The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

Oliver and Roy train in the Arrowcave. Laurel boxes with Ted Grant at his gym. Thea gets in some early morning sparring with Malcolm in a mysterious location. Felicity, meanwhile, does five sit-ups in her p.j.'s. Afterwards, she receives a visit from Ray Palmer, who immediately launches into his latest idea: he wants to give Queen Consolidated's excess electricity back to the city, free of charge. As he's showing her some preliminary calculations, Felicity receives another visitor. This time, it's an older, attractive blonde who shrieks in excitement and hugs Felicity tightly. Turns out, she's Felicity's mom, Donna Smoak, and she apparently forgot to hit 'send' on the text she wrote telling Felicity she was coming for a visit. Seeing Ray, Donna introduces herself, embarrassing Felicity when she shows off one of his smart watches she just bought and bragging about keeping up with "techie things" like Felicity. Ray, though, gives her the watch he's wearing as it's a more updated prototype, then sees himself out, letting mother and daughter catch up. Meanwhile, in a flashback to five years ago, a dark-haired, goth Felicity is hanging out in a college dorm room with her boyfriend Cooper Seldon and his roommate Myron Forest. With help from a super computer virus Felicity created, Cooper and his roommate manage to hack into the U.S. Department of Education's website, where Cooper begins erasing all student loan debt. Felicity worries the government will trace it back to them, but when Cooper refuses to stop, she pulls the plug, disconnecting him. Angry, he tells her that they could be doing some real good as hacktivists, and asks what she wants to be when she grows up, a hacker or a hero. Back in the present, meanwhile, it's nighttime, and Oliver is meeting his sister in a spacious loft apartment. She announces that she just signed the lease, explaining that she inherited some money from Malcolm's estate. He tries to talk her out of taking Malcolm's blood money, reminding her that Malcolm killed 503 people, including her brother Tommy. Thea retorts that he doesn't have the right to tell her what to do, and says the movers will be arriving the next day, so he can either support her decision or not. She then storms off, leaving Oliver dejected. However, he soon has bigger problems: through a bank of windows, he watches as various buildings throughout the city go dark, one right after another. He leaves to investigate, and as he's walking down the street, presumably getting ready to call Felicity, the TVs in a store window are hacked, displaying a digital eye. As people around the city watch, a group calling themselves Brother Eye claims credit for the blackout, warning the city that "judgement has been rendered" and that the blackout was just the beginning. Then, just as suddenly as the lights had been turned out, Brother Eye restores power to the city.

Later, Donna accompanies her daughter to Verdant, where she gets to meet Oliver, Dig, and baby Sara. Felicity is once again embarrassed by her mother, especially once Mama Smoak starts gushing over Sara, while Oliver and Dig are surprised and even amused to meet the woman who raised Felicity. Then, taking his team aside, Oliver expresses discomfort with baby Sara's presence in the Arrowcave, and since Lyla is apparently on assignment, Felicity volunteeers her mother for babysitting duty. Down in the Arrowcave, they find Roy already waiting for them. Getting to work, Felicitty informs the team that Brother Eye had uploaded a virus to the city's network, a virus that then deleted itself as soon as its task had been completed. Meanwhile, Laurel arrives at the police station, only to learn from her father that with the D.A. in Coast City visiting his niece, she's now the acting D.A. while the Brother Eye crisis is going on. Then, stepping away, Quentin phones Felicity, relieved to hear she and her computer expertise are already on the case. In another flashback to Felicity's past, meanwhile, she and Cooper continue to argue over her pulling the plug on him. He insists the government wouldn't have been able to backtrace it to him, but she explains in tech speak that they, in fact, could. Just then, the FBI shows up, and arrests Cooper as Felicity can only watch, horrified. Back in the present, Brother Eye again hacks into everyone's screens, announcing that the banks will be their next target and that they plan on zeroing all accounts, making everyone equal. Thankfully, though, Felicity had installed the computer equivalent of bread crumbs after Brother Eye's last broadcast, and sets about following those bread crumbs. Back at the police station, with Quentin busy coordinating with Dispatch, an officer informs Laurel that there's a situation at Starling National, and in response, she orders him to send a riot squad, thinking they'll keep everyone safe. Back at the Arrowcave, however, the team learns of the riot squad being dispatched, and realize that that will just make the situation worse. Oliver and Roy suit up and head over to Starling National, where they manage to disperse the crowd using teargas. Meanwhile, Felicity traces the virus Brother Eye had used, and realizes she can't stop it as it's the same one she wrote five years previously.

Later, after Oliver and Roy return to the Arrowcave, Felicity proceeds to fill them in on her hacktivist past with Cooper and Myron. However, she insists Cooper couldn't have done it, though fails to elaborate further. Instead, she points them in the direction of Myron, and works on getting them his address. Meanwhile, in another Felicity flashback, Felicity visits Cooper in prison. She reveals she plans on taking responsibility for the virus, but Cooper apparently already told the feds that he wrote it, figuring that there's no reason both of them should be in prison. Back in the present, meanwhile, Quentin gets onto Laurel about sending the riot squad, pointing out that in doing so, she made things worse, However, he softens, seeing that she's been angry and distant lately, and since she refuses to open up to him, he tells her she should at least talk to someone about it since secrets can hurt more than the truth. Meanwhile, at Verdant, Oliver finds Thea trying to open the door to the Arrowcave, and lies that he never could get it to open for him. Resuming their earlier conversation, Oliver once again urges his sister not to accept Malcolm's money. Thea says she's willing to meet Oliver halfway, but that he still needs to meet her the rest of the way. She ends the discussion by walking away, just as Felicity texts that she found Myron. Oliver and Roy pay him a visit as their respective alter egos, and while Felicity talks nerdy in Oliver's ear, they demand he shut down the virus. Myron, though, insists he's not part of Brother Eye, mentioning that he shared the virus with some people back in college, but can't remember who. Their interrogation finished, they return to the Arrowcave once more. Felicity expresses frustration at being unable to find the people Myron shared the virus with, so Oliver circles back to Cooper as the primary suspect. That's when Felicity finally reveals why Cooper couldn't have done it: he hanged himself in prison. Upset, she says she needs to be alone, but rather than returning to her apartment, she instead takes refuge at Queen Consolidated. Ray finds her there crying and tries to comfort her, but then, Donna shows up, tired of waiting for Felicity to come home. As Ray makes himself scarce, Felicity tries to explain to her mom that she has responsibilities she needs to take care of and that she can't just drop everything for Donna. The conversation then devolves into a mother-daughter argument wherein Felicity reveals that she feels like a disappointment to her mom and Donna in turn admits that Felicity is so dissimilar to her that she's afraid her daughter is going to leave her like Felicity's dad did years ago. Believing Felicity has already left her, though, she heads back to Felicity's apartment to pack her things.

Felicity returns to the Arrowcave, but sensing that she's still not in the right frame of mind, Oliver tells her to take an moment to go talk to her mom. Reluctantly, she agrees. Back at her apartment, Felicity tries to talk things out with her mom, but Donna interrupts to apologize for showing up unannounced. She says she was just so excited to win, via email that is, a free round trip to Starling City. Realizing the free trip was a scam, Felicity quickly deduces that someone lured her there, just as men in ski masks burst in and abduct Felicity and Donna, Later, the two find themselves in Brother Eye's lair, each tied to a chair. The group's leader greets them, before revealing himself to be Cooper.

Turns out, the NSA made a deal with Cooper. In exchange for his skills as a hacker, they faked his death, getting him out of prison. He says after his time with the NSA, he was going to recruit Felicity to his cause, only to find she'd become a "corporate lap dog." However, he needs her help. He explains that following the cyber attack on Starling National, the mayor has requested an influx of cash from the treasury department, and that the armored trucks delivering the cash can't deviate from their route or the trucks are shut down. What he needs Felicity to do is hack the treasury's encryption and rewrite the GPS to redirect the armored trucks. She refuses, of course, and that's when he pulls a gun on Donna, informing Felicity that that's why he had "some motivation" flown in. Back at the Arrowcave, meanwhile, the team starts to get worried about Felicity. Dig leaves to check out her apartment, while Oliver tries to call her. When she doesn't respond, he realizes something's wrong as she's never more than five feet away from her phone. Meanwhile, back in Brother Eye's lair, Cooper sees that Oliver's trying to call and stomps Felicity's phone, before releasing her to hack the treasury's IP. Once it's done, he zipties her to the computer console, then heads outside to await the armored trucks. Just then, Donna's new watch starts beeping. Remembering something Ray had said about the watch replacing an entire computer, Felicity realizes the watch has wifi, and proceeds to use that wifi to get a message to the team. However, Cooper returns, preparing to kill Felicity and then presumably Donna. Mama Smoak, though, refuses to let him threaten her daughter, insisting that without his gun, he wouldn't last ten seconds against Felicity. This distracts Cooper long enough for Oliver to show up as the Arrow. Unfortunately, Cooper activates a pair of motion sensored machine guns on either side of Oliver. While he deals with the guns, dispatching with them fairly easily, the armored trucks have arrived and are being shot at by Cooper's men. Roy and Dig show up to help. Cooper, meanwhile, takes Felicity hostage, but she manages to disarm him and knock him out, before untying her mom.

In the Arrowcave the following morning, Felicity tells Oliver that he was right to press her about Cooper, adding that old lovers can open old wounds. Oliver says that whatever experiences she's gone through, he's glad for it because they've helped to shape the person she is today, in the process reminding her of his feelings for her. In one last Felicity flashback, meanwhile, Myron visits Felicity's dorm room, to find that she's dyed her hair blond and and is sporting her now signature style. Back in the present, Laurel returns to Ted Grant's gym, confiding that her sister was murdered, and that she can't even tell anyone. She admits that it's made her angry, but Ted says he can help her with that, especially now that he knows how to train her. He insists she train for herself rather than her sister's killer. He then offers her a choice of training outfits, red or black, and she chooses black, "definitely black." Meanwhile, Oliver stops by Thea's new apartment with some popcorn as a peace offering. He says he missed her, and that he's willing to meet her halfway. So, she asks him to move in and share the loft with her, pointing out that it would be easier to be in each others' lives if they were under the same roof again. He agrees, especially once she promises to donate Malcolm's money to an earthquake relief charity once the club starts turning a profit again. They then settle in to watch a movie, while Malcolm watches them from a nearby rooftop. At QC, meanwhile, Donna arrives with her luggage, prepared to say goodbye to her daughter. Felicits admits that she hasn't always been appreciative of her mom, and thanks her for being there for her day and night. She adds that over the past two years, she's learned she's a lot tougher than she'd thought, and that she got that from Donna. Mother and daughter hug, just as Ray walks in. After giving an obviously fake cough, Felicity tells Ray she's calling in sick. Understanding, he tells her to feel better, framing his words in air quotes. Meanwhile, Roy is tossing and turning in his sleep, dreaming about Sara's death. In his dream, or nightmare rather, he sess himself angrily flinging arrows at Sara, killing her. He wakes up, horrified.