I knew this was going to be a not-so-great episode. I was right.
With all the narrative momentum and various subplots running in tandem, an episode dedicated to the backstory of Felicity Smoak was always going to be a distraction from the main arc. I get why this had to be done, but the timing was all off.
Instead of focusing on the Sara mystery and last week’s reveal of Ra’s Al Ghul, this week’s Arrow brought everything to a halt in a bid to shed some backstory on our favourite blonde whiz. Thankfully Emily Bett Rickards was fantastic, and she capably brought flashback-Felicity as well as her present-day anguish to life. Her chemistry with Charlotte Ross’ Dona Smoak was spot-on, and although their dynamic didn’t offer a new twist on the whole estranged mother trope, both actresses did a great job with the material and managed to produce a couple of genuinely moving moments. I particularly liked Felicity coming to the realisation at the end that she’s a survivor like her mother, and that they’re more similar than they ever thought. Such character moments are always welcome, but do I wish this was a more explosive hour.
Compared to the past few weeks, Laurel had her weakest hour yet. That’s unfortunate because her vigilante arc had been extremely effective thus far. Watching her assume the District Attorney role and sic the riot team on poor Starling inhabitants could have been a good subplot to explore, but it wasn’t given nearly enough attention. At least she got to pick “black” at the end (hint hint, The Black Canary). I’m pretty sure we’ll be back on track by next week.
I must say I’m finding great enjoyment in watching Thea play her big brother. Our hero still has no idea that Thea’s summer was so Malcolm-heavy, but he’s bound to figure out soon now that she used her daddy’s money to buy herself a pretty sweet loft. Will Oliver actually move in with her? Which brings out the question, where has our favorite vigilante been staying at the past few weeks? I need an answer show; you’re usually so good at paying attention to the details.
The greatest thing this episode has going for it is its cliffhanger, which was directly related to the Sara mystery and it literally made my jaw drop. I’m not sure if it’ll end up being a red herring, but it sure looks like Roy murdered Sara. Whether he was in a Mirakuru-induced rage or under some sort of hypnotic control, it’s a brilliant move that’s remarkably unexpected. In addition, it finally ties Roy to the main arc as he’s been on the sidelines for far too long.
Bits & Arrows
– If nothing else, this episode gave one of the coolest (and most amusing) things the show’s ever done: the teaser with three pairs training (Oliver/Roy, Thea/Malcolm, Laurel/Grant). It’s all so very badass, and then Thea wonders how “normal people” fight and we cut to Felicity struggling to do sit-ups at home. Pure, utter perfection.
– Highly amusing moments: Felicity as a black-haired goth, Ollie and Diggle meeting her mom, and Roy’s confused face after shooting the arrow at the RPG.
– Extremely effective scene with the lights going out in the whole city. This kind of act should have been saved for the season finale because the resolution was quite anticlimactic.
– Diggle’s face after Oliver says Sara can’t come down to the Arrow cave. Diggle’s delivery of “who she gonna tell?” killed me.
– Roy and Ollie’s tear gas arrows: a nice change of pace.
– Laurel continues to lie to daddy. Wonderful.
– Thea knows what’s behind the Verdant door right? Ollie says he could never open it; HA!
– The “precious love talk” was cringe-worthy.
– I really hated Myron being alive. A terribly predictable twist.
– Ollie fighting lasers? That was slow and painful to watch. It’s not often that Arrow fails at action, but this was not good.
– Felicity fighting off Myron and kicking ass was a great evolution from the season two finale where she fought off Slade. People sure keep underestimating that blonde.
– The flashback with Felicity’s sudden makeover was a tad too abrupt.
– The sight of Oliver at Thea’s doorstep with popcorn; priceless. Less priceless: Malcolm watching them from the rooftop like a stalker.
– It was cheesy but I like that Ray’s watch ended up being a “lifesaver”.
– Felicity’s fake cough to Roy at the end: super cute.
Felicity: I actually have a very vivid imagination. Like cronuts! I had a vision of them before–
Oliver: Why didn’t you tell me about any of this?
Felicity: Do we even know a fraction of what happened to you the five years that you were away?
Donna: It’s the watch Mr. Palmer gave me. It chimes on the hour, and I guess when we’re about to be killed.
Donna: You want to wave that gun at me, fine, but don’t you dare threaten my daughter.
Myron: Here I thought you were all nails and hair.
Donna: Try single mom who’s worked 60 hour weeks in six inch heels for tips in order to raise that genius child you see right there. I may not understand all this cyber whatever, but I know without that gun, you wouldn’t last 10 seconds against my girl.
Felicity: Old lovers have a way of opening old wounds. Lovers…sounds creepy no matter how you say it.
Oliver: (to Felicity) I want you to know that whatever experiences you had to go through, I’m glad that you did. They shaped the person you are today. And you know how I feel about her.
Although this kind of worked as a Felicity hour, I can’t shake the feeling that it was too much of a pedestrian distraction from the season’s main developments.