It’s been a month since Arrow’s last episode, but I’m still thinking about Vixen. How she needs her own show. How I want to know more about her character outside of a 30-minute web series. How awesome Megalyn EK was in bringing the character from voice acting to live-acting. But a few thoughts about the episode before I gush some more.
We knew we were heading here. Besides the fact that the Flarrow crossover showed Felicity getting upset about the Baby Mama Drama, Oliver lying to his fiance about something this big, when he had a choice was definitely going to lead to Felicity wanting no parts of it. It was an episode with an inevitable conclusion and I basically played Name the Trope as we watched.
I’ve said before how this arc annoyed me with great Olicity scenes knowing we were headed to this conclusion (spoiling the moments), but I’m also annoyed at the way they wrote Felicity’s anger. I get it here, Oliver lied for this long about his son (when he could have instead lied to Baby Mama Drama — that’s all I’m calling her) and said he didn’t tell Felicity when he could have (she can keep a secret) and this close to their wedding? Of course, Felicity is going to be angry and feel betrayed, and like typical Oliver making solo decisions when he’s supposed to be a part of a team (whether Team Arrow, or their relationship).
But Oliver’s fear of telling her comes from that darned crossover scene where she gets mad at him when he just found out himself. I think Oliver never found the balance where Felicity was mad in the crossover, but would have cooled down soon after. Her anger would be directly proportional to the length of time he didn’t tell her. In the crossover, a few hours. Now? Months. But I am annoyed that the writers don’t give us time with Felicity where she isn’t angry about this. We know that forgiveness is in her character, she would help Oliver figure out how to be with his son and not make Baby Mama Drama upset. She’d help him figure out how to be the Arrow and protect his son. We see it in how she puts aside her anger to help William. We needed to see more of that. Because now it looks like she’s angry if he tells her, angry if he doesn’t.
With a wedding scene (even if just on the surface) coming up in tonight’s episode, it’s hard to say if Felicity’s anger will last through the flashforward, or if the anger isn’t directed at Oliver, but rather the death/situation. It’s hard to imagine she’d leave the team — Oliver’s death, his refusal to consider them as a couple, and her short-lived disability didn’t push her away, so I have to hope that her willingness to save Star City outweighs her ire. We’ll see where the show goes with this.
In addition to the inevitable explosion on the relationship front, I knew that the show wasn’t going to give any real weight or spend any real time on Felicity being in a wheelchair. Never any moments of reflection or appreciation for those in real life (or even another fictional character) who are differently abled and must use a wheelchair. A three or four episode struggle before an immediate fix (and a month-long hiatus to skip over any issues with the technology). And as I’ve said before, Felicity, as a wealthy CEO, never had any problems getting access to a wheelchair or healthcare or ramps or medication or anything to really make this an obstacle for her character. One episode of hallucinations (after taking like TWO pills) is not a substantial obstacle. If this arc didn’t change her character or have her really face anything, what was the point?
It feels like it was all done to be a clear Oracle mimicry, and we didn’t need that. The similarities already existed and they could have referenced Oracle existing in-universe in the exact same way that they did without putting Felicity in a wheelchair. I’ve been reading a lot on plot and structure in writing for film/tv, and one thing I recently read was: if a character achieves/doesn’t achieve their stated goal and everything goes back to normal, then the story isn’t worth telling. Felicity achieves her goal of being able to walk again, but nothing else changes. Yes, Felicity isn’t engaged anymore, but that has nothing to do with the wheelchair-arc. This story wasn’t worth telling. (Ahem, much like the flashbacks right now.)
I guess I’m just glad it’s over. The writers weren’t being sensitive to the fact that real people who cannot walk watch their show and made paralysis an easy fix, so it’s better that it’s over. I just hope that Curtis’ implant is indeed a permafix, in the sense that I don’t need it going haywire for dramatic effect.
Anyway, let’s move on to the best part of the episode!!
I Need More Mari
Mari McCabe saved this episode for me. A lot of it was frustrating, but she wasn’t. She’s an awesome, strong, confident, powerful (SHE DESTROYED DAMIEN’S AMULET), smart black woman who the hero needed to go to in order to save his son. She had more knowledge than the heroes and came to Star City like she owned the place. While every line she spoke was basically backstory or a pilot hook, I didn’t mind because I was legitimately intrigued. Oh she’s a fashion designer? She’s an orphan? Whaaatt?! I would love for Mari McCabe to have her own show.
We need more women superheroes anyway, with Supergirl still not officially renewed (I keep hearing conflicting things on its season two status) and Agent Carter constantly on the bubble. And the fact that she’d be a black female lead of a superhero show? Sign me up yesterday! Megalyn EK’s performance was awesome, and man did she pull off that black lipstick!! Even the graphics were really good for conveying her powers — a show with its own graphics budget would be able to do amazing things, in the same way The Flash does a lot with their budget, and The Flash has more they need to pull off.
I also love that Mari lives in a real city, not a fictional one like Star or Central. Even in a fictional, superhero universe, Detroit has real life issues that Mari could combat as Vixen. Plus, from what I’ve seen of the animated special, she has ties to Africa, other magical relatives, and lots of great potential villains. What does her normal life look like? How would she handle her magical life and normal life colliding? I need to know more!
Giving Vixen her own show, with more backstory, more agency, and more characters of color would prevent her appearance on Arrow feeling like the Magical Negro Trope. It unfortunately hits many of the markers (stepping into the white protagonists society, bringing wisdom and more “primitive” magic…), but giving Mari her own show and fleshing out her character would help lessen that feeling. Especially if there are more Flash and Arrow crossovers. Then she’s just a member of the pseudo-Justice League they’ve formed. (They really need to come up with a name for it. I can’t go beyond Super-Flarrowverse and that’s not even including Legends of Tomorrow…!)
So please. Please, give us Vixen. It can air on Monday nights at 8 (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can move to another night). I’d say Fridays at 8, but premiering a show in the deathslot isn’t great, plus I think Sleepy Hollow is maybe doing okay there right now, and I can’t have more black on black primetime like when Sleepy Hollow went up against Scandal. And we know 8pm is Berlanti hour. It could maybe be a summer show or a hiatus show (what I thought Legends was originally going to be).
I just really need a black woman superhero on TV right now, Mari specifically. So here’s my voice to the list: Give us Vixen.
That’s all I have after a month off. Arrow returns tonight and I wait to see where things are going.