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Sara and Oliver have known each other since they were young, along with Tommy and Laurel. In 2005 Sara snuck out to a party at Tommy's because she had a big crush on Oliver, but Laurel tipped off their Dad about the party because she was only 17 at the time. Sara got grounded for a month, and Laurel and Oliver started dating. Sara felt that Laurel knew about her crush and tried to come between Sara and Oliver. Oliver uses that fact two years later, when he starts up a romance with a besotted Sara to destroy his relationship with Laurel, to whom he has promised to commit. Sara knows all this, but is by then in a bitter rivalry with her sister over Oliver and willingly goes with him on the Queen's Gambit. They sleep together on the boat and when it suddenly flips on the side, Sara is pulled out into the water through a hole.
Oliver believes Sara to have drowned when the yacht sinks, but sees her again a year later, where she is working as muscle for Anthony Ivo on the Amazo. Sara has been slightly taken with Ivo's mission, as it is the only 'stability' she's known for a year, and betrays Oliver by pretending to help him escape, by tricking him into revealing Shado and Slade's position for Ivo, although Ivo could've realised she knows Oliver and threatened her if she didn't help. Shado and Slade manage to ambush Ivo and his men and free Oliver and Sara, after which Sara ask Oliver why after she betrayed him and he replies that she kept them from shooting him on the Amazo. Sara notices Shado and Oliver's relationship and makes a cheeky remark about it to him. Sara helps with Slade, with the medical knowledge she has, and they give him the Mirakuru, from which they think he dies.
Ivo tracks and captures them, and puts a gun on Sara and Shado demanding Oliver choose who will die. When Ivo looks like he's about to fire at Sara, Oliver moves in front of her and Ivo shoots Shado dead right in front of them. Slade comes to their rescue and they bury Shado beside Oliver's father. Sara warns Oliver about Slade's increasing mania and when Slade later steps to her, with Oliver stopping him, he tries to choke Oliver and Sara saves Oliver by hitting Slade with a branch, and Slade later disappears in the night with the Mirakuru. They go looking for Slade and spend the night in the plane. A slightly Stocholm Syndrome afflicted Sara tries to convince Oliver that maybe Ivo is okay, mostly out of hope and somewhat due to Ivo being the only person who Sara was around for a year in a violent, nightmarish torture landscape.
- Sara – “You've killed before”
- Oliver – “That's not what you are talking about. You are talking about executing somebody in cold blood”
Oliver is aghast, since Ivo killed Shado. Sara sneaks out during the night to call Ivo, but comes to terms with how insane he is and tells him off. Oliver overhears some of the conversation and understands that himself and Sara are now on the same team fully. They continue their search for Slade in the cave and Oliver realises that Slade wants to bomb the Amazo. Oliver stops him, inspired by Sara's words, by appealing to Slade's love for Shado. Oliver gets the idea that they should take the Amazo and they being scouting the ship. A plane is shot down and they try to save the pilot, with Sara sending Oliver for medical supplies, but the pilot dies.
With a parachute from the plane, they devise a plan and Oliver begins training with Slade, while Sara makes a counter-potion to Ivo's poison of choice — truth serum. In case Ivo tries to convince Slade that Oliver is the real cause of Shado's death, Sara asks of Oliver that he kill Ivo before Ivo has a chance to. Sara witnesses with pride as Oliver dons Shado and Yao-Fei's green hood and once on the Amazo she hands him Shado's bow and quiver. Sara releases the prisoners on the ship and they swim to shore after Slade finds out, but Sara realises as they reach the island that Oliver is still on the Amazo. Slade tortures Oliver, but needs a mechanic and offers to trade Oliver for Hendrick. Sara refuses at first, but after Hendrick tries to kill her she changes her mind and agrees to the trade, even though she doesn't think it's right. Slade brings Oliver to the plane and Sara's incredibly relieved to have Oliver back. As he leaves, however, Slade promises Oliver that he will slaughter Oliver's family after leaving Lian Yu.
- Sara – “You didn't have to do that for me”
- Oliver – “Once you take a life It changes you forever. And I don't want that for you”
To save himself from torture, Ivo starts telling Sara and Oliver about the cure he developed for Mirakuru. In return, Ivo asks they kill him as he's dying from his injuries. Sara holds the gun up to shoot him, but can't. Oliver stops her and shoots Ivo in her stead. Sara and Oliver, along with Anatoly and Peter, go to the submarine to try and escape. Peter sacrifices his life to steer a torpedo to move the submarine, but before he does, Oliver asks Sara to wait outside with a radio as he wants to be sure, if anything goes wrong, that she's safe. Sara agrees, and they are successful in moving the sub, but when Oliver calls Sara she's in danger.
- 〉Poor Sara. How many times are you gonna watch her die?〈
- —Slade torturing Oliver
Oliver decides to give himself one hour to get to the Amazo and get Sara and if they don't make it, have Anatoly torpedo the ship. Oliver makes it to the Amazo and gets Sara out of her cell, but tells her he has to try and save Slade by giving him the cure. Sara won't let Oliver go alone and, after all that time together after finding each other alive, they share a kiss again. They go looking for the cure, but Slade's already found it and confronts them. Holding them prisoner, Slade tests the Mirakuru on other prisoners aboard the Amazo until Oliver tries to reason with him. Slade decides to kill Oliver and Sara screams at him not to. Before Slade strikes, the Amazo's torpedoed by Anatoly. Oliver still tries to reach Slade to cure him, telling Sara to leave, but she won't go without him. Slade fights Oliver and Sara tries to intervene, but Slade grabs her and tosses her across the room. Sara is caught in a slipstream on the sinking ship in a horrific mirror incident to the Queen's Gambit 2 years prior. Oliver screams her name, but she's gone. Slade taunts Oliver.
- Sara – “Once you know your life will never be the same”
- Oliver – “I can take it”
- Sara – “Not this time... Ollie”
- Oliver – “Sara?”
Oliver again believes Sara to be dead and it weighs on his conscience as he feels responsible. After believing Sara to be dead for 4 years, Felicity realises that the blonde masked vigilante in black is following Laurel. Oliver keeps an eye on Laurel and finally captures the mystery vigilante. He asks for her identity and she reveals herself, telling Oliver she'll give him some time to let it sink in, after which the sonic device sets off an explosion and Sara disappears.
She turns up at Verdant to ask Oliver if he's told her family that she's alive. Oliver probes into Sara's reasons for being in Starling City still, suggesting that she wants to reconnect with her family. They're interrupted by Det. Lance, who speaks to Oliver, and Sara leaves after glimpsing her father for the first time in 6 years. After "The Mayor" shoots up the city's guns for cash initiative and Sin is hit, Sara watches over her outside the hospital when Oliver recruits her to help stop the influx of guns. Oliver's impressed with Sara's fighting prowess and it's evident from when she first reveals herself that there are lingering romantic feelings for both of them. 
- Oliver – “Not a day goes by that your family doesn't miss you”
- Sara – “Yeah? How do you know?”
- Oliver – “Because I missed you”
He convinces Sara to take the step back towards her real life and reuniting with her family. She stays with Oliver at his mansion, and talks to Oliver in the middle of the night as she wakes from nightmares of the Queen's Gambit sinking. Sara is hesitant to reunite with her family, which Oliver doesn't understand until they are attacked at the mansion. Sara meets Team Arrow in the Foundry and finally reveals why she can't talk to her family: she's a member of the League of Assassins. Oliver's outraged and angry, showing no understanding for the circumstances under which Sara ended up in that situation. After the team locate the attacker, Al-Owal, Sara and Oliver fight him and other League members but they can't take them. Al-Owal threatens Sara's family, so Oliver sets out to protect Laurel while Sara must reveal herself to her father. Watching Sara deal with showing her father who she has become, Oliver finally understands how scared Sara was that her family would hate her. To avoid risking her family's safety, Sara leaves Starling City and Oliver is saddened, indicating he wanted to start something with Sara.
- Sara – “And I never did ask you-- how did you find me?”
- Oliver – “I wasn't going to lose you again”
When Laurel spirals out of control, Oliver calls Sara and asks her to come be there for Laurel. After Sara saves Laurel's life by bringing her to the hospital, Sara goes to the Foundry to wait for Oliver to hear if Laurel's alright. When Oliver returns from the hospital and says she is, Sara wants to leave again and Oliver tries to get her to stay. To protect Sara, Oliver tracks her and is flummoxed to see that Sara was involved with someone at the league and he meets Nyssa. Sara and Nyssa talk, which makes Oliver jealous, but also uneasy as he worries about Sara's safety. Sara returns to the Foundry preparing to leave again, but she and Oliver go hunting for Nyssa after finding out that Nyssa had Laurel poisoned. While chasing Nyssa and her accomplice, Sara discovers that Nyssa abducted Sara's mother. Oliver lures Nyssa's assassin into a trap with Lance and Sara, but he kills himself before they can find out where Dinah Lance is. Sara decides to give up her own life to keep Nyssa from harming her family, but Oliver, having put a tracker on Sara, shows up in the nick of time with herbs to cure Sara and saves her life. Nyssa finally releases Sara and Sara reunites with her family. After being rejected by Laurel, Sara goes to the Foundry and she and Oliver, who is desolate after learning of his mother's lies, sleep together.
Oliver arranges a "welcome back" party for Sara at the Queen mansion, but Sara is wary because of the state of her and Laurel's relationship. Oliver tries to get Laurel to show up for Sara's sake, but to no avail. Det. Lance apologises to Oliver for how he treated him when Oliver came back and they start anew. Sara and Oliver go on a mission to stop the Clock King, but don't reach the culprit in time. Laurel invites everyone to a family dinner, but Sara's nervous and asks Oliver to come with her for support, although Oliver's unsure given his romantic history with both Sara and Laurel. He comes along for Sara and Laurel realises he and Sara are together at the dinner, at which Laurel explodes and leaves. Sara and Oliver suit up to catch the Clock King and are successful in thwarting both him and his associates. They have a sweet moment afterwards at Verdant where Sara's mixing drinks as she's got a job as a bartender for Thea.
Oliver gets a 911 text from Thea and goes to the Queen Mansion to find Slade Wilson is alive. Completely taken aback, Oliver has to pretend Wilson is a stranger to him while Wilson cavorts with Moira and Thea, who shows up later. Oliver calls Felicity who puts the call on speaker and Sara, recognising Slade's voice, realises to her horror that he's alive. Sara takes the team to the mansion to save the Queens and comes face to face with Slade for the first time in 5 years, after believing him dead. Slade remarks, seeing Oliver and Sara standing side by side, that "it's hard to find that special someone who means everything to you", indicating Sara and Oliver.
- Sara – “If you had chosen differently, then it would be me haunting you at night”
- Oliver – “It still could be, Sara. That's why we have to stop”
- Sara – “What are you saying?”
- Oliver – “He's going to use you to hurt me. Or he's going to hurt you. Stay away from me”
Oliver has nightmares of his guilt about Shado's death and Slade taunts Oliver from a distance. Sara tries to talk to Oliver and tells him she's scared too, but Oliver keeps her at arm's length. His fear leads Oliver to seek out assistance from the Bratva, and Sara follows him, trying to get him to share his feelings. Oliver tells Sara that Slade will come after her and that he can't handle that so they shouldn't be together. After talking with her sister, Laurel tries to reach Oliver and tell him to open up to Sara. Oliver goes on a solo hunt for Slade, who continues his exacerbation of Oliver's torment and Oliver finally returns to the Foundry and talks with Sara. He lets her in on her fears and cries saying he doesn't know how to defeat him. Sara assuages his fears, reminding him that she strong and capable and comforts him.
- Sara – “And when he does, do you think it'll make a difference whether or not we're together? Let him come. I'm not the girl he knew on the island. I'm not that easy to kill. Together?”
- Oliver – “Together”
Out on a mission to protect Lance from Slade Wilson, Sara thanks Oliver for coming with her to protect her father. After thwarting the bad guy who turns out to be a returned Frank Bertinelli, Sara learns that Oliver had a relationship with his daughter Helena, the villain Huntress. Sara doesn't seem jealous, but teases Oliver saying he "has a type". When Laurel is offered the Bertinelli trial, Sara and Oliver argue as Sara wants to face off with The Huntress to protect Laurel, while Oliver feels responsible for who Helena has become. Sara goes anyway and the two of them work together to save Laurel from Helena, who's abducted her to trade Laurel for Helena's father.
When Thea's abducted, Oliver brings Sara and Roy to confront Slade and have him taken in by the police. Sara tries to remind Oliver that Slade is playing mind games, but Oliver is too overcome with emotion at his little sister missing that he doesn't care. Oliver doesn't take Sara's advice, but Slade lets Thea go and they're relieved that she's safe. Sara feels for Oliver as he blows up his father's science division to prevent Slade from getting an industrial transfuser. Oliver's quite occupied by what's happening, but they share a moment where Oliver asks about Sara's father, who's now in prison. They go down to The Foundry to find Slade there and he beats them all up. Sara and Oliver go to the hospital as Sara has a fractured wrist, but they're all okay. They find out where Slade will try and procure the transfuser, but are too late to catch him. After Oliver finds Roy in Slade's grasp and saves Roy, Sara helps monitor his condition at the Foundry.
Oliver falls head over heels for Sara and is eager to commit to her longterm, suggesting they move in together. Roy wakes and goes berserk in Starling, with Sara and Oliver going to try and stop him. Roy injures Oliver and when two cops try to stop him, he kills one of them. Sara and Oliver go to the hospital and ask a doctor to help Oliver with his knee. The incident leaves Sara resolute that Roy is unstoppable and must be killed. Oliver refuses, saying he's not ready to give up on Roy and they fight as Sara says she's ready to do what has to be done. Oliver tells Felicity that Sara reminds him so of himself when he came back: when he couldn't find hope yet, but Felicity encourages him that he did and Sara will too. After Roy asks Sara to kill him, they manage to capture and sedate him instead. Sara is horrified at her reaction, which she feels is indicative of who she is at her core. Oliver tries to encourage her that he will help her find her way back, but Sara refuses, saying she loves Oliver too much to be with him, as she feels she would only pull him back into the darkness with her. Oliver's heartbroken and Sara leaves town.
Sara returns to Starling and saves Laurel during the raid of it by Slade's Mirakuru army. Sara and Oliver come face to face for the first time since they broke up when she and Nyssa walk into the Foundry. Oliver's livid that this is where Sara went after she left town and Sara responds that they need help to fight Slade's army and that she wants to protect Laurel and her Dad at any cost. Sara tells Oliver that she heard about his mother and tells him that she's sorry. Oliver mandates that they distribute the cure only and they set off for Queen Consolidated. They cure most of Slade's army and when Sara's about to kill Isabel Rochev, Oliver stops her, but Nyssa kills Rochev instead.
It seems to be to indicate a line between Sara and Oliver, where Sara has chosen to align herself more with Nyssa's beliefs, or that Sara is somewhere between Oliver and Nyssa. Oliver, Sara, Nyssa, Roy, Det. Lance and the League of Assassins manage to cure all of Slade's army in the tunnel leading out of Starling City, where the army congregates. Sara leaves Starling City, bidding farewell at the docks only to her father and sister. Before she leaves, however, Sara tells Laurel that Oliver needs her, effectively giving them her blessing and also looking out for Oliver, as Sara loves him.
5 months pass with Sara in Nanda Parbat and Oliver continuing his work as The Arrow. When her father's hospitalised, Sara returns suddenly as Oliver is fighting and assists him. They have a sweet moment of reunion and check in with each other, happy to see each other again. When Sara is murdered Oliver is heartbroken, having lost Sara a third time. Oliver walks into the Foundry to find Sara's lifeless body on a table and a blood-soaked shaking Laurel. Realising instantly that Sara is dead, Oliver becomes still, his gaze fixed on Sara as he slowly approaches her body and closes her eyes gently. Following her murder, Oliver immediately sets out to track down Sara's killer and is quietly in agony as another murderous archer derails them.
- 〉I'm sorry, but I can't. And even if I could, Sara would never forgive me〈
- —Oliver, to Laurel
The only thing that can remotely console Oliver afterwards is to be reunited with his sister and he sets out to Corto Maltese to ask Thea to return to (now) Star City. When Laurel seeks out Oliver, asking him to train her to become Sara's successor to the Canary mantle, he refuses. Oliver battles with Nyssa who shows up wanting to know Sara's whereabouts. They oddly bond for a moment over both having loved and been in a relationship with Sara. Once Oliver learns that Sara was actually in Star City tracking Merlyn, they set out to uncover whether he murdered Sara, which seems likely. Oliver chooses to believe that Malcolm, who has evidence he was not in town, did not kill Sara, to the fury of Nyssa who attempts to honour Sara's memory by killing Merlyn, convinced he did it.
- Oliver – “This-This isn't what Sara would want!!”
- Nyssa – “Sara is dead. It's time you remember that”
Roy starts having dreams that he killed Sara and decides to confess to Oliver and Laurel. They're both stunned by his admission and Oliver wants to know definitively. He suspects, correctly, that Roy is remembering killing two police officers under the influence of Mirakuru. Nyssa returns to Star City with the League. They ambush Oliver outside the precinct and bring him to their hideout. Nyssa tells Oliver that he has failed to produce Sara's killer and that R'as al Ghul was only giving Oliver some time to do so before the League took over. Nyssa gives Oliver 48 hours to find Sara's murderer or the League will start murdering 50 people per day until the killer is found. Getting the DNA back from S.T.A.R. Labs finally uncovers the truth: that Merlyn trained Thea in combat in order to frame her for Sara's murder, so that Oliver would kill R'as al Ghul and free Malcom from any League retribution. This overwhelmingly piles onto the grief Oliver already feels over Sara's death and his hatred for Malcolm Merlyn explodes.
- 〉She had her own secrets, Thea〈
After telling Thea that he's the Arrow, they go to Lian Yu in order to adequately prepare from facing R'as al Ghul. On the island, Thea returns to their camping site to find Oliver repeating Sara's name in his sleep. She wakes him and asks why he didn't tell her about Sara's death. Oliver tells Thea that Sara went back to the League after Slade, and opens up somewhat, confessing that there was a part of Sara he didn't really get to see, necessarily. This is also to avoid telling Thea that Merlyn drugged her into killing Sara, which he is forced to do later, much to his continued heartbreak, culminating in Oliver questioning being the Arrow. This is compounded when Lance learns of Oliver's secret identity and blames him for Sara's death, telling Oliver he's a villain. After R'as al Ghul murders Thea to get Oliver to become his heir, Oliver agrees in exchange for reviving Thea with the Lazarus Pit. All of these events culminate in Oliver killing R'as al Ghul and fleeing from his work as the Arrow and his life in Star City.
ReturnOliver's asked by his friends to come back to Star City and the team to help out, and eventually agrees to do so. Meanwhile, Thea shares with Laurel how she died and was resurrected by the Lazarus Pit, which now contributes to her issues with blood lust. Laurel decides they should go to Nanda Parbat to get help for Thea's woes, and, now that she knows it's possible, to resurrect Sara. Laurel brings a blood-lusting, feral Sara back to Star City in the hopes that she will eventually become herself. Sara escapes from where Laurel's holding her and starts murdering felons. The team become aware of this and one night track her to a nightclub. Laurel makes it there first to try and subdue Sara, but Sara gets loose and is about to hit Laurel when Oliver fires an arrow on her weapon. Sara turns around and Oliver is shocked to see her, alive, with his very own eyes. Oliver surmises that Laurel resurrected Sara with the pit and they try to locate Sara. He later realises that Sara has been targeting girls that look like Thea and tries to warn his sister. Thea ends up in the hospital after Sara tries to kill her and Sara finds her there and attacks again, but fleas when Oliver and Laurel enter the room. Oliver looks at Sara, shocked, and, back at the lair, tells the team he didn't see anything in her eyes, leading he and Laurel to realise that her soul isn't there.
They set a trap with Thea as bait and when Sara gets there, Laurel's close to shooting her but Oliver stops her, revealing that they can restore her soul. Oliver calls in his favour with John Constantine, who comes to the lair. Constantine draws up a sigil on the floor and Oliver carries Sara's knocked-out, limp body in his arms, placing her gently at the center of the sigil. He softly brushes the hair from Sara's face and volunteers himself and Laurel to partake. They are transported into another realm where Constantine guides them and they find Sara in what resembles the Pit in Nanda Parbat. As Oliver and Laurel pull Sara from it, they return to the present day, exhausted. After a beat, Sara opens her eyes and Oliver sees her alive, whole, for the first time in over a year. Sara needs some normality after having been dead for a year, so she comes along on a mission with the team. Her bloodlust takes over and she pummels a guard, nearly killing him. Oliver yells for her to stop, but only when Laurel yells her name does she come to and run. Sara asks to come along on another mission, to try and learn to control her bloodlust. Oliver agrees to it and they go, but this time Sara can't stop herself and kills a man before the others stop her. As a result, Sara wants to leave town to figure out how to handle the bloodlust.
Sara feels lost after all she's been through and decides to join up with Rip Hunter and his mission. She and Oliver don't really stay in touch, but Sara visits the team 6 months after leaving with Rip and finds her Dad who tells her about Laurel. Sara doesn't blame Oliver and they stay allies, working together on their first mission with different teams in 2016 when they take on the Dominators. After resolving the alien fight, Sara and Oliver have a moment together where they reflect on how the entire group of superheroes started when the two of them snuck away together on the Queen's Gambit in 2008. Their bond is eternal and they will always be fundamental to each other's lives.
In 2017 Sara and Oliver are abducted to Earth-X by the Earth-X Dark Arrow and Overgirl, as well as Eobard Thawne (in Harrison Wells' body). They manage to escape but not before they lose Martin Stein. Oliver tries to talk to Sara about how she's feeling, which she dismisses saying she can mourn after they save the world. Oliver tries to allow her a moment by saying he understands the burden of leadership in times of crisis and that she has a right to hurt.
- Sara inspires Oliver in both the past and present to reach Slade and Roy, respectively, through their hearts.
- 〉You deserve someone better. You can harness that light that's still inside of you, but I'm not that person and I never will be〈
- Sara – “I only came because Laurel's in trouble”
- Oliver – “Well, she's still in trouble, Sara. Your entire family needs you. So do I”
- 〉Love's the most powerful emotion〈
- —Sara, to Oliver
- silhouette | ACTIVE CHILD
- First kiss
- dust to dust | THE CIVIL WARS
- Sara and Oliver at Verdant
A common pairing and one of the most significant Arrow pairings for many fans, given that this is the closest fans felt they ever came to seeing a Green Arrow/Canary romance in the series. With Sara moving to another series, it seems unlikely that they would ever be endgame on the show. From "Birds of Prey" (217), the writers suddenly 180d Sara's core motivation and negated her season long story arc of wanting to escape the horror that was the murderous League of Assassins as she couldn't take killing anymore. From 217, Sara suddenly says things like "doing what needs to be done" and not caring about human life when she's suddenly willing to kill Helena Bertinelli. This was a feeble attempt on the writers' part to break up Sara and Oliver, in order to pair Oliver with Felicity longterm. At the time, Olicity shippers also hated on Sara a lot in the fandom.
- oliver/sara #3 @FanForum
- canarrow posts on Tumblr
- oliver x sara posts on Tumblr
- sara x oliver posts on Tumblr
- oliver and sara posts on Tumblr
- Caity Lotz on saying goodbye to [SPOILER in 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'] (EW • JANUARY 2020)
Notes and references
|SHIPS||het||Barricity • Canarrow • Dyla • Lauriver • Merlance • Olicity|
Raylicity • Smoakvibe • Superarrow • Theallen • Throy • Wild Canary
|slash||Constanqueen • Olivarry • Quiggle • Roliver • Toliver|
|femslash||Caitlicity • DinahSiren • Frostdrake • Lauryssa • Jaurel • Nyssara • Smoaking Canary|
|CHARACTERS||male||Oliver Queen • Ray Palmer|
|female||Laurel Lance • Sara Lance • Felicity Smoak|
|SHIPS||slash||Atomwave • ColdAtom • ColdRay • Coldwave • Constandes|
Constangreen • Hellwave • Naterad • Nate x Dion • Starblazer
SteelAtom • Steelwave • TimeHex
|het||Atomic Hawk • Canarrow • Captain Canary • Darhkblazer • Hawkmates|
Hellcanary • HellHacker • HellStar • Hexari • Mixen • Namaya • Snowatom
SteelHacker • Superatom • Time Canary • Timehawk
Timeship • Zaray
|poly||DarhkSteelAtom • DarhkWuSharpe|
|femslash||Agent Canary • Avalance • Nyssara • Zamaya • Zava • Zelen|
|non-binary||Marlie • Zarlie|
|CHARACTERS||female||Sara Lance • Zari Tomaz|
|male||Ray Palmer • Mick Rory • John Constantine • Nate Heywood|