Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
After the emotional roller coaster of last week, I wasn’t expecting much from “A.W.O.L.” So I was pleasantly surprised by this episode, which turned out to be touching, exciting, and a step forward for our favorite couple. We all know “Olicity” is in for a bumpy ride in the coming episodes, but luckily it didn’t start last night. While the good times are still rolling, here’s the “Olicity” Watch for 4×11: A.W.O.L.:
This was a John Diggle-centric episode, focusing on his relationship with his brother Andy and giving us plenty of great Dig/Lyla moments. These two are a close second for my favorite Arrow ‘ship, and they really show the audience the potential of Oliver and Felicity—once “Olicity” works through their issues, of course. Regardless, those issues seemed pretty nonexistent last night, as Oliver and Felicity were sweet, honest, and stable. It was a nice shift after the return of Season-1 Oliver last week and a good reminder that despite his occasional back-slides, he truly has changed for the better.
Felicity spent most of the episode working through the emotional trauma of realizing she might never walk again and it mostly came in the form of a medicine-induced hallucination of goth-Felicity. I missed you, goth-Felicity! Oliver tries to be there for her, but he’s not sure how, especially when he’s fighting his own guilt over what happened. After some soul searching, Felicity decides she still wants to be the crime-fighting badass we know and love and rejoins the team to help them stop a group of corrupt soldiers determined to take down ARGUS. Oh, and Felicity and Oliver talk out their feelings like rational human beings, and no one lies to each other or hides a secret son. Progress!
(Side note: Holy crap—is Amanda Waller really dead? It seems like a pretty quick and uneventful way to kill off a character who has been with us for years. Maybe it was a ruse? A fake bullet-to-the-head? Let’s hope so: she’s too awesome to go out like that.)
- Oliver carries Felicity down the stairs and they talk about her recovery while being generally adorable. They’re refreshingly honest with each other, not avoiding any of the tough stuff: Felicity tells him she’s not ready to go back into the field and Oliver respects her decision while also making a point to tell her what a valuable member of the team she is. Then they say I love you and kiss. Let’s just freeze-frame this moment forever, OK?
- Despite Oliver’s encouraging “awesome,” Felicity screws up in the field and her confidence takes an even bigger hit. She starts to crack in front of Oliver, upset about the fact that she can no longer even walk down the street to get a cup of coffee. He wants to keep talking it out, but her goth-hallucination is in the background making trouble. Felicity gets understandably flustered and ends up screaming at goth-Felicity, though Oliver thinks it’s aimed at him. The whole thing is both heartbreaking and kind of weirdly hilarious.
- For once, Oliver and Laurel have a scene together that I actually like, where Oliver confesses that he feels like Felicity’s injury is his fault and Laurel basically tells him to get his head out of his ass. These two can be pals forever as long as they both stay team “Olicity,” as far as I’m concerned.
- Felicity decides to ignore goth-Felicity and shows up in the lair to talk to Oliver. She’s back to her strong, quippy self and Oliver fights tears as she tells him definitively that what happened to her wasn’t either of their faults. These two! The acting is strong, the relationship is strong, and I’m just going to pretend that the we-all-know-its-coming break up is not happening.
- Back on the job, Oliver gives Felicity a codename: Overwatch. This tiny moment should not fill me with as many joyful tingles as it does. Also, can we talk about that growly way he says, “Where do you want me?” Anywhere you want, Oliver.
- Later that night in bed (please let me always get to type those words), Felicity shows Oliver her old goth-self and they reminisce about how much they’ve both grown. She ceremoniously burns her old photo and Oliver vows to find a way to help her walk again. Plus they say things like: “Thank you for always being on my side.” “No place I’d rather be.” STOP BEING SO CUTE I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
Kiss Count: One, but there was so much emotional connection in this episode I feel like I watched them make out for 40 minutes. This is when Oliver and Felicity shine as a couple—when they trust each other enough to confide their fears. When they lean on each other despite their deeply scarred pasts. When they face the world together. Now let’s just get stupid-break ups and secret sons out of the way and everything will be perfect.
Best Moment: Unlike last week, there are so many good choices in 4×11. But the best moment was the one in the lair, where Oliver and Felicity finally talk out their feelings. These two are at their best when giving each other motivational speeches, and the way Amell teared up in this scene may have brought a tear or two to my own eye. Plus there’s something very endearing about how Oliver always makes sure they’re on the same level when they speak to each other, accommodating for Felicity’s wheelchair. It’s a nice metaphor for their relationship in general: they’re equals and her injuries will not change that.
Oh man, I’m seriously not going to survive the coming break up. Why can’t they just be together forever and talk out their issues and make cute little superhero babies?!
Steamy or Loving: I don’t know how Oliver can make me so annoyed one week and then so happy the next, but this boy clearly has special powers. One might even say super powers. Hahaha! Sorry. Anyway, “Olicity” could not have been more loving this week, with all the pep talks and the trust and the way they gave each other space while not shying away from their problems. I love watching them like this, when the conflict is clearly moving their relationship forward rather than just being an arbitrary way for them to spin their wheels or manufacture unnecessary conflict. Have I mentioned that I’m not happy about the coming break up? Because I. Am. Not. Happy. Regardless, it looks like we might get another reprieve next week, so hopefully 4×12 will be just as positive and affirming as last night’s episode. A girl can dream, right?
Here’s next week’s promo for 4×12: “Unchained”: