Friday, June 20, 2014

Fangirl Fridays – Team Arrow

Team Arrow.*

I'm in love with the CW TV show Arrow. I don't know why. Humour, great story telling, a season long story arc and abs. Of course I don't just watch for the shirtless scenes. A trait that CW shows do very, very well by the way. The show does have a plot. The series is based around the comic book hero the Green Arrow from DC Comics. The central character is billionaire and CEO of Queen Consolidators, Oliver Queen. Early editions of the comic series had the Green Arrow dressed similar to Robin Hood. Well at least the early versions of Robin Hood. However when I first heard they were making the show I was instantly put in mind of the cartoon Robin Hood played by a fox. How wrong was I??  Very. Oliver Queen rocks green!

Check after the jump as to why I've become obsessed with a dedicated follower of this show. Spoilers for Seasons #1 and #2.




"My name is Oliver Queen. After five years on a hellish island, I have come home with only one goal: to save my city. But to do so, I can't be the killer I once was. To honor my friend's memory, I must be someone else. I must be....something else." -Oliver Queen Season #2.

As a hooded crusader Green Arrow is out to save his city, Starling City, from crime. At first he is obsessed with tracking down and killing the masterminds of crime. In Season 1 he has a book and is slowly working his way through the list, but soon discovers that just killing people is not such an easy thing to do. Especially when he has two voices of reason called John Diggle and Felicity Smoak in his ear. Season 1 ended with Oliver Queen in a very dark place, but essentially while Oliver is a killer there is still goodness in him. Season 2 saw Oliver trying to change himself. No easy task given his so called "friends" from his past on the island keep appearing to cause havoc, plus new enemies surface.


For me Team Arrow is essentially three people, Oliver Queen aka Arrow, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak. Oliver Queen needs Diggle and Smoak in order to function and this has evolved into a friendship between the three characters which would be hard to break. Oliver initially tried to tackle being Arrow by himself, but it wasn't long before Diggle was on board and then Felicity.Their interactions are completely the heart of this show for me. I've always felt as I've watched that first and foremost they are friends, then confidants and then they fill a gap in each character's psyche that they need.  Oliver Queen needs them as much as they need him. So let's delve into the characters who make up Team Arrow and why they are so freakin fantastic. Kudos to the producers as Season 2 ended perfectly with the three core members of Team Arrow together. I couldn't be happier. Yeah that's right, to me there is three core members. Anyone else just kind of ebbs and flows out and around the team and that's the way I like it. Please stick to this formula. 

Well I've used Roy Harper in this little example of one of the conversations. I think it shows the dynamic perfectly between Team Arrow.

Roy Harper: "How many people know what- Who you are?"
Oliver Queen: "Too many. But these are the only two that matter. John Diggle and Felicity Smoak"
Roy Harper: "Does this group have a name? Like Team Arrow, or something?"
Oliver Queen: "We don't call ourselves that."
Felicity Smoak: "I do. Occasionally"
Oliver Queen: "Stop."
John Diggle: "Whatever. Welcome aboard." S.2. Ep. 12


Oliver Queen


First up Oliver Queen. Billionaire playboy and vigilante. He's spent five years presumed dead on an island called Lian Yu, before he returns to Starling City. He isn't the same man he once was. He's been tortured, burnt, stabbed and lead a life that other people can only imagine. Gone is that preppy, entitled rich kid. Oh, he still pulls the ladies, but he is also now a killer and a far cry from the frat boy he once was. Played by Stephen Amell, who I think is perfectly cast in the role, he has the facial expressions and the barely controlled tension down to a fine art. One look, one raised eyebrow, one smirk, you can tell what he is thinking. He drums his fingers on his thigh, like he has an imaginary crossbow in his hands. If jaw clenching was an art form Stephen Amell has it down to an art form. What draws the viewer into Oliver though, is the sense of loneliness you sense around him. Yes, by season 2 he's trying to make a difference, but essentially he is still alone. You want to shout at the screen,  "Oliver you need to lighten up". I sense that the loneliness isn't as bad as it was in the first season.

Oh shirtless Stephen Amell (I'm a simple creature) you are a thing of beauty. If you don't know what the salmon ladder is you need to check this out. I just love staring at this short video.



One ingredient the show does well is that our hero doesn't always win at the end of the episode. With a season long story arc with each episode also containing it's own mini story, the action is so fast paced and enthralling that it keeps you captivated as little nuggets of information are revealed. Oliver doesn't win every fight he is in. Sometimes it feels like he takes two steps forward, only to be flung back on his ass. Yet this aspect makes the character even more likable. At least to me, as it humanizes this superhero and you want to watch as he figures out how to overcome the latest villain. We want Oliver Queen to be victorious in the end, but what cost is he prepared to pay? By the way, when I said Oliver Queen needed to lighten up, in the series long arc, you can completely understand why he barely cracks a smile. It's pretty depressing, yet riveting at the same time.  As the seasons go on you feel the attention amping up.


Even in Season #2 our hero is still battling his demons from the past and one wonders how long can he outrun / outfight them? Each season has revealed further information about Oliver's time on the island and we know considering the flashbacks started when Oliver was rescued, that given the state he was discovered in originally, that things can only get worse for him there. The show to date has cleverly shown Oliver's time on the island through flashback. So far it is working well. But the hair!!! Flashback hair is always horrid. It is known.

Oliver Queen has bad taste in woman. He really does. Supposedly his "love interest" is Laurel Lance in this series. Well at least for fans of the comics. I'm a Felicity / Oliver fan myself, but I'm fine if that doesn't happen as well. So he has so far slept with Black Canary (it's likely there might be more than one Black Canary), the Huntress, Shado, Isabel and Laurel. I'm thinking pretty much all of these are bad choices, but we will see. I think at this point the Team and his vigilante work comes before any serious relationship.

As a little added in note. I hate the name Ollie. Every time Oliver Queen's old friends refer to him by that name I cringe. Ollie is a kids name. Oliver is man's name. Enough said.

One of the ingredients that makes Oliver Queen so great on the show is the actor Stephen Amell. He has invested all his energy into the show. Whether it's promoting the show, running his own Facebook page and even commenting sometimes, to sharing fans memes. You just know that his hunger and passion for the role come through in the character.  Thank you Stephen!!!!


John Diggle


John Diggle employed as Oliver Queen's bodyguard and has a secret identity as his chauffeur/bodyguard. John is ex army and he has the skills and the body to prove he is capable of the job. Have you seen his arm muscles???
You need to admire those muscles!!!

John is essentially what I consider to be Oliver's first real friend since he has returned from Lian Yu. Over time he sees what Oliver is like and he makes the decision to help him. Initially he aids Oliver in his revenge and then in his quest to try to save Starling City. I often feel like Diggle is the voice of reason. He has become the sounding board for Oliver and vital in maintaining the secret identity that is critical to the success of the Arrow. Oliver needs Diggle and once Diggle was let into the secret of who the Arrow was, he has been quintessential in keeping Oliver alive. Whether it's going on missions with him or patching him up after his encounters with the shows baddies. I also feel like Diggle tells Oliver the truth. He will call Oliver out when he has a bad idea or tell him when he's wrong.  Often this will be when Oliver doesn't really want to hear what Diggle says. His honesty helps maintain the balance in their friendship, because Oliver heeds what Diggle tells him. That being said, like all the characters, I'm sure there are things Diggle keeps hidden. Note to producers though, I think Diggle needs more screen time!!!!

Diggle also has a kind of a dry sense of humour and sometimes it feels like he is smirking in the background at what other characters are saying or doing. Especially Oliver. I can sometimes imagine him shaking his head at the things Oliver says or does. Yet it's hard to stop Oliver once he has made his mind up on an issue.

Diggle: "Just that easy, huh?"
Oliver: "Well, I will still need my trusty bodyguard."
Diggle: [sarcastic] "Fantastic, looking forward to my new and exciting career as a drug dealer." -S1, Ep.12. 

One of my favourite episodes in Season #2 was when Diggle has basically his own episode. Episode 16, Season 2, Suicide Squad. I loved it. What drew me in was it was great to see that Diggle had a role outside of Team Arrow. We get to see of lot of what Oliver Queen is up to when he isn't Arrow but not so much what the other core members of Team Arrow are doing. The episode shows us part of Diggle's past as well when he was on tour in Afghanistan and it gives us more of a glimpse into why Diggle is the way he is. It also made the character have his own back story and wow he was definitely one bad ass and haunted as well, much like Oliver is.  As more characters come into the show, I think it's important that the show continues to put these three core characters (in my mind) front and centre. Diggle continues to intrigue me and I'm sure there is more Suicide Squad action in the future. I certainly hope so.


Felicity Smoak


The other key team member is Felicity Smoak, IT extraordinaire and one of the most socially awkward characters I've seen on TV.  This however endears her to me. It's definitely a case of speak before your brain has processed what you should say. However this adds to her charm. Felicity is vital in that she provides the IT knowledge required to hack into computers and source data. While it might be argued she is engaging in a criminal active herself, I forgive her as she is doing it for the betterment of the citizens of Starling City. 

She has a secret identity too as Oliver's PA.  Some of the best lines are while she is working in this new job at Queen Consolidated which she loathes.  

Oliver: "Ms. Smoak. Would you get my guest and I some coffee?"
Felicity: "You know, I would Mr Queen, but it seems that someone has broken the coffeemaker. Violently." - Identity S2, Ep. 2.

Unfortunately it's a critical cover to hide her night time activities for the Arrow. Felicity is probably my favourite character on the show. Brilliantly played by Emily Bett Rickards, she was initially only meant to be in one episode, but her chemistry with Stephen Amell meant she soon had a recurring role for Season 1 and series regular for Season 2.

Felicity is kind of like the audience in my mind. She gawks at Oliver on the salmon ladder. She says the things that we are thinking and she just makes a lot of tense moments that occur so often in the show lightened. I also feel like the character of Felicity brings a comedic edge to the show. She helps to make Oliver seem slightly more human. Whether it's Oliver smirking at her mouth running a mile a minute or because she has a brilliant idea, it allows the audience to see a different side to Oliver. To me this adds to the depth of the lead character. If Oliver was as solemn and brooding as he appears most of the time, it would make the show way too depressing.



Even though she is a computer hacker, a term which she considers as a hobby, you always get the sense that essentially she is a good person. Even if she seems to have no social life outside of the Foundry and I've given up working out when she actually sleeps. Like Diggle I've loved seeing Felicity continue to grow. There is still so much a want to know about her, like who the hell her father is? Was she really sick as a child? I need to know this last question as this would help be solve question one. I'm hoping we might get glimpses into Felicity's past in Season #3. One can hope.  

Go Team Arrow!!! 


Long may you reign in TV land. You've provided me with very entertaining viewing and I can't wait to see what Season #3 has install for my favourite characters. The show likes to tease it's fans, which is pretty normal these days. I'm dying to know who the big bad will be for Season #3. How the team dynamic is going to change now that Oliver isn't as financially well off as he was and why the hell are we going to Hong Kong for flashbacks. Does this mean flashback hair will still be required? Where are Felicity, Diggle and Oliver going to have their secret base now? Plus, a lot of people now know who the Arrow is, so it's going to be even harder to have a "secret identity". The producers are doing everything right so far, I can't wait to see how things evolve. Oliver needing a real job, can only provide plenty of moments for mirth. I wonder if he will learn how to turn up to work on time? Oh, the joys of being a former billionaire playboy.












Let me know below if you have a favourite character below and what big bad you want to see in Season #3. Do you prefer it when Team Arrow is Oliver, Diggle and Felicity?

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All other images from Tumlr
Quotes from www.wikiquotes.com

2 comments:

  1. Oh, the flashback hair! I hope they devise some way to get rid of it.

    Yes. Team Arrow. Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity. There were *some* characters I was rooting for to die this season. Isn't that awful? But I wanted it to get back to the three.

    I didn't realize Felicity was only supposed to be in one episode (obviously I'm not up on the comics). I'm glad they kept her around. I agree with your assessment on the dynamics between her and Oliver, and I couldn't imagine Oliver without her.

    Can't wait for Season 3, and the occassional (maybe) crossover with The Flash.

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    1. Crossovers will be awesome. I saw a Con Q&A and it looks like flashback hair is here to say sadly.

      I'm so glad that you agree on my Team Arrow being 3 characters :)

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