Arrow: Emily Bett Rickards Talks Barry and Felicity’s Spark and the Midseason Finaleby Clarissa / December 11, 2013
The winter finale of Arrow is airing tonight and when we last saw Oliver Queen, he was nearly dead. After being injected with a drug, he is now essentially in a precarious balance between life and death. Desperate to save him, Felicity could only turn to one man: Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash). Barry had arrived in Starling City in the last episode seeking information about the strange occurrences happening there — and getting closer to Felicity. But before leaving to save his job back home, he was drugged and dragged into the foundry, where Felicity begged him to save Oliver’s life, thus exposing the Arrow’s secret identity to another person.
Tonight, Barry will help Felicity and Diggle as they struggle to save Oliver, who is, in a way, living through his own version of “A Christmas Carol”, hallucinating visions of people from his past while the cure works its way through him. We had a chance to speak with Emily Bett Rickards about Felicity’s place in Oliver’s life, her sparks with Barry and what’s in store for Oliver in the winter finale.
Felicity + Barry Allen. When asked why she believes the pair seemed immediately attracted to one another, Emily said that they’re closely matched. “They sort of have this [plain] they can connect on [and] Felicity hasn’t had an opportunity to connect [with someone] on that level in a while. I think it’s hard to find someone with her caliber of IQ and I think sparks were flying from that. Plus, he’s super cute.”
The Green-Eyed Monster? Oliver’s reaction towards Barry seemed skeptical, particularly when he noticed Barry was interested in Felicity. But he also encouraged her to dance with Barry at his party. How does Oliver feel about this potential relationship between the two? Emily didn’t exactly call it jealousy, but she did say that “I think Oliver’s reaction was quite honest. It’s one of [testy looks]. I don’t think he’s really made up his mind yet. We’ve all been there, we’re the best friend and all of the sudden the best friend is preoccupied and you’re ‘oh, I miss them, I don’t feel good about this’. I think the representation of what that manifested is quite a honest and I think it’s a really honest situation that’s happened to every single one of us.”
Felicity’s Position. When asked how she would define Felicity’s place in Oliver’s light — particularly in light of recent events which seemed to prevent a relationship between them before it ever began — Emily said that “I don’t think that [her place in Oliver’s life] is defined at all. I think that’s the problem. I think that their definition of friendship is always tested by their situation of life and death and how they can’t lose one another. That huge aspect of ‘I can’t live without you’ creates that loving bond that I think is, you know, ‘Oliver and Felicity on a romantic level’. I think, yeah, there have been a lot of bumps in the road but they’re…obstacles or just sort of things that are forces working against a relationship between them, but they have a connection that no one else is gonna have. And that is a colossal deal.”
Barry’s Reaction. Now that Barry knows the truth about Oliver’s heroic alter ego, how will he react? “I think [Barry] is smart enough to be, like ‘Oh my God, now this all makes sense’. I feel like that’s how Felicity sort of – you know, he was brought in sort of how Felicity was brought in, with an ultimatum when they didn’t really have a choice. Felicity found out that Oliver was in the backseat of her car, dying, and we tranquillized Barry – nobody has any choice. I think he sort of expects it, but when we pick up in the next episode, it’s full-on danger. I mean, Oliver is pretty much dead. I think [Barry] doesn’t really have time to think about all of that. And then we do get to see, sort of, where his mind takes him later on. I always like watching a new dynamic between Diggle, Felicity and Oliver. Throwing another person is always really jarring at first because they have such a good thing going on.” During a recent Q&A session, Arrow producer Andrew Kreisberg also said that part of the fun of the winter finale is that “Barry is the ultimate fanboy. In a way, Barry is us; he represents the audience. Some of the fun of this is what if you were in the Batcave and how cool would that be? Part of the episode is Barry getting to revel in that and part of it is him getting to see that sometimes it’s better not meeting your heroes because they’re complicated and cranky and maybe jealous of the way you’re looking at their assistant. [But] at the end of the day Oliver just wants the job done, and Barry helps get the job done and that’s a saving grace for him.”
Getting Stronger. When we visited the set of Arrow earlier in the fall, Emily pointed out that Felicity will start acting much more assertive in season 2. Now that we’ve seen her grow and develop, Emily said that this will only continue as the season progresses. “[Underneath it all] she’s always been very vulnerable and she hasn’t shared a whole lot. We don’t actually know a lot about her, besides what she does on a day-to-day basis. We really want to get to know Felicity and I really want to get to know her more. I think we’re just going to start to see [that] the ability to use her voice makes her more confident, makes her start to really weigh in as part of the team and making decisions. Not that she wasn’t before, but now she’s also brainstorming and doing that. And it feels, I think, that she has a bigger place. She’s not just the blonde IT girl anymore. And that’s hugely important. Especially for her. She doesn’t have a belonging anywhere else besides what she’s found in the past year. And I think that if she ever had to lose that, if she she ever had to lose everything like that, it would be complete and total destruction.”
What’s Next? After Oliver is saved and Arrow closes the book on 2013, what will we see for Felicity? Emily teased that “we’re going to learn more things about her family coming up”.
Elsewhere in the episode, the Arrow asks Officer Lance to look into Cyrus Gold, but the stakeout goes bad and results in a death. And Roy is captured and tortured by Brother Blood. Watch some clips below and don’t miss the midseason finale of Arrow tonight at 8/7c on The CW.
Additional reporting by Danielle Tuchiano