Normally I reserve this section for later in the recap but since this particular flashback sets up the plot for the episode, it’s probably be more fitting to open up here this week.
Like the ‘Corto Maltese’ episode a couple of weeks ago, this week takes a break from Oliver’s time in Hong Kong and instead gives us some backstory for Felicity. We find out that during her college days, she was a very active “hacktivist”(on top of going through something of a goth phase) with her boyfriend Cooper and his roommate Myron. Unfortunately, all of that quickly comes to an end one day when they hack into the Department of Education with the help of a “super-virus” created by Felicity. Felicity just wants to take a screenshot to prove they got in and brag to the message boards. Cooper on the other hand, thinks it’s a much better idea to use their brief access to erase student loan debts. Despite Felicity’s warning that this will likely get them caught, he erases around 3,000 debts before she literally pulls the plug on the operation.
The next day, as if to prove how half-baked Cooper’s scheme was, the FBI shows up the next day to arrest him. When Felicity visits him in jail, she offers to take the fall but Cooper declines saying that he already told the authorities that he acted alone. A devastated Felicity then decides to dye her hair blonde and takes the first step to becoming the Felicity we know today.
Present Day Felicity
Things get hectic this week for Felicity almost instantly when she gets an early morning visit at her apartment from Ray Palmer. He has an idea to take the excess energy at Queen Consolidated and give it back to Starling City for free and decides to get a second opinion from Felicity over the logistics (why he couldn’t wait until she showed up at work is anyone’s guess). To further complicate her day, Felicity’s mother Donna also shows up at her doorstep unannounced and after Palmer gives Donna his new smart watch (sure why not?), he quickly makes his exit.
That night, while Felicity continues her day of awkwardness with Donna, the power goes out all over Starling City and of course chaos ensues. Once everyone has had enough time to panic, a mysterious hacker broadcasts himself over the some TV monitors and says the power outage is just the beginning and to prove his the extent of his power turns the electricity back on. When the hacker strikes again later that night to target the bank, Felicity tries to track him down and stop him only to realize much to her horror the program he’s using was the super-virus she created back in college.
Figuring that the only people that even know about the super-virus were Cooper and Myron, she gives tells the rest of Team Arrow that it has to be Myron. When Oliver and Roy confront Myron at his job, he swears he knows nothing about it but admits that he showed the virus to a few people. Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver figures the next obvious suspect is Cooper but Felicity tells him that Cooper hung himself in his jail cell before he could be sentenced.
Meanwhile, Donna finds Felicity at Queen Consolidated and is pretty ticked off that her daughter has left her alone all day. Finally Felicity blows up and accuses her mother of intruding on her life and Donna counters that she believes Felicity left her just like her father did. Later at Felicity’s apartment, as Donna is packing to leave she admits the main reason she showed up so unexpectedly was that she won a free plane ticket in a contest. Unlike her mother, Felicity rightly finds this pretty suspicious but before she can think about it further, a group of mercenaries bust down the door kidnap them.
They’re both taken to the hacker’s lair who reveals himself to be a very much alive Cooper (what a twist!). It turns out the NSA faked Cooper’s death and hired him to work off his prison sentence. He says that after doing his time he tried to find Felicity and was heartbroken to find out she became a “cooperate lapdog”. He then tells her that his plan the whole time was to lure a armored truck from the Treasury Department to Starling City so he could rob it. The problem is that he needs Felicity’s help to hack into the Treasury Department and he kidnapped her mother for leverage. Fortunately, Donna is still wearing Palmer’s smart watch (I still can’t believe I’m saying that) which has built in wi-fi and allows her to call Oliver for help. Cooper is about to shoot Felicity but Oliver shows up to intervene. While Oliver is busy dodging machine guns, Felicity surprisingly disarms and then knocks out Cooper in about five seconds and while it’s a nice badass moment for Felicity, it also kind of makes Cooper look like a lame villain.
The next day, Felicity and Donna finally make up and Felicity informs Palmer that she’s taking a sick day (to his face no less). Good grief she just took a vacation a week ago. Palmer has to be the most accommodating boss in history.
Laurel takes a break from Team Arrow this week (I don’t think she actually has any interaction with the team members) and focuses on her training with Ted Grant. At this point even Grant notices Laurel’s anger issues saying that all she’s doing during training is lashing out. After a brief stint as acting District Attorney where she nearly causes a riot (was there nobody more qualified?), she confides to Grant about what happened to Sara. Grant is glad she tells him this because now he knows how to train her. To further foreshadow her transition as the new Black Canary, Grant offers a choice in a red or black uniform to train in to which she responds “Black. Definitely black.”
When Oliver visits Thea at her apartment, he’s quick to say that there’s no possible way she can afford it. Thea tells him that after she revealed to Malcolm Merlyn’s lawyers that she’s his daughter, she now legally has control of his estate since the whole world thinks Merlyn’s dead. Naturally, Oliver isn’t happy his sister is taking Merlyn’s money (including to fund her reopening of the club) but Thea thinks he’s overreacting. She says that since she’s Merlyn’s daughter, he wouldn’t put her in danger but Oliver reminds her that he already caused the death of his own son. Despite making a very valid point, Thea is for some reason pretty offended that he even brings this up.
While Oliver still understandably has some misgivings over Thea’s decisions he decides to patch things up with her. They agree that they need to stick together since they are the only family they have left and with that in mind Thea offers to let Oliver move into her apartment. As they watch an old movie together, Merlyn watches them both from a distance.
For the past few weeks Roy has been having trouble sleeping and we’re finally clued in as to why. He’s been having some pretty disturbing dreams lately and they indicate he may very well be Sara’s killer.
The episode was solid for the most part even though most of it doesn’t effect the season arc that much. It gave us a much needed look into Felicity’s past and showed us how it made her into the one of the show’s more interesting characters.
Most of the season so far has been a slow burn but for the last few weeks they’ve been doing a pretty good job with the cliffhangers and this one is probably the most surprising (I actually said “whoa” to the TV screen when it happened). I’ve got to say I’m glad to see Roy finally become relevant to the plot. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the fight scenes he’s been pretty awesome and holds his own pretty well with Oliver and Diggle but it’s good to finally have something interesting happen to him. My personal guess is that Roy’s dreams are some kind of leftover side effect from the Mirakuru but we’ll probably find out more next week.