“I don’t want to be a person that you love.” ~Felicity
This is the second time Felicity has rejected Oliver (the first time being when he kissed her) and I think this is a good lesson for Oliver (and for us). What exactly do we usually define as “love.” Felicity is calling Oliver out on this. He claims to love others but is what he does and how he treats those he loves really love?
Oliver has been stuck in the “Playboy” stage in the department of relationships for most of the show. He always “gets the girl”…until now. I think it’s good for Oliver to hear about the damage he is causing in his relationships department. Felicity is right. She is calling him out on his playboy attitude and Oliver has the experiential knowledge to know better. He is acting like a playboy when he should know better. He claimed to love Laurel…that sure didn’t go well. Then he claimed to love Sarah but she takes off with no objection from him. He says he loves Thea, and no one could say that taking her place with Ras-Al-Goul wasn’t a demonstration of love…but is he really doing that for Thea or is he doing it for the people of Starling city that would die if he didn’t, or is he doing it because he doesn’t want to get hurt and it is easier to die? After all, at this point, he is lying to Thea every day. And finally, he flippantly kisses Felicity in the beginning of the season and then says he loves her before going off to die at the hands of Ras. This is inconsiderate of how his actions/words/death would affect Felicity. Good for her in calling him out. Maybe he can start transitioning toward hero in his relationships as well.
On a more practical note…I think this is really similar to what many of us do in real life. We act like playboys (saying cliché phrases like…”there’s a plan for everything,” or “it’ll all be ok.”) when we know better. Those who are NOT playboys should not act like they are…yet I think we do because it is easy, the playboy stage was the last time we “knew everything” and we are taught to speak like a playboy rather than use our experiences to step up, acknowledge the truth, and help others (bad training). I wonder why we make ignorant unhelpful comments sometimes…why do we present ourselves as if we know it all (Playboys). Personally I would rather be seen as Broken, Surviving or even a Vigilante than as an ignorant Playboy. (click here for the Stages in Becoming a Superhero)
“I see Thea as my chance at redemption.” ~Merlin
I think everyone has the chance to be redeemed…even people like Merlin and Slade. Villains are who they are because of the intensity of what they have been through and often because they don’t have the support they needed during the Survival and Vigilante phases (see How to Become a Superhero). Don’t get me wrong, their actions are still very evil, but because of their experiences they could still turn around, go down a different path and use these choices and experiences in humility to help others. I would love to see how they bring someone out of Villain back into Vigilante and toward hero.
“Now you face people who want to kill you. To prevent that you must kill them first.” ~ Merlin
Spoken like someone who is controlled by fear. I’ve been thinking more about how someone in the Vigilante stage becomes “Island Bound” meaning the identity they reconstruct IS their island rather than learning to use their island to help others. They can’t seem to manage to put together a new vision of who they are so they become “island bound.” Merlin is a good example of this. His wife’s death broke him and he learned to survive this tragedy, but instead of using his experiences to help others he has become trapped in this identity. I wonder what it would take for him to be free again?
“I love you, no matter who you think you’ve become” ~ Tatsu
Hum…a great example of loving someone through, and because of, their scars. Our scars often make us think we are unlikable or even unlovable. Ironically, vulnerability with these scared experiences brings something beyond. With the right person/sidekick we will not only be more loved because of our scars, but we will also learn to find strength and power within them.
(for more on this check out The Power of a Scar)
Laurel – Is everything ok?
Felicity – I came to ask you the same thing…Cannery
Laurel – I guess you came here to talk some sense into me.
Felicity – Seems like you could use some
Laurel – I’m not sure you’re going to have to bother…Brick he…he killed someone tonight, in front of me. I thought that being Sarah would make it hurt less. But instead it caused more pain, and not just for me. So you don’t have to worry. I’m not going to be putting on that mask again.
I like this scene because I think it speaks a lot to the naivety of those who have not experienced “fill in the blank.” For Laurel she thought becoming a Vigilante, becoming Sarah, would fix things…but she doesn’t know what that really entails. The Brokenness that comes with it. Laurel is still Surviving, still being trained. Just as Sarah, Diggle, Roy, and Oliver had to learn during their Survival phases, fighting for a cause is not without losses.
I think we often admire those who are in these positions because of the strength we see in their perseverance. What they have been through seems heroic, and it is in a way because it is part of the process of becoming a Hero. But do we REALLY want to fight a dragon, have to shoot a gun, or experience a trauma…probably not. There is strength to be gain, and a Hero being made, in any brokenness but let us not romanticize the experiences others go through and instead treat them with the sincerity these events deserve.
(For more on this subject check out Romanticizing Adversity)
“The line between grief and guilt is a thin one. Sometimes death is preferable to the agony of life.” ~Tatsu
True. This quote speaks to many different stages all at once and we have to be careful to recognize what she is really saying here. This is not a promotion of suicide but rather a statement of fact regrading the difficulty of life and an identity that has not reformed. Maseo is stuck. He is fluctuating continuously between Broken, Surviving and Vigilante and making no progress to move forward. Although he has the experience and training to be a hero he is not because he as no reason to live (stuck in Broken), a purpose that is not his own (stuck in Surviving), and no sidekicks (stuck in Vigilante). He has become stuck because he has developed an identity that IS his trauma. The reconstruction of an identity is very important to growth and moving through the stages. With an identity that is “island bound,” he is unable to use the broken part of his past as a tool. He doesn’t know who he is apart from the horrific event. He is still capable of amazingly good acts, and intensely gruesome undertakings. For those in similar states this is dangerous ground and very similar to becoming a villain. (for more on this subject check out Failure Redeemed)
Roy – “Doing this without him while we’re waiting for him to come back is one thing, but doing this without him, without him? That’s a whole other situation.”
Diggle – “Well, what do you want me to tell you Roy! I can only see one inch in front of me and this is the only thing in front of me right now.”
Well said. Roy is pointing out the difference between doing something with hope in the background and Diggle is point out the only way we keep moving when we have lost hope.It shows how clearly Roy is in the Broken stage, he doesn’t want to move, where as Diggle is in the Survival stage of this crisis, he is moving but without any clear direction…just trying to get by. The loss of hope is really one of the hardest part of the Broken stage. Without hope how can we move?
“Without Him, Without Him” is a great way to put it because I think it reflects our feelings when we experience great loss. We are not only without the person we lost but we are also without hope, without company (because we often feel alone in our loss even when we are not) and even without God. Broken people feel very alone. However, as outside viewers we don’t fully feel this abandonment and loss of hope because we have the God Perspective…hope is never fully gone when the whole story is known.
“The bomber was Kat Su Chang but make no mistake this blood is on your hands.”
There is some really skillful abuse and manipulation going on in this scene. Look closely at how things play out. First, Oliver is asked to torture the guy to find out where the bomb is. He can’t do it. The bomb goes off and kills a bunch of people. Oliver feels terrible about it and the ARGUS lady tells him that IT IS HIS FAULT, therefore reinforcing his feelings of uncertainty and guilt. Then she “give him another chance” and trains him to think that torture is the best option. Oliver, of course, doesn’t want to feel responsible for the loss of more lives, so he complies. Then extending things to the present day torture becomes part of his instincts, one of his immediate reactions, part of his survival skills.
It is easy to understand how Oliver would fall into this trap because he feels so bad about the bomb going off and wishes he could do something. The person training him at the time, the ARGUS lady, says he can do something (get information out of people through torture), so he does. The key here is that he believes, and is told to believe, that it is his fault and the deaths are on his hands. But were these deaths really HIS fault? Certainly not any more than they were her fault and much less than the person who planted the bomb. This is a classic misplacement of blame that often happens in abuse and bad training. It shows the importance of who we receive our training from because what they teach us often becomes ingrained very deeply.
Roy – “Don’t abandon me”
Oliver – “Never”
Good job Roy. I like how he gets right to the point…right to his fear. Too often do we abandon those around us. Playboys need parents, the Broken need those who provide hope, Survivors need consistency in their training, Vigilantes need sidekicks, really firends; Heroes can’t do it alone. No matter where we are at we all need someone. For many of us abandonment is likely one of our greatest fears and rightfully so.
Oliver – To do what I do Berry, it takes conviction, but more often than not it’s the will to do what’s ugly. Every time I do that I’m…I’m trading away little pieces of myself. So you asked what’s wrong with me…that’s what’s wrong. The part that I’m trading away is Oliver Queen. And lately I’ve been feeling like there’s nothing left except The Arrow.
Barry – I think you’re full of crap. Look you’ve convinced yourself that everything you went through took away your humanity, but I think it’s because of your humanity that you made it through. You wouldn’t have survived, much less come out the other end a hero, somebody who wants to do good, if you didn’t have a light inside of you.
I like this quote and I think they are both right. Oliver is giving away pieces of himself when he “has the will to do what’s ugly.” And that is most certainly how it feels to him. If he continues on this path for too long and without people to ground him (like Diggle) he would end up as purely “The Arrow.” This is what he has been cautioned about all through this season (that he will die alone, that he bottles things up (like Sara’s death), that he doesn’t allow himself to be a blend of Oliver and Arrow). Pushing the “Oliver” part of him out will not do him any good…but neither will pushing the “Arrow” part out.
Barry is also right though. Arrow/Oliver has convinced himself that he “has become something else” in a bad way. He hasn’t found the balance. He hasn’t realized that it is the Oliver part of him that has offered light all these years and the “Arrow” part that has helped him make it through. Oliver is not gone…the playboy is…but Oliver Queen the hero is the light that is pushing him to become something more. Finding balance is key in becoming a Hero.