Arrow Season 3 Ep 5 (TV Show Review)

Goes without saying that last week’s Episode 4, “The Magician“, was a pretty big deal for the show since it finally debuted one of the true big bads of the DC universe, Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon himself. It was a bit of an anticlimactic reveal in terms of Matt Nable stepping on to the screen as the character, but the buildup has been pretty good I’d say and last week’s episode is definitely among my faovurites as well for quite a few reasons. With the big bad shown so soon, I have high hopes for how he is going to be portrayed on the show and I can only hope that we get lots and lots of moments with him this season.

But of course, this week’s “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” is still easily one of the most talked-about episodes of the show this season since it is finally going to delve into Felicity’s history before she ever came to work for Queen Consolidated, and I have to say that almost every moment of this episode is glorious. Ray Palmer is back again as well, at a time when Felicity’s mother also makes her debut, and we get lots of stuff about family this week, which was pretty nice in that there was a great synergy about it all. Plus, that cliffhanger. Man, that cliffhanger!

Bit of an aside but has anyone noticed how the Arrowheads have changed designs in the second and third seasons from the first season? Very, very interesting change, perhaps hinting at the evolving nature of the show and the shift in stories. Subtle certainly, and I kind of skipped it last season since the first two are so similar, but not so with this one. Maybe it will be a plot point or something this season! That would be fun!

Anyway, Felicity’s origins. Right.

So the story goes that back in college Felicity was in a hacktivist group with her then-boyfriend and a friend. They used to do all sorts of minor digital civil disobedience stuff until one day Felicity’s boyfriend went a little too far and ended up paying the price for it. This is all told in flashback and I liked most of it. Particularly since it showed a very, very different side to Felicity, as a pseudo-goth chick that screamed “rebel”.

As origins go, it is a pretty cool one. There are bits of Felicity we’ve seen over the last two years and also something more, something that we really haven’t seen before. The story of how she changes from the hacktivist to a more responsible part of society with a normal job and normal interests. I kind of wish now that the Felicity-now was more like Felicity-past, because I definitely adore Felicity-past more, but as Oliver says to her later on in the episode, those experiences made her who she is today and that is infinitely more valuable than anything else.

Part of the equation this week around is also that Felicity’s mom drops in for a surprise visit, upsetting the normal life that Felicity has built for herself since she graduated college. Family dysfunction has been a huge part of the show since day one, and now we see how things are between Felicity and her mother, who is quite awesome in this episode. The best part probably has to be when she finds out that Felicity’s boss is billionaire Ray Palmer and that her friend is former-billionaire Oliver Queen. Lots of hilarity ensues.

Of course, this works into the meta-theme of dysfunctional families on the show since we also get to see some stuff between Thea and Ollie. Now that Thea is back in the city and is working on opening Verdant again, she has turned to Malcolm Merlyn’s estate to fund all her needs, something that Oliver has a problem with since it is all blood money. Really interesting dynamic there and while both come at this problem from their own angles, knowing what they both know, it also creates something of a tension between them. For most of the show we’ve seen them be a great brother-sister team and that has kind of been turned on its head after the season 2 finale, so this is the two of them going through their healing period.


If there was anything “wrong” with this sequence, it was when Ollie said that Malcolm was alive and Thea didn’t bat an eye at that. Maybe I heard it all wrong, though I don’t think so. Kind of an oops moment on the show. Thea is lying to Ollie about Malcolm and Ollie knows that since he’s already met Malcolm just last week. I told ya, family dysfunction!

And then there’s Laurel, who is hurting inside from Sara’s death. She tries to tell her dad about it, but everytime she comes up short, unable to go through with it. And this is eating at her. Katie Cassidy has done some wonders with this whole plot in this season and she keeps getting better as the show gives Laurel an objective to focus on. She recently turned to boxer Ted Grant to help her through her anger and frustrations, and this week we see how these two backfire on her when, as acting district attorney, she authorizes excessive force during a riot. Pretty big stuff there, Laurel! Of course, it is all to focus her towards her training with Grant, and I’m really liking how this is all playing out. Really hoping that he joins Team Arrow by the end of the season!

Arrow Season 3 Poster 0001

To go back a bit though, I think this episode had one of the best opening sequences of the show to date. We have montages of Oliver training with Roy, then Laurel training with Ted, and then Thea training with Malcolm. All three pairs have some issues to work out, to varying degrees, and the fun of it all is how director Michael Schultz intersperses the three sequences with each other, creating a flowing story out of it all. Loved it. And Thea ends it all by asking her father how normal people spend their mornings, which immediately cuts to showing Felicity at home, working out to a TV gymnastics.

Epic, fun stuff all over.

And now the ending. The plot of who killed Sara in the season three premiere has been simmering for a while, but the cliffhanger in this episode offered up some tantalizing evidence and it is as shocking as Sara’s death. I mean, we actually see who killed Sara, though we don’t know the why of it. Which is interesting. It is a major moment on the show, and I’m hoping that next week’s episode delves into it a bit more and tries to properly explaining it all.

One thing is for sure though, I think. This is going to mark the debut of another character. Maybe even the villain Maxwell Lord himself, given the name of the villain for this episode, Brother Eye. Good stuff, yeah?

More Arrow (Season 3): Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4.

More Arrow (Season 2): Link.


Posted on November 6, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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