Ever since Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) called off their engagement in Season 4 of "Arrow," it's felt like we're just biding time until they eventually find their way back to each other.
During their break though, Season 5 has given both characters an opportunity to grow into new roles -- Felicity as a relapsed hacktivist and Oliver as mayor. They've both been independent of each other in a way we haven't seen since their relationship first kicked off in Season 3. The breathing room has been a nice respite for both of them, but is it finally time to start angling them back together?
We asked executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle about the future of "Olicity" and where that relationship might be headed as we enter the final arc of Season 5.
"We said at the beginning of the season that we were going to play everything by ear and see where the characters took us," Mericle says. "I think there's going to be a natural coming back together at the end of this season on a friendship basis because they've both been through such horrible things."
"We were always very intrigued by the idea of having these two characters who are series regulars on the show, who used to be engaged and still have to work together," Guggenheim says. "How do they deal with that? How do they deal with each other's relationships? How do they interact with each other. I think that's something that's very mature and not something I've seen a lot on television ... I can't really think of that many situations where it's like 'They were engaged, and now they're not, but they're still together, and they're still both on the show!' We've enjoyed playing out that dynamic."
The "broken up but still teammates" dynamic has certainly fulfilled our angst quota for the year, especially when you consider that the way Oliver and Felicity dealt with each other's new romances was with murder and plagiarism scandals. (Side note: It may just be safer for the general public if these two got back together soon. Just saying.)
As things stand now, it feels just a little too soon to imagine them reconciling, given that Felicity's boyfriend has only been dead a few months and Oliver's relationship with Susan (Carly Pope) is still in no man's land at the moment. However, as the season progresses and Felicity falls further down the rabbit hole with Helix, that might change.
"Felicity is going to continue to go darker and go further into this world of Helix," Mericle says, "And when everything comes to a head, she's going to need Oliver in a way that she hasn't in the past 15 episodes."
Wherever Oliver and Felicity's story arcs are heading this year, we trust Guggenheim and Mericle to take them in the right direction. The slow burn might be agonizing, but it's usually worth it in the end, especially considering Marc Guggenheim says they had this all planned out ahead of time.
"When we broke them up in Episode 415 last year, we always had a plan," Marc Guggenheim says. "I'm not going to tell you what the plan was ... I will say that there are a lot of unanswered questions from Episode 415 that we are looking to answer this year, as was always our intention. There's a bunch of things that happen in the show that are inspiration or last minute ideas, and then there are other things on the show where we're planting seeds in one season with the intention of bringing them to fruition in another season. To me, it's the advantage of having a show you know isn't going anywhere. We love what we call the long-tail storylines."
It sounds like Season 5 will end with some good material for Oliver and Felicity's unpredictable relationship, even if that's only restoring their friendship to what it used to be. After all, that bond is what led them to romance in the first place, right?
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.