Felicity Smoak: The Green Arrow’s Hero
“Since when are you such a badass?”
As a fan of Arrow’s Felicity Smoak, someone who sees parts of herself in the quirky, intelligent IT girl, this line capping off the end of the season four Arrow trailer felt like vindication. The writers have proven in many little ways that they get the importance of Felicity, not just to Oliver but to the show in general. But this was the first outright declaration that they consider her to be just as big of a badass as I’ve always thought she was.
Felicity was a surprise even to the show runners and writers, a character intended to be a blip on the radar who ended up becoming the heart of the show and the driving force behind Oliver Queen. She brings a levity that transforms Oliver’s sullen broodiness despite his best attempts to keep her at arm’s length, and against all odds, over and over again, she has saved him as many times as he has saved her.
There were a lot of complaints in season three that Felicity was too tearful, too emotional, and that behavior like that didn’t make her a hero like John Diggle, Laurel Lance, Roy Harper, and even Ray Palmer and Thea Queen. She was reacting naturally to her entire life changing on a dime and people she loved being in grave danger, or worse, dead. How else is anyone supposed to act? many fans seemed to believe that in order to be a hero, she needed to bum rush her fears with a weapon in hand.
But fighting with fists isn’t what makes someone a hero. Standing up for what you believe in, protecting others in the face of danger to yourself, doing what is right despite the costs—those are all heroic qualities that don’t require being an expert in hand-to-hand combat or wielding a wicked sword. And nobody stands up for what she thinks is right more than Felicity Smoak.
Felicity never backs down, not from Oliver, not from the icy Moira Queen, not even from R’as al Ghul. She doesn’t think of herself first, even when her own happiness or safety is on the line. Felicity’s weapon has always been her mind, and in some cases her mouth, and she never hesitates to use either one. Nor does she run from a fight just because she isn’t one of the armed and dangerous members of Team Arrow—she stays in the danger zone, steps into the fray, and does what is necessary.
The one person she has never had to prove her worth to is Oliver himself. Even when he doesn’t quite see her fully, in the early days of their partnership, he knows instinctively that he can trust her. Not just to keep his secret, but to help him, to work alongside him. Before long she is indispensable to him, making his job easier with her vast tech skills and creative mind.
The longer they work together, the more amazed Oliver becomes, the more he trusts in her abilities and her drive to do what’s right, and sometimes what’s necessary, to win the day. There are times he tries to leave her behind, where he deems it safe, but rarely does she listen. The longer they work together, the more he understands that for all she claims to fear, in the right moments, she is fearless. He cannot stop her, so he starts reaching his hand out for her.
Felicity is, and always has been, a hero—Oliver’s hero. He makes that abundantly clear by the time he hands her a syringe and know she will do what only she can do to take out his enemy. Maybe she’s a different kind of hero, one who doesn’t need a mask or a bow or a gun, but she is her own kind of hero. One that would do anything for those she loves. One who isn’t afraid to use her brain and defy stereotypes. One that normal people can relate to a little better, aspire to be like. Not everyone can be a vigilante to save a city, but everyone can embrace their own minds and step up for what they believe in.
The world needs more heroes like Felicity Smoak.