Warning: Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of Arrow.
During tonight's episode of Arrow, there's a lot of fallout from the events of the midseason finale, in which Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak's limousine was shot up and Felicity seemed dead.
We learn pretty early on that she is in "another" surgery -- Felicity spends much of the episode in and out of the operating room -- and when she eventually emerges, she's got some life-changing news.
As part of the conversation she has with Oliver, though, she tells him that she won't hold him to his marriage proposal.
"We haven't exchanged vows," she says, "so the whole for better or for worse thing doesn't apply."
It's an opportunity for Oliver to back out, now that marrying her has the potential to be much more difficult than he signed up for. And, as you'd expect, Oliver doesn't take it.
"For better or for worse," he confirms after slipping the engagement ring onto Felicity's finger in the hospital.
Later, we cut to four months from now -- around the time of the season finale, and the same time as the flash-forward that finished the Season Premiere. Oliver's back at the gravesite, joined by Barry, and again wearing to "kill him," presumably Damien Darhk.
The difference? This time, after his conversation with Barry, he heads back to see a teary-eyed Felicity, waiting in the car, wearing black, and telling Oliver that "you have to kill him."
Besides the fact that Felicity is clearly shaken by the death that's just taken place -- and we've got some thoughts on that, to be sure -- what stuck out to us is the fact that she's not wearing her engagement ring in the flash-forward.
The shot is even set up in such a way that you can see the spot on Felicity's left ring finger where the engagement ring should be -- it just isn't there.
Of course, there could be any number of explanations for this...but the most obvious one is fallout not from the mid-season finale...but from the episode before that, when Arrow crossed over with The Flash.
During the crossover episodes this year, the Season Two revelation that Oliver has a child finally paid off in a big way: he met Samantha Clayton, whose son, William, is Oliver's. During the episode, we saw Oliver promise Samantha that he wouldn't reveal his relationship to William to anyone, and also saw that when Felicity discovered he was hiding something that big from her, it ended their relationship.
Thankfully for Olicity shippers, that version of the story was undone moments later, when Vandal Savage literally destroyed Central City and killed every major Arrow and The Flash character except Barry Allen -- who traveled back in time with insight that helped Oliver plan a successful attack on Savage the next time.
Also in the new timeline, Oliver didn't get caught keeping the secret from Felicity...but he did still agree to keep the secret.
“It’s definitely going to come to a head in the middle of the season,” showrunner Wendy Mericle told reporters during a screening of the crossover episodes. “I can't tell you exactly how that's going to happen. But...obviously for the arc of Oliver and Felicity's relationship this season, the fact that he's keeping this from her — true to what we've done on the show, if there's a secret somewhere, it's going to come out and it's going to have some serious consequences.”
“We're really excited about how that's going to change things and it's really going to raise the stakes and throw some wrenches into the works of their relationship — which so far this season has been pretty smooth sailing,” Mericle added. “True to form, we're going to really mine that. There'll be some fallout for both of them.”
All that talk about consequences and fallout sort of slipped from most viewers' minds when it appeared that Felicity's life was actually in danger after the midseason finale, but now that we know she's still alive in four months -- and also not wearing the ring -- one has to wonder: is calling off the engagement the fallout Mericle was teasing?
We asked Mericle about it during our interview last night.
"I think you can definitely read something into it," Mericle teased. "It’s very smart that you picked up on that because we were wondering if someone was going to."
The characters, of course, are now at a point where whatever happens, it will change the show in a major way. As soon as they got engaged, that leaves the options of marriage, a breakup or somebody's death.
"We really do give a lot of thought to that. We have a plan for where we’re taking them, and either of those would be really seismic," Mericle said. "I think in being true to what the relationship actually is and what we promised at the beginning of the season, which is to see their relationship and see if it can weather the challenges of being on Team Arrow and doing what they do, that is really the goal. We think about less, I think, the seismic moves and more about the small moves and the small ramifications of things."
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.