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Arrow: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak Recap: Family, Romance, and Sara’s Killer Revealed?

The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak header

The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak Recap

It is the episode all us Felicity fans have been waiting for. Just what was Felicity’s life like before she became IT girl extraordinaire? It seems back in college she was a hacktivist Goth chick. But did her backstory live up to expectations? Yes and no, but more on that later…

Felicity Smoak’s Origins

felicity and hacker boyfriend

The episode begins with a montage of fight training from Oliver and Roy (Roy seemingly off his game), Malcolm and Thea, to Laurel and Ted, ending with your average girl (Felicity) working out at home to a video. Yes, we finally get to see inside of Felicity’s abode! Just as Felicity finishes working out, there’s a knock at the door. Still in her pajamas, Felicity thinks it is the neighbor looking for her cat only to discover Ray, her boss, at the door. A little embarrassing, no? Felicity thinks so, but Ray had a work idea and needed to go over it immediately…that is, until Felicity’s Mom, Donna arrives for a surprise visit.

Now Mama Smoak, Las Vegas waitress and single mother dressed like a porn star (Felicity’s words, not mine), is nothing like her genius daughter. It seems she doesn’t even know how to send a text message, forgetting to hit send to tell Felicity she was coming in the first place. I have to admit I loved this mother/daughter strained relationship more than anything else in the episode, and sort of wished her backstory would have centered more on that relationship because it was so dynamic. Let me paint a picture: Felicity is embarrassed by her mother, while Donna feared Felicity had nothing in common with her and would leave her just like Felicity’s father did. This ‘visit’ really opens the wounds between the two in an interesting way.

Felicity and her mother

But back to Felicity’s apartment, Ray is introduced to Donna, Donna thinking he might have spent the night. Well mothers can dream right? Ray is a handsome billionaire after all. Generous as Ray is, he even gives Donna his latest watch, a Wi-Fi watch that comes in quite handy later on. Speaking of Ray, can he be my boss? Every episode reiterates just how much I personally would want to work with Ray Palmer. If Felicity does develop feelings for Ray – since Oliver refuses to pursue a relationship – who could blame the girl?

Meanwhile, a cyber-attack takes over the city using a virus that Felicity wrote five years back when she was still in college. But who was behind the attack? In flashbacks, it is revealed that Felicity was a Goth hacktivist alongside her hacker boyfriend. She hacks into the department of defense just to prove she could, but Cooper decides to take it one step further by attempting to erase student loan debt. The FBI later arrives to arrest him, Cooper taking the full blame so Felicity wouldn’t have to go to prison. When Oliver later accuses Cooper of being the bad guy, she breaks down and reveals that it couldn’t be him because he hung himself in prison.

Ray and Felicity

Upset and with nowhere to go, Felicity ends up at Queen Consolidated where once again Ray listens to her problems with an understanding ear. Are they purposely trying to make Ray like the best guy on the planet? Donna shows up again where the two have that argument I mentioned earlier. Poor Donna really was just doing the best she could, but really who can’t relate to this mother/daughter bond? It definitely feels real and something many of us go through at one point in our lives. When Donna confesses that she believes Felicity might already have abandoned her like Felicity’s smart father did, I really felt for Donna. She is a great character just like her daughter. The two then part ways on a bad note, Felicity ending up back at the foundry. Team Arrow still hadn’t found out who the hacker was, but instead of continuing her search, Oliver urges Felicity to take an hour break to talk with her mother because family is really the most important thing after all. Good advice Oliver! And it’s nice to see him being the wise one for a change.

When Felicity arrives back at her place, the family continues their conversation from earlier, only for Felicity to realize that her mother was only there because someone had sent her a free ticket to visit her daughter. Someone wanted her there. Just as Felicity comes to this realization, gunned men arrive to kidnap the two.

As Felicity comes face to face with the hacker entity Brother Eye, coming out from the concealed shadows, she realizes the hacker really is her past love Cooper back from the dead. It seemed his death had been faked so he could work for the NSA. Now free, he looked up his past girlfriend to only discover she worked for the very corporations they once despised. He wants revenge. Plus, he needs her hacking skills to bring an armored car of money to him since she is the stronger hacker of the two. She refuses at first, but Cooper gives her an ultimatum so she really has no choice: do what he says or he would kill her mother. Felicity does it of course.

In the meantime, Oliver is worried about Felicity because he hadn’t heard from her and she wasn’t answering her phone. He knows something is wrong. I love to see worried Oliver come out every once in a while… Back to Felicity, Cooper leaves mother and daughter alone for a few minutes, Felicity having a light-bulb moment in regards to her mother’s new watch. It has Wi-Fi and she can send for help on the computer!

With Felicity’s guidance, Oliver arrives to save the day. Cooper, however, holds Felicity as hostage while a motion sensor gun chases Oliver around the room. As Diggle and Roy take down the armed men, Oliver takes down the gun, but it isn’t Oliver who saves Felicity. No, Felicity saves Felicity by giving Cooper a much needed punch. It was a nice moment. Plus, Oliver and Felicity shared a nice look afterwards.

Felicity look one Oliver looks at Felicity

Seriously though, it must be said that Felicity’s first love was a real douche. It’s difficult for me to imagine what she ever saw in the guy. Even in flashbacks, he was obnoxious…

With a greater understanding of her mother now in hand, and encouragement from Oliver about the importance of family, Felicity and Donna spend their last hours together before Donna flies back to Vegas (Felicity leaving work because she is “sick”). Felicity even confesses that with all she had been through the past couple of years, she did inherit a trait from her mother: toughness. Personally, I think she also inherited the compassionate gene.  Am I the only one hoping Donna comes back soon? I especially loved her interaction with Diggle and Oliver at the foundry. She is adorable.

Oliver, donna and felicity

In Felicity’s final flashback, her other hacker friend is surprised to see a new Felicity emerge, a choice she made after Cooper goes off to prison. This is the Felicity we know with blond hair and preppy clothes. This is the Felicity that we, like Oliver, have grown to love!


Laurel and Ted Grant

Elsewhere in the episode, Laurel has continued her training with Ted Grant, but thus far something is holding her back. She’s too angry. When she fights Ted in the ring, she’s trying to punch Sara’s killer. That strategy isn’t working too well…This anger doesn’t go unnoticed by her father either. Detective (Captain) Lance calls Laurel on her strange behavior again when she used her temporary DA status to send in a riot squad to deal with a bank riot. She didn’t even ask her father for permission. This choice escalates rather than calms the situation. Knowing something is wrong with his daughter, Lance tells Laurel that if she won’t talk to him, she needs to choose someone else to talk to. Laurel decides to share her feelings with Ted about Sara. Now, he says, he knows how to train her, Laurel choosing to train in “black” of course.

Thea and Oliver

Oliver and Thea

In an episode about family (Felicity’s relationship with her mother), Oliver and Thea also get closer. When Thea reveals all her money for the club and her new expensive loft came from Merlyn’s estate, the two siblings have a little tiff. Oliver thinks it’s wrong to spend blood money, also pointing out that Malcolm is still alive. By the end of the episode, the two realize family is what’s important and Thea promises she’ll donate to the earthquake charities when she begins making money, also asking Oliver to move in with her. It seems Oliver finally has a place to live outside the foundry! Malcolm watches this exchange from afar with a look of sadness. Is he upset he can’t be a part of the family with Oliver and Thea, or is he worried that Oliver could take Thea away from him?

Sara’s Killer??


For the past couple of weeks, I have been suspicious of Roy’s “tiredness,” so when the ‘previously’ trailer included Roy and this exact tidbit, I knew something big was coming. At the very end of the episode, Roy dreams that he killed Sara in exact detail of what actually happened. Is this the big reveal of Roy being the killer or is there more than meets the eye? Is someone making Roy think he is the killer or was he brainwashed by someone to kill Sara? Only time will tell.

Standout Romantic Moment of the Week

standout romantic moment shot

In a busy episode of twists, turns, and origin reveals, there wasn’t much time for romance (though I really enjoyed Oliver’s attempt at rescuing Felicity from her psycho ex-boyfriend). Nevertheless, the slow burn of Olicity continues onward in a wonderful quiet moment after the ordeal is over. Felicity tells Oliver that he was right about Cooper. Turns out he wasn’t as dead as she originally thought he was.

Asking if she’s okay, Felicity admits that (in one of the best lines of the episode):

Felicity: Old lovers have a way of opening old wounds. Lovers. Sounds creepy no matter how you say it.

Felicity needed to experience these old wounds, Oliver pointing out that he’s glad she did because “They shaped the person” she became. In a swoon worthy moment, Oliver then admits that not only is he glad she went through what she did, but he once again implies how he is in love with her once more:

Oliver you know how I feel about her

Oliver: And you know how I feel about her.

Both Felicity and Oliver know that Oliver loves her. With him once again confessing his feelings for the woman she became, will he decide he can pursue it? Hopefully, he can wake up and overcome his over analytical worries before it’s too late. He loves Felicity! That’s one step forward. Now if only he can act on it. Here it seems that Felicity’s the one who ignores this comment and changes the topic, Oliver seeming almost disappointed by looking at the ground.

Oliver looks disappointed

Perhaps he’s more ready to pursue Felicity than we realize?

Favorite Quote

Diggle quote whos she going to tell

Oliver: But–we can’t bring her down there.

Diggle: Why not, Oliver, who’s she going to tell?

(Oliver not wanting to bring the baby Sara down into their secret lair)

Thoughts and Questions

While I definitely enjoyed the episode overall, I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with Felicity’s origin episode because it didn’t really feel like an origin episode at all, just one moment in Felicity’s life in college. I was also a little surprised by the Goth hacktivist choice as Felicity always seemed more like a goody-goody thrown into the Arrow’s path. Still, I appreciated that the episode delved deeper into Felicity’s life and story. The episode not only fabulously developed the relationship with Felicity’s mother, but it further developed Felicity’s sadness. Her loneliness (I’m guessing her father abandonment issues really played into the Goth stage) and sadness really did shape who she became and that’s wonderful to see.

Did anyone think Felicity’s transformation in the flashback into the Felicity we know was a little off? Maybe it just felt rushed to me.

Ready to find out if Roy is Sara’s killer? I know I am! I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode.

What did you think of “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak?” Sound off in the comments…

By on November 6th, 2014

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

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2 thoughts on “Arrow: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak Recap: Family, Romance, and Sara’s Killer Revealed?”

  1. I am SO behind on this show and this recap just makes me all the more aware of that. Loved it, Autumn – and of course, I am a die hard Olicity fan. They’re darling (even if I do sometimes want to whack Oliver on the head and go, “wake up!” 😉


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