Review: ‘Arrow’ – ‘The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak’

Senior Television Writer
11.05.14 37 Comments

CW

A review of tonight's “Arrow” coming up just as soon as I use finger quotes to play along with your “sick day”…

There have been times, especially in the series' bumpy early days, when “Arrow” has been carried by the action scenes. We're well past that point now, as demonstrated by “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak,” an episode that had one of the show's lamer and clumsier action climaxes – in which Oliver managed to dodge motion-activated automatic weapons fire while moving at a snail's pace – but was so satisfying despite that because of the character work promised by that title.

As someone with barely even a superficial resemblance to her comic book namesake(*), Felicity is someone Team “Arrow” has been able to do anything with as they've come to recognize how talented and appealing Emily Bett Rickards is. Felicity as a goth hacktivist sets up the idea that she had vigilante impulses well before she met Oliver and Diggle, and also suggests a girl who was running as far and fast as she could from the shadow of her mom, played here by “NYPD Blue” alum Charlotte Ross. That the bad guy was going to be Cooper was pretty well telegraphed, but Rickards still played it well, and Felicity getting to beat up the villain herself – after first saving the day by setting up a rogue wifi hub using Ray's donated watch – was awfully satisfying.

(*) Speaking of comic book namesakes, this one continued the season's fascination with characters and concepts from the various OMAC stories. We've already seen Ray Palmer looking at OMAC designs in the Queen Consolidated database, and both Brother Eye and Myron Forest come from different iterations of that character. And now my hope is that Guggenheim and company are just crazy enough to introduce an OMAC who looks like the original Jack Kirby design

Elsewhere, it's good to see Thea not being completely oblivious about what Malcolm has done in the past, and my only issue with her inviting Oliver to move into her swank new loft is the question of where he's been living until now. (Did he sleep in the Arrow Cave? And how is he paying for equipment, not to mention paying new dad Diggle a living wage?) The Laurel material was heavy-handed, as Laurel emotional arcs tend to be. And just when I was wondering why Roy was still on the show, we got one amusing moment (his disbelief at taking out the rocket launcher with an accurate arrow shot) and then a conclusion that pulls him into the mystery of who murdered Sara. Is Colton Haynes up to such a big emotional role? We'll see.

When you put Felicity's name into the episode title at this point, you raise expectations. And tonight's show delivered.

What did everybody else think?

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