The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak review – Family matters

Despite a lacklustre villain and unusually poor action scenes, Arrow’s latest episode was still a decent one thanks to Emily Bett Rickards and the family stories interwoven throughout ‘The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak’. It was a platform for character development, to see more of Felicity’s past and obviously it delivered a monster twist at it’s end.

So, let’s get down to dissecting it…

Family matters
Now, I’m going to make you gasp in horror right now but, I’m a Spider-Man fanatic. Yes, Marvel, I know. But the reason for that is, he feels more grounded than other heroes and one reason is the family aspect – he has his Aunt, his girlfriend, he just feels a normal guy. When Oliver Queen, billionaire, shipwrecked on an island for five years, returned to civilisation he came back to his family and this is one of the reasons why the show works so well. You don’t just have the action scenes, a guy running around in a green hood, saving lives, getting bad guys – you’ve got this whole other layer, this relationships, this reality to matters. To endear Oliver Queen to an audience, you need to see him as a human being. The flashbacks reinforce what he went through while his relationships in the future, particularly the family ones, help us see him as more than just the Arrow.

Therefore it was nice to flesh out Felicity this week as we met her mother. It delivered into some cracking scenes as her mum, played wonderfully by Charlotte Ross, met Roy as well as Oliver and Diggle. It’s just a shame they weren’t given a little longer to flow. The family aspects were everywhere as Oliver and Thea continued to get used to being the last surviving Queens whilst we had Diggle almost bring Sara into the Arrow cave, and Laurel face the wrath of Quentin for doing something stupid, before she refused to tell him what’s up with her. It keeps the show grounded, despite the content of it obviously being a little surreal. It was nice to see it really come to the fore this week. Team Arrow itself is a family and in a sense, I suppose Diggle realised the importance of his own family in earlier episodes but both Felicity and Oliver realised it in this one.

Too predictable – a weak villain

It was quite obvious that Brother Eye was going to be Felicity’s apparently dead ex-boyfriend, not even Blake Neely’s music could provide any sort of shock to that reveal. He was a poor villain. He wasn’t particularly interesting. His motivation was boring. He wasn’t a highlight of the episode, but maybe that was okay. By having a pretty bog standard villain, it meant the family aspect of the episode could take top billing.

Unusually also, the action scenes were poor by Arrow’s standards. They really lacked any sort of intensity. We had Diggle and Roy shooting at people, Diggle taking cover, Roy just standing out in the open… We had Oliver dodging guns and scampering up contraptions resembling a child’s climbing frame. They just were a bit naff really. I’m not overly sure they were needed either. Felicity’s move to knock out her ex was a nice one but really, it felt as if the scenes were thrown in just because it’s Arrow and Arrow has action scenes. Episode 3 is another where this was the case. They’re not always needed. By now you’ve got people invested in this show, in these characters so it’s not a bad thing to occasionally leave them out. Brother Eye wasn’t a villain that catered for action scenes and what we got didn’t really work.

But it’s a minor complaint, nothing more.


The final seconds

As I said at the beginning, this episode was redeemed by the ending for me.

So, Roy is having nightmares where it would appear that he apparently killed Sara… I’ve talked about this episode being too predictable, and yes it was, but it took great glee in slapping me around the face with that revelation at the end! I did not see that coming, not at all. That really is a hell of a twist and it’s going to be really interesting to see how that one plays out.

In his apparent dream, it’s the exact same set-up to how Sara died – the detail is perfect. Whether that’s for the viewer or genuinely what Roy is seeing, I’m not overly sure – I’d be inclined to believe the latter. So, if that’s the case, how the hell can he dream what went on? He must have been there… But, surely he couldn’t have killed Sara? Surely?

I pretty much have next to nothing constructive to say on this, except my brain exploded and my eyeballs followed soon after. It was a cracking twist. I’ve been negative about the majority of the episode but credit where credit is due, that was a hell of a game changer.

It was a decent episode, with Emily Bett Rickards on form as per usual. It was great to see her get more material to stick her teeth into. She’s great at the comic moments but she’s also, undoubtedly, a very good actress and really delivered.

After this episode and last week’s, it feels as if Arrow’s third season is starting to find its feet now.

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