People You Love

“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)

Romanticizing the Mask

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)

A Fraction of what Happened

Oliver – “Why didn’t you tell me about any of this?”

Felicity – “Do we even know a fraction of what happened to you during the 5 years on that island?”

Woah, Touche!  Good Job Felicity…a good reminder of many things…

First off, That everyone opens up in their own time.

Secondly, WE don’t know what others have in their past and we may be better teachers and better role models as well as more willing to open up ourselves if we remember that others have scars too.

Thirdly, our scars are a part of us whether they are seen or not.  Oliver has scars all over his body…we don’t see them nearly as much anymore but they are still there (yes, that sentence is both literal and metaphorical), Felicity, Diggle, Laurel, all of the other characters have scars too…they may not be visible but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Finally, this quote is a good reminder of “if we don’t ask, they won’t say.” (especially when talking about heroes).   I don’t think true heroes go around spouting off their experiences…most heroes have been through too much, lost too much, and seen too much to consider what they are/do to be heroic or even a good idea to talk about.  When someone stays quite, shuns recognition, it is probably a big sign that they are a hero or at the very least that they have been through something that has made them see the complexity of the world.

Felicity is right, they don’t know even a fraction of what Oliver went through on the island, and Oliver knows even less about Felicity’s past.  I think someone in Oliver’s situation, with Oliver’s experiences understands the impact of scars and experiences very deeply…so if even he can forget why someone wouldn’t open up and talk about them freely…how much more must we forget to think of others and what they are NOT saying.

Refusing to be Broken

Boyfriend: All I’m doing is unleashing the true potential of what you made.
Felicity: Why, this isn’t who you are.
Boyfriend: 5 years for the NSA, you learn a lot about how the world works. How we can’t be saved or salvaged.  How it is every man for himself.  You also learn that when a city bank goes under a, say, significant cyber attack, the mayor will reach out to the treasury department.

First, this is very classic abusive, trying to turn the ill-will and actions of yourself off onto the other person as if they are responsible. Obviously not a good guy at heart.

Secondly, what phase is he in?  Playboy? Broken?  I don’t think he is surviving.  He isn’t really trained.  Looking more closely I’d say he is still in the playboy phase and is refusing to be broken, kinda like Laurel was in the beginning of season 2.  He is totally unaware of so much (what he is up against, who can stop him, or even that Felicity’s mother has a watch with wifi), he can’t do anything on his own (I mean he has to kidnap Felicity), even his goal is very small, uncreative, and has little heart or passion behind it.  It’s like he was immediately removed from jail to work for the NSA and so he never had to face the reality of what he did.  He never broke…but he is resentful and now he is more of a puppet.  A true villain like Slade) could use him as a pawn but on his own he is kinda pitiful (even Felicity could take him out).  This is the danger of not allowing yourself to be broken.  Laurel was there (with the alcohol and pain killers) but she eventually allowed herself to feel, it broke her…but now it has allowed her to move into survival, and hopefully on to much more.  Noone likes to be broken but if we avoid this phase we can never move past it.  The extent to which we are broken is the extent of a hero we can become.

You Learn Not to Judge

Felicity: Turns out he is not as dead as I thought.
Oliver: I’ve had some experience with that. You learn not to judge.

This is something I’ve liked from the beginning about Oliver’s character. His experiences on the island and beyond humbled him and made him realize his own potential for good and evil and seemed to reconcile him with others’ as well. He doesn’t judge others readily.

They Shaped the Person You Are Today

“Felicity, I want you to know that whatever experiences you had to go through I’m glad that you did because they shaped the person you are today.  And you know how I feel about her.” ~ Oliver

At first glance this quote appears to be a little bit cheesy, however if you look beneath the obvious reminder of affection Oliver is saying something much bigger than the cheesy “I like who you are.” (which when recovering from hardship usually a helpful reminder) He is saying something about himself.  Do you remember last season when Oliver is insistent on helping Roy? Here is the quote in case you don’t…

Diggle – “And that’s why it’s so important to you to get through to Roy.”

Oliver – “I lived a five year nightmare, but if I learned something that can help me reach Roy now…It’ll be worth it.”

This quote has the same idea is less aware and more instinctually reactive.  the current episode, with the more recent quote, shows that Oliver is able now to recognize that his island experiences are an IMPORTANT part of him.  They don’t just make “Arrow,” amazing training, or the ability to dodge bullets…they make HIM.  And even more importantly, which I think he says subconsciously and doesn’t fully realize yet, He loves Felicity BECAUSE of her scars/past…just like we love Oliver BECAUSE of his scars.  These “shameful/damaging things from the past” are part of us and with the right kind of person they make us love the other more. 

You’re Allowed to Have Feelings

Felicity: How can you stand there being so cold and rational?

Oliver: Because I don’t have the luxury of falling to pieces. Everyone is looking to me to handle things to make the right decisions everyone is looking to me to lead.  If I grieve nobody else gets to

Felicity: Your still a human being, you’re allowed to have feelings.

Felicity makes a really good point here.  Oliver is closed off to his feelings for survival sake and because he thinks it necessary in order to help everyone else.  The thing is though, that showing his own brokenness, sadness, and dismay would actually bring the group closer together.  If he were to allow himself to feel then I think others would be stronger, come along side him, and they could work as a team rather than all trying to fight the battle on their own.