Review: Arrow 3.05 - "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"

This week on Arrow, we delve into Felicity’s past. Mama Smoak comes to town, and the villain of the week is using a virus- written by Felicity back in her college days- to take over Starling City. This episode was lighter on the action and heavier on the flashbacks, but I wouldn’t call it a filler. Felicity’s an important character, and if we’re doing flashbacks every week, it’s nice to change things around a bit. First of all, college Felicity was a goth, which is hilarious. She’s still herself, just dressed in way more black. Think Abby from NCIS. She writes a virus with her boyfriend and his roommate, and the boyfriend takes it a bit too far and ends up getting arrested. Felicity finds out he’s hanged himself before sentencing, so when Brother Eye uses the virus against Starling City, the only suspect is the roommate. Roommate insists he’s innocent, and it turns out to be true, so it’s back to the drawing board- that is, until Felicity and her mother are kidnapped, and College Boyfriend reveals himself. Turns out he’s been alive all these years, working for the NSA. And now he’s using his NSA know-how and Felicity’s virus for the greater good: himself.

Ollie, Roy, and Diggs all rush to stop Brother Eye, and Felicity gets the jump on College Boyfriend and knocks him out before he can do any damage. Everyone’s fine, including Mama Smoak. She and Felicity have a couple heart-to-hearts, and begin to repair their relationship.

Thea is living on Malcolm’s money, which can’t be good news; Laurel is still angry and still keeping secrets, but still sober; and Roy’s still not sleeping well. The episode ends with Roy tossing and turning in his bed, plagued by nightmares- or rather, memories. Something’s going on with him, maybe a lasting effect from the mirakuru? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

This was a great character episode. It advanced the overall plot only minimally, and the threat of the week was rather flimsy, but it was interesting to see a different part of Felicity and to glimpse her family. I’m still not too keen on her boss- showing up at an employee’s house first thing in the morning is inappropriate at best, though the word I’d use is creepy. Ollie and Thea’s relationship is fragile, but the treatment of his relationship with his sister and with Felicity in this episode did feel like solid character development. Between them and Diggle’s new family, Oliver isn’t the brooding loner he once was, and that’s really great. The next step is probably for him to get Roy to open up a bit more, but with this episode’s ending, that seems to be where we’re headed.

Again, this episode was light on the action, but it was necessary. It can be skipped if needed, but it was entertaining with just the right amount of drama. If anything, watch this episode to see Felicity wearing black lipstick. Or just skip to the end and join me in asking: what the hell, Roy? I’m ready for next week.

Score: 3/5

Director: Michael Schultz

Watch Arrow on the CW, Wednesdays 8/7c.