2015 Season Finales – The May Report Card


Agents of SHIELD

shield bobbi

“She had a good heart, Phil. It was just torn out.”

Agents of SHIELD has done a lot of completely awesome things this year, especially with Fitz, who — like Cisco in The Flash — has somehow made the jump from being my least favorite character to my absolute most favorite character. That being said, I did struggle quite a bit with May in the back half of the season. In theory, I like the idea of May feeling betrayed by Coulson (an obvious reversal from last season), but in actuality, I never really bought her fury with him, nor did I buy her distrust of Skye or the Inhumans in general. Even when they brought in her Bahrain backstory, I didn’t buy it, and I think it’s because I agree with my sister: May’s suspicion of powered people — suspicion bordering heavily on prejudice — doesn’t really feel like something she’s been carrying around since before the show. It feels like something that abruptly appeared in Season Two for maximum drama. So when May (who I usually like) turns into kind of an asshole, it comes across as both annoying and artificial.

That being said, May vs Skye and May vs Coulson? Thankfully not a huge part of this action-packed two hour finale, so I was free to enjoy all the other awesome things that happened. Like Mac cutting off Coulson’s hand, I mean, holy SHIT. That was huge. I really like the turn with Cal; more than that, I’m impressed with it. I didn’t think I’d buy any kind of redemption storyline, and then I did. I also liked the reveal with Jiaying — turning her into a full-fledged villain made her about 18 times more interesting. The fight scene between Ward and Bobbi was great; also, Bobbi getting herself shot to save Hunter, May tricking Ward into killing Agent 33, and the moment with Jemma at the end — yet another holy shit moment. I will confess that I don’t care about Jemma and Fitz going on a date because I don’t ship them even a little, but that ending . . . Marvel, you bastards.

Theories on what’s going to happen to Jemma? I want to hear them.




“We both know it’s just a matter of time. So why not just cut to the chase?”

All this season, Elementary has been building to two likely possibilities: a) Sherlock relapsing, and b) Sherlock’s father coming to town. I wasn’t sure if the relapse was going to happen or not, but I was dead certain Sherlock’s father would appear, either in this episode or teased for the next. What I’m saying here is, ha ha, I’m awesome. Kudos for me. (Also, casting time — who do you want to see as Sherlock’s dad?)

I think I actually like that the relapse happens off screen, and I definitely like that it happens after Alfredo is found safe. It’s more of anti-climax, which works great because Elementary foreshadowed that shit way back in Episode 9. (I guess there is some debate whether it happened at all, but — yeah, I thought it was pretty clear.) I do wish Joan had a little more to do to wrap up her character arc this season, but I know it wouldn’t have fit well in the finale. (The penultimate episode, though, absolutely could have been hers.) The stomping scene, too, is pretty brutal, effectively bursting the quiet tension that had been building the whole episode.

I liked Season 2, but it did end on a down note for me — apparently, it did for a lot of people. Overall, I think I’ve enjoyed this season much more, especially with subplots that I didn’t think I’d get into (Kitty, namely — I was surprised by how much I liked her story and its resolution), and it definitely ended on a high note for me. There’s been a lot of focus on character, which I’ve really enjoyed, and I’m surprisingly excited to see how Season Four goes.


The Flash


“Screw the future.”

Oh, The Flash. The Flash has done many things right —  a fun, joyous tone, an arch-nemesis who’s amazeballs, excellent character relationships (well, for the most part), etc. Hell, I was even okay with the Grodd episode, and I was wildly not excited about bringing in a telepathic gorilla. (In general, I’m not excited about apes as villains. I have a hard time taking it seriously.)

But I’ve struggled a lot with The Flash too, and I feel like my geek squee for the show has suffered considerably as a result. Iris, of course, is the biggest problem. And yes, her story has finally gotten a little bit better — but I can’t help but feel like the writers don’t have any idea why she was so maddening in the first place, and that leads me to worry about where her story will go in the future. (Seriously, no one even came close to a reason to keep her out of the loop. And that line where Joe’s basically like, ‘I’m the boss of Iris, Eddie, until you marry her, and then you can be the boss of her?’ Ugh. The level of disgust some people are having for GoT right now is honestly the level of disgust I had for that line.)

And while it’s to a much lesser extent, I think Caitlin is another problem because a) I don’t entirely buy the actress and b) her storyline, such as it is, is boring as hell. When I mentioned the character relationships/dynamics I liked above . . . well, Joe and Barry are great. Barry and Wells are great. Cisco and Wells are great. To an extent, even Iris and Eddie are decent. . . but Caitlin? She has one scene I really like with Cisco, and beyond that, not much. Caitlin and Barry do little for me. (Especially with that whole ‘you’re a hero so you deserve my body’ line, UGH.) Caitlin and Wells do little for me. Caitlin and Ronnie do NOTHING for me. There are a lot of superhero shows on TV right now, but The Flash and Arrow seem to collectively have the worst female character representation problems. I’m tired of it.

But moving on. The finale itself was pretty enjoyable. I don’t know if I ever thought Barry would actually save his mother, but I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping there would be big timeline changes anyway, like Barry goes back to the future and all kinds of things are different, like the real Harrison Wells is still alive (Tom Cavanagh, I don’t want to lose you!) and Caitlin Snow is now a villain (because maybe then she’d be interesting). I’ll also admit that my brain just doesn’t understand time paradoxes at all, so while I understand that Ancestor Eddie shoots himself to write Reverse Flash out of time, I’m still a little lost on why writing Reverse Flash out of time doesn’t pretty much scrap the whole season too. Also . . . if Reverse Flash is from 120 years in the future and he hates Barry Allen for . . . Reasons . . . does that mean Barry Allen is also alive 120 years from now, or did Reverse Flash go back in time (without losing his speed force) to 2024 and that’s when he started hating Barry Allen for . . . Reasons. (Seriously. I know Reverse Flash is supposedly Super Dead now, but I kind of need these Reasons to eventually be explained, or I will consider it a Problem.)

Also of note:

A) CISCO IS A METAHUMAN. This is the best news ever. (I was seriously getting concerned they weren’t going to address why he remembered things when no one else did.)

B) Aw, poor Eddie. That was sad. I’ll miss your not-American rasp.

C) While I’m glad some people brought up opposition to The Big Plan . . . I wish someone had brought up stronger opposition. Like if I was there, I’d totally be the asshole bringing up the Butterfly Effect. “Yeah, it’s cool you can save your mom, Barry, but what if Nora Allen falls asleep at the wheel two years later, and I’m in the other car, and I DIE. Is it worth it THEN, Barry?” And seriously, when a world-eating black hole is a possible consequence to going back in time to save a woman who’s been dead, like, 15-20 years? Nope. Nope, it’s not worth it. Somebody needed to say that.

D) “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is a terrible wedding song. Didn’t you people watch The Stand? This is the “happy music” they play during the Apocalypse when pretty much everyone is dead. Why would we choose this as background music for Caitlin and Ronnie’s wedding? Was “Rains of Castamere” too optimistic?


Person of Interest


“I didn’t know how to win. I had to invent new rules.”

I think “YHWH” might have been one of Person of Interest’s weaker season finales — but that says more about the strength of the finales over the past four years than the weakness of this one particular episode. Actually, “YHWH” is a pretty solid episode that manages to, once again, find a new way to reboot the concept for next season. I will always admire how they do that, and wish more TV shows would do the same. But while the majority of the episode is good, I don’t know if I’d say it’s brilliant — until the last ten minutes or so anyway.

For me, “YHWH” is all about two moments: a) when Dominick and Elias (NOOOO, Elias!!!) are unceremoniously taken out by Samaritan, and b) the Machine finally talks directly to Finch, calling him Father and asking for forgiveness. Oh. Oh, that whole scene just hurt. STOP TRYING TO BREAK MY HEART, PERSON OF INTEREST.

(Also, it’d be great for my soul if someone would rescue Control. She doesn’t exactly deserve it, and I wasn’t at all surprised she completely got outfoxed by Samaritan, but — please, please don’t let that be the last we see of the amazing Camryn Manheim. She is the best. It’s enough that we lost Enrico Colantoni, isn’t it?)

PoI will have a shortened fifth season (thirteen episodes, I think) which almost certainly means there will be no sixth season. Honestly, I’m okay with that — as much as I love this show, I’m not sure it would naturally stretch past five seasons anyway. I don’t know where you go past Samaritan, and really, I’d rather end on a high note. I just hope they can get the balance right for the fifth season. My biggest criticism of Season Four is that things felt rushed at the end, and that Shaw’s sorta-return felt very unbalanced. I almost wish we hadn’t seen her at all after the gloriously heartbreaking “If-Then-Else,” because while the concept of Brainwashed Shaw is interesting, the execution really seemed off.


The Blacklist


“I’ll be playing right into their hands.”
“You’re already in their hands. The only thing they haven’t done is close their fists.”

Oh, The Blacklist. At Mekaela’s urging, I started watching this show on Netflix, and it was, for some time, an enjoyable guilty pleasure. Right now, though, everything just seems to be on a downward spiral.

The best thing I can say about the season finale is that it at least sets up an interesting premise for third season: Red and Lizzie on the run, Ressler hunting them down, and Cooper — presumably — out of a job. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy half the stuff it took to get there. I haven’t been very impressed with the last handful of episodes — for starters, can you believe no one’s been in a car accident in months?! Months, I say. But more importantly, the Lizzie/Tom stuff hasn’t been working for me at all since he came back from playing Nazi — he’s suddenly become the most boring version of Fake Tom ever. How? How did this happen? I was promised a damaged, twisted relationship between two complex characters and got . . . this. As such, their maybe-we-should-sail-away-together bullshit obviously did nothing for me, particularly because it took up a 1/3 of the episode and seemed really inconsistent anyway. (We can just go! No, you can’t go! Wait, why are you going?)

Also: Samar and Aram had virtually nothing to do, the extended car commercial chase scene was beyond lame, and Lizzie’s twitchy ‘I Look Like I’m About to Seize Out’ performance before killing Other, Not-Love-Interest Tom seemed like a strange acting choice. (And as much as Lizzie annoys me, I usually like Megan Boone.) The revelation that Lizzie killed her father was interesting — assuming it was even her father, or that he actually died from the gunshot would — but it was also pretty obvious from the second Red dramatically announced himself as a sin eater. I wish it could have been a bit more subtle. Which, admittedly, subtle is not The Blacklist’s bag. Still. I want better.




“That is remarkably ruthless and cold-blooded. I approve.”

And talk about your downward spirals.

Oh, Arrow. There are things about this season that I’ve really enjoyed: Roy’s fake-out death twist. The automatic hilarity of putting Oliver and Ray in the same scene. Thea finally finding out who the Arrow is — and her reaction when she does. Laurel’s response to Thea’s confession. In fact, Laurel was SO MUCH BETTER this season — I’m a long way from calling her my favorite character, but she had some good moments, and I actually enjoyed her relationship with Nyssa. (Why did Nyssa go back home again?) If only she hadn’t kept Sara’s death from her father because yeah. That was awful and took way, way too long to come to fruition.

But Arrow’s third season also had a lot of problems, and most of them have revolved around Felicity. Which sucks because I LOVE Felicity, or used to. Once they officially made her the Primary Love Interest, though, things went to hell, like the Arrow writers couldn’t possibly imagine how to portray a love interest who’s actually a person and has reasonable responses to things all at the same time. I want to be happy that Oliver and Felicity finally got together and drove off into the sunset, but I’ve just been so annoyed with their bullshit that I couldn’t even bring myself to care. Which, again, this sucks. Oliver and Felicity are my OTP. You have ruined my OTP for me, Arrow. I didn’t even know that was possible.

Other problems in the season: Ra’s failed to be an intimidating villain in any way, the flashbacks grew stale because they stretched out way too long, and I wanted to knock Diggle and Felicity’s heads together in the last few episodes. Particularly Diggle, actually, because as stupid as Oliver’s plan was, I didn’t buy Diggle’s betrayal. I think I might have bought it if Diggle hadn’t been immediately pissed when Supposedly Brainwashed Oliver kidnapped Lyla, like he blamed his friend for being brainwashed in the first place. I needed his anger, instead, to come from realizing he’d been manipulated by his best friend — although I also feel the need to point out that Lyla isn’t a civilian, wasn’t hurt, and Diggle and Felicity held important information back from Oliver too, like just a few episodes ago, and they absolutely didn’t need to. (Also, seriously, I don’t understand why everyone in “Al Sah-Him” was all like, “Oliver can’t get brainwashed! Brainwashing doesn’t exist!” when Roy killed a cop last season and Thea KILLED SARA. Seriously, WTF.) I found the tension between the three of them extremely artificial, and I hated it.

Let’s see, what else — I like Thea becoming Speedy, but I wish that whole subplot had actually been given some considerable time on screen. (And we better talk about her whole tainted soul thing next season, or I will call bullshit.) The Big Fight between Ra’s and Oliver was extremely underwhelming. The Flash cameo was funny but felt ridiculously rushed and kind of unnecessary. I guess I did predict Malcolm might become Ra’s, but come on – it’d have been way more awesome if Thea had become Ra’s instead, right? Right.

Basically, I feel like I need to write a whole Season Three fix-it fic, at this point. That makes me sad.


14 thoughts on “2015 Season Finales – The May Report Card

    • Huzzah! He’s great.

      On the other hand, I don’t know how I’d feel about Whatshisname Thorne returning, especially if he’d be the big bad again. Maybe it will somehow be zombie Harrison Wells, here to join the team?

      • Yeah, I was wondering if we’d maybe get Good Harrison Wells back — although, I originally figured that would happen if Barry went back in time and changed the past. So, not so much. Then again, who knows what might happen in the face of the giant blackhole vs Flash? It could be anything. (There should be an actual zombie on the team. There should be Flash/iZombie crossovers. Okay, not really. But I’d probably read that fanfic.)

  1. Agents Of SHIELD: I found May’s arc in the latter half of the season so out-of-character that I kept forgetting the whole storyline. Every episode, it would pop up, and I would go “Oh, right, May’s being kind of dicky lately and has joined Real SHIELD.” That part, especially, didn’t make sense to me. Like, she can be pissed at Coulson for keeping secrets without climbing onboard with the whole Real SHIELD agenda?

    Anyway, I too liked the twist with Jiaying. I absolutely fell for the Raina and Gonzales misdirects, and didn’t see it coming at all. (And I think it’s amusingly in-character that Raina was apparently like “Oh no, Jiaying’s going to start a war with SHIELD! This is terrible, I have to warn people… And hey, while I’m at it, I could totally use this to make a power grab.”)

    I was sort of impressed that they’d actually shown the beginnings of Jiaying and Cal’s evil plan – the “My people won’t follow me blindly into a war,” “I would,” part – and made it seem like they were just being romantic. But I didn’t entirely buy some of her behaviour in the finale. She’d seemed too smart and sly to just murder those agents in cold blood and expect no one to have a problem with it, and I found her attempted murder of Skye a little too easy.

    Kyle McLachlan has been so much fun on this show. I’m really going to miss him.

    I like Jemma and Fitz, and I’m truly glad they’re on the same page again, but I prefer them as friends. Plus, it really feels out-of-nowhere to me, on Jemma’s side.

    Speaking of Jemma, I kinda think it’s awesome of the show that she made one of those “I’ll kill you if I ever see you again,” threats, and then actually followed through with it. Or tried to, anyway. Characters say that all the damn time, but they hardly ever mean it.

    I was also sort of impressed that the show was willing to have her be that cold without openly condemning it. (This also goes for the way May tricked Ward into killing Kara.) I didn’t find it to be a Moral Event Horizon, since she obviously believed Ward’s betrayal was inevitable, that he was too dangerous to work with, and a major part of her motivation was saving his would-be victims… But I would’ve thought the show itself would present all cold-blooded killing as a MEH, particularly for Jemma, Skye, or Fitz.

    As for what happens when someone’s eaten by the Magic Alien Boulder, I kind of hope Jemma ends up in an alternate dimension. Purely because earlier in the season I had an Agents Of SHIELD dream where they were dealing with alternate dimensions, and Jemma got stuck in one by herself for a while, and if that happens, I can pretend that I’m a clairvoyant Inhuman, or that I called it.

    • I think that might be my problem with Jemma/Fitz too, that on her side, it does feel sudden to me. Maybe it’s more like she doesn’t know exactly how she feels, but knows it’s complicated, and thinks the best way to figure it out is to try it and see? Experiment-like? It’s a small thing, but that works better for me than she suddenly off screen realized she had For Sure Romantic Feels. Not that it necessarily matters at this particular moment.

      I, too, loved that she tried to kill Ward. Jemma was driving me a little crazy earlier when she was on the whole ‘powers are evil,’ side, but unlike May, her arc there actually made more sense to me. After Ward betrayed her and Fitz nearly died, she’s changed. That works for me. I absolutely wanted to throw things at her during a few episodes, but her prejudices never felt like a totally cheap bid for drama. And I love that we’ve seen this darker, colder side of her this season. (And, as you said, it hasn’t been a huge Moral thing. Like, she isn’t automatically a villain now, or weeping, “What have I done?” into her tea.)

      Alternate dimension is interesting. My mind immediately skipped to the object spitting out a fake, shapeshifty Jemma, though I don’t know why. If it does end up being an alternate dimension, though, you may want to stick to just saying, “I called it!” So far, nothing good on this show has happened to clairvoyants (either real ones or pretenders).

      • Yeah, that would work better for me. But god, either way, I hope her and Fitz’s storylines aren’t going to be full of romantic angst from now on. That might make me kick in the screen.

        Fake Shapeshifty Jemma does sound like the kind of thing this show would do. (Also, almost that exact scenario happened on Lost Girl, minus a secretly liquid boulder as the kidnapper. It’s unlikely real Jemma will turn up caught in a bear trap inside a cave, though.)

        Crap, you’re right about nothing good happening to clairvoyants. Oh well, having successfully called things is always satisfying.

      • After spending way too much time reading speculative post-rock fanfiction, last night I had a dream about it – Jemma had been body-switched with this weird semi-human person who lived underground. In an alternate dimension. I was trying to track down this dimension’s tribe of mole-people via a fanfic detailing the above scenario? It was very meta. But I kept getting distracted when the dream would get mixed up with other dreams about bratty rich kids and non-existent detective movies from the 70s.

        This dream is significantly less likely to come true, admittedly. But dude, if Season 3 in any way involves a race of pale, sickly, sad mole people who hide out in an underground bunker and travel via storm drains, I may have to reconsider the clairvoyant thing.

        On that note, I’m kind of obsessed with this episodic game called Life Is Strange (spoilers, but I’ve kept them vague because they’re so recent, and I don’t know whether you’re currently in the middle of playing this, or not at all interested, or what) which is sort of a mixture between Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks, and Groundhog Day? And they just revealed the solution to the central mystery of the game, and I’ve been bragging to absolutely everyone about having figured it out – I fingered the culprit in the first episode, and figured out their motivations after a comment in the second. The last episode was really dark, actually, but the horrifying-ness has been completely overwhelmed by my irrational pride. (I spent a lot of time theorising about this, and was very convinced of the main culprit’s guilt, so it would’ve been pretty disappointing if I’d been completely off-target.)

  2. The Flash: Damnit Eddie, if you’d just gone and gotten a vasectomy like I’d suggested, there wouldn’t be a black hole opening over the city, and you wouldn’t be dead.

    Though seriously, with so many science geniuses around, I would’ve thought at least someone would bring up the idea of using Eddie to defeat Fake Harrison Wells. I mean, it’s a pretty well known potential element of time travel. They wouldn’t have to have done it – they didn’t know exactly how time travel works yet, so it might not have worked – but I just wanted to see it discussed. Certainly, it would’ve been a lot less risky than actually fighting Reverse Flash, even 3-on-1.

    How on earth did that work out with the Arrow timeline? Wasn’t Oliver supposedly brainwashed in another country at this point? Somehow I doubt Ra’s would be cool with him taking a break to go rescue his buddy in Central City.

    Apart from the stuff you wanted brought up, I also needed someone to object based on Fake Wells being manipulative and untrustworthy as hell. He could’ve been greatly exaggerating the ease of the venture to convince them to go ahead and send him home, and/or he could’ve been trying to trap Barry in the past. What if Barry didn’t have 112 seconds to get back, but 10? They wouldn’t know.

    I found Caitlin and Ronnie’s quickie wedding kind of sweet (and hey, at least they didn’t go with “Don’t Fear The Reaper,”) but I do question how this is going to work if he’s going off to join Legends Of Tomorrow. And then last night I had a dream where he was secretly from another dimension who were running experiments on the metahumans from this dimension, and he was actually just Caitlin’s monitor, Orphan Black-style. Because she could turn invisible. It was the most I’ve ever been interested in Ronnie, except perhaps when he was introduced as a crazy flaming homeless man.

    So is Cisco’s power just that he can see through changed timelines? That’s oddly specific. It’s cool that he’s a metahuman, though. I hope next season we get more non-criminals with superpowers. ‘Cause there must be a shit ton of people who got superpowers, but don’t want to either commit or fight crime, and thus fly completely under the radar of both Star Labs and the police department. I want to see a little of those people – storylines wouldn’t have to revolve around them or anything. But tertiary characters like Linda or Mason could have superpowers that they have very little use for. That might be fun.

    Is Season 2 going to open with one of Iris’s stories in the paper, with the headline “FLASH APOLOGISES TO CITY, EXPLAINS BLACK HOLE WAS “HIS BAD”? That thing was eating the tops of skyscrapers – it must have killed hundreds or thousands of people. I do hope Team Flash’s culpability in those deaths is at least acknowledged next season, ’cause I mean, they fucking knew that was a risk.

    • I wish someone would make an educational pamphlet for vasectomies with a picture of the black hole on it. Like, Vasectomy Advantages: Will Prevent Tiny Humans And The Annihilation of the Entire Planet. I now also kind of want someone on TV to get married to the song “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

      To my understanding, Robbie Amell isn’t joining the main cast of Legends of Tomorrow, just Victor Garber. Which is interesting.

      I completely agree with the idea of having superpowered tertiary characters. It seems like you rarely get that. Also, I’m wondering if Cisco’s powers are going to expand, like if it’ll go from remembering alternate timelines to visions of possible futures or something. I specifically haven’t looked up much info on his comic counterpart, so I’m not sure.

      A part of me likes how everyone was all sympathetic to Barry and letting him do what he needs to do. It’s a small part, though, because the rest of me is screaming, “What the FUCK were you people thinking?” When someone puts the entire globe at stake for the chance at saving someone they love — that’s usually a supervillain’s plan. Never mind the fact that it was the SUPERVILLAIN’s idea. It’s one thing for a character to be selfish enough to do, but almost everyone was like, “Yeah, kid, that’s up to you.” And I’m like, “Fail, team. Fail. That is not one man’s call to make.”

      • That sounds like a fun pamphlet. I could see it in the imaginary, at-least-somewhat-comedic sci-fi show wherein the heroes defeat a time-travelling villain with the power of vasectomies and convenient ancestors.

        Oh, that makes the wedding make sense. I kind of thought they had to be a package deal to be Firestorm, but I may be misremembering.

        I think the closest thing would be Misfits – wherein, at least, there were a lot of minor-and-guest characters with (frequently rubbish) abilities they had absolutely no fucking idea what to do with.

        Man, now I want there to be a supervillain who actually does have a plan like that, and Star Labs has to stop him – while fully recognising how hypocritical it is. Maybe they could come to the realisation that hey, maybe they shouldn’t have risked the entire world to resurrect a single person, no matter how important she was to Barry.

        • No, I don’t think you’re misremembering. I’m pretty sure both guys have to be present to make Firestorm . . . and yet, here we are. My best guess is that Victor Garber will function as the team’s scientist most of the time and during Big Events, Robbie Amell will guest star and they’ll go set shit on fire. Could be some interesting character stuff about two guys who work best together but have entirely separate lives in different cities. I’d like to see something like that, anyway. But maybe they’re just planning to retcon the whole thing.

          Heh. That would actually be awesome, if Star Labs had to deal with a super villain who tried to turn back time to save a loved one. I don’t think it will happen, but I, too, would be into it.

  3. Arrow: I think Oliver’s fight with Ra’s was my least favourite part of the finale. One of the more interesting elements of Ra’s as a villain was that, after the midseason finale, it seemed like Ollie simply would not be able to beat this guy in a fair fight.

    I was really hoping that the show would stick to its guns on that. Rather than Oliver just levelling up with the power of love or self-respect, I wanted Team Arrow to have to win by being clever and finding a different way of defeating him. Or of tipping the scales in Oliver’s favour. Not that I don’t want his character development to affect the storyline, but that doesn’t mean he actually has to win over the Big Bad in a one-on-one duel.

    Plus, with them both in League outfits, I had no idea who was who for most of that fight.

    Felicity taking note of Oliver and Nyssa’s engagement could’ve worked for me as a non-blamey comedic aside – like “Oh, and for some reason brainwashed Oliver is marrying Ra’s’ imprisoned lesbian daughter, so that’s an extra layer of weird and creepy.” (Admittedly, we don’t know Nyssa’s orientation beyond Sara, but it makes the line better if she’s gay.)

    Instead Felicity was actually jealous and angry about what was clearly a forced/sham marriage (between two people who’d never even given each other a second glance beforehand – it’s not like it was Oliver and Laurel getting forcibly married) when they were all about to be executed, or when the entire city was about to be destroyed. And in spite of such stakes, her reaction was genuinely played for drama. It was bizarre.

    That’s part of what I feel has been an ongoing trend with Felicity this season, of thinking and acting entirely with her heart and not at all with her head. Mostly when Oliver’s involved in some way. It isn’t a great start for her as Official Love Interest, losing any sense of practicality and just acting irrationally and impulsively because she’s blinded by her feelings for Oliver. And yeah, it really sucks that she’s suffered such sexist bullshit writing this season, because she was my favourite character too.

    On the other hand, I too was surprised at how much better Laurel’s been in the back half of this season. I wouldn’t say I’m all the way to actually LIKING her, but I don’t mind her at all either, and I did genuinely enjoy her guest spot on The Flash and her interactions with Nyssa, Thea, and Felicity. (I just want all the female characters to be friends and hang out together!) It’s a little worrisome too though – what if the reason she’s so markedly improved is simply that she’s no longer Oliver’s One True Love? That wouldn’t bode well for Felicity, who I’m still hoping against hope will be back to her awesome self next season.

    ARGH. It shouldn’t be this fucking hard to write a half-decent female love interest, not if you’re a half-decent writer elsewhere.

    The Felicity/Diggle moment that annoyed me the most was them taking ZombieThea back to Starling, then leaving her alone with her evil, hated father to tell her what had happened to Ollie. I know they were hurting too, but that wasn’t cool. I *did* love their friendship moment when they were seemingly dying of the virus, though. I wish we got to see more of that friendship – since I finished the first season, I’ve had this fic idea where each chapter takes place after either of them got a bomb collar strapped around their neck, had a run-in with Deadshot, anything like that. And whenever shit like that happens, the other one will stay the night and provide medical attention, cips of tea, or just keep them company. Entirely platonic company.

    Anyway, I agree about Thea as Speedy. That really makes me happy in spite of the suddenness, as I’ve been wanting her to become a sidekick since Season 1, but when Roy got that role instead, I thought it was never going to happen.

    Let’s hope Season 4 has less issues.

    • I think I always expected Oliver to beat Ra’s in a fair fight, but I agree that it would have much, much more interesting if he had to rely on some kind of trickery to outsmart him instead. Because I don’t know that I ever really buy it, that he’s become good enough to do it.

      I do think a lot of this show’s problem is that it can’t figure out how to write love interests. I’m desperately hoping that by next season, the writers will have listened to some of the complaints, realized, “Yeah, we did do a shitty job here,” and fix Felicity so that she can be awesome again. But you’re right — Laurel’s marked improvement this year probably has a lot to do with the fact that her storyline isn’t about Ollie anymore. She stands on her own two feet as a character, has her own goals that aren’t about getting together with the hero, important scenes with Nyssa and Thea and people who aren’t Ollie or her father. I don’t mind some romantic angst, but I feel like the writers are so determined to have it that they can’t figure out a way to do it without Oliver making stupid, broody decisions or Felicty being completely unreasonable and shrill. (Or Laurel, when she was in that role.)

      Yeah, letting Evil Daddy break the bad news was not the best call. I’d like to see more friendship moments between Felicity and Diggle, too. Between anyone, really. Friendships are the best! It doesn’t have to be all romance, all the time guys.

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