First and foremost, I would like to begin this article by saying I am a Lauriver fan.
Blame it on The Green Arrow comics. Oliver and Dinah/Laurel's relationship is written so beautifully on those pages that it is impossible not to fall in love with their love and remain fiercely loyal to it. However, I will try my best to remain as logical and unbiased as I possibly can to write this article with perspective.I actually enjoy both characters' relationships with Oliver, however, I feel that one is end-game and one is temporary.
Let me explain my logic.
This ENTIRE article contains spoilers of Arrow seasons 1-3. If you have not finished these seasons and do not want some of the plot lines spoiled (the ones tied to romance anyway), DO NOT READ ON.
- Happy Ending to a Season that was Weighed Down by a Heavy Darkness.
Season 3 of The Arrow has been pretty dark.
First in season 3 - episode 1, Sara gets murdered. This death caused a huge damper on the show, because it impacted everyone. Sara had become a part of the team, everyone had a connection with her in their own way, and Laurel and Oliver were hit the hardest. This gloom isn't new to The Arrow fans. Season 3's depressing tone was very similar to the darkness we saw in season 2, when Tommy died due to his father's vengeful nature (season 1 - episode 23). We get Oliver trying to put all of the guilt on his back, and Laurel going through her own special method of grief (albeit with different outlets), and their doom and gloom set the tone for the rest of the characters. The writers made us feel their pain. In season 3, we saw Laurel being ripped apart by the secret of Sara's death, which she had to keep for her father's health. We see Oliver also torn to pieces, because he lost another woman he loved and everyone put their expectations to catch the killer on him.
This gloom continues when the ever-so-devious Merlyn reveals to Oliver that the killer he is hunting down is his sister. The arguably most dangerous man alive and his assassin daughter wants Thea's head, and he'll have to team up with the Merlyn, whose manipulations have now killed two people he loved, in order to survive Ras al Ghul's attacks (s3 - ep9). Next, we see Laurel going through her painful transformation into the Black Canary, Laurel finally telling her dad Saras dead and their relationship being forever damaged with the secret (s3 - ep13), Thea fighting with what she did under Merlyn's influence (s3 - episode 14&15), Ray almost dying (because I mean, who doesn't absolutely LOVE Ray?) (s3 - ep18), Oliver turning into the Demon's Head (s3 - ep20), everyone's hurt and conflicted emotions with that decision, Diggle's wife being taken (s3 - ep21), and lets not forget Maseo's own agony and conflict with being in the League of Assassins. This season did not give the characters a chance to pull their heads above water. The audience needed SOMETHING to hold onto that wasn't completely depressing and that was Olicity.
Throughout the season, yes, Oliver and Felicity went through their ups and downs, breaches of trust, and painful, what seemed like, betrayals. However, their love for one another was evident on the screen. Their relationship was the only chance the audience got to catch their breath. You saw Oliver fighting his love to protect the purity that Felicity's character is supposed to represent, and you saw Felicity love Oliver through it all (even while she was with Ray which was not cool.) Then when they finally got together, you wanted to cry at how happy you were for them; no more internal grief! Finally SOME happiness! The writers finally gave that happiness to Oliver.. which kind of made the whole line,
"Can I say something strange? I'm happy." -Oliver Queen (s3 - ep23)
just a little bit corny and over the top (but that is neither here nor there). The audience needed something happy and light to end the season after all of the darkness, and that was Olicity. There was no way this could happen with Lauriver, for reasons I will describe in Laurel's section.
- The Green Arrows True Personality
The Green Arrow is NOT broody and martyr-y like Batman in the comics... at all.
Don't get me wrong. When it is time to get down to business, he isn't the punch-line master like the Flash. He just realizes when to be happy, jokey and live life. Though he can be a loner in many of his time-lines, he is not the Oliver Queen we have seen on The Arrow, and I feel like that is why Olicity is happening. Oliver needs someone more light, happy, and full of jokes, because that is the true Green Arrow. I also believe that is why they're pretending Oliver won't be a vigilante anymore. The directors are symbolizing the death of the broody dark arrow, and paving the way for the more upbeat Green Arrow. By giving the appearance Oliver won't be that kind of vigilante anymore, they are driving that point home.
With these strategic euphemisms and symbols, the transition will be less complicated. It is easier to see Oliver go from broody to upbeat by being constantly surrounded by Felicity's bright optimism. We'll see some of her light, rub off on Oliver when he returns to the show, which I am sure a lot of fans are waiting for. Oliver needs Felicity right now, with no complications, to become who he is destined to be. Though the whole "driving off into the sunset thing" was pretty cheesy, I understand what the writers are trying to achieve with the last moments of the show.
This interpretation can be supported by the aspects I mentioned earlier and also with the quote,
"[The show] will take a lighter tone. That’s pretty much the only thing I say without spoiling it." -Marc Guggenheim, the executive producer of The Arrow.
This ending simply paves the way for the Green Arrow persona comic book fans have been waiting for. However, I don't see their relationship becoming more beneficial than Oliver and Laurel's (future) relationship, because though they share Team Arrow, Felicity will always be behind a computer while Oliver is out there fighting. Something Laurel has over Felicity is that she understands the trials that vigilante's go through, she is out there fighting with him.. she can understand him in ways Felicity just can't. I will explain this more later in Laurel and Oliver's connection.
• Felicity's character growth
Felicity's characterization has tremendously dwindled in season 3.
Though I don't miss the blatant, and sometimes vulgar sexual innuendos. I do miss the strong female lead (one of three) Felicity was becoming in the show. Once she found Oliver, I saw more than her obsession for him. I saw an incredibly smart girl, who has finally found her niche by two things she loves: helping people and programming her babies (computers). Though she always had that puppy dog obsession for Oliver's attention, Felicity wasn't defined by her love for anyone (though she had a momentary crush on Barry,) she was coming into herself and I enjoyed who that strong woman was becoming.
However, once they added Ray into the picture, her entire story line was more "Who do I love?" and less "whose ass am I going to technologically kick today?!" Though she had her cute geeky moments with Ray (which actually made me LOVE their relationship)... we only saw glimpses of the old Felicity Smoak. In season 2, her characterization was completely drowned in her unrequited love for Oliver. And when she finally moved on to Ray in most of season 3, we started getting Felicity's old characterization back. Like when she hacked into Ray's suit and rebooted it back up through sheer intelligence that not even Ray could touch (s3 - ep15). And when she wasn't completely blinded by her love for Oliver and finally puts him in his place when he came back from death (s3 - ep13). Those are the glimpses of Felicity I want back, and I feel her relationship with Oliver stunts her characterization.
Yes, they are good for each other now. I do not doubt that. I just feel that permanently, though there are relationships where opposites attract... it'll be better if they find individuals more like themselves or at least have more in common than Team Arrow. That way, their niches, their personalities, what makes them, them can be better highlighted. Don't deny it. When Barry and Felicity or Ray and Felicity would have their cute geek mind meld moments - it was awesome! And when Oliver and Sara would train with each other and have steamy, lets release some tension sex ;) THAT was HOTT!
• Laurel's growth as the Black Canary
Laurel is going through such a transition right now, a relationship with Oliver would be detrimental to her growth.
The entirety of season 3 was to see Laurel's growth as the kick-ass fighter we know she is destined to be. The loss of her ex-boyfriend and the loss of her sister slowly hardened her and showed her that being a lawyer isn't enough. It has given her the drive she needed to become the Black Canary, and put herself on the front lines so she can prevent others from feeling the pain she has felt from the corrupt people of Starling City. And this transition will NOT be an easy one. The phrase "Rome wasn't built in a day," rings true in this situation, because neither was Black Canary.
Many people who haven't read the comic books don't know this, but Laurel becomes so good at fighting she can beat Green Arrow in 5 minutes and rival Batman. She is the DC universe, female MASTER of hand-to-hand combat (after Wonder Woman of course.. but she doesn't really count with the super strength and the whole "I was taught to fight the moment I learned to walk" thing.. but I digress.) To get to this level she can't be bogged down with Oliver's drama or any relationship drama for that matter. She needs to focus on herself and her growth as Laurel Lance and the Black Canary. I feel season 3 was dedicated to that growth. We saw Laurel begin to handle things differently this season.
Though she weighed heavily on Oliver to find Sara's killer in the beginning, she finally buckled up and decided if she want something done, she would have to do it herself. She stepped away from the damsel in distress and slowly became her own hero. She got bruised, beat up, hospitalized, and even demoralized by Mr. Queen himself, however she did not let that stop her. She is achieving the independence and strength Black Canary symbolizes. This growth also didn't stop with her mask. She grew as an individual, examples of this can be seen in season 2 ep. 14 & 15 (see The Messy Love Triangle that was Sara, Oliver, and Laurel) and season 3 episode 15. In the latter, when Thea tells Laurel she is the one who killed her sister, Laurel didn't act rashly and full of emotion like she usually did in most of season 2. No, she thought of the situation logically and realized that was by NO means Thea's fault. The fault lies completely with her asshole, backstabbing father.
• The Messy Love Triangle that was Sara, Oliver, and Laurel.
The love triangle was messy, gross, and kept laurel in a "victimized" box.
I know a lot of people have protagonist-itis (when they blindly believe all the protagonist does is right, even though it's CLEARLY wrong, kind of like the halo effect), but Oliver loving, dating, and having sex with both sisters is immoral. What woman would continuously go back to a man, who continuously has sex with her sister? A weak woman. And that is not longer Laurel Lance. Oliver first cheated on Laurel with her sister while they were still dating (s1 - ep1), came back and professed his undying love to her (s1 - ep21)... proceeded to have sex with her (s1 - ep22)... time passes and they are no longer together but when Sara comes back "for like a week" he proceeds to have sex with her... again. They even go so far as to start dating.
C'mon ladies. That would drive the strongest woman to either ice cream or a bottle. It is completely flip-floppish and isn't right. That twisted triangle needed some breathing room. The speech Oliver gave Laurel in the hallway was needed in more ways than one, their relationship needed to be broken at least temporarily so Laurel could stop worrying about him and get her shit together (s2 - p14). When laurel finally gets over her pity party and comes to terms with everything, she becomes so mature as to give Oliver and Sara some much needed love advice. She doesn't cringe when they hug or kiss in front of her, and she lets the pettiness go. That showed much more maturity than many people have.
• Laurel and Oliver's Connection
Laurel and Oliver will have things they share that Felicity won't ever be able to reach.
For instance, they grew up together. No one knows Oliver better than Laurel, because she has either been his friend or his girlfriend. In those roles in his life what is constant is she was in his life. Oliver even states this in season 1 episode 23 where he says to Laurel,
“Those five years on the island didn’t change me. They just scraped away all the things that I wasn’t and revealed the person I always was, which is the person… that’s who you always saw. I don't know how you saw it, but you did. Nobody in my life is who i thought they were... except you." -Oliver Queen
They have something that goes beyond being a couple or feeling seemingly unrequited love.. they have a deep foundation of friendship that travels all the way back to when they were kids (s3 - ep21.)
Another aspect they have in common stems into why Sara and Oliver had a pretty nice relationship as well. They are both fighters. They can train together and make each other stronger. They can physically AND emotionally have each other's back. It is one thing to be behind a computer and another to be out there in the rough. Felicity can empathize with the weight that is on Oliver's shoulders when he has the fate of the city on his back and goes out and fights, but Laurel actually experiences what Oliver experiences. That is whole a deeper connection.
And lastly, since Laurel can handle herself, Oliver doesn't have to worry about a villain capturing her and using her as a bargaining chip. Laurel can get herself out of her own scrapes. That is the huge issue with super heroes, and also half the reason why they wear the masks in the first place: to protect their loved ones. However, Felicity has gotten found out and captured at least 4 times since the show began, and though Laurel has her own count.. now she can handle herself where Felicity is still a liability. So while Oliver is with her, he has to constantly make sure he is never seen with her or people don't know they're an item. While he is dating Laurel, it's less of a priority because she can handle herself.
Ah, the end. If you have read this far, first I'd like to say I LOVE YOU! And second, YOU'RE AWESOME.
As my gift to you avid readers I will make this one short! :D
- Why I Feel The Arrow's Audience has Lost Focus on Show's True Point.
The audience needs to keep in mind this show is not a soap opera... it is not about who Oliver is dating. Though the romance is a supplement to the story, it is not THE story. We need to keep in mind what is necessary to move the plot forward in a believable way. What should happen to continue the growth of Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow, because THAT is our story. That is the true point of the show! That is the magnetic force, the smaller story lines surround. As fans of this show, we should not lose sight of what is important. That involves Olicity AND Lauriver, in their own times. It involves whatever the story needs to continue.
But like I always say. Opinions are opinions, and you can argue them all you want, but they will remain intepretive because they are not facts.
Lasty, I was hoping I wouldn't have to add this clause, but I see it will be necessary. I will try to respond to the most people I can but there are two types of comments I won't respond to:
I simply will ignore these. There is no reason to be rude or attacking to someone who is not rude or attacking to you. I expressed my ideals on opinions, you can argue yours until your face turns blue, but some people just see things differently. Period. I tried to be well-balanced and respectful to all shippers in this article. I just ask for the same respect, thank you.
Comments that express an an opinion on something I already explained either in a previous post or in my article.
Sorry, my earlier comments might make this seem hypocritical, but I never thought it would get this much momentum so fast, and I just don't have time to argue points I have already addressed. Just know, I respect your opinion, but I do not agree with it.
UNLESS, someone gives me a just as thorough of an explanation on their opinions and I agree with their logic. I am not a bigot at all. If your logic beats mine, I will have no choice but to agree with you.