Emily Bett Rickard's Felicity Smoak, from the CW's Arrowverse, is one of the most polarizing characters from superhero television ever. While she may not be a perfect character, Felicity was a key part of the CW's Arrow for the majority of its run, and her geeky everyperson charm was a not insignificant part of what made the series work, whether viewers want to admit it or not.
With the series heading into its eighth and final season, CBR is taking a look back at why fans should look back at Felicity with more fondness than contempt.
When she was introduced near the start of Arrow Season 1, Felicity was an employee in Queen Consolidated IT Department who Oliver seeks out to help him acquire information from a damaged laptop. As the season progressed, she continued to assist Oliver and his stepfather Walter Steele uncover Malcolm Meryln's plot to destroy the Glades. By the end of Season One, Felicity had become a trusted ally of Oliver's and a founding member of what would become Team Arrow.
Over the next couple of seasons, Felicity would push her way into the forefront of Arrow, becoming the female lead of the series. She also began developing a romantic relationship with the show's titular character in Season 3, much to the chagrin of comic purists. Many fans believed that Oliver should only be with Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who is the Green Arrow's long-time love interest in the pages of DC Comics. Oliver choosing Felicity created a rift within the Arrow fandom that still exists to this day.
In Season 4, one of the show's more divisive seasons, the Oliver and Felicity relationship took center stage and went to soap opera-esque new heights. When the season kicks off, the couple is living happily in Ivy Town having given up the superhero lifestyle. After they have to return to take on a new threat in Star City, Oliver and Felicity go on to get engaged, break up, and get back together all in the span of a few episodes.
Looking back at it, Season 4is the point in time that the Arrow fandom began to turn on Felicity. The drama that revolved around her and Oliver's relationship throughout the season produced some of the lowest moments in the series. When the season finally concluded, viewers blamed Felicity for the dreadful outing, with many vowing never to tune in again. The problem with that notion, however, is that just as Arrow began to redeem itself in Season 5, so did Felicity.
When Season 5 began, the series turned over a new leaf and attempted to get back to its roots. Oliver and Team Arrow took on criminals in Star City with little to no relationship melodrama. The team behind Arrow came to realize that fans would much rather see a stable relationship between two characters than the constant will-they/won't-they. Once it became evident that the relationship issues were behind her, Felicity began to emulate herself from the first two seasons. Gone was the frustratingly hard-headed cyberpunk hacker and in was the socially awkward, incredibly intelligent woman that fans had come to know and love.
Like any fandom, Arrow has subgroups that can be the vocal minority when it comes to their opinions on the series. The "Olicity" fans became known across the internet as a group that could be confrontational when it came to discussing Felicity. For casual fans of the series, people like this could inspire ill will towards Felicity, simply due to the fans' association with her.
While the relationship between Felicity and Oliver has been a core part of the series since then, Arrow has found compelling stories by moving beyond the will-they/won't-they aspect of the relationship and looking at its legacy. With Felicity not set to appear in the final set of Arrow episodes, the show will feel dramatically different in the lead-up to the much-hyped Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover later this year. Her absence takes away one of the most human, grounding parts of the series and ultimately proves how essential she was in retrospect.
Returning Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Katie Cassidy as Black Siren, Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke and Ben Lewis as William Clayton-Queen.