Oliver Gets A Little Tough Love on Arrow “The Brave and The Bold”
This was a big crossover weekÂ in the Arrow-verse. For all of you Arrow fans who didn’t watch Flash (and vice versa),Â stop readingÂ this articleÂ and go do so now. Trust me, you’ll thank me. And things will make a lot more sense. (But be sure to come back when you’re done!)
So, after watching this week’s episode of The Flash (where Team Arrow made a trip to Central City), all I could think was ‘God, Oliver is such a jerk!’. Sure, he’s been all tough and stoic and serious about crime fighting at the expense of his personalÂ life this season, but when you actually see it in contrast to Flash’s much more light-hearted approach, the disparity is almost painful to witness. However, then I watched Arrow (which had Team Flash traveling to Starling City) and I felt bad for feeling that way. Thanks to a handful of conversations with Barry, we were reminded that Oliver is more fragile than we sometimes realize, even though he doesn’t like to admit it. After torturing a lead to get information on a boomerang-wielding former Argus agent hell-bent on revenge, Barry calls Oliver out on his less-than-moral methods.
Barry: You tortured that guy
Oliver: I interrogated him
Barry: When my friends said your tactics made you a criminal, I defended you because I thought you were suppose to be a hero. I thought we were suppose to be better than them.
Oliver: Barry, you live in Central City, where it’s sunny all the time and your enemies get cute nicknames. You’re not in Central City. I live in a city where my best friend was murdered. Where a woman that I love was shot full of arrows and sent tumbling off of a rooftop. Where my mother was murdered right in front of me, so before you….
Barry: My mother was murdered right in front of me too, but I don’t use my personal tragedies as an excuse to torture whoever just pisses me off
Oliver: Well, I’m sorry Barry, I’m not as emotionally healthy as you are.
Barry: What’s wrong with you?
Oliver: When we agreed that you were staying, we decided it would be on my terms. If that is proving too difficult for you, you know your way back to Central City.
Honestly, I really like Oliver and Barry together. Despite their obvious differences, they are both trying to do good and I feel like they can learn a lot from each other. Plus, they’re funny together. Even when they don’t mean to be. But back to the learning from each other. I can’tÂ denyÂ that Oliver has been through a lot. And that Starling City is a much darker place than Central City. But that also doesn’t mean that I don’t think that Oliver often plays the martyr. Honestly, seeing him smile has become a rarity and I like that Barry, someone so “new” to this superhero world, has put him in his place. Sure, Oliver has lost a lot, but so have a lot of people. And like Barry points out, that doesn’t give you an excuse to take it out on others, which is something Oliver has been doing for a long time under the guise of saving the city. Don’t get me wrong, he is still doing good, but there is definitely a very personal component to his vigilante life, which is both a blessing because it gives him drive and a curse because it makes it hard for him to disconnect himself from it.
But after Lyla is attacked while Oliver, Diggle and Roy are lured offÂ on a decoy mission, Oliver lets his guard down and rather than dishing out his sarcastic self-inadequecies, he’s actually honest.
Oliver: To do what I do, Barry, it takes conviction. But more often than not, it’s the will to do what’s ugly. Everytime I do that, I’m trading away little pieces of myself so you asked what’s wrong with me. That that’s what’s wrong. Because the part I’m trading away is Oliver Queen. And lately I’ve been feeling like there’s nothing left except the Arrow
Barry: I think you’re full of crap. Look, you’ve convinced yourself that everything you’ve been through took away your humanity. But I think it’s because of your humanity that you made it through. You wouldn’t have survived, much less come out the other end a hero, someone who wants to do good, if you didn’t have a light inside of you.
After spending most of The Flash and a good chunk of Arrow belittling Barry (not to mention literally shooting him in the back), I like that Oliver finally chooses to open up to Barry. Yes, he may be younger and more naive, but as a person with a secret identity, BarryÂ can relate to Oliver in a way that no one else can. And Barry is right, Oliver is full of crap, even if he himself doesn’t see it. What he says about feeling like losing himself mayÂ be true, but it has been his desire to do good and the light inside of him that has gotten him this far, even if he’s struggled to find it this season. If Oliver didn’t have that inside of him, he would have easily tortured the man in Hong Kong, he wouldn’t be looking to rectify his father’s wrongs, he wouldn’t have repeatedly tried to save Slade and he wouldn’t have decided to take killing off his acceptable-methods list, which certainly would have made his job a lot easier. And most importantly, we wouldn’t have this show. From the beginning of the season, we’ve known Oliver’s arc would revolve around his double-identity and his ability to be both Oliver and the Arrow and this is just another part of that process.
But thanks to Barry’s light-heartedness, Oliver was able to let go a little and engage in some good old fashion superhero fun. Well, at least I assumeÂ super-power face-offsÂ areÂ what superheroes do for fun. Anyways, this gave us a more positive ending to the episode and I’m hoping Oliver can manage to hold on to a little bit of this levity once Barry is gone..
Oliver: You can’t expect me to believe that you don’t want to know, once and for all who would win. Me or you.
Barry: You mean if you don’t shoot me in the back
Oliver: Â You gotta get over that Barry
Barry: Okay, I have superpowers, you have arrows that run out
Oliver: I have strategy and tactical awareness
Barry: When I’m fighting you, it’s literally like you’re standing still
Oliver: It’s tough talk, you ready to back it up?
Barry: Oh yea. Hey, by the way, you were wrong. When you told me I could inspire people, you said you couldn’t. But you were wrong. You can inspire. Not as the Arrow, that guy’s a douche. But as Oliver Queen.
Oliver: Thank you, since we’re sharing, you’re wrong too.
Oliver: Right now when you think you can kick my ass, I can tell……
Who won, you ask? Well, I asked that too, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. And that, readers, is what made a perfect ending to a two night crossover event.
Be sure to watch Arrow Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.
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