team-of-the-week

Aftermath

After looking at the stills and promo clip for ep518, It’s going to be interesting to watch how everyone in Team Arrow reacts to what happened with Oliver last week—more specifically, OTA’s reaction.

(OLIVER)

Obviously, Oliver is front and center in the aftermath. What Chase put him through, the physical and psychological torture, seems to have broken Oliver, reduced him down (or back down) to the levels he plummeted to before he came back from his five years in hell. It erased (again, seemingly) all that he overcame after those five years—his rage, the killing, his going it alone, and then later, his recovered humanity, his ability to care and empathize and love.  When Oliver came back to the Bunker and stood before Felicity, John and Curtis, one could see his inner light had been temporarily turned off. He looked tired and beaten, almost struggling to put the words together to tell his team that it was over for him.

Chase tried to show Oliver that he wasn’t the man or hero everyone thought he was. He told Oliver (falsely) that his crusade wasn’t a hero’s journey—it was a killing spree. He seemed to convince Oliver that killing was something Oliver embraced, something that he liked.

We as fans immediately recognized that Oliver’s declaration was in the past tense. Oliver might have felt at one time that killing brought a sense of control, made him feel powerful and even triumphant over what he had to endure all those years ago. His deadly skills took away the abuse from people, places and things that made him feel helpless. Maybe the truth was that he really didn’t want to kill or maim or torture. It was only a survival instinct. Maybe because of what was happening to him, it made Oliver feel justified by the violence. He told Felicity in Season 2 that every time he put the hood on, it was kill or be killed. That is what kept him alive.

Oliver is once again at a crossroads. It will be interesting to see how he comes back from Chase and the person he’ll become going forward.

(FELICITY)

The look on Felicity’s face when Oliver returned from Chase was the culmination, at least to me, of everything they’ve gone through, not just from their break up and all the emotional damage that followed, but since that first time Oliver came into her cubicle and changed both their lives.

Seeing Oliver standing there, bleeding and burned and drained, Felicity might have imagined all those experiences Oliver had not shared with her about his past. The torture and pain and fear he must have had to endure for those six days was something Felicity could not immediately process. All she could do was stand there and look at the damage, physical and emotional. But if she knew what he had really gone through, I mean all of it, then she would also know that there was one time when he instilled the same kind of pain and fear in his own victims. She would see the killer that Chase brought to the surface and the ultimate secret that Oliver really kept from her all these years. She would know about him skinning a man alive in Russia, about killing and torturing that General in  Hong Kong with a hammer, about the mindless killing of the mercenary on the island by beating his head and face into a unrecognizable pulp with a rock. It would all be raw and brutal, and perhaps evil. If she knew these things about him, it would be a million times worse than anything she could imagine.

I think as she looked at Oliver’s pain and dejection last week, it might have shined a dark light on her own spiraling, her motivations and the choices she has made since Billy died. They could be defining as she continues down the path Helix has set her on. She is still going to work with and be a part of Helix, even more so now that Oliver has temporarily shut down Team Arrow. Felicity will do whatever it takes to help Oliver want to make a difference again, and in so doing, bring him back to her. She will give him the love he will need in the aftermath of Chase.

The show runners told us that Felicity is going to have a new found appreciation for what Oliver has gone through since his journey began—the choices he had to make, the sacrifices and pain and losses he experienced; all of it will bring her a better understanding of him.  I only hope that understanding doesn’t come from Oliver finally going all inclusive and telling her about the brutality, that Felicity isn’t horrified that she is in love with a heartless, soulless, cold-blooded killer.

On the other side of that coin, maybe in accepting that part of him as the whole package, she will find some answers and maybe some forgiveness as well. I think she understands Oliver enough right now to know that his is not a devil. It’s the superpower John told her she has—empathy.

She might still feel anger and frustration and a need for revenge over Chase’s deconstruction of Oliver. She might even feel that everything her and John has done to help Oliver move away from the monster could all be in vain, or that the man and the hero Oliver became is another lie.

Whatever transpires, she will not stop loving him.

When Chase asked Oliver if he really thought Felicity’s life was better having been a part of Oliver’s—I though, briefly, that it was a good question. All the negative and tragic things that have happened to her could be looked at as a direct influence of having Oliver in her life: Her being shot and parlayed, him lying to her about William and shattering the happy life she wanted with Oliver, Laurel’s death and the immense guilt she carries because of it—all of this could have made Felicity’s life worse for knowing Oliver.

But I think it’s because of those things that Oliver breathed more life into her. It showed her that in spite of his imperfections and flaws, he is still a good person, having given him this compliment in ep510. Oliver is still worthy of love. So, I thing if she had been in the room with Chase when he asked Oliver that question, she would have told him that, yes, he makes her life better being in it. And she would also tell him that his life is better being in hers. It’s the one and lasting truth of who they are together.

(John)

John’s reaction to Oliver’s torture, of Oliver wanting to give up on his crusade, is the easiest of the three.

“We’ll get that son of a bitch for whatever he did to you!”

John understands about retribution. He understands about redemption. He understands what happens to a person he loves when they’re manipulated and lied to, made to participate in things that take their souls away. He got a front row seat to this with Andy.

John saw the darkness in Oliver personified in Season 3 when Oliver kidnapped Lyla, showing John just how far a person (or a brother) is willing to go in the name of protecting those closest to him.

But what Chase did to Oliver did not leave the door open for him to protect anybody, including himself. Oliver came back to the Bunker and looked defeated by the mechanism Chase implanted in Oliver’s psyche. He brought all of Oliver’s doubts of himself back and it made him think that maybe his whole crusade was a lie. Chase made Oliver believe that he hasn’t made a difference in John’s and Felicity’s lives, that Oliver really was simply just a killer and not the hero he’s striving to become.

John wants to defeat Chase, for himself, for his brother, for their survival. He will go to any lengths to ensure this. Oliver told Felicity the same thing about Darkhe, and John will follow in those footsteps, even if those lengths bring discord or disapproval from Oliver, which it looks like it does by the ep518 promo clip where Oliver punches John.

John is a hero, too. And he is not going to just stand by and watch people he loves be destroyed.

In the end, Oliver’s, Felicity’s and John’s state of mind are running (and have always been running since they got together and became OTA) in the same direction.

To defeat evil, good sometimes has to get its hands dirty. It sometimes has to crawl into the maggot-infested mind of someone like Chase and see what it truly ugly. Oliver, Felicity and John have seen that kind of ugly. They recognized it, experienced it, learned from it and them vanquished it. Despite what might be going on with them personally, all three of them are each other’s strength. They are a force of love, family and heroism.

That is the state of mind they need right now. It will be a shield, a weapon and a victory.

@hope-for-olicity @louiseblue1 @ruwithmeguys @cruzrogue @tdgal1 @dmichellewrites @almondblossomme

I think one of the biggest fails this season has been the separation of Snow & David via sleeping curse and the continuous separation of Emma and Killian. These two couples are the lynchpins of the show and it really weakens the storytelling to split these couples rather than have them working together as a team.

@wingedlioness made a great post a few weeks ago about the lack of CS teamwork this season.

Perhaps the lack of Snowing & CS teamwork wouldn’t be so noticeable if there were other groupings that worked as well together, but except for a rare Captain Charming episode, it’s been nothing more than Snow coddling Regina or Emma trying to undo Regina’s mess caused by this ridiculous split queen arc. Regina isn’t written to be part of a team and constantly trying to make her one weakens the story.

Blush (Final Rose)

Her Imperial Majesty Averia VII was blushing so hard that it was a miracle that she hadn’t already passed out. Perhaps it was because she couldn’t afford to pass out. No, she had to keep on reading.

A few weeks ago, an Imperial archaeological team had uncovered ancient relics on a downed ship. What made this particular downed ship so interesting was that it had once served as a transport for Queen Elsa of Remnant, shortly after civilisation had taken to the stars. The ship had gone down after being rammed into a particularly large and vicious Grimm that had been attacking one of the Empire’s earliest colonies.

It had supposedly been lost in the attack. However, excavations had managed to recover parts of it, including some of its data storage devices. The devices had been promptly shipped off to the empire’s finest scientists for analysis. After careful study, the analysis team had managed to decrypt the data and transfer it to a more user-friendly format since millennia old computers weren’t exactly common.

As empress, Averia had the privilege of examining any data believed to be related to her ancestors first. Well… the data was definitely related to her ancestor although not in the way she’d expected.

Ancient records had depicted her namesake, Averia Yun-Farron, to be somewhat cool and stern in demeanour. Indeed, the diaries and other records written by her sister, Diana, had frequently referred to Averia as an ‘overprotective, psychotic hedgehog’.

Indeed, even the ancient records that spoke of the love shared by Elsa and Averia noted that Averia was not as publicly affectionate as either of her siblings were toward their spouses. However, those same records suggested a far different story in private.

The data the empress was reading through most definitely concurred.

She was reading what appeared to be a series of message exchanged by Queen Elsa and Averia. The messages were… explicit. In no uncertain terms, Averia described what she wanted to do to the queen and how thoroughly and frequently she was going to do it.

Previous messages attributed to Averia had generally been quite dry and to the point, the exceptions being those written to her family, which were often laced with a sort of exasperation. This… this was raw, and fiery, and passionate. It confirmed that the marriage between Queen Elsa and Averia was most certainly not a marriage of convenience. No, nobody could have written the things that Averia had if they weren’t utterly in love with their wife.

And, really, the empress couldn’t stop herself from reading. And then she got to the part where Queen Elsa replied, her own messages no less graphic and intense than those of Averia.

If only Averia hadn’t been reading the message in front of Claire and Jahne…

“So…” Jahne drawled. “Are you going to tell us what the data was, or are you going to keep us in suspense?”

“I’m not sure I want to know,” Claire said. “Look at her face. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her blush so hard before.”

“I bet its porn,” Jahne said. “You’d be amazed by how much porn we find on old data recorders when we dig stuff up. Sure, we don’t always know its porn if it belongs to aliens, but, yeah, I think out of the twenty or so archaeological digs I’ve been on, at least half have recovered porn of some sort of another.”

“It’s not porn,” Claire replied. She paused. “Wait… that look on your face.” She leaned forward and stared into Averia’s eyes. “It’s totally porn, isn’t it. Let me see that!” And she grabbed the scroll and began to skim through it with the speed and efficiency that only a bearer of Saviour could possess. Seconds later, she dropped the scroll like she’d been burned. “Seriously?”

Averia could only nod dumbly.

Jahne glanced at the screen. “Huh… it was porn. Or should we call it smut?” She snickered. “On the upside, I don’t think anyone can say your ancestors didn’t love each other after reading this although I guess it would be awkward since you share the same name as your ancestor, and Queen Elsa is quite… blunt about what she wants her Averia to do to her.”
Averia twitched.

“Still…” Jahne said. “I guess this answers another question we’ve always had. Were the ancients more flexible than us? If even half the things being suggested in this are true, then the answer has to be yes.”

  • Gladion: thanks dad.
  • Gladion: why is everyone staring at me?
  • Grunt: you just called Guzma "Dad"
  • Gladion: what? No I didn't. I said "thanks man"
  • Guzma: do you see me as a father figure Gladion?
  • Gladion: no. If anything I see you as a bother figure because you always bother me.
  • Plumeria: Hey! Show your Dad a little respect.