Secret keeping. It’s always been an issue for the characters of this show and pretty much everyone has done it. I guess it just comes with the territory when you’re suiting up andÂ saving lives as a vigilante. But that doesn’t mean it always comesÂ easy to them. Or that it’s always been the right decision. And most of these secrets are justified by the idea that they think they are protecting the people that they love…but is that really a good enough reason? Especially considering the toll it takes on them and the fact that it backfires more often than not. Remember when Oliver lied to his team about becoming the new Ra’s and almost lost his friendship with Diggle? Or when Lance stopped talking to Laurel and starting hunting down Team Arrow because they didn’t tell him Sara had died?
Remember when Oliver lied to his team about becoming the new Ra’s and almost lost his friendship with Diggle? Or when Lance stopped talking to Laurel and started hunting down Team Arrow because they didn’t tell him Sara had died? Obviously, I can’t say for sure that telling the truth up front would’ve changed everything, but you’d think that by now the characters would realizeÂ that keeping secrets generallyÂ doesn’t bode too well for them. Nevertheless, they haven’t and as a result, this episode dealt with two semi-major secrets that both weighed heavily on their keepers.
The first being Oliver’s secret about William. This obviously left Oliver in a tough predicamentÂ as Thea uncovered the truth andÂ heÂ continued to waiver overÂ keeping it from Felicity. I can’t say I agree with keeping the secret from Felicity, of all people, especially now that both Thea and Malcolm Merlyn know. I mean, once Merlyn knows, all bets are off in my opinion. Oliver has to know that William is not safe, particularly since Merlyn tossed out that daunting threat last week. Frankly, I’m surprised that Oliver’s mind didn’t immediately (or relatively quickly) go to William’s safety. Nevertheless, Thea quickly jumped on board with the secret once she learned the truth.
Thea: William is your son, isn’t he?
Oliver: Yes, he is.
Thea: Why haven’t you told anyone?
Oliver: Because Samantha said that the only way that I could see him is if I promise not to tell him or anyone else that I’m his father.
Thea: That is brutal. Are you okay?
Oliver:Â I thought I was doing okay, I spent a lot of time convincing myself that I was trying to do the right thing but then you brought this, the check, it’s not your fault, but it’s right when we’re trying to plan an engagement party so I’m left to think how can I marry Felicity if there’s this lie between us?
Thea:Â It’s not a lie. Okay, it’s a promise that you are keeping to the mother of your child.
Oliver:Â It doesn’t make it right, Thea.
Thea:Â Look at it from Samantha’s perspective. As tara s she knows, we are a rich playboy who slept with a bunch of women and got her pregnant.
Oliver:Â I’m not that person anymore.
Thea:Â Now you’re the Green Arrow, anyone who comes in to your life is automatically a target. What Samantha is asking for you to do, as hard as it may be, it’s the right thing to do. I know you want to tell Felicity and trust me, I would love to be an aunt, but you have got to do the right thing for your son here. As hard as this may be for you, Ollie, keeping William a secret is keeping him safe.
As much as I know Thea is trying to help here, I have to vehemently disagree with her logic. I think that keeping the promise to Samantha is important, but I also cannot for the life of me see how telling Felicity, or even Diggle for that matter, is endangering WilliamÂ anymore than he already is. If Oliver is still seeing him and Merlyn knows who he is and Darhk can clearly find out, how can it be any worse? Â And while telling Felicity may open the door to her wanting to meet him, it just doesn’t make sense to think she would spillÂ the beans to a bad guy or do anything thatÂ may endanger him further.Â And I think the end of the episode proved my point because clearly OliverÂ keeping the secret from his team didn’t actually protect William in the end anyways.
That being said, on the other hand, the keeping of this information from Felicity will clearly lead to no good. As history has proven, secrets always come out and when they do, the ramifications are often worse BECAUSE the secret was kept. Sure, the situation would’ve been difficult anyway, but the lying about it generally only exacerbates it. As I mentioned above, one of the bestÂ examples of this was Lance practically disowningÂ Laurel and hunting down Team Arrow after they keptÂ the secret about Sara’s death. WhichÂ is actually a perfect segue toÂ the next secret of this episode –Â Lance keeping his involvement with HIVE from Donna.
Again, you would think LanceÂ would’ve learned by now. Also, I have to call him out on the hypocrisy here, it’s okay for him to punish Laurel (and Oliver as well) for keeping a secret and manipulating a situation,Â but now that he wants to do it, it’s totally acceptable? I don’t think so. I don’t agree with them having hidden Sara’s death from him, but I also don’t support this double standard. But I digress, back to this week. As soon as he realizes his life and the livesÂ of those he loves may be in danger, he breaks up with Donna. Again, I don’t think actually being together or broken up matters. If HIVE knows she is important to you, which they can easily see, regardless if you’re together or not, I’d consider her in danger. Yet, Lance rationalizes that not being with her physically is a way to protect her (despite her obvious proximity to Felicity and Oliver, who are also both clear targets) and that breaking up with her is better than telling her the truth. Typical Lance-illogic.Â However, this whole Lance-laying-low thing did give us a great heart-to-heartÂ between him and Oliver as Oliver prepared for the debate.
Lance: That’s not your typical night time suit.
Oliver: You’re the reason I’m wearing it. Inspiring me to save the city in the light of day.
Lance: Some inspiration I turned out to be. Hiding out down here in the dark.
Oliver:Â For your protection. You haven’t told Donna, have you?
Lance: No. I don’t know how you kept this up for 4 years. This double life, the secrets, lying, I mean…
Oliver:Â I try not to live that way anymore. Trying.
Lance: You know at AA, we say you’re only as sick as the secrets you keep. You’re looking pretty healthy these days. Let’s just hope I can get back to that place with Donna.
Oliver:Â For what it’s worth, you’re in a tough spot and you’re trying to keep her safe. Sometimes a lie isn’t wrong if it’s for the good of someone that you love.
I have to admit, this whole friend-foe-friend-nemesis-foe relationship between Captain Lance and Oliver gives me a bit of whiplash so when Lance is operating on reasonÂ and willing to be a part of the team, I’m thrilled. And I love that in this conversation, he finallyÂ recognizes the sacrifices Oliver made for the city. It only took four years, but I’ll take it!Â I guess being in Oliver’s shoes for once, even if only to a fraction of the extentÂ that Oliver faced, really had an impact. And I love how he compared it to AA.
This happened a few times throughout the episode and while working for a bunch of city-crushing megalomaniacs isn’t exactly the same as having a drinking or gambling problem, it made forÂ a pretty apt comparison. Nevertheless, I didn’t necessarily agree with Oliver. Again, both in his situation and Lance’s, I don’t think keeping loved ones in the dark is necessary keeping them (or other loved ones) safe…just because they don’t know about the bad guys, doesn’t mean the bad guys don’t know about them! But it’s part of the story and I’m willing to go with it. I’m just glad that Lance finally told Donna, even if it was just a fraction of the whole story, and that he didn’t wait forever to do it.
Now that his secret-storyline is wrapped up, I’m eager to see where the whole William saga goes next week. If the promo is any indication, it’s nowhere good.
ArrowÂ airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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