Valentine’s Day may be over, but love is still in there air… and that’s because of our Greatest Love of All Bracket Tournament! Throughout the run of this fan-vote tournament, we’re profiling some of our favorite couples in the competition. This week, we take a look at the ‘ship from hit TV series Arrow: Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak, a.k.a. Olicity.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
While the pair started setting Tumblr and Twitter on fire back in Season 2, fans were delighted in Season 3 when the two of them finally got together. Olicity has continued to be one of the strongest superhero romances in live-action today, never once wavering in its intensity (unless you count mind control or alternate timelines, obviously). Let’s break this ‘ship down…
Oliver Queen is the stoic but tortured protector of Star City. As the vigilante Green Arrow, he keeps his city safe by… pretty much putting arrows into everything that is not safe. Oliver spent most of his life as a drunken playboy, until he was stranded on a war-torn island. This experience forced him to learn how to survive, and he spent five years training to become a ruthless killing machine. In the beginning of Arrow, Oliver was portrayed as a remorseless murderer who believed the ends always justified the means. He’s gone through a lot of character development in four seasons, largely thanks to his relationship with Felicity, and has taken a vow to never kill again. Happier now that he’s in love, he sticks mostly to impalement, maiming, and torture. The biggest change Oliver has made is learning that he does more good when he works together with the people who love him, instead of trying to do everything himself. His hobbies include shirtlessness and not failing his city.
Felicity Smoak is a computer expert and hacker who graduated M.I.T. before moving on to Queen Consolidated. Her father is the villain, Calculator. Felicity is the only member of Team Arrow without combat expertise, but her genius and inventiveness save the day just as often as Oliver’s arrows. Felicity is an awkward nerd who frequently makes accidental innuendo, usually when she’s distracted by Oliver not wearing a shirt. Despite appearing clumsy and unsure of herself, Felicity knows how to stand her ground. She says what she wants, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she thinks is right. In a recent episode, Felicity was paralyzed from the waist down, implying that she’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Despite this, she’s continued to help save lives, taking the codename “Overwatch,” because the obvious (comic-inspired) choice “Oracle” couldn’t be used for legal reasons.
TANGENT WARNING: Because it’s my article, and dammit this is America… Honestly, I don’t think Felicity gets enough credit for being the true lynchpin of the Arrowverse. Arrow may be the title, but Felicity is the most important character. Without her, the show doesn’t work. Arrow was a boring mess of a show before Felicity, and it started to work because she made it fun. The snark and grounded attitude that allowed her to call the more serious characters out on their ridiculousness is now a template for the best shows DC is making. She’s why we have Cisco Ramon on The Flash, and Winn Schott on Supergirl. You can do Arrow without Oliver Queen (they tried that when he was left for dead by Ra’s al Ghul), but you can’t do Arrow without Felicity!
How They Met
Season 1 of Arrow was a dark time indeed. It feels like remembering a bad dream, but we all lived through it, and you can’t see the scars even though we know they’re there. It was a time when Laurel subplots ruled with an iron fist, somebody thought grease paint would look less stupid than domino masks, and the only thing that kept us going was Stephen Amell’s weekly shirtless workouts on the salmon ladder.
Felicity began as an employee at Queen Consolidated who helped Oliver out when he needed a computer expert. Initially, she was supposed to be a single-appearance character, but her bumbling awkward charm was so popular that the showrunners brought her back… and kept bringing her back. After a series of increasingly less believable lies, such as claiming a bullet-riddled laptop was broken because he “spilled a latte on it,” Felicity eventually figured out Oliver’s secret identity. She made the decision to work with Oliver and his partner John Diggle full-time, drastically increasing his effectiveness and also giving him a greater voice of conscience.
They had a long drawn-out courtship, with both of them dating other people. But Felicity never really took her eyes off Oliver on the salmon ladder. (Yes, it’s OK. You can go back up and look at it again. We’ll wait. We’re gonna do it, too.)
After an extended period of will-they-won’t-they, including riding off into the sunset together and then coming back, it all paid off this year when Oliver finally popped the question.
I tear up and start to quiver just watching that clip! BRB, have to go punch an endangered animal just to feel like a man again…
Why We Ship It
What makes Olicity so great, and sets them apart from so many other superhero romances, is that they’re true partners. Superhero romance, especially on television, tends to stick to a limited number of cheap drama tropes. The hero has a contrived reason why they can’t let their romantic interest know about their secret identity, usually because it would “put them in danger” for some reason. They’re both in love, but the love interest wants the hero to stop saving lives because it’s “too dangerous.” One of them is an alien, and the other is a man from ancient Greece trapped in the body of a super-powered horse. We’ve seen these play out a million times.
Oliver and Felicity are so great because they work together and they’re both all-in. Felicity started working with Oliver long before they became a couple, because they both believe in sacrificing themselves to make the world a better place. That’s not to say that either one of them is OK with the other taking needless risks, but they understand that their lives are dangerous and that’s unavoidable. It’s the life they’ve chosen.
Oliver and Felicity are very different people, but the show doesn’t use that as a source for cheap tension. Like a real relationship, their differences are part of what makes them strong. They’re both completely realized adults who have separate interests and draw strength from each other, but aren’t co-dependent. They’re both incredibly supportive and understanding of each other, aware of each other’s flaws, and kindly assertive when they need to address a problem. I’m getting all melty. The point is, Oliver and Felicity deserve to win this tournament because they are an excellent model of how healthy adult relationships can function to make the two people in it even stronger.
Do you love Oliver and Felicity as much as we do? Go vote for them in the Greatest Love of All Bracket Tournament now!