Arrow RECAP: Felicity Takes the Ring to Mordor (S1:E5)
Previously on Arrow: Laurel is learning to box at Wildcat Gym possibly because Wildcat is allergic to shirts, Roy is now Red Arrow, Felicity is a badass, AND YOU’RE CAUGHT UP!
We open with a triple training montage: Roy and Oliver spar with escrima sticks, Laurel boxes with Ted, and Thea fights Malcolm with swords. Oliver thinks Roy has gotten slow; Roy says he hasn’t been sleeping much and Oliver sympathetically takes him down. Ted tells Laurel that what she’s doing in the ring isn’t boxing, it’s just lashing out. “Impressive,” Thea gets from Malcolm, and she wonders how normal people spend mornings.
Cut to Felicity, doing her fifth sit-up. OMG, Felicity has an old school The Adventures of Robin Hood (like, the 1930s one with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland) movie poster on her wall THAT IS ADORABLE. Someone knocks on the door while she’s brushing her teeth post-workout, and she has NOT seen your CAT for the LAST TIME, but oops, it’s her boss Ray, not her neighbor.
Ray is oblivious to Felicity’s pajama/toothpaste-based discomfort, asking if she’s heard of co-generation. She does know what that is, but is more concerned with her coffee. Ray’s plan is to repurpose Queen Consolidated’s excess energy and give it back to the city for free, but another knock on Felicity’s door interrupts him. It’s Felicity’s mom! Who, you might remember from a single mention in an earlier season, is a cocktail waitress in Vegas. More specifically, her mom is a giant cocktail-waitress-in-Vegas stereotype: skimpy dress, lots of cleavage, elaborate hair, can’t operate her cell phone. Ray wonders if Felicity is adopted.
Felicity’s mother, who we’ll call Donna because that’s her name, of course assumes that Ray is “staying over,” a misconception that Felicity corrects with horror. Turns out Donna totally knows who Ray is, though, because she bought one of his smart-watches! She shows it off to Ray and Felicity as proof that she pays attention to “techie-stuff,” and Ray promptly gifts her the next-gen prototype off his wrist. Sweet!
Five years ago, we’re checking in on Felicity at MIT. She has dark hair, lots of eyeliner, and has just “finished coding a Linux emulator for Zork.” Her boyfriend immediately quotes that “You are likely to be eaten by a grue” line that you see on bumper stickers, and they make out, much to the annoyance of their…roommate? Labmate?…who thinks they should go have sex quietly in a bed and away from him.
Before they can have sex anywhere, boyfriend’s computer beeps. They’re apparently hacking something, and Felicity’s super-virus is smoothing the next part of the job—and they’ve officially hacked into the Department of Education. Her boyfriend—Cooper—immediately starts deleting all DoE records of student loans, and Felicity begins to freak out because they’ll know someone got in deliberately and track them down. Cooper ignores Felicity and their roommate, so Felicity jumps up to unplug…the router, maybe? Something that disrupts Cooper’s laptop and prevents him finishing his erasure of all student loans. Cooper is pissed. He tells them that they should be focusing on “hacktivism” (this dude is definitely part of Anonymous) and not posting screenshots of their exploits to forums. Felicity points out that Cooper’s idea of hacktivism involves them definitely going to prison.
Today, Oliver has stopped by Thea’s new loft. The space is awesome, and Oliver surmises she can’t possibly afford it. Thea admits that she’s got money from Malcolm. Oliver is pretty angry that she’s using “blood money” to fund her club and life, because Malcolm will have some sort of sway over Thea if he finds out. Oh, Oliver, if only you knew. As Ollie broods, lights begin to go out all over Starling, as seen from Thea’s sweet view, and each outage is accompanied by a flash of explosion, like transformers are blowing all over the city.
Quentin is at the precinct house when the power goes off there; Felicity and Donna are eating take-out on her floor; John is walking down the sidewalk with the Digglet. Oliver takes off without telling Thea goodbye, and everyone in the street is panicking—including a woman who walks out in front of speeding car (Oliver saves her, of course). He’s got his phone out to rally the troops when all the screens turn on in an electronics shop window, with the Eye of Sauron prominent. WE ARE BROTHER EYE, say the screens, JUDGMENT HAS BEEN RENDERED AGAINST THIS CITY. A SENTENCE CARRIED OUT. AN EARTHQUAKE. A SIEGE. THIS IS WHAT COMES NEXT. A NEW LIFE YOU WILL LIVE ON YOUR KNEES. AND IT WILL TAKE NOTHING MORE THAN THE PUSH OF A BUTTON. WE ARE IN CONTROL NOW. AND THIS IS ALL JUST THE BEGINNING. LET THERE BE LIGHT, says the Eye of Sauron, and the power comes back on. Brother Sauron is kind of a dick. (Comic check: Brother Eye is basically Skynet. It was created by a dude named Myron Forest, and if I had to guess, I would guess that Myron Forest might be Cooper’s roommate back at MIT.)
Felicity and Donna arrive at Verdant, and Felicity tells her mother to stay put while she helps her friend turn the power back on, when Oliver makes his entrance. Donna naturally knows who he is, too. John and the Digglet arrive, and hilariously, Oliver is concerned about taking the kiddo down into the Arrow Cave. John wants to know who, exactly, the infant is going to tell about their secret vigilantism, but Oliver insists, so John reluctantly leaves the Digglet with Donna.
Laurel arrives at the police precinct as acting D.A. while the district attorney is out of town and looks a little stunned by the realization, even though it’s for like two seconds. Quentin calls Felicity to makes sure Team Arrow is on the Brother Eye of Sauron case, especially her, because nobody knows computers better.
Five years ago, Felicity’s lipstick is very dark, and her jacket is very leather, and her nose very much has a ring in it. Cooper is still pissed that Felicity interrupted his hacktivism in the Department of Education database, and Felicity is unrepentant, saying Cooper may have thought he was safe but there was still a way to trace the hack back to him. Cooper mostly thinks she’s hot when she’s smarter than him, and they make out on the sidewalk until an FBI van pulls up. Cooper’s busted.
In the Arrow Cave, Brother Eye of Sauron is at it again, warning that the banks will be the next power source to be hit. He’s planning to bring everyone’s account balance to zero. I’m not sure I see the point since he’s not making any demands. Quentin is busy coordinating car patrols when a uniformed cop reports to Laurel that something is going down at the bank. She orders the officer to send in riot team, which is apparently authority that the D.A. has? I’m not really up on lawyerly things, but I didn’t think the District Attorney was actually in charge of anything in the police department…
Team Arrow is nervous about an anti-riot squad being dispatched to a riot, so Roy and Oliver suit up. Because vigilantes are always so much better at crowd control. At the bank, the crowd is trying to break into the bank to…I dunno. Steal their money before Brother Eye can? Do they know it’s all digital? I’m not sure what this riot plans to accomplish. Felicity is watching from the Arrow Cave, nervously, while the rioters and police eye each other testily. Both Oliver and Roy fire tear gas arrows between the crowd and the cops, and the crowds begin to disperse, just as Felicity is coming up on Brother’s Eyes virus and realizing that it’s the same one she wrote back at MIT. I’m pretty sure even Sauron saw that coming.
Felicity is upset, and Oliver tries to calm her down, because they know she never intended her work to be used for terrorism. She exposits that back at MIT she was in a hacker group, and that’s when she wrote the virus. Ollie asks who else had access to the virus, and Felicity fingers Cooper’s roommate Myron Forest.
Five years ago, Felicity and the purple streaks in her hair go to visit Cooper in federal prison. She’s going to tell the FBI she wrote the virus, but Cooper has already told them it was him. He says he was the one who wiped out the loans, and she doesn’t deserve to be in prison, which is…probably true.
At Starling City Police HQ, Quentin is pissed that Laurel called in the riot squad because it nearly tipped things over from bad to worse. He wants to know what is possibly going on that Laurel thought that was a good idea, and Laurel says she can’t talk about what’s going on with Quentin. He’s hurt, but just tells her that she needs to talk to somebody before the secrets destroy her.
Thea is trying to open the secret bunker door in Verdant that leads to the Arrow Cave, leading to Oliver making up numerous excuses (the backup generator keeps it locked! I could never get it open! The lower level is flooded!). She’s ready to be the Queen family again but says that Oliver has to meet her halfway, and she’s not not taking Malcolm’s cash. Wait, so why was she trying to get the secret bunker door open?
Myron is running Felicity’s virus program on a three-monitor setup in some high-rise office (all the screens are red-tinted, so you know it’s villainous software) when the Arrows show up behind him growling about failure. They simultaneously fire into two of the monitors, which is a move they must have been practicing. Why is synchronized archery not in the Olympics? Myron claims that he’s not in running the program, and they should believe him because he works IT for an accounting firm and he drives a hybrid. Seems legit. Oliver parrots tech jargon from Felicity about why it’s Myron, who immediately fingers Felicity. When Oliver tells him she’s innocent, he says it must have been one of the “few” people he showed the code to.
In the cave, Felicity is frustrated because even hacking all of Myron’s five-year-old correspondence didn’t turn up any leads. Oliver wants to know why the ex-boyfriend can’t be implicated, and Felicity finally admits that Cooper killed himself in prison. I know it would’ve ruined the big, painful reveal, but why not just tell everyone that he was dead up front, Felicity?
She runs away to Queen Consolidated to cry, and Ray is also there to drown his sorrows over his Star City rebranding launch being overshadowed by Brother Eye of Sauron. She starts to open up to him a little bit, but Donna arrives, justifiably angry over being kept waiting by Felicity for the last four hours. Where the hell is the Digglet? John was still in the Arrow Cave when Felicity left… Anyway, Donna is angry that she’s been reduced to stalking her own daughter, and Felicity is angry that Donna doesn’t understand she can’t just put all her responsibilities on hold because her mom shows up. Felicity yells about how she’s sorry for being a disappointment while insulting the shit out of her mother in an incredibly clichéd scene. Donna says that it’s hard to look at Felicity because she only sees her father in her, and her father left them, and she’s always been afraid that Felicity would leave her to. She says she finally gets that Felicity already left. Nice job, Felicity.
Roy asks if there are actually people on the other side of Brother Eye that they can hit (comic check: in the comics, there are not really), but the men of Team Arrow are useless to find out who those people are, so they all stare broodingly at the Eyes of Sauron. Felicity returns with ideas just in time, and Roy and John slowly step away, hopefully to find out where the fuck John’s baby is, while Oliver tells an obviously upset Felicity that she should take time to go find her mother. Felicity leaves her trace to run and goes home.
Donna is at Felicity’s apartment, packing, and exposits (FINALLY) that Digglet’s nanny came to pick her up (lol, he was from ARGUS). They chat a bit about being different, and Donna mentions that she had won her flight to Starling City via some sort of email contest that she didn’t remember entering. Felicity gets suspicious really quickly, and as if they were just waiting for their cue, two black-clad types bust down the door and kidnap them both.
Felicity and Donna are unmasked in a warehouse-large room filled with monitors showing the Brother Eye of Sauron. Creepy Eye-voice comes out of the shadows and, disappointingly, it’s Cooper. I say disappointing because Brother Eye is sentient in the comics, and it would’ve been way cooler if it’d been, like, his consciousness or something, but I guess that’s a bit out there for the CW-verse.
Felicity reminds him that he’s dead, and Cooper tells us how the NSA faked his death to recruit him. Cooper claims that he was going to let Felicity in on his game once his gig with the NSA was over, but he was disillusioned to find her working in IT for a corporation and never bothered to, like, talk to her or anything. He Villain Monologues about the unnecessarily complicated system for supplying cash to banks under cyberattack, which he is obviously going to exploit, except he can’t hack the Treasury system himself, he needs Felicity.
Team Arrow is getting worried, and John sends the ARGUS agent that picked up the Digglet back to check Felicity’s house just in case something happened. Oliver calls, but back in Mount Doom, Cooper steps on Felicity’s ringing phone. She quickly completes Cooper’s hack, and he zip-ties her to the desk and heads out with his orcs to steal some money. As soon as they conveniently leave, Donna’s smart-watch beeps, and Felicity realizes they’re saved: the smart-watch is a wi-fi hotspot.
Cooper and the orcs step out to wait on the armored cars, which aren’t there yet, then he heads back inside while Felicity tries to text via watch. Cooper comes in to wave his gun around, and Donna tells him he better step off. He’s a bit amused by her vehemence, and she points out unflinchingly that she was a single mom working sixty-hour weeks in six-inch heels to raise her genius kid. You go, Donna. She has stalled exactly long enough for Oliver to show up, and he is displeased and growly. Cooper is impressed with Felicity’s resourcefulness but has apparently planned for this: he activates some sort of laser pointer-filled defense system. Oliver begins to fight the machine guns.
Outside, the armored car pulls up, and the orcs begin firing, which seems superfluous since they then bring out their rocket launcher…which promptly finds itself impaled with Roy’s arrow. Roy and John get in a fire/arrowfight with the orcs and take them down, though it’s mostly John; Roy seems obviously distracted, which is probably tied to the multiple mentions in the last few episodes of how he’s not sleeping well.
Oliver wins his fight with the laser pointers, but Cooper has Felicity at gunpoint—and she’s finally had enough. She elbows him in the gut, grabs the gun, and pistolwhips the little fuck. Donna is impressed. Oliver is turned on.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity apologizes for not telling Ollie about Cooper, since he wasn’t so dead after all, and thanks Oliver for giving her the push to go back and talk to her mom.
Five years ago, Myron comes into his dorm room, calling for Felicity. She emerges a moment later in the look we’ve all grown accustomed to. There’s so much unclear about this scene. It looks like a dorm room, but most universities don’t have two guys and a girl as roommates. And even if Felicity was just there a lot before because she was dating Cooper, this is after he’s gone to prison, and maybe after he’s dead? Weird all around.
At Wildcat Gym, Laurel admits that she’s been lashing out. She tells Ted that her father thinks she needs to open up to someone, and apparently Ted is the lucky recipient of Laurel’s angst. Laurel admits that her sister was murdered and she can’t tell anyone. Instead of asking which sister (since Laurel’s was supposed to have died five years ago) or why the fuck nobody can know her sister was murdered, Ted gives her training advice.
Thea is looking at her mountain of boxes when Oliver arrives with popcorn, determined to meet her halfway in this whole being a family thing. Thea invites him to move into her kickass loft, and Oliver seems to accept. They sit on the floor to watch TV, while Malcolm creepily watches them from a roof across the street. He seems annoyed.
Felicity is in her office when Donna arrives on her way to the airport. Felicity retroactively thanks her for being a good mom and says it turns out she’s a lot tougher than she thought she was, and that toughness is what she got from her mom. Ray comes in as they’re hugging, and Felicity calls in sick. Ray air quotes her to feel better, and she goes off to spend the day with her mom.
Roy is dreaming of Sara. In his dream, we see her on the roof where she died, saying “What are you doing here?” But this time we see what she sees: Roy, throwing the black arrows into Sara’s gut. Who do you think you are, Bucky Barnes?
Roy wakes from his dream, unsettled. HOW’S THAT MIRAKURU TREATING YOU, ROY?