Going into Arrow season 5 episode 20, odds are you were familiar with the abundance of buzz that was out there about the episode. Heck, “OLICITY IS RISING” was a trending topic for a while, and all signs were clear that the defining couple of the show for many people out there would be at the core of the story.
Fans of these two probably got some of what they wanted in “Underneath,” and we have to say that the same may be said for some of us sitting on the fence.
Going into this episode, the Olicity relationship was one that frustrated us mightily in season 4. It was better almost when they weren’t together since there was something that the two were pursuing. When they were together, they changed each other and it felt like they were constantly mired and drama and Oliver still couldn’t find a way to be true to her. Ultimately, we blame the writers for some of this given that we effectively missed the first few months of the actual relationship. We jumped in midway, and it was a dynamic we didn’t quite understand.
This episode created a turnaround in our thoughts on the couple — it was realistic, human, and it gave us a sense that they could actually get together again. Still, kudos to the writers for not having them hookup in the present right away. This story was more about these two people acting like adults, having real conversations, and understanding each other more than they ever did.
Olicity in the present
The two characters started the episode trapped down in the bunker after Adrian Chase’s latest move to lock the two of them up there and gradually cause them to lose oxygen. They were largely helpless, and had to really think smartly to figure out their next move.
Eventually, a combination of ingenuity and Curtis’ T-spheres (see, we can call them the proper name!) led to the two finding a way to get out, but not before starting to get to an understanding about Oliver’s lack of trust in Felicity and some of her hypocritical behavior in turn. They each realized that they often didn’t treat each other as they should, and there were apologies. Granted, not all of them came until the end when Oliver started to recover, but they were still there.
It’s probably both sad and ironic that Oliver’s biological son William was a primary component in this story; yet, at the tail end of it we saw William tracked down by Adrian Chase, presumably to become the latest cog in his plan.
Olicity in the past
Apparently, the two hooked up back in between seasons 4 and 5! This was a surprising revelation at first, but it actually makes some sense. They do still love each other, and while they may have been angry and heartbroken, you don’t just flip the switch. They had a few moments together, but then realized that this was not going to be a way for them to move forward. They needed to talk about what happened and Oliver’s lack of trust, but they weren’t there yet. These scenes were mostly valuable as context — other than Oliver and Felicity sleeping together, there isn’t too much more that we learned. (Granted, we still think that many ‘shippers out there loved them.)
In between Olicity and then Diggle and Lyla working through some of their own issues (John’s been a little hypocritical himself about her treatment of ARGUS prisoners), “Underneath” was an episode that impressed more than we thought it would going in. We can actually envision a situation now where Oliver and Felicity could get back together, and there were some strong performances from Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards to go along with it. Now, we just hope that the show continues this natural progression with this relationship. They’ve learned from their mistakes, so if they do move forward as a couple, they both need to make sure they are ready.
For now, we will say that Olicity is rising … but as better, more responsible people and teammates more so than a romantic couple. That can come down the road. Episode Grade: B+.
Well, let’s just say that Adrian Chase will have more of a presence. You can read a little more all about him over at the link here. (Photo: The CW.)