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The Times (and People) are a Changin’, Arrow “Lost in the Flood” 

The Times (and People) are a Changin’, Arrow “Lost in the Flood”
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Change has been a HUGE part of this season on Arrow. Some characters have changed for the better, others for the worse, some haven’t changed at all and some appear to have changed but actually haven’t. It goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyways) that Oliver has been the focal point of the discussion for the most part. Can he change? Or has the island changed HIM forever? Felicity broke up with him over this. He left the city and returned over this. Bad guys have gotten away because of this. And he has gotten in some MAJOR conflict with his team over this. I’ll admit, I have seen some small changes in Oliver over the course of the series, but it’s hard to say whether he can or will change in all the ways being asked of him. Nevertheless, that is a question I can’t answer and probably won’t be answered  by the show anytime soon. Luckily, this episode addressed change in some of our other characters so instead of trying to answer the unanswerable, let’s look at the changes our other characters have been through, both in this earth-saving episode and beyond.

Donna – Donna, Donna, Donna. As the one who was throwing around the “c” word (change) in everyone’s faces this episode, I figured she would be a good place to start. And from what I can tell, this woman has not changed at all. And honestly, she could use it. While I recognize that her self-centered-ness is one of her quirks, I have to say that it actually really bothered me this week. Telling Quentin to sacrifice his job last week just to be be noble was bad enough, but finding out that she had not only separated Felicity from her father but then lied about it is a whole different ballgame. First and foremost, she has been so adamant and angry about Noah’s lying, so to find out that she actually lied about him leaving, well, that just didn’t sit well with me. I’m not saying that Noah was a good dad or that what Donna did wasn’t in Felicity’s best interest, but to then paint Noah to be the “bad dad who left” all these years, that just doesn’t seem fair.

Felicity: What did Noah mean when he said he didn’t have much choice in the matter when he left? I always just assumed he disappeared.

Donna: He didn’t disappear, hun. I did. We did. I had a 7-year-old daughter and I knew all about the gambling and I wasn’t about to take the bet that your father could possibly change.

Felicity: He let me believe that he abandoned us.

Donna: Well, I don’t know what to say about that, I think he just didn’t want you to lose your mom, too. Hey, look at me, I didn’t lose you, did I?

Felicity: Never.

Not to mention that right after she admits to doing this once, she does it again! I get wanting to protect your daughter, but at this point, Felicity is old enough to make her own decisions and from what we can tell, Noah might actually have a heart and the potential for change.

Donna: Leave. And this time, don’t come back.

Noah: What?

Donna: You helped Felicity tonight, maybe it’s because you’d be nuked too, maybe it was a broken clock, being right for once. Either way, we know it wasn’t you. You know who you are. Are you really gonna stand here and tell me that you’ve changed? You’re every bit as dangerous to our daughter as the day I took her from you. If you care about her, you will walk away.

Noah: After everything that’s happened, she’ll be crushed.

Donna: She’ll survive. She’s strong. She’s my daughter. You can lie to her, but can you lie to yourself. Can you really believe that leaving isn’t the best thing for her?

To me, this all feels like Donna being super selfish and wanting Felicity for herself…or maybe just not recognizing what it is that Felicity needs or that people are capable of change…but either way, I don’t like it. And frankly, I’m a little frustrated that Felicity was so understanding about it. Her whole world and history was built on the idea that her father left her and suddenly tada! He didn’t actually walk away! He may have been generally absentee, but gone for good, nope. I’m surprised how well Felicity handled this…don’t get me wrong, having to save the world is a pretty good distraction…but I’m hoping this is addressed again next week.

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Noah – Speaking of Noah, without knowing what he was actually like back in the day (or would’ve been like had Donna not run off), it’s hard to say if he’s really changed. That being said, the fact that he has been acknowledging what a bad father he was makes me think he has the potential to improve — admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?! Nevertheless, we also learned that just because he wasn’t in Felicity’s life (thanks, Donna!), doesn’t mean he didn’t want to know how she was doing. An off-handed comment made it clear he was keeping tabs on her and following her hacking-progress, which is sweet in a kind of twisted, criminal-esque way. And we can’t ignore the fact that he did show up and help when Felicity called him. Or that he took a bullet for her. Granted, I’d like to believe anyone would show up and help if the world was coming to an end, but I can’t help but think that there was an attempt at paternal redemption there to make up for all the times he didn’t show. So is he changing? We’ll never really know, but I like to think he is…and that it’s for the better…and hopefully as such, he won’t bend to Donna’s demands and abandon his daughter again.

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Felicity – As the founder and #1 spokesperson of the Oliver can’t-won’t-isn’t-gonna-change movement, I find it ironic how much Felicity has changed. Granted, now that we’ve seen her mother’s perspective on change, I’m not all that surprised that she’s so gung-ho on the impossibility of the subject. Nevertheless, Felicity herself went from goth-college-hacker to bright-and-bubbly-blonde-world-saver-CEO, so it can’t be totally impossible, right?! Even her ex-boyfriend made that pretty clear in this episode that this isn’t the Felicity he once knew. But it’s not just the looks and the job, it’s also her moral code — wanting to do good rather than take people down. So if she can change, why can’t Oliver? I mean, I get her point that his one-man-survival-technique is engrained in him now after all he went through on the island, but I still think her never-ever is a little harsh. Granted, it would take a LOT of work and time and proving to her that he’s changed, but as someone who has changed so drastically herself, I would hope she would be more open to it. That being said, they do say history repeats itself and it’s clear that her family history probably hasn’t done her any favors, as Curtis so blatantly pointed out.

Curtis: What do you think your parents are talking about?

Felicity: I’m trying not to think about it.

Curtis: Maybe they’re discussing that thing that Noah said before about not having much of a choice.

Felicity: That’s exactly what I’m trying not to think about.

Curtis: Felicity…I helped you save the world. The least you can do is give me a little gossip.

Felicity: Ok, fine. So apparently my dad didn’t leave. My mom kicked him out.

Curtis: Did she tell you why?

Felicity: I think she didn’t want to risk him hurting me. I mean, he could promise whatever he wanted, but he was a criminal– is a criminal. So he inevitably would have gone back to his old habits.

Curtis: Mm-hmm.

Felicity: What does that mean?

Curtis: It just sounds familiar, that’s all. The criminal who you don’t think can change, the slightly overactive but understandable breakup. Just saying, you and Oliver, Donna and Noah.

I love Curtis and I love that he points it out. Will it make a difference? Maybe. Maybe not. But I like that he’s brought the issue to light. In the past, even Donna said “Oliver isn’t Noah”, but now that Noah seems to be trying to change, would that really be such a bad thing? I just hope that this opens Felicity’s eyes a little so if and/or when Oliver changes, she’s able to see it.

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Quentin –  Oh Quentin. This man has changed so much from season to season that I hardly know where to start. First he was against vigilantism then he was supporting the Arrow then he created a task force to take down the Arrow then he was back to working with Team Arrow then he was helping Darhk then he double-agented it to take down Darhk…thinking about it all has given me major whiplash. That being said, now that Quentin and Team Green Arrow are working together again to take down Darhk, I’m happy. And hoping it’ll stay that way. Do you hear me, powers that be?! Enough flip-flopping on this one. Quentin needs to stay a good guy and that means working with Oliver and Company. Case closed.

Diggle – Since most of Diggle’s change is a result of outside circumstances or his reaction to those circumstances, it’s hard to say how much he’s really changed. Yes, he killed his brother, something he would’ve never considered doing earlier, but that’s only because of the situation that Andy put him in. For the most part, I like to think Diggle was pretty awesome and stable to begin with and while he’s faced internal struggles lately, I’m not ready to believe that any of that has changed.

Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Malcolm Merlyn – Malcolm is tricky. It’s not so much that he’s changed, since Merlyn is and always will look out for himself first and foremost, but I do like to believe that he’s opened a little. I mean, reasons aside, he did help Team Arrow a bit last year, even if he did, ultimately, benefit in the process, which is something I don’t think he ever would’ve considered early on in the series. That being said, in Season 1, he believed that the Glades had to be burned down to be saved and now he’s thinking the same for the earth, so not so much change there. But he is looking out for and concerned for Thea, regardless of how she treats him, and the fact that he can consider someone other than himself is an improvement and shows growth. Nevertheless, change or not, Malcolm is still Malcolm and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Curtis – Curtis hasn’t changed much yet and I am completely okay with it! I like him just how he is. That being said, I know there is some superhero-ness in his future, which on the surface will be a big change, but I hope he still keeps that gee-golly, doe-eyed wonder and optimism about him. It’s what makes his character such a delight and a breath of fresh air in what can otherwise be considered some heavy subject matter.

So back to the question, can people change? Or more importantly, can Oliver change? I think the answer is a vague and ambiguous yes. But whether these are actual changes or just a surface change that may not survive when push comes to shove, it’s tough to say. That being said, I have hope! Tigers may not be able to change their stripes, but in a city filled with superheroes and magic idols and glowing eyes and people who can build underground cities and others who can hack nukes from their living room, anything’s possible, right?

The Arrow season finale airs next Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.

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