‘Arrow’ Character Spotlight: Oliver Queen
After tackling a few secondary characters, for my character spotlight this week I wanted to talk
about the series star, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Out of all the characters on Arrow, Oliver
has, by far, been the biggest character development on the show. Some of the points I’m going to discuss on our dear Mr. Queen are similar to the personality traits I pointed out in my article Arrow: A Grave Epiphany. Now that we officially know who it is that is in the grave after
the airing of our most recent episode, Eleven-Fifty-Nine, I can really get into the meat and potatoes of this character.
So in Season 1 when we met Oliver, after being rescued from Lian Yu, he came back to Starling City with a mission. Clearly, after five years of thinking, he had his mind pretty made up. While Oliver left Starling City as a stereotypical party boy, the returning
Oliver was far from it. The five years on the island turned Oliver from a man who had never held a gun before to a warrior who became an extremely skilled combatant. Not only did Oliver develop supreme fighting skills, but he also learned a sense of independence. When the fisherman picked Oliver up on the island, he was alone. Well, as far as we know he was on the island alone. Currently in the flashbacks, he has Tianna, Reiter and his prisoners on the
island with him. Due to the fact that Oliver appears to have been alone in the Season 1 Premiere episode, at some point and time, these characters will likely be leaving Oliver.
This sense of independence made Oliver feel as though it was his duty to carry on his mission
to better Starling City on his own. After meeting his bodyguard, John Diggle, Oliver decided to bring Diggle in on his quest to better his city. Diggle became the first person that Oliver could
really and sincerely trust. Don’t get me wrong, sure, Oliver could always rely on his childhood best friend- Tommy Merlyn for advice… on personal things. (i.e dating, Thea, family matters) However, vigilante activities… not exactly Tommy’s game. Oliver knew that even though Diggle would not agree with Oliver’s methods right off the bat, Diggle would eventually see the reasoning in Oliver’s plan. Oliver was right, eventually, Diggle accepted Oliver’s offer to join his ‘team’.
When Oliver finally brought in Felicity Smoak as a key member to the team, that was when we slowly started to see a change in the way Oliver did things. She did not hesitate to voice her opinions in his way of handling situations, and Oliver slowly began to agree with her.
His kill count dwindled significantly (but not completely), and instead of being a rogue vigilante, he began to honor the justice system and started filling up cells at Iron Heights Prison.
I should also add, that he has recently been favoring the A.R.G.U.S designated prison on Lian Yu. Currently, both Slade Wilson and Bronze Tiger are residents there. Slade, former best friend of Oliver, was probably one of the most vindictive and violent criminals that Oliver ever faced. Slade murdered Oliver’s mother, kidnapped his sister and was seconds away from killing Felicity. Despite all of these brutally terrible things that Slade did to Oliver, Oliver maintained that sense of ‘light’ and even though he had the opportunity to kill Slade, Oliver turned to justice and had Slade locked away in prison.
Oliver eventually started to become more trusting of people, bringing in Roy Harper, Sara and Laurel Lance and even his sister, Thea Queen into the fold of joining Team Arrow.
Now, we have seen Oliver come quite a long way from the ‘killer’ that he was in the first Season. Instead of a kill here and there every once in awhile, Oliver, as the Green Arrow, has chosen to abandon that path completely-regardless of the crime.
Or has he?
Given all the buildup we have seen so far this season, and after seeing Oliver’s frustration multiple times that light vs darkness isn’t working… we may have to consider the possibility, and brace ourselves for the fact that Laurel’s death, could possibly lead Oliver back down a path he swore to never return. When Felicity was in the hospital Oliver stated that he thought the reason Darhk was winning was because Oliver wasn’t willing to go ‘far enough’ and that he didn’t know if the point of what he is doing as ‘The Green Arrow’ is, if he can’t protect those closest to him.
We have seen Oliver handle ‘revenge’ all kinds of ways. However, this time, it is very different. Oliver tried to be a ‘beacon of hope’ for Star City. Even though Laurel’s death was no way a fault on Oliver in the grand scheme of things, Oliver is certainly going to feel an extreme sense of guilt. Quite possible the thought of ‘if I had just killed Darhk from the very beginning, instead of being this beacon of hope… Laurel would still be alive,’ Or something along those lines.
While Oliver appears to be very level headed and focus in the preview for the upcoming episode ‘Canary Cry‘, will he be able to maintain that focus for the rest of the season as the battle with Damien Darhk escalates?
One thing I can tell you that Oliver will make sure does not happen is to let Diggle blame himself for Laurel’s death. Oliver and John may have their spats, but Oliver and John have developed this beautiful, brotherly relationship that Oliver will honor until the day he dies.
Oliver cares deeply about those he brings into his life, especially his team members, who have grown to become his family. He has become more calm, grounded, and level-headed.
As Green Arrow, Oliver has seemingly become against killing and torturing his enemies in general. Oliver has also become more mature in regards to people, having lost his paranoia and supreme, constant coldness. He has also become incredibly forgiving, and a prime example of that was when he discovered Quentin Lance was working for Damien Darhk. One Quentin explained that he only did it because Darhk threatened Laurel, Oliver empathized with him and agreed to slowly help him break free of Darhk’s clutches, and protect Laurel. Also, when Laurel
sneakily brought her sister, Sara Lance back from the death by means of the Lazarus Pit- Oliver went to hell and back to make every last effort to save Sara’s soul, rather than killing her because everyone suspected she was ‘too far gone’.
Sometimes, we still see that coldness to Oliver. He’s had quite a few blowups recently, most notably with Curtis, who assisted Team Arrow in the take- down of the bug-eyed bandit. He still struggles to trust people he just meets, but I do not think that is something that will ever go away. Considering the number of people that have turned on him in the past, I do not blame him.
He also loves Felicity Smoak with all of his heart, and loving someone the way he loves her has been almost impossible for Oliver, after years of being emotionally and literally scarred. Since being with her, Oliver always tries to see the good in people, just as she does.
What to Expect
Expect Oliver to be having an extreme, internal battle. He has come so far from the vigilante that he once was. Sure, the direct approach would be to kill everyone Darhk cares about and
break him down. Oliver knows that. However, he knows that if he did not search for any other options first and just result to murder; Laurel would be turning over in her grave.
Oliver is going to need to be there for his teammates now more than ever, especially for Diggle.
Also, prepare for a pretty epic battle coming up between Oliver and Damien Darhk. Even though Oliver may not kill him, it’s going to be a dang… AWESOME battle.
Give me your thoughts. How do you think that Laurel’s death will change Oliver? Will he return to darkness?