“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 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.
Roy – “Last year you saved my life, and I don’t mean from the guy who kidnapped me…I mean you saved me. You gave me purpose.”
Oliver – “We’re just getting started.”
Roy is pointing out here, once again, that saving a life, weather from a trauma or a series of rough experiences, is about giving the person purpose. Arrow gave Roy purpose, a reason to change, fight back, be something more. A reason to rise up out of his situation, and now, in this episode, Oliver is giving Roy the power of love. With these two, purpose and love, they really are “just getting started.” What a powerful combination.
Diggle – She has a point Oliver. Roy’s a loose cannon. Now he knows your secret.
Oliver – You’re right, and I wasn’t thinking about the consequences. I only knew that…I need his strength. His power. On the island Sarah told me that love is the most powerful emotion. Well, the Arrow couldn’t get Roy to think about Thea. But I could.
It’s really neat how they use love in this episode as a (super) power. Love changes people. Oliver has been trying to transform the city through his persona of Arrow. He is cleaver, dedicated, and willing to fight for others but he has not used the power of love to reach them…until he tries to help Roy. Helping Roy to focus on love, Oliver gives him the ability to use his strengths for good. To make a difference, help the city, change lives they must use their physical powers in combination with love.
Oliver has done this in the past. Slade reprimanded him on the island for caring about people too much and how dangerous that was…but even at that time Oliver declared his love for others as a strength, and it is. His ability genuinely care about others is what keeps him from being overtaken by his vigilante persona. Love keeps him grounded.
The disguise, although strong, inspirational, and empowering is incomplete. Arrow has limits. He changes things through force and fear…the costume is not able to reach others on a level of love…but Oliver can. For Arrow, everything is anonymous. He is not known by those he cares about and is willing to protect…Oliver is. When he sees Roy full of strength but detached from love he recognizes that the cover of Arrow will not be able to complete this disconnection, and so he reveals his secret…he is not just Arrow he is Oliver Queen, a person who understands loss, defense, and love.
His secret, our secret, is that our true identity can connect with others on the level of love.