Let’s talk about the death of Billy Malone (Tyler Ritter) — or as he was fondly known here at Screener, Detective Boyfriend.
From the jump, “Arrow” introduced Malone as a good cop, a sweet guy and a pretty stellar boyfriend. After all, what are the odds of finding a guy who doesn’t mind you hanging out with your ex-fiancé and coming home at 2 a.m. every night?
On the other hand, there’s a reason he’s been dubbed Detective Boyfriend. His sole purpose on the show seemed to be to highlight the non-togetherness of Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Still, just because he was a bit of a plot device doesn’t mean he won’t be missed — or that we won’t bemoan the many potential plots he could have been part of before his untimely demise.
The bone we have to pick with this guy’s death isn’t that it was mishandled — it was actually pretty emotional, and super shocking for both Oliver and the audience — but that Felicity didn’t exactly get the opportunity to be as angry about his death as she probably should have.
After accidentally killing a loyal cop and an almost-friend, Oliver was understandably traumatized, especially given the larger context of Billy’s death. That one error in judgment forced Oliver to reexamine his entire life and wonder if he shouldn’t send his loved ones far away to keep them safe from the fallout of his actions. That’s a pretty heavy existential crisis to have while having to reveal his hand in Billy’s death. And Team Arrow sweetly came together to console Oliver — not Felicity, whose boyfriend just died, but whatever — which is certainly an improvement on how the season started; with the team divided and distant.
However, we can’t decide whether we love Felicity’s reaction to the whole thing, or if we want to knock some sense into her because of it.
Felicity obviously wasn’t in love with Billy, given that she purposefully didn’t drop the ‘L’ word at Oliver’s Christmas party, but we’re not sure she got an adequate chance to convey or even consider her feelings on the matter. The confession scene was mostly about Oliver (it’s his show, we’ll forgive that), but one solo scene of Felicity crying on her couch seems like an underwhelming reaction to the tragic end of a relationship that seemed pretty serious.
On top of that, Felicity almost immediately excused the part Oliver played in the whole debacle.
Sure, Oliver was tricked in the worst way — but one could argue his real mistake was deciding to kill Prometheus in the first place. Wasn’t the lesson he was supposed to learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past that being willing to kill the bad guys can have some pretty dire and unexpected consequences?
Felicity has grown and matured as a person in lots of ways, which is probably why she saw through her own grief to the truth that Prometheus is the real killer here, but we’re still hoping she manages to lay some of the blame on Oliver. If only because watching these two adorable idiots go through hell despite their feelings for one another is just darn good TV.
“Arrow” will return in January of 2017 on The CW.