WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
This week’s episode may have seen the return of another previously assumed dead character, Ray Palmer, but the focus was all on Felicity. Diggle describes her as one of the smartest and most bad-ass women he knows, and as evidenced by this episode, I’m tempted to agree.
The episode begins with Ray at Palmer Tech tinkering with a suit he’s engineered that is supposed to allow him to shrink in size. Suddenly an explosion goes off sending him and the suit flying.
Flash forward six months and Oliver, Thea, and Alex, Oliver’s new campaign manager, are discussing a possible venue and the campaign budget. Felicity was supposed to be there, considering she’s the one footing the bill on this venture, but she’s a no show. Oliver leaves to go find her, and Alex uses this opportunity to ask Thea out. Though Thea seems to be attracted to him as well, she politely declines the offer, which Alex graciously accepts.
Over at Palmer Tech, Felicity has taken over Curtis’ work space, leaving junk food wrappers and discarded energy drinks in her wake. She’s been working non-stop trying to trace the origins of the message Ray sent her, which she’s finding a near impossible task. Oliver stops in and, after deciding that Oliver’s jaw line is off and he can’t be the Green Arrow, Curtis gives the two some space. Oliver asks Felicity why she didn’t make the meeting. Felicity, in her frenzy to save Ray, hadn’t even realized what day it was. She plays the message from Ray for Oliver, revealing he’s alive and needs their help, hers especially.
Over at Laurel’s apartment, Sara has just finished speaking to her mom over the phone. She tells Laurel and her father it went better than the last time her mother found she wasn’t actually dead. She is concerned though because her mother was telling her a story from her childhood and she didn’t remember it at all. Laurel and Lance assure her it’s fine though and the important thing is she’s back. And they hug for probably the hundredth time.
Back at their apartment Oliver tries to get Felicity to take a nap and a bath, which she’s surely in need of. She’s resistant to the idea of taking a break, but Oliver tells her she’s in no shape to help Ray in her current state. She relents, but just before she receives a video message from Ray. He’s been held against his will he tells her along with his suit. Oliver wonders why he can’t use the suit to help him escape. The camera pans out revealing that, in Felicity’s words, he’s the size of a “tater tot” and trapped in a glass box.
They head back to Arrow HQ, where they meet Laurel, who’s also surprised to find out he’s alive. They review the information Ray gave them. He doesn’t know who’s holding him captive, but they want his technology. However, in its miniature state it’s no use to them. Ray thinks the technology to re-size him should still be at Palmer Tech. Felicity rushes out to go look for it and Oliver offers to come along. She brushes him aside completely though, leaving him hurt and confused.
Felicity hits the lab with Curtis, whose stoked to learn that shrinking technology even exists. Felicity is less than pleased though, and reminds him that being Cheetos-sized leaves him extremely vulnerable. Curtis says while the plans are all here they are missing a crucial piece. A part they can only get from Palmer Tech’s number one competitor, Kord Industries. Felicity thinks she might have an idea how to get their hands on it though. Before she can call in the Arrow team though, another big problem arises for her. Mama Smoake is in town intent on spending some quality time with her daughter. Apparently she and Oliver were talking and he mentioned Felicity was having a tough time at work, which she saw as an invitation to come visit. Felicity is decidedly unhappy that now she has to deal with her alongside trying to save Ray and scrambles to get her mom out of there, while Curtis works on the machine.
Felicity gives Oliver hell over his ear piece for involving her mother as he, Laurel, Thea, Diggle, and Sarah(!!!), who’s back in her Canary getup, prepare to break into Kord Industries’ warehouse. She finds it hard to believe he can face off against the League of Assassins but couldn’t say no to her mother. And what were the two doing texting in the first place? she wonders. Unintentionally though Felicity had everyone’s mikes open and their dirty laundry was aired to the whole team, making for a comedic and awkward moment for all involved. So far this season Oliver and Felicity’s relationship has remained fairly separate from Team Arrow and their missions, which I do appreciate, but at the same time it’s nice to see the boundaries blur a bit.
Team Arrow is able to get the one remaining part needed, unfortunately the location had better security than they originally anticipated. A guard shows up and Sara nearly beats him to death before Oliver and Laurel are able to stop her, leaving her shaken. Meanwhile, Felicity is in conversation with Ray when it’s revealed who his captive is: Damien Darhk.
As a result, Oliver has Lance meet with Darhk, so they can tail him back to wherever he’s keeping Ray. In the meantime though Oliver tells Felicity there’s nothing they can do and suggests dinner with her mother, an idea she isn’t too keen on. At said dinner Felicity is still angry at Oliver and cuts at him with stinging digs. Her mother can’t help but notice the tension and steps out to give the two a chance to talk. Oliver says that while he realizes having her mother visit was a bad idea he doesn’t understand why he’s being shut out. She breaks down a bit and tells him that she blames herself for what’s happening to Ray. He’d been sending her messages for months but she didn’t get them because she was wrapped up in Oliver. She left her friends, city, and job, which she’s really good at, behind, all to follow a man. And that isn’t her. She says their relationship has caused her to lose herself. That, more so than what’s going on with Ray, is what’s really tearing at her.
This conversation felt extremely real and relatable, perhaps more than anything else we’ve seen from Arrow this season, and Emily Brett Rickards delivers it so very well. We see Felicity’s very understandable struggle to retain her identity despite being in love and feeling as though it’s disappearing into her partner. This is something I think everyone whose been in a serious relationship, particularly women, is forced to grapple with and it’s refreshing to see such a fine depiction of this. Not to mention, it adds considerable depth to an already great character and gives Rickards something to act beyond fun, nerdy and bouncy. She talks it out with her mother afterwards in a sweet moment and she offers some solid advice. She tells her that isn’t a bad thing she’s losing herself in Oliver, he’s losing himself in her too, and they’ll find themselves in each other.
Oliver is deeply saddened though following their talk, but decides to give Felicity some space. He and Diggle share a drink back at Arrow HQ and Oliver confesses their struggles and he’s unsure why someone as smart as her would be with him, especially over Ray. Diggle reminds him though that she did in fact choose him, and she knows what she’s doing.
They don’t have the opportunity to make up though, yet. Diggle was able to track Darhk’s location and Team Arrow infiltrates the place in a scene consisting of some great action and a bit of magic. Curtis and Felicity were brought into the field as well in order to assemble the machine that restores Ray back to normal size. With Ray in tow, they’re able to safely escape, unfortunately though Sara is unable to stop herself upon being attacked by one of Darhk’s henchman and kills him. She is shocked by her bloodlust and decides in order to achieve some level of normalcy she’s going to leave town, and shares an emotional goodbye with Thea and her sister. Poor Laurel, she worked so hard to get her back and now she’s already gone.
In all honesty though, it really is a disappointment to see Sara gone so soon. She’s a great addition to the Arrow Team and it would have been a lot of fun to have her around for a more episodes. I also feel we were cheated from seeing reconnect with Diggle, Laurel, Oliver, and Nyssa in particular. Well, at least we’ll see more of Sara Lance in Legends of Tomorrow.
With Ray recovered, Oliver and Felicity decide to “clear the air.” Felicity repeats her mother’s words that they’ll find themselves in each other, and the two share a deep, romantic kiss. We also see Thea ask out Alex, looking to have some level normalcy in her life as well, and Quentin has a friendly run in with Mama Smoak at the bar. You go, Captain Lance!
Side Note: With the exception of last week, the island flashback have seriously been dragging this season. I’ll let you know when something of interest happens!