The talk about fan pandering made my thoughts go to a related topic, writer pandering, which is when I realized what my fundamental problem was with this most recent episode.
In the last two episodes before this one, Team Arrow Jr. was investigating Blood. They had good reasons: Sin knew one of the victims, and Roy has reason to believe that the police are not going to track down crimes in the Glades. And Roy, now that he got kidnapped and injected during his investigation, has really good reasons to keep investigating.
So, before Roy gets tied up and injected, Team Arrow Jr. heads to Laurel for help, which makes sense. Laurel fails to help and even ends up dating/hugging Blood.
And now, five weeks later, post VERY suspicious things happening during Roy's investigation, when Thea is rightfully wondering what is going on with Roy, when Roy is apparently wondering what is what is happening with him, suddenly the investigation shifts over to Laurel, the one person here WITHOUT the same emotional investment. As she tells everybody, she doesn't have feelings for Blood beyond friendship and now slight paranoia; she didn't know the original victim; she didn't get injected with a substance that is changing her personality/physical abilities; she doesn't have a boyfriend who is changing right in front of her eyes right after he vanished to do some investigation. That her father, who has previously shown a huge interest in protecting her from various bad boyfriends and has an emotional investment in needing to keep her safe -- ESPECIALLY now that he knows that her younger sister's terrible choice in men led to getting trained to be an assassin and now having to be on the run -- decided the guy was fine just added to the issue here.
So what it feels like is that that the writers said, crap, we need to give Laurel something to do. Crap, we don't have a court case right now, and crap, Sara's not scheduled to return until February sweeps, so what can we do? I know! We'll give her Team Arrow's investigation, and for a change also have her instead of her father, whose job is investigating, do the investigation!
Which is basically taking away a storyline from four characters who are invested in the storyline and have earned it to another character just because the other character needs to have something to do. That's pandering. And it's also why that storyline lacks the urgency it had back when Team Arrow Jr. was investigating it -- Sin knew the guy. He was a friend. She wants justice for him. Quentin doesn't know the guy, but he should be automatically suspicious of him. So to have the one character who has no reason to be suspicious of Blood at all - he's only been very nice to her, and he pretty much immediately opened up about his early life story even though that was the wrong place and time, and her initial investigation turned up nothing -- just feels like, well, pandering. Just not of the fan type. It's not her story; it's someone else's story. And that's why it felt off to me.
Back to the Felicity/Oliver fan pandering/not fan pandering -- I didn't see that as pandering, largely because although it was a Felicity/Oliver scene staged to have a "Oh, just kiss her already you idiot" moment, it was also very much an Oliver Grows Up moment and a Team Arrow moment. We saw the guy who is usually terrible at apologizing finally apologizing; we saw Oliver, who came back not trusting anyone, finally admit that he needs help and he relies on his team, and admit again that Diggle and Felicity are his partners. He's occasionally said this before with Diggle, but he also occasionally forgets, and I thought that was a nice moment. Along with his, wow, she has absolutely no idea that anyone could find her attractive, but I'm certainly not going to bring that up now. Shoulder touch!
Sakura12 -- I'm kinda wondering why Oliver hasn't said something to Roy too, but in his Oliver persona he'd have no reason to know what happened to Roy, and he might not want to let Roy know that his Arrow persona rescued the kid, and he doesn't have a good reason for explaining why Arrow would know about possibly getting deformed. It's weak, I know.
Edited by quarks, Jan 16, 2014 @ 11:14 AM.