Arrow: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak (3×05)

Synopsis: Felicity’s mom is in town! As a cyber terrorist attack shuts Starling City down, we get a glimpse into Felicity’s past as a hacktivist.

Rating: ★★★★★

Well, don’t I look stupid?

I asked for more plots with Roy. I asked for some more excitement. Now here we are.

So all in all, this was actually a great episode. Let’s start from the top. That opening shot of the sparring matches has to be one of the best parallels so far. Ollie and Roy, Malcolm and Thea, Ted and Laurel, all looking badass, and then a lead in from Thea’s question “What do normal people do in the morning” to Felicity struggling to do sit-ups in her house. Same, girl. Same.

A knock on the door sends the whole story barreling forward in one of the more fast-paced episodes of this season. It’s Ray. And then it’s Felicity’s mom, Donna Smoak. Every scene of Donna eyeing Ray or Oliver or Diggle, is pretty much me every episode, well done, Charlotte Ross. Ray, who is always a literal ray of sunshine, not only artfully sidesteps the awkwardness between Felicity and her mom, but gives Donna his new prototype watch, which is basically its own computer, before leaving the house.

Ray to the rescue! (Not really, but that watch certainly helped.) [TV After Dark]
Ray to the rescue! (Not really, but that watch certainly helped.) [TV After Dark]
We know from previous episodes that Donna is a cocktail waitress in Vegas, and her visit is not only slightly unwelcomed but a complete surprise. Donna feels like the opposite of Felicity in every way, from her personality to her technology skills, and it leads the two into butting heads. With Donna telling us that Felicity’s dad walked out on them, and she’s been afraid of Felicity doing the same to her, only to realize that she already had.

We see from Felicity’s past that she was once a hacktivist along with her friend Myron and her college boyfriend Cooper, who ended up going to jail for their hacktivism and killing himself before sentencing. When a super virus hits Starling City and brings the entire city into a halt, it’s up to Felicity to figure out who is using her own super virus against them. Ruling out her roommate Myron, Team Arrow is at their wits end, and Oliver sends Felicity home to get some downtime while the computer searches for other clues.

[TV After Dark]
[TV After Dark]
Felicity goes home to Donna to apologize, and finds out that Donna received a free ticket to Starling City through her email. Felicity puts it together that someone wanted Donna there as leverage, and just as she figures it out masked men burst into her home and take both women hostage. Of course, in typical comic book fashion, no one stays dead, and we find out (to no huge surprise) that Cooper is not dead, and instead has been working for the NSA. He used Felicity’s virus for his own personal gain, and kidnapped her in order for his plans to succeed.

Thankfully Ray’s gift to Donna is basically a computer on your wrist, and Felicity is able to send a message to Ollie before Cooper can come back and threaten both of the women’s lives. After some artful leaping and jumping of motion sensor machine guns, Oliver disables whatever Cooper set up as a defense. Before Oliver can let loose another arrow, Felicity lands an elbow into his solar plexus and disarms him on her own before freeing her mom. Sure, we got some help from Oliver and his parkour skills, but Felicity never fails to impress as both a genius and a hero.

Mother and daughter make up, as Felicity ensures Donna that she inherited the best part of her mother, her strength, and it’s a great moment between the two. Not only was it great to see past goth Felicity and also meet her family, but it was grew to see her transformation from hacktivist to the Felicity we know and love.

Won't say no to more of past hacktivist!Felicity. [TV After Dark]
Won’t say no to more of past hacktivist!Felicity. [TV After Dark]
Then of course, there are the side plots that also had some great development. Thea gets a new place using money from Malcolm, which Oliver believes she got from Malcolm’s inheritance. Oliver doesn’t agree with her using Malcolm’s money, stating that if she does this means she is indebted to him, Thea doesn’t listen.

After some more awkward moments between the two arguing, and scenes of Oliver looking like a kicked puppy reiterating his new turn-of-phrase “Are you ok?”, Oliver decides to meet Thea halfway, and supports her moving into a new place with Malcolm’s money. In return, Thea offers Oliver a place to live, and the two seem to have made up for now. Though Malcolm watches them ominously from a rooftop across the way, and though the guy is hard to read, I’m pretty sure he’s not happy about Thea reconnecting with Ollie.

Laurel takes the help as acting DA during the cyber terrorism, and blunders by sending in the riot squad to an escalating crowd, basically creating a problem for the police. After getting yelled at by her dad and asked if she is drinking again, Quentin tells her that she needs to talk to someone because she has things bottled up inside and it just isn’t good. She turns to Ted Grant and tells him about Sara’s death and he remarks that now that he knows what she is fighting, he can help her out.

Can we talk about how much of a horrible person I am that I didn’t realize that this guy was Wildcat? For the longest time I just referred to him as boxing dude in my head, but I finally looked him up and realized that his name meant Wildcat. Well regardless, I love Arrow’s Ted Grant, and I love them bringing in a bunch of comic book characters, so I am all on board for him mentoring her (much like he has in the past comic-verse).

[TV After Dark]
[TV After Dark]
And of course, the bomb that dropped at the end of the episode. Here I was thinking we were going to have to deal with more weeks of us agonizing over who the killer of Sara could be. And we get this. Roy’s comments about him “not sleeping well” felt like just the after effects of Mirakuru or League Tranquilizer, but looks like it’s nightmares. Nightmares of him throwing arrows into Sara that night on the rooftop and killing her. WHO THE HELL SAW THAT COMING? Because I definitely did not.

Way to drop a bomb on us, Arrow.


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