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

by David Hestand III
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For an episode that practically telegraphed every twist before the episode even aired, it still wasn’t bad.  Sure the presence of twists probably would have improved it, but this episode was definitely more about building character and a few points of set-up, more than anything else.  This was definitely an episode about Felicity, so it would not be fair to fault this episode too much for not giving the rest of Team Arrow much screen time.

Arrow has gotten into a really good habit of putting a few strands of ongoing plot into mostly filler/character focused episodes.  Prime example:  “Seeing Red” from Season 2.  In that episode, we got the seeds of Oliver having a baby while also getting the advancement of Slade’s cause at the end.  We got that this week with Brother Eye (at least I hope that’s coming back later) and that twist ending, but more on that later.  Even when we are lagging some, the Arrow writer manage to typically not let overarching plot come to a complete halt.

Easter Eggs and References:

Big one here is Brother Eye, an A.I. connected to O.M.A.C. and involved in Infinite Crisis.  A common person involved in its creation is Batman.
Starro:  Cooper was wearing a shirt featuring Starro, an alien creature that can take control of hosts.  First thing to fight the original JLA.
Death:  Felicity’s goth looks like an homage to Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
Myron:  Myron was actually based off a comic character, specifically one who was instrumental in the creation of the A.I. Brother Eye.


I love what they’ve been doing with Ray.  The writers really are painting him as incredibly smart, which Ray is, and giving us many glimpses of his compassionate character, which is also true of him.  I can’t wait to see what’s planned for him moving forward.  This episode also did some good things for Felicity, both giving us a good image of her and her family life.  I have a feeling Felicity’s father’s identity is going to matter somewhere down the line.  It was also really great seeing Team Arrow being able to help out in the midst of the riot and panic and it not be cause for everything to be dropped to hunt them down.  We’ve come a long way from the hunted “Vigilante” to the accepted “Arrow” and company.

As for some of the smaller things, many little moments really stood out.  The montage at the beginning was really great, especially finishing with Felicity’s situps.  Diggle was actually wearing a mask, for once.  We got to see Green Arrow and Arsenal actually working side-by-side.  Felicity’s self-defense training finally paid off.  Ted had a really cool line about Laurel swinging at her sister’s killer, a target she’ll never hit.

Lastly, we got a payout for Roy’s recent sleep issues.  Personally, I don’t buy it, but they sure got me for a bit.  A lot of personal reassuring was being done, and rewatching scenes like his nightmare and the actual murder.


Wow was this episode predictable.  And not very action packed.  As far as setting up a Felicity-foe goes, Clock King was far superior to this incarnation of Brother Eye.  Everyone saw the leader of Brother Eye coming, especially with the obnoxious insistence that he was dead.  Action-wise, the only real scene was Oliver versus some automated guns, and Roy and Diggle against the Eye goons.  Neither was particularly memorable, which is surprising for a show that prides itself on its stunts.  Twists were pretty obvious and did detract from the overall episode.

The Verdict

While not a standout episode of Arrow from a plot or action standpoint, this origin was a good one.  Even with its shortcomings, it served its purpose and made for an enjoyable hour of Arrow.




What’d you think of this week’s twist?  Did he do it?  Catch any Easter Eggs that weren’t mentioned?  Comment below and get the discussion going!

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