Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Welcome to angst-town, population Arrow fans everywhere. The sunny, suburban, kissy “Olicity” days are clearly behind us, and the second half of Season 4 is shaping up to be a dark and scary place. Buckle up people, because it’s pretty obvious that this train-of-drama is only just starting to leave the station.
After a hiatus that seemed like it would never end, here’s the latest “Olicity Watch” for Arrow 4×10: “Blood Debts.”
When last we left Oliver and Felicity, he had romantically proposed right before Darhk’s men shot up their limo—and Felicity along with it (I still can’t listen to The Little Drummer Boy, FYI). “Blood Debts” is all about the aftermath and it isn’t pretty: say hello to vendetta-Oliver, who looks a super lot like Season 1 Oliver. There’s killing, lots of growling at both enemies and friends, and a general air of desperation that only barely manages to hide the fact that Oliver is coming apart at the seams. His grief might be the most dangerous grief in the whole “Flarrow” universe.
All of this has the odd potential to be sort of romantic if Oliver wasn’t also acting like an ass toward Felicity. While he’s out chasing down Darhk’s men and running into Anarchy again, Felicity goes from surgery to surgery, eventually finding out that she’s permanently paralyzed. Oliver is clearly masking his pain by staying away, compartmentalizing in that narrow-minded way he truly excels at, but ultimately leaves Felicity to fend for herself. He gets how crappy he’s being, yet he still doesn’t go and visit her until almost the end of the episode.
It’s hard to root for Oliver when he’s being so boneheaded (secret son, anyone?) and while I get that his grief and guilt are huge factors here, it still doesn’t excuse his behavior toward the woman he loves. Also, I’m starting to get a little nervous about how many times I’m going to have to write that exact same sentence this season. That flashback scene in the limo does not look promising. But even in an episode as rough to watch as this one, we still see the potential that these two have for a strong, communicative relationship where they can truly learn to lean on each other. Let’s hope we get there sooner than later, amiright? In the meantime, I’ll just be over here marveling at Felicity’s strength and wishing I could smack Oliver in the head. Repeatedly.
This episode was all about “Olicity,” with almost no actual “Olicity” scenes. So just know that every time Oliver was making his grrr-face at a bad guy, Felicity and his fear for her were lurking pretty close to the surface. Still, there were a few noteworthy scenes, including:
After hearing that Felicity will never walk again from a less-than-impressed-by-his-absence Donna, Oliver starts to unravel even more. His grief is palpable as he helps Anarchy escape from the cops and then picks a fight with Laurel over his decision. It’s Dig who manages to slightly get through to him when he reminds Oliver of how far he’s come and why Felicity fell in love with him in the first place. Kudos to Amell for the haunted, desperate look in Oliver’s eyes as he tries to process Dig’s words.
Anarchy ditches their tracker and Oliver is visibly crumbling as his plan fails. Dig says maybe the most spot-on sentence of the entire series when he tells Oliver to go to Felicity: “She needs you, and right now, I think you need her too.” Oliver finally, FINALLY listens to him and heads to the hospital. Felicity is way nicer to him than I would be, but maybe that’s why she’s dating a badass superhero and I’m in pajamas watching Netflix. Ahem. Anyway, instead of chewing him out, she’s sweet, understanding, and clearly knows him well: “Tell me you haven’t gone off the rails?” Oliver’s shrugged “heh,” is hilarious despite their grim setting. THESE TWO BELONG TOGETHER SHOW, DO YOU HEAR ME? Sadly, she’s been stewing over the thought that he wants to leave her now that she’s permanently injured. The shock and disbelief on Oliver’s face is the only thing keeping me from jumping through the screen to punch him. Clearly, he hasn’t even considered leaving her—and why would he? She’s awesome and strong, cracking jokes and trying to pep-talk him even when she’s the one that could use some support right about now. “For better or for worse,” he says and leans over to kiss her. OK, fine, that was pretty sweet.
In the hospital again, Oliver is still apologetic and Felicity is still nice. “How did you get to be so strong?” he asks her. “I took my lead from you,” she says and it doesn’t seem fair that these two can slay me like that when I’m still so annoyed.
In a flash-forward moment, we see Oliver and Felicity in a limo together at the grave sight. Yay, Felicity isn’t the one who dies!! Not that I ever had any doubt. In a less happy development, the tension and distance between the couple is obvious and heartbreaking—as well as the fact that Felicity is no longer wearing her engagement ring. I see troubled waters ahead, people. Troubled, troubled waters.
Kiss Count: One, after Oliver finally grows up and goes to the hospital to see the injured woman he loves.
Best Moment: “For better or for worse.” I’m not going to turn down a cute kiss or a moment where these two reaffirm their devotion to each other. Still, this “best moment” is pretty tainted. Basically, Oliver should have been there. I get that he’s damaged and all that and this is how he copes. But his fianceé found out that she can’t walk. All alone. In a hospital bed. While she should have been processing her huge, life-changing diagnosis, she was too busy worrying that his absence meant he wanted to leave her. I don’t often think that Oliver is selfish, but—wow!—he really seemed to make this tragedy all about him. So, best moment? Sure. Great moment? Not particularly.
Steamy or Loving or Bittersweet and a little Deranged: Last night, we got a little peek at what Oliver is like with no Felicity and oh, man, it is bad. Without her as his guiding moral compass, Oliver falls apart. We started this season with a “new” hero, a man who’d accepted love and vowed to change. But of course there have been hints that he’s not entirely over his old ways, and “Blood Debts” really confirmed that. Oliver is trying to change, but it’s a process and not something that happens over night. Felicity is the catalyst of that change, so anything that threatens her—or their relationship—reverts Oliver right back to his closed-off, Season 1, vigilante badass.
This season is all about Oliver actually learning how to change, rather than just wanting to. Felicity will be key in this, but part of that journey means that the two of them are going to break up for a little while. It’s coming, we all know it, and now there’s a bittersweet taste to their relationship as we wait for it to play out on screen. Still, I firmly believe the two of them will get together again by the end of the season, so let’s keep the hope alive. The angst is far from over though, as next week’s promo shows us that Felicity’s struggling to cope and the team doesn’t know how to function without her. There’s even controversy in our office as to whether this was a straight-up fridge episode or they’re setting Felicity up to become Oracle. Whatever is going on, Season 4 is officially in full swing and I have a feeling that the worst is yet to come.
Here’s next week’s promo for 4×11: “A.W.O.L.”: