Arrow Review – “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” S3E5

Whenever I talk to people about Arrow, Felicity Smoak comes up almost instantaneously.  She is the most beloved character on the show. So I was pretty excited when we were going to get some background on the cute tech whiz.  Instead, I was left a little disappointed.  We didn’t get too much of her story that we didn’t already get from the previews, and they writing made her seem petulant and a little weak, with small doses of her typical charm.

The beginning of the episode started out with said charm.  After seeing epic sparring scenes between Oliver and Roy, Thea and Malcolm, and (only semi epic) Laurel and Ted, we see Felicity struggling through sit ups to a workout tape inside her cheery apartment.  Ray Palmer arrives with a new task for Felicity called Co-Generation.  They talk briefly about what this means — being Ray’s newest idea to get people to stay in Starling City, by giving them free energy (a hint of his future powers?).  Felicity’s mother arrives unexpectedly, much to Felicity’s chagrin.  This was one of many scenes that made me lose a little respect for the writing.  Why make Felicity a teenage girl who hates her mom? Isn’t she a little too old to be embarrassed by her “not as smart as me” mother?

Arrow - "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"
Felicity and her mom. Holy cleavage.

This behavior goes on throughout the episode.  Felicity constantly dismisses her mother’s visit and presence in her life.  However, her mother seems like a perfectly nice woman, with a similar quirkiness, commenting on how many millionaires Felicity knows and doting on baby Sara.  Which brings up that Felicity was too dense to think that distracting her mom with a baby for four hours while she worked on the hacking of Starling City was a good use of her mom’s time.  It seemed incredibly unlikely that this would bode well for their relationship – which it didn’t. Towards the end, her mother tells her that no matter what, she was involved with Felicity’s life.  Finally Felicity has a change of heart, although it took both of them being kidnapped by Felicity’s ex-boyfriend for that to happen.  I don’t know, I just don’t buy the mother vs. daughter gimmick.

The other thing that bothered me is that while the episode implied we were getting the history of Felicity, the only thing we learned about her was that she is a natural brunette, former goth… and computer hacker (although we already knew that one).  Beyond that, we learned an awful lot about her rotten ex-boyfriend Cooper Seldon, which was not why I was tuning in.

Cooper was a fellow hacker, who declared himself a hacktivist.  He tried to erase all student loans from the Department of Education’s site, which Felicity inadvertently helped with, but also stopped.  She tells Oliver this at one point, but includes herself in the group of hacktivists and says it was her way of heroism.  That wasn’t true.  Her form of heroism was not allowing it to go through.  It felt like the writers were laying it on a little too thick at this point in the episode.

Felicity, the fake hacktivist.
Felicity, the fake hacktivist.

Anyway, Cooper ends up in Federal prison, supposedly kills himself, but really is recruited by the NSA and comes to Starling City to steal money, but starts by shutting down the power and tries to pin it all on Felicity just because she went “corporate.”  Does that sound compelling to you?  Me either.The most compelling thing about it was when Cooper’s college roommate, Myron Forest, was suspected of being the hacker nicknamed Brother Eye.  Look ahead for at the Easter Eggs for more on this one. Plus, when Myron was being investigated, Arrow broke out the famous “You have failed this city” line, and I’m a sucker for that one.  Plus Myron couldn’t have done the hacking because he drives a blue hybrid.  It is now known that people who drive blue hybrids could not possibly commit a crime.

Once he kidnaps Felicity and her mother, he forces Felicity to bring armored trucks of money to his warehouse.  He crushes her phone with his foot because he is such a badass, and sets up traps with lasers and guns just in case, making it convenient for a hectic acrobatic scene for the Arrow.  Felicity is able to get out of the hacking because she’s smart and then she pistol whips her ex.  It was nice for her to not be fully incapacitated for this episode, but I would have cheered harder if she had shown her strength throughout.  Plus, she could have pistol whipped the guy way before Arrow was shot out with machine gun turrets.  Just sayin’.

Sheldon Cooper... oops, Cooper Seldon, total badass.
Sheldon Cooper… oops, Cooper Seldon, total badass.

Meanwhile, Thea and Ollie argued about Malcolm Merlyn’s blood money paying for her oversized loft.  She admits it’s blood money, but she needs a nice place dammit.  They argue some more, but in the end, Oliver decides to move in with her… because it’s a nice place dammit!  Laurel acts as DA for the day, fails miserably, continues to lie to her dad about Sara, and then tells Ted the truth about why she is training.  This whole not telling her dad about his dead daughter is getting really old.  It needs to come out already.  Oh, and then Roy had a dream that he killed Sara.  Fact? Fiction? I don’t know, but it’s a damn good cliffhanger.

And this:

  • Roy doesn’t really care about killing people if he shot someone in the neck.  Ouch!
  • Is Ollie still trying to profess his love to Felicity?  The time has passed, imo.
  • Does Thea own any full sized shirts?  Or is it only ones that show her belly?
  • Malcolm Merlyn is so creepy.
  • Diggle’s only purpose in this episode was for his baby to distract Felicity’s mom.  What a waste of character.
  • Felicity changes her look from goth to preppy to remove herself from the hacking?  Seems like a cop out.
  • Det. Lance accused Laurel of boozing again.  It’s kinda funny?

Hush Comics gives “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” a C+, for lack of character development despite the promising title, too much focus on a seemingly insignificant character, and a lame reason to try to frame someone.

Easter Egg Hunt:

I miss you, Speedy: Ollie refers to Thea twice as Speedy this episode. It is becoming closer and closer that we could see his sidekick come to fruition.

Coast City, again: Laurel is the acting D.A. because the actual D.A. of Starling City is working in Coast City.  I’m still thinking this means we will be getting a Green Lantern show here pretty soon.

Myron Forest, creator of Brother Eye: In this episode, we meet Myron Forest, the roommate of Felicity’s college boyfriend.  In the comics, Myron is a scientist and the creator of Brother Eye.  He works for the Global Peace Agency who assigns him to work on OMAC.  It’s pretty roundabout, but there is a possibility that this is not the last we have seen of Myron, if he is at all connected to the project Ray Palmer keeps looking at.

Black: When Laurel talks to Ted about her training, he gives her the option of a black or red gee.  She chooses black.  While it is small, she is working on becoming Black Canary.

Blonde Ambition: Felicity reveals that she dyes her hair blonde.  This is a tribute to her comic book counterpart, who has dark brown/ black hair.

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron.

Published by

Adrian Puryear

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, and Breaking Bad are the best things to ever happen to me. I'm only a Three on MeowMeowBeenz. I really want to be a Four.

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