My favorite scenes, Arrow 318 “Public Enemy”

Not a full recap this episode, but I did want to briefly highlight two scenes, both of which featured character truths long held back that finally came to light.

1. __?_licity

In the hospital, Ray tells Felicity that he loves her. This causes Felicity to tell him that it is “nice to hear” and hightail it out of the room to get him some hospital jell-o, because he must be hungry. NO ONE IS HUNGRY FOR HOSPITAL JELL-O. And yes, Ray is the jell-o.

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This leads to the scene where Smoak smoaks Smoak. Felicity walks out of the room and gets caught with her guilty-face on (and not because she had hospital sex).

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Those really should be more different.

If part
of Felicity’s charm is her constant unconscious double entendres, large
part of her mother’s charm is in all that Vegas flamboyance hiding a
shrewd ability to read people. It didn’t escape me that she knew her
daughter didn’t return Ray’s sentiments by just looking at her, and it
also didn’t escape me that, for all that Felicity playacts at being
embarrassed by her, Donna is the one person she can admit her feelings
to: she is not into Ray, even if she has tried. When she questions herself because it makes sense on paper, Donna once again hits the nail on the head by pointing out that it is because she is in love with Oliver.

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Throughout
this episode, hints were dropped about Felicity’s father: he was a
criminal, and she quickly deflected any mention her mother made of him.
Felicity has had two great loves: Cooper and Oliver, and both were
fringe elements with questionable moral codes, probably closer to the
father that abandoned her than she herself ever stopped to consider, so
what does she do? She consciously picks good, dorky nerds like Barry and
Ray (or what Ray should have been) and then puts all her energy into
trying to make it work, to be with men who, even if they should leave
her, would not devastate her.

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Momma Smoak is right: So much of the burden of choice has been placed on Oliver’s shoulders this season, but now, Felicity has
to choose. And the choice is, not surprisingly, similar to
Oliver’s: go all in with a risky venture or sit tight on a safe bet?

Bless you, Mama Smoak, patron saint of the S.S. Olicity.

 

2. Oliver and Lance.

I said in my recap for 317 that “not a single thing” in Oliver’s life had shown him that it was possible to love without tragic results, and in this episode he is finally face-to-face with the embodiment of the fallout of two of those instances: Quentin Lance.

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Lance tells Oliver that R’as told him that he and Sara had been together on Lian Yu, and when he questions when Oliver decided that he would take decisions on behalf of his family, Oliver says quietly, and with feeling, that he loved his family, and gets backhanded as a response, along with an admonition to take advantage of his right to stay silent.

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However much that admission riled Lance, it was honest, and raw. Laurel was Oliver’s first love, and for years she was a beacon of hope, an ideal that he could pine for and remember better times. Sara was so like him that if not for the boots knocking they could have been twins, two blonde kids broken and built back up by terrible circumstances, looking to keep a light in their lives after years of darkness. Oliver loved Sara, where Ollie had loved her sister, and whatever his faults, Oliver is not a disloyal man, and one with a rather long memory. When he tells Quentin he returned from the island to try and save the people of the city, Quentin’s response is a deliberate, hurtful recitation of all the people that have died in Oliver’s life.

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It is an echo of the very same list he once brokenly admitted to Felicity. It is the same list that caused him to turn himself in as a criminal, rather than to see harm done to others he loves. He tells Lance he didn’t want Laurel, or anyone else to get involved, but Quentin claims that not only did he involve his daughter, but himself, and that he has made all the people that he “claims to care so much about” into “criminals, liars and victims,” and that he isn’t a hero, but a villain.

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Now if the theme is identity, one of the reasons Oliver loves the Lance family is because they are so intertwined with his memories of himself that while perhaps not happier, are symbolic of a time in his life when things were not as complex and his burden not as heavy to bear. Sara especially, but Laurel too, were people who knew him then and now, endured disappointments and tragedies with him and eventually reconciled as friends. While he may not be involved romantically with either at this point, he values the Lance family, and the father that both girls strove to protect.

And by all means, Quentin is also seeking to replace the identity of grieving father with the much more familiar one of justice-seeker, crimefighter. In this he is much like Oliver himself, who has channeled his pain and loss into a cause, and in this cause found allies, like Quentin himself was once, and they in turn their own identities as heroes.

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So the pieces are reshuffled and the chessboard is reset. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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