Felicity Chooses Felicity

In “Nanda Parbat,” the vibe in the Arrow Cave has moved from tense to downright suffocating, a mood that saturates the episode. Oliver’s single-minded quest to defeat Ra’s a Ghul on his terms without the insights of those around him has sucked the fun out of Arrow, a show that has never exactly let the good times roll. Arrow typically balances Oliver’s sullen arrogance with Felicity’s joie de vivre and the recent imbalance between the two has upset the tone of the show. Felicity opts to escape Oliver’s gloom and catch a breath of fresh air in the arms of Ray Palmer. If we love Felicity (and really, who doesn’t?) we must applaud her choice to take this beautiful man “straight to bed.”

http://www.greenarrowtv.com/
http://www.greenarrowtv.com/

In this installment of Arrow, Felicity looks on as Oliver displays his worst qualities. He spends considerable time tromping around the lair like a petulant teen desperate to get his way. His need to protect Thea has morphed into a crusade to “save her soul,” and as it turns out a bid to shore up his wounded ego. Ra’s sent Oliver to an early grave and while his body appears to have recovered, his psyche has not. Oliver projects so much tension that you could bounce a quarter off his abs and not for the usual reasons. Under these conditions, Season Two Oliver would have sought solace in the arms of an equally fracked up lover. Fortunately for my inner-Oliciter, not even Laurel, who noted, “It’s hard to remember the time when I was actually in love with you,” would have him now.

Everyone especially Thea and Laurel reel from the revelation that Thea killed Sara, while images of confinement abound. Nyssa meditates in a cage, Diggle and Oliver find themselves chained to a floor, Malcolm hangs strung over hot coals, and Ray sequesters himself behind a mountain of tech. Guilt binds both Roy and Thea, and Laurel fluctuates between the grief of losing her sister and the absence of her father’s affection. Felicity’s anger toward Oliver remains palpable and threatens to consume her, yet ultimately she chooses to break free.

http://www.greenarrowtv.com/
http://www.greenarrowtv.com/

For the third time in as many months, Oliver leaves Felicity behind to face certain death. He assures her that he does not “plan on dying” to which she bitterly replies, “That’s what you said the last time . . . and how did that turn out for you?” Knowing that she deserves better, Felicity heads over to Palmer Industries and rescues Ray from his self-imposed exile. She has given up on Oliver – “him, I can’t do anything about” – and turns to Ray who acts as a serviceable substitute for the one she loves.

A freshly-showered Ray catches Felicity admiring his Vermeer among other assets. He offers her the consideration she yearns to receive from Oliver, and she responds by kissing him. Her decision to make the first move rather than wait for Ray to do so emphasizes that she is not a Fifty Shades-style object of the handsome billionaire’s affections. Brace yourselves – Felicity Smoak is a sexual agent. Arrow’s showrunners have wisely chosen not to trap Felicity in an antiquated double standard that allows Oliver to have sex with anyone in a skirt and relegates her to a nunnery. As an audience, we need to follow their lead and welcome Felicity’s sexual agency, not denounce her for it.

http://www.greenarrowtv.com/
http://www.greenarrowtv.com/

Felicity takes a chance and initiates a kiss with Palmer, something she has never done with Oliver, because little is at stake in her relationship with Ray. He represents a safe choice for Felicity. They share an easy banter and their casual interactions suggest mutual respect rather than love. Ray has yet to recover from the death of his wife Anna; Felicity can help him return to the world of the living. She can also, not surprisingly, give him a boost in the ATOM department. As one friend said, “of course having sex with Felicity gives you super powers.” Meanwhile, Ray can distract her while Oliver chases his shadow. Felicity has not chosen Ray over Oliver. She has prioritized her own well-being and happiness; she has chosen herself.

Thea could take some lessons from Felicity. Week after week, the plot relegates Thea to the position of a pawn, a woman in need of rescue. At this episode’s end, Thea takes a step toward saving her own soul by confessing to Nyssa that she killed Sara. John – “My friends call me Dig. You shouldn’t even speak to me” – Diggle finally gets back in the game, traveling to Nanda Parbat with Oliver to save Malcolm Merlyn for plot reasons too thin to explain. Dig has the good sense to bring a gun to a sword fight, yet Ra’s prevails. He captures the duo and then turns the tables on Oliver. Nyssa will have to find a new calling card since it looks as if “Heir to the Demon” is off the table. Ra’s stuns Oliver by asking him to become the next Ra’s al Ghul prompting another step in our hero’s quest to find his true identity.

http://www.greenarrowtv.com/
http://www.greenarrowtv.com/

As for Felicity, she knows exactly who she is and what she needs. Eventually, Oliver will pull his head out “of his colon” and find his way back to her. Along the way, I welcome any and all scenarios in which Oliver and Ray fight over Felicity. Ooh, maybe “there could be oil of some kind involved.”

8 Comments »

  1. I saw the whole Felicity and Ray thing coming from a mile away. I didn’t want it to happen, but it hasn’t left me heartbroken as I thought it would. There was a time when I though Felicity should sleep with any any guy but Ray. But I find that I’m not all that worried now that it has happened. The end game we know is Felicity and Oliver. And I think Felicity’s relationship with Ray might just be the thing that prompts Oliver to get his act together. I miss the camaraderie between Felicity and Oliver that was quite evident till the end of Season 2, but Oliver’s decision has brought a tension into the team.
    I really enjoyed the Diggle and Oliver time in this episode. I was really missing him in the previous few episodes. And being anti-Lauriver I loved the Oliver and Laurel scenes. Laurel was really stupid to go after Malcom and like he said it was embarrassing. Oliver who is a trained fighter hasn’t been able to fight and win with Malcom, and Laurel thinks that with a few boxing lessons in tow she can beat him?

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    • When Nyssa arrived on the scene with Malcolm and said, “Step aside Laurel” I wondered if the writers planned that as the meme. Step aside indeed.

      Don’t worry at all about Ray and Felicity. She does not love him. I was afraid that the writers would have Ray and Felicity do everything short of sleep together. The fact that they had sex shows that they understand her character (and they should since they created her). She is an adult who is doing the right thing with the right person at this moment in her life. She does not need to wait around for Oliver. He needs to wake up and then win her back. Plus, Brandon Routh is a guest star not a contract player. He won’t be around forever and Felicity certainly will be. The Olicity ship is secure.

      Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy them.

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  2. Another great post. I love getting your view on certain scenes and character arcs because they do, at times, differ from mine. It challenges me to look at each scene with different perspectives than my own. I want to thank you for that.

    I do have a query though. I will admit I only started following this blog a few weeks ago so I might not be getting the full context of your arguments and feelings towards certain characters. It does seem to me that you have a strong dislike for the Oliver character. Maybe you have issues with his current story line and his actions. The thing I have liked about this series has been the flawed hero concept. Oliver is an extremely flawed hero, no doubt, but he still is “the” hero of the show. I have no issue with anyone taking Oliver to task for poor decisions and behavior but I believe the same should done for the other main characters too. As much as I love Diggle, Felicity, Thea, Laurel and Roy….they are far from perfect either. They all have negatives aspects to their characters too. It just seems like a lot of your negative jabs are aimed at Oliver and hardly ever at any of the other characters. Maybe it is because Oliver is the “hero” of the story and you hold him to a higher standard. Maybe it is something else. Like I said, it is not a judgement but rather an observation I have made. Nevertheless, I do really enjoy your posts and look forward to future entries.

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    • When I wrote the line about Oliver behaving like a petulant teen, I thought, “If Andy is still reading he is not going to like this.” It is a great compliment to me that you are still reading and that you took the time to comment. Thank you.

      My tendency to criticize Oliver more than other characters lately is twofold. First – I don’t think the audience is supposed to like Oliver right now, certainly not his actions. Arrow has placed Oliver on the hero’s journey and he is learning some hard lessons about the limits of his own power. He is stronger with the team than without them, but he has yet to fully realize that. Like you I find the show more engaging because the hero is flawed. If he always made the right choices I would have dropped Arrow long ago.

      Second – I focus on characters that interest me. My own way of showing that I adore Oliver is to write about him. Try as I might, for example, I have difficulty writing about Thea. Her actions make little sense and the plot lines the writers stick her in suggest that they don’t really know how to write for her. If I wrote extensively about Thea I think the tone of the post would feel too negative. Felicity does some things that also bother me, but they have not been pronounced enough for me to focus on. When I write my goal is to produce a tight essay that has a strong theme. As a result, certain extraneous points do not make the final draft for the sake of cohesion. Felicity’s decision, for example, to help Oliver track Malcolm in the most recent episode made little sense. I don’t think it fit with the way she feels about Oliver’s actions; it did not gel with her criticism of his alliance with Malcolm. After revising the essay, however, that point fell to the wayside. It didn’t fit with the thesis (sorry, I have been grading papers all weekend, I like a strong thesis!).

      The same goes for Roy. “Stalking” the wife and child of the man he unknowingly killed is just the kind of behavior that leads to a murder conviction on Castle or any other crime show. In the world of Arrow, however, I am supposed to see this as some sort of penance on Roy’s part. This character does not grab me the way Oliver’s does so I am less inspired to devote precious writing time to him.

      Malcolm Merlyn’s actions toward Thea are repulsive to me. Drugging your daughter into committing a murder? Uhg. John Barrowman is an asset that the showrunners are unwilling to part with and I can’t blame them. I am highly critical of Malcolm’s actions and hope to find the inspiration to revisit them in future posts, because the character is an interesting and complicated one.

      As for Diggle, I have no idea what you mean. He is perfect. 🙂

      Rest assured that I love Oliver. I could not watch the show if I didn’t. When Oliver gets through this rough patch, and I am sure he will, I will be the first to lavish him with praise.

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      • Thank you for the reply. I was in no way trying to dictate what opinions should be presented so I am glad you didn’t take it that way. I absolutely love reading your posts. They are very insightful and have accurate characterizations. I just love the Oliver character a lot. He has, hands down, been my favorite superhero that I have watched both on the big and small screens. Sometimes I can be bias regarding his character and that can carry over into these posts. I will admit I was wrong…..Diggle is perfect.

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