ARROW Season 3, Episode 5, ‘The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak’ Review

Episode 6 of Arrow takes the focus off of Oliver and his backstory for an episode to take a closer look at Felicity Smoak, and some of her backstory.  This is a very interesting installment, because it showcases some of the show’s biggest strength’s, but also some of it’s biggest weaknesses.

The rest of this review will contain mild spoilers for Arrow.

Emily Bett Rickards and Brandon Routh are definitely the best performed characters on Arrow at this point, so it’s a refreshing change of pace to see the two of them get a good chunk of screen time, but the show bit off more than it could chew with a story that leans heavily on a technological plot that contains a lot of awkward technobabble.
The technobabble may go over the heads of many users, but many geeks may find it hard to suspend disbelief to accept the plot.  Not that the show is necessarily always the most grounded and accurate, but the bogus jargon wasn’t necessary.  Oliver doesn’t explain the physics of how he makes impossible shots with his bow, so Felicity doesn’t need to explain how she “reverse traced the packets” to find a hacker.
Technical nit-picking aside, it was a rather strong episode with a return to some of the family themes from the previous two seasons.  The relief from an Oliver-centric plot helped expand the show quite a bit.  Felicity Smoak is definitely one of the best characters in the show, and it’s clear they intend to continue to use her more, since she just made a big appearance in last week’s episode of The Flash.
Laurel’s character transition is definitely going through some growing pains, but it seems like she is slowly coming around.  Everyone’s refusal to tell Captain Lance about Sara’s death is getting more and more awkward by the week, and I’m scared of the awkward breakdown he’ll have once he finally finds out, because you know it’s not going to be broken to him the easy way.
Some of the previous complaints seem to be improving, though.  The fight choreography has gotten a little more subtle.  There was an entire shoot out where Roy resisted the urge to do a backflip off the hood of a car.
There are definitely some strong undertones of something big coming later in the season, but most of the cards are being played rather slowly.  The cliffhanger twist ending is definitely something that gives me pause, but there’s enough at play in this universe (including The Flash), that I will curb my dislike until it plays out.
 The big crossover with The Flash is only a few episodes away.  There should be some big reveals at that moment, likely bringing resolution to some of the immediate plot arcs of both shows.
The next episode of Arrow will air on Wednesday, November 12th at 8/7c on The CW.

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