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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
she will not stop loving him.
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.
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!”
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.”