Long are the days when Arrow thrived as a grounded superhero show with a strong character focus. Where rich, compelling storylines inspired a new wave of superhero dramas that flourished in the past several years.
While Arrow has become a shell of itself since season 5, I continued to tune in as a loyal, yet critical fan because I’d become so invested in the characters that continued to live in this world. I always said that once Oliver, Felicity or Diggle left the show that I’d stop watching. And unfortunately, that will come to pass following this season.
Trying to picture Arrow without Felicity Smoak is like trying to picture the sky without the sun. It’s like trying to picture the night sky without any stars. It’s like trying to picture myself not being a Chicago Bears fan.
And yet, it’s soon to be reality.
While Arrow will return for its eighth and final season — a shortened order of 10 episodes — in the fall, its leading lady Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) will not return. And it’s been traumatic for the fanbase that has embraced Felicity since her guest-star appearance in the show’s third episode.
Felicity had everyone swooning — from Stephen Amell/Oliver Queen to the fans to the CEO of The CW. It didn’t take long for her to become a series regular that graced us with her wonderful mix of humor and intellect.
For seven seasons, we’ve followed Felicity on her journey from IT girl to hero and watched as she grew into the successful, heroic woman she is today.
Everyone and their mother know that Felicity Smoak is the heart and soul of Arrow. She’s the one that single handedly changed this show from her mere presence. So you’d think that since Rickards is on her way out that Arrow would use its remaining episodes to give us as much Felicity as possible.
Only, as you might’ve guessed, it hasn’t. Instead, it’s wasted its episodes with stupid half-sister plots and Dinah-heavy episodes, and sometimes it’s almost like she’s already gone.
What I want more of is the personal aspect of Felicity’s life. Give me those scenes with her and Oliver at home being their cutesy, domesticated selves. Give me more Smoak Tech. Give me Felicity and Diggle legitimately interacting in a personal way. Just give me more Felicity Smoak.
Arrow’s latest episode was a murder mystery of sorts that — even with Roy Harper — couldn’t keep my attention. It was boring, it was unnecessary and it was wasteful. Oh, and it was infuriating.
Instead of savoring the final episodes with Felicity in them, I find myself in a familiar place with Arrow where I’m just praying for this season to wrap so this show could recharge for the next season. Only there is no next season with Felicity in it. Which means that these final episodes that we’ve gotten since Emily’s announcement are precious. And they’re being squandered for boring plots and even more boring characters.
I vowed that I’d watch Arrow live for Felicity’s final episodes, and that has yet to happen. Instead, I spend my Mondays re-watching the previous Game of Thrones and wondering again why Arrow is wasting its time with such an amazing character at their disposal.
Felicity Smoak is the reason I still watch Arrow. She’s my favorite character, and the one has influenced my life in so many wonderful ways. But when Felicity goes off into hiding, like I suspect she will, for season 8, that’s when I tune out. Sure, I might watch the episode while working on something else or doing schoolwork. Sure, I’ll do a quick write-up. But I’ll have checked out. Until the series finale of course, which hopefully Emily can return to give us all the happy ending we deserve.