Arrow Season 3 Episode 5 Review: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

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For an arc that has been a long time coming, "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak," didn't really reveal any secrets about Felicity Smoak at all. 

As a matter of fact, the biggest moment of Arrow Season 3 Episode 5 turned out to be about someone outside the Smoak family and it infringed unnecessarily onto Felicity's hour, somehow tainting it.

There won't be many who agree with my assessment, but I hope you try to read it honestly and fairly before judging.

For two years Felicity was an enigma without a physical family and zero back story. For some time we knew Felicity came from humble origins, was raised by a single mother and cocktail waitress in Las Vegas after her father left. Therefore, meeting Donna wasn't a surprise. To our delight, she's beautiful, sassy, has a big heart and loves her daughter -- something unclear until now.

Felicity is not a natural blonde. As an unnatural hair color gal forever, I call foul on her natural black to blonde transformation. It just doesn't go that well, kids. Getting a color like Felicity's takes time. It was a shame Felicity didn't mention to Donna that while she wasn't a natural blonde like mama, she chose it to be like her mother.

Felicity's brilliant past as a hacktivist made perfect sense. Her desire to remain out of prison did, as well. Heck, even Cooper being tagged by the NSA to work their most high profile cases made some sense, but would have been more believable if he were the better hacker. He was not. I'd like to think the freakin' NSA would have done some digging to determine who really created that program before letting a criminal out of prison. 

None of that equals the anticipation inspired by title, which isn't to say that Felicity's story wasn't compelling and fun to watch. Meeting Mama Smoak and seeing her interact with Felicity grounded her genius daughter in reality. Felicity got a past lover (and an adorable Arrow quote about the word), a bad boy no less, and a past attempt at heroism. 

Oliver had an opportunity to remind Felicity how he felt about her by reminding her the past created the woman he loves today. There were good times to be had, but not up to Arrow standards.

Far more than Felicity, the theme was familial love. Felicity and her mother, Diggle and his daughter, Lance's concern for Laurel, Oliver and Thea mending their ways and deciding to move in together on Malcolm's dime and Malcolm spying ominously on their movie night. They were brief scenes and while they sent a message, they didn't make up for what was lacking.

There were entertaining moments rather than a well-planned story arc.

  • Oliver not wanting Sara in the Arrow Cave raised eyebrows. Is he associating the baby with the woman?
  • Ray's continued leniency with Felicity at work and wondering if she was adopted. He's a gem.
  • Thea trying to open the door to the Arrow cave and Oliver sharing that damn door never did work well, and oh yeah, water main break. Whoops!
  • Donna threatening Cooper for threatening Felicity and putting her money on her girl.

Overall, it was predictable and rather gimmicky instead of a revelation. The preview photos were more exciting when released than the hour wound up being. Agree or disagree?

Malcolm Merlyn? Not to be trusted. It's possible he's pulling Thea's strings by subtly suggesting she hire Roy as her manager and asking Oliver to move in with her. Did she even buy the loft, or was it given to her by him so he could spy on her from afar?

Roy's hilarious flip off of a car last week and his unique facial expressions while shooting at the armored car heist group had me questioning his merit on the team. He's a bit cartoonish. Can he be taken seriously? Given Oliver called Thea Speedy enough times that I could have had a buzz on if doing shots, everything about Arsenal and Speedy screams suspect.

Will Roy's dreams about killing Sara be based in reality? If so, was he programmed while under Mirakuru or at some other time of which we are unaware? Could Ra's al Ghul have done that; or would blame more likely be with Malcolm? One of them had more knowledge and awareness of the guy and his skills. 

If Roy killed Sara, could his character be forgiven? Will Arsenal be retired and Speedy take his place? Speedy Mia Dearden has already created her false identity. When she learns who her brother is, she may be ready to turn her back on her father. Will she learn about Malcolm by discovering he programmed Roy to kill Sara?

There are no answers, of course; only questions. The biggest question of all is why I'm talking about Roy after what was supposed to be our introduction to the "secret" history of Felicity Smoak. It was her story we wanted and in that last second, it was her face that should have been on screen in some capacity that would have made jaws drop, not Roy Harper's.

The takeaway from the hour? Donna Smoak must move to Starling City as soon as possible. She's a vision, a delight and adds so much to Felicity that has been missing. Donna completes Felicity. Everyone else has a family nearby to worry about and protect; it's time Felicity does as well.

Have at it! Was the hour fair to Felicity with it's limited reveals and the Roy Harper ending? Was it was what you were expecting? Were there any Felicity surprises? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

Don't forget, you can watch Arrow online any time via TV Fanatic and this hour will be available for your viewing pleasure in the morning with all of the other past installments.

Here is your first look at Arrow Season 3 Episode 6, "Guilty."

The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (110 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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