"You haven't changed one bit. Oliver always wants what Oliver can't have." - Tess Mercer to Oliver Queen, Committed

Tess Mercer and Oliver Queen in Season Eight.

The relationship between Oliver Queen and Tess Mercer is one of the oldest on Smallville. It's complicated, highly romantic, and also often volatile. It began with Tess saving Oliver from a highly toxic plant while on a deserted island. He immediately returned the favor by rescuing her from the pirates who were holding her captive, and captured her heart in the process.

Tess and Oliver's relationship spanned much of the course of the show, being a source of much happiness, disappointment, and passion for both of them.

Their relationship is often called "Tollie" by their fans.[1]

Early History

"It's not quite the scenario I pictured if I ever ran into a woman on this island." - Oliver Queen to Tess Mercer, Toxic

Tess and Oliver first meet

When Oliver's yacht crashed into rocks, he was washed up on a nearby deserted island and explored it for two years. After discovering a group of drug runners, he pricked his hand on a toxic flower and collapsed, waking up hours later in a tent surrounded by armed men with Tess Mercer examining him. She told him the flower was deadly and that he had only 12 hours left to live after the poison entered his system. She used leeches to suck the poison out of his body and admitted that she and her friend Megan had been kidnapped.

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Oliver comforts Tess over Megan's death

One of the kidnappers told Oliver that he knew his billionaire identity and announced a plan to hold Oliver for ransom. He then shot Megan dead and almost shot Tess, but Oliver jumped in front of her, blocking Marcos's path to Tess and protecting her. Marcos decided to let Tess live, at least for the moment. Oliver tried to console Tess over the death of her friend. While holding a grieving Tess in his arms, Oliver pulled out her hairband so he could use to assist his escape plan. Tess feared they'd both be killed but Oliver reassured her he would get them off the island safely - expressing two years stranded alone by himself was long enough.


Oliver and Tess connect on the island

"I swore to myself if I ever got off this island, I'd change," he told her. "I wouldn't waste my life. Here's my chance." She nodded to him, assuring him of her alliance in the escape. As they were leaving, Oliver staged an escape off the island by knocking out the first kidnapper and then poisoning Marcos with the toxin.

Oliver and Tess then left the island together by using the drug-runner's boat and returned to his home Star City.

They started a relationship that ended when Oliver left Tess after she caught him with a waitress.[2] He never said goodbye to Tess and she never forgot that.

Romantic References

Their romance did not include any further flashbacks other than from Toxic, but instead included references to their past together.

  • Multiple vacations to various islands (referenced in "Checkmate" and "Injustice").
  • Tess knowing what Oliver preferred for breakfast (referenced in "Ambush").
  • An officer interrogating Tess as to Oliver's whereabouts and brings up Tess and Oliver having been lovers. (referenced in "Icarus")
  • Oliver knowing Tess's childhood as "an eco-friendly little girl who wanted to save the planet" (referenced in "Injustice").
  • An indication to a very passionate and sexual romantic relationship (also referenced in "Injustice" as well as "Committed").
  • Tess seeing Oliver through "rock bottom" (referenced in "Echo").
  • Oliver subtly refers to his feelings for Tess when speaking to Clark about Chloe's feelings for Davis Bloome. "Take it from a guy who spent $10 billion on a merger with the girl that got away. You don't always choose who you fall for." (referenced in "Beast")

Season Eight

"You're Oliver Queen, world-famous Samaritan. And I was his first save." - Tess Mercer to Oliver Queen. "You know you were much more than that." - Toxic

They met again in Metropolis after Oliver was poisoned by Marcos at a rainforest fundraiser, who was seeking revenge on Tess and Oliver for leaving him to die on the island. Tess knew as a marine biologist that the plant that poisoned Oliver only grew on the island they met on. It had to be transported into the US and Metropolis and therefore Oliver was intentionally poisoned -- and by Marcos. Clark Kent came to Tess for help due to her access to Luthorcorp research facilities, having no idea of history with Oliver. Tess managed to inform Clark of the location of the cure without giving any indication to Clark this was personal to her.


Oliver, unconscious and having visions of Tess

Oliver, meanwhile, had been lying unconscious having illusions of Tess as Lois and Davis Bloome worked to keep him alive. For hours, he repeated "Mercy", his pet name for Tess that Lois Lane was unaware was for Tess Mercer. Clark Kent showed up just in time with the antidote to save Oliver's life. As soon as Clark administered the antidote to Oliver, Oliver awoke, uttering, "Mercy. You have to save Mercy." Clark had no idea who Oliver was referring to. "What?" Clark replied. "Tess Mercer. Whoever did this to me is going to go after her next." "You know Tess?" Clark responded. "There's no time!" Oliver panicked. Clark rushed off, saving Tess as Oliver requested.

After Marcos was stopped, Tess called Oliver to the Luthor Mansion. Many layers of feelings were revealed in this conversation as well as history. We learn that Tess was the first person Oliver Queen ever saved, and he did it using his archery skills - though she doesn't know he is Green Arrow.

"You're Oliver Queen, world-famous Samaritan. And I was his first save." - Tess Mercer to Oliver Queen. "You know you were much more than that."

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Anger and sexual tension reawaken between Tess and Oliver

Tess was also an environmentalist and marine biologist and it surprised Oliver to see her as the sole inheritor to the Luthor dynasty. "A few pay grades up from your days studying jelly fish and protesting whaler ships, huh?" Tess then confronts him by saying that he shouldn't have just expected her to sit around after what he did to her and that everything that she has done was for herself. Then it was revealed that Oliver had walked out on their relationship and didn't say goodbye to Tess. In gratitude for saving her from Marcos again, Tess gives Oliver evidence that reveals that Lionel Luthor was the one who killed his parents.


Tess and Oliver rekindle their relationship


Tess and Oliver's fighting match is interrupted by passion

Later, Oliver sends her a dress, and an invitation to go to dinner with him, but Maxima later steals the dress and takes the invitation. After this, Oliver visits her at her office and confronts her about how she doesn't return his calls but manages to have time to buy the Star City Towers, and he then invites her to dinner. When he arrives at the Luthor mansion, Tess battles him in hand to hand combat, and reveals that she is still angry because Oliver left her, and tells him that he still can't take anything seriously even their relationship. He says that she knows how much she meant to him, and then Tess replies that she doesn't want an apology but an explanation. "What the hell were you so afraid of?" she asks him. "You." Her anger fades away at his answer and he reaches for her. The two passionately kiss and spend the night together.


Tess and Oliver after spending the night together

The next morning, Oliver tries to coax Tess to run away to Milan with him, but as he reveals the bracelet he bought her, Tess turns him down, saying, "There was nothing romantic about last night, Oliver. I had an itch. You scratched it." Oliver asks happened to her since the last time he saw her, noticing how harsh and cruel she can turn in an instant. "I grew up. And you left, right when things started to get interesting."


Green Arrow lays Tess down

When Chloe Sullivan reveals that she needs Ollie to steal a generator from Tess, he eagerly agrees to help and infiltrate the Luthor Mansion as the Green Arrow. He is confronted by Tess who reveals that she really doesn't know anything about Oliver's secret identity and is then easily subdued with a tranquilizer dart.


Tess calls Oliver to discuss a merger

After Tess discovers that Lex Luthor never trusted her, she calls Oliver to discuss a merger over dinner, with her saying that he can interpret it anyway he wants. Days later, they become partners after the successful merger between LuthorCorp and Queen Industries. Their relationship then becomes more closer to a business one rather than a romantic one. However, Oliver later reveals to Clark that he spent $10 billion in the merger and that he only accepted it because of the way he feels about Tess.[3]

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Oliver and Tess flirt at the Daily Planet

Oliver tries to heat things up again when Clark wants him to steal black kryptonite from Tess and he then goes to visit her with the excuse of celebrating the reopening of a geothermal power station. After she turns him down, Oliver then goes as far as to lie naked in her bed. However, they are then interrupted by the Injustice League as they cause an explosion that knocks Oliver unconscious and results in Tess being taken captive. However, Oliver comes to her rescue as Green Arrow.


Oliver rescues Tess as Green Arrow

"Where the hell are your pants?" Tess asks. "Yeah, I hid my pants. Like I hid your clothes in Fiji, remember that? That was a good time. If I remember correctly, we spent the rest of the vacation au naturale." - Oliver Queen, Injustice

Season Nine

"There are times when I wish I could go back... Those Santorini sunsets... Your freckles... And your big dreams of changing the world. Back when I could trust you. Then you betrayed me, Tess. You, of all people." - Oliver Queen to Tess Mercer, Checkmate

As Oliver´s life started to go down, he started to mess with several women and further into alcoholism, and when he found a GPS tracker in his belt the first person that came to his mind and who might be interested in spying him was Tess. He went to confront her at the Daily Planet, but was surprised by a band of rabid zombies.


Tess tries to comfort Oliver

Oliver wasn't pulling his weight with his business and then Tess tracked him down to Mexico where she found him in the middle of a fight with two men. Armed with a machine gun and attitude, Tess forced the thugs away and dealt with a drunken Oliver. Tess reminded him that they were in business together and his decisions were hurting her too and tried to offer a comforting hand, but Oliver refused to trust again in her. Slighted, she forced Oliver to return to Metropolis with her for a shareholders conference at the Ace of Clubs as a way to pay back all the favors she had done for him. After Winslow Schott tries to kill Oliver at the conference, Tess goes for him for revenge, and proceeds to fire a gun at his left kneecap with a warning to leave Oliver alone.


Tess dies in Oliver's arms

In an alternate Earth that had been taken over by Zod, Oliver was part of a resistance that broke into the Luthor Mansion with kryptonite arrows and shot everyone in sight, including Tess. Oliver immediately went over to Tess. At first she thought Ollie had shot her, but he admitted that he didn't. She confessed she had done what she did to save the Earth, even if it meant betraying her own people before she died in his arms. Oliver was clearly devastated and saddened and turned to find Chloe standing beside him. Chloe admitted she had the shot and she took it. Afterwards, Oliver removed Tess's dog-tag and buried her body.

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Tess confronts Oliver


Tess waits for Oliver as he comes out of the shower

Tess suspected Oliver's involvement when her solar tower was destroyed. However, he denied any involvement and she responded by revealing that one of his employees had been embezzling from their company. She then had one of her employees spy on him, revealing Chloe had been the one embezzling funds from Queen Industries. Oliver knew Tess so well that he knew that she was spying on him, and despite not being thrilled that Chloe embezzled money instead of asking, he hid all the weapons from Tess, much to her disappointment.


Oliver teases Tess at a gala

Tess eventually discovered Oliver's identity when her role as Checkmate agent led to her capturing the Green Arrow. Although Oliver escaped before his identity was exposed, during a conversation at a shareholder's meeting, Tess realized that Oliver was the one that she had captured. She was hurt that Oliver had kept this secret, but soon realized that she had betrayed him and later asked for forgiveness and help. Oliver, however, had no sympathy for Tess and vowed to expose her to the world if she ever went near his friends again. Tess and Oliver parted on extremely bad terms as she was forced underground to avoid an assassination attempt from her previous boss Amanda Waller.

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Tess pleads with Oliver for help

When Tess and Chloe stayed locked at the Watchtower, Tess revealed that she still loves Oliver but that knows he never will love her because she is not what he wants, and that regretted in some way have let him go. She tells Chloe that she will doesn't let Oliver get close to prevent end hurting, but that Oliver was not going to leave Chloe since he has a purpose with her. Tess makes Chloe rethink about how valuable is Oliver and advised her to not let him go.

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Oliver in Tess's delusion

Weeks later, Tess awoke in the mansion, to discover she was being held captive by Maxwell Lord, demanding she tell him the location of the Book of Rao. After denying she knew where it was, Maxwell threw Oliver in with her and threatened to kill him if she didn't cooperate. Oliver questions whether Tess set up the whole thing, thinking that she's the Red Queen. Tess pleads for Oliver's life. Then Oliver tells her that she was the only woman he truly loved. Tess realized that everything that had just happened was all an illusion created by Lord. She then breaks through his illusion and escapes, after knocking Lord out.

Season Ten

"We’ve come a long way.  From the middle of the ocean to the top of the city." - Tess Mercer to Oliver Queen, Ambush
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Tess helps Oliver at Watchtower

Tess was called to Watchtower by Oliver to help him find Chloe after she disappeared and Tess stated that she didn't understand what happened to Chloe. Oliver professed that Chloe was gone, and he'll do everything he can to find her. Tess suggested that Chloe possibly erased her own "existence" records and Oliver believed that possibility was unlikely and handed Tess a printed e-mail that she supposedly sent him. Tess read the e-mail that detailed much affection, passion, and devotion for Oliver. Tess denied posting the e-mail, and pointed out that Chloe did. Tess then admitted that she helped Chloe with her program of "erasing" herself, knowing that she had a plan.

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Tess and Oliver have words

After Oliver revealed his identity to the public, Tess poked fun at Oliver when he was about put on a show at the Metropolis museum and said he was nothing more than a caricature of himself and wondered what he was up to. Oliver responded by asking her whether or not she even knows real love is anymore and Tess then told him he was doing would not have been what Chloe wanted. Despite the refusal of Oliver, Tess helped him and Clark to find information on the goddess Isis and stop her from unleashing Hell on Earth as she had taken control of Lois.


Tess tends to Oliver in her new role as 'Watchtower'

The morning after that, Tess found Oliver in Watchtower and noted that he seemed far way and Oliver admitted that she was right and that Tess is one of the only people who could see right through him. Tess also pointed out that Chloe could see through him too, and Oliver admitted that he misses her and he told Tess that maybe she could still spot real love and apologized for what he said earlier. Clark then came in and explained that they called her so to give her control of Watchtower in recognition of her efforts and welcomed her to the team. Tess thanked them and left the room overwhelmed. Oliver wondered if they can really trust her and Clark said them they'll find out.


Tess and Oliver begin to forge a friendship

Tess began to devote herself to her new role at the Watchtower and made some modifications to make it a more pleasant place for her, much to Oliver's dismay, who wanted to keep Chloe's memory in it. Oliver continued to remain distrustful of her no matter how much she tried to help. She helped the team to discover the plan of Rick Flag and the Suicide Squad to kill Sam Lane and discovered that the team was being tracked by tattoos bearing the squad's mark. Afterwards Oliver finally decided to start trusting Tess and welcomed her to his family. Oliver did say to Tess that he had to walk away from Watchtower since his identity was now public and couldn't have anyone from the press to see him there, given Watchtower was a safe haven for superheroes. Tess admired his decision given the amount of value Watchtower meant to Ollie.


Clark makes Tess and Oliver aware of Darkseid's presence on Earth

Tess and Lois walked into the middle of a press conference at the Daily Planet where Oliver registers for the VRA with Slade Wilson who said that he's the first in a long line of people who will sign up and goes on about how it will mark a new age of cooperation between heroes and the government. Afterwards Oliver began to leave with the military liaisons for the helipad but Lois pleaded with Tess to stop them from taking off, as she knew what was really going to happen with the heroes that register. Tess said that she couldn't because they had military clearance and sadly told her that Oliver was gone. Tess later worked with Clark on getting Ollie back from Slade's grip. After Oliver was rescued, Clark informed both Tess and he about the coming darkness on Earth. He explained how the darkness was using people such as Slade to spread fear and doubt as it feeds on such. Tess and Oliver both realized the fears and doubts they were both having and wondered how they could ever defeat such a thing.

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Tess trying to contact Oliver

Tess, Oliver, and Lois were together battling an alternate Clark from an alternate universe after Clark accidentally teleported himself there using the mirror box. Once the two Clarks switched back to their respective universes, the good Clark came back to have Oliver, Lois, and Tess pointing kryptonite weapons at him but he managed to convince Lois it was really him, allowing Oliver and Tess to lower their weapons.

Tess and Oliver attended Clark and Lois's engagement party at Watchtower. Later Tess was questioned by the government about her connections with the heroes and her past and current relationship with Oliver. Tess was rather evasive in her questioning.


Tess and Oliver ponder over Lionel's return

Oliver told Clark and Tess that the Lionel Luthor from the alternate Clark's Universe and Alexander Luthor (a clone of Lex) had bought him and Tess out and were taking back LuthorCorp. Tess suggested that Clark use the mirror box to send Lionel back, but Clark explained that he destroyed it. Clark told Tess and Oliver to wait as he went to the Fortress of Solitude to talk to Jor-El about doing something with both Luthors.


Oliver asks Tess to trust him

Tess called Oliver back to Watchtower when Slade Wilson was mysteriously released from the Phantom Zone. When Clark and Oliver returned from the zone, Tess cleaned up Oliver's wounds. Later, Tess and Oliver had a secret meeting about the Bow of Orion, a weapon that Oliver believed he could use to defeat Darkseid. Tess reminded him that it wasn't Oliver's lone quest to defeat him, it was the team's.

Tess discovered security footage from Watchtower which revealed that Oliver had disabled its satellites to prevent the team from seeing Darkseid's Apokolips descending on Earth. This was because Oliver had been corrupted by Darkseid.

Season Eleven

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Tess' memories of Oliver.

Fifty miles outside of Metropolis, Lex watches the LuthorCorp shuttle in the distance, when Oliver angrily confronts him, and warns him that the military will shut down his project, and that they know just what he's capable of. Lex claims he doesn't know, because of the loss of his memories. Oliver questions Lex on Tess's suicide, and Lex justifies it, claiming LuthorCorp's decline and the world almost ending caused her to do it. Oliver denies his claims, and threatens to reveal that Lex killed Tess.

Oliver's been getting gibberish emails that he'd like Chloe to get to the bottom of, if she's not too distracted by this "Crisis". Later, Chloe finds out that the e-mails come from LexCorp. Oliver bursts into Lex's office to accuse Lex of harassing him with those coded emails. Lex and Oliver argue about the e-mails that keep flashing on Oliver's computer, and Lex comes to realize that Tess has been controlling his body while he's asleep in order to send them.

At LexCorp, Lex has a brief argument with Tess. She points out her death by his hands, a memory he does not have anymore, but Lex isn't angry over she did, as Luthors are "survivors" and she did what he would've done if the roles were reversed. Lex also notes his disturbance of having memories of her romance with Oliver Queen.

Lex heads towards his office only to find Superman with Green Arrow and Lois Lane revealing they are here to take Tess back. Lois slaps Lex knocking him unconscious. Later at Watchtower, Clark, Lois and Oliver stands patience as Emil downloads a grateful Tess into a computer system making her a hologram.

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Tess questions Oliver and Chloe on whether they will keep their promise.

Months later, Oliver and Chloe ask Tess to help them investigate a mysterious robbery but Tess questions whether they will keep their promise to abstain from "hero work" until the baby is born. They both insist that this has anything to do with "hero work" and Chloe says that they are just sleuthing but Tess notes that "sleuthing" got her into trouble with Batman weeks ago. Tess decides to help them with their investigation but she warns them that she will keep an eye on them both. She reveals, as Oliver suspected, that the heist was just a faint. At the same time the alarms were tripped at the bank, silent alarms lit up at an unregistered address in the Suicide Slums and even though Tess couldn't find out what was stolen, she found that it led back to the D.E.O.

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Tess, Oliver and Chloe try to focus on other threats.

Oliver, Chloe, and Tess are monitoring the yellow rings and the subsequent mayhem they're causing. They communicate with Superman, who is fighting with the Yellow Lanterns in Gotham and tells them to focus on threats that are unrelated to the rings and let him deal with them because a situation like this is the perfect chance for other minor threats to go unnoticed.

Then, the D.E.O. sends Oliver after Prometheus. Shortly after Green Arrow vanishes, Tess asks Chloe if she is really okay with Oliver being back out in the field and Chloe says that in a situation like this there is no other place for them to be.

Weeks later, in D.E.O.'s headquarters, Oliver and Chloe receive a call from Watchtower, alerting them of Superman and Lois' disappearance.

Later, Tess warns all the other members and allies of the League to stay away from Metropolis in order to prevent them from being possessed by Eclipso.

Superman and Lois finally arrive at Watchtower where Tess Mercer, Chloe and Oliver along with Batman, Nightwing, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Jay Garrick and his team of teenagers. Clark tells Chloe, Tess and Bruce to find out everything from one of the Manhunters he destroyed about the Crisis, because more ships are on their way. As Batman starts to examine the crumpled Manhunter head he wonders where are they going, Clark grimly says everywhere.


  • Oliver mostly refers to Tess as "Mercy".[4]
  • Tess is the first person that Oliver saved in his life, which led to him wanting to become Green Arrow.[5]
  • Tess is able to figure out the identity of Clark Kent's in less than one year, however she is "blinded" to recognizing Green Arrow as Oliver Queen even when he's right in front of her and speaking to her, and even though the first time she met Oliver Queen, he saved her using archery skills. This is similar to the classic concept of Lois Lane's blindness on recognizing Superman.



"Please, don't stop getting undressed on my account." - Oliver Queen to Tess Mercer, Injustice

Tess: Whatever happened to the party boy hanging up his beer bong so that he could do good for the world?
Oliver: Well, I'm not the guy in that article anymore.
Tess: Of course you're not. You're Oliver Queen, world-famous Samaritan. And I was his first save.
Oliver: Excuse me, you, um... you know you were much more than that.
Tess: I'm glad you're okay, Oliver. After all, I need the chief of Queen Industries alive and well if LuthorCorp is gonna keep its competitive edge.
Oliver: I'm happy to help. This is great. A few pay grades up from your days studying jelly fish and protesting whaler ships, huh?
Tess: You're not the first person to wonder how I arrived at the helm of the Luthor dynasty.
Oliver: Well, what's to wonder? You play to win. I found out how ruthless you were a long time ago.
Tess: After what you did to me, did you really expect me to just sit around and eat ice cream?
Oliver: No. You'd rather work for my greatest enemy, and then, just when I think the knife can't twist any farther, you take over his entire company.
Tess: Oh, so that's what you do when you're not writing checks and grinning for the cameras. You sit around pondering ways that I've dedicated my life to your downfall. I'm sorry to break it to you, Oliver, but everything I did, I did for me.
Oliver: Well, then I guess our past is behind us.
Tess: It has been since the day that you said goodbye. Oh, wait. You never actually did, did you?
Oliver: Is that why you called me here?. Because it's on the tip of my tongue.
Season Eight, Toxic

Oliver: You're always very perceptive. You know, I like that in a woman. It's a turn-on.
Tess: If I remember correctly, when it comes to the opposite sex... there's little that doesn't turn you on.
Oliver: Actually, there's only been one woman that ever had that effect.
Season Eight, Injustice

Oliver: Mercy! We have dinner reservations at Hobb's Bay in just under an hour.
Tess: I like to work up an appetite.
Season Five, Committed

Oliver: What do you say we just take the rest of the afternoon off and just...pop the cork?
Tess: Keep your your pants.
Oliver: Your loss.

Season Eight, Injustice

Oliver Queen in Smallville
Family Queens (Robert and Laura)
'Ships Clark KentLex LuthorJimmy OlsenLois LaneTess MercerChloe Sullivan
Work Queen IndustriesLuthorCorpJustice League
Other Queen TowerGreen Arrow suitStar CityOliver Queen ChroniclesNear-death experiencesEpisodes
Tess Mercer in Smallville
Family Lionel LuthorPamela Jenkins
'Ships Lois LaneLana LangChloe SullivanLex LuthorLionel LuthorConner KentOliver QueenClark KentZodEmil Hamilton
Work LuthorCorpDaily PlanetCheckmateJustice League
Other Injustice LeagueLuthor MansionNear-death experiencesEpisodes


  2. Tess stated this in Committed
  3. Beast
  4. Toxic, Committed, Bloodline, Bulletproof
  5. Tess confirmed this in Toxic
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