As a television watcher, and avid shipper, I find myself far too invested in the lives of fictional characters. I worry about their safety, their health, and of course their love lives. I love watching a couple meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Some relationships unfold in such a way that it’s obvious the writers knew from the beginning how things were going to turn out. Other times, they can surprise you. And I love surprises. Klaroline and Olicity are two of the most surprising ships I’ve had the pleasure to watch. But where Plec and company have elected to mostly ignore all the possibilities KC has to offer, The Arrow creators have instead decided to embrace Olicity, much to fans’ delight.
Being a shipper isn’t easy. One becomes intimate with feeling of despair and heartbreak. For how often is it that our otp actually gets to live happily ever after? Shippers play a dangerous game, and we’ve been burned more often than rewarded. Look at what has happened with Klaroline. We had two years of buildup, of them getting to know each other, of them building something together…only to have the rug ripped out from under us. So what’s different this time? Why am I so sure Olicity is endgame? It’s because of Stephen Amell and Emily Bett, and Mark Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti. I can tell that the creators and the actors absolutely love what they are doing. You can tell they all care about the show and its characters, and they really do just want to make the best Arrow show they can. And that means they allow for the possibility of change.
Arrow seemed to have a built in otp when it premiered: star crossed lovers Oliver and Laurel. He had cheated on her with her sister. She fell in love with his best friend. But they were always drawn back to each other. What should have been tragically romantic though, just came off as kind of tragic. Now, they’ve always said the series wouldn’t be strictly cannon, but I would bet most fans thought a year or two ago that Oliver and Laurel would be the endgame couple on the show. It seemed somewhat inevitable. And they did end up together in the comics (though not forever…even comics break famous couples up sometimes). I had resigned myself to it, and though I was never a Lauriver fan I figured there wasn’t much I could do about it. And then, Oliver Queen met Felicity Smoak.
I’m not sure Caroline has ever had a love interest worthy of her on the show until Klaus showed up. For me, all of her past relationships were kind of a joke. Clearly Matt wasn’t over Elena, so that one was doomed to fail from the start. With Tyler, I always felt it was more about what she could do for him, versus what they could achieve together. But with Klaus, it was always about Caroline. He chose her over his revenge for Tyler. He left when she asked him to. I imagine – in my head canon – he’ll hold true to his promise until she comes to him. Because Klaus loves her and truly wants her to be happy. And yet, instead of exploring their relationship, we’re given goodbye sex in the woods (not that I didn’t love it, but still), and we’re expected to be grateful.
It’s a well-known fact by now that Emily Bett Rickard’s character was supposed to be a one-off. Her character was to come in, help Oliver decrypt a computer, and then disappear into extra heaven. But something magical happened. Felicity connected with the audience, she connected with the CW executives, and, most importantly, she connected with Oliver. She made him smile, he promised to be a shoulder for her to lean on. She refused to leave him when things got tough, he would kill to protect her. She allowed herself to be taken in order to help him defeat Slade, he allowed the woman he loved to be taken by his enemy.
Klaus was another character that wasn’t supposed to stick around for the long haul. But the fans loved him, his chemistry with everyone was undeniable, and the writers made the wise decision to keep him around. And thank god for that. Otherwise we might have missed the birth of Klaroline. Think how sad and empty our lives would be without his reaction when he sees her in that blue dress for the first time. Or the look in her eyes when he saves her from Alaric in the high school. We wouldn’t have gotten to experience their first date, or the numerous times they fought. We would have missed him telling her he would be her last love. I don’t know about you, but I find that unacceptable. It’s all the more frustrating because these amazing characters aren’t allowed to interact with, and in some cases even speak about, each other.
Berlanti and crew not only listened when we asked for more Olicity, they’ve embraced them as much as we have. We’re getting a whole episode this season just about Felicity Smoak. In the grand scheme of things, one measly episode seems insignificant when you think about Laurel’s season long arc of going from being a district attorney, to a recovering drug and alcohol addict, and towards her destiny as Black Canary. Even Sara, someone who’s not a series regular, has been given more backstory and more layers than Felicity has. We wanted, some might say demanded, more Felicity; and we’re getting it. We watched as Oliver moved from woman to woman, while Felicity was left to pine for Oliver on her own. We wanted Felicity to have her own romantic storyline, outside of Oliver. Well guess what? We’re getting that too. Ray Palmer aka the Atom will be joining the series as a rival for her affections.
Now juxtapose that to the development, or lack thereof, regarding Klaus and Caroline. We have had almost no mention of her on his new series, and even after their love scene in 5×11, the only acknowledgment The Originals makes is that Klaus seems to be in a good mood. Hell yeah he’s in good mood – he just came back from seeing Caroline in Mystic Falls. Instead of attempting to tie the shows’ stories together, we are seeing them move further and further apart. And I can’t even get into the character assassination going on with both Klaus and Elijah. The Vampire Diaries at least tried bringing it up, though it seemed to me like they were trying awfully hard to make it seem like this was the end for Klaroline. His promise to never return, her shredding his drawing; it seemed the shows’ creators were sending us a message. And regardless of how many letters we write, trends we do, or polls we win, they are intent upon killing any chance for a Klaus and Caroline happy ending.
Now I don’t think any of us expect them to listen to everything we say, nor should they. As much as I would love it if every week Oliver and Felicity went undercover as a married couple that would require them to spend copious amounts of time making out, I understand that’s not very conducive to the story they are trying to tell. It is nice that they are trying to give fans what they want though, while simultaneously making a truly awesome television series. When it comes to Klaus and Caroline, I get that they are on different shows right now. And even if Caroline can’t go over now, I feel like they can still build their story without the need for crossovers. A phone call here, a text message there isn’t asking too much. I would die if one day he sent her some flowers, or she sent him the first sketch from her freshman art class. Something, anything, would be better than the cold shoulder we are currently getting regarding them.
There seems to be a fear amongst show runners now when it comes to pairing up their leads. There is this fear that if you put them together to quickly, the relationship will get boring, and worse, the fans will tune out. Another issue seems to be that, for whatever reason, they ignore what’s right in front of their faces. When a couple has strong chemistry, to not explore it seems like a crime. When it comes to Oliver and Felicity, not only does the crew seem intent upon making it happen, they seem to respect the amount of time and energy we as fans have put into them. They have Fanart Fridays. They address questions about Olicity in a straightforward manner, and never try to give us the runaround. It’s almost as if they realize that getting the fans involved, and listening to what they want, makes for a better TV show.
The Klaroline fandom is maybe the most creative one I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of. While Arrow and Olicity are starting to prosper, KC is a multinational corporation. The twitter trends, the tumblr appreciation weeks, the Klaroline Awards. I mean, they have a magazine dedicated to them for goodness sake. And don’t even get me started on the writers and the gif/photoset makers. The creativity and tenacity is almost unmatched. We want to engage with its stars and creators, we want to try and be involved. Instead of welcoming us with open arms, it now seems we are a joke. We are all a bunch of silly people who need to get over KC and ourselves, and move on. The show runners clearly have, and yet we maintain. We will not give up the ship, because we know in our hearts that Klaus and Caroline belong with each other, and dammit, it’s our duty to make Plec and company see that.
As shippers, we’re used to our questions and desires for our otps being met with dismissal, jokes, or downright disdain from show runners and stars. You need tough skin when it comes to dealing with Plec and her minions. It’s considered brave when fans ask about KC because they know the stars don’t want to talk about it and the creators just want us to let it go. So imagine my surprise when the Arrow folks not only acknowledged our love of Felicity and Oliver, but they seemed to embrace them as much as we do. They recognized what we saw, the amazing potential the two of them have, and the possibility to build a better show because their relationship would actually drive both Oliver and Felicity towards becoming better and stronger people. It’s refreshing to invest in a show where you can tell the cast and crew care just as much, if not more, than you do.
With Olicity seemingly endgame now, I feel a weight lifted. Next season is going to be a tough one for me. Watching half my otp with anyone else kills me. However, I trust that Arrow’s team knows what it’s doing. I trust the writers and the actors and producers when they say this is it. Felicity is the one for Oliver. And they will be together in the end. And to have the assurance that the cast and crew are behind them as much – if not more – than we are, is a truly gratifying thing. We can have it for Klaroline too. If we keep at Plec and the writers and stars, and never let them forget we’re here, and that we will never give up this ship, maybe they’ll eventually come to the same realization we have. If not, if they keep their heads buried in the sand, it doesn’t really matter. Shipping Klaroline has prepared me for just about anything, and it’s definitely made me a stronger, more tenacious fan. I will never give up hope for canon though, and neither should you. We keep them alive by talking about them, blogging about them, and letting the world know we still love them. Klaroline will live forever in fanon for me, and I do hope Plec and company come to their senses and give them an honest shot at happiness. If not, it’s their loss, because they could have done something amazing.
Written by Danielle. Find her on Tumblr
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