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  1. #1
    Black Canary dreamsofnever's Avatar
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    The Oliver Queen Discussion Thread

    Good, bad, indifferent, this is the place to discuss your thoughts and views on Oliver Queen and Stephen Amell's portrayal of him.

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    I'll post the analysis a few have requested later on when I have the chance to write it up, but for now one thing I will say is that I think that while he tries to portray his keeping his secret from his family as him protecting them in Seasons 1 and 2, that it is in truth him trying to protect himself from what he believes he will be shown: pity, horror, etc. From Lance, he probably wouldn't care about it.... but he outright told Laurel in 1x05 that if people knew, if she knew, what he had gone through he couldn't handle seeing the looks of pity. I believe that was one of the few times he was not lying in any fashion to her during Season 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    I'll post the analysis a few have requested later on when I have the chance to write it up, but for now one thing I will say is that I think that while he tries to portray his keeping his secret from his family as him protecting them in Seasons 1 and 2, that it is in truth him trying to protect himself from what he believes he will be shown: pity, horror, etc. From Lance, he probably wouldn't care about it.... but he outright told Laurel in 1x05 that if people knew, if she knew, what he had gone through he couldn't handle seeing the looks of pity. I believe that was one of the few times he was not lying in any fashion to her during Season 1.
    I look forward to your detailed analysis, and I think that this is pretty accurate. I think that Oliver was protecting himself as much as his family members. I think it's safe to say that some survivors of trauma may have a harder time coping if they have someone else mirror back just how screwed up the thing they survived really was.

    And as for my own thoughts, I am going to admit that I have always struggled to connect with Oliver. That makes me sad, because I love Green Arrow in just about every other incarnation (even though he can be very problematic and jerky at times in the comics). I knew that it would be a struggle going into the show because I usually do tend to dislike characters that cheat on their significant others, and the fact that he cheated with Laurel's sister was a pretty big mark against him from the start. And while, yes, comics!Oliver has cheated on Dinah, he has a lot of good points that have made it easier for me to like him in spite of that. I also really didn't like how easily he killed people in the first season, but that has been hashed over and over in other threads. And in the most recent season, I've found his behavior towards those around him to be pretty awful. I hated that he liked to Thea about what Malcolm did and after she found out, he continued to force her to house Malcolm and work with him. I hated the way he treated Felicity-telling her he couldn't be with her, but continuing to string her along with his inappropriately timed "I love you" and also getting all pissy when she showed signs of moving on. And what he did to Diggle's wife and daughter (leaving a baby that young alone for any extended period of time is VERY dangerous and could have led to baby Sara's death) was unforgivable in my eyes.

    Oliver's most redeeming moments for me have nearly all been with his family and Tommy. He's had a lot of good moments with all of them and some of the interactions with Thea were just about the only time that I didn't strongly dislike him in season 3. So here's hoping we get some good development of his relationship with his sister and that he actually does right by her and tries to protect her from Malcolm/recognizes Malcolm as a villain and not a potential ally come season four.

    I won't say that the character has no redeemable qualities, but he is easily my least favorite character of the show. Which is the main reason that I'm not sure if I'll be watching next season. That said, I'm really interested to see some analysis of his character and I think he's been brought up in plenty of other threads so I'd like to see the discussion that we can generate in here.

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    An Analysis of Oliver Queen

    Now, please remember these are just my own observations, and I try to be as objective as possible. The reason I'm not doing one for Felicity is because at the moment, I can't be objective.

    Selfish, arrogant, and a chronic drunk. These are the three things that make up the Oliver Queen that got on the Queen’s Gambit in 2007, unaware of what was shortly to befall him. His selfishness can be seen by the way he acts when confronted with the possibility of fatherhood, which his mother intuitively picks up on. Moira Queen shows a display of honor in that rather than do what other families in this position might do (and which Malcolm Merlyn certainly would have done) and force the girl to either have an abortion or something equally dark, she offers to secure her grandchild’s future on the condition that Oliver remain unaware of the girl’s decision to keep the baby. Moira rightfully knows her son is not capable of handling this responsibility, but is neither as cruel nor as calculating as she is later forced to become while in league with Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver’s selfishness can also be seen in how he treated his relationship with the Lance sisters. Pretty it up however you like, but choosing Sara was deliberate and most likely an attempt to hurt Laurel. I suspect he even planned on never crawling back to her again.

    Whether that meant he would be more in line with Sara’s type of lifestyle (a more wild and unstructured lifestyle if accounts from Laurel, Dinah, Quentin, and Sara herself are to be believed) is up for debate since from what I’ve been able to tell, he did not do hard drugs like Thea did. His arrogance is likewise seen in these actions, and he outright states he doesn’t have memories from any of Tommy’s parties (and, most likely, most of the parties he went to). This is the kind of man Oliver Queen was prior to his experiences over the five years he was away from Starling.

    Yao Fei, Edward Fyers, William Wintergreen, and Slade Wilson all play a role in humbling the young billionaire during the course of that first year. Oliver learns basic survival skills, and begins to understand there are more important things than the next chance to get laid and wasted. He backtracks slightly when he meets Shado, Yao Fei’s daughter, but is probably a little intimated by her because she is much more skilled and capable of defending herself than he is. He takes this as a challenge, since its one thing in the mind of a male for another man (Slade Wilson) to be more skilled, but another for a woman who is, from what I can tell, younger than him to be so. Oliver is well-known to be more than a little sexist. Ignoring this is folly.

    Oliver gives up a chance to go home at the end of his first year away for two reasons: first, he is a different person and isn’t about to let Fyers kill Shado or a wounded Slade in order to return home; second, because his time on the Island has taught him not to take anyone at their word, especially Fyers and his men. He then spends the next five months training with Slade and Shado before the arrival of the Amazo. His relationship with Shado is neither as deep nor as committed as his previous relations with the Lance sisters was, but he forms emotional attachments very strongly with those he cares about. This is a new aspect that is perhaps the first point where his years away “stripped away” everything he wasn’t.

    Unfortunately, Oliver’s life on the Island is disrupted by the arrival of a face from the past. I may post an analysis of Sara later on, but touching on this for the moment: Sara in the flashbacks proves to be more or less someone who is easily swayed by those who protect her. I think this, in part, is what leads her to want to be more than she is during the years she spent as a member of the League of Assassins. Unfortunately, this tendency of hers leads to several problems, the most jarring of which is the death of Shado. If Ivo is to be believed, than he had no intention of killing Sara and was merely messing with Oliver’s head before killing Shado. His later mind games that turned Slade on them is evident that Ivo has a liking for such games.

    Oliver’s loyalty to his friends is both a blessing and a curse, though, as his hope to reach Slade through the madness of the Mirakuru is doomed to failure. In part, I believe that Sara’s presence exacerbated the situation further. She could have fled the Amazo, but chose not to, showing the beginnings of the woman who she was shown to be in the modern day of Season 2.

    Oliver’s time in Hong Kong was focused solely on chipping away his humanity, from learning to torture to being tortured and coerced by Waller to give up the Yamashiros. His decision to stay away from Starling City once he dealt with Shrieve speaks to a moral character, albeit one that has become jaded and continues to do become jaded over the next two years, if his actions in Season 1 are any indication.

    Upon returning to Starling, Oliver clearly had the initial plan to have everything else set up before he began his crusade. I suspect he intended to have the club well on its way and a decent amount of knowledge about his targets before beginning his work as the Hood, but as he said in the pilot, the abduction of he and Tommy caused him to accelerate his plans. He shows a remarkable versatility here, planning out how to handle suspicion about his being the vigilante probably from the very moment Diggle became his bodyguard and he checked into him. His lack of subtlety with Diggle, and later Felicity, show his willingness to test those who could become assets.

    Now here, let me address something: it is very clear after Felicity joins them that his somewhat flirtatious nature with her in the previous episodes was an act. Oliver learned from Waller and likely others how to turn someone into an asset. Since we now have to acknowledge Oliver seeing Felicity in his mother’s office during 3x14 as being part of the canon, we have to figure that he heard her; his hearing is supposedly pretty good at this point. Now, he did eventually grow to consider Felicity a friend in the latter quarter of Season 1 and throughout Season 2. I’m not disputing that. But I don’t believe he ever considered her a romantic interest and there’s been more people telling him that he’s in love with her. I think Oliver, both in Season 1 and in Season 3, didn’t really know what love (at least of that between two people who mutually love and respect one another in a romantic sense) is.

    Oliver is shown to have a twisted sense of honor, in that he gives the scum he visits a chance to do the right thing. But he is not unwilling to take the lives of those who get in between him and his target. Now, people talk about his willingness to kill. Do these people probably have families? Of course there will be some. But they profit from the proceeds of their employer, and most employers like Adam Hunt, Marcus Redman, etc. profit from death and the suffering of less-fortunate families. Finally, these are men armed with rapid-fire weapons, and Oliver is using a bow and arrows. Yeah, sorry, but I would take lethal shots too if I were going up against guys with rapid-fire weapons with only a thin element of Kevlar in my leather outfit and armed with a bow and arrows.

    Oliver is eventually forced to reveal himself to Tommy and is faced with the very thing he has been trying to avoid with lying to his family and friends about who and what he has become. Horror, revulsion, shock are only a few of the emotions Tommy displays, and this furthers Oliver’s belief that he has to keep his secret from his family, as much to keep them safe from his night life as to keep himself safe from what he knows will be a reflection of Tommy’s own views on him. In the end, he finds himself having defeated Malcolm Merlyn, but with a bittersweet victory as the Glades lies in ruins and his best friend lies dead due to the sins of their fathers.
    The bond that the original Team Arrow shares is shown to be strong in Season 2 as Diggle and Felicity journey to Lian Yu and convince Oliver to return to work on Queen Consolidated (officially) and to (unofficially) convince him to go back under the hood and pick up the bow. Oliver resists, but when his own sister is kidnapped by men who seem to have taken inspiration from his actions, he feels he has to make things right. He then dedicates his new crusade to his friend’s memory. The imagery of Oliver kneeling in front of Tommy’s grave that accompanies the Season 2 introduction of “My name is Oliver Queen. . .” is greatly symbolic of what he told Malcolm at the end of Season 1: “Thank you for teaching me what I’m fighting for. . . . but my father taught me how.” If I were to put what his kneeling in front of Tommy’s grave possibly means into words, it’d be along the lines of “Thank you for showing me a new path, a path you could be proud of.”

    Oliver faces more than a few trials in his new commitment, with the return of the Count and then his old friend Slade Wilson’s desire for
    revenge. His penchant for secrets continues to be a factor when Sara Lance is revealed to be alive and we discover he lied about exactly when she died in his mind for the sake of the Lance family, since it was his fault Sara was on the Gambit. Now, while both of them are guilty of making that choice, I would put the onus of the blame on Oliver because as I said at the beginning, he could’ve chosen any girl but he chose Sara for a reason.

    Oliver eventually proves himself to be a hero, albeit still a dark one, when he captures Slade and locks him away on Purgatory once more.

    Season 3, Oliver is struggling with the fact that he wants to be Oliver Queen, but the city still needs the Arrow and he needs to be focused in order to be the hero the city needs. This dilemma of identity, of how much focus to give each side of their lives, is a dilemma every hero must face at some point. Do they focus solely on protecting their city, never resting until their body gives out on them, or do they give themselves a chance at happiness? Or do they, in the manner of Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne, embrace a superficial lifestyle to show a public façade to those who want it, and then use that to mask why they could not be the vigilantes Batman and Green Arrow?

    Season 3 also brings a new opportunity for Oliver in that he has become the Elder Statesman of a budding group of vigilantes and heroes. He gives pointers to The Flash and the Atom, and shares a bond beyond teacher and student with Roy, now a hero in his own right as Arsenal. He is not this way with them all, however, being conflicted over Laurel getting involved with the life that has already taken Sara from him and Quentin, and not wanting to lose another woman he’s loved. In the end he accepts not only his former flame, but also his little sister as being worthy successors to his legacy in Starling as he prepares to leave, but shows he still has a fire in him, and a penchant for secrets, in the final minutes of the season as he turns control of the League of Assassins over to twisted father figure Malcolm Merlyn (and let’s face it, I don’t think Malcolm being Thea’s father was the sole reason he couldn’t kill Merlyn), and the shadow of the vigilante was on his face when he told Malcolm that whether they become enemies once more depends on what he does with his new position.

    Like Felicity with regards to him, Oliver has built an idealized version of Felicity up in his mind and that is why the two of them, despite having been at odds for pretty much the entire second half of the season, ride off into the sunset. I don’t see this relationship lasting because Oliver has not truly found the balance between Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow, and he is still keeping secrets, still making choices that are in a murky moral area. Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim can do what they wish, but if they continue to sacrifice story for the sake of appeasement, than the journey of Oliver Queen won’t be completed. Because Smallville, for all its problems, did the following: it found a balance between melodrama for the female half of the viewers, and appropriate action sequences for the male population of viewers. All the quotes and interviews I’ve seen from Mericle and Guggenheim suggest less of an action-oriented project. Its only the fact that Stephen Amell says he was blown away by the script for 4x01 that I have hope for this season.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    The reason I'm not doing one for Felicity is because at the moment, I can't be objective.
    Okay, I'm just starting to read your analysis (thanks for posting!) but before I go any further I just have to say this really makes me laugh, and as a fellow sufferer I'm wondering how long you think the affliction might last?

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    Black Canary dreamsofnever's Avatar
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    JDBentz, that was a beautifully written and well-done analysis of Oliver and his character growth throughout the three years. Thank you so much for sharing! I agree with a lot of your observations and think you were very on-point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamsofnever View Post
    JDBentz, that was a beautifully written and well-done analysis of Oliver and his character growth throughout the three years. Thank you so much for sharing! I agree with a lot of your observations and think you were very on-point.
    Agree! Thank you, this was a wonderful treat. Your Oliver and Laurel analyses have made me strongly consider rewatching S1 & S2, which I find highly surprising as, after S3, I've just felt: why bother with any Arrow rewatches?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    Now, please remember these are just my own observations, and I try to be as objective as possible. The reason I'm not doing one for Felicity is because at the moment, I can't be objective.

    Selfish, arrogant, and a chronic drunk. These are the three things that make up the Oliver Queen that got on the Queen’s Gambit in 2007, unaware of what was shortly to befall him. His selfishness can be seen by the way he acts when confronted with the possibility of fatherhood, which his mother intuitively picks up on. Moira Queen shows a display of honor in that rather than do what other families in this position might do (and which Malcolm Merlyn certainly would have done) and force the girl to either have an abortion or something equally dark, she offers to secure her grandchild’s future on the condition that Oliver remain unaware of the girl’s decision to keep the baby. Moira rightfully knows her son is not capable of handling this responsibility, but is neither as cruel nor as calculating as she is later forced to become while in league with Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver’s selfishness can also be seen in how he treated his relationship with the Lance sisters. Pretty it up however you like, but choosing Sara was deliberate and most likely an attempt to hurt Laurel. I suspect he even planned on never crawling back to her again.

    Whether that meant he would be more in line with Sara’s type of lifestyle (a more wild and unstructured lifestyle if accounts from Laurel, Dinah, Quentin, and Sara herself are to be believed) is up for debate since from what I’ve been able to tell, he did not do hard drugs like Thea did. His arrogance is likewise seen in these actions, and he outright states he doesn’t have memories from any of Tommy’s parties (and, most likely, most of the parties he went to). This is the kind of man Oliver Queen was prior to his experiences over the five years he was away from Starling.

    Yao Fei, Edward Fyers, William Wintergreen, and Slade Wilson all play a role in humbling the young billionaire during the course of that first year. Oliver learns basic survival skills, and begins to understand there are more important things than the next chance to get laid and wasted. He backtracks slightly when he meets Shado, Yao Fei’s daughter, but is probably a little intimated by her because she is much more skilled and capable of defending herself than he is. He takes this as a challenge, since its one thing in the mind of a male for another man (Slade Wilson) to be more skilled, but another for a woman who is, from what I can tell, younger than him to be so. Oliver is well-known to be more than a little sexist. Ignoring this is folly.

    Oliver gives up a chance to go home at the end of his first year away for two reasons: first, he is a different person and isn’t about to let Fyers kill Shado or a wounded Slade in order to return home; second, because his time on the Island has taught him not to take anyone at their word, especially Fyers and his men. He then spends the next five months training with Slade and Shado before the arrival of the Amazo. His relationship with Shado is neither as deep nor as committed as his previous relations with the Lance sisters was, but he forms emotional attachments very strongly with those he cares about. This is a new aspect that is perhaps the first point where his years away “stripped away” everything he wasn’t.

    Unfortunately, Oliver’s life on the Island is disrupted by the arrival of a face from the past. I may post an analysis of Sara later on, but touching on this for the moment: Sara in the flashbacks proves to be more or less someone who is easily swayed by those who protect her. I think this, in part, is what leads her to want to be more than she is during the years she spent as a member of the League of Assassins. Unfortunately, this tendency of hers leads to several problems, the most jarring of which is the death of Shado. If Ivo is to be believed, than he had no intention of killing Sara and was merely messing with Oliver’s head before killing Shado. His later mind games that turned Slade on them is evident that Ivo has a liking for such games.

    Oliver’s loyalty to his friends is both a blessing and a curse, though, as his hope to reach Slade through the madness of the Mirakuru is doomed to failure. In part, I believe that Sara’s presence exacerbated the situation further. She could have fled the Amazo, but chose not to, showing the beginnings of the woman who she was shown to be in the modern day of Season 2.

    Oliver’s time in Hong Kong was focused solely on chipping away his humanity, from learning to torture to being tortured and coerced by Waller to give up the Yamashiros. His decision to stay away from Starling City once he dealt with Shrieve speaks to a moral character, albeit one that has become jaded and continues to do become jaded over the next two years, if his actions in Season 1 are any indication.

    Upon returning to Starling, Oliver clearly had the initial plan to have everything else set up before he began his crusade. I suspect he intended to have the club well on its way and a decent amount of knowledge about his targets before beginning his work as the Hood, but as he said in the pilot, the abduction of he and Tommy caused him to accelerate his plans. He shows a remarkable versatility here, planning out how to handle suspicion about his being the vigilante probably from the very moment Diggle became his bodyguard and he checked into him. His lack of subtlety with Diggle, and later Felicity, show his willingness to test those who could become assets.

    Now here, let me address something: it is very clear after Felicity joins them that his somewhat flirtatious nature with her in the previous episodes was an act. Oliver learned from Waller and likely others how to turn someone into an asset. Since we now have to acknowledge Oliver seeing Felicity in his mother’s office during 3x14 as being part of the canon, we have to figure that he heard her; his hearing is supposedly pretty good at this point. Now, he did eventually grow to consider Felicity a friend in the latter quarter of Season 1 and throughout Season 2. I’m not disputing that. But I don’t believe he ever considered her a romantic interest and there’s been more people telling him that he’s in love with her. I think Oliver, both in Season 1 and in Season 3, didn’t really know what love (at least of that between two people who mutually love and respect one another in a romantic sense) is.

    Oliver is shown to have a twisted sense of honor, in that he gives the scum he visits a chance to do the right thing. But he is not unwilling to take the lives of those who get in between him and his target. Now, people talk about his willingness to kill. Do these people probably have families? Of course there will be some. But they profit from the proceeds of their employer, and most employers like Adam Hunt, Marcus Redman, etc. profit from death and the suffering of less-fortunate families. Finally, these are men armed with rapid-fire weapons, and Oliver is using a bow and arrows. Yeah, sorry, but I would take lethal shots too if I were going up against guys with rapid-fire weapons with only a thin element of Kevlar in my leather outfit and armed with a bow and arrows.

    Oliver is eventually forced to reveal himself to Tommy and is faced with the very thing he has been trying to avoid with lying to his family and friends about who and what he has become. Horror, revulsion, shock are only a few of the emotions Tommy displays, and this furthers Oliver’s belief that he has to keep his secret from his family, as much to keep them safe from his night life as to keep himself safe from what he knows will be a reflection of Tommy’s own views on him. In the end, he finds himself having defeated Malcolm Merlyn, but with a bittersweet victory as the Glades lies in ruins and his best friend lies dead due to the sins of their fathers.
    The bond that the original Team Arrow shares is shown to be strong in Season 2 as Diggle and Felicity journey to Lian Yu and convince Oliver to return to work on Queen Consolidated (officially) and to (unofficially) convince him to go back under the hood and pick up the bow. Oliver resists, but when his own sister is kidnapped by men who seem to have taken inspiration from his actions, he feels he has to make things right. He then dedicates his new crusade to his friend’s memory. The imagery of Oliver kneeling in front of Tommy’s grave that accompanies the Season 2 introduction of “My name is Oliver Queen. . .” is greatly symbolic of what he told Malcolm at the end of Season 1: “Thank you for teaching me what I’m fighting for. . . . but my father taught me how.” If I were to put what his kneeling in front of Tommy’s grave possibly means into words, it’d be along the lines of “Thank you for showing me a new path, a path you could be proud of.”

    Oliver faces more than a few trials in his new commitment, with the return of the Count and then his old friend Slade Wilson’s desire for
    revenge. His penchant for secrets continues to be a factor when Sara Lance is revealed to be alive and we discover he lied about exactly when she died in his mind for the sake of the Lance family, since it was his fault Sara was on the Gambit. Now, while both of them are guilty of making that choice, I would put the onus of the blame on Oliver because as I said at the beginning, he could’ve chosen any girl but he chose Sara for a reason.

    Oliver eventually proves himself to be a hero, albeit still a dark one, when he captures Slade and locks him away on Purgatory once more.

    Season 3, Oliver is struggling with the fact that he wants to be Oliver Queen, but the city still needs the Arrow and he needs to be focused in order to be the hero the city needs. This dilemma of identity, of how much focus to give each side of their lives, is a dilemma every hero must face at some point. Do they focus solely on protecting their city, never resting until their body gives out on them, or do they give themselves a chance at happiness? Or do they, in the manner of Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne, embrace a superficial lifestyle to show a public façade to those who want it, and then use that to mask why they could not be the vigilantes Batman and Green Arrow?

    Season 3 also brings a new opportunity for Oliver in that he has become the Elder Statesman of a budding group of vigilantes and heroes. He gives pointers to The Flash and the Atom, and shares a bond beyond teacher and student with Roy, now a hero in his own right as Arsenal. He is not this way with them all, however, being conflicted over Laurel getting involved with the life that has already taken Sara from him and Quentin, and not wanting to lose another woman he’s loved. In the end he accepts not only his former flame, but also his little sister as being worthy successors to his legacy in Starling as he prepares to leave, but shows he still has a fire in him, and a penchant for secrets, in the final minutes of the season as he turns control of the League of Assassins over to twisted father figure Malcolm Merlyn (and let’s face it, I don’t think Malcolm being Thea’s father was the sole reason he couldn’t kill Merlyn), and the shadow of the vigilante was on his face when he told Malcolm that whether they become enemies once more depends on what he does with his new position.

    Like Felicity with regards to him, Oliver has built an idealized version of Felicity up in his mind and that is why the two of them, despite having been at odds for pretty much the entire second half of the season, ride off into the sunset. I don’t see this relationship lasting because Oliver has not truly found the balance between Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow, and he is still keeping secrets, still making choices that are in a murky moral area. Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim can do what they wish, but if they continue to sacrifice story for the sake of appeasement, than the journey of Oliver Queen won’t be completed. Because Smallville, for all its problems, did the following: it found a balance between melodrama for the female half of the viewers, and appropriate action sequences for the male population of viewers. All the quotes and interviews I’ve seen from Mericle and Guggenheim suggest less of an action-oriented project. Its only the fact that Stephen Amell says he was blown away by the script for 4x01 that I have hope for this season.
    Very good and well thought out. I agree with all of this. I have the feeling this will most likely not be the only reply post.

    I'll take a bit of time to think on this. The quick highlights for now on a few things are saying Oliver is a little sexist which is the truth, I like how you've said of using his skills from Waller to bring Felicity in due to the office conversation which is something I've thought of myself. Plus from what you've said of Oliver having to change his plans is something I just now realized of the thing with that drove the episode Damaged is he probably never would have done that if it wasn't for the kidnapping.

    Ah good catch on Oliver having a idealized version of Felicity.

    Now that I think about it your correct on Smallville although since it's been a long time since any of the episodes I'm not going comment on this one.

    Basically what Steven Amell is saying is so far the only main reason like you I have hope but that's only if the first few episodes are good. If not they will have failed this viewer.

  9. #9
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    Well, Oliver is my favorite character but actually I don't think I have anything good to say about him I did have trouble "bonding" with him in S1 but ended up "liking" him by which I mean I was interested in watching what he was up to.

    In S2 I probably really did "like" him b/c I liked the idea that he was going to try to stop killing and he was trying to be more of an example to others and discourage them from killing also. I enjoyed seeing that aspect of his journey.

    Throughout S3 I still considered him my favorite character, I think mostly out of laziness: I'd filled out the paperwork, written his name in the line for "favorite character" and just left it there. But really, in S3 I just felt like he was MIA. Whoever this guy Oliver was that I was watching, wasn't the Oliver I had been following before. And not just b/c he had decided to question his ability to be Oliver versus Arrow identify. Probably b/c it felt like the season kind of lost focus and was just all over the place and nothing really felt cohesive about his story. I lost a sense of the fact that he was on a journey. But because I was very unhappy with S3, I don't know that I can be bothered to award his designation as "favorite character" to anyone else...

    (Actually, Diggle probably really is my favorite character, it's just that he doesn't get enough screentime and focus for him to be "interesting" -- in other words, if I only watched the show b/c his storyline was the only one of interest, well I wouldn't watch b/c the small return (Diggle screen time) I would get on spending an hour watching wouldn't be worth it. Not that I expect Diggle to be a main character....)

    But back to Oliver; here's another thing (in addition to cheating on Laurel with Sara) about Oliver that I just find appalling: in S2 Sara had returned and the family was attempting to have a get together (Laurel had rebuffed a previous attempt), and finally Laurel agreed (the whole thing was very painful for her). Sara and Oliver were sleeping together, and Laurel of course had no idea. Poor Sara is worried about the get-together being unpleasant. So WHAT does she do? Asks Oliver OF ALL PEOPLE to come with her for support!! And Oliver AGREES!! Of course we all know how that worked out...

    I won't comment on what I thought about Sara at this point, b/c I'd rather focus on disparaging Oliver. But I thought that was totally asinine and insensitive on his part. Incredibly poor judgment. I don't care if he felt concern for Sara. Laurel is over there, struggling with substance abuse and he thinks this would be appropriate???? Even if she weren't struggling with substance abuse, he thinks this would be appropriate??

    I was never a big fan of Oliver and Sara getting back together. I felt their initial tryst had already been hurtful enough. And I felt that his getting back with Sara was a form of laziness. It was just easier to take the lazy way out (Sara's right there in front of him, willing) than it was to exert any effort at control over himself in an attempt to show that he could be a better person (that he would avoid going right back to the thing that he had done before that had been so cruel to Laurel and that supposedly? he felt some remorse and regret for).

    Yes, Sara was one of the few women that he could be himself with (secret identity and all that), but I didn't feel like the two of them had some kind of big all-encompassing love that would make it worth going back down that road, at Laurel's expense. Especially considering that he had been trying to rebuild a friendship with Laurel. In the highly unlikely event that Sara was his one-and-only-true-love and they just had to be together b/c there would never be anyone else on earth for each of them, then he could have at least: 1. stayed away from the dinner; (Sara's a big-girl-vigilante, she can take care of herself even if she is afraid of Laurel's fussing at her at dinner), then 2. had a talk with Laurel in which he apologized and acknowledged the harm he did and then told Laurel that he and Sara were now together.

    As I said, I just found this yet another instance of appalling behavior on his part!
    Last edited by Shelby Kent; 08-03-2015 at 08:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Kent View Post
    Okay, I'm just starting to read your analysis (thanks for posting!) but before I go any further I just have to say this really makes me laugh, and as a fellow sufferer I'm wondering how long you think the affliction might last?
    Hopefully before October....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Kent View Post
    Agree! Thank you, this was a wonderful treat. Your Oliver and Laurel analyses have made me strongly consider rewatching S1 & S2, which I find highly surprising as, after S3, I've just felt: why bother with any Arrow rewatches?
    I know the feeling, though for different reasons. Glad you enjoyed the analyses I've done.

    Dreamsofnever: glad you enjoyed it.

    Something I forgot to mention in the analysis: Oliver further shows the training he got from Waller and probably others in the next two years by accurately portraying to his family someone who has been without human contact for five years. His socially-stunted bluntness where he says "I didn't know you wanted to sleep with my mother, Walter" is an excellent sign of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    I know the feeling, though for different reasons. Glad you enjoyed the analyses I've done.

    Dreamsofnever: glad you enjoyed it.

    Something I forgot to mention in the analysis: Oliver further shows the training he got from Waller and probably others in the next two years by accurately portraying to his family someone who has been without human contact for five years. His socially-stunted bluntness where he says "I didn't know you wanted to sleep with my mother, Walter" is an excellent sign of this.
    Ah good catch on the dinner scene. I just thought it was Oliver being Oliver on his bluntness. Because I've never really seen him beat around the bush even in the flashbacks. Now you've got me wondering how much of Waller's training he has used in other places through out the 3 years of the show. I know the most obvious is when he fooled even Ras A Gul into thinking he really made a turn to the dark side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    I know the feeling, though for different reasons. Glad you enjoyed the analyses I've done.

    Dreamsofnever: glad you enjoyed it.

    Something I forgot to mention in the analysis: Oliver further shows the training he got from Waller and probably others in the next two years by accurately portraying to his family someone who has been without human contact for five years. His socially-stunted bluntness where he says "I didn't know you wanted to sleep with my mother, Walter" is an excellent sign of this.
    Now that is a fascinating take on that scene. Headcanon accepted!

    And Shelby, Oliver accompanying Sara to that dinner party (and Sara asking him) was in SUCH poor taste. I didn't care for the characters falling back into old patterns, but I could understand it because they had shared trauma and were both dealing with a lot and I could understand them seeking comfort in each other, but the way they handled letting Laurel know about the fact that they were sleeping together was in the most callous and cruel way they possibly could have. And while Laurel needed to hit rock bottom and needed someone to confront her, Oliver was not the appropriate person to do so and certainly not after he'd just revealed that he was screwing her sister yet again.

    I also really disliked that Sara never once apologized to Laurel or acknowledged that she'd hurt Laurel. But that belongs in the Sara thread I suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamsofnever View Post
    And Shelby, Oliver accompanying Sara to that dinner party (and Sara asking him) was in SUCH poor taste. I didn't care for the characters falling back into old patterns, but I could understand it because they had shared trauma and were both dealing with a lot and I could understand them seeking comfort in each other, but the way they handled letting Laurel know about the fact that they were sleeping together was in the most callous and cruel way they possibly could have. And while Laurel needed to hit rock bottom and needed someone to confront her, Oliver was not the appropriate person to do so and certainly not after he'd just revealed that he was screwing her sister yet again.
    Regarding Sara and Oliver getting together, I can see that the conditions would be in place so that it would not be surprising that it would happen, but I am unwilling to give either a character a pass for having given in.

    What I think it shows is that neither Sara nor Oliver felt the need to make atonement to Laurel (for the past harm they did to her) a priority in their lives, which would have been the honorable thing to do. It need not even be that either took the step of actually apologizing face-to-face to Laurel for the harm (though that would be ideal), but each could have at least made a vow to himself/herself that, as part of the effort to atone, each would avoid becoming involved with the other ever again.

    But, setting aside any focus on Sara at this time, I am not really surprised to see that Oliver did not make it a higher priority to “atone” to Laurel. It is just something that likely is not very much on his radar. At his core, Oliver is not a bad guy. He has many faults but he is not evil, malicious or petty. He is a man on a mission, and the mission is to protect many people, to save a whole city -- not to be a good caring man who is sensitive to emotional needs of family, friends and others (I do believe Oliver cares deeply about family and friends, but I do not think that the care manifests as emotional sensitivity towards most of them, with the possible exception of Thea).

    In this respect, Oliver is not unlike historical figures who have been focused on a grand (ie large-scale) mission. While we may admire such figures when they undertake a mission to achieve a greater good (such as the rescue or protection of a group of people, or justice for a group of people), if you put them under the microscope and examine them at the granular level, what you see may not be pretty. We may in fact be very surprised by what we find. We often expect that the admirable hero we see in the public sphere will also be the man we find in the private life. But often this is not the case. The very qualities so necessary to stay focused and committed to achieving the goals of the mission, to overcome and knock down all obstacles that stand in the way – a certain stubbornness, the ability to ignore all distractions, to focus only on the elements most critical to the mission, to be ruthless and relentless – these traits do not necessarily make for one who is sensitively attuned to the emotional environment of his domestic life. Thus, we may see a personal life in shambles or at the very least instances of distasteful behaviors such as infidelity and problems such emotional unavailability which can lead to problematic familial relationships. I think this is the kind of dynamic from which Oliver is operating and which makes him very bad boyfriend material (watch out Felicity!)

    Even though I realize this is the kind of man Oliver is and I have low expectations that he will show the emotional sensitivity necessary to fully appreciate what he has done to Laurel, I still hold him accountable for the harm he does others through his insensitivity. I want him to be a better man, even in the domestic sphere. But the fact that he is so imperfect keeps things interesting and, at times, exasperating!

    I will also say, that in another post, someone pointed out that he is a survivor and has been quite traumatized. Very true, and I admit that his character is often so busy “functioning” (ie actively out doing things) that I easily forget to think of him as someone who has been affected by trauma and that this history also has a lot to do with how he operates in the world….but I still enjoy fussing about things that he does that I disapprove of!

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamsofnever View Post
    I also really disliked that Sara never once apologized to Laurel or acknowledged that she'd hurt Laurel. But that belongs in the Sara thread I suppose.
    This! Oh, yes, this would easily be worth a multiple paragraph rant!

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    At least Oliver did apologize and acknowledged that he hurt Laurel in season one. But in season two, he did seem very unaware of the fact that it might just be a sore spot for him to start sleeping with Sara again and for them to handle things in that particular way.

    Shelby, I really think that's an interesting take on Oliver-and you're right that many people who are great figures in history got that way specifically because they focused on whatever cause they were passionate about and neglected their personal life. I think it says something very interesting in that it's hard to find that balance. And I do think that the Arrow writers set out to tell a story of human beings who were all deeply flawed but all had some elements of heroism to them. I think that they lost that goal along the way and tried to pretend that they were presenting us with an idealized version of Oliver even as he continued to make poor decisions and treat the people around him poorly in season three.

    And I don't see anything wrong with loving a character and explaining the character's shortcomings with experiences in said character's life. It's when people start acting like a character is justified and right/perfect even as they behave poorly that I find a problem. The thing is that human beings are all messy and imperfect and stories about human beings ideally should show us humans who are exactly that. With superhero-type stories, I definitely want to see the heroic qualities amplified, but that doesn't mean that a character needs to be perfect (it would be boring if they were, after all)

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