I kind of wish the villain plot was as compelling as the character stuff in this episode.
The super-virus thing should've been more exciting, it could've been like Felicity fighting her past self. Except that's not what happened. Instead we got the painfully obvious twist of the real bad guy being Felicity's supposedly dead boyfriend. That crippled any tension in the plot, and dragged things down into super-cliché (despite some good ass-kicking moments in that action scene at the end).
I also wish we had gotten a bit more with Felicity and her mother. The details of their history were a bit vague, but it was clear the strain in their relationship was one that had been building for years. It actually cast a kind of negative light on Felicity. She looked down on her mother, even though it was pretty clear why she felt that way. Then there was that fight they had in mid-episode that went too far. Donna's reaction was really interesting there too; she admitted her greatest fear had already come to pass, that Felicity had left her too, just like her ex-husband.
But I really liked that Felicity and her mother finally came together at the end. It highlighted Felicity's arc in this episode, which was understanding her own inner strength and realizing that she shares that strength with her mother. I liked Donna Smoak. She might have been a walking cliché, but that was tempered with some late episode reveals that she was a hard working person who wanted nothing more than to provide for her genius daughter, and to be there for her. That's a very big upside to a fairly basic blonde airhead archetypal character.
The rest of the cast had some good character moments as well -- particularly Thea and Oliver, who are now dancing around the truth. It was kind of fascinating to watch. They are trying to repair their relationship, but neither is being very forthcoming. That speaks to the big elephant in the room, or staring at them from across the street jealously, which was Malcolm. Thea's casual mastery of deceit and her constant lies about her connection to Malcolm are getting pretty thick. They are starting to match Oliver's constant lies about his identity as the Arrow.
Actually, now that I think about it, they are starting to parallel each other in their secrets. Case in point, they both lied about something related to their secrets. Oliver made up a story about that door in the Verdant that won't open. Thea lied about where she got the money for the new pad. Speaking of which, is that the new Queen manor? It's pretty cool looking if it is.
The other side of the family drama coin focused on Laurel and Quentin and the lie that's sitting between them. Sara's death continues to drive Laurel's arc. She's angry and unfocused, but she did listen to her father when he gave her some important advice. She came clean to her trainer about Sara. I think that was a big character moment, since it changes the way he will interact with her. It also took some of the weight off her shoulders. Which is good, because she is so wound up that she's likely to fall apart without some relief soon.
So we might know what's wrong with Roy; he's dreaming that he killed Sara. If this is true, that's a big can of worms. Oliver might try to help him, but Nyssa and Laurel won't be so generous.
I loved the opening with the three parallel fight montages. It clearly showed where each character was emotionally.
Ray continues to be fun, witty, and almost too nice. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop for his character.
So Quentin is a Captain, and now Laurel is the acting DA… I called it last season!
Oliver and Roy using tear gas on a protesting mob might've been a bit too soon.
Felicity and Diggle need code names, but at least Diggle got a mask this week (even if it was a balaclava).
At one point I was wondering where the baby disappeared to. Apparently A.R.G.U.S. babysits now.
Thea: "How do normal people spend their morning?"
Ray: "Are you adopted?"
Felicity: "I haven't even looked at a cup of coffee yet."
Oliver: (motioning towards baby Sara) "We can't bring her down there."
Dig: "Why not, Oliver? Who's she going to tell?"
Felicity: "I actually have a very vivid imagination, like cronuts, I had a vision of them before..."
Felicity: "I am running out of expletives."
Felicity: "I hacked all of his e-mails and all of his texts messages from five years ago, and all I got was depressed."
Felicity: "Turns out he's not as dead as I thought."
Oliver: "I've had some experience with that."
Unfortunately the basic plot wasn't as good as it could've been in one respect. However, the character stuff was all great which makes up for a lackluster villain plot.
3 out of 4 Super viruses
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.