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

Full spoilers for Arrow ahead. Be warned.


Felicity Smoak has been a bit of a polarizing character for Arrow fans. Some fans love her quirky, adorkable banter, while others find her extremely annoying. I tend to fall more into the former category. I’ve been a Felicity fan since the first time Oliver met her at Queen Consolidated back in the beginning of season 1, and I’ve liked her ever since. Having said that, however, I have one question that I feel needs to be answered…

Does anyone give a fuck where she came from?

At this point in modern works of fiction, I believe it is simply accepted that computer hackers are extremely intelligent and can do things none of the other characters can. But does it matter where they learned those skills? Does anyone care?

I can’t speak for the masses, but for me personally, it was a resounding “no.” It is a shame, then, that episode 5, “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak,” focused almost entirely on, you guessed it, building out Felicity’s backstory. When a cyber terrorist attacks Starling City with a virus that is all too familiar to Felicity, it is up to her to save the day.

There were two main problems with this episode of Arrow. 1. It completely departed from the overarching story that season 3 has been building the momentum of, and 2. Of every character on the show to warrant an episode divulging their backstory, Felicity was probably not the most interesting candidate.

Oh shit, remember that part where she hit those keys? And that part where she wrote that algorithm?! Daaaaaaaaaaaamn.

In the continuing search for Sara’s killer, Malcolm Merlyn returning to Starling, Laurel and Thea’s respective character changes, Oliver and Felicity wanting to be together, and more, there was no reason to put on the breaks for Felicity’s ex-boyfriend and mom to jump in for an episode. In the grand scheme, the episode seemed to do little, if anything, to further the show’s overarching tale. And when we still have no leads as to who killed Sara, that’s not acceptable.

Despite my gripes about the pointlessness of the episode itself, props must be given to the very talented and stunningly beautiful Emily Bett Rickards for having no problem carrying an episode on her own. She ran the full gamut of emotions, and had no problem carrying the episode. Plus, seeing goth-Felicity was fun.

While Rickards gave an admirable performance, “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” is going to be an episode of Arrow that, come next week, no one is going to remember. The episode had virtually no impact on the show at large, and was not interesting enough to warrant this break from the narrative. Here’s hoping this episode was one of a kind.

Jordan Barbeau

A simple man with simple tastes. Games, comics and movies are all I need to be happy.

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