‘Arrow’ 3×05 Recap: Who Is Felicity Smoak?

Who is Felicity Smoak? That’s the question that Arrow fans have been wondering since the character (played by the amazingly talented Emily Bett Rickards) stormed onto the scene during the show’s third episode and stole the hearts of everyone. Last night on Arrow, we finally got to see “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak.”

Felicity is put through the ringer when a super virus that she created five years prior is unleashed upon Starling City coupled with the unexpected and inconvenient arrival of her mother, Donna (Charlotte Ross). But Felicity proved one very important thing: You don’t have to don a mask or physical prowess to be a hero.

Here’s what else we learned during Felicity’s origin episode:

Felicity’s Dark Past

And you thought Oliver was the only one with a dark past. Felicity Smoak’s backstory took center stage as we got to see back to her college days at MIT where she was a black-haired, goth, skilled computer hacker taking firewalls by storm. Along with her fellow “hacktivists,” including her ex-boyfriend Cooper and roommate Myron, the three break into top secret government servers for the fun of it. Until Cooper sees an opportunity to do more than just have some fun. His meddling with some student loans (and making them disappear) leads the FBI right to him and they arrest him. When Felicity goes to visit him in jail she tells him that she’s going to fess up to creating the super virus — she did create it, after all. But Cooper says he already confessed — he promised he’d protect her. Back in the present we learn that Cooper hung himself in prison before his trial and it’s a burden that Felicity has been carrying with her for the past five years. And the final flashback scene we got was the one that signified the new Felicity. The Felicity that wasn’t hacking for the hell of it. No, she wanted to make a difference. She wanted to be a hero. “This is who I am now,” she says, as she revealed her new blonde do and signature glasses. SIDE NOTE: We also got to see the inside of Felicity’s apartment for the first time and it was glorious and so very Felicity.

Mama Smoak Shakes Things Up

Nothing is more inconvenient than when your mother shows up unexpectedly to town as your trying to stop a cyber hacker who has brought the city to its knees. Felicity and Donna Smoak couldn’t be more opposite, it’s evident in their demeanors. But Mama Smoak’s introduction, as well as meeting Ray Palmer and Oliver and Diggle (seriously, Oliver’s smiling because he was meeting his future mother-in-law was the absolute best). The only thing we knew about Felicity’s relationship with her mother before this episode was that they weren’t the closest. And we got to see Felicity’s insecurities come to the forefront as the two hashed it out and Felicity’s insecurities got the better of her as she apologized that she is such a disappointment to her. But that couldn’t be more wrong. But Felicity got her father’s smarts among other things. When Donna looks at Felicity she doesn’t see anything of her in her. It’s a heartbreaking line that couldn’t turn out to be more wrong, as Felicity learns by episode’s end. Donna has always put her daughter first, including working 60-hour weeks as a cocktail waitress in 6-inch heels to raise the girl we’ve all grown to love. Felicity tells her mother that she wrong. There is something of her inside of her. “I have learned that I’m a lot tougher than I thought. That I got from you.” It’s official: Mama Smoak needs to be a regular or recurring guest star or something. We all need more Donna Smoak.

The Psycho Ex-Boyfriend

We’ve all got one psycho ex, right? Well, except for Oliver who’s got, like, three. During the flashbacks, we got to see Felicity’s first love, Cooper, before he was all psycho-ex. Felicity had gone nearly five years believing that Cooper had killed himself before his sentencing and had been carrying that weight around with her, so you can imagine her shock when he has her kidnapped, delivered to him and asked to carry out a task using her super virus that he has unleashed. He even went through the trouble of flying her mother out to Starling City to use as motivation to get her to help him steal money. Who’s the sellout now, Coop? Cooper unleashed the super virus as a means to take down the computers knowing that Starling National would have new money printed and transported due to the blackout, and he planned to rob that truck. Cooper’s suicide had been “faked” as the NSA recruited him for a top secret project, and he’s certainly changed in those five years. After Felicity cooperates, she uses the wifi from the smart watch Ray Palmer gave to her mother to contact Team Arrow of her location. When The Arrow arrives, Cooper has a gun pulled on Felicity. But it’s not The Arrow that saves Felicity. Felicity saves herself as she delivers an elbow to Coop’s gut and knocks him out. (If I’m not mistaken, Diggle taught her that move). She embraces her mother and her and Oliver share a look that means more words than we could know.

Oliver and Felicity Switch Roles

After a lack of Olicity in last week’s episode, fans were repaid greatly in Felicity’s origin episode. Usually it’s Felicity who’s the one comforting Oliver when his dark past comes back to haunt him, but this episode some a reversal of roles as Felicity was the one who needed Oliver this time. As Felicity was overcome by guilt over her super virus being unleashed upon the city, as well as a visit from her mother and the weight of the reminder that her ex-boyfriend killed himself in prison, Oliver was the one to step in and comfort her. And just as Oliver is transfixed on Felicity when she speaks, Felicity was the same way with Oliver. The great thing about their relationship — which is one of the many reasons it resonates so strongly with fans — is that despite what each of them has done in their past, they accept each other for who they are now and not then. As Oliver told 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.”

Oliver and Thea Become Roomies

Oliver and Thea continue to adjust to their new relationship now that Thea is back in Starling, and the giant elephant in the room continues to be Malcolm Merlyn. Turns out Thea accepted some “blood money” from Malcolm to pay for her sweet new digs and Oliver is more than pissed about the whole situation. But if only he knew about the interaction that Thea continues to have with Malcolm. Talk about being pissed. But I assume that’s on the way this season. At the end of the episode, Oliver sees the errors of his ways and comes to apologize to Thea (with the largest bag of popcorn I’ve ever seen, just to note). The two have a nice bonding moment and Thea promises that once Verdant starts making her money she won’t accept Malcolm’s money anymore. And to show her good faith and wanting to keep the Queen family alive, Thea invites Oliver to live with her in this ridiculously large apartment (which is too big to be an apartment FYI), and he accepts. Queen family bonding time! Across the way, we see Malcolm watching Thea and Oliver through the open window being all sibling-y and cozy. And he does not look happy.

Laurel’s Training Begins

Laurel is still struggling controlling the rage that has taken control of her since her sister was murdered. That’s evident when she’s training with Ted Grant and she’s all over the place. But it’s also evident when she’s left as the acting District Attorney and makes the very bad decision of inflicting a riot squad on the population.”Like pouring gasoline on a fire.” Near the end of the hour, Laurel opens up to Ted about her sister’s death and how angry she has become. Well, that explains it, Ted tells her. She was aiming at her sister’s killer, which is unattainable and unhelpful. But the information that Laurel gave Ted was helpful. Now he knows how to train her. As he offers her the choice of workout shirts (red or black), she chooses black. “Definitely black.” Well, that wasn’t obvious or anything. But it seems as if some sort of progress is finally being made.

Roy’s Deadly Nightmare

It’s not Arrow without a dreaded cliffhanger that leaves us shocked and angry that we have to wait a week to find out what happen next. As we see Roy dreaming (clearly a nightmare), we flashback to Sara’s murder as she’s shot with three arrows in the chest only to see that it’s Roy that threw them. He looks to be in his Mirakuru rage as he does it. There’s no possible way Roy was the one that killed Sara, right? That’s what we thought. (And the mystery continues.) It looks more like Roy’s conscious is struggling with some of the horrible things he did when he was injected with Mirakuru, including killing two cops. And it sounds like Roy’s dark past is about to catch up with him.


Episode 3×06 “Guilty”

Airing: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 8/7c on The CW


Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Alyssa Barbieri

Co-Executive Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.