prometheus imaging

Fic: What she had to do

Here’s my post-5x18 fic. I wanted to explore what Felicity was thinking a bit in the episode and why she wasn’t there with Digg when he talked to Oliver. And then of course, I couldn’t leave it at a sad point so I had to add some future spec. :) Read it on Ao3 or below. Enjoy!

What she had to do

Felicity rolled over with a groan. Probably the worst night of sleep she had in a while – and that wasn’t saying much because she hadn’t really slept well since her breakup with Oliver.

It had been almost a year now, and she still missed sleeping in his arms. She couldn’t seem to…settle without him.

Thinking of Oliver gave her a sharp pain in her chest. She closed her eyes again and tried to push the images of him staggering into the bunker yesterday after he was released from Chase’s torture. He couldn’t even look at her. Despite the end of their romantic relationship, they had remained friends and had at least always had eye contact.

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Saturn’s moon Prometheus, up close. 

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied details on the pockmarked surface of Saturn’s moon Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) during a moderately close flyby on Dec. 6, 2015. This is one of Cassini’s highest resolution views of Prometheus.

This view looks towards the anti-Saturn side of Prometheus. North on Prometheus is up. The image was acquired at a distance of approximately 23,000 miles (37,000 kilometers) from Prometheus. Image scale is 722 feet (220 meters) per pixel.

Prometheus orbits Saturn just interior to the narrow F ring, which is seen here at top.

Arrow 5X09: What We Leave Behind. “Mirror, Mirror.”

What a ride! Except for the last minute when you know who returned, it was thrilling and filled with very heavy imagery. Let’s dive into that first and let me explain why Olicity is alive and well. 

From the very first image of the ep, Antonio Negret focuses on mirrors and how they can reflect or distort the truth. 

We get the face of Evelyn in a sword, later the reflection of Paul in Curtis eye and when Oliver kills Billy it’s in a hall of mirrors. I haven’t listed them all but rewatch the ep with that in mind and you shall see.

Of course, the main idea behind this is that Prometheus is the reversed mirror image of Oliver. His nemesis even had the same teacher. In a chilling scene leading to Billy’s death, Prometheus recreates the mirror image of the hood attacking his father plant.

Throughout the ep there were also a lot of parallels (or mirror images) of scenes we have seen before, like Oliver getting on one knee in front of Felicity. Susan echoing Thea’s words that Oliver only sees the bad and needs to focus on how he impacts positively on others. Or Felicity incapable of saying the word love to Billy (like with Ray) and Oliver’s voice dropping a few octave as he says “Call me Oliver” (again like with Ray). 

We also had two characters (Curtis and Billy) stating: “I need to be true to who I am”.

Why oh why so many mirror metaphors? Because Antonio Negret and the writers know what they are doing and they have a message concerning Oliver.

Prometheus is holding a mirror to Oliver, he wants him to see himself as he sees him: a serial killer someone who destroys everything he touches. How everything you touch dies, he says.

And it could be argued Oliver needs to take a hard look at himself because that’s his hero’s journey. Remember the very first ep where he looked at his scars in the mirror. And last week with “it’s a wonderful life” feel where his first appearrence in the bathroom was in a mirror but sans scars?

Since his return Oliver has been obsessed with the image he presents others. Whether it’s to instill fear or hide who he truly is. But what does he see now when he looks into the mirror alone? The cold blooded killer, his old self or someone else? 

The perception Oliver has of himself and his purpose is fleeting. He is optimistic one moment and drowns in abject despair the next following the latest crisis. Oliver needs steadier foundation so he can weather any storm.

Now let’s take a minute to watch who he became in the presence of Felicity Smoak 4 years ago.

 In the flashback, the vigilante morphs into someone who indeed believes in magic. And the face he offers her, the one she creates because he can’t help smiling in her presence is someone else entirely. So different from the hardened killer he is then with John. 

And that’s why from the start he wants to be a man worthy of her trust and admiration.

My absolute favorite Olicity scene was always the one when Felicity gives him Walter’s book because their interaction is about her cutting through his bullshit and bringing to the surface the real Oliver, a man she can trust.

After killing Billy, he can barely make himself look into her eyes, the mirror of her soul. Yet, despite her pain, she doesn’t blame him. Reigniting in him the hope he might be something else than a killer. That’s why he goes to Susan to discuss with an outsider how he can be someone who doesn’t destroy everything he touches. Because he doesn’t want to be the man who returned from the island anymore.

In Freemasonry, a person initiated for the first time is asked this question: “Do you recognize an enemy among the people gathered here” and they are shown immediately a mirror where they see their reflection. This symbolizes the work the freemason needs to do: “know thyself to overcome what keeps you from being truly free.”

Oliver is at the stage where he badly needs to do that. He needs to change the perception he has of himself. Not the image he presents to others. Who cares what the city, the press, the cops or even his team or his sister sees when they look at him? What matter most is how he sees himself when he looks into the mirror. And that’s certainly something we can all empathize with.

The whole theme of the season is legacy and what Oliver will leave behind. But the title of the ep also means the consequences of one’s actions and/or what Oliver needs to abandon to truly reach his full potential and move on from what’s holding him back. That’s his hero’s journey. Oliver needs to evolve and conquer his fears and only then will he be able to win Felicity back. Because no-one will stand in his path then and certainly not his own worst enemy: himself.

Another interesting fact about mirrors: in the Jewish tradition, after a death one puts a drape on every mirror. I can totally picture Felicity doing that to honor Billy’s memory.

There are clear signs Oliver is making progress on his path to being a true hero. His opening up to others, namely Susan, is positive. His telling the truth about Billy’s death immediately after the fact despite the consequences (Felicity could hate him) shows real maturity. He initiated the hug with John after that, intimating he was needing comfort and accepting it from his brother.

Unfortunately, he is not there yet because he made a classic mistake. By dealing with the Prometheus situation alone, he fell into a trap. If he had taken his sister or relied on his team, he might have seen Billy was in danger. By trying to protect the ones he loved, he did more harm than good again.

To me this ep was a love declaration to the fans not last week’s. There were so many signs Olicity is the destination. Check this out:

-When Thea asks Oliver to focus on the good he thinks of Felicity.

-When Curtis talks about being true to himself, Felicity eyes the red pen (it’s a sign she is still in love because this object is so charged emotionally, it could become a magic wand at some point, wave it and Olicity will appear). The red pen was the link visually between Oliver and Felicity and also from a storyline POV. Because we went from a Felicity memory to an Oliver memory.

-Oliver says “doesn’t matter how much I love them”. Boom! Cue to Felicity.

Seriously fandom, how many more signs do you need?

A few more unrelated tidbit.

-I miss Oliver playing Robin Hood and targeting the 1%. The ep was a nod to real life monster Martin Shkreli who increased 5000 times the price of Daraprim a drug prescribed for AIDS patients. Too bad noone put an Arrow in him.

-Felicity actively helping Curtis lie to his husband rubs me the wrong way. Hyprocrit much? That’s why she left Oliver. Curtis doesn’t treat his husband as his full partner and Paul leaves just like she has left. I’d like a little empathy for Paul from her.

-I was surprised people complained about Felicity not being supported by the team because Thea suited up to help search for Billy and later comforted her. Curtis left the hospital to help. All hands were on deck when Billy went missing. There’s no way her friends won’t be there for her in her hour of need. But she has a habit of pushing people away when she is sad and her crying alone in the loft was just that.

Oh and I’m gonna make a separate post about Felicity meeting Susan for the first time because that was epic!