(The title is supposed to sound like Katniss Everdeen. Now that I’ve told you, you hear it, right? It’s a play on the association with the bow and arrow shared between that heroine of The Hunger Games and the subject of this entry. Title fail? Wouldn’t be the first time.)
A new entry so soon? No, you’re not dreaming. You don’t even need to pinch yourself, just take my word for it. And since when has the word of a stranger on the internet not been reliable?
The fall season is upon us, and you know what that means: NEW TV SHOWS! All of the networks – in some no doubt cahootish plan – have agreed to push back most of the premieres to the end of September and October, so even though the leaves are falling, some of the new shows haven’t even started yet. And some of them have only aired an episode or two, some of them like Arrow, which premiered last Wednesday evening (lined up with Supernatural), on the CW.
At the risk of some extraordinarily unnecessary preambling, let me say that I feel like there are some people who really turn their noses down at the CW’s programming, and I can understand why a network that has never won an Emmy, a network known for Twilight rip-offs like The Vampire Diaries (a misconception!) and oversexed soaps like Gossip Girl, doesn’t get a lot of respect. And I can admit that it takes a certain kind of person to deal with the fan-pandering, low-budget, and countless seasons that accompany many CW shows. But that doesn’t mean that a CW show can’t be enjoyable. But yes, they’re often referred to as guilty pleasures. (Though not by me. When I call something a “guilty pleasure”, I actually feel guilty about it, and in fact you’ll never hear me call it that, because I’ll be far too ashamed of it to be telling you about it)
Now I don’t appreciate snobbery in any form – particularly music snobs and movie snobs – but I’ll admit to being a bit of a TV snob myself. I don’t watch any reality programming or game shows (unless you count Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Jeopardy), and I’ll try not to judge you if you watch a lot of MTV, but I’ll fail. (Teen Wolf excepted, obviously.)
My point is, just because Arrow is on the CW, doesn’t mean that it’s actually crap. No, it’s not the same show that it would be on AMC or HBO. But the CW does its best, and if one thing can be said for them, it’s that their casts are pretty darn freaking hot, so there’s always that.
The CW does like to jump on the popularity bandwagon – the aforementioned Vampire Diaries was conveniently timed, and it’s possible that Arrow was meant to coincide with The Dark Knight Rises, though perhaps it’s just filling the void left by the end of Smallville. (I suppose you’ve gathered by now that Arrow is about a superhero.) First let me say that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with capitalizing on what’s popular. For some reason people are often contemptuous of that practice, but I don’t understand. First of all, it’s smart, so no, I’m not going to be contemptuous of someone doing something that’s smart, even if they’re obviously motivated by profit. (It’s not like the other networks aren’t out for profit.) And even more: for me, if I’m really into something, then I’m eager to find something similar. So I thank the networks and studios for trying to meet my demand. They don’t always do a good job, but that’s a different discussion.
I’ll admit: the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has left a gaping bat-shaped hole in my heart. Batman has always been my favorite superhero. I’ve not read the comic books, I don’t remember well what little of the animated series I’ve watched, and I certainly haven’t seen the older live action series. So, no, I’ll not be staggering you with my fanaticism. And it sure doesn’t mean much to have picked one of the two most popular superheroes as my favorite. But all the same, I have a deep love for Batman, his villains, his friends, his city, etc., and knowing that one of his franchises has come to an end is very hurtful. So I was in the prime market for something to fill that emptiness. Will Arrow be that cork? Probably not. But I liked it all the same.
Watch me write this whole entry only for the show to be swiftly cancelled. The nice thing about writing about movies is that you’ve got the whole thing right there in front of you. No worries that it’ll be radically changed somehow. No worries that you’ll never know what the end is.
So, Arrow centers on Oliver Queen (yes, that’s his real name), 20-something son of billionaire Robert Queen. (Their money is from factories or something. Whatever. They’re super rich thanks to “Queen Consolidated”.) They live in the very Gotham-like Starling City. (I appreciate the made-up city – it really makes it feel like a superhero universe.) They are yacht-wrecked, and only Oliver lives, surviving on an island near China for five years. The show begins when he is found, and returns home.
It’s also worth mentioning Laurel’s friend at work named Joanna (“Jo”); Quentin’s partner, Detective Hilton, and the house maid, Raisa. Just for clarity’s sake.
While on the island, learning how to survive, Oliver apparently became some sort of human weapon. He’s not just coming back skinny and tan like Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away. He’s also ripped like a boxer, has reflexes like everything else is in slow motion, is proficient in hand-to-hand combat, is a crack shot with the kind of bow and arrow he certainly didn’t make by hand in the jungle, and has all sorts of other skills that are very impressive, including the ability to steal 40 million dollars from a corrupt businessman right out of his bank account. No, it doesn’t make complete sense. Judging by the playboy we flash back to, these competences are new. We don’t see much of his time on the island, but I believe the implication is that he was there alone (or else he would have been rescued, right?), so I guess he was doing karate with monkeys or something. But whatever. Just accept it.
Oliver returns with a plan to save the crumbling Starling City, and so he develops an alter ego, Arrow, to carry out this work. Arrow just sort of wears a hood, and puts some green around his eyes. It’s not a great disguise. Right up there with Clark Kent’s glasses. But it looks kind of cool.
So, you may have already figured out that I’m not exactly a comics expert. I had never heard of Green Arrow. And if I did, I probably got him mixed up with the Green Lantern or the Green Hornet. Whom I also hadn’t heard of until their respective movies came out. A skimming of the Wikipedia page tells me that he has been around since the 40’s, a Robin Hood-inspired hero intended very much to be an “analogue” to Batman. Apparently he was known for having a bunch of arrows with different, special functions. We see one in the pilot that apparently hacks into bank accounts, though I’m not actually satisfied as to exactly how that was done.
I’m hoping the TV show will choose to deviate significantly from the comics. I have elected not to read “spoilers” of any kind, so I feel like I’m writing sort of blind here. All of my descriptions and speculations are based solely on the pilot of the TV show. I just want to be clear about that. You are free to laugh at me, but please do not do it in the comments section.
The pilot is a pretty good pilot. (I’ve seen it three times in its entirety, and other clips even more than that.) It starts out sort of weak: the dialogue of the teaser is not particularly sharp, nor is it delivered particularly well; I was not impressed with the title card; and the News sequence following the title card looked very cheap. But the episode just kept getting better after that, and better and better, and it’s fairly twisty. So I would recommend, if you’re even remotely interested, watching the pilot before reading this. Because THIS IS YOUR SPOILER WARNING.
OK, so to complete the picture, it’s important to know that five years ago Oliver was cheating on Laurel with her sister, Sarah (so, remember, also Detective Quentin Lance’s daughter), who died in the boat accident. So this is a pretty complicated situation for Laurel, who was cheated on by her sister and by her boyfriend, and then she lost her sister, and she thought she lost her boyfriend, but now it turns out he’s actually alive. She’s got a lot of mixed feelings. Papa Lance mostly just hates him.
Laurel is played by Katie Cassidy, sporting brown hair. I think blond hair makes her face pop a bit more. I didn’t even recognize her at first. I know her best as Ruby 1.0 from Supernatural, also known as the vastly superior Ruby (no offense intended towards the lovely Mrs. Padalecki, of course, but this is a universally-held opinion), but she also had a run on Gossip Girl as the psycho of the season. I’m not familiar with her work on Harper’s Island or Melrose Place, but those were much larger roles for her. I’m hesitant to call myself a fan, but I suppose I’m a level above indifferent to her as an actress.
Laurel works in a legal aid office with Jo, and the pilot has her nearly sinking the office in a case against an evil billionaire. You get the point. A not-in-it-for-money do-gooder type. Reminded me quite a bit of the Rachel Dawes of Batman Begins, though I have to say that Katie Holmes’ do-gooder lawyer has a lot more charm. (You know, I’ve always thought of Katie Holmes in Batman Begins as an orange-flavored Kool Aid actress in a freshly-squeezed orange juice type of film, but she does have a charming way to her.)
Quentin apparently has a saying about not needing to go outside of the law in order to get justice. I like that Laurel has subscribed to it, with him being a cop and her being a lawyer. Obviously Quentin is going to butt heads with Arrow’s vigilantism.
Before the episode is over, we also learn that Oliver’s father and several other men made it onto a raft, but started dying off one by one, and Oliver’s father killed the last man and himself so that Oliver would have enough food and water to have a chance at living. HARDCORE. But not before telling Oliver a bunch of secrets about his business, and bad things he had done, and giving Oliver a list of names of, I assume, evil, corrupt, and powerful men in Starling City. He wants Oliver to right his wrongs. And so we see Oliver crossing out one of the names at the end of the pilot after taking all of that guy’s money and giving it to the plaintiffs in Laurel’s case. (Robin Hood!) I’m not sure how that will hold up legally, but what’s important is that Arrow is super, super proactive in his efforts to clean up “his city”. More proactive that Bruce Wayne, if you think about it. I love how Oliver views Starling City as his city. He calls it so in the teaser. It’s more than just doing the right thing because you’re a superhero, or saving people because it’s the right thing and they need help, it’s a guardianship, a custodianship. That’s what I’ve always appreciated about the conception of Gotham – it’s a deeply troubled place, rife with a cancerous element. It has an identity as a city, and Batman has a guardianship over that city.
At one point in the episode, Oliver is kidnapped and interrogated about whether his father was alive and what his father told him. Oliver is a superhero, so of course he gets away. But we find out later that his mother was behind the kidnapping. Duhn duhn duhn. I’m sure she loves him and whatnot, and is genuinely pleased that he is alive, but she’s obviously got something going on. Is she in on it with her new husband? I’m leaning towards yes. And then some, probably. The yacht accident was a storm, so they can’t be blamed for that. Though wouldn’t that be a twist? She tries to kill her husband, but then it turns out that her son was on board! Gasp. But the men that Mommy Moira sent to kidnap Oliver did kill one guy during the kidnapping – just an innocent bystander that was in the wrong place at the wrong time – so she’s already got some blood on her hands after just one episode. What else has she done? What else will she do?
She insists that Oliver let John Diggle (*still giggling*) be with him constantly “for his safety”, so obviously “Dig” is a spy, though whether he’s aware of it or not, and whether he reports to Moira or Walter, is not clear. Oliver has to lose him twice in order to carry out Arrow business. I’m not sure how much longer he can keep that up.
Let’s talk a little more about Oliver right now. I have to say that I like him a lot. That’s not always the case with me and main characters. And I’m far more likely to be indifferent to male characters (I tend to love or hate female characters). So the amount of love I have for Oliver right now feels really good.
Stephen Amell is the actor. He had a small role on The Vampire Diaries as a hick werewolf, so I recognized his name and remembered that he was fairly attractive. Which he is. He reminds me quite a bit of Liam McIntyre, actually. (Maybe it’s just the haircut.) I mean, I’m not lying on my bed, clutching a pillow, crying out with love for him, but he’s good-looking enough. Pretty eyes, that’s for sure.
Like I said earlier, I was not impressed with the delivery of his voice-over lines, but I didn’t seem to notice anything lacking when I was watching him deliver his regular lines. So I was either distracted by his good looks, or he’s just much more natural when he’s fully engaged in the acting moment. But I do think Amell is good at Oliver’s sort of subdued post-traumatic stress disordered self. He’s haunted by the accident, by the death of Sarah, by the suicide of his father to save him, by learning whatever truth about his father’s business practices, and by FIVE FREAKING YEARS of living alone on some cold, dark island.
Obviously he’s very damaged, and women love that because it brings out our maternal instincts. We just want to pat them on the head and give them long cuddles and make them feel better using our bodies. It’s a thing. Sometimes damaged characters cover up their damage by being obnoxious.
Like Dean Winchester. I mean I love Dean Winchester. Dean Winchester doesn’t need to ask. But he drinks and makes jokes and changes the subject and lies instead of dealing with his shit. Oliver just sort of wears his trauma on his sleeve. I mean, he’s put together. He’s cogent, he’s well-groomed, he, for the most part, is fine in social situations. But Amell does a good job of showing that it’s there. Like there’s a certain percentage of him at any given time that isn’t paying attention, that is focused on something else. Actually, he really reminds me of Castiel when he delivers some of his lines. Like on some level he feels like an alien, and there’s a disconnect.
On the other hand, he also doesn’t go around whining about the triviality of the life the people around him lead. Which I appreciate. Tommy throws him a back-from-the-dead bash, and many characters in his situation would be all whiny about it, making every possible excuse to not have to attend, and then sitting in a corner and sulking. Oliver does use the party to his advantage to cover up some Arrow business, but he also makes every show of embracing the party. I’m sure it’s a cover up in many ways. Like Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, playing the part of the billionaire playboy as an element of his disguise, and as a way of manipulating his business competitors, lowering their expectations. But Bruce Wayne was never really a playboy like that, and Oliver was, at one point. So I’m sure he probably still enjoys a few of those things. And like Tommy pointed out, it’s probably about time he got laid.
And probably one of my favorite things was when Oliver killed one of his kidnappers. He reminded the kidnapper that he had killed that innocent bystander, and then said, “Nobody can know my secret,” and then he just snapped his neck. I mean, that’s hardcore. I like a little grey in my heroes. Actually I like a lot of grey in my heroes. Well, I really like Captain America, too, to be fair. I love how by-the-book he is. I find that attractive as well. But generally I prefer a nice dose of non-ethical behavior. I know, you don’t care.
JUST LET ME SEX UP ALL THE SUPERHEROES I GUESS IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
My main point is that I like Oliver a lot.
Now I’m reluctant to talk about Tommy Merlyn because I feel like he’s still very ambiguous. I just have this terrible, sinking feeling that he’s no good. I have a suspicion that he might be spying for Moira, or in collusion with her, or some such deal. Right after Oliver gets home, Raisa the maid tells everyone that Mr. Merlyn had called and wants to join them for dinner. Moira seems very pleased. At dinner, Tommy invites Oliver to come drive around the city with him, and Moira is very supportive of this idea. Oliver breaks off from Tommy for a minute to talk to Laurel, and then right after that Tommy and Oliver are kidnapped, so Tommy had the perfect opportunity to call whoever and tell them where he and Oliver were. Tommy isn’t killed, unlike the innocent bystander (though I’d like to think that Moira would tell them not to kill Tommy, whether he’s involved in her nefarious plotting or not). Tommy’s waking up from being drugged is a little suspicious. I also think that Tommy and Moira exchange a look at some point. Well, none of it is conclusive, but I don’t want to commit to thinking he’s innocent. And it could always go another direction – maybe he’s not working for Moira, but maybe he’s a Harry Osborn type that’s going to turn into a villain.
When Quentin is investigating during Oliver’s welcome-back party, he says to Tommy, “Roofie anyone special tonight?” Quentin doesn’t like Oliver, and I gather he doesn’t like Tommy much either, but am I supposed to think he’s got some sort of sex offender past? Or was he just making a generalization about what he considers to be Tommy’s type of person?
The problem is that I loved Tommy right away. He’s very attractive, though not in one of those, “I can hardly believe his face is real” sort of ways. Colin Donnell, has a delightfully Irish name, and just the cutest nose ever-I’m going to get arrested when I meet him in person and try to pinch it.
Tommy is still the playboy that Oliver used to be, so that’s going to cause some tension in their friendship eventually, though hopefully they’ll still be friends once he realizes that Oliver is no longer the same man. Long time friends sometimes survive growing apart like that. And it really seems like Tommy loves Oliver like a brother. He comes over right away, plans a number of activities for him and Tommy to do together. He jumpstarts the friendship immediately. He just wants Oliver to have some fun. And he seems like a member of the family – inviting himself to dinner Oliver’s FIRST NIGHT back, planning the party, even walking right into Thea’s room at one point. And Oliver smiles really big when Tommy arrives for dinner. jfkljajfdlsajkdj
Tommy is sort of a force to be reckoned with – he’s not the type to really take no for an answer. And he tries to be very lighthearted most of the time. He makes a lot of jokes, or talks about lightweight matters. But he seems quite smart and observant as well. I think he’ll find out that Oliver is Arrow rather soon. He’s already suspicious that something is going on. So I’m hoping that he’ll be the guy who is in on the secret rather than ending up a bad guy. Every superhero needs a confidant. There’s always someone who knows. Superman has the Kents. Batman has Alfred.
One of the other twists at the end of the episode is that we find out that that Tommy and Laurel have hooked up enough times for it to be considered a trend. I can’t help it: OTP.
DO YOU SEE THESE TWO?
I mean, I was always going to have a problem with Oliver and Laurel because I’m always going to ship Oliver and Thea first. (I promise I will get to the incestuous portion of this article at some point.) And while I often do ship exes, sometimes the reason they broke up isn’t enough to convince me they don’t both just instantly want to get back together. The joy of the ship is in the obstacles that keep them apart and seeing those obstacles overcome, or in the characters being destroyed by their misery. That’s why I enjoy shipping incest so much: incest is supreme among obstacles. So exes have to really, really hate each other and really, really not think that they want to get back together in order for me to enjoy shipping it.
And that just didn’t seem to be the case with Laurel and Oliver. Oliver tells Tommy that what he missed most while he was on the island was Laurel. (Awkward for Tommy – it was nice seeing that the second time I watched the episode.) And as for Laurel’s part, yeah, she’s majorly pissed at him for cheating on her, but it’s not like she ever broke up with him. There was never actually a point where she had to decide that she no longer wanted to be with this man. So this is not a pair of ideal exes for me to be shipping. In fact, on paper, I could have told you, without any context necessary, that they were highly unlikely to be my OTP. Such is my curse.
Cookie dough.Yummy, yummy cookie dough. I mean, the fact that I feel like I’m supposed to think that Laurel and Oliver are meant to be is already a point in Tommy/Laurel’s favor. (I’m just a rebel like that.) Add to that my personal favorite trope of the second-rate best friend (sometimes “lieutenant”) taking the favored’s girl. (Second-rate because Tommy is portrayed as immature, while Oliver is a freaking grown-up for real superhero.) On top of that we have to great dynamic formed by the differences in Tommy and Laurel’s personalities. She seems to view her hook-ups with Tommy as “lapses”, and doesn’t trust that Tommy is even capable or interested in monogamy. I’m sure she thinks she’s too good for him, and he makes fun of her always trying to save the world, but I think he admires it as well.
He argues with her protests against them as a couple, even saying that he wants to make a real try of it with her. He tells her he thought that the only thing keeping her from getting back with Oliver was himself. And she tells him essentially that he’s being far too generous.
I’m getting a lot of feelings about this pairing that I don’t need if they’re not endgame. Which I’m guessing they’re not. I don’t know about comics, but I can tell you that the CW doesn’t tend to give me what I want ship-wise. They’ll make me ship the most wonderful things, but they’ll never be endgame or canon.
I feel like if the writing of the show is clever and innovative, it might even be possible for them to end up together. But obviously Oliver is going to need another love interest, and we’ve yet to meet another eligible bachelorette. So I’m trying not to get my hopes up. I could see a situation where Tommy is there to keep Laurel and Oliver apart for a season, then Laurel realizes she really does love Tommy, just in time for him to be killed off. That’s not a worse case scenario. It would suck, though. I’m also hoping that Tommy being a bit “off” the whole episode is not because he’s working for Moira or secretly evil, or about to become evil, but just because he’s keeping the secret of him and Laurel. While he never does anything in the episode that could be called sabotage of Laurel and Oliver’s chances of getting back together, it’s pretty obvious that he’s not pleased.
Oh, no, these feelings!
And I forgot to mention that Oliver is actually a witness to this entire conversation between Tommy and Laurel. It’s not 100% clear that he heard what was said, but I’m guessing he did.
Oliver comes to see Laurel, apologizes for the cheating, etc. Laurel is pretty angry at that point. But Tommy invites her to the big welcome-back party, and by then Laurel has calmed down. But Oliver seems to have decided to push her away, and he tells her that he hasn’t changed, that she only wants to see the best in him like she always did but that there is nothing to see, that he’s the same, and that he’ll only hurt her. I guess he’s trying to keep her safe, or whatever. Hasn’t he ever seen any movie ever? That never works. And she’s a crusading lawyer, so she’ll probably be killed by someone just for that reason alone. So stupid. OR maybe he just doesn’t want her complicating his life. But if he spends all of his time thinking about her, then it doesn’t really matter if he’s dating her or not, does it? The distraction will be there either way.
I can’t with superheroes sometimes.
There seems to be a fair amount of Oliver/Laurel shippers. Curse them! Or do they know something about Tommy that I don’t know?
OK, I think it’s finally time to talk about Thea. And about time too, because I can’t handle my Tommy fears or my doomed Tommy/Laurel ship.
Thea’s got a bit of a drug problem. I’m not sure we saw enough to really call it a “problem” problem, but it seemed to be framed that way. I am really put off by drug use. I mean, I’m not even sure how to properly get across to you how much I dislike drug-users in my shows and movies. I find it extremely hard to sympathize with characters that use drugs. I mean, that’s a personal failing. I’ll admit that. And I don’t mean to sound so insensitive. But me and drugs are just not good friends. What’s even worse is the stereotypical drug-abusing younger sibling with attitude who is acting out is one of my least favorite types of characters. I mean, I see it often enough: Jeremy on The Vampire Diaries, Vicki on The Vampire Diaries, Charlotte on Revenge, Jenny on Gossip Girl, etc, and the richer they are the worse it is. I just find it very hard to care about or sympathize with those characters, but part of that is certainly that I’ve never been where they’ve been. I had the great fortune of growing up with two for the most part sane, loving, laid-back parents. I was never an angsty or rebellious teenager. (Of course I’m making huge generalizations here.) I never wrote angry poetry or romanticized the idea of pain. I never lied on my bed and listened to sad music. I never said anything hurtful to anyone in my family (at least not while they were sober enough to remember it!). So it’s just hard for me to get how someone could be so rude or disrespectful. And I’ve never been much for peer pressure either. (Almost to a fault.) You can imagine how great college was with me being “not much of a drinker”. Fortunately for me, my idea of a good time is pizza and movies, company welcome but optional.
I’m not particularly familiar with her, but she looks like Kaya Scoledario, which was distracting, and not really helpful on the not-shipping-incest front since everyone knows that Tony/Effy is ridiculousness itself.
She also reminds me of Alison Brie,
and Allison Miller.
She’s just got one of those faces, I guess.
I think the biggest problem with Thea is that she’s not going to fit into the story organically. A lot of TV shows have the main action, and then a baffling high school subset that is annoying and unnecessary. It’s a major problem on Revenge, at least it was last season. So here’s to hoping that’s not the case here. I’m sure there’s a way for Thea to be included in the plot in a way that feels natural and makes sense. I don’t want a bunch of scenes of just her and her friends doing whatever. If she’s not interacting with the other main characters, then something is not being done well.
Finally it’s time for Oliver and Thea’s relationship. A brief search on tumblr for GIFs revealed a surprising number of Oliver/Thea shippers. And an extra few that probably ship it but don’t want to admit to it, or don’t realize that they ship it. EXCELLENT. You’ll be pleased to hear that Oliver/Thea and this post isn’t just a product of me always shipping incest, because other people ship it too! And it’s always nice to not be alone. I’m pleased to say that on tumblr I have come across more than just one or two people who tend to have a lot of incest ships, and not just canon ones, or ones that test sanity by not being canon, like Klaus and Rebekah from The Vampire Diaries. I AM NOT ALONE! Bless tumblr. Of course, incest shipping on tumblr seems to paired for the most part with belligerent and judgmental malcontent, so I’m not exactly looking to best friends with these people. This is the sad story of my life – I only ever seem to have 50% in common with any given person.
Oliver and Thea share four scenes together in the pilot.
Oliver has been found, has made the journey back to Starling City, and has apparently undergone some sort of physical and mental exam. His mother picks him up at the clinic, and they drive back to Queen Manor. (I’m just going to call it that.) Oliver sees Walter, who he doesn’t remember or pretends not to be remember, he greets Raisa the housekeeper warmly, and then…
His eyes drift romantically to the top of the stairs as he hears a door; he drops Raisa’s hand, ignores his mother (who is actually asking him a question!), and walks over to the foot of the stairs, a slow smile forming on his face as he sees a brunette beauty on the top step. It’s all as ridiculous as I am describing it. In fact, I was about 90% sure when watching this the first time that we were about to be introduced to his childhood love the maid’s daughter, or some such creature. (Very Rachel Dawes as well.) But then he says two of the most magical words for me possible in a work of fiction: “Hey, sis.”
She freezes for a moment in disbelief, and his face is about to burst trying to contain his wide smile. Then she starts breathing heavily (I kid you not) and starts running down the stairs.
I tend to be skeptical of those sorts of sentiments. But in this case they are welcome.
She lands on the bottom step, and then pops up into a hug, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and neck. She sighs really heavily. I mean, chick is doing a lot of loud breathing. Then she says, “I missed you so much.” There’s a very strong emphasis on the “so”.
And then it cuts away sort of awkwardly, making me think something was cut. The funny thing is, at some parts I was actually ready to praise the editing, which isn’t a quality I often think about, but there are a couple of parts where something was cut (probably for time), and it sort of stands out to someone who is paying a lot of attention. Someone like me, who is studying every detail of the scene at hand.
Where do I even start?
I guess with the fact that this was set up to look like the reunion between Oliver and someone who is meant to be his love interest?!!! I was so sure that the girl at the top of the stairs was going to be the love interest that I’m surprised I didn’t laugh hysterically when we found out that she was his sister. I can only assume that what we’re supposed to take away from this misstep is how much they love each other, how much they missed each other, and how close they probably were before he disappeared.
The “I knew you were alive” is indicative of a very close connection between the two of them, a connection only reinforced by his “You were with me the whole time”. His line sheds an important light on what he says later about Laurel, that was what he missed most. He didn’t need to miss Thea, because she was with him the whole time.
And I think that’s an important quality that defines the love between siblings. I mean of course you miss them when they’re not around, but it’s a sort of constant love that exists no matter how long it has been since you’ve seen each other. It doesn’t suffer the way a long-distance relationship between spouses suffers. I mean, interacting might become more awkward, but the love itself isn’t diminished or challenged by distance or time.
Or maybe I’m full of bullshit.
The shot that this scene cuts away to is a bird’s eye view of Starling City (aka New York, I assume), and it reminds me so much of the shots of Gotham in Nolan’s series. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.
Dinner! (First of all can I say that I love that they’re all eating at this ridiculously large table?) Tommy is telling Oliver about all of the Super Bowls that he missed. Can you even imagine all that you would miss in five years? Oliver is listening, but I don’t think he cares. Thea is laughing at Tommy’s summaries, and smiling at him affectionately.
Oliver is making Hamlet-y eyes at his mother and Walter.
When Tommy has finished telling Oliver about the series finale of Lost (I really like Colin Leprechaun Donnell’s way of speaking, can I just say that?), Thea (they really missed an opportunity to name her Olivia), turns to Oliver and asks, “What was it like?”
Suddenly you can hear crickets. Everyone gets quiet and looks to see what will happen.
I appreciate that Thea isn’t afraid to ask him a real question. I think Oliver pretending like it’s all a fun adventure has a place, but I like that Thea isn’t afraid to be real. And she doesn’t ask it in a challenging way, but in a curious way.
“Cold,” Oliver answers. And this is one line where I really appreciate what Stephen Amell did with the character. I think it’s delivered very carefully. He’s not resentful of the question, not afraid of it. It’s an uncomfortable question, but he’s not afraid to be honest. But underneath everything you still see how damaged he is.
Thea listens carefully, she half-smiles, pleased by his honesty and because he smiled at her (pleased with her audacity), but underlying it is a troubled expression, either because the answer is sad or because she knows there’s so much more that he isn’t saying.
Oliver says that he wants to swing by the office, which makes Walter very displeased. I can only assume Walter is doing something at “the office” that he doesn’t want Oliver knowing about or getting involved in. There’s not a lot of variety of what that could, but I’m hoping to be surprised. Moira’s displeasure is much better hidden, but she’s a little startled as well. With Oliver she plays the part of the good cop, though.
Now I’m confused, because I doubt, no matter how much Russian Oliver took in college, that however many years later he can just produce it like that. But even so, if Oliver studied Russian in college, why is Tommy all like, “Dude, you speak Russian?!!!!!” and Raisa and everyone is surprised. So obviously Oliver did not study Russian in college, he learned it elsewhere. So did he study it secretly before the yacht crash? That seems unlikely. Because WHY? So did he learn it on the island? I thought he was alone. He was on an island near China. Russia isn’t too far from there, relatively anyway. So was he actually hanging out with Russians at some point? Or maybe he had a book and learned it from that or something. I don’t know. Russian mystery.
First of all: Sure you did, Oliver. Your mom is pretty hot for a woman of her age. Of course he wanted to sleep with her. Second of all, just because it’s obvious that there is something of an intimate nature between your mother and Walter does not mean you need to phrase it like that. I mean, he makes it sound all sexy and illicit. Maybe they’re in love?
Now if you haven’t watched the episode, or if it has been a while, you may not realize that we didn’t actually know at this point that Walter and Moira were married. We only know him as someone from Queen Consolidated. Who just happens to be invited to dinner the first night of Oliver’s return.
Well, Moira and Oliver exchange some looks. Oliver seems very defiant. I’m not sure why he’s so proud of himself. This is the kind of acting-out crap I would expect from who I thought Thea was going to be.
Moira looks at Thea, who assures her that she didn’t say anything.
Moira tells Oliver that she and Walter are married. Dude, it has been five years. In Hamlet, Gertrude married Claudius within one month. One month! Lay off, Ollie.
Eventually Oliver says, “It’s fine,” but he doesn’t look like he thinks it’s fine. And then he gets up and leaves the table. But he does ask to be excused!
Oliver picks up an apple from the table, winks at Thea, and then leaves. I don’t really understand. They make such a big deal out of him taking the apple, showing a close-up of his hand while he does it, with Thea in the background watching. And why is he winking? Just to cheer her up? She looks pretty glum in her final reaction shot as he leaves the room. Still, the wink pleases me.
The next morning.
Oliver brought back a chest from the island. In it he has the book of names from his father, some other things we don’t see. Perhaps a Russian lesson book?
He knocks on Thea’s door. She’s inside with a friend, chopping up prescription pills for snorting or something. Bad drug stuff. Oliver doesn’t wait for the OK, he just walks right in after knocking (what’s even the point in knocking if you do that?), and he sees the girls scrambling to cover something up. With his superhero psychic senses he seems to know immediately what it is.
She and her friend are both in uniform, so we know immediately that they’re in high school. We find out later that she’s 17, so I’ll go into her age later. But for now let me say that her uniform is all undone – the tie is loose, the button-up shirt is unbuttoned almost scandalously low, and the jacket is unbuttoned. I mean, she basically looks like she’s in the process of taking it off. So definite sexy vibes from the costume department.
Adoring younger sister. It pleases me. She literally had a nickname for how fast she was when she was following him around.
Then he says, “Maybe it still does,” in reference to the drugs. Nice one, Ollie. Clever.Her friend says, “See you at school, Speedy,”, then sort of not-winks but winks at her and leaves. The not-wink is perhaps about getting away with the drugs, or maybe she’s just reinforcing the tease about the nickname, but maybe it’s a “wow he’s hot” not-wink. It’s possible.
And Thea says, “Sorry about her.”
I don’t know what Thea is apologizing for. I do think that if your brother was dead for five years and then came back, that it’s really stupid for you have a friend over the next day. And who gets together in the morning before school? (Especially at a mansion, because it probably takes as long to walk up to her bedroom as it does to get to her house.) But I still don’t understand what the apology was about.
Once the friend is gone, Oliver pulls something out of his pocket. It’s a —— hosen? (insert foreign word) and in Buddhism it represents reconnecting. It looks like a rock with things carved into it and dyed, but it also looks a lot like an arrow head. Eh? Ehhhhh? He tells her, “I kept it, with hopes that one day it would reconnect me with you.”
Now I know I talked a lot about how they have this strong connection, and now he’s talking about reconnecting, and it’s all sort of contradictory, but whatever. Reconnecting physically still remains. Reconnecting, you know, IN BED.
She always looks at him with such adoration. I mean, she’s still getting used to the fact that he’s alive, of course. But still. She obviously thinks the world of him.
“A rock? That is…sweet,” Tommy says sarcastically, appearing in the doorway. He totally interrupts the tender moment, and then just strolls right in like he owns the place, making a joke about how he wants a gift too.
Both Oliver and Thea are clearly annoyed at being interrupted, which I love, and also are a little put-off by Tommy’s mocking, BUT, they are annoyed in an affectionate way, which really just reinforces the idea of him as another member of the family. Thea tells Oliver to not let Tommy get him into too much trouble. Again, teasing of a very familiar nature.
Oliver kisses Thea on the cheek as they hug. I don’t think I’m seeing things when I say that it sort of looked like he was going to kiss her on the mouth at first. Something about the way he angled his head. Ignore me.
It’s a long hug, and just perfect.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. For real?
Oliver glares at him.
Merry Christmas to me!
First of all, almost every single incest original story or fanfiction I have ever written involves one of the primary characters’ friends mentioning how hot the sibling is. I mean, it’s a staple. So basically I got to watch this scene and say to myself that if I was writing an incest fanfic for Oliver and Thea this scene would have been in it.
It’s just so great to see Oliver confronted with a certain sexual objectification of his sister.
And we can assume his visible alarm is due to Tommy’s womanizing ways and Thea’s age, but no one can say that it isn’t jealousy.
Furthermore, I go into a lot of detail in my entry on The Fades how I feel about siblings getting involved with best friends, but suffice it to say that if Thea is ever interested in Tommy then I’ve got a lot more fodder to work with. Especially since it would seem that Tommy is A LOT like the Oliver she used to know/chase after.
I have to say that I do ship Tommy and Thea, though not in the OTP way I ship Tommy/Laurel and Oliver/Thea. Though if they did end up together, I would be fairly happy. I mean, I really couldn’t ask for more. I’m never going to get Oliver/Thea anyway. And I’d love to see Tommy marry into the Queen family, to see Tommy and Oliver be brothers through marriage.
If you can’t tell, I’m extremely protective of Tommy. So anything that makes him look good, like winning the love of the beautiful Thea, treasured sister of Oliver, is going to make me happy.
So Tommy throws this kickass party for Oliver. I think it might actually take place the following day, which is super impressive. I mean, that takes skills. Especially since it’s an ENORMOUS-ASS party that takes up an entire warehouse/planetarium?, and is full of, I’m assuming, almost complete strangers.
Tommy wants to get Oliver laid, and I’m sure a small part of that has to do with luring him away from Laurel. He points out some girls to Oliver, and God bless him, he’s actually paying attention and seems remotely interested. Thank you God for not giving me a superhero who he thinks he’s above casual sex.
Well, Oliver’s eyes wander around the room, and guess where they almost immediately land? That’s right: on Thea. She’s in a circle with two other friends, passing around illicit substances. Oliver takes off right away to intervene. He walks aggressively over to her and grabs her arm and pulls her aside.
The funny thing is that she doesn’t seem to realize at first that she’s in trouble. I guess she’s used to him doing that. “This party is sick,” she says. Good work, Tommy! I am so proud of my boy. (Also, “sick”? I’m only as hip as the characters I watch on TV, but I’m pretty sure that’s outdated by at least five years.)
Oliver is not pleased. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I’m not 12 anymore.” She’s annoyed now.
“No, you’re 17!” Well, he’s right and he’s wrong, isn’t he?
“Ollie, I love you. But you can’t come back here and judge me. Especially for being just like you,” is her response.
“No, you don’t. Mom had Walter, and I had no one. You guys all act like it’s cool, let’s forget about the last five years. Well I can’t. For me it’s kinda permanently in there. So I’m sorry if I turned out some major disappointment, but this? Me? Is the best I could do with what I had to work with.”
Oliver blinks painfully.
And she sort of storms away with her friend and leaves the party, after noticing that her drugs are missing. Hee! Oliver pick-pocked them and then he throws them away.
I think she’s a little hard on him. Actually no, I think she’s way way too hard on him. He doesn’t want her at the party because he doesn’t want her doing bad things. And then she lashes out at him like everything is his fault. Nothing is his fault. And I’m sure life on the island was a picnic. Just because he described it as cold doesn’t mean that was the only thing that was bad about it, Speedy! I’m not saying it wasn’t tough for her, and she needs to get those feelings out, but I do not appreciate the way she went about it.
But of course I like that the fact that she’s responding to a fear that he’s disappointed in her. And I like that she’s trying to come across as lonely. It would seem there’s no boyfriend or friend that she’s devoted to.
And can we talk about how Thea sees herself as permanently changed by living five years with the loss of him? Losing someone you love is always going to have an effect, and especially losing a sibling or a parent when you’re a child is devastating, but she was already 12. It’s a big deal.
And she really saved herself in my eyes by talking about the drugs as a way of dealing with her grief. She’s not like, “My life sucks so I take drugs.” Or “I’m such a rebel so I do drugs.” Or “I’m a bored rich girl so I take drugs.” No, she’s like, “I was so broken by the deaths of my father and my brother that I turned to drugs.” I can handle that.
And Oliver was pretty devastated by her rant. Laurel blamed him for Sarah’s death and told him that she wished he had died instead, and he seemed less shaken than after Thea’s little speech.
OK, now I’ll talk about her age. So she was 12 when he was in the accident. She’s 17 now. I don’t know how old he is. Sarah Lance, in the flashback, calls him an Ivy League dropout. But we don’t know how long it has been since he dropped out. I know that people under 21 drink, but I think he was probably 21 at the very least when the accident happened. That would make him 26 now. He might even be a little older than that. So I’d say he’s probably 9-10 years older than Thea. That’s a lotta years. I mean, we’re verging on Spencer/Carly territory here. Now I think I’ve already established on this blog that I have no problems with a 17 year-old being old enough to consent to sex, or with an age gap of 10 years+, but I’ll reiterate those facts in this entry just to be clear. When I say I have no problem, I literally mean that I have zero problem and it does not bother me at all.
And she’ll probably be 18 soon anyway.
In some ways this presents an ideal incest-launching situation. She’s a child when he leaves. 12 years old. Still a girl. He comes back and she’s 17. Full grown. Full grown AND beautiful. And it’s almost funny that never once did he remark, “Wow, you’re all grown up.” Or, “When I left you were still a kid,” or anything at all like that. That sort of situation alters the Westermarck Effect, don’t you think?Or maybe it only does in fiction. But since we’re dealing with fiction, I think it’s a valid point.
Can I just say before I finish that Stephen Amell and Willa Holland have some crazy chemistry? I mean, that’s why Oliver/Thea already has so many shippers. There’s even a blog for their relationship, although it’s probably supposed to be platonic. But we all know how much respect I have for “supposed to be platonic.”There are already some fanfics for them out there. If they aren’t on the regular archives, you can check tumblr. I don’t understand it, but there are some people who post their fanfiction only on tumblr, or sometimes livejournal.
Well, I think that’s really all I wanted to discuss for Oliver/Thea and for this show. New episode Wednesday night. I’m very excited. Even though Oliver/Thea will never happen, I’ve still got Tommy/Laurel and Tommy/Thea developments to look forward to, (maybe? cross fingers) as well as the show in general which I do enjoy. I mean, I focus so much on the shipping, and I do care about shipping more than anything else, but I hope it’s clear that even though I mostly just write about shipping, I do enjoy other parts of these movies and shows.