“Arrow” did something incredibly smart with what is arguably the first Olicity-centric episode of the new season: it gave the character arc to Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards).
The structure of tonight's episode isn't unfamiliar: Hero pushes significant other away. Significant other's life is (kind of) put in danger. Hero understands just how much they love their love. However, rather than follow the stereotypical gender roles in that admittedly compelling narrative, "Arrow" made Felicity the hero-protagonist of this story, and it was awesome.
Here are the seven best moments from "Lost Souls" — and, no, they didn't all involve Olicity. (But a lot of them did.)
Damien Darhk has Tiny Ray.The CW
What's Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) been up to lately? Well, following an indeterminate, post-shrinking period of hanging with the cockroaches (petition for this to be a whole flashback subplot in "Legends of Tomorrow"), Tiny Ray was captured by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Because that guy is THE WORST.
Darhk wants access to Ray's tech so that he can take over the world a little faster, and he's not letting Tiny Ray out of his glass box until he gives it to him. Luckily, Ray just happens to be a genius with an infinite supply of optimism. Thusly, he contacts the person most superheroes in Star City call when they find themselves in a life-threatening jam: The Great Felicity Smoak. (Because: "Felicity Smoak is one of the smartest, most badass women on the planet." #Truth)
Felicity needs to take a nap. Bad.
Guys, Felicity is not taking news of Ray's capture well. She's overjoyed that he's alive, but she can't help but blame herself for not figuring this all out sooner. Instead, she blames her relationship with Oliver (Stephen Amell)— or, more specifically, the way she has allowed herself to get lost in him. She's never been that girl. She doesn't want to be that girl.
Luckily, Mama Smoak (Charlotte Ross) is in town and, though her daughter might not always give her enough credit, she's kind of an emotional intelligence genius. She may not have been able to send Little Felicity Smoak to space camp, but she makes up for it with tons of stellar advice. Like this gem: "He's lost himself in you. And you'll find yourselves in each other." ?
Oliver has inexplicably become the best boyfriend ever.
Maybe the adjective "inexplicably" is a little harsh, but can we all just pause for a moment and think about where Oliver was at this time last season? He was continuing to push Felicity away even though he hearted her so much because he thought that he couldn't be both The Arrow and Oliver Queen. (It was SO lame.)
This season, he spends the entire episode patiently supporting Felicity, offering his help in whatever way possible, and cooking chicken cordon bleu. He reflects on his sometimes terrible listening skills. When Felicity needs space, he gives her space. He even goes to bestie-again John Diggle (David Ramsey) for advice — and LISTENS TO HIM.
If you had told me this time last season that Oliver would be calmly articulating to Diggle his insecurities about his relationship with Felicity, I would have assumed you were getting your canon and head canon confused. It is, indeed, a glorious time to be an "Arrow" fan. #CharacterDevelopment
Donna Smoak should visit Star City more often.
With a mom like this, it's easy to see where Felicity gets her superior people skills. (Felicity may be awkward, but she's also incredibly insightful and can usually get people to open up.) If Donna Smoak has a superpower, then that superpower is getting even the most scowl-y of Star City residents to confide in her.
Not only does Donna have Oliver wrapped around her little finger (all it takes is a well-chosen emoji to get the man to agree a Star City visit would be a great idea), but she also gets Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to open up after meeting him at a bar. You hear that, people? This is not a drill. #SmoakNLance is a thing.
Sara kills someone.
I really, really enjoyed this episode, but it's kind of a bummer to see Sara's (Caity Lotz) story be shoehorned into a pretty crowded episode. This character deserved better than the "C" plot. She also deserves better than the "discussion" of whether she should go out in the field after she has demonstrated just how unstable she is be relegated to Laurel (Katie Cassidy) making eye contact with members of Team Arrow.
The answer is: NO, Sara should probably not be let out into the field. With Thea, Team Arrow at least had the excuse that they hadn't seen the effects of the Lazarus Pit before. Here, they have no such excuse.
The episode ends with Sara telling Laurel that she needs to go off and find herself by traveling (across space and time). First, though, she's going to make a stop in Central City (?) to see her mother. (Who will probably finally reveal to her that she is a time traveler named River Song and that Sara should be a time traveler, too.)
There are still flashbacks on this show.The CW
Back on Lian Yu, Oliver flirts with his Past Future Girlfriend. Then, Oliver kills a dude. Finally, Oliver's arch-frenemy is not pleased about this.
Oliver and Felicity are gonna be fine.
You didn't think "Arrow" was going to leave us hanging with the Olicity, did you? Never! After saving Ray and restoring him to his rightful size with the help of Palmer Tech Employee of The Year Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), Felicity and Oliver "clear the air."
Oliver is very impressed that, given their own parents' marriages as examples, they have made it this far. (After the agony that was season 3: So are we, Oliver. So are we.) Felicity, having survived the agony of not being able to go to space camp, knows that she can make it through anything: "We're going to be fine," she tells Oliver. "Because we found ourselves in each other." Gotta go. Something in my eye.