Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
We love “Olicity” at BookTrib—which means we want to geek out about their lair-make outs and loving glances as much as the next guy. In this weekly feature, we’re analyzing those Arrow moments from a purely ‘shipper point of view. Here’s our “Olicity” Watch for 4×04, “Beyond Redemption.”
This was not an “Olicity”-heavy episode. In fact, I’m not sure our couple even visibly touched (Editor’s Note: There was touching, but not enough for our liking!). But that’s OK. Season 4 has been putting a microscope on Oliver’s troubled relationships with those around him. Last week was John Diggle, this week the focus is on Captain Lance and the resentment that has built between him and Oliver over the past…well, forever.
The episode tackled a question Arrow has touched on before: What does it mean to be beyond redemption? After his five years of hell, Oliver thought he couldn’t be saved—but (with Felicity and Diggle’s help) he fought back from that ledge. Lance, once the paragon of virtue, is working with bad guy Damien Darhk, cutting moral corners and getting closer to the bottom. His daughter, Sara, (newly returned from the dead) is just a shell of who she was, deadly and without a soul. The two Lances represent Oliver’s own descent into darkness—Sara, because she has no choice, and Lance because he does, even if he keeps pretending that he doesn’t. The flashbacks prove this: for the first three years, Oliver was fighting to get back home. In year four, he chose not to return to Starling, well aware of the killer he’d become.
But Oliver has grown over the past few years as he works to become a true hero. Season 4 is setting up this journey nicely: Before, Oliver was fighting against the darkness in his own soul. Now, between Lance, Thea, and soon-to-be Sara, he’s the one fighting for everyone else’s. The episode ends with Lance basically joining Team Arrow (it’s about time), and Sara going MIA. I can’t wait to see Oliver’s face when he finds out what Laurel did.
- Oliver brings Team Arrow out to another abandoned building for a “big surprise.” When Thea sees Felicity she asks, “Why aren’t you wearing it?” —meaning the famed engagement ring that’s now making friends with some marbles in the loft living room. Oliver’s “shut up” face is priceless, as is Felicity’s confusion. I cannot wait ‘til that ring is firmly on her finger. In the meantime, Oliver shows the gang his new campaign office while they give him varying stares of disbelief at the thought of him running for mayor. Felicity stands solidly by his side and offers some cute quips as reassurance. I’m pretty sure Oliver grabs her hand when he swings around to bring them to the new lair—and yeah, it’s a minor, minor touching moment, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.
- When Oliver shows Team Arrow the high-tech space in the basement, Felicity hilariously cuts in with the practical side of things, like who designed it or why Oliver knows the word “biometrics.” It’s gratifying to see how they function as a couple even within the group as a whole: Oliver is all big plans and shiny new stuff, while Felicity is the grounding force, worried about the bills and the glitches. I’m also glad that this dynamic is not a point of tension for them—at least not yet. For now, it’s simply a natural way for their friendship to have evolved into a loving relationship. That’s why I can’t get too annoyed about the lack of sexy-times: “Olicity”’s love is an undercurrent that runs through the whole group, subtly reminding us that this kind of unconditional support is the true heart of Arrow.
- The new lair is pretty shiny with enough neon lighting to guarantee a hefty electricity bill. Thank heavens Felicity is rich now, a point that gets brought up when Oliver asks for more money— I’m loving their implied sugar-mama banter, but there’s an underlying current that I can’t help but wonder about. Oliver spends like a rich kid—no thought to new buildings, lairs or trucks just for the fingerprints on the windshield. Felicity has made enough pointed comments to show that she’s more frugal and well aware of how the Palmer Tech board is going to negatively react to funding her boyfriend’s vigilante lifestyle. It’s a more noticeable extreme of their dynamic as a couple. Will this become a bigger issue down the road? Maybe. But for now, I’ll take the cute and won’t question it.
- Oliver brings Captain Lance back to the lair and Felicity literally throws her hands up at him. It’s adorable. Side note: From bantering with Curtis, to crying as she listened to Ray’s last words, Emily Bett Rickards was on point last night.
- Felicity watches Oliver doing the salmon ladder while practically drooling. He asks if she’s OK: “You’re doing that crinkly thing with your eyebrows.” She’s adorably flustered and it’s nice to see that even after climbing that body like a tree (*ahem*) she can still get nervous and blushy around him.
- Oliver announces his candidacy as Felicity and Thea look on with pride. I do not think it’s even remotely a coincidence that they cut to Felicity when he mentions his loved ones. I’m a big fan of this scene for two reasons: Felicity’s beaming smile as she watches Oliver speak, and the reminder that to most of Star City, Oliver is just a former rich playboy who slept his way through town. Oliver as playboy was a huge part of the first two seasons and I wouldn’t mind some of that dynamic coming back.
Kiss Count: Zero. I should be upset about this, but I’m just so happy with this season so far, I refuse to complain. They’ll kiss when they kiss. Which better be next week.
Best Moment: That salmon ladder. Not only do we get to see shirtless Stephen Amell, Felicity’s reaction is priceless. She has always been the fandom when it comes to Oliver: she swoons when we swoon; she rolls her eyes when we want to throw something at his stubborn head. This moment felt like a love letter to the fans: Felicity still dorkily swoons and Oliver knows her well enough to recognize her facial ticks. Now I’m the one swooning.
Steamy or Loving: As a long time fan of Arrow and an “Olicity” champion from thefirst moment Felicity appeared on screen, I remember those years of crumbs and scraps, waiting for any tiny indication that Oliver loved Felicity more than Laurel (or whoever else he had in his bed that week). We used to obsesses over every arm grab, every lingering glance. Now they’re actually a couple. A happy, in love, Oliver-is-going-to-propose couple. My ‘shipper heart still can’t believe that it’s real, but it’s also why I don’t need excessive romantic gestures each episode. This is how I want “Olicity” to function—a quiet undercurrent of love and support that bolsters Team Arrow without causing so much drama that it alienates fans or changes the point of the show. We could see the potential of this pairing from day one, and “Olicity” have been practically an old married couple since Season 2. Now they get to act on their feelings while still maintaining a bedrock of friendship that supports their every action as a couple. I’m so on board with the way “Olicity” is being handled this season that I don’t even need the kissing. Well, not much anyway. I wouldn’t turn down a new lair hookup, is all I’m saying.
Here’s next week’s promo for episode 4×05 “Haunted”: