Television / TV Reviews

The Burden of Canon: Can We Talk About Arrow’s Oliver, Laurel & Felicity Problem?

So, it finally happened: in the penultimate episode of the first season of CW’s Green Arrow origins show Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) sliced through their tepid sexual tension and went full-on to the bone zone (you can view the clip here). This was a moment 21 episodes in the making.  So, why did it feel so blah?


To a certain portion of the viewing audience, any scene which involves a shirtless Stephen Amell could in no way be described as “blah.”

There is an unavoidable blandness and sense of inevitably with this pairing.  Why?  Because Oliver Queen is Green Arrow, even if the show simply calls him “The Hood,” and Laurel Lance is Black Canary, a super heroine identity the show might someday get to. Since the late 1960s, Green Arrow and Black Canary have been a couple, regardless of which version of Oliver Queen or which Lance (the original Dinah Drake or the current Laurel, Dinah’s daughter) we’re talking about.  Granted, they have frequently broken up, but in terms of comic book super heroes who are thought of as being a romantic couple (such as Cyclops and Jean Grey) these two are among the most notable.  So, their television counterparts were always headed toward some lying down together fun time.

However, one need not to have known anything about the comic books to have seen what the show was doing with Oliver and Laurel.  This is pretty standard CW – heck, TV in general – romantic brooding.  They want to be together, but until the right part of the season comes (either during sweeps or at the very end) the show will keep putting barriers between them.  There was emotional trauma to get past (her dad’s hatred for Oliver and Oliver’s own indirect responsibility for the death of her younger sister being two significant barriers).  There were new spouses to get past, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) for her, and Huntress (Jessica Du Gouw) and Detective McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) for him.  There were abs to try to ignore:

Olliver as he appeared in the show's pilot episode.

Oliver as he appeared in the show’s pilot episode.

Plus, there’s tradition.  Oliver’s a crime fighting vigilante.  By the rules of superhero storytelling that means there must be a girl he loves so much he pushes her away to protect her.  Sorry, Laurel.  However, entering the home stretch of the season the show finally put Oliver and Laurel together, reintroducing the two as a potential romantic couple in “Home Invasion” (EP. 20) before going there in the season’s penultimate episode.  Of course, this is all likely a prelude to ripping them apart once Oliver realizes he can never leave his life as the vigilante behind him.


Team Arrow – Oliver, Felicity, and John. Felicity is an almost completely new version of a character from the lesser known DC comic book Firestorm, and John is a creation of the show.

Is it kind of boring, though?  Increasingly, Arrow is at its best when it focuses upon Oliver’s crime-fighting unit/new nuclear family Felicity Smoak (the fantastic Emily Bett Rickards) and John Diggle (David Ramsey).  These are the three who know the truth about Oliver’s life as a vigilante, and are the conduit through which the details of the show’s overarching conspiracy plot are discussed.  Plus, John and Felicity are so far the only ones capable of calling Oliver on his crap, with Felicity often attempting to curb Oliver’s homicidal impulses much as Cordelia would grow to do for Angel during the middle era of the show Angel, which also featured a brooding hero at its center.  To quote that show about a vampire with a soul, Oliver and Felicity have real” kyrumption.”

The funny thing is the show is clearly very aware of just how little some fans care for Oliver/Laurel and how hard they want him to be paired romantically with Felicity.  In the same episode (“Darkness on the Edge of Town”) in which Oliver finally beds Laurel he spends the majority of his time doing a heist with Felicity and John and striking poses like this with the former:


Shots like these are no doubt sprinkled generously in many a fan-made YouTube video dedicated to Oliver and Felicity.

In many ways, Felicity is an audience surrogate character.  She is the slightly nerdy one – well, TV nerd meaning she wears glasses and knows computer stuff while looking as gorgeous as Emily Bett Rickards – who consistently stumbles over her own words around Oliver because he is just so darn handsome.  The show had been robbing Amell of his shirt for quite some time, but rarely did anyone on the show stop and admire due to TV’s unwritten rule of never acknowledging in-show how freakishly attractive everyone is.  Then Felicity became a full-time character halfway through the season, and she gets to watch Oliver work out out while they talk about bad guys and such.  She is not above staring:


It’s like she’s looking right back at the audience and smirking, “His body really is something else, huh?  You should see it from this angle!”

The show has probably gone a little overboard with their new running gag of Felicity’s accidental sexual innuendos around Oliver.  The “too far” moment probably happened in “The Undertaking” (EP. 21) when she admitted to feeling better having Oliver inside of her in reference to the earpiece she was wearing to allow him to communicate with her while she embarks on a solo undercover mission.  However, Amell’s continued deadpan “I have no idea how to respond to that…so I’ll stay silent” facial reactions to her every innuendo never fail to amuse.

See the moment I’m talking about and judge for yourself:

The point being the show is giving the Oliver/Felicity shippers all the fuel they need even if the show’s ultimate goal appears to be establishing a brother/sister bond between the two.  I’m sure a recent episode conclusion in which Oliver assured Felicity, after a very tough day, she could talk to him about stuff like that anytime and his recent introduction of her as “a friend” to his family warmed many a yearning heart.


Even when the two are fighting I’m sure the imagery delights those who want the two together.

There are those who would strongly argue against the show putting Oliver and Felicity together as a romantic couple (such as  I think Rickards gives Amell a far different, more enjoyable energy to bounce off of than Katie Cassidy’s more standard anguished romance, and the two share an undeniable sexual chemistry.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the show would be well served by putting the two together.  I highly predict she’ll be getting her own equally geeky love interest next season (a Duckette for her Duckie, for you Pretty in Pink fans).

The larger concern is not Felicity but of the sense of obligation the show might forever feel to the Oliver/Laurel relationship because they are Green Arrow and Black Canary.  Does this limit the show’s flexibility to respond to what is working and what is not?  TV shows are fluid, living entities which reveal unexpected truths to its creators, such as when the popularity of Spike during season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer convinced Joss Whedon to abandon his original plans to kill off the character.  Even shows tied to canon can break away in interesting ways, such as when the DC animated series Justice League/Justice League Unlimited explored Hawkwoman and Green Lantern as a couple.

Arrow has reacted to what’s working, promoting Felicity from her original part-time role to full-time status.  However, even with the Felicitys, Huntreseses, and Shados (Celina Jane) of the world is the show destined for Oliver to ultimately have eyes for Laurel?  There is a practical reason for something like this, such as Katie Cassidy being a full-time cast member and part-timer Huntress’ Jessica Du Gouw having bolted for a full time gig on NBC’s Dracula.  Regardless of practicality and whether or not it is a good idea to do so dramatically, is the show forbidden from going there with anyone else because Oliver is destined to be with Laurel?


Shado, should she survive the flashbacks to the island and show up in Starling City, of course.

It’s Smallville all over again.  During the initial season of the long-running Superboy-without-the-cape show the non-canonical character of Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) really sparked with viewers.  She was created for the show to be a teenage version of Lois Lane, rapid-fire dialogue and all, without actually being the real Lois Lane, and turned into one of the early breakout characters.  The ensuing interest in her crush on Clark Kent (Tom Welling) outweighed the rote, by-the-numbers will-they/won’t they of Clark and Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), with Lana being a love interest of Clark’s from the comics.  The producers surprisingly chose to have Clark asks Chloe, not Lana, to the prom at the end of the first season, but only as a temporary romance before putting Clark back on path to romance with Lana in the second season premiere. Chloe’s crush on Clark went unreciprocated from that point forward, a flame she held mostly in secret until she met Jimmy Olsen a season or two later (technically the real Jimmy Olsen’s older brother).


Savor this, Clark & Chloe fans. This is probably the height of their romance.

So, the people at Smallville found themselves with a similar problem currently facing Arrow, and their solution was to ultimately stick to their guns with Clark and Lana.  Beyond loyalty to canon, there is another factor to consider.  From a storytelling perspective, Lana functioned to provide romantic anguish for Clark as well be an unconscious damsel in distress every other week.  While also sometimes an unconscious damsel, Chloe served to advance plot via rapid-fire exposition, provide levity through one-liners/pop-culture references, and eventually keep Clark’s secret and allow him an outlet to whom he could talk openly about his crazy life.  If you give both functions to Chloe then where does that leave Lana?  The same is potentially true of Felicity and Laurel on Arrow.

Basically, when a show goes all in on a couple as being the loves of each other’s lives (as Arrow currently is with Oliver/Laurel) it’s difficult to ever completely back away from that for practical reasons, and this is made especially more difficult when the characters in question are based on an outside source.  You can pair the respective characters off with other partners, but there will always be the sense that the two are destined to end up together.  Before I completely move on from Smallville, I should point out that it did resist canon in its later years when Justin Hartley’s version of Oliver Queen was a major character romantically attached to Chloe, and when they introduced their version of Black Canary Oliver was never put together with her.


Alaina Huffman as Black Canary from Smallville. She was a minor character, appearing almost exclusively in season finales. Photo credit:

For Arrow, sticking with the Oliver/Laurel dynamic is their path of least resistance.  It allows them to continue on with their current storytelling framework and holds true to the canon thus pleasing Comic-Con-attending fans who have formed a relationship with Green Arrow and Black Canary through other media.  To be fair, the Oliver/Laurel coupling has been ill-served by having their romance suddenly foregrounded at the end of the season at the same time that Starling City is facing destruction, making Oliver discussing his feelings with Laurel feel like a far less pressing matter.  However, even if they do break Oliver and Laurel apart next season and try something with a Felicity pairing won’t it all seem like bumps on the road to Oliver and Laurel ending up together because they are, after all, Green Arrow and Black Canary?  Only time will tell.

For now, enjoy the only scene Laurel, Felicity, and Oliver have shared together to date and allow yourself to wonder how little Laurel possibly cares for Felicity on sight, as if sensing a potential rival:

What say you?  Am I crazy?  Well, not in general – we don’t even know each other.  But specifically about this?  Use our comments to render a diagnosis.

Check out this fun article from TVGuide in which two of their writers argue about the character of Felicity Smoak, one in favor and one against.

Also, take a moment to check out some of our other Arrow-related content on the site:

81 thoughts on “The Burden of Canon: Can We Talk About Arrow’s Oliver, Laurel & Felicity Problem?

  1. I truly think you have hit the nail on the head and I think I can add to the discussion because the final stunning episode has just finished and it has closed and opened so many doors. Im sure a great many viewers of Arrow thought the series would go like this ‘Tommy finds out Oliver/Hood killed his Father. Best friend becomes ultimate foe as Tommy becomes the next Dark Archer’.

    Sure it seemed like it was coming along very quickly in the life of the series but I think Im safe to assume thats how the viewer thought it would play out. Now are we sure Malcolm is dead from his stabbing? I know we have for certain Tommy is dead, but Ive yet to see clarification on Malcolm. I hope not. Id like to see an inverse style ‘Wrath of the father over the death of the son’ thing happening here. It would be a very unique style of framing to build up a villain even further.

    I digress though. From the last two episodes we do see that Felicity is obviously wanting to be there for Oliver, if there is a romantic element then it is definetly not reciprocated yet. There are theories that Oliver breaks up with Laurel because of his guilt over Tommy. Even if it’s misplaced guilt. That is a television trope but its forseeable.

    In future seasons I have no doubt that there will likely be a Felicity and Oliver pairing. I think the strife will be that his Hood personality and Oliver personalty will not get enough downtime as Felicity knows the secret, leaving that relationship doomed. Its sorta like heading home and spending all your off time thinking /talking about work

    • I was 100% convinced we were heading toward a Willem Defoe/James Franco from the Spiderman films situation. I didn’t completely buy the idea of Tommy going all James Franco evil on us, but I was convinced that was where the show was going. As such, I was pleasantly stunned by last night’s rejection of that idea.

      I don’t completely understand how Malcolm could have survived his wound, but unless I completely misheard at the end the indication was that Oliver spared Malcolm’s life due to Tommy’s influence. If this is the case, we have already seen how batshit insane Malcolm went in seeking vengeance for the death of his wife. They could pair him with a new supervillain, as with a new season one would think would come a new arch-villain.

      As for the Oliver/Felicity dynamic, the one thing we know with absolute certainty is that Felicity is deeply, deeply attracted to him, and Oliver is increasingly protective of her, i.e., attempting to send her home even though he knew she wasn’t going anywhere. You are right that in the home stretch of the season Felicity increasingly attempted to be there for him, perhaps reciprocating his offer to be there for her to talk to about a bad day. Granted, they might be trying to build Felicity up as a good person and friend, but it’s a seed to take note of when the season finale gave Oliver a definite need for a shoulder upon which to cry.

      Like I said, I think they’ll give Felicity a love interest of her own, although it now occurs to me they could simply do so as a plot device to stir feelings in Oliver he didn’t know he had for Felicity. However, because the plot has been so structured around Oliver and Laurel even if they did put Oliver with Felicity I would imagine it to ultimately be a temporary thing before putting him back on path to Laurel, ala Clark and Chloe. For example, the idea you mentioned of Oliver struggling in a relationship with Felicity because there’d be no escaping his Hood identity would be foreshadowing for him as to how a relationship with Laurel would go if she knew his identity. The same was true for his “will my girlfriends ever be safe while I’m the Hood?” fears being realized during his brief relationship with Detective McKenna.

      It is a good problem to have, the chemistry between Arnell and Bett-Rickards, but it is a definite problem with everything so centered on Arnell and Cassidy needing to smolder together on-screen. Because they are Green Arrow and Canary I don’t see the show ever moving away from those two, just maybe sidelining them as part of a consistent will-they/won’t they. Plus, to be fair, something I never acknowledged in my post is that there are certainly those, unencumbered by comic book knowledge, who are very invested in seeing Oliver and Laurel continue as a couple.

  2. Thanks for the follow up.

    What you are saying I agree with in the most part. The other thing that interests me is Diggle. He goes through episodes where he gets developed, and some where the development of Felicity overshadows his. I always get the feeling that Felicity can sometimes better relate to Diggle because he dosnt have the ‘spend 5 years on an Island getting tortured’ background that Oliver has. I also look at Diggle and see a character that is probably somewhat older that Oliver. David Ramsay dosnt come across to me as from the same age group as Oliver and his fellows. Early 40′s perhaps? Hes certainly seen combat.

    If they are intending to bring Roy into the mix one day, i hope that dosnt sideline Diggle.

  3. As a byproduct of a show about a man with two different identities, Arrow sometimes feels like two very different kinds of shows co-existing together. In one show, we have Team Arrow (Oliver, Felicity, John) fighting crime together, and in the other show we have the lifestyles of the rich and troubled (morally and romantically), which is the part that makes it more recognizably CW. That is to say nothing of all of the flashback sequences, which probably feel as if they come third different kind of show.

    As a result of this divide, there are some characters the show occasionally struggles to find time for (looking at you, Thea). I think Diggle is constantly at risk of falling victim to this, especially with the emergence of Felicity and the promise of further development for Roy. I do like the relationship Diggle has with Felicity, especially as illustrated in their conversation together recently when she went to his apartment to play peacemaker between Oliver and him.

    Beyond storyline possibilities, a benefit of having killed Tommy (and possibly his father as well, based upon what the show’s executive producer told is freeing up screen time for other cast members thus meaning maybe the development of Roy won’t sideline one of the existing characters.

    BTW, this article has been the most read thing on this site since it was published two days ago. The funny thing, though, is that for those who have found it through a search engine just as many seemed to have searched for something like “laurel and oliver’s future together” as “oliver and felicity.” I am beginning to wonder if I underestimated just how many of the fans really love Oliver and Laurel together.

  4. Kelly, I think you might be overestimating the impact or importance of the “Internets”. There are many, many “Arrow” viewers out there who enjoy the Laurel/Oliver romance and who *do” find that there is chemistry between the two protagonists…we are just not as vocal as the Olicity shippers, maybe because ours is the “canon” ship.

    In general, the word “chemistry” is bandied about by the more rabid Olicity fans as a “proof” that the main romance arc is not working and that the showrunners should get Oliver/Felicity together ASAP. Well, this viewer at least sees no chemistry whatsoever between Oliver and Felicity-in fact, they seem more like brother and sister to me. In general, perceived “chemistry” between characters is such an elusive concept that you can’t build a whole romance arc around it. There needs to be something more substantial than chemistry and “they are so cute together” to make me believe in a Felicity/Oliver romance. So, if the writers are willing to change their main story mythology and make Oliver/Felicity the main romantic couple they will have to work a lot more on their relationship than what they’ve done so far to convince me.

    Katie C’s less than stellar acting is also often brought in as an argument that the showrunners must heed to the Internet fandom and change the romance arc. After having seen Emily B.R. in “Sacrifice”, I have to say that I’m not really convinced that she has the capacity to carry a dramatic scene/storyline, i.e. a storyline that requires more than emulating the “cute and quirky” computer girl. In fact, even her delivery of the supposedly funny Freudian slips that the showrunners write for her often seems somewhat “out of beat” to my ears….you need to have the timing of a seasoned comedienne to be able to pull off this kind of dialogue, and Emily is not quite there yet IMHO.

    If Laurel/Katie and Oliver/Stephen up until the season finale seemed somewhat awkward or wary when they were together, I would venture that it was because they were *supposed* to act that way. Oliver was constantly trying to keep Laurel at arm’s length because he can’t be with her as long as he is the Vigilante, and as far as Laurel is concerned she was still struggling to get over his cheating. I belong to those people who find that kind of conflicted relationship between the protagonists more interesting than the “quirky IT-girl having a crush on the hunky hero who is clearly oblivious to her infatuation” that seems to be the core of the Olicity relationship.

    For example, I thought the Laurel/Oliver scene in “Verdant” was great (the one with the Casablanca reference), because it showed that uneasiness in a subtle way. When Lauriver finally got together in the final episodes they seemed more at ease with each other, which came through in the “kissing scene” in “Sacrifice”. I’m not saying that their onscreen chemistry is perfect, and it’s true that it’s mostly Stephen’s acting/emoting skills that carry their scenes, but it’s not such a disaster as many people paint it out to be.

    Also, one shouldn’t forget that the Internet shippers are only a rather tiny fraction of the overall audience-the great majority of viewers enjoy the show on its own premises and have no time/inclination to spend hours on the Internet promoting a certain ship. There might even be viewers who could care less which woman Oliver hooks up with in the end, because they’re more interested in the comic book action.

    An additional problem is that Internet shipping has taken on a life of its own that sometimes goes totally against what the writers are trying to show onscreen. So, if showrunners should write their stories according to current shipper preferences, we would find ourselves with a whole slew of non-canonical onscreen relationships, not only on “Arrow” but on many other popular shows as well. The “Merlin/Arthur” (“Merthur”) bromance, for example, is more popular than the canonical couple on “Merlin”, which means that the romantic core of the show, according to the majority of the shippers, should be a homoerotic relationship. If the “Supernatural” writers would go the way the fans want them to go romance-wise, they would have to find a plausible way to make a couple out of a heterosexual man and a male angel (“Destiel”). My opinion is that the writers should try to stay away from too much such fan pandering, because in the end even the fans might find that they didn’t get exactly what they were asking for….

    These are all my personal opinions, of course…

  5. I realized that I might have sounded a bit too harsh. I think your post and discussion was thoughtful and balanced…my irritation is really directed against some hardcore Olicity shippers who take every chance they get to bash both Laurel the character and the actress Katie C. in order to promote their “ship”. As I see it all this nastiness is the result of the radicalization of shipper culture, which results in “shipper wars” and fandom divisiveness of the “Team A” versus “Team B” variety. There is also a sense of entitlement in many Internet fandoms that I find a bit puzzling…it’s as if some Internet fans think that writers are obliged to accomodate the wishes of the most vocal fandom fractions, whether they concern ships or story developments, rather than structuring their own story as they see fit. I’m not saying that writers shouldn’t be sensitive to viewer response, but since there are always many different opinions/wishes concerning story content, too much listening to the fans might lead to a situation where nobody is content in the end. Somehow I think that the storytelling must be the number one priority and providing “moments” for the shippers a seconday concern. “Arrow” writers have done quite a lot of Olicity “ship tease”, so they are clearly aware of fandom shipping dynamics. It seems that their solution to the problem you discuss is to try keep two ships afloat, an Olicity “pseudo-romance” with a lot of subtext and teasing, but no real romantic interaction, and a “serious” Lauriver romance, where it is implied that Laurel is the love of Oliver’s life. I don’t think that they can keep this going for more than one season, though, because the Olicity fans will always want more, and then things might get really nasty. A good solution would probably be to give Felicity a love interest of her own.

    Also, concerning my comments about the two actresses-I have nothing against Felicity or Emily B.R….what I find a bit irritating is that she is constantly being described as the best thing since sliced bread, when her character is actually a very common trope/cliché in popular culture and television. She is the “Arrow” version of Chloe in “Smallville”, and as for the actress I don’t find her acting skills that superior to the other younger female actors of the show, which are all rather standard CW fare….goodlooking, but not in any way the top of the game.

  6. Thanks for commenting, and I didn’t find your comments particularly harsh. Your’s is a very well-reasoned take on the entire “shipper” phenomenon, and in many areas mirrors my own views. I think I did ultimately fail in my article to acknowledge those who root for the Oliver/Laurel relationship. So, I am glad that someone from that side responded and called me on that. Your arguments were many, and I don’t know if I will get to all of them. However, I will try.

    The point I was attempting to argue was not really pro Oliver/Felicity but instead to ponder whether or not a show with a narrative prescribed upon it by another source has the freedom to depart in anything more than minor ways. Granted, shows like Vampire Diaries and True Blood depart from the source books significantly (from what I understand, VD mostly ignores them entirely). However, Arrow is a bit different in that, according to the producers, they routinely have to clear some of the stuff they want to do with DC. Smallville was the same way. For example, both Arrow and Smallville would have absolutely tried a version of Bruce Wayne in their show’s universe if DC had let them.

    So, are there certain parts of the Green Arrow storyline the show will forever be indebted to, such as the Black Canary and Green Arrow relationship? That would seem to be in DC’s best interest. Of course, it’s even more complicated with Arrow because, like Smallville before it, DC has a show-specific comic book tie-in series telling stories about the show’s versions of the characters. However, Smallville ultimately altered main DC continuity (mostly in the form of Chloe) as the comics had to respond to the popular TV show and not vice versa. Something similar could eventually occur with Arrow.

    So, how does one decide to even part from canon? The fans can’t dictate stories. Although I would argue Supernatural is a very different case than Arrow considering its lack of prior source material (other than, I guess, folklore and parts of the Bible), I take your point about the folly of fan-recommended relationships. I would ultimately view that as but one factor for producers and show-runners in determining storyline directions because not only can fans not dictate stories but they absolutely shouldn’t. However, it can be a factor to support an argument the show’s writers might already be feeling.

    Your take on how the show is treating the Oliver, Laurel, Felicity triangle also mirror’s my own. Laurel is being built up as the love of his life whereas anything with Felicity is merely teased. I think the ultimate end goal is for Felicity and Oliver to have a brother-sister-like friendship. However, along the way they want to have fun with all of the flirty possibilities, and mine that for all of the humor possible because, if we’re honest, this is an almost entirely humorless show. This will, ultimately, have to be dealt with and soon.

    I truly and completely do think they will give Felicity a love of interest of her own next season, a Jimmy Olsen to her Chloe Sullivan. As I argued, I enjoy the different energy Bett-Rickards gives Arnell to play off because it is entirely different than anyone else in the cast. However, she is for all intents and purposes just a new version of Chloe Sullivan who will have a crush on the guy for a while before moving on (if they do anything different than that I will be stunned). Speaking of which, I would say Bett-Rickards is not quite as good at playing the Chloe Sullivan type yet as Allison Mack was, but I still do enjoy her in the role.

    As for Laurel-Oliver, I am not completely against them. I actually really liked their scene together in the season finale. I don’t really groan when Laurel and Oliver have scenes together, and even if Cassidy’s acting grates on me at times I do like her here more than I did when she was Ruby on Supernatural. However, for me their’s is a relationship with a far too familiar temperature – that of the anguished romance between a superhero and the girl who doesn’t know his secret. Plus, it all feels so inevitable due to their comic book counterparts. As such, for some there is an obvious temptation to latch onto something that feels different, like Huntress and Oliver or Felicity and Oliver. However, as far as anguished CW romances go, Laurel and Oliver is by no means horrible. I am just not particularly invested in it.

    Oh, and for the record, your comments are the first time I’ve ever seen the word “Olicity.” I didn’t actually know fans had a name for those two, although I am not surprised even if out of context the word “olicity” kind of sounds to me like the name of a new sports drink.

  7. Thanks for the reply! I was afraid that I had come off as too aggressive and fallen into the same mode of behaviour as the people I was complaining about.

    About following the canon, I do think that the “Arrow” writers try to follow the canon in their major story arc, but they have also made many changes in the comic book mythology. A few of the alterations….Oliver has a family, there are new characters (DIggle, Felicity etc.) and the villains are not exactly the same as the comic book villains. One major change which as which has disturbed many fans, both the comic book fanboys and other viewers, is that the CW Oliver Queen (unlike his comic book counterpart) has no qualms about killing…..I think his body count is up to 30 victims by now.

    As for the romance arc-I agree that the Lauriver relationship follows a very traditional melodramatic/superhero/CW “will they, won’t they” formula. I also think that this is what is turning a lot of people off…the dead sister, the cheating, the “love triangle” is too complicated and angsty in comparison to the easy-going and funny Oliver/Felicity friendship-cum-romance relationship. I also think that Felicity in some ways represents the ordinary female viewer. She is a kind of stand-in who gets to interact with the hunky hero that we are all (regardless of age!) a bit smitten with, just like her. For the male viewers she probably comes off as more fun and likeable than the somewhat edgy (and sometimes too teary-eyed!) Laurel…she is the kind of uncomplicated and funny but hot girlfriend that they may have wanted to hook up with themselves.

    I personally find the Oliver/Laurel pairing more interesting from a story-telling perspective, because they have a lot more shared history and conflicting emotions. I also think that it would be a bit detrimental to change the romance arc midstream, mainly because it would affect Oliver’s characterization. He is supposed to be a man who betrayed the girl he loved and pined for her during his five long years in “Purgatory”. Their whole whole present-day interaction is basically about him trying to make amends by proving to her that he is now worthy of her love. The undying love and affection that he has for Laurel is an important part of his “heroic” identity as far as I’m concerned, and if the writers suddenly made him abondon Laurel in order to woe Felicity I would be disappointed. The reason I feel like this probably has as a lot to do with my preconception of what a fictional romance is supposed to be like, based on all the classic “star-crossed lovers” stories I’ve read or watched!

    There are also practical problems-presumably Katie C. is on a contract to play the leading female part, and there has been quite a lot of foreshadowing concerning her role as the Black Canary. Again, it would be difficult for the writers to change the story mid-stream, because if the Black Canary is not at one time or another united with The Green Arrow, what would her role in the show be? The majority of the show’s viewers are probably not very familiar with the comic book mythology, but there is a sizeable comic book-savvy fan base that is expecting the B.C. to be introduced, and it seems difficult for the showrunners to avoid that part of the comic book canon. The writers are also, in a sense, “fanboys”…which is evident in the many obscure comic book references that they incorporate in the plot (the “Easter eggs”).

    I realize that there is a problem when a sizeable portion of the Internet fanbase is not particularly interested in the main romance arc, but on the other hand, that is a problem that seems to plague many fandoms. Considering that the ratings have stayed more or less the same with or without Olicity, I think that the showrunners will probably choose the “Smallville” formula of letting Felicity and Oliver remain on friendly terms, with a hint of romance to satisfy the shippers.

    • First of all, no problems about the typos.

      You are right that the show has departed from canon in many significant ways. Actually, in general your comments are spot-on. Laurel is the girl who Oliver is doing this for; Felicity is the girl helping him do it. So much is tied up in Oliver and Laurel that it is likely not feasible to try Felicity being a legitimate love interest. Bet-Rickards has been upped to a series regular next season. So, Felicity is not going anywhere, which is also likely an accurate description of where her romantic relationship with Oliver is heading-nowhere.

  8. Wow, not view for a few days and the discussion heats up! :)

    Eva, you bring up valid points to (and I did not think you were being too harsh). Whilst I don’t care either way really on the ship side of things (I actually found this article linked via another), I think it’s pretty early days to really define how the Oliver relationships will pan out. As I stated in my first post, I think Oliver is going to avoid any romantic relationship that will affect his hood role (and thus why I dont see Oliver/Felicity anytime soon.. at least until the almost obligatory ‘alienate all your work colleagues storyline’ in season 3 or 4)

    Forgotten in most of this has been Shado (or is it Shadow?) back on the Island. Because the island scenes tend to be the ones that break up the acts of the present day story, I did originally view them as a sort of ‘filler’. However Ive grown to enjoy them a lot. Shado of course has not been fleshed out much either (Thea of the past?) but you can also see some chemistry between Oliver and her already which will be interesting to flesh out.. if indeed it does.

    I’d like to point lastly back to Eva’s second last paragraph where she talks about her preconception of what the Oliver/Laurel relationship would be. After the death of Tommy (and lets be honest here very very few of us thought that was going to happen), I think actually they could jettison the Oliver/Laurel relationship relaunch at this stage. There is time to bring it back if needed and it would certainly be going against trope. Im not saying people would like it, and maybe Im suggesting it because it is …that different, but It would be still worth considering.

    Im not really up to date with comic books in general.. its been a long time since I read one. However from what ive seen i much prefer this version of Arrow.. with him being more vigilante than hero. He isnt afraid to kill, he dosnt apologize for doing so.. and we get some truly awesome fight scenes (the tenement Hall, the Yao Fei /Deathstroke tent fight) and so on. If they abandon the Laurel ‘canon’ I wouldnt be upset, If they kept Malcolm around as a menace I wouldnt be that upset. I think anything they can do , to thumb their nose at canon is fine with me. Dont simply bring a comic book to screen, make it your own. Annoy people with a casual disregard for Canon.

    Tell a good story.

  9. Hi Tyranthrax and Kelly,

    As I said, my main gripe/puzzlement is not the idea fo an “Olicity” romance per se, but the whole “shipper” culture as it has evolved in later years. Back in the day when I got into Internet fandoms, people would support a certain couple (usually the canon couple) and wanting them to get together in the end. However, I think that most fans back then would have found the whole idea of bombarding Internet sites or social media (Twitter etc.) with demands that the showrunners should promote a certain “ship” somewhat absurd, in the sense that nobody expected the writers to change their story arcs to accomodate the wishes of parts of the Internet fandom. Now, when every show has its own FB page and Twitter account, there is much more direct contact with the showrunners, which I think fosters the (delusional?) idea that it is possible for fans to actually influence key aspects of the story arc.

    I’m not saying that the showrunners don’t care about fan sentiments or that the official media don’t pick up on Internet fan trends-in fact, I think they are much more aware of them than a few years ago (for example, both the “Arrow” producers and Amell have commented on the “Olicity” phenomenon). However, I do think that writers/actors/showrunners try to distance themselves a bit from the more outrageous aspects of Internet fandom culture, such as all those fangirls who invariably seem to support the “bromance” between male heterosexual characters (or even actors!) rather than the canonical love/romance stories that are actually portrayed on screen (e.g. “Merthur” rather than Arthur and Gwen).

    I always thought “shipping” is about vicariously participating in a fictional love story that would somehow mirror a normal IRL relationship, whether the couple in question is heterosexual or gay/lesbian. Nowadays it seems as though fan fiction has influenced shipping so much that some fans will put on their “shipping goggles” and read “romance” into almost any interaction that their chosen OTP has on screen, so that conversations and gestures that would seem entirely casual and non-romantic to the ordinary viewer will be interpreted as signs of the chosen couple’s “chemistry” or “undying love and affection”! The worst thing about Internet shipping culture, however, is the nastiness of the so-called “shipper wars”…the whole idea of real people insulting and hurting each other in order to “defend” or “promote” their chosen fictional couples seems absurd to me.

    To get back to “Arrow”, I completely agree with the prediction that Oliver won’t have any serious relationship for quite a while. If he can’t be seriously romantically involved with Laurel (who is supposed to be the love of his life) because of what he does (which includes killing people), I can’t imagine him getting into a romantic relationship with Felicity. My prediction is that the night with Laurel was a “one night stand” and that he will stay chaste for a foreseeable future. The writers have also hinted that Laurel will be so overcome by guilt that she will pull away from Oliver-which means that the “will they, won’t they” dance will continue for at least another season!

    Concerning “canon”, I think that the writers are more bold than what is usual-example, they “killed” Tommy, despite the fact that he was a central and popular character. Here everyone expexted Tommy to become Oliver’s enemy (on the line of Clark/Lex), but they did bold and unconventional by writing him off the story instead. Considering this, they might chose the unconventional option and let the nerdy and socially insecure “Girl Friday” become the Hero’s main love interest. As I already wrote, an “Olicity” romance wouldn’t be a problem for me as long as it is done in a manner that won’t ruin Oliver’s characterization. I’m sure that Stephen, if neeeded, can emote beautifully with Felicity/Emily as well as he emotes with Laurel/Katie, and make us believe that he is madly in love with her. Right now, however, he seems totally uninterested in her as a woman, which makes it a bit difficult for me to see them as a romantic couple!

    I loved Shado and it would be great to have an Island romance arc with her and Oliver, so let’s hope we’ll see more of her in the Island flashbacks!

  10. Pingback: More Roy Harper, More Guilt & More Explosions: What to Expect From Season 2 of Arrow [Spoilers] | We Minored In Film

  11. Here’s an interesting article on “shipper activism”. It it primarely about promoting gay/lesbian relationships on mainstream television, but I think it also applies to all types of “shipping” in Internet fandoms.

    It also raises the very interesting question why so many straight girls/women seem to prefer male/male couplings, even in shows where there is no (professed) intention to present these couples as anything other than friends. Why is “bromance” so much more fascinating than straight heterosexual romance for a sizeable part of the shipping community, e.g. the wildly popular “Destiel” ship in the “Supernatural” fandom?.

    This is a bit O.T., but I hope it’s OK!

  12. Id prefer to keep on topic with Arrow (as well i dont watch Supernatural), but an interesting article you linked to.

    As a male viewer, perhaps I look for a different thing/s when it comes to tv I watch. I got into Arrow as it was marketed more towards the gritty Batman market (and should still be), that it was unlikely to incorporate any superhero powers whatsoever (which honestly on tv budgets generally suck) and the framing of it using flashbacks (which is something ive always liked.. why just keep the story present day when NOBODY in the history of mankind should be viewed on what they are doing at any one point in time)

    Im going to attempt to get us back towards the original topic (honest!).

    Now that the season is over, I do have serious concerns over the Laurel character. Her backstory appears to be so closely linked to that of Olivers I actually struggled to see how she defines herself without him. From what we learned she spent several years hating Oliver, then started hooking up with Tommy which was apparently still going on as Oliver had been located. Yet , it is likely that Laurel only knew Tommy because of Tommy being friends with Oliver. Im not sure that due to her more working class background (with her dad being a cop) that she would be a natural fit into the billionaire club.

    I would like to see her past get fleshed out more, having said that almost every character would benefit from that.. whether there is enough time to do that is unlikely and Im sure the series will end one day with at least 1-2 characters never being really detailed out. I think in a way I feel like this Laurel is a little .. undefined (and yeah i know its only season 1), so i think for the viewer to connect more with her.. they need to be given more.

    With Felicity, we dont seem to need as much. We know she was one of the brightest IT employees at Queen Consolidated and now that she is on the ‘team’, its almost as If we dont need to know as much about her background because her need for background has almost been subsumed by the fact she is in on the secret and her hacking skills (which define her boundaries) mean that the viewer will mostly trust her already. Her social awkwardness I think also to an extent could lead us to conclude that she was always quite shy and thus its unlikely there are any large world shattering events in her life. Perhaps its also on the viewer that we trust those types of characters more than others.

    • Thanks for the reply! My main reason for linking that article is that “shipping” in general seems to have become such a major issue in showrunner/fandom relations, perhaps to the detriment of other aspects, such as good storytelling. Internet fandom (or a subsection of Internet fandom) are, for example, pushing writers to get their OTP together ASAP, while writers usually would prefer to stretch the “will they, won’t they” over one more season! Fans even demand that writers should change their main romance arc because they have decided that this or that non-canonical couple has “better chemistry”. There are “Arrow” fangirls who think that Oliver and Felicity are end game because “Olicity” was casually mentioned on Larry King, despite the fact that the showrunners have so far been very careful not to make any commitments concerning any such romance. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a Felicity/Oliver romance, if it can be fitted into the story arc of Oliver as hero, I’m just thinking that writers must have their creative freedom, whether it concerns relationships or other story developments. But I’ve already said that, so I’ll move on…

      Concerning Laurel and her storyline…I personally don’t have any major problems with Katie C.’s acting….I think it’s on about the same level with all the other younger actors on the show. CW casting directors clearly find model looks and impeccable sixpacks as important as actual actings skills and experience, and they also seem to prefer actors who have already worked for them on other shows. I would say that most of the younger actors on “Arrow” fit that description. The real surprises for me have been Stephen Amell and Colin Donnell, who have given some fine performances over the course of the show. The ones who are consistently good are the older, more seasoned actors like Susanna T. and David Ramsey.

      As for the Laurel story line, I agree with you that her backstory has been sketchy. The one aspect that I’ve really enjoyed is her relationship with her Dad, and I think that Katie/Paul are convincing in their portrayal of that somewhat complicated relationship…they do have a lot of conflicts, but there is also a sense of mutual affection that comes off the screen. In other aspects I feel that Laurel, especially in the later episodes, has been reduced to the pawn in the “Laurel/Tommy/Oliver” love triangle. She is the girl that both of them want…Oliver secretly, and Tommy openly, but she herself has not really been given any active role in that threesome. That became very clear in the concluding episodes, where her only function was to drive a wedge between Tommy and Oliver. The whole thing is so cliché and predictable, and so typical of CW (I don’t watch their other shows, but CW writers seem to love “love triangles”!) that I wish they could have found another way to damage/end the Tommy/Oliver friendship.

      Concerning her backstory, I have also wondered how she get into the Tommy/Oliver billionaire set. They even went to school together (in “Damaged” she mentions an eight grade school trip, to a prison to boot!;-)). I presume that the boys went to private schools, so in order for her to have gone to the same school, Daddy Quentin must have made quite a few sacrifices to be able to pay the tuition (unless Mommy Dinah had a private fortune of some sort!). I think the general idea that the writers want us to have is that these three people share a common past, and that they are now trying to reconnect with each other. The problem is that all of them have changed, especially Laurel and Oliver-Laurel is somewhat bitter and marked by her losses and Oliver has become a very different man after his island “Purgatory”, and now they’re all trying to adjust to this new situation. There’s a great dramatic potentional in this storyline that I feel has not been really explored onscreen-there has been a lot of talking about their shared past, but not enough (dramatic) showing of how it affects their present lives, if you understand what I mean.

      In general, I think that social differences/dynamics are not a major concern in this show-I mean, we’re not talking about “The Wire” here, but about a comic book superhero series! Despite all the talk of the poor and downtrodden in the Glades, the Glades itself remains a very generic, cliché portrayal of what is supposed to be an inner city slum. I don’t live in the US, so my only experience is from a year in Philadelphia. At that time, the working class sections of the city were pretty much divided along color lines-South Philly was mostly white/Catholic and North Philly was all African-American, with some Latino enclaves. There were neighbourhoods you did not walk into if you were the “wrong” color, no matter what color that was! This aspect is totally downplayed in “Arrow”-the Glades is kind of multi-ethnic and they even have a white gangbanger who looks just like he walked out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue!;-) I’m alluding to Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper, who must be one of the most unconvincing portrayals of “white trash” ever! The only character with a true “blue collar” flavour is IMHO Diggle, whose sarcastic comments about various social issues I find to be one of the best parts of “Arrow”. Of course, Diggle’s characterization and the Oliver/Diggle scenes have been somewhat downplayed since Felicity became a full-time member of the Scooby gang, and that is another minor gripe I have with the “Olicity” pseudo-ship and the need to provide “Olicity” moments-it tales screen-time away from Diggle/Ramsey. But I guess I’m in the minority among “Arrow” fans when it comes to this issue….

      Concerning Felicity-I agree that her role is mostly instrumental…she is mainly there to provide Oliver with hacker information and go on various “missions”. On the other hand, she has been promoted to a cast regular and she is clearly a popular character, so I would imagine that the writers will want to fill out her character a bit. In later episodes she has been introduced to several of the major players in the “Arrow” universe (I found the scene between her, Oliver and Laurel especially enjoyable), which would seem as a sign that there will be more interaction with the rest of the cast. I would personally prefer if they toned down the whole “Felicity has such a crush on Oliver that Freudian slips keep popping out of her mouth” gag, because it’s pretty heavy-handed IMHO and not very funny the third time around. I also think the writers should work on giving her a characterization that goes beyond “intelligent, insecure and quirky”, maybe by giving us some of her family background (the only thing we know is that she is Jewish), her life outside of work/the Arrowcave etc….and maybe even a love interest. Diggle has Carly, so why shouldn’t Felicity get to know a nice Jewish boy?;-).

      As for the rest of the characters, I fear that the Arrowcave might become a little too crowded if they are going to introduce Ray Harper (and possible Thea) as Oliver’s sidekicks. And if/when Laurel/The Black Canary is introduced as Oliver’s partner in vigilantism, things will become even more complicated-how is Oliver going to juggle between Felicity/Diggle/the two “Speedys” and Laurel/B.C.when it comes to his crime-fighting activities???. Of course, since the TV show is not very “bound by canon”, I ‘m sure the writers will find alternative solutions.

      This was another long post from me! I hope I didn’t ramble on too much!

  13. And I’m back.

    For starters, if you haven’t seen yet I now have another Arrow article up. This one is far less profound. I simply rounded up all the information that is out there at the moment about season 2 and put it all together. In the introduction, though, I did reference both of you (although not by name) as being “passionate and rather articulate”:

    On Laurel and Oliver – According to this TVLine article, the prediction that these two might pull away from one another after Tommy’s death seems rather accurate. Moreover, Arnell indicates he believes Oliver will not be shacking up with anyone – Laurel or Felicity – anytime soon next season:

    Laurel was a bit ill-served by the show using her to “drive a wedge between Oliver and Tommy.” They are trying to make her a strong-willed and compassionate character, thus her refusal to leave The Glades in the season finale. However, to have Oliver plotting his saving of the world only to walk down his stairs and bump into a positively “I have absolutely no idea what in the world is going on” Laurel makes her appear a bit weak.

    I actually enjoy Laurel a bit more when she is getting her own stuff to do. Because the emotional beats of her will they/won’t they with Oliver is so familiar I prefer the stuff with her dad and genuinely enjoyed her coupling with Tommy. I had been less interested in the difference between Tommy/Oliver’s social strata and Laurel’s and more intrigued by what exactly Laurel ever saw in the pre-island version of Oliver, although he makes a big speech about that in the finale. Also, I do watch two other CW shows – Vampire Diaries and Supernatural – and Katie Cassidy’s acting is pretty much on par with those shows. Heck, she was on the latter for its third season.

    On Felicity – As it relates to the story, Felicity is a device used for humor, delivery of expository dialogue, and problem-solving. Over time, she has become more of an actual character, and given Bett-Rickards promotion to regular and the character’s popularity one wonders if the show will feel duty-bound to explore her life more. After all, Diggle got a bit of stuff about his personal life. However, both Felicity and Diggle are in a strange position because they almost entirely live in the workplace procedural section of the show. Shows from that genre are not exactly famous for caring a whole lot about the personal lives of the characters. It was actually really funny toward the end of the season when upon seeing Oliver outside his apartment door Diggle joked he didn’t think Oliver even knew where he lived. I am sure many would melt in the show’s hands if Oliver showed up outside Felicity’s door, but similar to Diggle the realization might set in that we have no idea where Felicity even lives.

    On The Glades and Roy Harper – Keen observation on your part that in a show with a season-long arc centered upon the destruction of the dilapidated, poor section of the town we rarely got a real view of the people living there. Our main representative was Roy Harper, who is rather accurately described as “a white gangbanger who looks just like he walked out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue.” To be honest, had I not seen DC’s animated series Young Justice which features a truly scarred and conflicted version of Roy Harper I don’t know how much patience I would have had for Arrow’s Roy Harper. There is a lot of table setting at play with Roy right now. Hopefully, the payoff when he becomes whichever sidekick he will next season will have been worth it.

    On Assembling the Avengers – This show might have a slight Heroes problem, a show in which eventually pretty much every main character gained super powers thus leaving no simply human characters behind. With Arrow, we have quite a few super heroes in waiting with Thea, Roy, and Laurel all seemingly destined to eventually join Oliver. However, I do view that possibility with much trepidation. That Team Oliver cave could get awfully crowded with too many characters jockeying for screen time, and the most obvious odd man out being Diggle. I think the trio of Diggle, Oliver, and Felicity works very well, and helps establish a dividing line between Oliver and The Hood. It will be interesting to see if and when they attempt to integrate anyone else into that grouping, with the finale implying Detective Lance won’t suddenly show up at the Arrow Cave but will probably be interacting with Felicity a fair deal (albeit over the phone a lot).

    On Shado – If Arnell is right and Oliver will be a lone arrow next season there could be some interesting juxtaposition to be made between a blossoming romance between he and Shado in the past and a wilting love between he and Laurel in the present. However, I also think that could backfire with a “one too many love interests” for Oliver problem. Also, when he rejected her due to his devotion to Laurel could that have simply been it for them with no plans for anything more? 5 years is a loooong time.

    Also, I’d just like to point out – unless I missed it – hardly discussed in this conversation? Detective McKenna Hall. There appears to be no real pining to see her come back.

  14. “This is a bit O.T., but I hope it’s OK!”

    It’s totally fine. The article from you linked to was very interesting. I found the discussion about why some straight girls ship for male/male couplings where there is no real possibility of it happening is rather interesting. For example, I had no idea there were fans who longed for a Sam and Dean pairing on Supernatural even though they’re brothers until the show itself acknowledged this and cued up a disgusted reaction from Dean.

    The notion of, consciously or subconsciously, attempting to use the influence of shipping to affect LGBTQ representations on television is not something I had ever pondered. Shipping for Kurt and Blaine on Glee seemed as natural a reaction to me as shipping for Oliver and Laurel on Arrow. I didn’t sense any real streak of activism involved. However, I also never turned to the online community to gauge its reaction so my reaction was my own. It turns out that kind of thing was a big deal to a lot of people. It’s really when there appears to be shipping for homosexual pairings where there is not even one iota of a hint of that being a possibility where I become surprised.

    Divorced of any activist streak to up a specific group’s representation, the culture of shipping is certainly a fascinating topic to ponder. I think it speaks to a natural impulse which has been heightened by the reality of all entertainment being potentially interactive in the age of the internet. I tend to think it is perfectly fine for fans to express their wishes as it provides the showrunners/writers/producers an avenue for fan feedback, which is certainly a factor for them to consider though it shouldn’t be the only factor. It’s when the fans no longer wish but in fact insist upon seeing their will realized where I check the invisible watch on my hand and say, “Look at the time. I’ve got a thing I need to get to. So sorry,” because that’s not the scene for me.

    So, to bring it back to Arrow, I kind of enjoy the nudging and winking going on between the people on the show and the fans about Oliver and Laurel or Oliver and Felicity even if I think the longer the Felicity question goes unaddressed the more it turns into a genuine problem. There is a definite “you’ll just have to wait and see” with a smile feel to it. I think that is a good and healthy relationship between show and fans. However, it is the point at which the fans demand “no, we will not wait, and you are doing this” where it becomes corrupted.

    Oh, and Felicity’s running gag of the accidental sexual innuendos is hit or miss with me although I enjoy Arnell’s consistent “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that” reactions.

  15. On Shado – If Arnell is right and Oliver will be a lone arrow next season there could be some interesting juxtaposition to be made between a blossoming romance between he and Shado in the past and a wilting love between he and Laurel in the present. However, I also think that could backfire with a “one too many love interests” for Oliver problem. Also, when he rejected her due to his devotion to Laurel could that have simply been it for them with no plans for anything more? 5 years is a loooong time.

    Just a short note on “Shado”. I think that when they made Oliver pull away from Shado in the “Home Invasion” episode, it was to reinforce our impression of his undying love for Laurel. In fact, that whole episode was like a big sledgehammer of “Oliver really, really loves Laurel”….we have just not had the time/opportunity to show you that that during the last seven episodes!;-). I would have preferred that the writers had shown us a little more of Oliver’s “undying love” on-screen, rather than hitting us over the head with it in the twentieth episode of the season!

    I don’t think viewers would mind if the writers rekindled the Oliver/Shado romance-I would surely enjoy seeing them together….I really like the actress and I would even go as far as to say that she might have been a better Black Canary than Katie C. That would be have been an innovative move-letting an Asian-American don the fishnets and portray an iconic comic book character!

    As for Oliver not getting any on the Island….he hasn’t really seen that much love action in the present either! He did get to make love with Laurel after a season of Unresolved Sexual Tension, and there were a few amorous interludes with the Huntress and McKenna. It seem that this is the fate of superheroes and fictional characters in general-TV romance is built on UST and “will they won’t they”, which means that people in TV dramas usually have a more restrained sex life than most of us have IRL…at least if we’re in a relationship. Of course, “Arrow” is more of an action series, so it’s only fitting that the love/romance part is downplayed…it’s more like the icing on the cake. That is why I really don’t get the big Olicity/Lauriver brouhaha-as I see it both Felicity and Laurel have their roles to play in Oliver’s life, and which one he finally ends up with is really a non-issue at this stage of the series/story arc.

    • Your take on the sledgehammer treatment of “Hey, you guys, Oliver really, really loves Laurel” perfectly mirrors my own. I am open to seeing what happens with Shado, and you might be right that she could be a better Black Canary that Katie C.

      I sometimes forget about the island flashback scenes because they mostly serve to simply inform whatever drama Oliver is going through in the present rather than stand on their own. Plus, knowing with 100% certainty that Oliver survives hurts the suspense a little bit, even though we always know that he’s not going to die. However, I do mostly enjoy the island stuff, and Shadow is kind of awesome.

  16. Pingback: Remarkable: Article on the Felicity/Oliver/Laurel Triangle »

  17. Also something thats not been considered here
    Olicity is going nowhere becase by season 2 there will be a new ship:

    ROLICITY: ROY/FELICITY bring it on.

    And it will be even better, real romantic chemistry not bro-sis chemistry like Oliver/Felicity

  18. Whoa, that kind of came out of nowhere. Roy has been so isolated on the show to scenes with Thea (with a couple of scenes with Oliver) that I honestly don’t even think of him in relation to any of the other characters. Although I guess Felicity was doing her IT girl thing and helping Oliver save Roy when the vigilante had captured him and was going to kill him on live television.

    Rolicity sounds just as good as Olicity, I guess.

    It seems inevitable that Roy is going to become a vigilante of his own next season, be it Speedy, Arsenal, or Red Arrow. This could mean him joining Team Arrow which would equate to scenes with Oliver, Diggle, AND Felicity. Plus, the actor who plays Roy did mention the producers had warned him he was going to be shirtless a lot next season. So, Felicity could have two different male models to gawk at. The fan interest in Felicity and Oliver is so insanely strong I struggle to imagine it switching to another guy next season. However, Roy and Felicity will probably have at least have one scene together at some point (probably Roy and Oliver arguing about vigilante stuff and Felicity making quips in the background). So, who knows.

    • Im not saying that Rolicity will be more popular than Olicity lol, just that they will be one more (new) ” ship in the city” next season, likely. I guess I’m just introducing my ship and just saying hey its might not always be a two horse race, we exist too. its never to early to see potential.

      Actually the idea of Rolicity did not just come from nowhere, but I understand what you are saying and agree with most of your points. What I mean is the two actors who play Roy & Felicity, Colton/ Emily are really close friends as Korinna also noted and have good chemistry together based on offscreen interactions. Its funny because before they even met, I had always thought that they will definitely be friends, so when that actually turned out to be for real, I was like touchdown!. One step forward to my ship. And with the two set to be in the same team or just being in the same show in general, of course they are going to have scenes.

      You know, I have always liked the idea of Roy/Felicity before Roy was even cast, or before Emily/Colton became friends. What I liked was that the two characters sounded complementary and will bounce off together well, so its not even about the actors but the characters , that was just a bonus that the actors turned out to be the two of closest costars in the show. That being said I don’t feel there is anything wrong with wanting two actors who are close friends, to like their chemistry and look forward to shipping them onscreen. But Im definitely not saying shows should put characters of actors who are dating IRL or are friends, together on the show just because of the RL deal. It all should depend on whether the two characters make sense in the show’s story and for each other. Roy/Felicity I feel they would fit more in the context of the show. Hopefully by this time next year people will get what I’m saying or at least coming from about the two.

      Anyway the article has been good read, it was a lot more objectively articulated which is rare right now as the media tend to see things through Olicity googles only. Not anti-olicity, though I’m certainly anti-some olicity shippers. I wish I could feel the big phenomenon but I just dont, which has made me look into other possibilities for my favorite girl. And I like the potential of Rolicity, and it should be OK to ship them regardless of who has the most shippers. I’m not going to demand for the show to put them together but i think its only fair to give them a short of having good scenes together, test the waters and see what gives.

      • It’s perfectly fine to start shipping for Roy and Felicity. It just caught me off guard because I am not as tuned into the social media aspect of fandom for actors so I had no idea Bett-Rickards and Haynes were friends. Plus, Felicity has been to this point a largely isolated character with precious few interactions with someone other than Oliver or Diggle, and the same is true for Roy except his primary tether to the show’s universe has been Thea. So, I just had no reason to ever think of Felicity and Roy in the same thought. Plus, I had thought of Team Arrow as being in a different age bracket and everything in the Thea-portion of the show being like the Junior League version of Team Arrow. I had no idea until recently that Bett-Rickards at just 21 is even younger than Colton Haynes (24).

        It’s absolutely fine to ship for Rolicity, regardless of the popularity of the Olicity fandom. It might be a little early since Roy and Felicity have yet to have a scene together, but based upon the social media evidence on hand once they do have a scene together you might end up being prophetic.

        I agree that there’s nothing wrong with being interested to see two actors paired together when you find out that they are friends in real life. Actors are paid to pretend for a living, and they should be able to make relationships convincing regardless of how they actually feel about their scene partners. However, a real life friendship between actors does imply the potential for interesting on-screen chemistry, be it romantic or simply comedic. For example, as with my previous example it shouldn’t really make that much of a difference but somehow knowing that Boreanaz and Michelle-Gellar were so close while making Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes their romance on screen just the slightest bit more enjoyable.

        Beyond any particular shipper pairing, I just think that Roy would greatly benefit from being more integrated into the show, and that’s exactly what they say they are going to do next season. To be honest, though, the thought of Roy and Felicity having scenes together doesn’t really fill me with thoughts of sexual tension or potential complications for Thea/Roy – instead, I appreciate the potential for a different energy and viewpoint on scenes involving Roy which would be a welcome change.

  19. Maybe Felicity is going to be one of those “fandom bicycles” that will be shipped with everyone but the Russian maid from the “Pilot”??:-). On a more serious note, Emily B.R. is a close friend of Colton’s and they even have a ship name, “Emton”, so the poster may be referring to their tweets, where they allude to their close relationship. If we consider that the borders between fact and fiction are often blurred these days (when real persons without any romantic connection are being “shipped”, for example the male members of “One Direction”!), it might be that the Internets are starting to fantasize about a possible Roy/Felicity romance in season two. Of course, even the Olicity romance is no more than a fan fiction creation right now, although that might change in the near or distant future. My personal opinion is that Felicity deserves her *own* man, maybe an “Arrow” version of Ed Raymond, who was her husband in the comics.

  20. That makes a lot more sense now. Thanks.

    I guess it’s probably a perfectly natural impulse, but the prospect of Bett-Rickards getting asked about Olicity in one question and then Emton in another at Comic-Con, though, just seems like a level of fandom that has gone a little too far.

    I remember many were delighted to find out a year ago that Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev were dating in real life thus adding an extra layer of delight in watching Damon and Elena fall in love on Vampire Diaries. Or people look back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and based upon the chemistry between David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle-Gellar question how on Earth we’re supposed to believe they were only ever just close friends. So, I get seeing that Colton Haynes and Emily Bett-Rickards are close friends and transferring that to a desire to see their fictional counterparts get together. It’s just not the level of fan engagement I’m personally at.

    Roy serves as a stand-in for the poor and downtrodden (and as we discussed in the comments earlier he’s a hilarious tone-deaf representation of that), and his only connection to the main cast is Thea and the Hood. His relationship with Thea seemed largely predicated upon “well, can you blame her? He’s just so damn gorgeous. Everytime he says something mean to her it just makes her want him more” mentality. He could be made more interesting by having some interactions with Felicity, who could call him on his bullshit as with Oliver. So, shipping could certainly happen. I just struggle to really engage with it because, mostly, Roy and Thea are the parts of the show about which I care the least (and I’m unencumbered by any attachment to the Emton relationship)..

    I agree with you – Felicity should get her own new character as a love interest, and Ed Raymond is as good a choice as any (I talked about him in the comments section for my other Arrow post on this site).

    Side note: Colton Haynes is from Wichita, Kansas, my home town. I can report that not all scruffy 24-year-olds in Wichita look like him.

  21. Hi Kelly,

    I really appreciate the fact that you take the time to give long, thoughtful replies to the random posters who post their opinions on your article, even after a few weeks! Anyway, the whole Felicity/Laurel issue reminds me a lot of the “shipper wars” that raged between Chloe fans and Lois fans in the “Smallville” fandom, where discussions on fan forums, comment sections etc. sometimes to 90% seemed to evolve around the question who was the “bestest” girl for Clark!

    Reading some of the comments on the CW Arrow page, fan sites and comment sections on various TV outlets, one gets a sense of deja vu, even when it comes to the kind of arguments that each fraction puts forth to support “their girl”.

    According to the Felicity/Olicity fans, Felicity/Emily has much better chemistry with Oliver than Laurel/Katie. She is also a superior actress in comparison to Katie, who only has her good looks-an argument that was made against Erica D. and Kristin Kreuk as well. Felicity is also hailed as Oliver’s confidance and loyal companion…but the most common argument is Felicity’s popularity with the Internet fans, which somehow automatically should grant her the role as Oliver’s love interest!

    The Laurel fans, on the other hand, refer to the comic book canon and to Laurel’s role as the Black Canary. They also claim that Laurel is Oliver’s true love and that Laurel/Oliver are endgame, while the Felicity/Oliver relationship is strictly in the friendship zone. Many K.C. fans also feel that Laurel has been badly written so far (just like Erica Durance’s fans did in the beginning), but they are convinced that Katie will do much better once the writing improves. Just like the Lois/Clois supporters were irritated by the “Chlois” theorists, Laurel supporters are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Olicity shippers efforts to promote their (budding) ship everywhere, especially since it often involves criticizing Laurel or even Katie C.

    Although I have enjoyed the O/L romance so far, I’m kind of neutral to the whole matter…I’m just curious where the writers are going to take the show and how much fandom sentiments will influence the actual story. However, I do hope that the “Arrow” showrunners will find a way to develop the show so that the “Arrow” fandom won’t have to experience the bitter and divisive Smallville shipper wars. I wasn’t involved myself, but I have cyberfriends who are still recuperating from the character/actor bashing (from all sides, but maybe mostly against ED) that went on during the years the SV was on air!

    • Hi,
      It’s not always feasible to give a long response, but I know from my experience as a reader on other sites how much it can suck to put a lot of thought into something in a comments section only to have it sort of float in the ether and barely get acknowledged.

      For the reasons I argued in my article and for the well-connected lines you’ve also drawn between the Smallville and Arrow situations, there is an awful lot of deja vu with the Olicity phenomenon. The funny thing is that the more I hear about what to expect for Oliver in season 2 the more it seems like romance will be the absolute furthest thing away from his mind. There is even a hint he may have left Starling City altogether after the time jump in-between season 1 and 2. So, Laurel and Felicity fans alike will likely be greatly disappointed by the initial batch of episodes. Of course, that won’t really dissuade either faction.

      The truth is this – Arrow has gone all in on Laurel being the love of Oliver’s life for an entire season now. Plus, from a storytelling perspective Felicity is a tool they use for levity and exposition. Even if they want to it will be tough for them to ever completely back away from the Oliver/Laurel dynamic, and any sort of attempt at Oliver/Felicity romance risks altering the way they currently break stories in their episodes. Of course, the structure by which they tell their stories could very possibly change after the game-changing events of the finale. However, as the show is currently constructed a Felicity romance would simply presents them with more problems than it does solutions and ultimately always feel like something the show was doing just for a while since Laurel is the ultimate end game.

      I think Arrow is probably looking at the social media statistics fellow CW show Vampire Diaries gets and seeing their multi-season triangle between the central vampire brothers and Nina Dobrev’s character and realizing one of the best ways to get people talking about a show like Arrow is to get the shippers going. Based upon the traffic my article gets, they’re not wrong. Whether or not they intend to keep giving the Olicity shippers everything they need or pulling away from that remains to be seen.

      The funny thing is that I am the guy who wrote the article about the Laurel, Felicity, Oliver problem, yet the romantic element is not what I watch Arrow to see. I am just a sucker for a brooding hero story (it’s no mistake I referenced Angel in the article), and those usually happen to also come with an anguished romance.

  22. Hi Kelly,

    I was a bit surprised to learn that you are a man-I went by the name, but I guess I should have studied the photo more closely, where it is clear that you are a guy! It’s probably just my prejudices, but I was surprised that a man could write about relationships with such insight! ;-)

    I think the major problem with the current social media buzz concerning a possible Olicity romance-or concerning the ongoing story in general- is that many viewers (unlike yourself) don’t seem to care that much about the overarching storyline/mythology or about character portrayal. That is, they want Felicity and Oliver to become the official romantic couple, without giving much thought to how this putative Oliver/Felicity romance is going to fit into the story the “Arrow” writers have been building so far *or* how it will fit in with the Green Arrow comic book mythology (which is, after all, the source material for the show).

    In general, as someone who cares about good storytelling, I find it somewhat difficult to understand those Felicity fans who post on the show’s FB pages and elsewhere and demand that Oliver should forget Laurel and get with Felicity ASAP. No matter if they don’t like Laurel or if they find the Lauriver romance uninteresting, they should at least respect the story the writers are trying to tell. It is as if they want to see the parallell universe created in the hundreds of Oliver/Felicity fan fiction stories enacted onscreen, without taking into account that Oliver, as he has been portrayed in the actual series, is not in love with Felicity, but with *Laurel*:

    Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older than the average “Arrow” fan, but sometimes I get the impression that watching a drama series is no longer about following a storyline as it has been created by the writers, but more about “instant gratification”, and that is very apparent in the behaviour of some Olicity fans. They somehow expect the showrunners to accomodate their wishes, as if it’s that easy for the writers to concoct a situation where the hero almost from one episode to the other suddenly falls madly in love with someone for whom he has shown no romantic interest so far.

    Even if the writers should go for a serious Olicity romance arc, it would need to be built up over at least a season IMHO…I mean, as things are now, Felicity and Oliver have no common history at all. In fact, Felicity herself has no background or story of her own-we know practically nothing about her personal life, only that she is good with computers and suffers from some form of social insecurity that makes her go off on a tangent and spout Freudian slips. As for Oliver, he doesn’t seem to be interested in learning anything about Felicity’s personal life, and she probably knows very little about what he’s been through or about his relationship with Laurel. The way I see it, it’s not possible to build a romance arc on such a flimsy foundation, regardless if a lot of viewers think that Stephen and Emily have a good chemistry in their scenes together.

    In conclusion, I think that the problem goes deeper than just “shipping”, it has to do with the ability to understand and follow an ongoing story arc and to grasp what function or functions a certain character has in the plot. Laurel’s function (up until now, at least) is to be the somewhat idealized “love of Oliver’s life” and Felicity’s function is to provide comic relief and and be Oliver’s girl Friday. What many viewers don’t seem to realize is that Felicity might become less interesting and charming if the writers turn her into Oliver’s love interest, because that would change the lighthearted and easygoing friendship dynamic between them. Laurel is sometimes described as a “wet blanket” by those who don’t like her, because their troubled relationship makes Oliver uneasy and guiltridden when he is around her. Now, if the writers would turn Felicity and Oliver into lovers, they would have to create some relationship drama for them as well, at least if they were to follow common screen writing practice. If they do, there is always the risk that the traits that made Felicity a fan favourite in the first place would be altered, if only because relationship drama inebitably turns the female counterpart into a “drama queen” or a “wet blanket” in some viewers’ eyes. So, maybe the Olicity shippers should be careful what they wish for!

    In general, I agree with your assessment that the writers will try keep the romance/relationship aspect on a backburner in the upcoming season and focus on other aspects of Oliver’s character development. I personally feel that he needs to become more of a real hero before he can even start to think about having a serious relationship with someone, whether that someone is Laurel, Felicity or someone else!

  23. Pingback: Arrow Star Stephen Amell Weighs in On the Potential Laurel/Felicity/Oliver Triangle | We Minored In Film

  24. Pingback: Arrow Reportedly Casts New Actress as Black Canary Even Though It Already Has Katie Cassidy Around For That | We Minored In Film

    • We’re definitely going to get plenty of Felicity and Oliver next season. However, don’t look for those to get together romantically anytime soon.


      From what Andrew Kreisberg, one of the Executive Producers, said last week, Oliver and Felicity will likely have some kind of talk about her crush on him early on, and then later in the season she’ll get her own love interest.

      As for Laurel, she can certainly be a tad boring, I agree. Maybe next season will be better. However, Oliver not being with Felicity doesn’t mean he’ll be with Laurel. It kind of sounds like they have plans for him to have multiple love interests next season.

  25. Pingback: 8 Observations About Arrow’s Season 2 Premiere “City of Heroes” | We Minored In Film

    • After watching this much of season 2, do you think that Olicity has a good chance of being endgame? Kreisberg went from saying Laurel is the love of Oliver’s life and Felicity is merely his friend, to saying Oliver and Felicity are just as star-crossed as Oliver and Laurel. Thoughts? (I tried really hard to like Laurel, but it’s still not clicking, i can’t buy into her whole pity party)
      I already have this comment/question posted below but forget to address it to you as well, and i read your previous comments and they seem well informed. Also, I like to ask people who are neither Olicity nor Lauriver fans (although I ship Olicity myself)

      • Good question. After only 7 episodes of the second season they have continually surprised me, not always for the better. It’s un-mistakable that they have seriously upped the Olicity moments over the past two episodes, but even though he will only be around for two episodes they have made a very big deal out of how much Barry Allen and Felicity will click as a potential couple. One could look at that as being an attempt on their part to siphon away the Olicity momentum into a new shipping among fandom for Barry and Felicity. And he sounds exactly like the Duckette to her Duckie as I argued in my article, i.e., a potential boyfriend with whom Felicity will have way more in common. However, the transient nature of Barry’s character (meaning the dude’s only going to be around for 2 episodes) more indicates he will simply be used as a tool by which Oliver will be forced to confront whether or not he actually has romantic feelings for Felicity, i.e., the classic “make him jealous” kind of thing. Countless shows have done it before with their will-they/won’t-they couples. Arrow could potentially do something slightly different where maybe Oliver gives the pair his blessing because although he may like Felicity he cannot commit to any type of meaningful relationship while he’s Arrow.

        While all of this has been happening, Laurel has been relegated to the background. Her primary interactions with Oliver as of late have been of him expressing concern and attempting to help her thus indicating he has by no means forgotten about her. So, she’s still in the picture, but last season she was the primary damsel in distress whereas this season they have clearly shifted some of those moments over to Felicity.

        What I originally argued still holds true – which is that whenever a TV show so fully commits to characters as being the loves of each other’s lives it is hard to ever fully step back from that. As such, I am not completely convinced that Felicity has become the show’s endgame for Oliver as there still is not nearly as much commitment to that storyline and the shared history of the characters as there is with Oliver and Laurel. As of this writing, if they put Oliver and Felicity together after the Barry Allen two-parter I’d still suspect it a temporary relationship with Laurel remaining the love of his life. However, they are going places I never expected this season, and there have been at least three moments where I thought Felicity and Oliver were about to kiss. They are doing what I argued they wouldn’t be capable of doing which is ignoring the comic book canon, listening to fandom, and finding ways to explore this Olicity phenomenon. They are also doing something I didn’t expect and exploring more of the ladies man aspect of the Green Arrow character from the comics, which they might choose to explore for quite a bit longer beyond just his fling with Isabel. They have joked about intending to stretch out this Oliver/Felicity thing for as long as possible.

        Felicity still ultimately seems like Chloe to Oliver’s Clark Kent to me, and the recent re-introduction of Sara has merely added yet another very strong potential love interest. I think it’s possible that in the short term they realized they needed to explore Felicity and Oliver, but in the long term the endgame is probably Laurel (or maybe Sara, once of the Lance sisters). I can’t lie, though – I am not as confident in my argument now as I was when I originally wrote the “Burden of Canon” article. At this point, I’m going on the history of TV shows with similar situations as opposed to what is actually happening on screens on Arrow right now where Oliver and Felicity are the ones doing all the flirtin’.

      • I don’t have anything to add, except to say that it seems that Laurel’s storyline will improve from the train wreck it’s been so far this season…at least that’s what Kreisberg promised in a recent tweet. The way I see it, it’s like Laurel has been circulating in her own orbit in season two, more or less cut off from both Oliver and the general action. However, if I’m to believe the producers, there seems to be more interaction with Oliver and maybe even with Sara from episode nine and onwards . I personally thought it was rather disappointing that we didn’t get to see any Laurel/Sara interaction, especially since Sara’s supposed death was such a huge issue, both for Laurel as a person and for the Ollie/Laurel relationship. If Sara is supposed to be the precursor of Laurel as B.C. I would expect Laurel to play a major role in the Sara storyline as well.

        As for Olicity…I’d just like to point out that even though both Felicity and Olicity are very popular, the support for this ship is not unanimous in the “Arrow” fandom. There are fans who love Felicity, but who don’t want her to hook up with Oliver, short-term or permanently. There are even non-Lauriver shippers who are becoming increasingly annoyed with the Olicity ship baiting, because they feel that it makes both Ollie and Felicity act out of character, and because it takes screen time/importance away from other fave characters, like Diggle. What I want to say is that the TPTB should thread lightly with Olicity, because fans can be pretty fickle in their preferences and even “fan favourites” will eventually get their detractors if they are over-exposed. I’m not referring to the hardcore shippers but to the more general fans, who are not invested in any particular character or ship.

  26. After watching this much of season 2, does you think that Olicity has a good chance of being endgame? Kreisberg went from saying Laurel is the love of Oliver’s life and Felicity is merely his friend, to saying Oliver and Felicity are just as star-crossed as Oliver and Laurel. Thoughts? (I tried really hard to like Laurel, but it’s still not clicking, i can’t buy into her whole pity party)

  27. A couple of things mentioned that I would like to comment on:

    1. The pity party. Laurel does not go around saying woe me, she says just to cut her some slack, which is a fair enough comment. It is not a pity party, it is actually a story line that looks at grief, depression borne out guilt and survivor guilt, as well as PTSD. The tablets she takes are prescription medicine for anxiety. Doctors don’t prescribe this medicine to anyone having a pity party, but they do for genuine cases of where people are having trouble sleeping. Remember, the poor girl has gone through some serious shit in the past 18 months, and yet has still managed to function reasonably well. The crap she is going through is the beginning of her journey to take up the mantle of Black Canary when her sister Sara eventually dies, probably fighting off the League of Assassins again. (see my point 2 as well) I find it disturbing that people call it a pity party, as it is a sad reflection on our modern day society that fails to recognise and empathise with people suffering from mental health problems such as depression, which inflicts so many people. I find the Laurel Lance story line realistic, in comparison to some of the characters in the show which are given unbelievable skills and abilities every episode it seems. I look forward to seeing her battle her demons within and fight to become the hero she is destined to become, the Black Canary. Her journey is not unlike Oliver’s first year on the island, if you care to remember, even Oliver tried to take his own life at one point. While Oliver had the island to foreshadow his drama, you can be assured that Laurel is very much isolated and is on her own version of the island. We’ve seen the challenges she has to face, plus still more to come, but she will get there, that I doubt one bit. Then we will start to see Oliver interacting differently to Laurel than we have seen in the past.

    2. I think you can discount any romantic notions between Oliver and Sara, period. In fact, I believe that Sara will come to Oliver as the third ghost, the future ghost to warn Oliver of the dangers that lie ahead for himself and for Laurel. As we will see in future episodes Oliver trying to keep an eye out for her. Remember, there are several different plot lines that could potentially involve danger to both of them, namely Brother Blood, League of Assassins and Malcolm Merlyn.

    3. There is a subtle difference in what Kriesberg said about Oliver and Felicity and Oliver and Laurel, in that he describes Oliver and Laurel as star crossed lovers, while Oliver and Felicity are just star crossed, there is a subtly in the difference. One implies being a lover while the other implies something else, friendship.

    4. Smallville! I wish fans would stop mentioning Smallville and its connection to ARROW. They are two totally different shows, and they are written completely different. In fact here is what the head of CW has to say about the matter:

    “Greg does not tend to do projects he does not really believe in,” said the CW president, Mark Pedowitz. “‘Arrow,’ in a way, was contrary. It’s not ‘Smallville.’ It’s a much darker, grittier version of a comic book character. That was not normal CW programming.”

    CW President, Mark Pedowitz talking about Greg Berlanti

    • 1. Laurel – Much of Laurel’s storyline this season gets a pass because she’s a woman in grief with pretty severe survivor’s guilt thus explaining her behavior. There is a Black Canary-light at the end of the tunnel where we know this is all about ultimately tearing Laurel down before building her back up again. However, it is difficult to make a character seem aimless and distraught without making the storyline seem that way as well, which is clearly how the storyline has felt for many viewers. I agree that there has been a noted lack of patience and understanding on the topic of grief and depression in the fan’s reaction to the story line, and your connection between Oliver’s literal island and Laurel’s figurative island is apt. I just think this is a storyline which has maybe gotten away from the writers at this point, and Laurel’s relative absence compared to her full-time status last season is certainly going to raise a lot of eyebrows.

      2. I think with Sara it comes down to whether or not you believe she’s going to stick around. Unless Caity Lotz gets cast in another show in a full-time role like Jessica Du Guow (Huntress) did with Dracula, I believe she will survive the season, and be upped to a series regular in-between the second and third season. As such, I think any kind of romance between her and Oliver is still on the table down the road given their shared history and experiences. You are completely right, though, in that she and Oliver share some common enemies meaning there’s certainly the chance she could perish.

      3. That’s fair – if it wasn’t a simple omission on Kreisberg’s part there is indeed a big difference between “star-crossed lovers” and merely “star-crossed.” Although, I’ve rarely ever heard “star-crossed” instead of “star-crossed lovers.”

      4. Arrow is not Smallville. This is true. Smallville’s model was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which the WB had just lost to the UPN. Buffy did metaphors where instead of your boyfriend turning into a dirtbag after sleeping with you he turns into a honest-to-goodness demon; Smallville had Clark unknowingly floating above his bed in his sleep and experiencing the pain of laser vision as metaphors for puberty. Arrow, on the other, uses Batman Begins and family drama soap operas as its model. However, I think the Smallville comparisons are completely unavoidable. It was on the air for 10 years and ended only one year before Arrow, it featured its own version of Green Arrow, it was an origin story for a DC comic book character, etc. Plus, although the shows might be different the early Chloe/Lana/Clark dynamic is fairly similar to Felicity/Laurel/Oliver.

  28. I was fascinated by item 2. If Caity will staty on the show, in what capacity do you think that will be? Will she stay in Starling city to train Laurel, so that there will ultimately be two Black Canaries in season three (and four and give)? And how is Ollie going to deal with TWO former girlfriends, who are also sisters and who will presumably have a strong connection once they get over their differences? I guess I’m wondering how the writers are going to align Sara’s Starling city storyline with Laurel’s and Oliver’s storylines, and if the three of them are going to be crime fighting partners….you know, Green Arrow and Black Canary 1.0/Black Canary 2.0!

    I’m also wondering about the romance arc. If Felicity and Oliver are the (almost) star crossed lovers, where does that leave Sara and Laurel? Here is an excerpt from a recent Emily Bett-Rickards interview which shows that an Olicity romance is very much on the table as well:

    I don’t think that [her place in Oliver’s life] is defined at all. I think that’s the problem. I think that their definition of friendship is always tested by their situation of life and death and how they can’t lose one another. That huge aspect of ‘I can’t live without you’ creates that loving bond that I think is, you know, ‘Oliver and Felicity on a romantic level’. I think, yeah, there have been a lot of bumps in the road but they’re…obstacles or just sort of things that are forces working against a relationship between them, but they have a connection that no one else is gonna have. And that is a colossal deal. unquote

    Given this, I’m actually prepared to imagine a scenario where Laurel-and maybe even Sara-go out and find themselves some new boyfriends (with whom they don’t have any messy backstory!) and leave Oliver and Felicity to carry out their typical soapy CW romance in the Arrowcave.

    I’m being a tad sarcastic here, but on the other hand the original premises of the show have changed so much since season one that there is no way that one can predict how things will turn out in future seasons. Do you have any thoughts about Sara’s role in the overall plot, IF she will be upgraded to a series regular in season three?

    • This is one of those things where maybe if I’d never read one little news story I’d have a completely different opinion on the subject. You see, this is the first thing I ever read about Caity Lotz joining the show:

      “While the Black Canary will start out as a recurring role, Lotz is expected to eventually become a series regular, as her character will be groomed as a love interest for Arrow (Stephen Amell).” From The Wrap, originally quoted in my article from over the summer.

      Months before I ever even saw Lotz in an episode I was given to believe she was meant to become a regular and alove interest. It’s been my impression so far that while the character of Sara hasn’t been universally popular she has been at least well-received. I know that I personally have immense reservations about bringing Sara back at all and having Oliver turn out to just be lying about it all last season, but I think Lotz has been pretty dang fantastic in the role.

      There is so much redundancy with Sara/Laurel, as well slight redundancy with Sara/Oliver since her journey might overly echo his own. As for romance, Sara/Oliver would be crazy complicated. However, due to Sara’s shared experiences with Oliver they now have far more in common than he does with any other woman he’s ever encountered. She presents to the writers a chance to do a new variation on The Huntress story from the first season, just far more successful this time…we’d guess. As a recent article joked, this is a show which wants us to ship for everyone possible, and I think they’ve thrown out enough Sara/Oliver material in her short time this season to gauge our reaction.

      A lot of our expectations and anticipations for Arrow return to a common assumption, which is that eventually Laurel will become Black Canary. The producers even assured us as much when Lotz was cast. However, it’s increasingly difficult to predict where this show is heading because Laurel has turned from such a prominent character to such a question mark, made somewhat insignificant by larger storylines more demanding of screen time. If she were to die of an overdose and written out of this show, Katie Cassidy effectively replaced by Caity Lotz, I would not be 100% shocked. That’s almost definitely not going to happen, but what they’ve done with her has so gone against my expectations that I freely throw up my hands and admit that I don’t know where this is going.

      But you asked if I had any thoughts on Sara and where she might fit into the overall plot if she does survive the season. With Sara currently relegated to the flashbacks, she is being set up to return triumphantly in the season’s final third, just in time to Brother Blood to give way to the true big bad, The League of Assassins. That would mean Sara could show back up in the present near the end of the season. She could certainly perish, this season’s Tommy, but I think she survives and begins an arc of redemption alongside Oliver in the third season. A romance between the two probably depends on how much longer they choose to tease out Oliver and Felicity.

      I don’t know. There are so many directions they could go with this. They could set up a freakin Birds of Prey of their own, with Sara, Laurel, Felicity, Sin, and whoever else operating out of the Clock Tower. The more I think about it the less sense it actually makes for Sara and Laurel to both be regular characters on this show. The most obvious solution is for Sara’s eventual death to inspire Laurel to become Canary, with it just a matter of when not if that happens. But, in truth, I really like Sara, or at least the present day version and her scene with her dad, and want to see her back far sooner so we can get more stuff with Laurel and Quentin.

  29. Wow, thanks for the response! I had no idea that Caity Lotz was going to become a series regular and I don’t think many other fans are aware of this either-I believed that she was scheduled to appear in a limited number of season two episodes. I think that Caity has been OK so far, although she hasn’t shown that much of her acting yet. She has been quite severely criticized on the imdb “Arrow” board for her lack of acting skills and “pouty mouth”. However, all actors get slammed in that board (not the least poor Katie Cassidy!) and in general I think she has been well received. So, if she turns out to be the new love interest once they’re done with “Olicity”, I don’t think fans will mind…apart from the oliciters, of course (who will probably go berserk!) and the Lauriver fans who somehow believed Guggenheim et al when they declared that Laurel and Oliver are the show’s “destined lovers”.

    Like you I’m really wondering where the show is heading, especially with regards to Laurel. It kind of puzzles me is why they built this epic, tragic Laurel/Oliver romance arc if they were not going to follow through with it? And why have they planted all these foreshadowings of Laurel as the Black Canary if they are going to replace her with Sara/Caity? Even in an recent episode there were drawings of canaries in Laurel’s apartment…But I guess they have retconned so many things already that they can retcon these plot details as well.

    Since the “Arrow” showrunners seem very sensitive to online fandom opinions, it could be that they finally opted for the “fan popular” girls and decided to somehow phase out Laurel/Katie Cassidy. Although I like Katie and try to defend her the best I can, I sometimes think that it would be better for her and her career if she left “Arrow” and looked for another role. She is a competetent actress and she has been quite popular in many other shows, so maybe it’s better to do well elsewhere than to continue to be the punching bag of the “Arrow” fandom. I’m sure that Caity/Sara will catch a fair amount of flak if she becomes a regular (it seems to be the fate of leading ladies!), but she might still be better off than Laurel/Katie.

    All in all the current situation is quite odd and it doesn’t help that the “Arrow” fandom seems to have an inordinate amount of “conspiracy theories” and wild speculation…which are of course further fuelled by the TPTB’s way of marketing the show.

    • I am not sure if any of the show’s producers have actually tipped their hands in any interviews as to their long-term plans with Caity Lotz, other than re-inforcing at the time of her casting that her presence would be but a stepping stone on Laurel’s ultimate journey to becoming Black Canary. So, the source I have is from back in July, and we have no idea from where The Wrap got their information. But they’ve been pretty right-on with most of their scoops.

      Oh, about Lotz’ “pouty mouth” – it’s been kind of funny seeing everyone’s reactions to her mouth. I read several episode reviews where the reviewer was making very sure not to criticize Lotz and body-shame her in any way but could think of no real nice way to ultimately say, “That girl’s mouth is weird.” She was most definitely doing something weird with her mouth/lips in her first big showcase episode, but I don’t know if they addressed that or if I’ve simply adjusted to it but I don’t even notice it any more.

      “Since the ‘Arrow’ showrunners seem very sensitive to online fandom opinions, it could be that they finally opted for the ‘fan popular’ girls and decided to somehow phase out Laurel/Katie Cassidy.”

      That’s probably what is also fueling my suspicion that Lotz might be around a bit longer than we first thought. I’ve gotten the sense that Felicity and Sara are (or at least were) more popular characters than Laurel, who they have been kind of fading out.

      To kill off Laurel would still be a huge deal. I remember how big of a deal it was when Smallville killed off Jimmy Olsen, and then how out of sorts everyone seemed to be when the show revealed that the Jimmy we saw die was in fact the much older brother of the real Jimmy Olsen. In that case, if I recall recorrectly Jimmy was already working at The Daily Planet meaning he had kind of grown to take on his comic book counterpart’s identity. Laurel hasn’t even had that chance yet.

      The most logical course of action would be this: tease out Felicity and Oliver for a while longer before pulling back at the very end, Oliver either not in love with her or not willing to commit to a relationship with anyone. Bring Sara back eventually, explore her eventual reunion with her father and sister, kill either her or Quentin off as the instigating event toward Laurel’s ascension to Black Canary. However, this show continues to zig when I expect it to zag. So, watch maybe all of that happen but not in the order I expect and reaching different conclusions than I predicted everytime.

      For example, Slade Wilson just showed up as the season’s secret big bad, which I had thought was going to happen at some point as a way of making the show’s greatest weakness (the flashbacks) a strenght. But I thought it would come much later, and I failed to make the now obvious-seeming connections between Slade and Brother Blood.

      • I don’t want anyone in the Lance family to die-I mean, haven’t they suffered enough??? Laurel believe for five years that her sister was dead, her Mom left the family because of Sara’s presumed death, her Dad turned into an alcoholic and in the end of season two she lost Tommy. If Sara or Quentin dies I don’t think she will have the strength to go on living. So, I feel killing Sara would be an unwise move,.unless the writers want Laurel’s fate to parallell Oliver’s, who has also lost several people that he loved (his Dad, Shado, Yao Fei, Tommy). Considering Laurel’s precarious position within in the fandom, I think there might be a backlash if Sara has to die for Laurel to become Black Canary (though people will probably forget Sara after a while, since she hasn’t had that much screen time). I think it would be better if Sara decided to continue her life elsewhere. Anyway, as you say, you never know what to expect with “Arrow”…I guess we just have to go along for the ride…who knows, maybe Laurel might even become a little more popular (at least among the non-hardcore Olicity shippers!) if she gets better writing.

      • It’s funny you’d say that. My sometimes co-writer on the site, Julianne, and I have had a couple of conversations about which characters on TV shows are our sacred cows. In other word, if that character was killed off we’d likely stop watching the show. As you might expect, this was inspired by all the carnage on Game of Thrones. On the topic of Arrow, we have so much holdover affection for Paul Blackthorne from Dresden Files and just generally love him as Detective Lance that we each agree we’d have a hard time watching Arrow anymore if he was killed off. But, in truth, as you you stated in your first sentence, “I don’t want anyone in the Lance family to die.”

        I guess the reason why I gravitate toward assuming once of them might die to spur on the creation of the “real” Black Canary is based mostly in comic book lore. It just seems like the origin stories for all of the real big superheroes involve a death of some kind, usually in the family (notable exception: Thor). It’s a case of everyone chasing Batman’s melodrama. The death of the original Black Canary’s father was instrumental in her becoming a super hero, although the same is not true for the second, Dinah Laurel Lance Black Canary. Death is also becoming increasingly influential to Oliver’s origin on the show, with more people dying in the flashbacks than we ever realized.

        However, your points are certainly valid. If Sara is popular, wouldn’t fans be peeved to see her killed off to pave way for Laurel? Also, hasn’t that family gone through enough, already? And after so much death could yet another death actually have any real trans-formative effect on Laurel?

  30. Hi again Kelly,

    In view of what we’ve been discussing, what do you think of the following recent Katie Cassidy interview from June 2013:

    Here Katie talks about becoming Black Canary as if this is something that will surely happen sometime in future seasons. I can’t imagine that she would say anything like that if it hadn’t be approved by the showrunners, which somewhat invalidates the theory that Sara will become Black Canary.

    • Well, technically, Sara is not yet Black Canary just the same way Oliver is not yet Green Arrow. She’s Canary, and he’s Arrow. I don’t really know if the addition of “Black” and “Green” in front of their respective names really makes that much of a different in the universe of the show, but it probably really does to the comic book fans.

      I should trust what the producers said when Lotz was cast, which is that she will help bridge the gap between Laurel the lawyer and Laurel, Black Canary. If Cassidy is out there toeing the company line the “is she being written out of the show?” concerns are likely overblown.

      I actually read what happened with Laurel in “Three Ghosts” as an attempt at a course-correction. There was no hint whatsoever of her being depressed or having any kind of substance abuse issue. Instead, her conflict was over a potential awkward conversation with Sebastian about his blood drive. I don’t know if this means Laurel’s addiction angle has been completely dropped, since they spent the time setting it up I’d be surprised to see them drop it entirely. However, this might just be an extra shading toward her downward trajectory to rock bottom, as that relationship with Sebastian clearly will not end well. Laurel has mostly been left off in the weeds as of late. Pairing her with the man we know/she doesn’t know is a villain is about as good of a way as we could hope for them to reintegrate her into the show at this point.

      Here’s what I thought, even wrote in my reviews, was going to happen with Laurel this season: embraces law & order out of Tommy grief/misplaced anger, has relationship with her flirty, male boss, encounters massive corruption behind the scenes (ala Rachel Dawes from Batman Begins), and then from there I wasn’t sure. Um, yeah a lot of that did kind of happen, but maybe over the span of three episodes, and then after that I was totally wrong about where they were going with this. So, in truth, I have no idea where this is going. But if Katie says Laurel will be Black Canary someday I believe her.

  31. As Korinna might be aware already that I have very strong opinions about Arrow, Laurel Lance, Black Canary and Katie Cassidy. I regularly research what is going on in the Arrow kingdom to learn about is happening with the characters. Now I firmly believe that the quote you have used about Caity Lotz becoming a regular cast member while it may have been said, i think who said it was incorrect. When it was first mentioned about bringing in the Black Canary and the Caity Lotz, there was so much confusion and misinformation, which is why they made several statements regarding the plot line to clear any confusion up. This is part of the statement that Andrew Kriesberg made and is the one that I always refer to and hold as the true plot line.

    As for what this means for Laurel, Kreisberg says, “Everyone knows that Laurel Lance is the Black Canary. That’s the way it is in the comic books, but how we get from A to B is the story of our show. In the same way that Oliver, when we meet him, is the vigilante, but this season he’s going to becoming the Arrow, that’s the step of his journey to eventually becoming the Green Arrow. Laurel Lance right now is a lawyer with a lot of heart and a lot of humanity and courage. But it takes more than that to put on the mask and go out and fight crime. Our series is the evolution of that. People will see how Caity Lotz fits into Laurel’s journey along the way. For us, it’s very emotional and surprising and exciting. I would say to everybody, we haven’t let you down so far. Keep going on this ride with us.”

    In fact when I look ahead to the episodes to come that have been/are filmed to date (ep2.10 to ep2.14) then the story line he talks about seems to be occurring. We have a big Laurel Lance episode in 2.11 (I suspect she severely goes downhill in this episode – perhaps leading to a life/death struggle in 2.12 – her friend Joanna reappears in this episode), There is a Lance family reunion in 2.13 which brings with it the Nyssa al Ghul from the League of Assassins and I expect a huge battle between her and Sara. The episode after is title 2.14 Time of Death (I suspect a double reference to the Clock King character and Sara’s death). Now the clues we have so far from episodes aired to date is that Sara knew what happened to Shado, but she did not know what happened to Slade, and Oliver genuinely thought Sara had died a second time. So I am predicting that Sara will be written out by 2.14, which leaves Laurel about 9 episodes left of the season to begin her transformation to the Black Canary and Laurel’s re-connection to Oliver (which I think has started to happen). I also predict that as a cliff-hanger we shall see them separated with this time Laurel disappearing as she receives intensive training elsewhere (maybe Lady Shiva) during the hiatus..

    Also I don’t disagree that Laurel Lance’s story line has been badly mishandled, even keeping the same story line they could have integrated her more so that she doesn’t disappear for episodes at a time. This could have been achieved via keeping in contact with Thea and Roy.I find it hard watching when one moment they are giving her daggers across a prison table and the next actively seeking her advice. I think there could have been some mention of Laurel’s dilemma between Oliver and Thea, as Laurel has been so strongly connected to both characters, like she is part of the extended Queen family. That way we get other characters perspectives of her slow decline. To me it’s like they don’t care one minute and the next they do, very hot and cold. Story continuity for the small story lines isn’t a strong suit of the ARROW writers.

    • I remember the Kreisberg quote. The Wrap was just a gossip-y news site putting out what they heard, and it turned out they were right, at least partially. Kreisberg is an actual producer on the show whose job it is to provide us a little guidance but not spoil everything. Obviously, his word carries more weight.

      What you have laid out about your expectations for the next batch of episodes does make sense. My only problem is that even with the rapid pace at which the story is progressing this season I still struggle to envision them going the Black Canary route with Laurel that soon. To me, Laurel is kind of like that last human character on Vampire Diaries after all the other characters have been turned into something supernatural. You know she’ll eventually join them (or die) but you like to keep her normal for a while. Everyone, including Thea and Roy, is being increasingly drawn into Oliver’s crime-fighting family that it seems like you need someone who is still on the outside of it to maintain some tether to reality. Moira kind of does that, but she’s usually scheming and keeping secrets. Yes, eventually Laurel will become Black Canary, but I think they’d actually be wise to push that off until at least next season, with any kind of instigating event inspiring her turn occurring at the end of the current season. However, they are moving at a faster pace this season, and going full-on comic book show. So, you may be totally right about how this all goes down.

      As discussed in an earlier comment, I have it so ingrained in me that an origin story for a superhero means death of some kind. So, I’ve got my eye on Sara and Quentin, with Sara the most likely to drop. But…I don’t want either of them to die.

      I think I was more lenient on the handling of Laurel in “Three Ghosts” than many mostly because I preferred it to the alternative. Yes, it was incredibly peculiar that Laurel’s time prosecuting Moira has been forgotten by Thea (and Oliver, apparently). However, the alternative appears to be that Laurel not even be a character on this show at all. She simply hasn’t been around a whole lot ever since her encounter with the Dollmaker. So, I was just happy to see her around, being reintegrated into the show in an actual workable fashion. But, yeah, it is pretty poor continuity that Thea and Laurel are totally cool with each other. You could argue that Thea realizes Laurel is their only source for help, and that it wouldn’t make sense to antagonize her. Or the opposite which would be that Thea could have used Laurel’s obvious guilt to her advantage. Either way, a simple line or two from each of them at the very beginning of the scene could have effectively covered all that.

  32. Actually I just read some comments were people affectionately call the Wrap the Crap, because it so bad. One person said they were so widely off it was like they have never picked up a comic. So I think we safely put the Wrap’s bad story to bed as just another article written by a crappy online TV gossip site.

    • That is what I thought back in the summer when the story first broke. They did not even refer to Oliver by name in the article but instead called him Arrow. Well, now thst is actually what he’s called on the show, and we did not know that at the time. They could have just gotten lucky there. However, then are the first ones to report about lotz’ casting. I don’t think we can completely dismiss them. At the same time, since no other source I’ve since the season started has said Lotz is set up to become a regular we also shouldn’t put too much trust in what the wrap said.

  33. Actually there story was published on the 18th July and TV Guide is the 19th July. I remember there was so much discussion going on at point and misinformation that is why they came out with the statement. If you rewatch the Comic Con panel discussion where they sort of announce the story line, they make it so confusing. No wonder some journalists got it mixed up, as the show runners botched up the announcement.

    • There were Arrow spoilers flying left and right over the summer. However, I do wonder how many of them were intentional, or at least the timing of them. I think everything about Caity Lotz was probably not on purpose, The Wrap and others publishing reports which forced the producers to partially show their hand. Then the president of the freakin’ CW casually mentions that Lotz would be Sara Lance. I’d guess that they were going to announce Canary but not announce she was Sara Lance. Either way, I also remember how much confusion there was out there over who the heck Lotz was playing and what it meant for Laurel, etc. As far as I could tell at the time and can tell right now, the original news about Lotz being Canary originated with that report from The Wrap.

  34. i recently discovered this show and became obsessed :) i like the story and the action scenes and don’t care if oliver ends up with laurel or somebody third. But i have one Q. A friend from work who is into comics very much told me that people who say that oliver and laurel are endgame are wrong. He said that in comics they were always on&off, eventually got married but then got separated for good and that was the end of their story. And that they are not even in the same universes in the new comics. I dont know what that means… Could someone who is really expert in comics tell me if this is true?

    • The debates are raging on tumblr and other social media whether Laurel and Oliver are comic book “canon” and hence endgame. You can get a pretty good overview of the debate in this tumblr post:

      The online Olicity fans, who are very active on tumblr and elsewhere, are using a lot of ingenious arguments in order to “prove” that the Laurel/Oliver pairing is NOT canon…for obvious reasons, since they stand in the way of their fave ship! Of course, oliciters are a bit hypocritical, because although they constantly refer to the comic book canon to debunk Laurel/Oliver, they conveniently forget that their OWN ship has no base whatsoever in the comic book canon. Felicity Smoak is a minor character in the Firestorm comics, but she has resides in another universe and has no romantic or other connection to the comic book Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. So, if the writers will ever hook up Felicity and Oliver (either temporarily or permanently), it will be for other reasons than comic book canon. Some Olicity fans also refer to the Chloe/Oliver pairing on “Smallville” to support their ship. Apart from the fact that Felicity isn’t Chloe, they also forget that the “Smallville” Oliver Queen was a secondary character, while the “Arrow” Oliver Queen is the protagonist. They also forget that the Black Canary was hardly present in “Smallville”, while she is an important character on “Arrow”, both in terms of screen presence and in terms of her importance in Oliver’s life. In general I have the impression that shippers will latch onto anything that can somehow make their ship more canon, regardless of whether they belong to the Olicity camp or the Lauriver camp. Olicity fans also often refer to the insane sensual chemistry between Felicity/EBR and Oliver/SA, a chemistry which they claim the other couples on “Arrow” lack. I have personally never felt this putative chemistry, but it is often presented as an irrefutable fact in shipper discussions.

      Anyway, I’m sure that Kelly will be able to enlighten you more. All I can say is that the comic book Dinah Lance/Black Canary and Oliver Queen/Green Arrow have a long and stormy love relationship that spans decades and that it is certainly much more canon than any other relationship on the show. They are also the “Arrow” show’s narrative ship, at least in the first season. After the fanon Olicity ship become very popular in the Internet shipper fandom, the “Arrow” showrunners/writers have increased the Olicity fan service, which has prompted some tumblr shippers to proudly declare that “Olicity WILL happen” and “Olicity IS endgame”. My personal opinion is that it’s far too early to talk about endgames…I mean, the show is only in its second season and given the CW propensity for love triangles and romantiv entanglements, I’m sure that Oliver won’t have any permanent relationship for a long time to come!;-)

    • Here’s the gist of it:

      Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen was first created in 1941 as an admitted Batman rip-off, and Black Canary was created in 1947. Initially, Black Canary had her own love interest, Larry Lance – a Gotham City police officer, but Black Canary eventually fell out of use in the comics. They re-introduced her in the 1960s, saying she and Larry had married in the 1950s. By the end of the decade, Larry was killed off, and Black Canary and Green Arrow became a couple. Things got really complicated in the early 1980s when they completely changed the continuity and said that in fact there were actually two Black Canaries, the original Dinah Drake Lance and then her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance. Plus, Larry Lance was back alive. Dinah Drake married Larry, and mostly retired from crimefighting while her daughter Laurel became the new Black Canary.

      It is the Laurel version of Canary that married Green Arrow, the two of them moving to Seattle together. It is also these versions of the characters who co-anchored their own monthly comic book series Green Arrow and Black Canary from 2007 to 2010.. They did eventually get a divorce after he repeatedly lied to her about things, most notably his killing of the villain Prometheus. Of course, this divorce didn’t happen in the comics until 2010 meaning they had been together for a long time, albeit off and on.

      Then in 2011 DC decided to completely re-set their comic book continuity mostly as a way of attracting new readers and spurring new sales, although also unintentionally pissing off their existing readers. As part of this reboot, Green Arrow received his own monthly series while Black Canary was moved to be a founding member of the female team-up series Birds of Prey. This version of Black Canary appears to be the original Dinah Drake, with no marriage to Larry Lance nor Oliver Queen on the horizon. In other word, as far as the current main continuity of DC comics are concerned Green Arrow and Black Canary were never even a couple.

      So, to some the Black Canary/Green Arrow coupling seems overblown. Plus, Oliver is supposed to be a bit of a playboy with other love interests, like Shado. However, in other media outside of the comics Arrow and Canary are usually shown as a couple, specifically in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series. It’s one of those things where no couple in comics really stays together forever. Not even Clark Kent and Lois Lane are always together. Currently, in the main continuity he’s actually shacking up with Wonder Woman. But Because Canary and Arrow have been a couple for so much of their shared history they are usually thought of in association to one another.

      The first season of Arrow certainly made Laurel out to be the love of Oliver’s life, or at least the symbol of potential happiness awaiting him at the end of his career as a vigilante. The second season has backed away from that, and the shipping debates among Arrow fans rages on.

  35. I was just thinking…this must be the “we minored in film” article that has generated the most comments ever! Many of them are mine, but even if we disregard my posts, it seems that the issue of shipping on “Arrow” has drawn a lot of visitors to your site!

  36. It is my understanding in the comics that Oliver Queen is a lot older that Dinah Laurel Lance, so for me I think it could still be a possibility way down the track in the DC New 52 series when Dinah Lance (nee Drake) was to ever have a child.

    Interestingly, the current comic that is doing quite well ATM is the Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013-> current) has Green Arrow and Black Canary as a married couple, and their interactions are smart, sassy and humorous. I love this series, and i like the BoP 52 but Green Arrow 52 – I am not that fond of at all. As the series is a reset it is still likely we could see the character we know and love quite well to eventually make an appearance. Especially we the popularity of the show renewing interest in Green Arrow and Black Canary, as wells as Red Arrow.

    But while they are on and off, mostly due to Green Arrow being a bit of bastard at times (inconsistency in character and writers), Green Arrow and Black Canary were together more than they were apart. The only reason they separated was due to GA being jailed and then exiled from Star City, but they were still both very much in love. I think if the story line continued then they would have got back to together. I think it is tough being in love when you are a super hero and fighting the forces of evil. IMHO if the Black Canary couldn’t make it work with Green Arrow, then no one ever could.

    If they were to make a movie with Green Arrow there would be no doubt the love interest would be Dinah Laurel Lance – AKA Black Canary, and they wouldn’t follow the new 52 story line.

    In regards to the ARROW TV story line, and were Oliver and Laurel are in their romance, IMHO it is more to do with convenience of plot line than anything. You can’t have Laurel going through all the crap she has to with Oliver around, so they have isolated her and are stripping everything away from her to allow her to progress on this ‘dark journey’ so that when she emerges she will be a new person with a refined set of values and new sense of pursuing justice via a different manner – her alter ego the Black Canary. So for me the Olicity moments and the random short-term love interests are just filler while she goes through her crucible. I even half expect them to bring them back together at the end of the season before they make Laurel disappear during the hiatus – where she comes back trained and on fire, probably with Lady Shiva. Oliver will then be off to find her and bring her back. That is my prediction for a Season 3 cliff hanger.

    I just love my Black Canary!

    • As for the age thing, when Green Arrow first started dating the Dinah Drake Black Canary he was younger than her. However, when he started dating the Dinah Laurel version he was much older. You are right about that. According to Wikipedia, at some point during their relationship Oliver was de-aged considerably via resurrection. However, I have to admit to actually not knowing much about that.

      It always gets complicated when you look to a couple’s history in the comics for proof of romantic end-game because such an argument doesn’t completely account for the reality that for characters with decades of history together at certain points the writers just got bored and did other things with them, individually. Not even Clark Kent and Lois Lane have always stayed together. Plus, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson had a marriage that was completely erased from everyone’s memories at some point.

      I don’t have too much else to offer to what you said other than to voice my passionate approval of your endorsement of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Also, I think it could be kind of awesome if they brought in Lady Shiva to train Laurel.

      I hope we were able to satisfy the call for clarity from the original commenter, Anne.

      On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 11:11 PM, We Minored In Film

  37. wow thank you so much for your answer, its pretty clear for me now. definitely, laurel is his first true love and i would love her to have some great story. i dont like how they made oliver cheat on her with her sister though. i think that could be an issue because i dont see any normal woman forgiving completely that, ever…

  38. The issue that he cheated on her comes up a lot as an argument for why a woman wouldn’t get back with someone. IMHO it comes down to this:

    1) In life people do a lot of things we wouldn’t normally expect someone to do, but love gets in the way and it has a powerful force on us, so sometimes they are willing to forgive but not to forget. You can’t help it if you truly love someone. Perhaps it hurts too much to be apart than to be together.

    2) When you are both ‘super hero’ characters your dating pool seems to get narrowed down somewhat.

    3) When you life is on the line and someone risks their life for yours it seems to negate the cheating bit, as how could you put your life in someone’s hands (who you have been in love with before), but not your heart.

    4) Laurel is a very warm & big hearted person who has a tremendous ability to forgive (both in the TV and comics) – she is one the most liked and respected women super heroes, so if anyone could, Laurel could.

    5) While I am certainly not condoning his behaviour, I think Laurel is able to rationalize that they were both young, they weren’t ready for commitment, he was immature back then and today he is a completely different person, that he cheated because he got ‘cold feet’ (mentioned in an episode 2.22?) as he was incapable at the time to discuss their relationship in an adult manner.

    6) She has also seen Oliver with other women, like McKenna Hall where he displayed a normal caring boyfriend behaviour. Of course, the big test will be when she discovers Oliver’s alter ego, and perhaps he discovers hers.

    With Oliver and Laurel (TV and Comics) there will always be that underlying connection that they will never really achieve with anyone else. Yes they may love other people, but there is always this deep rooted connection that draws them back together. I think they are able to move one another like no one else can, and feel more deeply with each other. Well that’s IMHO anyway.

  39. To tell you the truth i think, as a woman, that it is too much. I wouldn’t mind, as i said, that oliver ends up with someone third, completely new as the show progresses. And i dont want love triangles if its possible, please :) thank you all for answering my questions.

    • Anne – How far are you into Arrow? I don’t want to spoil too much (this just now occurred to me, sorry). I will say that Laurel’s path toward potential forgiveness is dotted with her occasionally reminding herself that she’d be crazy to ever forgive Oliver for what he did with/to Sara. I can see where no matter what happens a viewer might just never be able to get past that – like, they can be friends again, but I just can’t buy them as a couple again because how could she ever truly forgive him no matter how heroic or badass he becomes. If I’m honest, I never actually pondered this question all that much when I watched the first season mostly because I already knew Laurel and Oliver’s comic book/cartoon background.

      Also, you’d better re-think the “no love triangles thing” because in its short history Arrow has already thrown several of those at Oliver, and not all of them even in the present day :) I mostly just roll with it since it’s the non-romantic elements of the show I like the most. But, yeah, this is a show which fancies itself a juicy love triangle.

    • That’s awesome. I loved that episode. I have gone back and forth on the second season as a whole since they’ve been changing so much. However, there have been some definite high points, episode 9 (“Three Ghosts”) chief among them. I said it in my review of “Three Ghosts,” but as soon as I finished watching that episode I had the overwhelming urge to watch it again (

      • also to refer back to olivers love life, i now have a favorite and it is sara. i hope they keep her. girl is amazing. although i guess she will eventually die and make room for laurel to become next canary. and i dont know how is that going to turn out because this actress (sara) is seriosly kicking it. i mean she is great and im afraid that katie cassidy wont even come close :(

      • I was really torn about Sara. Bringing her back required so much retconning, and I thought they had reached a nice conclusion with everyone’s grief over her death last season during Laurel’s group cry with her parents. I just didn’t think it was necessary to bring Sara back, even if to serve as a bridge to Laurel eventually becoming Black Canary.

        They’ve kind of won me over because I’m with you – I think Caity Lotz kicks ass in the role. She had several showcase episodes earlier in the season, and as of late has receded a bit into the background, isolated to flashbacks. However, most of my favorite scenes of the season so far have involved her. She plays traumatized and deeply damaged exceptionally well, and is “seriously kicking it” in her action sequences.

        We’ve had debates elsewhere on the site, and I’m sure many fans have debated this as well, but it’s not clear what the future holds for Sara. I really love what Caity Lotz has done with Sara (more so the present day scenes than flashback, but either way). I also like Katie Cassidy as Laurel. I recognize that Sara is a complete creation of the show with no comic book history, and she is currently wearing what should rightfully, i.e., Black Canary costume, someday belong to Laurel. That would seem to make Sara the expendable one. I would very much so prefer that Sara stick around for quite a bit longer, though, as in become a series regular next season. Plus, out of all Oliver’s current potential love interests Sara kind of makes the most sense – they have the history together, she’s the only person who can relate to his experiences on the island, and she also has a secret identity she is hiding from loved ones. It’s kind of like Huntress, 2.0, just ever so slightly better adjusted. But at least in the short term I have no real idea where they’re going with any of the stuff involving Oliver’s love life.

        Or, to put it far more succinctly, I’m totally with you on Sara.

  40. I do appreciate that everyone will have a favourite, but for me Sara will never ever be the true Black Canary. While she has the fight skills, she has by no way has the personality traits of the comic book character. She has is also a trained assassin who has no problem in killing, something the Black Canary is opposed too. While Dinah ‘Laurel’ Lance on the other hand has some fighting skills, she has all of the personality traits of the true Black Canary. Dinah Laurel Lance is a seeker of justice, a warm compassionate person, she is a very caring and loving person.

    Sara is just a plot device (a poor one, and I wish they had never had gone this path, then I wouldn’t be having the same discussion), she is simply as the TPTB have said a way to get from point A (Sara) to point b (Laurel). Sara is only a guest star designed to tell the beginning of the Black Canary story line. How long that will be is anywhere from episode 2.14 just filmed (only seen island scenes for 2.15, as I suspect the Amazo is sunk in this ep) to the remainder of this season. We know for a fact that Sara does not know what happened to Slade on the island, so we can assume her death for the second time appears before then.

    In episode 2.10 Blast Radius we being the next chapter in telling the beginning of Laurel’s chapter to become the Black Canary. The thing to remember about the Arrow is its important theme, which is it’s not the destination of being hero, but rather the journey to become a hero that it follows. That is why it will follow the origins of Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Arrow and Speedy. As well as a couple of villains like Deathstroke. To me that is a much more interesting story line than a pre-packaged and ready to serve hero, which Sara offers.

    It will be interesting to see how Sara fits into Laurel’s story line and how that dynamic will work.

    One last thing, the cast is very heavy at the moment so adding another regular character will just take away the potential development for all the current wonderful characters the show has. Less is more to me.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to the episodes where the Lance family interacts (2.13 + 2.14), and the reunion of the two sisters. And I suspect Sara will turn up in episode 2.12 when she hears what has happened to Laurel (whatever that might be).

    And so the drama continues…

    • you are probably right, but i haven’t read a comic in my life, and i am speaking as someone who watches show without any previous knowledge. so i dont have formed opinion or expectation in advance like you guys do, which gives me a sort of clarity, just going with the flow. i still really dont care that much who oliver ends up with, but sara is my choise. as for the show itself, without any reference to the comics, i still think that laurel is really questionable because their history is really hard and messy and they are both wrecks. i guess that its writers fault but i really dont see how she could forgive him. i mean ok, you love me, you save my life 1000 times, i love you in my heart but i would never forgive that. and i dont know a woman who would. but its just a show and strangest things have happened :)
      thank you for your view

  41. Pingback: Article on the Felicity/Oliver/Laurel Triangle « Oliver & Felicity

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