*SPOILERS for Arrow Season 3*
It's not long to go now until Arrow Season 4 lands, with episode 1 due to air October 7th and hype building with every new piece of information released. The trailer has been teased as 'Internet breaking' by the CW execs, and with the promise of a whole new dynamic being created the stakes are high for season 4 to follow through on its expectations.
The Green Arrow
So, Season 3 of Arrow concluded on an unusually happy note: Thea saved, Ra's al Ghul defeated and Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) leaving Starling City together, finally getting together after seasons of longing glances and 'will they/won't they?'.
Clearly they'll be back, and one way or another Oliver will be donning the hood again. However, it's not going to be all doom and gloom as things were in Season 3, according to exec. producer Marc Guggenheim, and the reason is...
“The relationship with Felicity is the thing [Oliver] aspires to in terms of a more positive, healthy environment. But can [he] do it while also a vigilante? That’s going to be the two things pulling at him throughout the year. We knew in Season 4 he and Felicity would be together and the dilemma is going to be, ‘How do I be both?'"
Clearly the Oliver/Felicity relationship is one that's going to provide a narrative focus throughout Season 4, but it's not going to be easy, especially with the threat of danger that comes with the position of being Oliver Queen's girlfriend, though Guggenheim has claimed “We’re going to avoid, for as long as we can, Felicity being kidnapped.”
Cause it's not like that hasn't already happened about five times.
Anyway, given that Starling believes the Arrow dead Oliver can't return as him. Reportedly the shedding of this persona and the new outlook on life he'll have due to Felicity is going to trigger him to change very quickly into the fully fledged Green Arrow. This marks the full turn of his character, from 'the Hood' in season 1, to 'the Arrow', and finally achieving genesis as 'Green Arrow'.
"He can't be the Arrow anymore, because everyone believes that Roy Harper was the Arrow, and Roy Harper is dead, at least as far as everyone believes. So, he had to adopt a new identity. All of this is explained in the season premiere; we come straight out with it." - Marc Guggenheim
Hopefully this means we'll also get to see Oliver sporting some of his comic-book counterpart's damn fine facial hair.
Lets talk about Olicitiy
(God, Olicity is such a terrible word isn't it? Let's rephrase: Let's talk about Oliver and Felicity.)
"We sort of look at season four, not as a reboot, but sort of as a big shift for Oliver Queen's character. In this season, he's in a completely different place. He's happy, and in love!" - Wendy Mericle (Exec. Producer)
I really like Felicity as a character. She's funny and smart and, though she's not as physically adept as the likes of Nessa or Thea or the Lance sisters, she's a really strong individual character. She breaks the mould of both the ditzy blonde and the hyper-intelligent hacker type, playing a line between the two that contributes to a lot of her humour.
She was initially introduced as a minor character, but fans fell in love with both her and Rickards, and Felicity as part of Team Arrow was born.
I was almost disappointed when they introduced her as a proper love interest at the end of Season 2/beginning of Season 3. Especially given Oliver's previous history with love/sexual interests; Laurel, Sara, Helena (Huntress), Shado, McKenna Hall and Isabel (Ravager) - all over the course of two seasons, a lot of whom met grisly ends.
"Before you left, the last thing you said was that you loved me. Now you're back... And the first thing you tell me is that you're working with the man who turned your sister... who you're supposed to love... into a killer, who killed a woman you used to love... I don't want to be a woman you love." - Felicity
To begin with it felt like Felicity was just another box to tick off of the list, she'll be the fourth (?) woman that Oliver has professed to love over the three seasons of the show and it just didn't feel like there was enough background for it, on his side at least. They are very cute together, but the whole thing initially felt a little bit shoehorned in to fulfil the romantic drama criteria.
Anyway, despite my initial reservations I'm holding out hope that their relationship will hold up in Season 4 and not end horribly, because they are good together - Felicity is the sweetness and light and morality that Oliver needs, she's the one that stops him from initially accepting Ra's offer, and the little laugh he has to himself when he first sees her talking to herself in the Season 3 flashback is a good summation of their relationship.
It's also nice to see a break from the Black Canary dynamic - though these two characters worked well as long term partners in the comics, they didn't in Arrow. (Especially Laurel.) If it's going to work though, Oliver needs to stop treating her like a liability and start trusting her as a partner.
To quote Palmer:
"From the moment we've met, I have held nothing back from you. I did trust you and I thought that you were someone that could be a true partner. I thought you were someone that I could rely on in the mission and in my life."
Whether or not Oliver and Felicity's relationship holds up will be critical to everything that plays out in Season 4, and I for one would like to see this "true partnership" hold up and play out stronger than before.