I love thinking about Oliver and Thea’s relationship in light of their age difference.
Little nine-year-old Oliver. He’s not quite an only child (despite what people think) because he and Tommy have been brothers for years, especially since Tommy’s mother died. Now Tommy practically lives with them. Tommy’s actually with Oliver when he’s told the news that he’s going to have a new little sister.
Ten-year-old Oliver, sitting on the big couch in one of the sitting room’s in the mansion, carefully holding his baby sister on his lap, staring in awe at the tiny little person. Around him he senses the tension in the adults. Senses something’s off. When they step out of the room, his parents aren’t quite as happy as they should be. It all softens around Baby Thea, but it still seems connected to her somehow. And from it Oliver feels a strong need to protect his tiny sister. Tommy comes over to play but before going anywhere he’s sat down on the couch alongside Oliver and given Thea to hold.
Twelve-year-old Oliver, holding onto 2-year-old Thea’s pudgy little hands as she takes tottering steps down the halls of Queen Mansion. And when she begins to talk, the way she can’t quite form the L’s in his name so she just forms her own garbled version of his name. Tommy joining in trying to teach her to say his name.
Fifteen-year-old Oliver coming home from high school, in trouble for failing a few of his classes and for ditching school with some new girl. But his scowl melts away when five-year-old Thea comes running out of her room, wearing a plastic tiara, cowboy boots and their mother’s necklace, wanting to play. She chases him around the upper halls of the mansion. He lets her catch him and calls her Speedy. Tommy arrives to sneak him off to some party, but before they go, Tommy gives Thea a piggy-back ride up and down the hall.
Seventeen-year-old Oliver, nursing a hangover, avoiding a girl whose name he can’t remember, hoping his parents don’t find out about the incident with the cop, staying home to babysit seven-year-old Thea so that Raisa can leave despite his parents not being home yet. They sit on the couch and watch the Princess Diaries, while Thea insists that the character’s name is “Thea” not “Mia” and Oliver assures her that she is really a princess.
Eighteen-year-old Oliver leaving for college and eight-year-old Thea crying and asking him not to go before running off to sulk in her room. Tommy takes her to ice-cream the next day to make her feel better. A few months later, when Oliver returns home, Thea’s excitement almost makes him feel better about being kicked out.
Eleven-year-old Thea telling twenty-one-year-old Oliver that everything will be alright as he gets ready to go to court for attacking a paparazzi. Tommy overhearing and telling him that Thea knows best and he should listen to her.
Twenty-two-year-old Oliver kicked out of another school, still reeling from what happened with Samantha and the child they lost, panicking in response to the pressure from Laurel, texting Sara things he knows he shouldn’t gearing up to ask her to do the unthinkable, pushing all that aside for a little while because twelve-year-old Thea wants to tell him about her day and the plans she’s making with her friends and the boy she thinks is cute and Oliver for just a little while feeling calm and happy sitting on the arm of a chair in her room listening to her.
Twelve-year-old Thea sitting in her room, staring at a wall trying to process the fact that her dad and brother are dead. Tommy takes her to ice-cream like he used to. There she breaks down and sobs and he hugs her and cries too.
Seventeen-year-old Thea learning that her big brother is alive and believing for a little bit that everything that’s been broken for so long will be fixed when he gets home. She calls Tommy and they laugh and cry together on the phone.
Twenty-seven-year-old Oliver coming home and finding that seventeen-year-old Thea is everything that broke him before the Island and wanting to help, to fix her, but unable to reach out because he feels he is so far past broken. How can he let hands with so much blood on them go anywhere near his baby sister? He tries but he can’t talk to her and she can’t talk to him because they’ve entered different worlds. Her big brother is still dead and his little sister is still lost to him.
Thirty-year-old Oliver watching his dying sister, doing everything he can to help her and thinking about everything she’s never had. The father, the mother and the brother that she lost. The college she never went to. The career she didn’t build. The boyfriend who was forced to leave. The pain she went through, the darkness she let into herself. All because he came back into her life four years ago. Since she was born he wanted to protect her, but now he sees how much he failed, how much he dragged her down with him.
Thirty-two-year old Oliver seeing his baby sister grown up, letting herself heal, rediscovering her family ties. A warrior who isn’t trapped in battle. A capable woman in any career she chooses. Twenty-two, the age he was when his life fell apart but she’s just heading into the best part of hers. And she sees him, her big brother restored- a leader, a warrior, a hero- everything he was to her when she was little now for all the world to see.