that he must have some light in him- even when he didn’t know what that was. He knew it was there.

Now the hardest part is that unfortunately that is all not enough. It is not enough if he can’t love himself. And at the end of the day that has always been Oliver’s biggest and hardest battle. The one within. Learning to love himself again. Learning to believe in himself again. Learning to see himself as someone who is human, flawed, but at the end of the day still good and worth it. This is all something Oliver has to do for himself. Felicity can’t do it for him. Thea can’t do it for him. Diggle can’t do it for him. It is something only Oliver Queen can do for himself. 

I love Arrow and Oliver Queen because Oliver’s journey is one grounded on the resilience of the human soul and our ability to come back from the darkest of places and find goodness within ourselves. It is a journey about learning to love oneself despite our flaws and our darkest parts. It is about learning to harness the goodness and light without ignoring that most of us carry darkness within. It is about choosing to be good despite our losses, circumstances and flaws. 

Oliver’s most courageous battle has always been the one to save himself. 

Episode 88, part 2: time for some bullshit to drag a card game out too long!

(part 1, which actually occurs in the middle of the episode, is here)

For some reason, we’re still dragging through the absolutely thrilling and suspenseful duel that is Villain’s Sidekick vs Guy Who Always Comes Third-ish. And we’re also still dragging through Terrible Liar Pretends To Be Good Liar as Rishid miserably attempts to be Malik-ish. #insertMalikISHtarjokehere

Yami is definitely on to him, but he has no proof. 

So far all the evidence has been “He’s being suspiciously less-dickish-than-we-thought”. I don’t know why Malik thought Rishid would make a good him. He must know Rishid is not brilliant at pretending to be him?

Anyway Malik has an ace up Rishid’s sleeve; a fake Ra card. Now, you might ask, why give him a fake when he could just give him the real thing? But actually, the real question is, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??, because…

… they’ve actually made, like dozens of fake Ra cards…

… and the reason they don’t use them is because they FUCKING KILL PEOPLE. They’re just fucking deathtraps. If you play one, you have an unknown - but distressingly high - chance of being struck by lightning, cast down upon your foolish mortal form by the Gods themselves as punishment for your hubris in calling upon forces you were not meant to wield. 

And Malik just gave one to Rishid to play with a sort of “hope this doesn’t kill you, I’m reasonably sure it won’t because you seem like the kinda guy the Gods would be cool with? idk anyway good luck”

“Also God might randomly kill me if I try so we’ll call it Plan B.”

And it turns out, Rishid is correct and Malik is a fucking overreacting bullshit artist but let’s let it play out.

Rishid’s giant tomb card makes the whole thing look like a particularly weird glitch in the Sims:

Cheat codes are definitely being used.

Right, so, Rishid has this giant angry scorpion thing that eats other Monsters, which is hella useful and also looks hilarious because it starts taking on some of the devoured Monsters characteristics so it’s this big scary Monster with cute fairy wings now.

(They’re actually insect wings, from Insect Queen, but they look like fairy wings to me.) (Also hilarious; eating the Fisherman and his whale separately.)

Jounouchi has nothing left to defend himself and the gang fret, especially Mai, but Yami points out that Jounouchi himself isn’t upset and he’s right. Jou says he’s been thinking about the pier duel, when Malik forced him to duel Yugi to the attempted-homicide. 

“Rude…”

Is NO ONE looking at how suspiciously ~Namu~ reacts to any mention of Malik. Who other than Malik would POUT at Malik being called a bastard?

The point Jounouchi’s trying to make? He’s copped on:

Yami is pleased; he’s been thinking the same thing for like, an episode and a half now. But then he realises: if this isn’t Malik…

But ~~WHERE~~??~~

Definitely not TWO METRES BEHIND YOU and pouting.

The duel is coming from inside the blimp.

#HISFACETHO

“Malik’s grimace is adorable” is probably not the message I’m supposed to take from this dramatic moment, but here we are. Also, way to look suspicious, buddy. Like ~Namu~ should definitely look confused and perhaps slightly worried or affronted if ~Yugi~ just suddenly turned and gave him hella side-eye, but Malik grimaces (adorably but) in a really “damn, you got me!” kinda way.

But before Yami can say anything! (Not that this should have stopped him, really.)

Rishid escalates and whips out…

Still REALLY want to know how they made the fake Rod. My headcanon is that it’s papier mâché and until I see canon material to refute it, that’s what I’m sticking with.

And again, WHY. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just give Rishid the real Rod and Ra card?? If Malik trusts him, which he does, what’s the problem?

So Rishid waves his papier mâché Millennium Item around and sets his giant scorpion to attack Jounouchi, who, may I remind the court, has NO cards in front of him and nothing to activate, and I forget how many LP he has left but I guarantee it’s fewer than 5825, which is how much Mr Scorpion - now with added fish tail - has ATK.

And Jounouchi’s even kinda cool with it? He’s not delighted, but they both fought a good fight and duelled a good duel, they laughed (not really) they cried (a little) they’re better friends now (technically).

But.

But then.

But then THIS.

THIS asshole.

You wanna know what I hate the most? I hate people who look down on seungri, degrade him etc. And I hate people who wants to steal dragon from panda. And that person that I hate is kwanghee. Hahhahahah

i love season one dean with his too-big leather jacket and his ripped worn out jeans and his bracelets and ring and necklace and his freckles and long eyelashes and perfect jawline and cheeky grin

and his wide desperate eyes and his frustration because all he wants to have his family all in one place and sam and dad just can’t SEE that like he does and i love how he leans into every touch he gets because he’s so starved for it and i love the shadows under his eyes because he’s only 26 but he feels like he’s been living forever and wow oh wow i just love season one dean