Sunday, April 14, 2024

I’ll go down with this ship… Olicity

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We have to talk about this particular ship while the show is still on air. The series finale is fast approaching and, at the same time, I’m still reeling after that crossover (I have thoughts about that too, but let’s leave them for later).

I’m talking about one of the most iconic couples on TV in the last decade, at least in my opinion. A couple that made me get invested in Arrow.

Yeah, yeah I know they aren’t cannon as far as comic books go, but in the Arrowverse they are the ultimate couple. “Bigger than the freaking universe.”

I’m of course talking about Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen.

The characters

I normally follow the rule ‘ladies first’ but just this once I’m going to make an exception and start with Oliver. Boy oh boy, if you search for a complex character you’ll definitely find that in Oliver Queen. Complicated family with tons of secrets? Check. Big expectations he’s not ready to fill? Check. 5 years in purgatory and more loss than anyone should experience? Check.

It seems he had the makings of a hero despite his privileges.
The future Green Arrow started out as a privileged, rich douche with (not surprisingly) a golden heart. Ollie was a playboy who couldn’t commit to anything and always thought of himself first. He constantly cheated on his girlfriend, and never had to face the consequences of his actions. His parents actually did him quite a disservice by saving him time and time again. Maybe if they didn’t, he wouldn’t have had to go trough so much pain later. Alas, then we wouldn’t have the hero that helped to spark the multiverse.
The most intriguing part of Oliver’s story for me is his journey, how every painful lessons that he learned stayed with him. Even though he sometimes stumbled and made plenty of mistakes, as shown by Prometheus who was created by Oliver’s previous actions.
The experiences and challenges he faced on Lian Yu shaped him into a better man. Yet even then he had quite long way to go in order to become the hero who saved the multiverse.
What I enjoy about this character is that he’s dynamic and mysterious. He’s also relatable (being a millionaire aside). There are struggles he faces that anyone in the ‘real world’ could and do, like losing his loved ones. As Greg Berlanti once said, “He’s really of our world”—a hero that doesn’t need superpowers or the whole shebang to do good. And while Oliver has many compelling qualities on his own, some of them were brought out by his team. Again, this is something we can relate to since we’re often shaped by the friends we surround ourselves with.

Then we have Felicity. If Oliver is the yin, she’s the yang. The perfect balance for him. I already talked about Felicity in a previous article, so I’ll be brief.

I have to be honest, I can be quite biased when it comes to our favorite babbling blonde. She stole my heart from the moment she first appeared on the screen. Felicity, for me, was the character who made being smart sexy and desirable, while also staying adorably awkward. She proved that having quirks is what makes us awesome.

There are a lot of similarities between Oliver and Felicity, but what connects them the most are their journeys. Not only their journey as a couple but also their individual ones.

Felicity starts as a small one off character, then becomes more and more important to Oliver, the story, and to the viewers. She slowly grew to become an essential part of Team Arrow (yes we do call it that) and a hero in her own right as Overwatch. That being said, she is in no way flawless or free from mistakes. Quite the opposite actually. She’s committed a lot of errors and even a few crimes. In fact, as she grows into Overwatch, she’s flirting more and more with the darkness and danger of it.

Although she sometimes stumbled, she mostly did it out of the goodness of her heart or the belief that it’s the right thing to do. While she faces the darkness as much as Oliver, it seems that it’s been easier for her in some sense. She’s stayed optimistic and has tried to live in the light (despite losing it after losing her husband).

Their story

The story of Oliver and Felicity started the way almost every story on TV starts: with a slow burn. Although looking back, you can see the potential right from Felicity’s first scene.

Their story is told trough the story of saving Star(ling) City and becoming heroes. Their individual stories and paths to growth intertwined and moved them together. Finally, they became a couple and later on married.

Even though their story is one of an epic love and sacrifice, they started of small. With a solid foundation of friendship, partnership, and trust, moving gradually from one to the next. Yes they shared an insane amount of chemistry and sexual tension quite early on, but they didn’t jump in head first. That’s something that I think gave them a better chance for survival.

As stated before, they conquered individual challenges by supporting and assisting each other. They also overcame problems as a couple, further solidifying the bond that connects them.

The relationship was a roller coaster with a countless amount of ups and downs. Never lacking drama and angst (oh all that angst). In spite of all that, Felicity and Oliver somehow made it work. Balancing each other out and finding themselves in each other. As of right now, we have a bittersweet conclusion to the story, or rather a bittersweet cliffhanger. Felicity’s promise to find Oliver no matter what gives us some hope for a happy(ish) ending. I’m interested in how the writers and producers decide to conclude this epic love story.

Their flaws

Both Felicity and Oliver are flawed characters. With that being said, two wrongs don’t make a right. The list of problems in Felicity and Oliver’s relationship is as long as it can get. Yet somehow I keep coming back even if they make stupid mistakes. That are completely illogical.

Ironically the foundations of their relationship are also their biggest flaws. They build their relationship on trust and being there for the other, then constantly break it.

Felicity claims that she’s not going to leave Oliver, but she does it all the same. Often leaving him when he needs her the most. She always comes back, and they work stuff out but… the damage is done. In the end she got it together. The promise at the end of season 7 was a beautiful way of turning around that pattern of behavior with her finding him.

Oliver on the other hand states that he trusts Felicity implicitly, then withholds the truth from her (don’t remind me of the whole William fiasco). He makes decisions behind her back. We know how well that went with the deal with Samanda Watson and the Monitor. You could argue that he does it in good faith, but still. Felicity is your partner at least let her know, man.

And yet…somehow they still make it work.

Why I ship them

The long list of flaws in Olicity’s relationship is as long as the list of reasons I have to love this couple, so I’m just going to list a few that speak to me the most.

First and foremost, the incredible chemistry between Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell. Thanks to their natural chemistry as actors, the couple and their popularity are off the charts. Without that, even the best scripts wouldn’t do anything.

Furthermore, there’s the fact that they support and bring out different sides in each other, helping to spread their wings and become the very best versions of themselves.

Then there’s the fact that they’re able to be superheroes, have careers and be in a relationship. That’s awesome and you know it.

Last but not least, they always overcome the obstacles in their way and come back to each other. Though that doesn’t mean that they go easy on their partner or take any BS from them.

That’s just a few of the reasons why I enjoy this couple so much. (If you have your own reasons, feel free to mention them in the comments!)

Olicity proves to us that making a relationship work is hard work that never stops. Although it requires a lot of effort, it can turn into something beautiful, helping you not only grow as a couple but also as an individual.

Furthermore, Olicity also shows how important chemistry between partners (and also actors!) is. It was the starting point of this relationship and what made it so brilliant, beating a classic pairing that lacked just that.

Olicity teaches us the value of partnership and trust. It explains that to be happy, you have to find yourself in each other and then work at it. The best part? You don’t have to be a superhero to achieve that. It’s a goal for any couple.

Images courtesy of the CW

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