Felicity Smoak – She’s Not That Girl

In an episode chock full of great moments, one stands out above all the rest in Arrow’s “Lost Souls.” Felicity Smoak’s split-second pause after “I think we should . . .” causes her beau Oliver Queen to catch his breath and then relax when she finishes, “. . . clear the air.” This moment surpasses the return of an ebullient Ray Palmer, and Donna and Quentin’s onscreen debut as SmoakinLance. That split-second pause reminds Oliver that Felicity is her own person and if she walks out the door his world might implode, but Felicity would survive. This knowledge keeps their relationship fresh and vital for the characters and the viewers.

greenarrowtv.com
greenarrowtv.com

After Felicity saved Oliver from Ra’s in the Season Three finale I wrote, “Perhaps the vision of Felicity carrying Oliver to safety balances out the less empowering choice to quit her job at a company she presumably now owns to ride into the sunset with Oliver.” “Lost Souls” acknowledges how that choice limits Felicity’s intellectual and personal growth. Mini-Ray (the symbolic stand-in for Felicity’s career) spends nearly six months trapped in Damien Darhk’s aquarium because Felicity chose a boy over her career. Her choice to be “that girl,” the one who “lose[s] herself” in a man has direct consequences for Ray and, as we learn, for Felicity.

cw.com
cw.com

The season premiere hinted at a problem in paradise that peaks in “Lost Souls.” Oliver felt content in the burbs while Felicity could not keep her hands off a keyboard. Suburbia boxes Felicity’s ambition much like Darhk boxes Ray. She gains an irreplaceable joy from leading a successful board meeting or making a tech breakthrough. Ray’s predicament teaches Felicity that work gives her a type of sustenance that her relationship with Oliver cannot provide. She cannot bear to lose or even marginalize the feeling of personal success she gains from leading Palmer Technologies; doing so would strike at her identity and cause her more harm than ending a romance with the man she loves. Oliver and Felicity’s relationship appears headed for trouble.

Enter Mama Smoak.

Arrow -- "Public Enemy" -- Image AR318A_0107b -- Pictured: Charlotte Ross as Donna Smoak -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- �© 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Public Enemy” — Image AR318A_0107b — Pictured: Charlotte Ross as Donna Smoak — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — Ã?© 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Charlotte Ross’s Donna Smoak fills a gaping hole in Arrow’s storytelling. Felicity needs her mother’s wisdom and Star City needs this woman’s energy. Donna helps Felicity see that Oliver is not the bad guy. Sure, he makes mistakes and needs to learn that Felicity craves order and would not be a good candidate for a surprise party. Yet Oliver is not her father [and with any luck Damien Darhk isn’t either]. He supports her ambition and loves her for her intellect. Felicity can have love and career because she chose the right man, the one who complements her personality and shares her goals.

http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy
http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy

As for Oliver, he does not fully understand how central Felicity’s career is to her happiness until she delivers her powerful “I was never that girl” speech. He learns, with some help from Dig, that Felicity’s happiness depends upon more than his ability to climb the salmon ladder or cook a proper chicken cordon bleu. If he is going to keep her (and live off of her money), he had better take her career seriously. To his credit, he does exactly that. Felicity leads the team in an elaborate plan to free mini-Ray from Darhk’s clutches. The whole team backs her up without question, even Sara who’s not yet housebroken. They succeed in bringing the ATOM back to his original size with his smile and intellectual prowess intact.

Arrow -- "Lost Souls" -- Image AR406A_0224b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Brandon Routh as Atom -- Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Lost Souls” — Image AR406A_0224b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Brandon Routh as Atom — Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Compared to Ray Palmer, Oliver Queen has the brain power of a stegosaurus and Oliver knows it. After Felicity leaves to get Ray settled, you can almost see Oliver running around their loft saying, “She’ll be home any minute. That damn Palmer makes me look like a Neanderthal! I have to do something. F#ck! Why don’t I own any books? I could look smarter if I was reading a book!” Oliver settles for the blank green [arrow] journal someone presumably gave him for his birthday, rips his shirt off, and jumps into bed. Felicity finds him in repose and ready for sex. This man knows his assets.

mtv.com
mtv.com

Felicity takes her mother’s advice. She ends the pause that knocks Oliver off-balance with a declaration that the two find, not lose themselves in each other. Then the woman who holds the top position at a billion dollar corporation climbs atop her boyfriend and he holds her there. Because he’s that guy.

6 Comments »

  1. I will first say this….I appreciate this post and I respect your view on this episode. You do a wonderful job recapping these episodes and I thank you for taking time each week to write so we all have a place to discuss. With that said, I thought this was the weakest episode of the season and maybe of the series. I thought that this episode was going to be about rescuing Ray and having Sara deal with the aftermath of the Pit. I felt cheated on both accounts. Sara barely had any character development and Ray’s rescue seemed a little rushed and too easy. Now on to Felicity. You know I love her to death. I’m not an Olicity shipper at all but I do find the relationship fun and it adds to the show more than it takes from it. I had no problem with Felicity rediscovering herself and not wanting to be defined by her romantic life. The way they went about it and portrayed it bothered me. In building Felicity back up, to who she was before, they emasculated Oliver in the process. They turned him into a feeble, groveling, insecure mess of a man. Could we pass this behavior off as just a man in love and afraid of losing that love? Sure but Oliver has always exuded confidence. That is one characteristic that always drew me into his character. But now…I don’t know what to think. This show has always been about 3 things to me. 1. Protecting the City 2. Family 3. Loyalty. This episode was about none of those but instead relationship drama and angst. Frankly, it worries me a bit because I want to tune in to watch ARROW every week not 90210. I’m not going to condemn the season or the series over one episode but the concern is still there for me and I will keep an eye on it going forward. Thanks for reading and can’t wait for your rebuttal/insight.

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    • Good morning Andrew.

      I thought this was one of the best episodes Arrow has ever produced. In fact, where you see weakness, I see strength and where you see emasculation I see the essence of true masculinity. Felicity’s description of her relationship with Oliver, that she lost herself in him, scared him. He does not want to lose her. The old Oliver would have stomped his feet and pouted. That is not masculinity, that is petulance. The new, evolved, adult Oliver takes a step back, seeks advice from a friend, and waits for Felicity to work things out. His support of her and her career is the product of character development. Men who welcome female ambition and do not feel threatened by it are real men. Character development has not always been Arrow’s strong suit. Rather than suggest cancellation, last night’s episode opens the door for Arrow to actually make a cultural impact. “Lost Souls” makes me think, for the very first time, that Arrow might be more than “just another superhero show.”

      I agree with you about Sara. Her decision to leave Star City felt abrupt and forced (much like Barry’s father’s departure from The Flash). The writers are simply using her exit to set up Legends of Tomorrow where they will deal with her emotional issues. As long as she takes Ray with her I am game. I LOVE Ray Palmer and when I first met him I was quite skeptical.

      Ahh! Its late! I have to run and teach now.

      Thanks for the comments as always!

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  2. I apologize for my above post. I never meant to imply that Oliver not respect Felicity’s career and ambitions. Nor did I mean to imply that Felicity shouldn’t rediscover herself outside of her relationship of Oliver. I love Felicity, always have…always will. The Olicity relationship has been good for the show. I never meant to convey anything contrary to that. I watch other shows and so many fall back on romantic angst as their go-to move to create drama or to move the plot. I don’t mind seeing it on Arrow but I don’t want it to become a recurring theme on the show. That was the message I was trying to get across but I did it poorly. I love light-heart and caring Oliver. It’s refreshing to see. I just don’t want to see Oliver turn into a meek, scared character every time Felicity doesn’t agree with him or they have a argument. He can still be compassionate and caring while still maintaining his confidence and dignity. In my opinion, this episode didn’t show that but I am man enough to admit that I was wrong. So again, I apologize for original post. It was worded and executed poorly. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to it anyway.

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    • Stop apologizing for your posts! You state things perfectly well and are always respectful. You are fully entitled to your opinions. Our opinions are different, but neither one is the “correct” response. I did not take offense to your post. In fact, I loved it, because it gave me the chance to throw in a few more points 🙂

      I think Arrow is doing a pretty good job of balancing action with angst this season. The writers understand how to juggle their different fan-bases – those who want all Olicity all the time, and those who could take it or leave it. My husband does not watch Arrow, but happened to walk in just as I was starting to watch the other night. He sat down and I said, “Why are you watching this, you hate Arrow.” And he said, “Yeah, but I like her.” He pointed to a frazzled Felicity chewing her way through a stick of candy. That’s what a Felicity-centric episode can do.

      I want to see more character development for everyone, not just Oliver and Felicity. Thea continues to be a disaster and Laurel needs a complete overhaul. My hopes are so high for Legends of Tomorrow I am sure to be disappointed.

      Please keep sending your comments. I want to thank you for last week’s conversation about Laurel. It inspired me to write my Marvel Agents of SHIELD post which has turned out to be one of my favorite essays.

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      • I will always keep sending comments. This is my favorite place to discuss the show. I think my constant apologizing stems from other forms of social media and constantly having to deal with people being offended if they don’t agree with you. Over time and dealing with that day in and day out I just automatically think I am offending someone. It will stop and I will try to make that reaction stop. Thanks for always being kind and respectful. I love discussing the show with you and plan on discussing it for a long time.

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