Arrow Season 3 Episode 5 – TV Review
So, as the title suggests (“The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”), it’s time to learn more about where Felicity came from.
Naturally, her ex-and-supposedly-dead boyfriend is a super criminal.
It’s just part of the hacker lyfe.
TL;DR Felicity was a goth-wannabe hacker in her college days; her boyfriend, supposedly dead after being caught for a cyber attack, resurfaces in the present to do cyber terrorist stuff; Felicity, with the help of her cheerleading mother, subudes him; Thea and Oliver make peace; Roy has a nightmare where he envisions himself as Sara’s murderer.
I know Arrow needed a reason for Roy to still exist, but that’s a little extreme, no?
The main plot of the episode centres entirely on Felicity. In present day Starling City, a cyber terror attack is instigated by some group who uses a virus that Felicity designed in her college days. Flashbacks to those days show how Felicity shared the virus with her overly ambitious boyfriend, who was caught for deleting college loan data, and apparently committed suicide before his sentencing. But nuh, he’s totally alive, having been forced to work for the NSA for years. That’s how you create a terrorist, NSA. He’s also lured Felicity’s mum, Donna, to town to use to force Felicity to put her 1337 hacker skillz to work for the final part of his plan to steal a hard cash emergency fund shipment. Felicity ends up using her smarts to outdo him, with a little encouragement from Oliver and Donna. Aww. Meanwhile, Thea is all flush with cash she’s supposedly inherited from Malcolm’s estate. Oliver finds it distasteful, and they argue about it for a bit. But then they remember they love each other, so all’s well.
I’m still waiting for Thea to ninja somebody.
So yeah, this episode is the epitome of filler. But it’s Felicity, so I suppose we can suffer a little arbitrary nothingness if it means we get to spend time with our little darling.
That goth wig, though.
Why I hate this episode:
Goth College Hacker Felicity is the quintessential token hacker. I assumed the CW’s audience was young and hip enough not to be talked down to when it comes to hacking, but no. She’s just a mangy, rebellious kid operating out of a college dorm room and creating super viruses on a whim. Meh.
And it makes her look like crap, so.
Cooper, Felicity’s ex-boyfriend, isn’t the most compelling villain. He and his goons are taken out with ease by his own hostage and a little roughly organised attack from the Super Friends. He’s also unnecessarily villainous about everything. Why is he such an arsehole to his ex-girlfriend, who he apparently used to care about? He makes some remark about how she’s turned into a corporate schill, but I don’t think that exactly warrants a gun to the face.
And he kidnaps her hot mum. Rude.
Ray seems to be failing to follow up to his evil glint from a couple episodes ago. He’s all affable and no evil. How dull.
Felicity is able to signal the Super Friends to come help her because Donna is wearing a super watch that Ray gave her earlier in the episode that happens to have wi-fi. If Cooper was such a hacker badass motherfucker, you’d think he would have noticed such a cool gadget. Or at the very least done a better job of confiscating anything techie from Felicity and Donna. He knows Felicity is a computer magician. Silly boy.
Cooper’s terrorist group uses a visualisation of an eye to represent themselves when they broadcast to the city. It’s a ridiculously obvious knock-off of the eye of Sauron. Not that I should be surprised that Internet radicals would violate copyright.
Laurel bungles a riot situation when she sends in the riot squad to deal with it. I know we find out that it was a bad idea and only escalated things, but because I’m fatally biased towards Laurel, I think that’s a bit mean that she was chastised for handling a riot with a riot squad. Isn’t that what they’re for?
Oh, and Roy’s dream is kind of out of nowhere. And considering it’s the only arc-relevant thing to happen all episode, that’s disappointing.
But it’s not all bad:
Still, killing Sara could be the first cool thing Roy’s done in a long time. I’m rooting for you, buddy.
Felicity’s backstory may be clichéd, but I’ve still got a special place in the ice palace that is my heart for our little techie. She has the unenviable job of often carrying the heart of Arrow, but someone’s gotta do it. And yeah, she’s chained to a computer and doesn’t really get to kick butt with the boys, but they’d be fucked without her. She’s a gem, really.
And she does get to kick a little butt this episode. Cooper holds her as a human shield at gunpoint when Oliver comes to take him down. But Felicity turns around and beats Cooper down. She’s got a mean pistol whip, and she’s not afraid to use it. I approve.
Laurel is making slow progress in her journey to Black Canary-dom, but it’s progress nonetheless. She opens up about her grief over Sara’s death to her boxing trainer, who uses it to encourage her to work harder. Keep at it, girl.
Donna is almost as much of a sweetheart as her daughter. She’s got a bit of old trollop action going on, which Felicity painfully calls her out on when they have a fight midway through the episode. Donna says she’s sad because Felicity has not only kind of abandoned her (just like Felicity’s father/Donna’s husband did), but that Donna only sees aspects of Felicity’s father in her. And none of herself. It made me feel bad. Thankfully, they mend things later. I wonder if we’ll meet Felicity’s rogue daddy?
Thea uses her blood money to buy a swanky new apartment. And she even offers Oliver to move in with her. I respect her lack of shame.
In an effort to appease Oliver, she does pledge to donate all the money away once she’s got Verdant profitable again. I respect her selifsh selflessness.
Best line of the episode goes to Donna, who is moneystruck to find out Felicity is acquainted with both Ray Palmer and Oliver Queen: “How many millionaires do you know?” Not enough to get married to and then divorce one, evidently. Get it together, Felicity. Gosh.
Oh, and I’ll keep the image of Felicity all gothed out in mind for whenever she acts overly bratty in the future.