Here’s what you need to know about Arrow 3.05 “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” Felicity used to be goth/emo/whatever it’s called these days… Felicity’s mom is in town, and she’s pretty much what most folks expected. There are many feels and lolz (Felicity and her Mom, Felicity’s morning “workout”, Diggle on Daddy Duty…) Roy didn’t do it. Brother Eye! Starro!! Roy DID NOT do it. This episode is chock full of tropes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross), Felicity’s mother, is pretty much what came to mind when Felicity made her “cocktail waitress in Vegas” remark. Donna is more or less a bit of a “Hooker with a Heart of Gold” (Trope Count: 1) that’s been slightly toned down and wrapped in motherhood (see; Felicity’s comment about “dressing like a porn star”). Cooper (Nolan Gerard Funk), Felicity’s ex-boyfriend and co-founder of their college “hackitivist” group, would normally be nothing more than a throw-away “Psycho Ex” (Trope Count: 2) if he went by any other name than “Brother Eye.” With regards to the episode, his sole purpose is to demonstrate how far Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) has come from her misbegotten college days, when her moral ideals trumped legal limitations. Except, his name is BROTHER EYE! Brother Eye, in modern DC Comics canon (the character actually dates back to Jack Kirby), is an artificial intelligence system/satellite built by Batman to surreptitiously collect data on meta humans around the globe. Of course, as these things are want to do (Trope Count: 3), it went a little crazy and turned against its creator and became a threat to the whole human race (all of which will sound familiar if you’ve seen the recent trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron or I, Robot, or Terminator, etc…). In short, the name “Brother Eye” is pretty much a big freaking deal, and not a name you just use in an episode for a throwaway character. We also know that Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) has found what appears to be plans for the O.M.A.C. project (which I previously joked looked like Batman’s Tumbler). For those unaware, O.M.A.C. is what you might call the body to Brother Eye’s, uhm, eyes, and ears. They comprise the foot soldiers that carry out the orders, aka “purification of meta-humans,” at the behest of Brother Eye (or whomever happens to be controlling B.E. at the moment). Either we’re getting glimpses of a future nemesis, or the writers are randomly tossing Easter eggs at us. I really hope it’s the former, but consider this a prescient admonition if it turns out to be the latter. Speaking of Easter eggs, everyone noticed the shirt that college-era Cooper was wearing, right? The one with the great big image of Starro the Conqueror?? Admittedly, I was willing to write that off as a just a bit of fan-service, but then I read the following on the Arrow subreddit: These 2 references [Starro and Brother Eye] leading to the reveal at the end of the episode do not feel like coincidence, but an intentional foreshadowing. Now I’m not saying that Roy is being mind controlled by an alien or even a device like Toy Man’s, but I would suspect some sort of mind manipulation. If not mind control maybe implanted memories or manipulation. Source: /u/loki1887 And, just like that, I could see a connection between what previously seemed like two disparate strands of the story. After my first viewing I was shocked and surprised by the ending. Initially because it seemed sort of tacked on, a way to insure that the Sara plotline kept moving forward in spite of it being mostly absent from the episode. But, after reading that theory proposed by /u/loki1887, I took a broader look. Last week I outlined the oncoming collision between ARGUS, the League of Assassins, Team Merlyn, and Team Arrow. At the time I didn’t really know where to put Ray Palmer, or what role Queen Consolidated would play. Ray played a prominent role in this week’s episode, albeit not in a way that particularly impacted the story. Initially it seemed like an opportunity to continue to showcase Felicity’s awkward, double-entendre filled, banter. I think it’s very clear that there is a pairing of these two on the horizon (I think previews for this week showed as much). However, maybe there is more to it than just a case of “will they/won’t they?” (Trope Count: 4). We know that Felicity is a 1337 h4x0r (“elite hacker”). We know now that, perhaps with the help of Felicity’s code, Cooper/Brother Eye was an operative for the NSA. My prediction is that Brother Eye is actually bigger than Cooper. He might have been using the name and/or the tech, but I’d bet there is a lot more to Brother Eye than just some guy’s pseudonym. Cooper managed to work his way into a lot of different systems, which, bad television computer jargon aside, is no small task. While his character was fairly disposable, what he represents with regards to Felicity is not. In many ways, college-era Felicity and Cooper are just different sides of the same coin that is modern day Felicity and Ray. Ray’s project for Star City seems to indicate that he and Felicity share similar ideals. The biggest differences being that they both have the benefit of hindsight and Ray has near limitless resources. What if Ray, working with the NSA, restores the O.M.A.C. project as part of his plan to help restore Star City? In particular, what if Ray is trying to create an army to battle a threat that has the ability to somehow control other people’s actions? Human beings are highly suggestible creatures. I noted earlier that I think /u/loki1887 is on the right track with regards to mind control. But, what if the League has some method of training (or interrogation?) that is designed to break down a person’s will and make them effectively mindless automatons? How can a city that barely survived an earthquake and a siege of mindless Mirakuru zombies possibly handle a war between vigilantes gone crazy?? With science!! (Trope Count: 5) Along comes Ray and Felicity (fresh from being disillusioned after Sara’s death) with O.M.A.C. in tow ready to take down a rabid Roy (Colton Haynes), a misled Oliver (Stephen Amell), a vengeance seeking Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and a megalomaniacal Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). Yay!(?) Unfortunately, assuming the fate of O.M.A.C. follows a similar trajectory to the comics, things will not go as planned. However, O.M.A.C. could pose a threat big enough to create a tenuous bond of unity against a common enemy. What if the battle lines don’t form a cross between various factions, but a direct path to Brother Eye? Will that also be what turns Ray Palmer into the Atom?? All of which brings me back to why I know that Roy didn’t kill Sara. I think Roy’s nightmare has little to do with a guilty conscience and everything to do with external manipulation. I stand by my theory that Merlyn was responsible for Sara’s murder, and Thea was his weapon. Assuming that I’m correct, then it makes sense to have Roy be the one tortured with nightmares. He is the already mentally unstable and emotionally fragile. He’s still recovering from the effects of the Mirakuru and reeling from the guilt over his actions while it was in his system and the loss of Thea. He is the easiest to manipulate. His past with Thea and the tensions between them, in spite of appearances to the contrary, also makes him a prime target for revenge. I think it’s very plausible that the original Speedy, under Malcom’s guidance, would have a vested interest in seeing the current Speedy fail and/or be the key to Oliver’s downfall as well. You break a chain by targeting its weakest link. For Oliver, that means targeting his family. Malcolm already has the advantage with Thea at his side. Taking Thea breaks Oliver Queen, the man, and taking down Roy can break Oliver Queen, The Arrow, and, with him, the rest of Team Arrow. This episode did a couple of things really well: it gave us some much needed history on one of the show’s best characters and – potentially – gave us the origin story for a major villain. There have been a couple of episodes now that haven’t been directly focused on Oliver Queen, but they still manage to help paint a broader picture of Green Arrow and his journey. It’s a trend that we’ve seen used a few times in the past and something I hope we see more of as this season moves forward. Trope-overload aside, I think this might be one of my favorite episodes of the series so far. The Good: The opening workout montage was brilliantly done and set the tone perfectly. Felicity has always been one of the best things about this show. It was a great to get to know more about her history. Ray Palmer continues to be a fantastic addition. It seems that Brandon Routh has an uncanny knack for playing superheroes. The giant bag of popcorn Oliver was carrying when he arrived at Thea’s loft. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, Stephen Amell is so dedicated to getting the character right that you can’t help but be engaged, even when Oliver is only a small part of the show. I’m actually liking the Ted Grant/Laurel storyline. Laurel’s punches looked horrible. However, I liked that it seemed intentional and was addressed by Ted (J.R. Ramirez). I’m okay with a character doing something poorly if I’m not supposed to believe that they do it well. BROTHER EYE!! (see next section for more on this…) The Might Be Good: As I noted before, I anticipate Brother Eye will be more than the name of a throwaway character. But, I could be wrong. Hence this topic being both “good” and “might be good.” To callback to Laurel’s training, if she continues to improve then the storyline will work. If she’s throwing the same wild, wide right hooks that are telegraphed all to hell, then I’m probably going to sour on this one. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and Laurel’s ability to throw a punch is more convincing than the hacktivists’ tech jargon. The Bad: Of all the possible faux-gadget names, they couldn’t come up with something better for Ray’s watch than old iPhone models?? The “hacker speak” was cringe-worthy. But, it wasn’t really any worse than any other show on television (including shows where the central conceit revolves around such things *cough*Scorpion). CCH Pounder isn’t on the show. Total Trope Count: Five.  My day job is software development, and I was a system’s administrator for well over a decade. I often cringe, cuss and want to throw things at the television when I hear “hacker” dialogue.  I’m unsure if it will involve Starro or not, but I’m not-so-secretly hoping that it does.  I’m sticking with that name in spite of the fact that it’s supposedly been revealed that Roy will go by the codename Arsenal.  You didn’t really think he was looking on disapprovingly from afar did you? He was monitoring Ollie, I think he’s quite comfortable with his level of control over Thea. It’s not in his character to be paranoid, he likes to play many moves ahead of his opponents. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.