In "Draw Back Your Bow," Arrow's most beloved character gets so incredibly screwed over that the episode is almost a comedy. We'll take a look at the convoluted reasons why the psycho-of-the-week has a better chance at finding love than she does.
Felicity Smoak is gorgeous, brilliant, funny, brave, and puts her heart into everything she does. In return, she gets less physical affection than Ollie's motorcycle, as I'm pretty sure he at least takes time to bang out the dents and polish up the chassis. This episode gives us five clues as to why the best character on the show gets the least amount of face-sucking.
1) People Are Busy
This show keeps people busy. And the busier they are, the more work they make for themselves. For example, Cupid first became obsessed with the Arrow when he saved her during the attack of the supersoldiers last year. In this episode, she shoots people and dresses them up in Arrow outfits, she straps bombs to mobsters, and she talks with the relentlessly forced sexiness of those girls on late night commercials for phone sex lines.
She gets to wear dark red lipstick and say things like, "If I'm out of my mind, that's because that's what love is... our own little slice of insanity. So call 1-900-HOT-LIFE." Her business keeps the Arrow team pretty busy figuring out who she is, intimidating her psychiatrist into breaking doctor-patient confidentiality, trying to track her down, and getting increasingly annoyed calls from Quentin Lance.
Ray, meanwhile, is busy building a kind of supersuit (called A.T.O.M.) and wants to buy a mine to help him do it. He's also rebranding Queen Consolidated as Palmer Technologies. To be fair, some of what he's busy with involves Felicity. He invites Felicity out to a "purely platonic" business dinner with the owner of the mine, gives her couture gowns, and rents 10 million dollar necklaces for her, making for a stunning outfit that she wears with bad shoes oh I'm sorry did that slip out? Couldn't help it. The point is, some of what Ray's busy with should be getting Felicity some love, so what else could be the problem?
2) She's Got Too Much Competition
I'm not going to lie, I like Cupid a lot. And compared to the sublime denial of the rest of the characters, her crazy ranting sounds sane. I spent much of this episode watching Ray get shirtless in front of Felicity and give her smoldering looks at a press conference. Did he let his fingers brush her neck as he put the necklace on her? You bet he did! But it's purely platonic! It's a business dinner!
Meanwhile, Ollie spends the episode compressing himself into a black hole of rage and passive aggression, and judging by his expression, he compresses himself anus-first. He stomps around throwing hissyfits about how Felicity needs to give this case her full attention when, as far as I can tell, this is the least threatening of all the cases they've had this year. When Felicity says she has to go out for one business dinner he says, relatively nastily, "Do what you want."
A lady who is up front about wanting love from someone, even if her upfrontness comes in the form of knocking out sidekicks and hanging mobsters? That's a pretty refreshing change for this show. Also, she's smart. She gets a hacker to pinpoint the Arrow's secret lair.
3) She's Too Good For Anyone
We get a great example of Felicity being the pick of the litter in this week's episode. You know the Very Important Dinner and the Very Important Case and how Felicity couldn't do both? It's the classic superhero dilemma. You have to either give up your personal life or you need to see people suffer because you lost focus. Except Felicity does them both. She lets the Arrow team know what Cupid is up to, in between courses at the dinner. Ollie lures Cupid away from the Arrowcave, and Felicity's done with dinner by the time Ollie and Cupid have the big final confrontation. (During which, by the way, Cupid ties Ollie to the railroad tracks! That's the thing about Arrow. There is some infuriating stuff, but at least once an episode you want to kiss the screen.)
Meanwhile, at dinner, she gives a speech about how Ray isn't a businessman, because he doesn't care about money. What he cares about is making the world a better place, so won't the nice man please, please sell Ray his mine? Of course he will! Because no one should be able to resist Felicity.
4) She's Surrounded By Idiots
Not helping things, for a change, is Diggle. He's trying to get Ollie and Felicity together. That's fine when it involves telling Ollie that he needs to admit how he feels to Felicity, but things soon take a turn for the dark side. Digg goes to Felicity's office, and tells her that her being with Ray is "messing with [Ollie's] head... and that's dangerous." In other words, if Felicity doesn't just hang around pining for a guy who has explicitly told her he won't get involved with her, she might be responsible for his injury or death. John Diggle, shame on you. I hope Lyla takes you over her knee.
Ollie, meanwhile, as he is tied to the train tracks and aware that Felicity is listening in, tells Cupid, "I wish things could be different... I can't be with you. I can't be with anyone. I have to be alone." Oliver Queen, shame on you, too. Dumping two women at once, one of them over the phone, is the tackiest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen the wig you wear in your flashback sequences.
This is the part that really hurts. Felicity has many fine qualities, but fine qualities don't always translate into successful relationships. There are a lot of great people who are unlucky in love. But Felicity's not unlucky in love, just in melodramatic timing. She has two guys who both want to be with her and somehow neither one works out. Ray, of course, after swearing the dinner is platonic, plants one on her as he's taking off her necklace. (That was a pretty slick move. Anyone think Ray Palmer first got his cash by being a jewel thief, kissing ladies and taking their necklaces?)
Ollie, having re-considered his relationship with Felicity a-freaking-gain, comes in to tell her he loves her, sees her kissing Ray, and quietly leaves. Then Ray reconsiders, and also gets gone, leaving Felicity standing there, looking as befuddled and enraged as I was watching that.
That's mean, Arrow. That's mean. However, as Cupid is now a member of the Suicide Squad, I will forgive you if you have her and Deadshot become a couple.
Oh, and in other news, Captain Boomerang showed up, Thea hired a cute DJ for her club, and, in the flashback, Ollie learned how to do laundry. Real nail-biters for subplots this week.