“Can I See Him?”
I wanted to take a closer look at that scene in the hospital at the end of 520. The emotions between Oliver and Felicity that have been languishing in the background for so long really came out in this scene.
When I initially wrote about it on Thursday, I was quick to jump on the Felicity bandwagon, feeling a little let down when she apologized to Oliver for…well, for feeling that she abandoned him and their relationship by walking away. The argument that Oliver did the same thing by lying about William is a valid one. He fucked up; he knows it and he paid the ultimate price—losing Felicity and William in one stroke.
When Lyla told Felicity that Oliver was asking for her, there was no hesitation. She went to him and there was purpose in her steps as she made a beeline to his room. When she opened the door and saw him on the bed alive and waiting for her, Felicity’s smile was one of relief—and quite possibly, one of happiness too. Oliver looked happy that she was walking again. She voiced her fear by saying everyone had a scare over his injuries. She also implied that him still living was more important than her being able to walk again. She came up next to the bed and Oliver tried to humor her by saying she should be used to him being near death. Felicity wasn’t laughing. She told Oliver she would never get used to it. Ever.
Then she took Oliver’s hand.
That casual, familiar and comforting touch reminded me (and maybe them as well) how natural they are when they touch each other. It was a small intimacy, one they had denied themselves for far too long. Then Oliver brought up his confession to her. He might have still been feeling a little apprehension by it, but he wanted to let her know that her response to it was appreciated. She didn’t react with horror or a need to get away from him. After telling her his deepest fear, Felicity did like she has always done whenever he loses himself in his darkness—-she reassures Oliver by reminding him she still believes in him. When she told him she wouldn’t have fallen in love with him or want to marry him if he wasn’t the kind of man she knew he was—my shipper heart was ready to burst out of my chest. Oliver always thought that if she knew the truth about him, If she ever caught one glimpse of the monster inside him—she would not love him anymore.
But there she was with him in that hospital room holding his hand. Because in spite of what they had gone through since the breakup, all the distance and anger and sadness and lack of communication—she still believed in him. She still believed in them. When he spoke of his appreciation, Felicity asked him if any of what she said to him in the Bunker stuck.
Oliver said he was hoping it did. Maybe there was a part of him still thinking about that conversation they had the morning after their sexual encounter last summer in the Bunker. She told him she wasn’t ready yet to have “the talk” with him, (the sex they had looked like she was.) About the sex—it wasn’t what reawakened their need for each other. It was an emotional and spiritual connection that only death can break. It is a natural attraction that is never going away. Okay, maybe the wine helped a little bit. Felicity was the one who initiated it because Oliver wouldn’t make that move on her. He still respected her need for space and intended to keep his distance. Flirting and heart eyes were okay, but touching her, kissing her, making love to her—that was no longer left between them.
When Felicity acknowledged to him that it had been wrong to walk away and that she was sorry, Oliver didn’t know what to say. Was he thinking that she didn’t have to apologize, that he is the one who lied to her? Would she understand if he told her he was being devoured by the monster? Does he ever think about that early conversation with John after Felicity joined the team? He would protect her and ensure her safety. She would never get hurt. Maybe that is why he didn’t say anything to her that day in the loft, didn’t go after her. Not only did he betray her, he betrayed himself.
Which brings me to Felicity’s second apology.
Felicity: “I’m sorry.”
Oliver: “For what?”
Felicity: “For being a hypocrite.”
I think she was acknowledging her dark spiral and how she saw herself becoming like him. I am still hard pressed in believing that it was solely Billy who pushed her down the rabbit hole. Helix, her unwavering need for revenge against Chase, the lengths she was willing to go and the sacrifices she was willing to make—all of it was a macrocosm of everything Oliver had gone through over the past ten years. She told him her experiences gave her a tiny taste of what he went through.
Billy is dead. Susan is out of the picture. So is Helix (for now.) All of this was in the Bunker with them. But there was something else happening between Oliver and Felicity down there in the dark; they put aside their differences and worked together to survive. There was the subtext of the episode—trust. Not only in overcoming the physical and tactical obstructions in their way, but also looking for common ground they both could stand on with it’s time to be in each other’s lives again.
There was no ‘I miss you’ or ‘I need you’ declarations spoken. But there really was. It was through the actions they took in helping each other. It was Felicity still pointing out that Oliver needed to listen to her. It was her patching him up when there would have been no need if he had listened. It was Oliver willing to try her suggestions and plans. It was him literally carrying her on his back. It was both of them understanding they worked better as individuals when the worked together. It was Oliver telling her about his monster and Felicity still accepting him. They had each other’s backs and that is the foundation of their love.
Felicity told Oliver that she gets it now. What is it? Well…it’s Oliver she gets. What they went through together in the Bunker was an obstacle course in making decisions. It was also clear to both of them that those kinds of decisions are not always going to be the right ones. No one is perfect. Oliver made a bad one lying to Felicity about William. Was it enough to kill their realationship? Maybe. Felicity thought it was. She talked about inclusion and trusting your partner when the shit hits the fan. They’ve both trusted each other before over the years. Felicity always knew that some of Oliver’s actions were influenced by his tortured past and how it shaped him into who he was. But he was able to overcome a lot of that trauma and set a heroes example, not just to her but to a whole city. It brought their hearts into alignment.
So I think when he lied about William it wasn’t about not trusting her. It wasn’t about him discounting everything they built together. It wasn’t about protecting anybody. It was about fear. Oliver was afraid that if he brought Felicity into the part of him that felt the need to keep her away from William—he would have to let her all in. He was afraid of the darkness, and if it touched her, he would lose Felicity forever. It was a conundrum that he lost himself in. He thought he was doing the right thing in keeping his son safe, but he had to lie to Felicity to do it.
So maybe Felicity telling him she “gets it” has to do with the decisions she made with Helix, with hooking up with Billy instead of trying to fix her life with Oliver. Maybe it had a lot to do with Havenrock as well. Maybe, that’s why she understands the William lie. Her apology for judging him might not have been warranted, but Felicity, I think, was coming to terms with herself. She was vanquishing her darkness before it could take hold, like it has with Oliver, and not let her go.
But Felicity does know one thing in her that won’t let go—her love for Oliver. He is a part of her. He gives her life purpose, (her words, not mine.) He makes her the best version of herself. When Oliver told her he didn’t know what kind of person he is, she still did. He is not a monster. He is the man she chose to stand by and continues to stand by. If he is broken, she is too. If he makes mistakes, so does she. They’re imperfections and both have them. So when she suggested to Oliver that he should figure out what kind of person he is, I heard the door she closed on him last year swing open. I saw the love for him in her eyes and the smile on her face.
I saw her forgiving him and herself.
So in this context, maybe what happened in that hospital room makes a little more sense to me. Felicity was right. Oliver needs to shake loose from Chase’s influence and find that belief in himself. And now that he knows Felicity will be there waiting for him when he does—he will embrace the hero in his heart.
Oliver and Felicity are still moving on. But now it’s towards each other. They rediscovered their purpose—working together and loving together. It’s comes with all the faults and disagreements and arguing. It’s the thought of losing each other. It’s the darkness and the light. It’s the pain and the tears and the comfort they bring to one another at the end of the day. It’s the life they’ve chosen.
Some have said they should have told each other “I love you” when they were safe in that hospital wrong. They did.
When Felicity opened the door and they saw each other. Perhaps for the first time.