Features TV

REVIEW: Arrow 3×05 “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”

Written by Scott Swartz

Now we’re just stalling for time until we find out who really murdered Sara. I mean there is literally no way that we can drag this out for an entire season. Case in point this week’s episode,  “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” which really had nothing to do with the larger conflict involving The League or the mystery of who killed Sara. We were given a textbook flashback episode on one of the shows best characters in appropriate doses, Felicity. Was there a need for a flashback episode, absolutely not, but there are worse ways to spend an hour of time. It’s about managing expectations and this was never going to be the blow the roof off, Felicity is secretly a spy episode. It was just quality family drama for family drama’s sake and for the most part the episode did what it needed to accomplish. So let’s dive in.

So let’s start with the bulk of the episode, Felicity’s back story, which overall really didn’t add anything to her backstory other than give some minor context to her college years. Felicity’s goth phase while entirely amusing to look at only served the purpose of framing the context of the entire Brother Eye story, which became a huge disappointment when I realized it was not really Brother Eye. The turn that Felicity’s douche-tastic college boyfriend was not only alive but behind the entire scheme was predictable at best and entirely disappointing at worst. His motivations were fairly simple and even the attempted misdirect came of as nothing if not cheesy. Of course the big draw this week was meeting Felicity’s mother who turned out to be just as inconsequential as her boyfriend. It is weird that for something that is clearly supposed to be such a big part of the episode the writers clearly had little to no idea of what to do with her. Felicity’s mom was merely a plot point and nothing more, hell even Laurel’s story was stronger.

Speaking of Laurel, she continues to make poor decisions that end up screwing her over in both the short and long term. In this case after Captain Lance made her temporary DA she decided to unleash the riot police in full force on some unsuspecting citizens. It is clear that Laurel down not want anyone else to get hurt in the way she has been, but she overstepped her boundaries by so much that her father called her on it. That rarely happens and when it does luckily Paul Blackthorne manages to deliver in spades. Luckily she confesses to Ted Grant about what her purpose in training with him is actually. It is great that Ted is actually being used as Ted as one of my biggest fears going into this season was that he would be turned into the usual CW romantic interest. During the opening montage when he called Laurel on her lack of focus felt like a very rewarding beat as did the wrap around at the end where he basically told her to work on herself and that Sara’s killer will eventually be brought to justice.

With the Thea material I felt it was easily the weakest stuff she has had since returning to Starling as you could see exactly how the situation was going to play out. Oliver would get mad, he would then forgive Thea, and Thea would continue lying to him about what she knows about Malcolm. I am guessing this is revenge for all of the half truths that Oliver told Thea over the past two years but I just wish it was handled with a more gentle touch or have been played out a little bit longer. Thea doesn’t need to live in some spacious apartment and it easily gave away the fact that Thea had some sort of massive cashflow from someone other than her “donors”. I am glad that issue was resolved and not left hanging heading into next week, which clearly seems like it will have a stronger story.

In a very rare trend that is two lesser than quality episodes of Arrow. I know we may be spoiled, but I have just come to expect more from this show.

Final Grade C-

+That ending

+Laurel coming clean to Ted

-Felicity material didn’t add anything

-Thea material was rather unnecessary

-They wasted Brother Eye

-Really added nothing to the story of the season

Extra Thoughts

-Seriously how is the villain stupid enough to leave Felicity right next to a computer. You have to be a moron

-So many Chuck references in this episode it is not even funny. Seriously just go watch Chuck it would have been better than this episode.

-Ray is apparently the coolest boss ever or really doesn’t want Felicity finding out what he is really up to.

-Please say that Brother Eye get repurposed later this season. We already saw the OMAC plans, just let it happen.

-Diggle finally got a mask. Sure it’s a ski mask but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

About the author

Scott Swartz