Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Arrow 3x20 "The Fallen" (Come To The Water)


"The Fallen"
Original Airdate: April 22, 2015

Come to the water, stand by my side 
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied 
I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you cried 

Have you ever gone away to summer camp? I have. And I still remember it vividly, actually -- there was a camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania where I used to live called Victory Valley. That was the summer camp where I learned archery and how to develop photographs in a dark room. It's the year I remember falling asleep in a giant treehouse, snuggled up in a sleeping bag, to the sound of my counselor singing to us. It's the summer that the boys and girls had a giant water-balloon fight. Summer camp is an amazing experience in the life of a child, but summer camps end. And then you return home to your friends who live down the street from you and you realize that while your life changed, theirs did too. They hung out with new friends or classmates who weren't you. And suddenly you were plopped back into your own world, having changed, and feeling a bit lost because the people you were close to three weeks prior had new inside jokes and new experiences and new friends.

When you leave and return from somewhere -- anywhere -- you have to anticipate change on both your part and the part of the people you left behind. I went away to college for two years and came back to friends who were still my friends, but now had experiences and memories that I wasn't a part of. In "The Fallen," Thea Queen dies (they never explicitly say but it appears she was brain-dead) and she comes back but she returns as a totally different person. I imagine that death changes you, but the circumstances of her death change her more than anything. As Ra's reminds us, birth and re-birth are violent processes. It only makes sense that Thea Queen would not return as the sweet young Speedy that Oliver once knew. Themes of Arrow -- sacrifice, heroism, identity, etc. -- always seem to come back to one giant symbol: light. Darkness and light are huge components of this series because darkness, by definition, is the absence of light. And directors on this show play with shadows and darkness and colors and scattered rays of light a lot. Why? Because there's a constant dichotomy there -- there's a constant push-and-pull within most of our characters' minds and hearts: they can choose the darkness or they can choose the light. (And then you have names like the Black Canary and symbols like Felicity and a fern that "thrives on low light" and morally depraved character like Malcolm Merlyn and the vibrant red seen throughout Nanda Parbat, shrouded in darkness and low light, etc. etc. as giant, glaring symbols.)

Arrow is a show that constantly tackles issues of morality and heroism and whether or not people are too far gone to ever harness light again. When Sara was alive (R.I.P.), she told Oliver that he needed to find someone to harness the light inside of him and that she couldn't be that person. When Oliver and Felicity kissed, it was in a darkened hallway punctuated by a giant burst of light from a window. When Oliver told Barry he was too far gone, The Flash's alter ego told him that he was a hero and he could only be that way if there was some light left in him. Arrow is a show about darkness and light and "The Fallen" is just another episode that emphasizes those symbols through its characters and their journeys.

A lot of stuff happens in "The Fallen" -- a LOT of stuff -- so let's dive into it, shall we?

Thea Queen (+ Oliver, Malcolm, Ra's)

When you agree with Malcolm Merlyn, you know it's going to be an interesting episode of Arrow. He's one of the only people in "The Fallen" who understands what happens when someone is reborn via The Lazarus Pit. It's not a magical spring. It's not a hot tub of healing. It's a tool. Thea Queen will not return as the same woman that everyone knew and loved. And this is why -- re-birth is a dark process, just like actual birth. I've never given birth to a child, but I know from watching a lot of A Baby Story (my mom loved that show) and listening to real-life experiences that giving birth is not an easy or pleasant process. It's messy. It's hard. And it's very painful. It's worth it because of what happens at the end -- because of the new life that's received -- but it's not without scars and it's not without sacrifice and it's certainly not without suffering.

In order to understand why Thea is birthed into darkness (apart from, you know, being violently reborn against her own will, essentially), we need to understand what happened before she was reborn. Thea died in darkness, so it makes sense that she is raised back into it as well. She died in mourning, believing Roy to be gone forever. She died moments after crying and grieving. She died in anger, spewing bitterness at Ra's for what he had done to her and to her family. Thea Queen has had so much darkness pent up within her that it all comes to a head in her death. Think about it, this is a woman whose: mother and father died, whose biological father manipulated her into killing her family friend, whose brother lied to her for years about being The Arrow, whose boyfriend (presumably) just died... Thea is a Queen which means, as she once said: "Well, you know us Queen women. Nothing gets to us."

But things DO get to the Queen women. The problem is that they're experts at burying their pain so that when it comes to the surface, it doesn't just bubble there -- it erupts, violently. Funnily enough, Malcolm is the person who understands this and understands what The Lazarus Pit will do to Thea if Oliver uses it on her. The woman he considered to be his sister will not come back the same person. My thoughts? The Pit (not this pit, though) may change people in the soul, Malcolm, but don't think for a moment that Thea Queen hasn't already been irreparably damaged in her soul to begin with. The problem is that Malcolm understands that Thea's death means she's at peace and bringing her back via The Lazarus Pit will rip her from that peaceful afterlife and violently thrust her back into a world where she can feel more pain and emotion and suffering. He doesn't want THAT Thea. And he tells Oliver that he doesn't want that Thea either.

Oliver's problem is that he doesn't want to listen to Malcolm and understand what The Pit will do to Thea. He doesn't want to lose her if there's any chance he could stop it. All he wants is his baby sister back and he will do anything -- anything -- it takes. Sound familiar? It should, because "The Fallen" brings us directly back to the only two truths that Oliver vocalized in "The Climb":

Oliver: Felicity, I honestly don't know if I'm a killer anymore. But I do know two things: the first is that whoever I am, I am someone that will do whatever -- whatever -- it takes to save my sister.
Felicity: And the second thing?
Oliver: I love you. 

Don't think for a second that it's coincidence that "The Fallen" brings us right back to these two truths, because it's not a coincidence at all. It's parallelism and it's poignant. Though Oliver has experienced a lot and gone through a lot since he went off to face Ra's the first time ("The Climb"), these are two things have not changed. These are two things that will NEVER change. They will be constants, just like the sun rising in the east or the tides changing or taking a breath -- Oliver will do whatever it takes, always, to protect Thea. And he loves Felicity. Those two truths are the only two foundations that Oliver Queen -- not The Arrow, not The Hood, not Al Sah-Him -- lives and breathes and dies on. On the jet to Nanda Parbat, Oliver tells Felicity a story -- a deeply personal one -- about how he returned to Starling City before, how he snapped the neck of Thea's drug dealer... how all he ever wanted to do was protect his sister and somehow he failed at that.

Oliver is characterized a lot by desperation and so are the people he loves, funnily enough. In his desperation and his grief, he doesn't care about what version of Thea returns to him, so long as one does. So the team flies to Nanda Parbat and Oliver sacrifices himself -- he dies (not literally, but metaphorically dies to Oliver Queen) so that she can live. Oliver will always pay that sacrifice for Thea because she's his life, his baby sister, and his world. He will always protect her. And I think a lot of what Oliver believes to be true in this episode is the fact that he's failed his sister so many times that he will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect her.

But what I thought is particularly interesting is the conversation he has with Felicity about the fact that maybe, just maybe, he really did die on that boat. Maybe that brother -- THAT Oliver Queen -- did. And in that case, Oliver is even more confused as to who he is and what his purpose is. What was it all for? What has he accomplished? What has he done, really? The answer: Oliver has saved lives. He's shown mercy and grace where people don't deserve it. He's learned to die to parts of himself in order to become a better brother and a better partner and a better friend.

Oliver has died to himself so that others can live. Isn't that the essence of heroism?

But now it's Thea's turn -- Thea was born into darkness, but that darkness has slowly faded (apparently a side effect of The Pit) into a blur. And now she can choose what she does with her new life, starting with whether or not she lets Malcolm help her. Thea is stubborn and always has been and she's filled with guilt after learning of what Oliver did to save her life. But slowly, Thea is going to realize that Oliver's sacrifice doesn't necessitate guilt on her part. In fact, sacrifice begs of us a question: "Now what?" Thea's life was saved, whether or not Malcolm thought it was right or smart and whether or not she thinks she deserved to be saved.

What she does next with that will define her and I'm excited to see how Thea's trajectory continues to grow and evolve.

Ray/Felicity

Since we'll spend the majority of our time discussing the Oliver/Felicity relationship and the giant leap of progress we saw in "The Fallen," let me tie up a few loose ends and discuss my qualms for a moment. Then we'll move onto the fun stuff. The loose ends I'm tying up are, of course Ray/Felicity-related. When there were whispers that Ray and Felicity would break-up, everyone was -- understandably -- elated. But my problem with how Arrow handled the break-up is inherently tied to my problems with Ray Palmer as a character. Namely, that the writers didn't ever see Ray Palmer as a problematic character. He was. And I plan to write an entire post about why he was this summer. Suffice it to say, though, that I'm not aboard the S.S. We Love Ray Palmer and He's Just Such a Gosh-Darn Nice Guy. And it has nothing to do with Oliver/Felicity.

The fact that Ray was the one to initiate the break-up (by citing that HE noticed Felicity's feelings for Oliver... say what you want about it being "mutual" but by logical standards, unless Ray had vocalized that fact, Ray and Felicity would still be together -- she wasn't certainly going to bring it up, even if she didn't deny her feelings for Oliver) irks me because it makes RAY the subject of the relationship and Felicity the object that he is doing something/saying something to. The show has built up the Oliver/Felicity of it all as almost this sense of inevitability -- that they would be together. That if they had a choice at all, they would always choose each other. My problem, then, is that when you have Ray talk about Felicity's feelings for Oliver first and how he noticed that she was in love with him, you remove part of Felicity's agency. A few episodes prior, Donna Smoak told her daughter that she had to choose and I thought: "This is good. This will allow Felicity to break away from Ray and choose Oliver -- actually stand up to him, tell him what she wants, and tell him to figure his crap out."

But the fact of the matter is that Felicity would have never let Ray go willingly -- he was the one to jump-start this amicable "mutual" break-up with her. And in doing so, the show managed to simultaneously try and elevate and endear Ray to us further ("Look at how sweet and noble he is, letting her go, you guys! He's allowing them to use his jet even though they're going to break up. ISN'T HE JUST SUCH A GOSH-DAN NICE GUY/HERO?") while removing the chance for Felicity to be assertive in ACTIVELY choosing Oliver. There's a difference, honestly, in a passive character and an active one. An active character is one who does the action and a passive character is one who has the action done TO them. I can hear the arguments of "But Ray Palmer didn't really break up with Felicity! It was mutual!" To that I reply:


Final thought: Would Felicity have actively approached Ray and told her of her feelings for Oliver? (I have no indication that she would, because everyone in Felicity's life has been the one telling HER that she has feelings for Oliver.) Since I don't believe she would have initiated a conversation with Ray about his feelings and since Ray was, in fact, the one to initiate that entire conversation, the break-up is not -- in my opinion -- mutual, really. It may be amicable and Felicity may not have denied having feelings for Oliver, but it was spurred by Ray, which makes him the active participant and Felicity the passive one. Anyway, with Ray/Felicity's break-up being used to prop up Ray, I'm interested to see where the rest of his story goes (please go to another show).

Oliver/Felicity

Ugh, there was way too much Oliver/Felicity in this episode.

..........

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA RIGHT. I can't even joke about that because of how well done the Oliver/Felicity stuff was handled in this episode. Before we talk about the Oliver/Felicity consummation, though (I'm trying to creatively think of ways to say things other than "sex" throughout the review so enjoy this ride, please), we need to talk about everything that has led up to it, not just in "The Fallen," but throughout this season and season two as well. Oliver fell in love with Felicity during "Unthinkable" and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with me. He realized in the very moment that she told him that she believed in him just how much he needed her and cared about her and loved her. And it was in that moment that the unthinkable thing came to fruition -- he would have to put the woman he loved in harm's way in order to save the city. In a beautiful bit of parallelism, Felicity realized that she was in love with Oliver -- fully realized it and almost said it -- in last week's episode. Gaze upon their moments of realization, will you:



Now that we've established the ~moment~ for these two, let's talk about everything in between. Oliver and Felicity in "The Calm" were... happy. They were unguarded. They were nervous during their first date, but Oliver allowed himself to feel, to love, to hope -- even for a moment -- that he could have the kind of life that would bring him joy: a life with Felicity. No, a FUTURE with Felicity. When he saw her standing there with Lyla and baby Sara, he saw what his life could be like. He saw the dream he thought was unattainable. He saw the greatest desire of his heart. And then he chose The Arrow. And Felicity walked away (as she should) because she couldn't keep dangling. She told him she deserved better -- a life that was an actual life. Because what Oliver was doing? Pushing others away because he didn't believe he deserved to or could be happy as both Oliver and The Arrow (that it was a choice)? That was not living. That was existing. And Felicity deserved more than that.

So she marched into Palmer Technologies and took a job and then was drawn to Ray. The reason that she was drawn to Ray is pretty well-established and vocalized in "Suicidal Tendencies": he is a lot like Oliver, minus one crucial difference -- Ray doesn't deny himself happiness. He doesn't push her away. For a lot of season three, Oliver and Felicity clashed or didn't speak to one another about their relationship. And then, in "The Climb," when Oliver was getting his affairs in order, he told Felicity -- without any confusion or mincing of words -- that he loved her. And she watched him leave. When he returned, she realized that things hadn't changed. He was still the same Oliver who would make decisions FOR other people and not consult them; he would selfishly believe he knew what was best and stick to it, stubbornly. Isn't that the reason Oliver and Felicity were doomed at the beginning of the season? (The correct answer is a resounding "YES!")

I've talked a lot about how Oliver's biggest strength is also his biggest weakness (and how I believe that to be true of pretty much everyone ever): Oliver cares about people a lot and loves them desperately, but because of that, he also makes decisions for and not with people. Oliver made the decision FOR himself and Felicity. She had no say in their relationship. I've said this before, but even though the kiss in "The Calm" is wonderful, it's also kind of selfish on Oliver's part because Felicity wanted them to work -- wanted that relationship and the kisses and the dating and the magic -- and Oliver took that from her. Oliver confessed to her in "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak" (again) that he loved her, without saying those words aloud. And you could see Felicity slightly roll her eyes in the scene and flinch because she didn't want that -- she didn't want dangled maybes or half-confessed "I love you's." She didn't deserve that. She deserved a real one.

And then Oliver gave her a real "I love you," right before he went off to die and Felicity thought that maybe near-death would change Oliver and he would wake up and realize that he's not the dictator of anything -- not of Laurel or of Team Arrow or of Thea... or of his relationship with her. But Oliver didn't learn and Felicity walked away because of it, claiming that if this was what Oliver Queen's love was? She wanted no part of it. For a while, these two were bitter and guarded, and Felicity drew closer to a man who constantly talked about her as an important part of his life, who asked for her input and who treated her like an essential. But something happened recently -- Oliver began to start treating Felicity more like a woman he respects and needs. "The Offer," I think was the turning point in their recent relationship, as Oliver softened and began to think about letting other people in rather than pushing them out constantly.

From there, these two have grown in repairing their relationship again. Felicity and Oliver constantly defend and protect each other and they'll always put themselves in harm's way. Why?


As we discussed last week, Oliver has finally learned the art of sacrifice when it comes to Felicity and the art of loving her from a distance. The funny thing is that... he's doing all of this for her (patching things up with Ray for Felicity in "Suicidal Tendencies," etc.) without any promise of anything in it for him. And the way that Oliver has grown recently indicates that he's more than willing to let other people in -- to let them try and help HIM. He's becoming less opposed (though still opposed as we saw with Team Arrow's "Save Roy Harper" plan) to letting other people make decisions. He's learning to listen more, to talk less. He's learned (again, evidenced in "Broken Arrow") to be more honest and upfront -- to not hide from his feelings and let walls come falling down a little bit at a time.

So that brings us right to "The Fallen," an episode so full of emotion and love that it nearly imploded on itself. First off, Oliver has been emotionally vulnerable with Felicity a lot recently, but never more so than in this episode. He tells her about returning and seeing Thea. But Felicity is also emotionally vulnerable with Oliver in this episode, long before she explains to him that he caused her to open up her heart in ways she didn't think were possible (*swoon*).

The last few times Oliver has left (to face Ra's, to go to the island again with Thea), Felicity has watched him walk away. "The Fallen" was the first time she insisted upon going with him and not letting him go alone. He didn't really have a choice in the matter but I thought it was wonderful that Felicity took that journey with him. In fact, I think it's amazing that Felicity did EVERYTHING she did in this episode including -- but not limited to -- barking orders at The Dark Archer, aka The Devil, Malcolm Merlyn. (Who then obeyed like her own personal lapdog. Seriously, Ra's, are you SURE you chose the right person to take over the League of Assassins? Because "The Fallen" made a strong case for Felicity-Heir-to-the-Demon-Smoak.)

When Felicity knows what she wants, she's the most fearsome woman to behold. And when she watches Thea's rebirth and extreme confusion and pain in the aftermath, she storms out of the room and marches -- literally marches -- right to Ra's himself, demanding her opinion to be heard. I loved everything about this showdown, not just because it illuminated how intense Felicity can be, but explained why Ra's doesn't immediately order her to be executed or imprisoned. He respects her. He admires her tenacity. Moreover, he understands her pain. Hear me out: Ra's is unlike any villain we've seen before. He's calculated. He's meticulous. He's orderly and he's extremely calm while he plans and schemes. He may kill and manipulate, but he's not dominated by chaos (like Slade, for example). He has structure and order. And there's a reason he's like this -- a reason he's so unfeeling and so stoic. He explains to Felicity that he had a wife and a daughter and a son and love in his life once and he had the choice to lose them forever or to leave without a goodbye. He chose to leave.

Ra's understands Felicity's anger and he understands Felicity's anger at him -- her insistence that he just didn't fight hard enough. But he knows what she does not: he knows that the cards are stacked against Team Arrow and she can choose to squander what little time she has left with Oliver or use it to tell him how much she loves him. If Ra's could have, he wouldn't have left. If he had one more night with his wife and his children, he would have taken that time to be with them. So he leaves Felicity to think about that and then Felicity acts.


She approaches Oliver in his room and the man is, of course, spiraling into another crisis of identity. But what happens next is important. What happens next is crucial. Felicity tells Oliver what he means to her. And you can see (brilliantly, might I add) the confusion and hesitation across Oliver's face as she holds his hand and says these words. Because he doesn't want to hope. He can't dare to hope again that she'll feel the way he feels about her. Every time he does, a phone rings or a person interrupts. But this time... none of that happens. This time, Felicity tells Oliver more than what she did last week. She tells him that he is a man who has literally saved lives, and figuratively saved hers. She's been changed by him. Her heart -- this broken, fragile thing -- has been changed by him and his love for her. But most important of all, it hasn't been just changed by his love for her but by HER love for HIM.

The moment Felicity confesses her love -- actually says the words -- you can literally see Oliver's entire world change (again: kudos to Stephen Amell who understands SO intimately what it means to Oliver to hear those words from her). I think one of my favorite things in the whole Oliver/Felicity sexcapade (and there is a LOT to love, of course) is the moment that Oliver tenderly removes Felicity's glasses. After she tells him that she loves him, he gently removes them and it's such a powerful, poignant, feels-inducing moment for me because this is the moment Oliver has been waiting for -- hoping for and dreaming about (literally, kinda, but definitely figuratively) and in this moment, all he wants to do is to look at her, directly and deeply in her eyes, without anything holding either of them back. He wants to memorize everything about this moment because it's going to be the thing that keeps him holding on -- this memory, this mental snapshot -- when he joins the League. You can just see how clearly Stephen Amell understands Oliver in that moment, how he knows that Oliver wants to just look at her -- this woman, this light, this love of his life -- before anything else happens.

"Love first requires looking."

And Oliver continues to look at Felicity -- look her deeply in the eyes -- for the remainder of their time together. As she undresses (and he does, too) his eyes never leave her face. It's like... it's like he's waited too long for this moment that all he wants to do is to really look at the woman he loves and take all of her beauty in. (Another fun thing to watch during the sexytimes scene are Oliver's hands -- he literally cannot hold her enough or touch her enough because I don't think a part of him believes that she's real and that THIS is real between them.)

But it is real. And it happens, a fact that Felicity adorably states later on as she saunters over to the moonlit window where Oliver is reflecting (... on the sex? Hard to say, but probably yes). They toast to each other -- to them being an "us" -- and then... Oliver falls to the floor, drugged. BECAUSE FELICITY DRUGGED HIM. As far as plans go, this wasn't her best (though she's not exactly known for her genius plans that involve blowing up buildings, etc.) and when Felicity summons Malcolm and Diggle, they basically agree. But the three (with help from Maseo) hatch a plan to escape with Oliver and flee (I wonder what the thought was beyond that because... uh, Ra's can totally find you all wherever you are) into the creepy catacombs and then are surrounded by League members. Thankfully, this wakes Oliver from his stupor and he commands them to stand down as the Heir to the Demon.

It is then that Oliver is forced to say goodbye to the people he loves most in the world, telling them that he has to stay and that they are noble for wanting to help him escape. And then, after everyone else, it comes time for Oliver and Felicity to say goodbye. I loved this scene more than the sex scene, to be honest. I loved hearing their score swell in the background (Blake Neely is a genius). I loved that it allowed us to glimpse Oliver and Felicity at their most vulnerable and emotional. They both refuse to say goodbye. And though it kills Oliver to part with Felicity -- though he wants nothing more in the world than to hold her for one more moment or kiss her again -- she is what will keep him alive in the League. As long as he knows she's out there, living her life, safe, and happy, nothing that happens in the League will ever be unbearable. Because of her.

(Can we just pause to absorb the utter beauty and complete all of the love and pain and heartache and confusion that Oliver and Felicity were experiencing in this moment and how tangible it all was? I felt so much in that scene -- I felt like I could reach out and physically touch their agony in having to say goodbye again.)

Because this girl, this unsuspecting blonde and babbling IT girl, changed Oliver's life forever. It is because of her that he's learned how to hope again. It is because of her -- just the thought of her, happy -- that he can survive hell on earth. As long as the memory of her -- his light, his  happiness, his Felicity -- exists, he will be able to stay alive. Felicity doesn't want to lose him. She can't bear to lose him. And the tender promise in "The Fallen" is that she won't. They're not saying goodbye. Not this time.


So it's not a goodbye, as we end "The Fallen." These characters know they will always find one another in the end. They know they will be reunited. But a question lingers, as the chapter of Oliver Queen's life draws to a necessary close (Ra's instructs Oliver to forget his identity and embrace being Al Sah-Him from this moment forward):

"How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no more Oliver Queen?"

The answer is one: Oliver Queen must lose himself in order to become Al Sah-Him. And that is how "The Fallen" ends: not with a man but with an Arrow.

Observations & favorite moments:
  • MVP for this episode is far too close to call between these two: Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards. First of all, what a powerhouse duo, let me tell you. Stephen has this amazing ability to lower his voice to a near-whisper (like he does when Team Arrow tries to convince him to not leave for Nanda Parbat) and make everything that comes next feel so heavy and full of pain and emotion. I love Stephen Amell's performance on this show. I think his acting is some of the most consistently underrated on television, period. He can switch from rage to quiet desperation to an emotional breakdown in a few seconds in a scene. We got the chance to see every part of Stephen's range in this episode -- from the beautiful, poignant nuances in his scenes with Emily Bett Rickards, to his pain upon joining the League to his grief over Oliver losing Thea. Seriously, I can't ever talk enough about how all it takes from Stephen is one whispered line and I immediately feel emotionally invested in his pain. Bravo. The second MVP is, of course, Emily Bett Rickards. "The Fallen" was a tour de force for her as we had the chance to witness every facet of Felicity's personality. She's stubborn and strong and compassionate and loving and determined and supportive and everything, honestly, that draws people to Felicity Smoak is at play in this episode. Emily has such an unabashed rawness and realness to the portrayal of her character that it invites you in, causes you to feel empathy, and begs you to love her. Emily is extremely honest in her portrayal of Felicity, taking a character that should have literally only been in one scene and turning her into one of the most layered, complex, inviting characters on television. So brava, lady. Brava.
  • Look, can we put a pin in the Hong Kong stuff for the rest of the season? Because I took the time during those portions of this episode to eat a cupcake. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT HONG KONG.
  • The scene in the hospital between Stephen Amell and John Barrowman was SO well-acted and very emotional. Exceptional job to both.
  • "Lazarus as in from the Bible, Lazarus?"
  • "I hope something awful... stops being awful."
  • "I wanted to make you think you had grown a little as a person." HAAAA FELICITY.
  • So I haven't mentioned Diggle much in this review, but there was an important conversation which I fear bodes for some foreshadowing: he and Maseo have a confrontation about what the League is and what it does and how Dig believes it represents not strength, but cowardice. It is full of men who are running away from their pain or their problems and seeking solace in something that doesn't help -- that's just an escape. Maseo tells Dig that he doesn't know his pain -- doesn't know the pain of watching your child die in your arms and telling them it'll be okay. Dig apologizes and then uses Maseo's son's memory (really? I thought we all were better than this) to ask Maseo if what he's doing would honor his son. Maseo eventually tries to help Dig, Oliver, Malcolm, Thea, and Felicity escape so clearly Dig's words meant something. Still. I don't like the fact that there was some heavy-handed foreshadowing in that moment. #keepbabySarasafe2k15
  • "Me and John and -- God help me -- Malcolm." HAAAA AGAIN FELICITY.
  • "You need to tell Oliver goodbye. Tell him how much you love him. Tell him whatever your heart needs to express. And do it now."
  • "So. That happened."
  • "Thank you for trying. I love you all the more for it." You guys, how cute was that? AND HOW CUTE IS IT NOW THAT THEY CAN SAY THEY LOVE EACH OTHER?
  • "Whatever happens, you're my brother." #brotp
  • "The only way I am gonna survive this is if I know you're out there, living your life... happy."
  • "Well, let's not say goodbye this time."
  • The arrow that is branded on Oliver/hangs around his neck/represents his name is also the arrow in this year's opening credits.
  • The sass is so strong in the Malcolm/Thea scene. "Well, at least you're feeling a little more like yourself again."
  • The Laurel/Felicity scene was beautiful and wonderful and perfect. Laurel and Felicity had a really touching moment in "Canaries" that was Felicity supporting Laurel, and now Laurel gets to be there to hold her.
Okay, I apologize for how LONG this is. If you made it all the way through, go give yourself a pat on the back and then a cookie on my behalf. There was a lot to unpack this episode so hit up the comments with your thoughts and feelings about "The Fallen." Was the Oliver/Felicity hook-up all you expected? Did you get emotional saying goodbye to Oliver (again)? Does ANYONE care about Hong Kong? Let me know what you thought. Until then, folks! :)

53 comments:

  1. What an episode...Ohh have so much mixed feeling...i loved this review, you nailed it as always...but a standing ovation to the best part: Felicity-Heir to the demon-Smoak.

    Did this was an episode of the flash? It runs too fast or that was just me?
    I want more olicity... the after sex was not what I expected...it was fun actually but well i would rather had have more sex cuddling or a simple bed scene mixed with I dont know... more sex....ok! I think I lost my chill here....well I hope we can see that on the finale...
    Am suppose to be worrying because MG said something about rushing this olicity sex scene to take it out of the table for the season finale...?

    Anyways I have to say i wanna see oliver being a villain...i want him to be strip offa from oliver queen and then reborn as the oliver queen we want to be with felicity....just saying!

    The flashback...meh, i prefer not to have them but i wanna know why maseo still greatful to oliver...

    Thanks again for a delightful, heart-mealting and tearful review!

    Greetings from the caribbean
    Mey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there May! First of all: welcome. Especially welcome from the Caribbean! That's so cool. :D

      I think everyone in this episode can agree that Felicity Smoak deserves to be the Heir to the Demon more than anyone. Girl took on Ra's AND Malcolm in one episode and both like, totally respected her. Seriously, I think Ra's chose the wrong member of Team Arrow on this one.

      Everyone has definitely been agreeing that the episode felt rushed, which is weird because like... not a lot happened. The pacing at the beginning was really good but as soon as the team went to Nanda Parbat, the jump between Thea being resurrected, Felicity's conversation with Ra's, and then Felicity/Oliver's hook-up, subsequent drugging, and failed escape felt a bit too tightly packed in there.

      I want more olicity... the after sex was not what I expected...it was fun actually but well i would rather had have more sex cuddling or a simple bed scene mixed with I dont know... more sex....ok! I think I lost my chill here....well I hope we can see that on the finale...

      I'll address your comment but this is pretty much something everyone in fandom should read anyway and it's something I mentioned in my New Girl review of the episode "Prince." If you don't watch the show, all you really need to know is that this was the episode the two main characters said "I love you" to each other.

      Fandom was disappointed (and the Nick/Jess shippers were) with how the entire thing played out. And it's because fandom is a double-edged sword: we create these amazing works of fanfic and build a moment up in our heads that sometimes the actual event itself is a letdown.

      Here's what I said in that review: But the disconnect between canon and fandom occurs whenever the immersion in fic!canon becomes so extreme that actual canon leaves a viewer dissatisfied.

      Again: it's not BAD that we have these ideas of what the Oliver/Felicity stuff should be. But sometimes I think we just get so immersed in those ideas of fic!Oliver and fic!Felicity that actual canon Oliver and Felicity (how they respond to things, what they do/don't do, etc.) becomes a bit of a letdown. Does that make sense?

      Thanks so much for your comments! <3

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  2. So I usually wait until I've done my recap before reading yours (though I've been slacking on that the last few weeks =((() but I had to come read yours because I am so conflicted. I agree with so much of what you said about the Olicity stuff (duh) but I feel like I follow a lot of people who aren't shippers and are frustrated with the Ra's stuff (and I get it, I do), so I saw a lot of negativity and came here for some light and positivity (which you incidentally talked about a lot lol).

    I think I am conflicted bc I like the core of what they wanted (Olicity! scrubbing identity! something new for Thea to do, a new dark path for Oliver to explore!) but maybe not the execution? I feel like they wasted our time with the drugging/catacombs business... Maseo isn't even in trouble for it—GOOD— but then what was the point? and I don't like the feeling of Felicity drugging Oliver. It feels ridiculous to say that it would be awful in the reverse, but I can't help but think about that too. Though I guess I do like that Felicity isn't perfect, she has TERRIBLE plans. (Why aren't they more thought out?!) Though I also get the impulsiveness (and possibly post sex-adrenaline???) of why she did it...? SEE? CONFLICTED! Maybe it's that I get why the CHARACTERS made certain choice, but not the writers...? I get why OLIVER is in the League now, and I get what the writers kind of WANT out of it (everything we've talked about with identity), but why are we *actually* there? I think I want to be in Starling, with Starling problems, not League problems. CONFLICTED.

    Anyway, I didn't hate the episode, but am feeling off about it, and came here for some balance to my CONFLICTION (not a word? Oh). I feel like I want to jump ahead to S4 where Olicity is together, we're back to focusing on Starling, we've moved on from Hong Kong, and Ra's and Ray are off somewhere else. Let's trim some edges. But growing pains are important too, and I think that's what this is. Hopefully the end result (even if not the episodes to come) leave me feeling better about this journey. Because I love and want to defend this show to people who are not feeling things, but its hard to when I am CONFLICTED.

    I hope I didn't bring the comments section down moodwise. Let's rejoice about Olicity and Stephen's performance (and the way he puts on a leather jacket) and John and Oliver's brief bromantic moments (of which there need to be more of) and all things light and joy and good!

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    1. Yup! I was so stoked for this episode so maybe my expectations were unrealistic but the pacing just felt so off to me. While I adored the jet scene, Olicity's time in Nanda Parbat felt rushed (which is my issue with their whole S3 trajectory, actually). And her drugging him tainted an otherwise lovely afterglow scene. I'm still mulling it over but my initial reaction is a bit of disappointment. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it like I hoped I would.

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    2. Someone just tweeted at my confliction that perhaps I feel "whelmed." I think that's it. Not underwhelmed, I got most of what I expected, but I should feel OVERwhelmed by the declarations and the choosing to be Al Saheem and I don't. I think they're trajectory season-wise has been OK, but this episode after the jet did feel rushed and I wish the afterglow moment had more time to glow before the drugging... like what happened between them as he put his clothes on and she went for the bottle? more of THAT part thanks!

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    3. Connie, yay! I love to read your thoughts and will check out your review too. Hmm, I'm intrigued. I made a conscious decision a while ago not to be on social media so I don't hear a lot of the back and forth about this show. Could you outline the issues that some mention about the R'as plot? I would love to know what they find problematic.

      I think a lot of disappointment about this episode can stem from the high expectations that people had. Ever since the trailer that first showed the rest of the spring plots I (who am not on social media at all) have gotten the impression of a lot of excitement and build up. Whenever I build up a future plot in my head I almost always find myself disappointed because reality falls short. (I didn't think we were going to get a nice afterglow for example because this is Arrow and they like to twist the knife.) No tv show is ever going to have enough time to really delve into things like I want them to. So I think people's dissatisfaction with pacing is right on and I think there are a few episodes this season (and other seasons) that have felt rushed. What feels exciting and action packed for some can feel shallow and rushed to others, especially if a scene you really like was shorter than you think it deserved. (I noticed that Laurel came with them to the jet but had no dialogue at all there so we know something was cut etc).

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    4. I for one did not have a major problem with Felicity knocking Oliver out. I was surprised but not upset. Maybe I wasn't upset because Oliver wasn't bothered? As soon as he regained consciousness he understood exactly why Felicity had done what she did and he said he loved her all the more for it. Basically, Felicity doesn't give up, she's a fighter. I think she went to Oliver's room prepared for a goodbye and to try and let him go but when faced with the actual reality of leaving him there she couldn't make herself do it. "I can't lose you. I won't." So yeah, desperation doesn't always make for the best plans but I don't think her plans are always bad. Even though she said her bombing plan was not good, I thought it was a pretty logical step to remove that resource from Slade and it did slow him down a little. Anyway, was it really that much worse than Oliver's plan to extract Malcolm from Nanda Parbat with just Dig and no idea of the layout they were going into? The only reason they didn't die right there was because R'as let them go. So Felicity's isn't the only shortsighted plan this year. And I think shortsighted is a good word for it. All she can see is Oliver and just like him, I can love her more for trying.

      I think this gets to a central part of Felicity's character actually, a weakness/strength just like Jenn has pointed out in others. Felicity is really good at hope. She always fights and always tries. When everyone seems resigned to Oliver's choice this week, she is not. This can be a good thing. She talked Oliver out of giving up at the end of last season when neither of them could see a way out. She believes hard that things are going to be okay. During this season, she believed/ was in denial after Oliver didn't come back from his duel longer than anyone because he had gotten through so many times before. She criticized R'as for giving up too quickly when he left his family. It's part of who she is and frankly, crazy rescues have worked for the team before so she is going to try. She also sometimes takes this past wisdom into denial. I think part of the reason that she doesn't end it with Ray (which bothered me more than anything else) is because she is in denial. She is believing hard that she either won't have to hurt him or that it will all work out, somehow. I think she's really good at convincing herself that things are okay or will be okay when they can't be. And that can get her into major trouble.

      I could be totally wrong but I also get your confusion over understanding characters but not understanding writer's decisions. Ideally, there shouldn't be that separation. A writer's choices should feel organic and natural and not separate from the character's nature and if you (and me) are not feeling that then something is off in the storytelling. I need to think more about that. So thank you for giving me something to chew on.

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    5. CONNIE MY LOVE. I'm so glad you responded.

      Let's tackle the feeling of "whelmed" by discussing what I noted in my reply to May: the show built this up so much in the promos and Oliver/Felicity fans built up the episode SO much in their minds that canon could never live up to their imaginations. And I think that is bound to happen with certain couples on TV that are in the will-they-won't-they tension: it happened to Nick/Jess, it happened to Oliver/Felicity, it'll happen to future couples who are beloved by fandom and shippers. Everything WE imagine in our heads is always better than what ends up being on the screen. Especially if we hype it up in our heads.

      So yeah, it's totally acceptable to feel "whelmed" after this episode. BUT the key in not feeling totally whelmed is if the show delivers something unexpected to us (which is why that goodbye scene is my favorite of the episode, not the actual sex scene). That's the Olicity part of the feeling "whelmed" so I get you.

      As far as Felicity drugging Oliver, since it's been proven that Felicity is REALLY bad at plans (I thought Dig's reaction to passed out!Oliver was hilarious), I didn't find this problematic. Was it a downer that it happened so soon after the sex? Yeah, maybe, but also it demonstrated -- as Becca said -- the fact that the thought of losing him again, of saying one more goodbye and not knowing if it's permanent this time or not, is too much for her to fathom.

      People do crazy things when they're in love and Felicity does have a crazy side of her (that we saw from her flashback episode) that is buried beneath her usually calmer, more rational demeanor.

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    6. So Felicity's isn't the only shortsighted plan this year. And I think shortsighted is a good word for it. All she can see is Oliver and just like him, I can love her more for trying.

      Everyone this season, really, is acting on emotion first and logic second if you think about it -- Laurel acted on emotion and nearly got herself killed; she acted on emotion and lied to her father; Quentin acted on emotion in his man-hunt for the Arrow; Felicity acted on emotion in this episode and also in her decision to accept the job from Ray in the first place; Thea's whole arc is about her acting on her emotions and not wanting to feel those emotions.

      Honestly the ONLY person operating on logic this season is our villain which is why I frankly love Ra's. He's playing a game of chess when everyone else is playing checkers. He believes in a prophecy and will strategically move pieces around his board until he cripples his opponent. Simple. Logical. Not dominated by chaos or wild emotions. That's why I'm so compelled by him, to be frank.

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    7. Can we make a motion to remove any and all Hong Kong from here on out? Like, this episode it was a major distractor and I honestly think that if the Hong Kong bits were removed, there would have been an easier flow. We could have had time to bask in the Oliver/Felicity afterglow. But we couldn't.

      And the whole point of the Hong Kong stuff is leading up to Maseo's eventual trajectory in the League and the demise of his and Tatsu's relationship. We presumed their son died and this episode HE TOLD US THAT HE DID SO WHY DO I NEED TO KEEP SEEING HONG KONG FLASHBACKS? I feel like that's the one thing this season the writers have done to write themselves into a corner. They have to finish telling that story but it doesn't seem like they really even want to at this point, and I don't want them to either.

      So yeah, Connie, I totally understand the feeling of whelmed. Personally, everything was crammed a BIT too tightly into the second act and moved very fast. If we had cut Hong Kong, that would have been better for me. As it was, time apparently just speeds up in Nanda Parbat. Chalk it up to their decor and lack of clocks.

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  3. Let me get this out of the way fast so it does not dominate this post. That entire Ray and Felicity scene reminded me of something that happened to me except the Felicity was the active one. Ray Palmer i feel your pain...I feel it and now I can leave my post on the Ray Palmer wall and talk about the episode.

    Jennifer Marie, thank you for detailing all your feelings when describing Oliver and Felicity in this episode. When I watched the epsoide I was like..wait "take Thea to STAR Labs to be a cyborg", or "Felicity Ra's is going to kill you this plan was foolish." I kind of phased out when Oliver and Felicity were talking and focused more on Malcolm and Oliver and Diggle and Maseo and Thea. I mean Oliver hearing Felicity saying I love you, Oliver knowing that this will end and she will leave. But holding her knowing it is the last time in his life and want to remember every piece of her.That's beautiful and yet I couldn't see that (or maybe did not want to) couldn't feel that..maybe because I felt more like Ray or I just don't understand how Olicity works. But I know Ra's feelings of loving someone but due to something or someone is forced to leave them behind and not getting a chance to hold them or say I love them for the last time. Just force to end it without any form of closure..which brings me back to what I said about the breakup. (Maybe I should be the next Ra's al Ghul?)

    Still Felicity was strong in this episode and I approve and I can't harp on her because I don't have experience with the situation she is in or know her logic process. For me what she did seemed foolish and the intercourse scene was like...meh oliver and felicity together...yay. Anyway I don't want to harp on you or any Olicity fan and I want you to enjoy what you saw and how you feel. I wish I could have moved past my own feelings and enjoy it for all the emotional weight it had...I just couldn't do it it.

    Anyway the flashbacks were good like early in the season they are just badly edited now and badly put in, Hong Kong is poorly executed. The final thing I wanted to say is that the universe seems to want to prove Oliver was right. That one line in the flash crossover "Guys like us don't get the girl" I mean the Time-Space continuum prevented Barry and Iris in "Out of Time" and now Oliver, excuse me Al Sah-him is prevented from being with Felicity and may loose her forever because he may have to kill Diggle or Laurel next week and I can't see Felicity loving Oliver over that. Or maybe there will be surprise and they can be together.

    Sorry for being downer in this post I didn't do it to burst your bubble just wanted to share my thoughts and feelings. This was a good episode and I can't wait for next week.

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    1. Oh forgot to mention. How is Oliver's son going to come in to all this I mean he has too right? How will Felicity deal with that..I heard from others that it will make Olicity stronger because Felicity due to her past will demand Oliver be there for him. So he's not abandoned like what happened to her, maybe it will come up in Season 4.

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    2. Hi there Donavan! And welcome back. :D

      I totally get the whole Olicity thing and am (obviously) on board with it. Their goodbye is what really struck me. I loved Oliver's goodbye to Thea and how reluctantly he sent her away with Malcolm. I loved his farewell to Diggle -- citing how they will always be brothers (I kind of wanted him to tell Dig to look after Felicity). And then, when Oliver began his goodbye to Felicity, I thought it was important because it demonstrated the fact that the one thing that keeps him Oliver Queen -- that will keep his soul from being tainted by Ra's -- is Felicity and knowing she's happy. That's love, right there, but more than that, it demonstrates how much Oliver relies on her and how she really IS his light, the thing that keeps him human. So their not-goodbye-goodbye was sad and beautiful (and the light shone in through the back just like their first kiss -- SYMBOLISM I TELL YOU).

      Glad you're able to express what you did and didn't like about Olicity without being rude or mean. That's a giant step up from where most other people are who don't like the pairing, haha.

      Earlier in this season, Hong Kong made sense. Now it's just a jumbled mess and I think the writers feel like they are, too. Hong Kong just needs to be over already.

      Thanks for the comments, as usual! :)

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    3. I don't know if you will get a chance to read this but there is one thing I've always questioned but never could figure out the answer to. How come Sara Lance was not the light?

      Reading your other reviews you explained how Felicity's name and the scenes where light shone through proved that she could harness the light and how Oliver was willing to kill for her. But I recently re-watched some Arrow season 2 and Sara seemed she could be as well. I mean she was always active, refused to let Oliver push her away during the Slade stuff. Let Oliver help her when dealing with Laurel and refused to let Oliver make decisions for her.

      Plus she knew Oliver before and on the island and thus understood the darkness Oliver gained (Assassin and ARGUS Operative respectfully) or maybe because Olicity works on an opposite attracts basis and to harness the light you need someone that's bathe in it then instead of two people who've lived a long time in the dark? I always thought these two in the dark would walk into the light together.

      Anyway I wanted to ask you since you seem to understand the Olicity thing fully and help me answer the question. Sara felt like she was being the light, but you were describing Felicity as the light. So is it a perspective thing or did I miss something?

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    4. I know you were asking Jenn but I hope you don't mind if I respond. I think the real explanation for that comes from Sara herself. When she breaks things off with Oliver it is because she didn't believe she could be that person for him (ep 2x20 I think). Sara realised that she would have killed mirakuru-Roy rather than fight to save Roy like Oliver insisted on doing. She tells Oliver that he needs somebody who can harness the light that is still inside of him and she says she is not that person.

      I think Sara was really struggling with her own demons at that point. She saw Roy as a threat to be eliminated not an an innocent to be fought for. After she leaves Oliver she goes back to Nyssa and the League and seems content with that choice. During the siege on Starling she is really struggling with her own identity as a hero and it is Laurel who convinces her she is a good person and a hero. Laurel tells her that the League gave her such a beautiful name and then she saves that child from a burning building and overhears herself called a hero by one of the SCPD cops. This is where Sara really starts to believe in her ability to be not just a killer but a hero. It was primarily her interaction with her family, especially her sister, that restored that hope in her.

      I thought Sara Lance was an amazing character, so developed and layered and strong, and she did seem to have good interaction with Oliver. Whatever the audience believes her influence on Oliver to be however, Sara was convinced that she was not the right person for Oliver and she seemed pretty confident in her decision to leave him, return to the League and decide her "own fate" as she explained to her father before leaving in the season finale. I trust that she made the right decision for herself (even if she ends up dying which still upsets me.) What a great example of a female character with real agency.

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    5. ^^^^^^^^ *slow claps for Becca*

      Seriously, basically everything that she said. Sara was such an amazing and complex character full of so much pain, having been stripped of her innocence. I really think that Sara understood that being a hero and being a light were not often the same thing. While a lot of people saw her as a hero, Sara struggled so much to ever see herself as GOOD. And she died believing herself to be a hero -- which she was -- but I don't think she would ever call herself good or light. Her light was tainted by darkness -- the things she did and chose to do in the League -- and she knew that Oliver could end up like her if he didn't find someone to harness the light and hope within him.

      Enter: Felicity Smoak. Literally every time Felicity is spoken about by others, it's always about how she's the light. She's Oliver's hope. She is -- as he says in this episode -- what keeps him alive and fighting and surviving. She's his last thought before dying on that mountain. Sara could never be that person for him and she knew it. (Again: not that Sara is bad because she's not, she's amazing. She's just strong enough to know who she is and isn't in that relationship.)

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    6. So Sara was fighting her own demons and she was afraid she was going to pull Oliver back from the progress he was making and Felicity was needed to make Oliver continue on his progress. Still it feels like Sara and Oliver could have worked together and come into the light.

      But still this answers the question in detail and explains why Olicity functions in a narrative context. Thank you Becca and Jenn for taking time to answer my question, now I wish you two could be an emotion reading app I could use. Also Becca it was episode 2x20.

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    7. I just re-watched 2x19 and 2x20 tonight, and it's kind of freaky how the writers were cycling through many of the same themes on this show. Oliver is saying goodbye to Thea and telling her how good she is and how much she means to him. Moira, about to die, tells Oliver and Thea, "This night only ends one way." Oliver is vowing that he will not lose Roy, who's spiraling out control from being Slade's miracuru lab rat, while at the same time brooding about having "lost everything." (Knock some wood, Oliver, like RIGHT NOW. Because you've still got lots left to lose. Sob.)

      And then there's the love scene. I was struck by several things: 1) How my face naturally grimaced seeing Sara and Oliver together in much the same way it has done for the past 5 episodes with Ray and Felicity. 2) How comfortable Sara and Oliver are with each other, but not in a particularly passionate way. More like sex is a natural extension of the other things they do together like fighting crime, exercising, and riding motorcycles. It's clear that Sara is set up as the female Oliver. They have had parallel journeys, but Sara was a little bit behind Oliver in her progression from dark to light. Sara likes Oliver, Sara cares a lot about Oliver, but Sara wasn't in love with Oliver. The two of them functioned as each other's security blanket. When Oliver suggests they move in together Sara freezes? She not up for playing house with him; that's not the function of security blankets or friends with benefits. Within hours of him making that suggestion, she's out. Literally out of town. She drives out of town like a bat out of hell. That's not what she wants from Oliver and it's not what she thinks Oliver needs either, and if he's going to entertain that notion, well she's not going to humor him. This in itself is a replay of how Oliver acted when Laurel suggested they move in together. His relationships with the Lance girls are complicated; that's for sure.

      Also in 2x19 and 2x20, Felicity is still a supporting character, Laurel is the one insisting on how strong their forever bond is, and Oliver is being his stoic self, not letting a lot of emotion show, hunkering down in his second lair and closing everyone out.

      It's kind of remarkable how far Oliver has come in one season, really. While his fortunes have only gone further downhill, his relationships with nearly all of the people his life are much more solid and reciprocal.

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    8. Very good points! Thanks for bringing up the scene where Oliver asks Sara to move in. She doesn't seem enthusiastic about that idea at all does she? I think a lot of things come into play for Sara's character in that episode but they all come together to mean that she doesn't feel her fate is in Starling. She's gotta figure her own stuff out and she doesn't see Oliver helping with that or her helping him with what he needs.

      And thank you for pointing out the progress that we've seen in Oliver, in spite of all the loss this year he hasn't shut everyone out like he did last year. He's slowly learning a different reaction to fear and pain. Love it!

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  4. Hi Jenn! I love your reviews! One of the best Arrow episodes tonight!

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  5. Other than the Hong Kong flash backs which I found jarring ( I would have loved to stew in the goodness that is Olicity) I found every scene fantastic! And can we just agree of phenomenal Stephen and Emily is???! Wow! This has become my favorit Arrow epidose...followed closely by 3x01...and 3x09...and...hmmm...3x16...

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    1. Honestly, Stephen and Emily were at the top of their game in this episode. Both did a fantastic job bouncing from emotion to emotion and their scenes together were beautiful and moving and that goodbye scene is one of the most powerful between them ever. They did fantastic. <3

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  6. I was intrigued to find myself agreeing with Malcolm a bit too (cause I really don't like him). I think he's known all along it was coming to this and he tried to warn Oliver. That scene at the hospital was stunning. I thought Amell played it wonderfully and no matter how much he hates Malcolm, Oliver understands that he is grieving too. But we know Oliver will do ANYTHING to protect Thea. To say you will do anything (and we know Oliver means it) is pretty dangerous. What exactly would that encompass, what deception, what betrayals, what risks? Because Malcolm is warning him this won't be without a great cost. But Oliver does not stop, probably doesn't even let himself think about the possibility of having Thea come back terribly changed, he'd be part of the League, and then what? (It kinda reflects what Felicity was willing to risk to get Oliver out of Nanda Parbat. She would do anything too but more on that later.)

    Speaking of Thea, was I the only one who expected her to be more changed? Now I know we'll probably see more repercussions in the coming weeks but after a few days she seems like she is back to her old self which doesn't quite match up to the fear in Malcolm's eyes when he talked about the Pit. She knows Oliver again enough to say goodbye to him and she is back to distrusting Malcolm by the end. So what exactly has the Pit done to her?

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    1. BECCA. As always, I love your comments so let's dive into it:

      That scene at the hospital was stunning. I thought Amell played it wonderfully and no matter how much he hates Malcolm, Oliver understands that he is grieving too. But we know Oliver will do ANYTHING to protect Thea. To say you will do anything (and we know Oliver means it) is pretty dangerous. What exactly would that encompass, what deception, what betrayals, what risks? Because Malcolm is warning him this won't be without a great cost. But Oliver does not stop, probably doesn't even let himself think about the possibility of having Thea come back terribly changed, he'd be part of the League, and then what?

      Exactly right. 1) That Amell performance was stunning and so was Barrowman's for that matter. 2) I said it in one of our comments above but everyone is acting on emotion this year. The villains are the logical ones and that's why they're so dangerous. They're calculated and collected. And for Oliver to dismiss Malcolm even if he IS evil and the devil is very dangerous when Malcolm is actually RIGHT. I think everything in this episode can be characterized by "acting out of desperation because of love." Oliver doesn't yet know -- nor do we -- the repercussions of his actions. I'm interested to find out what they actually are.

      She knows Oliver again enough to say goodbye to him and she is back to distrusting Malcolm by the end. So what exactly has the Pit done to her?

      I'm interested to see what changing her in "the soul" means. I really am. Also was I the only person confused about WHEN Thea thought she was at Nanda Parbat? Because she says Oliver is dead, but thinks Moira is alive, but then referred to Malcolm as her dad? Was her timeline just all wonky? It was weird to mix those many separate events up though.

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  7. So, Palmer broke things off with Felicity which I had a bad feeling was going to happen. I think that was the most frustrating thing about the episode for me. I so wanted to see Felicity be decisive and take responsibility for her feelings. In my frustration I was trying to put myself in her shoes. She hasn't exactly had a lot of time to pause and reflect over the last couple weeks. In the midst of all the drama with Roy going to prison and then leaving and then Thea nearly dying and ending up in hospital there hasn't really been a “good time” for Felicity to deal with her personal life. And I can see her jumping from one crisis to the next so fast that she hasn't had time to really process what she is going to do. And I've felt like that sometimes, like if I could just think for awhile I could figure out a way to say things properly but that time never comes and I make a hash of things. Then two or three days later I figure out what I wanted to say. But even when Palmer started the conversation she didn't participate much, she didn't say much at all really. She just said she didn't want to hurt him. And I can think of a number of people I've known who have stayed in relationships too long because they didn't want to hurt the other person but some hurt always comes eventually. I think it comes down to something interesting about Felicity's character. She wants things to be okay and she believes they will be. (like when she tells Oliver that he will see Thea again this time too) She believes that she will have more time, that the team will figure this crisis out too, that she can deal with things later. And R'as gets right at this trait in their wonderful dialogue. After she says he gave up too quickly when ordered to leave his family (something we see she won't do) he tells her that life is not as rosy as she thinks. The good guys don't win and life is more cruel than fair. Then the most important thing – all the hoping and posturing and fighting she is doing is actually delaying the most important thing – taking the opportunity she has now. And that certainly affects her. Hoping and working for a good future is all well and good but she has been actually letting her opportunities pass her by even though she said she wanted to live her life to the fullest. So she accepts this might be her last chance to tell Oliver how she feels. The tragic thing is, if Palmer had not spoken up when she asked for the jet and pushed the point Felicity would not have had the opportunity to go to Oliver as openly and freely as she did, with no regrets or baggage. She would have missed that opportunity too. So as much as Felicity's hope and constant looking for a solution is a great thing, the fact is none of us know which moment will be our last and if we don't take all opportunities for speaking the truth we will regret it.

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    1. But even when Palmer started the conversation she didn't participate much, she didn't say much at all really. She just said she didn't want to hurt him. And I can think of a number of people I've known who have stayed in relationships too long because they didn't want to hurt the other person but some hurt always comes eventually.

      That's what irked me -- Ray initiated the conversation and it never would have happened had he not said anything. She would have just coasted, being in love with Oliver but staying with Ray because she thought that door was closed for her. So I'm kind of just bummed that Felicity didn't take the time after the hospital scene to break up with him. They were still flirty and together in the last episode and yeah, I understand that she's had a LOT going on but to make Ray the constant "good guy" is kind of troublesome to me because it leaves Felicity as that "helpless girl in love who just DIDN'T WANT TO HURT ANYONE so she did nothing" trope.

      Also... I assume Oliver knows Felicity and Ray broke up, right? This was never explicitly stated and I'd hope he wouldn't sleep with her knowing she was with Ray. Just curious more than anything about that.

      So as much as Felicity's hope and constant looking for a solution is a great thing, the fact is none of us know which moment will be our last and if we don't take all opportunities for speaking the truth we will regret it.

      Amen, sister friend.

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  8. So Felicity seems pretty ready to do ANYTHING to save Oliver, even drugging him without really being sure of her next steps. I mentioned in my reply to Connie that this didn't bother me because it didn't bother Oliver. He said he loved her even more for trying. She refuses to give up. And it was a big risk, people could have gotten killed. But Oliver said he would do anything to protect Thea, if Felicity proves she would do anything (even shortsighted, risky things) to protect Oliver isn't that something he would understand? Like you I found their dialogue to be more powerful than any physical bonding this week. I mean, don't get me wrong, the sex scene was tender and beautiful but it was the conversation on the plane, the point when Felicity tells him how he has changed her life and how much she loves him, Oliver toasting to them, Oliver saying he loves her in front of everyone in the catacombs, their parting words to each other, etc that really got to me. The moment when she admitted that leaving him in Nanda Parbat would destroy her was possibly my favourite. Those kinds of things show their depth, their trust and that is the only reason love scenes are worthwhile- because they grow out of a deep connection.

    I found the conversation between Diggle and Maseo to be very interesting. I do agree with Diggle that “separating yourself from society” (as R'as puts it) is an easy escape. Being part of society, part of a family or community is hard, complicated work. So it's easy to understand the desire for escape, the desire for simplicity where all you have to do is follow orders. Any time Maseo does something terrible he can just say it was “the will of the Demon's Head”. He doesn't have to think for himself or feel all the pain, he can just close it down and escape his life and his identity and that is a coward's choice. It's a hard truth but I think it's the truth. Now Maseo is right, Diggle doesn't know what it is like to hold his child dying in his arms and neither do I. (And that better not be some foreshadowing for awful things happening to Dig's family. We need one little family in this show not ruled by tragedy, if only for balance.) But does not having the experience of losing your child mean you automatically don't get to say that what Maseo is doing is wrong? If someone has gone through terrible heartache and pain does that mean that whatever they do is justified? It might have seemed cruel that Diggle asked if Akio would be proud but I think it is an important question. Would Sara support what her father is doing, would Akio be proud of his father's actions, would Malcolm's wife have accepted the Undertaking? Oliver has lost many people but he DOES think if what he is doing would honour those people, he does want to make Tommy and his parents and Sara proud. And Diggle once looked right in the eyes of the man who shot his brother and let him go because he gave his word. That is what makes Diggle the best man that Oliver has ever known and he was right to call Maseo on his actions and state some hard truths. We mustn't forget that Maseo, without hesitation, killed the mayor of Starling city and thus ripped her away from her family and has become the kind of person he once fought against. All because he was following orders? Sorry, that was long... rant over.

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    1. Like you I found their dialogue to be more powerful than any physical bonding this week. I mean, don't get me wrong, the sex scene was tender and beautiful but it was the conversation on the plane, the point when Felicity tells him how he has changed her life and how much she loves him, Oliver toasting to them, Oliver saying he loves her in front of everyone in the catacombs, their parting words to each other, etc that really got to me. The moment when she admitted that leaving him in Nanda Parbat would destroy her was possibly my favourite. Those kinds of things show their depth, their trust and that is the only reason love scenes are worthwhile- because they grow out of a deep connection.

      And this is why I was okay with this episode where a number of people were whelmed. Because it delivered on the things I wasn't expecting. Honestly, the goodbye scene and the kiss and forehead touch (and then the music swelling in the background and Oliver's tearful face as he watches her walk away) are some of the strongest moments in this episode for them. What a beautiful, poignant, simple thing.

      Any time Maseo does something terrible he can just say it was “the will of the Demon's Head”. He doesn't have to think for himself or feel all the pain, he can just close it down and escape his life and his identity and that is a coward's choice. It's a hard truth but I think it's the truth.

      VERY true. A++++ observation, Becca. And yeah, this better not be some foreshadowing because I don't need two Saras to die in this season of Arrow thank you very much and I would love if the Diggles could escape the season mostly unscathed.

      It might have seemed cruel that Diggle asked if Akio would be proud but I think it is an important question. Would Sara support what her father is doing, would Akio be proud of his father's actions, would Malcolm's wife have accepted the Undertaking?

      There's a balance, yeah? Oliver constantly thinks of the people he's lost, as you said. And that's not wrong but it also drags him down into this grief spiral a LOT. I think my problem is that everyone constantly does this thing in Arrow where they ask: "What would ___ have wanted?" (Oliver did that with Laurel; Dig with Maseo, etc.) And I get it -- they're not WRONG. But it just seems... cruel for Dig to have asked so gently about Akio and then to turn around a moment later and use him as leverage. It's not, as you said, necessarily wrong of him because duh DOY Maseo. Your son would NOT have been proud and Dig is right. It just is one of those rare Dig lines this season that I feel like has rubbed me the wrong way. It's only happened once before but it's jarring when it does.

      ANYWAY. You're right though -- Maseo needed a kick in the pants. I'm really interested to see if Maseo completely rejects his former self now or if he's going to covertly try to save Oliver's soul while in the League as like, a secret operative or something.

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  9. I don't think either Oliver or his team are aware of how much he will be changed. R'as may have given Felicity some wise and considerate advise this week but judging from the trailer he will stop at nothing to erase Oliver's identity from him. Sadly, Oliver doesn't seem to remember Diggle or Felicity which is super sad after what he said when they all parted and it looks like Oliver Queen is truly gone, at least for awhile. I'm bracing myself for something really painful to happen between Oliver and Dig next week. And R'as doesn't seem to have any qualms about sending Al Saheem and other assassins after his daughter. That is one cold man and pretty terrifying.

    Little things:
    - I agree that it felt weird that R'as let Maseo live after his betrayal by just saying his old life overtook him. I get that the writers want to keep Maseo around but it didn't seem nearly a strong enough reaction from R'as, especially considering how he reacted to Nyssa just raising her voice to him.
    - Loved the little touch of the two candles burning in the darkness at the end of the Oliver/Felicity love scene. Subtle as ever writers ...
    - I was glad to see Laurel and Felicity have a scene together and actually it felt odd we didn't see Oliver say goodbye to Laurel before getting on the jet. Which is a first for me. I figure they shot something but didn't have time for it. I'm actually looking forward to seeing Laurel more next week. Huh
    - Flashbacks might have important info but I don't know anyone who looks forward to seeing them
    - Can't get over how beautiful those hospital scenes and that entire beginning was. Pacing issues aside that beginning was great
    - Oh, Thea, are you going to trust Malcolm to “take care” of you again? This makes me anxious and I'm still waiting for Malcolm to get his comeuppance
    - I love that Felicity ordered Malcolm around. Even though she didn't have a great plan she put him in his place.

    Next week is going to be painful, I can feel it coming... The are going to really hurt the relationship between Oliver and Dig which I don't know if I can handle.

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    1. I'm bracing myself for something really painful to happen between Oliver and Dig next week. And R'as doesn't seem to have any qualms about sending Al Saheem and other assassins after his daughter. That is one cold man and pretty terrifying.

      I'm really interested because I wonder if Oliver is just REALLY good at acting like he's forgotten Oliver Queen or if it's going to take something major to rock him away from Al Sah-Him and back to Oliver (also, we know from The Flash trailer that Al Sah-Him teams up soon with Barry/Firestorm and I'M SO TOTALLY READY FOR THIS.)

      - Okay, that Laurel/Felicity scene made me cry. Because as someone on YoutTube pointed out, Laurel remembers what it feels like to have lost him when she loved him, even if she doesn't love him anymore. And so she just wants to hold Felicity like Dinah must have held her. It was a beautiful, short, sad moment between them and I'm glad they had it together. I'm stoked to see more Laurel/Felicity next week. When did I start looking forward to Laurel Lance eagerly, by the way?

      NO ONE CARES ABOUT HONG KONG. LITERALLY NO ONE.

      I love that Felicity ordered Malcolm around. Even though she didn't have a great plan she put him in his place.

      My favorite thing in the entire world is that every villain on this show respects and borderline fears Felicity Meghan Smoak. Slade does. Malcolm does. Ra's -- the FREAKING DEMON'S HEAD -- does. Sheesh, what a woman.

      IDK what is gonna happen between Oliver and Diggle but I'm so not ready for it. Eeeeeeeeeep. Thank you, always and forever, for your comments Becca! <3

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  10. I just saw, again for the 7th time the episode, and that final scene with Maseo turning himself to Ra's....i dont know why put give me chills the words of ra's that for a brieftly moment Maseo overcome Sarab...and he will be important in the days ahead. So that make think...maybe, justa maybe, Maseo will be the one helping Oliver to overcome Al Sa-him....I dont know how to explain it in english...but Maseo didnt have to tell Ra's he was the one who help them...so maybe he did it to be near Oliver thru his journey to al sa-him so he can pull oliver back...well Maseo was the one who save Oliver in 3.09, right? He always been greatful to whatever olivr did to his family....i dont know...just saying

    Mey

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    1. So that make think...maybe, justa maybe, Maseo will be the one helping Oliver to overcome Al Sa-him....

      YOU READ MY MIND! I'm wondering the same thing -- if Maseo is reminded of who he once was, maybe he'll be the key to helping save Oliver's soul in the League. We will see!

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  11. Oh, I thought of something else. This means that no matter what nice things R'as said about the League not killing anymore if Oliver ordered them not to don't really matter. R'as knows that the Oliver Queen who has promised not to kill will be truly gone before R'as ever gives up his place. And while Oliver is the heir he still has to carry out the will of R'as for awhile which I'm sure means plenty of killing. So R'as is a lying liar face who was skirting around the truth of what being the next R'as would actually mean. Evil.

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    1. And while Oliver is the heir he still has to carry out the will of R'as for awhile which I'm sure means plenty of killing. So R'as is a lying liar face who was skirting around the truth of what being the next R'as would actually mean. Evil.

      YUP. He'll only be able to be in charge of the League once Ra's dies. I mean, I guess he does have SOME say in things -- those League members obeyed him when he told them he was heir to the demon, at least. Interesting though to see how this all plays out.

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  12. Hello Jenn!
    What an episode….. I don´t know what to think of it…… some of it I loved some I didn´t. But I was expecting the disappointment… it always happens to me when I´m longing something for a long time… (it happened when Oliver returned after The calm). And your reviews are always so positive that part of the disappointment goes away, so, no, not too long at all. :)
    Also… your summer camp had archery?? Wow, that´s so cool!! And so useful now to watch Arrow right? ;) Mine had mostly craftwork and also learning to walk with stilts or something similar…
    Well here goes my opinion/ disappointment vent:
    I yelled at Oliver at the beginning of the episode because for once Malcolm was right, and he wouldn´t listen! Just this once… Although it has to be really painful losing Thea and I don’t think he would have listened even if it was Felicity telling him… But for the first time I didn´t hate Malcolm… and that´s something! But I suspect Thea is going to kill Malcolm or at least try, so my not hating him comes a little late.
    About Ray and Felicity: You do realize that if Ray wouldn´t have said anything Felicity wouldn´t have been free to be with Oliver right? Because Felicity kept acting normal. And Ray was the one with clear feelings, not her, so….. I understand Felicity wasn´t thinking that something like what happened in NP was going to happen…. But Ray is the realistic one in this relationship and for me Felicity lost some points for not being brave enough to put an end to it (after what Donna said and Felicity realized it was true, she kept coming back to Ray as if it wasn´t real). In my opinion that wasn´t the show making Ray the adorable guy who let her go because he loved her…. If Felicity would have spoken to him about her feelings, broke up with him because after the “I love you” she realized she didn´t say it back because she loved someone else (and added what she actually said in this episode:” you were the last person I wanted to hurt”) she would have been a LADY and Ray would have accepted it and understood it because of what he saw when they were saying goodbye to Roy…. And Felicity wins and Ray suffers but also wins as a character, and everybody is happy! (so to speak). And I think Ray is adorable in his own way but when compared to Oliver (like in “Broken Arrow”) Oliver wins for k.o. (Although I understand your point of view because what you feel about Ray I feel about Laurel…. So I´m glad Felicity has a friend to talk to, but I don’t specially like that friend being Laurel, sorry).
    My favorite Olicity scenes today were the jet scene and the goodbye scene….. not the sex scene at all! I was expecting sooooo much more….. I hoped they would talk more, because they are really good in those moments when they speak about how they feel and now that Felcity confessed her love(Oliver´s face was the best part of that scene)….. I don´t know….. but I expected something better…. And the morning(night) after??? What is Oliver doing completely dressed looking at the moon?? Why isn´t he hugging Felicity like there was no tomorrow (because there is no tomorrow, tomorrow he will be head of the demon and she will be back home)… and they talk like they didn´t know each other, like they didn´t know they love each other, like what had just happened, hadn’t… (Don´t hate me, but for me Raylicity sex scene was cutter, Felicity sleeping with her head on his chest… maybe it wasn´t so much at stake, or we weren´t waiting for it like Olicity´s, but…). And then she drugs him after 2 sentences….. Whaaaatt???
    And then they say goodbye… I cried a little at the beginning when Thea is in the hospital… but I was a waterfall with Oliver and Diggle´s goodbye…… oh my those two!

    (Bri)

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    1. And Oliver says goodbye to Felicity (well, he doesn´t) and that was beautiful, what she says about being good at it after so many times…lovely! But then he tells her again he will be fine as long as she´s happy……. SHE IS HAPPY WITH YOU!!! Does he want me to write it with an arrow in the sand of NP?? Because I will! I understand he has to stay and she has to go, now there is no other option, but please….. why does he say it like that again? It makes me think about all the time they could have had together and they hadn´t because of Oliver saying that.

      The flashbacks… Hong Kong was so out of line today! Always, but today specially. I thought: well maybe we´ll learn something about Tatsu and Maseo that it´s useful to understand some things Maseo will do today…… but no. Not really. Not at all…

      Diggle was……. Perfect as always! The scene with Maseo was one of the most powerful of the episode for me, that ant his goodbye to Oliver. Diggle´s scenes are always precious!

      And Ra´s´logic?? So he has to kill Thea for killing Sara….. but Maseo kills 3 of their men, betrays the League and he lives?? Ok, he has to help Oliver, no one could do it better than him because he knew him before….. but I expected something like “ I will let you live until Oliver is trained”…..

      Great to read you as always, and thank you for the opportunity to express my opinions :)

      Until next week!

      Bri

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    2. Bri! Welcome back, friend. :D

      And your reviews are always so positive that part of the disappointment goes away, so, no, not too long at all. :)

      Awwwww thanks for this! I'm glad to have been able to help. And yes, actually, funny enough I DID learn how to shoot a bow and arrow after being at camp for a week. It's a lot harder than it looks and requires a lot of arm strength, haha.

      I yelled at Oliver at the beginning of the episode because for once Malcolm was right, and he wouldn´t listen! Just this once… Although it has to be really painful losing Thea and I don’t think he would have listened even if it was Felicity telling him… But for the first time I didn´t hate Malcolm… and that´s something!

      You know your logic is upside down when MALCOLM MERLYN is the one that makes the most sense in this episode. But you're right -- even if it was Felicity telling him what to do, I doubt he would have listened. It's THEA. And he proved that he will do anything it takes to save her. Every single time.

      But Ray is the realistic one in this relationship and for me Felicity lost some points for not being brave enough to put an end to it (after what Donna said and Felicity realized it was true, she kept coming back to Ray as if it wasn´t real).

      Seriously this was a problem that the Arrow writers needed to fix. We needed to have FELICITY choose to care about Ray but be like "no, I don't love you" and not have yet ANOTHER character tell her what she should do in regards to her relationships.

      My favorite Olicity scenes today were the jet scene and the goodbye scene….. not the sex scene at all! I was expecting sooooo much more…..

      While the love scene was definitely great in a lot of ways, it didn't live up to the hype most people had in their heads. And in the end, you can write the best love scene on TV but it'll never compare to what we imagine in fanfic or our own minds. That's the problem there. But I do agree -- we needed a bit more of the post-love conversations or something. I wanted cuddling in bed (then I guess it wouldn't have been conducive to Felicity's plan). Still, they both got dressed again mighty fast.

      but I was a waterfall with Oliver and Diggle´s goodbye

      YUP, that's when I started to get a little bit weepy, too. And then full waterworks by the time the Olicity goodbye happened, I cannot lie.

      And can we seriously petition for no more Hong Kong flashbacks ever? This episode's were jarring because we needed to focus on NP and could have taken that time to do so. Would it kill them to have ONE episode without flashbacks? We could've condensed that story into one flashback for next week's episode. This week needed to be about Oliver/Felicity and Thea and we barely devoted enough time to them.

      And Ra´s´logic?? So he has to kill Thea for killing Sara….. but Maseo kills 3 of their men, betrays the League and he lives?? Ok, he has to help Oliver, no one could do it better than him because he knew him before….. but I expected something like “ I will let you live until Oliver is trained”…..

      Just like I always say "don't apply logic to Doctor Who," "don't apply logic to Arrow." Yeah that one didn't really make sense, haha.

      Thanks as always for your opinions and comments, Bri! I enjoy reading them! :D

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  13. Jenn, another fantastic review! Loved it and make it as long as you like--I will always read it all.

    I loved parts of the episode and others were OK. I was a little underwhelmed with the sex scene. I was, honestly, expecting a little more. I did love how he could not stop touching her or looking at her. Stephen Amell is the best! The morning after scene was bad. It was like they had sex and when they were finished they just got out of bed and got dressed. It was fun but there should have been more intimacy between them in that moment. They have both expressed their love for one another. He is leaving forever to become the Head of the League, this is all they have...

    I did love how Felicity ordered Malcolm around and told off Ra's. She was very strong this episode.

    The goodbye scene was beautiful. The waterworks began with the Diggle goodbye. It was so perfect and these two are just wonderful together. I could use more of Diggle and Oliver. Then the Felicity goodbye, it was so emotional and loving. Not saying goodbye this time, I can only hope that is good for them in season 4. PLEASE! His face as he watched her walk away was perfect. Again, I love Stephen Amell. He is a brilliant actor.

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    1. Hello there and thank you for your comment! :D I can promise you that I'll probably take you up on making these longer as the season draws to a close, haha.

      I was a little underwhelmed with the sex scene. I was, honestly, expecting a little more. I did love how he could not stop touching her or looking at her. Stephen Amell is the best!

      I think, as I said above, that the scenes we each had in our heads were too great and too hyped to ever pale to the canon scene. That's the drawback of being so immersed in this couple, their story, and fandom I suppose. But I have to say the fact that Oliver NEVER TOOK HIS EYES OFF HER EYES absolutely killed me. It was wonderful and poignant and conveyed just how much this was about emotional intimacy as physical for him. Yeah, guy hasn't slept with anyone in over a year, but this was all about looking at the woman he loved, too.

      It was fun but there should have been more intimacy between them in that moment.

      IF THEY WOULD HAVE FREAKING CUT HONG KONG THEN YES. I don't understand why they felt the need to interject that -- literally interject it -- into their love scene. I would have love a cuddly morning/night after thing, but I feel like those will be a part of their future anyway so I'm okay with that for the time being.

      I did love how Felicity ordered Malcolm around and told off Ra's. She was very strong this episode.

      Can I just say that I love how everyone obeys Felicity Smoak? She could seriously rule the world if she wanted. All the villains listen to and respect her. That says something.

      The goodbye scene caused me to cry, mainly because of the swelling of the Blake Neely score in the background as they kissed and she cried and then turned to leave and he watched her. And the shot of him standing so utterly alone and helpless was painful and somber.

      Amell is a champion, seriously.

      Thank you for reading these reviews and for your comments! :D

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  14. On point as usual. The Ray breakup did rub me the wrong way, but this is the Redemption of Ray storyline also, so he can have a show that people want to watch. I still don't like that Felicity came off the way she did as a result. I don;t think I can take any more Hong Kong scenes of people shooting at Oliver/M/T point blank and missing. Its a serious stretch of the imagination. I found something missing in Laurel expression in that hug. Maybe she wasn't given enough direction, but it didn't feel warm enough from her side.
    SA in the hospital scenes!! Man, that was some emoting. I wish he would get some recognition/award for it, but it probably won't happen :(
    And finally the lovemaking. Equal parts romantic and sexy which is what made it perfect. I wish Ras was not the one to make the final push and it was a decision Felicity made on her own, but the end result was beautiful and re-watchable, nonetheless.

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    1. Hi there Sarah! First of all, thank you so much for the compliment and for your comments! :D

      ...this is the Redemption of Ray storyline also

      UGH. It really is. I can't deal with being forced to like Ray. I really can't.

      I agree with you about the Hong Kong flashbacks and have met very few people who think they're still necessary. At the beginning of the season, when I thought they were building toward the big bad of Amanda Waller or how Maseo/Tatsu's marriage fell apart, I was invested. But now we know Waller isn't the big bad and we know why their marriage fell apart (presumably because Akio died) so what is there left to really care about?

      Amell in those hospital scenes though. Stellar job. Seriously. If I could throw awards at him without damaging his pretty face, I would. Also yeah, that love-making. Yeahhhhhhhhh. That was some good stuff. It was really in-character for both of them. But that goodbye scene still is the most powerful to me. <3

      Thank you for your comments, Sarah! :D

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    2. Yes that goodbye scene was beautiful!! And does SA look every better with tears in his eyes? I think so :)
      Their chemistry is just so special. I have been watching TV for a loooong time and don't even remember the last time I felt so vested in a relationship and so drawn into it. Its definitely the little things - foreheads touching, hands on knees, hands on shoulders, matching dimples, I could go on :)

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  15. This episode was everything I had hoped and although the sex scene was great, it was maybe a bit short, no doubt due to the frigging Hong Kong flashbacks! I had to laugh at your cupcake comment:). I would agree with others in that I loved the conversation on the plane and all the other great little bits of Olicity goodness. Straight away from the start of the episode when Felicity and Diggle came to the hospital, there was another level of closeness to Olicity that progressed throughout the episode. Everything between them was as natural as breathing and it was so beautiful to watch. SA and EBR acted their socks off, I really thought they were at their best this episode. I think Stephen edged it slightly for me, the scenes at the beginning when he is distraught about Thea were so moving that I felt emotional seeing him in so much pain.
    Felicity drugging Oliver was a bit of a surprise, but I absolutely loved Oliver's reaction to that, if that's not love, I don't know what is!
    Even though I thought that Olicity were equals before, this episode really cemented that fact, together they have a love and force that was such an absolute joy to finally behold. I cannot wait to see what happens when they have true time together away from the perils facing them from Nanda Parbat.

    I enjoyed every character (even the evil ones), but for me Oliver and Felicity absolutely owned it, and I loved every second of it.

    Sitara x

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    1. Welcome back, Sitara. It's always good to read your comments! :D

      I had to laugh at your cupcake comment:).

      I seriously was, haha. I hadn't gotten a chance to eat it before the airing and was too engrossed in everything within the first few minutes. So as soon as Hong Kong kicked in, I was like: "PERFECT" and started eating it. :P

      Straight away from the start of the episode when Felicity and Diggle came to the hospital, there was another level of closeness to Olicity that progressed throughout the episode. Everything between them was as natural as breathing and it was so beautiful to watch. SA and EBR acted their socks off, I really thought they were at their best this episode.

      Talk about a powerhouse duo, seriously. Those two absolutely knocked it out of the park this week. And you're absolutely right -- you can tell just from the way they approach Oliver at the hospital that there's something deep there and the bond between Oliver and Felicity just kept growing from there in this episode. There's just such a natural ease to the way they interact on screen especially in this episode. Their chemistry is so organic, so beautiful and raw. Ugh. I love it so much.

      Oliver's reaction to being drugged by Felicity is my favorite -- he loves her all the more for it. I mean, if that's not adorable, I don't know what is. ;)

      Even though I thought that Olicity were equals before, this episode really cemented that fact, together they have a love and force that was such an absolute joy to finally behold.

      You're absolutely right. Episodes prior have proven what these two are willing to do to save each other and protect each other -- Oliver willing to kill, almost going to prison last week because she was in danger; Felicity putting her life on the line and stabbing Slade, drugging Oliver just to try and save him, etc. You can tell that they not only respect each other but also there's so much love there that fuels their decisions. I can't wait, like you said, for them to return to Starling and get the chance to hopefully have a little bit of happiness. :)

      Thank you again for your comment!

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  16. This was a wonderful read. Thank you for it!!
    I have this thought regarding the Ray/Felicity break-up: to Felicity, it didn't matter. Once Oliver was in that hospital outside Thea's door, broken, near catatonic and responding only to her, Felicity never gave Ray another thought. Which is a bit more brutal than breaking up with him or being on the receiving end of a break-up, it wasn't either of those. It didn't matter. The only reason Ray even saw her that horrible night was because Oliver needed his jet. So she went and got it. If there had been another way, I don't think Felicity would have paused for one second to think about Ray or tell Ray what had happened and where she was going. If there had been another easy to come by a jet, I don't think Ray would have been the smallest blip on her mental radar until well after she came home heartbroken. Whatever had been between them didn't matter. Had ceased to matter. Once that sword went through Thea, literally, and figuratively through the heart of Oliver, Felicity didn't have to make a choice. There was no choice. It was done. Ray was just the guy with the necessary jet, who was very gracious about it.
    (But you know she would have drugged him or hit over the head with a spear or just yelled at Malcolm to do it if Ray had refused.)
    My two cents. Thank you for all of yours!
    -Cai Ken

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Cai Ken and thank you for your comments!

      to Felicity, it didn't matter. Once Oliver was in that hospital outside Thea's door, broken, near catatonic and responding only to her, Felicity never gave Ray another thought. Which is a bit more brutal than breaking up with him or being on the receiving end of a break-up, it wasn't either of those.

      I do get that. I get that in that moment, nothing else mattered to her but Oliver and comforting him. She may not have vocalized the words until Nanda Parbat, but that was true love in that moment. My problem is that the show prolonged the break-up and continued to make everything about Felicity's feelings told TO her (Donna told Felicity that what she felt for Oliver was love; Ray told Felicity that she didn't love him because she loved Oliver; heck, even RA'S told Felicity that she should tell Oliver she loved him) I wish the show would have allowed her to make the decision earlier and break up with Ray naturally, you know? That's where my real problem is -- the show shouldn't have jammed: Ray/Felicity breaking up, a trip to Nanda Parbat, Thea resurrected, Oliver/Felicity hooking up, Oliver joining the League into ONE episode. They could have had Ray and Felicity break-up after she didn't return his confession of love. I think the show felt it owed us more than it did in terms of Ray/Felicity closure. A short one-minute scene would have sufficed for me, to be honest.

      But you're absolutely right -- when it comes down to Oliver or Ray, there's no question that it'll always be Oliver for her. And this episode proved that a million times over. He's the one she can't bear to lose. He's the one she wants to be with.

      (I love that Felicity drugged him. I know some people are torn but I love it.)

      Thanks so much for your comments! :D

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    2. Is it too late to reply to your reply? I don't know how this works!
      I looooved the drugging scene and the aftermath. Funny, heartbreaking, sweet. And I had these two thoughts: first, the half-baked, crazy, drug him and drag him out like a hot sack of potatoes amid ninjas with swords and arrows idea probably looked very similar to Oliver's own plan to break Roy out of Iron Heights. And no doubt his would have worked just as well. Second, Felicity and Dig got Roy out, didn't they? Yes, with more resources, more planning, more everything, and way less ninjas, but still. I can see Felicity thinking she was 1-0, why not got for 2?
      Thank you for your reply to my reply!
      -Cai Ken

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    1. Aww. Thank you so much for the compliment, Alex, and for reading! :)

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  18. Jen, this is my first time around here and I can say that I loved read your review. I'm from Brazil, so I'm sorry for language mistakes. You were right to the point in every thing. This episode shows us how much Oliver and Felicity had grown as a couple and how much Amell and Emily got every part of their grown. I was glad to read in your review that pivotal moment when Oliver, surprised by Felicity's declaration, stared at her. - Take a moment, guy, love is all about see the other open up for you. - And they both did, completely. The goodbye scene was perfection and, as you, my favorite. Don't say goodbye is saying that there is hope and what are we without it? The sunset is coming. Let's take a ride.

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    1. Hi there Dani! First of all: welcome to the site. That's so cool that you're from Brazil. What part? I've been to Porto Alegre twice before and thought Brazil was just so beautiful. :)

      I was glad to read in your review that pivotal moment when Oliver, surprised by Felicity's declaration, stared at her.

      Thank you for pointing that out! It was so important to me that Oliver just stared at her like he couldn't believe what she said was real. It's been all he's wanted to hear from her for a long time. It was definitely a beautiful moment. <3

      Don't say goodbye is saying that there is hope and what are we without it?

      Exactly this! I love that Oliver was basically telling her to not give up on her dream of a happy life -- that it's possible and that eventually he'll come back to her. Such a heartbreaking but wonderful moment that was.

      Thanks again for your comments, Dani! :)

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  19. Hey Jen great points! I had to rewatch at least 20 times the big scenes to be able to put my feelings and thoughts into order:) so i will start by saying that its pretty awesome that so many people are discussing/debating etc this particular episode; gave me multiple views and vibes for every scene that i hadnt considered. Firstly, love making scene. I think the network made a mistake advertising it due to the hype and expectations. We all expected more of a discussion but then again, when you reconsider it, oliver hadnt had sex in a year (i mean the man was stranded on a hellish island and got laid in the first 8 months!)and hes in a terrible emotional state of lossing his sister wnd his life and here is felicity,his light giving him hope and love and gratitude and finally saying out loud what oliver hoped would listen in the previous episode. Like any man,he acts on it knowing that if he doesnt close the deed now ( see what i did there.:)) he wouldnt get a chance of making love to his soulmate. Their after scene mame blush and i'll tell you why. Right after they both confirm that this is what they wanted and are ok with it and he kisses her, he has this sweet,tender voice and warmth towards that we have never seen oliver queen demonstrate to another woman post coitus. Regarding the drugging, i felt proud of felicity because in the unthinkable she basically commanded oliver to keep fighting when it actually looked like slade had won the war. Thus she acts on what she preaches ( honestly shes the freaking queen of the show!). Oliver gets that because thats exactly what he would do. He broke his vow not to kill in season 2 when the count had her, in the broken arrow he is ready to risk his freedom to save her and he puts his feelings and love aside and pushes ray to save himself. Moreover, i believe the drugging served to him being anle to freely express his love for her infront of the others. She freed his emotions and thats what i believe will keep him sane through his training in LoA. As for their goodbye scene, i keep feeling they did something (like the "i love you/gives antidote" in the unthinkable)that will push felicity in the upcoming episodes to fight for his soul when hes lost or forgotten. Really, SA and EBR killed with their acting, they completely tuned into their characters emotions at each scene. I loved the Malicity interaction so much i think i could see in Barrowmans eyes how entertained he was. I did not get the need for flashbacks in this episode really. They did not show us a skill that oliver gained but merely a virus being out. Dont know that maybe will lead up to the reason Aiko dies (ie maybe hes given the virus?) but we could defonately make it through without! As for the Laurel/Felicity scene. I do not like how KC is portreing LL. i loved her in gossip girl but i feel she completely lost interest when she got the news that the endgame couple were Olicity. Thus i founf the scene of her comforting felicity not cool, but then again shes the only gf felicity has and god knows us girls love our girls during a break up. I really want to see more jet like scenes where oliver shates his uglyness with his light(felicity) and she comforts him.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Greeting from cyprus!
    Stefanie

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