NOC Recaps Arrow: The Five Year Hacktivist Reunion

Arrow just keeps knowing it out of the park this season! This is the second Oliver-light episode of the season and it hits just as strong as a typical Ollie-centric episode does. Everyone’s been waiting for more information on everyone’s favorite (and I mean everyone) IT girl and we got loads of it tonight. From the appearance of Mama Smoak to Goth Felicity in the flashbacks (and a tease into her imagination — Dominique Ansel apparently didn’t think of cronuts first), we learned more about Felicity in this episode of Arrow than we have in the past three seasons.

I loved the triple sparring opener. Different fighting techniques, different lighting moods — and then there’s Felicity. Doing 5/10 crunches. It’s okay, you’re smarter than all the rest of them. Felicity is immediately ambushed twice in a row, first by the (INCREDIBLY RUDE) Ray Palmer, then her mother, Donna. Felicity’s mortification, rampant through the first half of the episode, is so palpable here. She literally presses herself against her counter at Ray and Donna’s meeting. I really dislike Ray. I do. He just barges into her apartment with no please or thank you and hopes that his equal intelligence makes up for it. No. Just no. He plants a clever Chekov’s watch on Donna and bounces away. He really needs to learn the rules of personal space and not stalking people.

“I didn’t know you had people staying over.” No, Donna. She spends her nights with someone else…

Meanwhile, Oliver visit his sister’s new pad, which is the most gorgeous loft I’ve ever seen, even on TV. Thea’s been using Merlyn’s money, from when he “died,” to buy herself stuff, including the fancy digs. I’ve been thinking a lot about Thea’s constant upset over being lied to all the time and it must be her arc this season to discover the necessity and weight of lying. She’s been lying to Oliver since he found her in Corto Maltese but the weight of those lies or the realization that she’s being ridiculously hypocritical hasn’t quite hit her yet. She has some rude awakenings ahead of her as Malcolm sees her spending time with Oliver with rage in his devil eyes.

On Oliver’s way out the door, the entire city suffers from a brief blackout, causing our team to rush to the Foundry to begin their investigation. How cute is Diggle with the baby Sara Diglette? How petty was Oliver for dipping on Thea and leaving her door swinging open? How awesome was Oliver’s smooth save of that women from the car accident? Brother Eye sends an ominous message to the city, first taking out the lights, then the banks.

“How many billionaires do you know?”

Less than the number of superheroes she knows, Donna, even without taking Oliver’s “former” into consideration.

“We can’t bring her [baby Sara] down there”

“Why not Oliver, who’s she gonna tell?”

Despite his being ridiculously awkward about it, I agree with Oliver: too many sharp objects in the Arrow Cave for a baby to be around.

Felicity immediately gets to work, but soon realizes that the virus attacking the city is a code she wrote five years ago in college with her smarmy hacktivist boyfriend Cooper — a boyfriend who took the fall for writing the code when the cops came knocking after he went too far with it. (Though he was going after student loans. Can’t blame a guy for trying — if he’d typed my name in, I would’ve said, “he doesn’t even know what a computer looks like, couldn’t have been him!”)

We’ve gotten very little Olicity since their date exploded and Sara’s death — painfully, but rightfully so — but there were some nice moments between them in this episode. Where Felicity usually calms Oliver’s anger and destructive behavior (and by destructive, I mean murderous), here, Oliver calms Felicity’s freak out. Later, he tells her she needs to talk to mother (with the undertone of his own deceased mother there, but not hammered at us like other shows might do) and offers his support. (I’ll get to their last moment later). In all the shipping frenzy, we always see how Felicity makes Oliver better, makes him focused and a hero rather than a vigilante, but now we are getting to the ways in which Oliver makes Felicity better, what he has to offer her, besides constant kidnappings. I’m glad we are getting more equality in their relationship before they tread deeper into lover’s lane. (I chose lover’s just because of Felicity’s disdain for it).

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“Do we even know a fraction of what happened to you the five years you were away?”

SAY THAT, SMOAK! Also, when would it have come up, Oliver?

Ollie runs into Thea trying to get into the Arrow Cave entrance and after giving her basically three cover stories in a row for why the door won’t open (YOU’RE SO BAD AT THIS SECRET THING, OLLIE, JUST TELL HER, YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO BE MORE HONEST), she imparts some familial wisdom, then hypocrites her way out the door. (Hypocrite is a verb here, yes).

“Family is pretty precious and love, in spite of everything, is what makes it precious. […] I’m trying to meet you halfway here, Ollie. The other half is up to you.”

The other half is you lying right back to him about who you’re spending your time with and how you really got that haircut (I’m guessing a near miss with Malcolm’s sword). The Queen siblings living under the same roof is going to be interesting.

Felicity thinks her college boyfriend couldn’t have done the awful things, because she apparently didn’t learn from Oliver or Malcolm or Sara the TWO times around or Slade or any of the other characters who died and then returned… She tries to be alone, but ends up at the office, where Ray once again shows a severe lack of tact or regard for personal space. Felicity yells at her mother, who insists that she really just wants to see something of herself in Felicity, rather than just her genius, but deadbeat father. (Tell me more about this deadbeat father and when can we expect a surprise visit from him?) Felicity learns that her mother came to town because she got an email about a free flight straight to her daughter’s apartment (basically) and this tips Felicity off to it being a plot, specifically against her.

Her dead boyfriend rises from the ashes of some NSA circuit boards, kidnapping her and her mother, using Donna as leverage to get Felicity to do what he wants. And he wants… money? Cold, hard cash, straight from an armored truck. Probably because he’s on the run. Probably because he left the NSA before they could fire him for being incompetent — or else he wouldn’t need Felicity to finish the job for him. He claimed he created the virus five years ago and that got him hired, but he probably couldn’t keep up, so he went all evil instead, blaming the “government” and all it’s ~evils~ on his heel-face turn (which, let’s be honest, was only about 70 degrees).

Felicity reroutes the armored trucks to Cooper, but not before realizing that Chekov’s smartwatch could alert Oliver to her location. When he gets there, he does a bit of arrow-ing, but mostly to save himself from some computer snipers. And just when you think it’s the Count situation all over again, you realize that two times is enough for Felicity: she breaks out of Cooper’s chokehold and coldcocks him with his own gun. Felicity learned a lot from taking down Deathstroke. I love this moment because it shows character development.

This, I think, is the problem with Laurel — Felicity has learned from her past experiences and has acted differently and smarter under similar repeated circumstances, while Laurel hasn’t yet. Laurel tells Ted Grant about Sara and begins some modified training, but she’s been told in basically every episode since “Sara” about the pain of secrets, the weight of secrets, the dangers of letting those secrets fester… and she still hasn’t learned or evolved. Sigh. She picks a black hoodie, because, well… she isn’t known as the Red Canary.

Oliver and Felicity share one final moment, where he checks in with her and proves once again, that Felicity is the one person who can make him smile when he wasn’t expecting it.

“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.”

POURING SALT IN THE OPEN LOVERS WOUND, AREN’T YOU OLIVER? Felicity promptly runs away from Oliver’s revolving door of emotion and takes the day off with her mother. Between this and her week in Central City, maybe it’s a good thing Ray has a thing for her and that she’s a genius, or else she’d be fired for how many days off she’s been taking at a job she just started.

Finally, let’s talk about that CRAZY REVEAL: Roy just might have been the person to shoot Sara off that roof. Well — throw arrows into? Things are a bit fuzzy right now. Current thinking is that hopefully it’s just a dream he’s been having, planted to make him confess and take the blame for whoever really did it OR he did do it, but obviously possessed by whatever R’as al Ghul can concoct. Either way, next week’s Roy-centric episode will certainly bring us one step closer to finding Sara’s killer as we hurdle our way towards the Flarrow crossover and the midseason finale.

Other thoughts:

  • WHAT is Merlyn training Thea for exactly? I feel like her lessons in “not hurting” should be maybe over? And that’s what she wants. What is Merlyn going to get out of this? Besides time with his daughter? How long did he know about Thea, anyway? Was that established? Did he know before or after his death? Either way, it’s not out of the question that he wants to bring Oliver down using her…
  • Starling is still on it’s way to becoming “Star” City. I get that this is comic origins, but I don’t know how I feel about the way it rolls off the tongue. And once it’s Star City, is it Oliver’s anymore? This is clearly going to be a big part of his search for identity this season.
  • Donna Smoak brings out the best facial expressions in everyone: Felicity’s mortification, Ray and Diggle’s surprise at her squeals, Oliver’s patient amusement with the mother of the woman he loves…
  • Laurel is very few people’s favorite character, or even fifth favorite, and here she proves why. She orders a riot squad without her father’s permission and things get out of hand. She takes power to her head, which is something we need to watch her for, this isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last. Seems like the Black Canary is going to have quite a few lessons to learn even after her transformation is complete, I don’t see that trait going away easily.
  • Thanks for joining in on my first Arrow recap! I’ll try to make them shorter, but I enjoy dissecting things, so. Just think of them as recaps Felicity might give. ^__^