The Arrow is Oliver’s mind, the side of Oliver that refused to allow himself to fall for Felicity (Because of the life that I lead I just think it’s better to not be with someone I could really care about). The side that used her as bait for Slade. When Slade held Felicity hostage, Oliver came as The Arrow - the hood was up, the mask on. The Arrow could do what was necessary to protect the city. He could sacrifice the woman he loved for the greater good.
Oliver Queen is Oliver’s heart. Oliver Queen fell in love with Felicity. It’s why the hood was off when Oliver told Felicity he loved her. That wasn’t The Arrow talking, it was Oliver. When The Count held Felicity hostage, again, Oliver came as Oliver - the hood was down, the mask off. He killed The Count because he put Felicity above his ideals. It means Oliver will put Felicity first. Oliver will always put Felicity first (There’s no choice to make). The two sides of Oliver are in direct conflict with one another. His mind and his heart. His responsibility to Starling and his love for this woman […]
Oliver’s journey this season is how to integrate the two sides of himself: Hero and Man. What 3x01 will teach Oliver is that he’ll never cross the finish line. The battle will never be over. The danger will never be truly gone. So, if that’s the case and Oliver wants to be with Felicity - how? How does he keep her safe? Is it even possible? How does he love her without letting it be a distraction? Is his humanity infringing on his ability to be The Arrow? Infringing on being the savior to the city? What is more important - his life as The Arrow or his life as Oliver Queen? If he can’t have both, how does he choose? If he can’t choose, how does he prioritize both? Watching Oliver struggle with these questions will be his journey this season. Felicity will struggle to answer - If Oliver can’t be with her, can she let him go? Can another man take Oliver’s place in her heart? Can she move on? Does she even want to? Or is loving Oliver part of who Felicity is? A part of herself that she needs and doesn’t want to lose? Identity Crisis. Big time. For both.
Interesting analysis by @jbuffyangeloliverdant)
Honestly? I think the biggest mistake the writers made when it came to Laurel was that they were writing an idea, not a person.
They had this image in their head of who Laurel Lance SHOULD be - upright, honorable, beautiful, tenacious, a seeker of justice, someone who looks out for the little guy, faithful, and forgiving. That’s a LOT to put on any one person. And they tried to get that all across straight off the bat, and what we ended up getting, instead of a real, living, breathing character, was a two dimensional concept of their vision for Laurel instead.
They didn’t give her faults - she was lofty and untouchable, and because of that, unrelatable to most.
(Btw, here’s where I developed an issue with the viewers, when it came to Laurel. Because she was unrelatable, people decided that she was annoying/boring/stuck up/pretentious, etc, which was never true, People just found it hard to connect to her.)
I think they caught on by the end of season one where the issue had been, and they tried to balance that out. Only they went to far. Where Laurel had been unrelatable before, by virtue of her virtue, in season two, the writers made it worse by sending her on a complete downward spiral, giving her faults and problems beyond what the average person experiences, making it even MORE difficult for the audience to connect to her than before.
But here’s the thing. Even though her character was so flat when compared to the other characters, all those traits they gave her? She still has those - they’re still a part of her. I love Laurel for her dedication to justice, for her fashion sense, for her willingness to put herself in danger to save someone else, and for her kick ass fight moves.
What ultimately humanized her, I think, was Sara. Because finally, there was something pretty much everyone understood - a sister relationship, and the love they share despite everything that happened. Seeing Laurel interact with her sister, just be with her, go to dinner, hang out at Verdant, and later seeing Laurel be the big sister Sara so badly needed when she was down, was what helped people begin to relate to her so much more.
I’m excited to see where her character goes this year now that the writers and viewers have stumbled upon that side of her. I think this year is going to be great. I think moving her from being a romantic possibility for Oliver to being a close friend and partner is going to be incredible - people will be able to enjoy her without having to ignore the elephant in the room. She’ll get better dialogue (less melodramatic), more interesting interactions as an equal to Oliver, and possibly take control of her life and get her agency back.
I think something that also fell flat with Laurel and how she was perceived/received by the audience was (and I know, beating a dead horse here) her relationship with Oliver.
Because the writers set her up, as you said, as this beautiful, tenacious, bright, do-gooder and seeker of justice - and I liked the Laurel of the pilot, I would have gladly spent time with her. But then the writers also said that this woman, this fantastic woman is not only supposed to be the match for our present-day hero, but somehow was in love with Oliver while he was still a raging asshat, while he was cheating on her with his sister.
And those ideas were just not compatible.
How could she be so aware, so on-point in the present and have been so not in their relationship before? How could we root for this woman knowing she had forgiven Oliver for cheating on her with her sister, for being in essence, someone making all the right choices - law school, expecting a solid relationship, tight with her family - and insisting on seeing the good in someone who, every time we saw him, seemed so awfully bad (and we all agree Oliver Queen pre-island was a little shit).
I think that, in a large part, also led to a lot of the disconnect with Laurel’s character. Being told what she had done and seeing her in the present - those two sides didn’t mesh and instead of reconciling those pieces and helping creating a stronger character, it just made her fall even more flat.
The structure itself also made this an impossible task.
We had absolutely no reason to root for this couple. We got no adorable scenes of their happy life together. We got no meet cute. We couldn’t because the structure couldn’t handle more flashbacks.
That meant that selling this relationship was based entirely upon these two actors and their ability to create a sense that something beautiful had been lost. You really had to have Stephen and Emily level chemistry to pull that off, that instantaneous “yes, *THESE TWO*” feeling.
And then, what did you actually see from Laurel? She has every right to be a dick to Oliver, but the princess angel of goodness she’s supposed to be *wouldn’t be*. You needed to see her try to be angry with him, and then fail because she isn’t a grudgeholder at heart. Imagine Emily playing that. She could do it.
But does Laurel have any right to be a dick to Tommy? I think their relationship is fun, and he probably deserves what he gets, but again, this is my light in the darkness? This is my Morality Chain?
She is *wrong* for that part.
Now, flinging stemware around and ranting at Oliver and Sara for being thoughtless assholes? That she can do. People enjoyed her, for the first time. Finally what I was seeing from the character was fitting for the actress. And then what happened? Of course they told me that wasn’t what I was seeing, and in fact SHE was in the wrong. Sigh.
I do have some hopes that they’ve got a handle on her now. Laurel is a judgy, uptight, Type A perfectionist. That is a classic romantic comedy heroine type. Hopefully this Ted Grant will drink her orange juice straight out of the carton and instead of rolling over and showing his tummy when she tries to control him via her disapproval, will smirk at her and irritate the shit out of her. That’s what she needs.