Where there’s Smoak, there’s arrows fired.
This week’s Felicity-centric episode opens with just about every character training (except Diggle), with Oliver and Roy sparring, followed by Laurel and Ted Grant in the Wildcat gym, and lastly Thea and Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver notes that Roy seems off, and Roy confirms he hasn’t been sleeping well. Grant makes a similar comment about Laurel, while Thea seems to be doing just fine. Immediately following the intense training session shots, we see Felicity struggling to do sit-ups while watching a workout video, clearly the odd woman out. Unfortunately for Felicity, her morning routine is interrupted by a surprise visit from Ray Palmer, who has just come up with an idea about cogeneration, basically giving the excess energy from Queen Consolidated back to the city. Felicity is understandably annoyed at the morning nuisance, but not nearly as much as when her next visitor arrives, and she sees her mom in the doorway. In an excellent exchange, Felicity’s mom meets Ray Palmer (and is impressed by the company her daughter keeps), and Ray is kind enough to giver her a new smart watch that he claims, “will basically replace your computer.”
We then get the first flashback of the night, and in a fun twist, this week’s flashbacks also go back 5 years, but into the back-story of Felicity, who we see as a college student with a Goth look and dark black hair going to MIT, in a dorm room with her boyfriend Cooper and their friend Myron. It appears she has written a virus, and once a system has been infected with her virus, it gives the user almost complete control over it. Her hacktivist boyfriend tries to use the new virus to wipe out student loans from the government, but she shuts it down, not wanting them to get into trouble. In the next flashback we see Cooper and Felicity talk about the security risk and why she pulled the plug on his attempt to wipe out student loans, almost immediately followed by an FBI truck pulling up and arresting Cooper for what he did. In a later flashback, Felicity visits Cooper in jail and says she is going to take the blame because she created the virus, but Cooper tells her he already covered for her, and told them he created the virus. At that moment, despite the cheesy hand on the glass moment for the doomed couple, we really see how much Cooper cares for Felicity.
Meanwhile back in the present, Oliver visits Thea, who just signed a lease on a spot using money left to her from Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver is understandably pissed, as he doesn’t want his sister to be indebted to Merlyn. Oliver also realizes that the money she used to buy Verdant was also from Merlyn, so he warns Thea that Merlyn is alive (poor Oliver, if only you knew what your sister knows). Oliver then reminds Thea that Merlyn is responsible for the deaths of “503 people including your brother.” An impressive insight, especially since I (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t the only one) had not quite connected the dots and realized Tommy is indeed technically Thea’s brother. Thea leaves in a huff, just as the power goes out in Starling City, and Oliver exits (by way of balcony, which I’m sure wasn’t suspicious at all) to get down to the streets to help.
Then we get a brief montage of every character in the show seeing the lights go out, including Captain Lance in the Police HQ, Felicity and her mom, and Diggle in the streets, which is especially alarming to him as he is out with baby Sara strapped to his chest. At that moment, a broadcast hits screens across the city, put on by “Brother Eye” (don’t worry if you don’t understand the fan boy excitement at the name, I had to look it up too). In the telecast, Brother Eye promises “judgment against the city,” purporting to be the next huge disaster to strike Starling City, after the earthquake and the siege.
Felicity knows she has to get to HQ, so she takes her mom to Verdant to wait while she goes downstairs. She, Oliver and Diggle all arrive at about the same time, and Diggle and Oliver meet Ms. Smoak, which makes Felicity even more embarrassed/uncomfortable. As they move to head downstairs, my favorite dialogue of the night occurs, this time between Oliver and Diggle
Oliver: “Why is Sara here?… We can’t bring her down there [HQ].
Diggle (perplexed): Why not Oliver? Who is she going to tell?”
I don’t know why, but that moment really made me chuckle. Anyways, they ask Felicity’s mom to watch baby Sara and the Quiver Crew convenes down in HQ, determined to find the hackers before the next cyber attack. Brother Eye then threatens to take out the bank accounts of Starling City; fortunately, Felicity is hot on their trail.
Meanwhile, we learn from Captain Lance that the DA of Starling City is currently out of town, which makes Laurel the active DA during the crisis, a power she abuses almost immediately by sending a riot squad to the bank to quell the mob forming there. Her father later disciplines her for the rash action, and he also points out that she has been angry and clearly working through something lately. She says she can’t tell him (I’m still not sure why she won’t tell her father yet about Sara’s death), and after making sure she’s not “boozing again,” he tells her to find someone she can talk to, finishing by saying, “Secrets hurt baby, sometimes more than the truth.”
Oliver learns about the riot squad situation, and he and Roy suit up to keep the peace. They arrive in time to shoot tear gas arrows into the mayhem, dispersing the crowd before things got too chaotic.
Back at HQ Felicity realizes she can’t stop the virus because it is hers; it’s the virus she wrote 5 years ago with Myron and Cooper. When Oliver and Roy return, Felicity tries to explain herself, and she tells Ollie about her hacktivist past. She claims she created the super-virus, which gives root access to any infected computer as a way for someone to protest peacefully and get attention, her first attempt to be a hero. She immediately adds Myron as the prime suspect, saying it couldn’t be Cooper as he is “out of the picture.”
Felicity spots Thea in Verdant near the door to HQ, and Oliver goes up to head her off. Oliver comes up with many excuses including it being the door to the back-up generator, how the door has always been broken, and how it doesn’t matter anyway as the sub-basement is currently flooded. You’d think after all this time he would be a better at lying, especially to his sister. He and Thea than have a Queen family moment, reflecting on the importance of family (Thea even using the words pertaining to family that Merlyn used last week), even while Oliver keeps telling her not to take Merlyn’s money, which infuriates her again. She says they need to find a way to meet halfway.
It doesn’t take long for Felicity to find Myron, and Arrow and Arsenal soon visit him, with another cringe worthy “you have failed this city” exclamation (sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who dislikes that line). The pair then shoot out Myron’s computer screens while Myron denies his involvement in Brother Eye. Felicity, on the comm, says Myron’s fingerprints are all over the virus, but Myron keeps denying it, claiming that it could be one of a handful of people he showed the code to after college.
They return to HQ where Felicity is pissed, she hacked Myron’s accounts from 5 years ago, and found nothing, no potential contacts he leaked the virus to. Oliver asks why her ex-boyfriend Cooper is not a suspect, and she explains that Cooper died in prison, hanging himself before sentencing. (Sounded suspicious to me right from the get-go) She leaves to be alone, heading to her only current solace, Queen Consolidated (since her mom is at her apartment).
While she’s trying to pull herself together, Ray Palmer shows up and offers Felicity a drink. She cries a lot, and the pair have a conversation about being inventors and the power some inventions may inadvertently have. Her mom shows up and yells at Felicity for abandoning her yet again (apparently Felicity let her wait 3 hours in Verdant while she was down in HQ earlier), and Ray leaves the scene before the fight escalates. Felicity and her mom have it out, basically with Felicity saying her social life and looks were never up to her mom’s standards, and with her mom saying she never felt a connection to Felicity since her intelligence and demeanor were so similar to her father (who we find out left the family years ago).
Felicity shows up at HQ wanting to track down Brother Eye as a means to distract her from the family drama, but Oliver tells her to go home. She is clearly distraught and he tells her about the importance of family, and how no matter what, they are always stuck with each other. So she goes home, and while she and her mom begin making up, she learns her mom only came to the city because someone sent her a free plane ticket, which instantly alarms Felicity that something is off. Before she can confirm her suspicions, her door is broken and she and her mother are captured.
Felicity learns Brother Eye took them, and (surprise surprise) the leader is Cooper, who joined the NSA and faked his death to commute his sentence. Once he had served his time, he had looked for Felicity, but was disappointed to learn she had gone “corporate” and given up on her. His current plan involved scaring Starling City and the banks enough so the US Treasury would send an armored car with emergency funds to help the city, a truck he was going to rob with Felicity’s help. Apparently the trucks are guided by a GPS system that only she could hack (uh, sure, whatever works for the plot). He coerces Felicity to help by holding a gun to her mom, and locks her to a computer station, which he tells her has been rigged to only be able to hack into the truck’s GPS (once again, uh sure). Felicity sends the truck to the Brother’s Eye HQ, and once they are alone, she and her mom make up, and Felicity realizes her mom is still wearing the watch Ray Palmer gave her earlier, the one that could replace a computer. She taps into WIFI from the smart watch and alerts the Quiver Crew of her whereabouts.
Cooper comes back and threatens Felicity, who is stood up for by her mom, distracting Cooper until the Arrow arrives. In a somewhat disappointing final battle, Oliver takes out 3 or 4 motion sensor machine guns while Cooper waits patiently, a gun held to Felicity’s head. Outside, Roy and Diggle take out the Brother’s Eye goons and save the truck. Back inside, once Oliver finishes taking out the last machine gun, Felicity breaks free of Cooper on her own and takes him down, once again showing how tough she is.
In the episode wrap-up, Oliver and Felicity have a moment down in HQ, Oliver reminding her that he has some experience with people who were thought dead that ended up still being alive, and he says he’s happy for all of the experiences that make Felicity who she is now, as he likes that person. Which is Felicity’s cue to leave, as that particular relationship is too complicated to open up during the last 3 minutes of the episode.
In the final flashback of the night Myron returns to Felicity’s dorm room and finds a bag full of her Goth clothes. Felicity then emerges from the hallway, with blonde hair and looking very much like her current persona, and states “This is me now.” Felicity returns home and properly makes up with her mom, saying she gets her toughness from the woman.
Laurel finds Ted Grant at the Wildcat gym and tells him about Sara and how they can’t find the killer, or tell anyone about it. He empathizes, and tells her he knows how to train her now, explaining that she has to stop swinging at Sara’s killer; instead she has to train for herself. He offers her a choice of red or black workout clothes, and she instantly chooses black. The road to the Black Canary continues.
At Thea’s new apartment, Ollie shows up with popcorn, meeting Thea “halfway.” She asks her brother to move in, which Oliver accepts, and they sit down to watch TV together, while Malcolm Merlyn creepily watches the exchange from the next building over.
And in the final moments of the episode / shocker of the week, we cut to Roy, and finally learn why he has been having sleep issues. We cut to his dream/ memories (?) and see him facing Sara on the rooftop, and then hurling the three arrows into her gut. As of now, it looks like Roy killed Sara.
Boom, end of episode.
* Did Merlyn arrange for Thea and Oliver to move in together? What’s his end game?
*Who is Felicity’s father? They seem to be setting it up as he was a brilliant man who just disappeared, I wonder if it’ll factor in anytime soon.
* Did Roy consciously kill Sara? Were those his memories? OMAC was seen recently in the blueprints Ray Palmer found in the applied sciences hard drive, which might be a clue as to what is happening. According to WIKIPEDIA “The OMACs are cyborgs, human bodies transformed by a virus into living machines to assassinate any and all beings with superpowers. “ Also of note is the fact that OMAC is also associated with Brother Eye (kind of a controlling satellite for the program) and OMAC’s have been involved in some superhero brainwashing over the years, including Superman himself. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all these elements have been mentioned in the last 3 episodes, nor that OMAC is involved in assassination, which is also what the League of Assassins is known for…
Anyways, great episode this week, also good to highlight Felicity as she’s one of the stronger characters of the series, especially after she was absent for most of last week’s outing. Looking forward to the next episode!