Arrow: on-screen chemistry

I said I wouldn’t, but it turned out, I just can’t ‘resist’.

I thought I was done with this debate when I wrote the quasi-intro to the Arrow fanfics I’m writing (you can find it in the updates archive - just look for a longer post ;)), but the recent review for Letting Go on has proven me wrong.

You don’t like the show or the writing on the show, post it on the show’s forum, send the writers and producers an e-mail or a tweet. You don’t like or you do like a fanfiction, write a review or send the author a message. I consider it poor form to mix the two. I have no affiliation with the writers or creators of the show so listing what you do or do not like about the show, its characters or the writing on the review for a fanfiction that, beside the characters and some plot points, has nothing to do with the show itself, serves absolutely no purpose.

So here’s what prompted this ‘rant’. A reviewer, who also posted the first ever review of the fanfic (by calling the lead character on the show, and of my fanfic self-righteous, boring & bland) wrote this: “I am sorry, but on the show there is not chemistry between Oliver & Laurel, it is so forced. No sparks, no electricity, nothing. And if she was supposed to be the Black Canary as she is in the comics, having her sister come back from the dead, and her being against the Arrow killed that. They are just not believable. But you do write well.”

Thank you for the compliment on my writing, although the last sentence does seem like an afterthought to make the review actually relevant to the story you’re reviewing. I can only deduce, from the beginning of the review and the reviewer’s “favorite stories”, that the reviewer is an Olicity shipper. Okay, whatever moves your boat, but please, keep your opinion of the show and the chemistry between the characters on the show to yourself. You don’t like Laurel as a character, you don’t see the chemistry between her and Oliver, fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, all I’m asking is for you to keep it out of a fanfiction review.

And now, since everybody is entitled to their own opinion—here is mine.

The chemistry is obviously in the eye of the beholder, because I see chemistry between Oliver and Laurel. It’s ‘subdued’ because it has to be. These two have a past, a past filled with heart-break, so I don’t expect them to sizzle and burn every time they look at each other. At least I don’t expect it from Laurel’s side. Let’s look at it this way. Here’s the man you obviously love, but who has broken your heart repeatedly, even slept with your sister. He’s a bastard (or he was). So tell me this, would you really go all ga-ga immediately after his return, give your heart immediately back to him, show him you love him, you’d do anything for him? I wouldn’t. Even if I saw he’s changed.
That’s what’s going on with Laurel. She loves him, it’s evident, but she doesn’t trust him (yet). There’s “too much” as Oliver said to Sara. She’s afraid of letting him too close again, because he just might end up breaking her heart again. She needs to trust him again, really trust him, before she lets go, lets him close. To me, that’s all evident. She’s cold and distant, because that’s the only way she can keep her emotional distance.
There is chemistry, but she (they) need to keep it at bay, because there’s “too much” between them. There’s the secret that she doesn’t know.
Stephen and Katie to me are wonderful in acting this particular conflict at keeping their body language aloof, keeping the physical distance, while their eyes say different. It’s all in the eyes folks.

Some don’t see this, either because they simply don’t or they refuse to. But let me tell you something. Before actors are cast, there are the so-called chemistry test where they test for on-screen chemistry, whether the actors are compatible or not. Apparently the creators of the show saw what I see and so Stephen and Katie were cast as Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance.

Those who refuse to see the chemistry between them are mostly Olicity shippers that just want their couple to get together, because they’re so absolutely perfect together.
Yes, I see the chemistry between Oliver and Felicity as well, a different chemistry than between Oliver and Laurel. While O/L’s is of romantic nature, the one I see between O/F is more friendship, a strong friendship, one that would endure through years and hardships. But there is just no romantic spark between them. While Felicity obviously has a crush on him (who wouldn’t?) I just don’t see them as romantic partners or lovers.
So why is the O/F chemistry more ‘present’ and stronger at this stage? Because she doesn’t share her past with him. She knows him as the Oliver we (as viewers) know. She didn’t know him when he was a cheating, lying playboy. She doesn’t have the ‘experience’ Laurel has. Oliver has never broken Felicity’s heart or given her reasons to doubt him or mistrust him. And she knows his secret. He could really be himself when he’s with her. He can’t be “truly himself” with Laurel, because she doesn’t know he’s Arrow.

Now, talking about non-existent chemistry. There was none with Helena Bertinelli and Detective Hall, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. Or was it just me? It was better with Shado, but still light-years from ‘perfect’.

I know why people like Felicity. Because she’s the geek. And we all want the geek to get her man, to snatch him away from the ‘perfect girl’. But to me Felicity is far from geeky. Sure, she’s a genius (apparently), she’s a hacker, she and verbal diarrhea, but she doesn’t look like a geek. Yeah, there are the glasses, but that’s it. She’s blond, she’s sexy, she wears cute little dresses and high-heels. I know, it’s CW, but still, I don’t see geek when I see Felicity. I see a beautiful young lady in glasses. So in a way she’s just as perfect as Laurel (or the actress that portrays her).

And the whole Black Canary being her sister—the writers and producers have stated multiple times that they have a plan, so I guess they have one. And since Arrow has turned out to be my favorite show, both thanks to the writing, the plots, and the characters, I’m actually looking forward to their plan. And to Laurel Lance to have a decent storyline.
Because, let’s face it, the majority of the blame for the dislike the character of Laurel has accumulated between the viewers should be heaped onto the writers’ shoulders.

And the point of Laurel hunting the vigilante has been explained and dealt with. People do strange things because of grief and guilt. To me it was a rather realistic portrayal of Laurel’s grief and self-blame. And I’m also glad it has been taken care of quickly in the series instead of dragging it all out.

To finish, I’d like to address something the show’s produced Marc Guggenheim stated in an interview on the “Moonlighting syndrome” series face when the two main characters end up together.
He claims that’s what the show faces with putting Oliver and Laurel together, but I beg to differ. We already know they’ll end up together, it’s just a matter of when not of if. And there are plenty of possible plotlines after that happens—Oliver might still hide the truth from her creating tension, she (if she becomes Black Canary) and Oliver might work together creating even more tension with him trying to protect her and her ‘laughing in his face’ etc.
I fear the show might run into the “Moonlighting syndrome” with Oliver and Felicity. Because the fans demand it, so they might just give the fans what they want, DC canon be damned. And then what? Will-they/Won’t-they over. UST (unresolved sexual tension) done. Spark gone.

One more point: Smallville I didn’t watch the series, but apparently Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) ended up with someone outside of canon—Chloe instead of Dinah Lance. And people claim that if that happened in Smallville it could very well happen in Arrow as well. If I my information is correct, Smallville followed the Superman canon, because it was a Superman origins story. By default Arrow is following the Green Arrow canon, being the Green Arrow origins story. And in Green Arrow canon who does Oliver Queen end up with?

Rant officially over. Promise.

We’ll just have to wait and see, and trust the creators and writers to bring the series to a close the way they’ve envisioned it while keeping us interested and entertained. Keeping my fingers crossed.