Thomas Merlyn...The best man ever in the history of men
When I first started watching Arrow, my first thought about Tommy was “Douche Best Friend.” Oliver was a mega douche before the island. It stands to reason that his best friend would been the same way. My opinion changed…and it changed quickly. I could not be happier that the writers made it change. They wrote Tommy in such a way that he was able to have the “rich kid playboy not a care in the world” attitude without much of the douchiness. (I apologize for my use of the word douche…) The scene that changed my mind was the dinner scene. Tommy basically invited himself to Oliver’s family dinner. But I don’t think that it was an invite that happened without years of history to back it up. It was a family dinner and to Tommy these people are family. The way that he interacted with the Queen/Steele’s though gave me a thought. Oliver was gone for five years, and in that five years, this dinner scene makes it very subtly (can something be very subtly?) apparent that Tommy stuck around while Oliver was gone/”dead”. We know he took care of Thea, but we only know this because of episodes in other seasons. The ease that he has with Thea (and Moira and Raisa) at that dinner, and just based on that one episodes worth of knowledge, shows the viewer that he is a part of the family. The way that Oliver pats his chest as he leaves the table, there is a love there that only happens between brothers, brothers implies sons.
Brother from another mother. Usually when you are so close to someone that you consider them family they are close to your family as well. Tommy is a Queen. His name may be Merlyn, but Moira and Robert raised him. And when Oliver was gone, he still came over unannounced and ate Moira and Walter’s food, watched their tv, spent time with them. There is so much more to Tommy than meets the eye and I am thankful that the writers went down that path instead of the “Douchey best friend” a la Paul Walker (it pains me to type that) in “She’s all That” path.
Tommy and Laurel: Was he a womanizer? Absolutely…but I don’t believe for a second that he was a douche womanizer. He was more of a Joey Tribbiani womanizer than a Barney Stinson before Robin womanizer. All that changed as soon as he set his heart on Dinah Laurel Lance. Laurel was the first, and only girl that Tommy ever loved. Tommy decided to woo her. At first he tried to do it big. He tried the private jet/dinner at a the best restaurant in Coast City route. This failed, and it failed spectacularly. It failed so spectacularly that when he tried to do it in a way that would actually be beneficial, and make Laurel happy, she shut him down. She was willing to sacrifice CNRI because she didn’t believe that Tommy didn’t have anything but an ulterior motive. She was probably right on some level, but his motive was about way more than getting in her pants. His motive was to show her that he would do whatever it took to prove that he wanted something big with her…and I think along the way he really began to enjoy doing something philanthropic just because and not just for Laurel. Tommy will forever have one of my absolute favorite lines ever in the history of tv/movies…in fact it may be my favorite and not just one of my favorites:
Tommy (to Laurel): “I’m gonna prove you wrong. Laurel: “By dating me.” Tommy: “By being better. By being someone you deserve, and that you want to be with.”
We know from watching this show that all girls should have a guy look at them the way that Oliver Queen looks at Felicity Smoak. With that line above, we also know that all girls should have a guy feel about them the way that Tommy Merlyn feels about Laurel Lance. He loves her so much that he is willing to do whatever it takes to prove it to her; not just woo her but prove it to her. That is where his Coast City plan failed but his Benefit plan succeeded. Tommy already knew that he wanted to be with Laurel, but he also knew that she deserved better than womanizer Tommy, and he knew that she knew that as well. He didn’t resent her for it. He didn’t whine at her about, or make huge grand speeches. He gave her one small line and then he made it his goal to prove it to her. Actions speak louder than words, and Tommy became a man of action.
***A great fanvid with some of the best Merlance scenes. Thanks amilieefemme!
Tommy and Thea: Tommy always looked at Thea as a little sister. He loved her. He tells her he loves her. At the beginning of 01x06 after she gives him some advice, he kind of off handedly tells her “love you” as he is walking out the door. It is such an easy thing for him to say because he says it to her all of the time. She is his “Speedy” as much as she is Oliver’s. When she gets drunk at the party and hits on him (cringe) he doesn’t make her feel bad. He doesn’t get flippant or mean. He just stands with her while she gets sick, gives her his jacket, and refuses to get her a cab because he is going to make sure that she gets home safely. He views it as his duty, his job, to protect her so he leaves his party, and his girl, and the dance that he wanted to have with her, and he takes Thea home. If that doesn’t scream “big brother” I don’t know what does.
***I couldn’t find a video of the scenes with Tommy and Thea but here is really great fanvid that has everything that I was looking for. Thanks xheysweetheart.
Tommy and Oliver: That is a relationship I am saving for its own post as Season One progresses.
With Tommy’s character, the writers could have fallen in to the old cliched best friend who is a vapid and terrible person characterization but instead they imbued Tommy Merlyn with life…with honest real life. Tommy Merlyn led a charmed life…well financially it was charming. Emotionally…it sucked. His mother was murdered, and his father, who had been present in his life and I believe a fairly decent father until she died, turned in to an aloof pyschopathic asshole. Luckily he had the Queens. And luckily Tommy, is by nature, a kind and gentle boy. Tommy Merlyn is special. He is a good man. He is a loyal man. He is a loving and kind man. He is also a boy with too much money and no one to tell him no. Boy Tommy is silly, and arrogant, and I want to smack him upside the back of his head. Then I want to take him home with me and love and mother him. Man Tommy is all of the things that I mentioned and more…and I want to take him home with me and love him and girlfriend him…but I’ll leave that to Laurel. Or I’ll leave it to her until the stupid writers let me down and took him from her (and all of the people who love him…and the world). At least he died being the selfless hero that he was. Now I demand a re-write…or a trip to the Lazarus Pit…without all of the consequences that come with that. Stupid writers. I will never love you as much as I did before you killed Tommy. Assholes.
I love Tommy Merlyn. There has never been a character that I love more than Tommy Merlyn and I don’t think that there ever will be.