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"The virus, I can't stop it!"
"How do you know?"
"Because it's mine. I wrote it five years ago.
Felicity realizing and revealing to Oliver that she created the Brother Eye's virus.

"The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak" is the fifth episode of the third season of Arrow, and the fifty-first episode overall. It aired on November 5, 2014.



Oliver and Roy spar in the foundry early in the morning, Laurel works out with Ted in a boxing ring, and Thea and Malcolm sword fight in another place. Thea jokingly wonders what "normal people" do in the morning.

Felicity is in her apartment doing some sit-ups in pajamas in tune with an exercise video. She then heads to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Ray knocks on her door and pushes his way inside, talking rapidly about a project for Queen Consolidated involving supplying free energy to the city through cogeneration. Felicity makes coffee and sits down to listen to Ray. Someone else knocks on her door and, much to Felicity's surprise, it's her mother, Donna, who excitedly screams and hugs Felicity. Donna had texted Felicity that she was paying a visit, but forgot to hit "send" on the message, much to Felicity's annoyance. Donna then sees Ray and introduces herself, exclaiming that she bought one of his watches. Ray gives her his own watch, a prototype of a more advanced version. Felicity sends Ray out, embarrassed by the situation.

In a flashback, Felicity (who has black hair and wore goth clothing) was coding in her room when her boyfriend, Cooper, kissed her and then used her virus to break into the Department of Education. Cooper's goal was to erase all the student loan debts, but Felicity stopped him by unplugging the computer before he could finish.

Oliver is sent somewhere and learns that Thea signed a lease on a place for herself. She claims that she got the money from Malcolm's “estate” and she was using it to rent the loft and re-open Verdant. Thea then tells Oliver that she is her own person and is annoyed that he brings up Tommy.

Oliver looks at the view and notices many people losing power. This includes the police department, a neighborhood in the Glades where Diggle is carrying his daughter, and Felicity's home. Oliver then rushes off. Oliver as himself saves a woman from a car. All the TVs then show the “Brother Eye” with a disguised voice telling of their plan for the city before the power returns.

Felicity and her mother head to the foundry. Felicity tells her mother to stay upstairs, but she still meets Oliver and Diggle. Felicity then has her mother watch Diggle's daughter as Oliver is uncomfortable having baby Sara in the foundry. As Felicity tries to look into the blackout, Roy arrives.

In flashback, Felicity and Cooper are walking around on campus and Cooper is annoyed with her because she stopped him from erasing all the student loan debts. However, they soon make up. Suddenly, the FBI show up and arrest Cooper while Felicity screams and has to be held back.

In the present, Brother Eye begins a second broadcast talking about taking all the money from everyone in the city. Felicity begins to hack into the appearance. Laurel heads to the police department and learns she is acting district attorney.

With a riot at a bank, Laurel sends an ESU. Oliver and Roy head out to protect the bank. They shoot a gas to get the crowd to leave.

Felicity learns that the virus was hers from five years ago. Roy and Oliver return and Felicity is freaking out about her virus. She then tells the team that she was a part of a hacktivist group. Felicity then talks about how it could've been Myron. She then looked into the cameras.

Five years ago, Felicity visits Cooper in prison. She tells him that she would confess but he tells her not to. He then tells her he loves her and is protecting her.

Laurel is pulled into her father's office and he yells at her for sending the riot squad as she made it worse. He questions her motives but she refuses to tell him.

Thea heads to Verdant and Oliver found Thea trying to get into the basement. They stop to talk and she says that she will still take the money but was meeting him half way.

Oliver then heads to talk to Myron along with Roy. Felicity is telling them that it had to be Myron but he says it's not him. Felicity is freaking out and Oliver makes her tell him about Cooper. Felicity tells them that Cooper had killed himself before sentencing. She then walked off and headed to Queen Consolidated.

That is where Ray finds her. He asks if she's okay and she talks vaguely about inventing something. That is when Felicity's mother shows up and got upset with Felicity. Felicity asks Ray to go elsewhere and she yells at her mother about how she was sorry for being a disappointment. Her mother mentions how she stayed while Felicity's father left. She then says how there wasn't anything of her in Felicity before leaving her behind.

Roy, Diggle, and Oliver are talking about what to do. Felicity shows up but she is still upset so Oliver tells her to talk to her mother. He tells her how Thea said family was precious.

Felicity heads home and learns that ARGUS had picked up Sara. Felicity then learns that her mother had gotten an email about a free flight. Masked men break down the door and kidnap them.

A man walks in and then shows himself as Cooper. She is in shock that he was alive. He said how it had to do with the NSA. He then admits to his true plan: have her hack the money trucks showing up. Felicity says that she would politely decline.

At the foundry, Oliver is worried so Dig calls ARGUS TO check things out. Oliver then calls Felicity but Cooper destroys her phone. Felicity then hacks after her mom tells her that she loves her. Cooper then ties her to the computer. The watch goes off on her mother's wrist. Felicity then begins to patch into the wifi of the watch and enables the GPS. She quickly contacts her friends before Cooper returns. Oliver shows up and Cooper aims motion sensors at him. Outside the money arrives and the men working with Cooper shoot at the trucks. Roy and Dig show up to stop them, clearing the path for them to go inside. Felicity hits Cooper before Oliver could shoot. She then frees her mother and hugs her.

Oliver returns to the Foundry and changes. Felicity apologizes but Oliver tells her that he can't judge. He says that he is glad about who she is today. Felicity then heads out and says that they have to love their families.

5 years ago, Myron visits Felicity in her dorm room and finds she's completely overhauled her appearance, with professional clothes and dyed blond hair. Felicity declares this to be the new her and throws out her old Gothic clothes.

Laurel heads to the gym and decides to fill Ted Grant in on about Sara dying. He says that she needs to train for herself. She then chose a black jacket.

Thea is in her new place when Oliver shows up with popcorn. She lets him inside and he hugs her. She suggests that he move in with her as it was a large place. She promises to donate Malcolm's money to charity after the club makes money. Across the building, Malcolm observes as Thea and Oliver watch TV.

Felicity is at work when her mother shows up, intending to say goodbye before returning to Las Vegas tonight. They hug and Felicity thanks her mother for always being there for her and assures Donna she is stronger due to her influence. Ray then walks in and Donna thanks him for the watch, calling it a "real lifesaver." Felicity then fakes being sick and leaves to spend the day with her mom.

That night Roy, dreams that he is the one who killed Sara, causing him to wake up in fear.


Main cast[]

Special guest star[]

Guest starring[]




Preparation ran from August 14 until August 22, 2014. Filming ran from August 25 until September 4, 2014.[1]


  • The episode was originally titled "Oracle".[2] The codename Oracle was later referenced in "A.W.O.L." when Oliver comments he was thinking about using it for Felicity but that it was already taken.[3] This could be a reference to Barbara Gordon, who in the comics is the vigilante Batgirl and later, after her paralysis by the Joker, becomes Oracle.
  • In the world of DC Comics, "Secret Origin" was a popular term and title for one-shot recaps of where principal characters came from, particularly when they were being rebooted in the 1980s and 90s.
  • In Felicity's apartment, there is a poster of the movie The Adventures of Robin Hood.
  • When Ray enters Felicity's apartment, he says, "Nice apartment. Lots of space." This was also said by Bruce Wayne and the Joker when they entered Vicky Vale's apartment in the 1989 film Batman.
  • Diggle mentioned that Lyla was off on an A.R.G.U.S. mission in Santa Prisca. In the DC Comics, Santa Prisca is a fictional Caribbean island nation under harsh Communist rule and heavy illegal drug trade. Santa Prisca is best noted for being the birthplace of the super-villain Bane, a major Batman enemy.
  • In one of the flashbacks, Felicity is doing some coding for Zork, an interactive fiction computer game. Twice in the episode, Cooper mentions one of the game's main antagonists, the Grue, even quoting, "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue." from Zork I.
  • Felicity and Cooper Seldon in a starfish monster shirt

    Cooper Seldon in his starfish shirt.

    Cooper Seldon's shirt when being arrested is a vague depiction of the first ever Justice League cover. (Brave and the Bold #28)
    • The shirt depicts Starro, the first enemy of the united Justice League.
  • Felicity's goth look from her college years, especially her black hair and clothing and silver Egyptian Ankh necklace, is a nod to the character Death from The Sandman comics, which is also a DC/Vertigo property.
    • The Ankh pendant Felicity wore is also a reference to Dr. Fate, a DC Comics superhero who has possession of the Helmet of Nabu, which grants magical powers.
  • Cooper's code name is Brother Eye. In DC Comics, Brother Eye is a satellite created by the superhero Batman.
  • The title of this episode refers to Felicity's backstory.
  • This is the second episode in the Arrowverse, as well as the second episode of Arrow, to be named after a character in a civilian sense, after "Sara".
  • The location when Cooper is arrested would later be used in The Flash Season 5's "Godspeed".




  1. Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) - Twitter
  2. A New Title & Details About Arrow’s Felicity Backstory Episode - GreenArrowTV
  3. Oliver: "Overwatch, we're on site."
    Felicity: "Excuse me?"
    Oliver: "Well, I thought it was time you got a code name. What do you think?"
    Felicity: "It's perfect."
    Oliver: "Was gonna go with Oracle, but it's taken."