Rambling Thoughts And Parallels On Parade
I’ve been thinking about the parallels they’ve sprinkled throughout the show this season. Some of them are obvious: the red pen and Oliver pantomiming a proposal to Felicity, the fake world of the Dominators and all the fun stuff that went on there, the bullet ridden laptop in the Bratva flashbacks. There were a lot more; you have to trust me on this one. I want to talk about the less obvious ones. Those of you who follow the narrative of Arrow as closely as I do, probably already know which ones.
This might (probably will) get rambly, but that is how I roll sometimes. And when these kind of thoughts take hold—they take hold. Besides, where else can I take them? This is why I created my blog—to have a place to purge said thoughts.
Am I crazy thinking that most of the parallels this season are linked to Oliver and Felicity? Is my Olicity bandwagon that obvious? It’s been said that their story —as crime-fighting partners and romantically as well, is the core of the show. Oliver’s growth and Felicity’s growth is symbiotic.
It didn’t start out that way. Felicity was only supposed to be on just one episode. But the combination of chemistry between EBR and SA, and the lackluster pairing of Oliver and Laurel, made the writers rethink the love story they wanted to tell. Yes, they tried throwing other love interest Oliver’s (and ours) way—McKenna, Helena, Sara; and a one night stand with Isabel. But when those “interests” didn’t pan out, Felicity was still there. She became a constant in Oliver’s life in a way those other women could never be. They were nothing more than pit stops, temporary romps without any real meaning or thought. Oliver got sexy time with them, but he was only going through the motions. It wasn’t until Sara told him he deserved someone better than her, someone who could harness that light inside him, that Oliver realized he could be long term relationship material. He did want to care for someone, to love and laugh and maybe embrace that light Sara talked about.
McKenna wasn’t for Oliver. She was more for Ollie. She knew the playboy, not the hero. There wasn’t any real significant history between them.
Besides Sara, Helena was closer to who Oliver had been when he came back from the island. She was a train wreck, damaged emotionally and scared by the very thing Oliver was looking for—love and a sense of belonging. They were dysfunctional mirrors of each other. There was no conventional therapy that would have helped her. Oliver had Lian Yu and Hong Kong and Russia. His experiences in those places taught him how to be strong, and how to detach from his feelings. Helena had superior fighting skills, rage and a place to aim it—at her father. Neither of them knew how to truly reach out and let hope or redemption lead them to the light.
So Oliver drifted through Season 1 without the kind of love he thought he would be able to get from the above mentioned.
He brought John and Felicity into his crusade and that was the catalyst for Oliver to make the kind of connection he was looking for. John was still fighting his own demons with his war experiences and losing Andy. Before joining them, Felicity had settled into an obscure life, away from pain and loss and love. When the three of them came together, they recognized in each other that connection. They were a team, sharing one goal—to make a difference.
Parallels Gene, parallels. Stay on point. I did say that this might get rambly. When I delve into the show like this, it sometimes consumes me—and like my wife used to accuse me of, I have a tendency to ping-pong all over the place. So I guess my point up to here is that Felicity remained a constant in Oliver’s life. She was here to stay.
So, Season 5. We were told that the show was going back to basics. A reboot. Was it because they were trying to bring the comic fans back into the fold? Maybe. The show did kill off their matriarch. Was it because the initial 5 seasons were coming to an end and they were green-lighted for more? Perhaps. MG said that they might have made a mistake in bringing Oliver and Felicity together too soon, (this always cracked me up.) So I think their relationship was a culmination of all these things.
When Season 5 opened, Oliver and Felicity were “ambiguous.” They were working together as Green Arrow and Overwatch, but they were still romantically apart. Yet, they seemed to have traded places emotionally from where they had been in past seasons.
This time is was Oliver pining and frustrated, wanting to bridge the gap between them and come together. Felicity was the one holding back and pushing away (via Oliver in Season 3.) She still had obvious feelings for him. Their romance was implied but not acted on. They both wanted it, but there was still too much damage to repair. If they came back together too soon their relationship would implode again. So Oliver appeared to regress back to doing things alone and to killing again. Going back to basics. And Felicity seemed to fade into the background, trying to process what had happened to her personally. Both of them were like billiard balls, bumping off each other, looking for a pocket they could call home.
Then Felicity met and became involved with someone, something she thought would help her sort through all her feelings and move on. It didn’t. But it was a fun distraction, and maybe it did loosen things up a bit for her.
Until Rory came along and shoved Havenrock back into her face.
But here’s the thing about Billy, and another parallel added to the parade. Felicity kept her relationship with him a secret, from the Team , and more importantly—Oliver. For 5 episodes, in the entire 3 minutes we saw her interact with Billy, I could hear John telling Oliver that secrets have weight. She finally told Oliver, only because he found out from a virtual stranger and asked her. Billy was a comfort zone for Felicity, and if Oliver hadn’t found out when he did, her secret would have lasted a lot longer.
Sound familiar? Was she afraid of losing Oliver forever? Like Oliver was afraid of losing her over William? Sure, Oliver totally lied to her every time he came back from Central City. He broke her trust, her happiness, her heart. And even though Felicity did not lie to Oliver about Billy, he was still hurt. A secret is a secret, especially when it’s kept from someone you love. It’s damaging. Oliver found this out the hard way when Felicity got out of that wheelchair and walked away. I think Felicity will experience this with her secrets about Helix. Her secret won’t be as severe emotionally as Oliver’s but it will still be damaging.
After Oliver killed Billy, Felicity’s comfort zone died with him. Raw emotions took hold of her, and she faced again all the issues that brought her to Billy in the first place. Anger, grief, loss, regret, uncertainty fear—all these things crashed in on her and took her to a place dark and painful. She could look into a mirror and not only see herself, but also a reflection of Oliver super-imposed on hers, giving her a glimpse into what he has been living with since he washed up on Lian Yu.
All of this left Felicity wide open for Helix.
And here is the last parallel in this rambly chronicle. Helix will be Felicity’s League of Assassins. It will at first give her a sense of identity. It will empower her. It will be her mask. And she won’t feel like she’s alone anymore. But here’s the catch. Helix is just as dangerous, with just as much potential of losing herself as the League was for Oliver. If Felicity does end up pitting herself against Team Oliver, it could be the final conflict between them. It would be the kind of disconnect and loss neither one of them would tolerate. Oliver did the same thing with Team Arrow, (granted, it was ruse to make Ra’s think Oliver was all in.) He hurt those that he loved in order to protect them. Sure, a bit misguided, but his heart was in the right place. Felicity will do her thing with Helix for the same reason. In her life, Felicity had never hurt those she loves. She is a cupcake. A unicorn. A pure ray of emphatic sunshine. Her nature is to love, to help and to heal. It is all of these things that will eventually save her, and let those she loves back in.
So, all of what is happening this season is familiar. Maybe the writers really do have a method to their madness? Maybe there is a confrontation, a reconciliation, an endgame? Maybe we will be surprised? Maybe we will believe again?
With a wink and a smile—I’m in.