“The tale of the one night stand that turned into a relationship.”(SATC 2x08)
To be fair, it’s not really a myth? Studies show that we are hormonally wired to form attachments to the people we have sex with, especially if we experience an orgasm. (Blame oxytocin and vasopressin.) But this isn’t a simple case of lust coming before a realization of compatibility: Connor was using Oliver, which is hardly sustainable. HOWEVER I think they have a better foundation now that their emotional investment is far more equal and they're both being honest about their feelings and expectations, as well as being actively empathetic towards each other. And I love how we got to see the power balance tip unhealthily one way, and then tilt way over on the other side before they reached a balance.
Oliver's door as a signpost/metaphor for the state of their relationship. (Invitation trope)
I would likely not have noticed at all if I hadn't read 12_12_12's Caroline Forbes meta way back when. Like it just seemed like a great Open/Shut way to bookend Connor's arc in 1x04. But scenes there kept recurring, so I started to think about it a bit more.
Invitation is usually a supernatural trope, designed to keep out overpowered creatures until they seduce or con their way into the safe haven inside human homes. At first, Connor (with his "voodoo penis") gets in just fine, even though he is using Oliver for both sex and hacking favors and everybody (including Oliver) knows it. The first time we see him at the door in 1x02, Oliver even slams it in his face before letting him in anyway.
But in a human twist on the trope, Oliver maintains the power to keep Connor out, even though they both recognize that their relationship is heavily weighed in Connor’s favor.
The next few eps we see Connor spiraling. Regret and shock over his role in Pax’s suicide is likely part of it, but he’s heartbroken more than anything. He stalks Oliver online and determinedly sleeps around. And from his dead expression while hooking up with Julian (and his uncharacteristically humble offer of dinner first), he's realized that he wants more than just sex now too.
Feeling out of his element, he tries to ask for forgiveness with flowers in 1x07, only to have “Biceps Guy” emerge (a super hot guardian!), who warns him to stay away “if [he] cares for [Oliver] at all”.
Despite the warning, he seeks out Oliver in a state of desperation after the murder—and Oliver softens his unforgiving stance when confronted with seeing Connor hit rock bottom --and invites him in.
“It will be. Come inside and tell me everything.” 1x09
After that, their relationship shifts abruptly to be very much on Oliver’s terms—and Oliver is doing his best to keep himself emotionally uninvested and literally put distance between them. (“I didn’t invite you to stay. We’re not dating.” 1x11) Connor is now the one making all the effort and bending over backwards to spend time together, asking repeatedly for Oliver not to force him out. And Oliver finds it hard to maintain his guarded stance, not only because he still has lingering feelings, but also in the face of Connor’s earnestness and vulnerability. It’s disarming— Connor is now offering everything he'd wanted although he’s terrified of being hurt again (“I more than like you! Dammit!” 1x11.) So Connor meets Oliver’s needs by telling him how important he is to him (“I don’t trust anyone in my life except you.” 1x11) and publicly acknowledging their relationship in 1x13.
And he very deliberately refuses to take advantage when Oliver is drunk, a full 180 from their starting point. (Although that gets him an unexpected reward anyway.)
They still disagree- but by 1x14 it isn’t so much one person giving up what they want as negotiation. They’re on far more equal ground- Connor respects what Oliver is saying even if it's painful or frightening; Oliver immediately softens when his words obviously hit a sore point, coaxing instead of demanding. And it's awesome to see how confident Oliver has become despite his lingering insecurities, denying Connor sex until they take an STD test. (Such a huge change from 1x02 and 1x04!) He knows he means as much to Connor now as the other way around. (Although Connor’s almost obsessive attachment still rings warning bells. Like how much of this is love and how much is just a need to have a touchstone outside the murder group?)
In the second half of the season we see Oliver’s doorway only once: in 1x13, where Connor is welcomed in again without a second thought. But what really gets me is their last scene in 1x15, where Connor enters Oliver’s bedroom while he was huddled in bed crying. Oliver didn’t let him in—which means Connor now has a key to the door- obvious given the ILU in the previous ep, but still. *internally screaming over the metaphor but also whyyyyyyy*
I think it was supposed to be a cliffhanger about whether Connor “I don’t do boyfriends” Walsh would cut his losses and abandon Oliver now that he’s tested HIV positive, but given Connor’s emotional place (and the spoilers), it seems pretty unlikely. And I think there's a lot of room for a friendship with Michaela to grow with this too: she was pre-med, and Connor has naturally gravitated into a team with her against The Quiet Ones.
There's also the continued conflict of the fake addiction and Sam's covered up murder going into S2. There’s nothing worse than having to maintain a lie, and Connor is forgoing alcohol even though he's not an addict. Is it some sort of self-induced penance? Or is he more worried that the truth would be a dealbreaker? A+ for still finding ways to make a fake addiction keep him in Oliver’s orbit in the second half though: Connor hasn’t completely lost his manipulative mojo despite softening so much. And Oliver is still charmed by it, although he's actually pretty clear-sighted about it. I love his sarcastic call-outs ("You really think I'm that desperate?" 1x02 "So this is a re-gift." 1x11), even though he's painfully aware of how much pull Connor has over him.
Oliver's insecurities ("You should see the woman we're defending. Not so good looking." "Some people might say the same thing about us." 1x13) will also carry over into S2, and probably be amplified by the HIV diagnosis. (Although I am constantly boggled by this, because Oliver is sooo freaking adorable. That smile. There's a lot of that on this show, with characters telling us who is hot/not on this show when it's totally the opposite?) There's also the possibility of him being caught for doing all the hacking. :/
But I am super hopeful going into S2 that they can be happy. (I know, this is Shondaland who am I kidding.) Further spec: I think we're going to see Connor and Oliver have a love scene that's more tender than button-popping lusty? And I want sooo bad for Connor to introduce Oliver to his sister, who seemed to sense that something was wrong with Connor right away when they were talking. ("What is it? Tell me so I can help." 1x11) She's the first person Connor used the BF word with, even though they hadn't even reconciled yet- like I got the sense that she's the person he tells everything to, with zero fear of judgement. I also think it makes narrative sense given how far they've come from "Couples? What's next? ... I meet your mom?" (1x04) but this could just be my shipper goggles talking. :P