Trying

Oliver – I was wrong too

Helena – About what

Oliver – I thought I could help you, stop you from being a killer, but…I was just starting, and I was a killer too.

Helena – And what are you now?

Oliver – I’m trying to be better.

 This scene is really cool because Oliver is looking back and looking forward.  There’s a scene when he first meets Helena where he is looking back on how he has changed (at Sara’s grave talking about how much he has changed from the island) but this time he is looking forward as well.  He is starting to see that he has/had limits and that he is developing into a hero/superhero…he isn’t just one because he wants it to be so.  Also, Tommy had told Oliver when he first found out about his “Arrow” persona that he was a killer…and Helena had told him that she and he were the same when it came down to it…and they were right in a way.  At the time Oliver was driven by his purpose alone (he was a vigilante not a hero) but now, Oliver is not only starting to think of others (he even comes to see Helena and try to help her though this tough transition) but he is also thinking about his own progress and how he can continue to improve.  He doesn’t make some grand statement about how far he has come or how much of a hero he is…he only states that he is trying to be better.  He is trying to be something more (for Tommy and others he loves/loved).  He is trying to be a hero.

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The Darkness Inside

“Once you let the darkness inside…it never comes out.” ~Helena (and later Laurel)

 Interesting idea.  It seems to me that Helena is unable to recognize that the dark and the light go together.  She has no sidekicks (Oliver was not ready to help her when he tried before and she rejected the idea of sidekicks) so she became lost in the darkness.  All she sees is her purpose.  And then at the end of this episode, when her purpose is gone, she feels alone and hopeless.  What she doesn’t realize (and hopefully will now begin to see) is that it only takes a little light to negate the darkness. It may feel like the darkness/loss/despair will never leave but one spark can start a huge fire and one lit candle (although the room may still be dark) allows you to begin to see.  I think that is what is happening to Helena at the end when Oliver comes to talk with her.  Oliver, this time, now that he is beginning the hero state, is bringing a small bit of light into the darkness.  Yes, Helena is right in that the past will never change…the darkness/dark memories/things she has done wrong will always be with her (never come out)…but with light she can become something more. 

Maybe this is the hope for those who have entered the Villain stage.  That they will lose their purpose because with the loss of their purpose there is opportunity for light to get in.

I also thought it was interesting that Laurel repeats this quote…what does that say about her?

To Be Better

Oliver – I was wrong too.

Helena – About what?

Oliver – I thought I could help you, stop you from being a killer, but…I was just starting, and I was a killer too.

Helena – And what are you now?

Oliver – I’m trying to be better.

 Awesome scene!  Oliver is looking back and looking forward.  He is starting to see that he has/had limits and that he is developing into a hero/superhero…he isn’t just one because he wants it to be so.  Tommy had told Oliver when he first found out about his “Arrow” persona that he was a killer…and Helena had told him that she and he were the same when it came down to it…and they were right in a way.  At the time Oliver was driven by his purpose alone (he was a vigilante not a hero) but now, Oliver is not only starting to think of others (he even comes to see Helena and try to help her though this tough transition) but he is also thinking about his own progress and how he can continue to improve.  He doesn’t make some grand statement about how far he has come or how much of a hero he is…he only states that he is trying to be better.  He is trying to be something more (for Tommy and others he loves/loved).  He is trying to be a hero.

How Truthful Can I Be?

Oliver – “People are always asking me what did I miss the most…air conditioning, satellite radio, tagliet – uh- ta…”

Helena – “Tagliatelle?”

Oliver – “Right…but those are the answers I give people because those are the answers they’re expecting.”

Helena – “Why can’t you just be truthful?”

Oliver – “I don’t know how truthful I can be.”

Oliver gives these answers to what he “missed most” because it is all people can understand.  That is really true.  I have found this a lot when I talk to people about my time overseas and times of great hardship…most of the time they don’t seem to have the foggiest idea what I’m talking about, so it’s easier to just keep my answers predictable.  If people are not able to actively listen then short predictable answers save me/Oliver the frustration of reliving a difficult story, trying to put it into words, only to have the point completely missed or misunderstood.

I also really like how Oliver says, “I don’t know how truthful I can be.”  I totally agree with this and feel the same way.  How much are you really supposed to say?  There is a such thing as too much information and it’s also possible to hurt someone by describing things they are not ready for.  For example, what would Thea do if Oliver talked in detail about being tortured?  She isn’t ready for the that information.  Telling the whole truth isn’t always what people want either… it can lead to a lot of trouble,  misunderstanding, and rejection (an essay “Is There Room In The Church” on this topic).  Putting aside the fact that Oliver probably can’t tell his story (PTSD stuff)…How truthful should Oliver really be?

On The Island

Helena – “Hey can I ask you something.  I know it must have been hell for you alone on that island for 5 years…but um…was there ever a day when you were just happy to be away from everything. No pressure from you family, no need to be the person everyone else expects you to be.  Was there ever a day when…when…”

Oliver – “When I didn’t feel lost, I felt…free.  More than one.  And uh, those are the days that I miss.”

I really like this quote because despite everything bad, really bad, that happened to Oliver he can also see how it freed him. He can see how there were some things that he will only have “on the island.”  I think this quote speaks to the fact that part of him will always be “on that island.”  There is a part of him that misses the island.  The island was hell, but, in the end, he understood it.  He knew how to survive on the island, and, he gained something, part of his identity, by being there. 

This is true for many of us as well.  We have our own island (a time when were were isolated, enduring a trauma, trapped, changed) and this time stays with us.  It is part of who we are and even though things were hell when we were on the island, there were good things too…times we were free, things we learned, new aspects to our identity that formed.  Understanding this, and seeing the possibility that can come of our time “on the island” is an amazing strength to have.

Judgements

Helena – “We share a name and that name defines us whether we want it to or not.  You’ve already made judgments about me just like I’ve already made judgments about you.”

This is really true…we make judgement calls about people before we even know their names.  We assess what they are wearing (finances), how they stand (posture/health), how they speak (education).  This can be a problem but in some ways initial judgement is a really good thing.  It allows us to make quick calls about who is safe and who is not.  We have cultural ques so deep in us that we don’t realize we have the skill to just look down the street quickly and answer questions such as, “who could I talk to in an emergency,”  “who would I approach if I was in trouble?” “who is probably some that is not safe and I should stay clear of them?” “who could I borrow a phone from if I had to make an emergency call?”  “who could help me understand where I am if I were lost?” “Who is foreign to this area?”  The ability to answer questions like these without even asking them is something that we are not taught…we just know by looking at people.  In another culture we can’t do this…we don’t have the same cues/clues.  I think that is part of what makes living/being in another country so hard. Initial judgement may be wrong but they are often helpful too…and as long as we are open to changing our opinion about someone (whether that be from “bad person” to “good person” or vise versa) then I think the initial judgements are there to help us.