Lack of comfort, many said, is what we saw from Oliver towards Felicity. He was distant from the same woman he kept no personal space from. How can he be so cruel, so cold? Especially when he was there for Laurel like that?
This is your answer. I believe not many realized what he said. He was holding back, he was shutting down, so the rest of them wouldn’t have to. So there was someone watching out for them and do what’s necessary. He was doing it for them before he was doing it for himself.
Oliver had to succeed. He had to take care of them, and he had to take care of his self, too. How much death can he take? Every single person he has ever cared about, except his Team and his sister, are dead. And all of them died before his eyes; all except Sara -well, the third and last time, at least. In order to hold it together, Oliver had to push back everything that brings his walls down and forces his heart and soul to be open. Who is this person? But the same person who brought out his humanity after so many years of torture and suffering without even trying, of course.
Looking at their scene before the funeral hurts so much, because it’s the only time during the episode where Oliver opens up, even if he doesn’t break. Felicity is standing across the room, talking to him, telling him things he already knows and yet, he’s about to break. So many times. Because Felicity is trying to make him face this death, she’s trying to push back The Arrow and find her Oliver in there, find him and comfort him.
There were several reasons why Oliver was so open to repeatedly hugging and comforting Laurel. For one, who else is supposed to do it? He’s the only person in Laurel’s life who, not only loved Sara and knew her his entire life, but also Laurel has known her entire life. She can’t tell her dad because she’ll lose him, she can’t find comfort there. And she can’t find much comfort in the team either, when she doesn’t know any of them yet. It was only right that Oliver would be the one to do this for her.
But I also noticed something else: Laurel never, not once, tried to comfort Oliver. He could be around her because this wasn’t about him. It was strictly about her and having a shoulder to cry on. Oliver couldn’t do this with Felicity because there was no comforting her without breaking down himself. Because Felicity would want to comfort him too. It was a matter of time to make him open up completely in that scene in the Foundry, imagine if there was any physical contact involved. He couldn’t risk it.
Which brings me to the scene in the funeral. Not only he glances at her when she’s not looking, to make sure that Roy does offer her the comfort she needs while he can’t do it himself, but copies her move and throws soil in Sara’s grave. This was his way of telling her that she’s not alone. This was his way of showing that he is with her in this. Even if he can’t say it. Even if he can barely show it. Even if he had lied to her earlier by denying that he’s hiding behind his Hood, and even if she saw through it; again (”hiding down here”). Even if she had just walked away and he had let her go. Even if her words “You’re just gonna spend your life, hiding down here in this cave, waiting to die?” were burning his mind and bare soul, because he knew now that what he wanted for himself was the opposite. With this little move, Oliver was comforting Felicity.