EXCLUSIVE: Arrow's Felicity on her awkward evolution and why 'She is a hero'

Arrow - Felicity aka Emily Bett Rickards

Dark days have been visited on the gang of the CW's Arrow and their town of Starling City, and right in the thick of it is Oliver Queen's plucky secretary/secret Arrow Scoobie gang member, Felicity Smoak, as the show premieres its season-two finale tonight.

“She is a hero,” said Canadian actress Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity, during an exclusive interview with Blastr. “She's not the muscle. She's the brain. I think she feels left out and that's her sense. But she's also learning to accept and embrace her brainpower, when before she always felt isolated by it. I think weighing it in as an equal part is something that she'll always struggle with. But that's not to say she's not starting to become more open and wants to be more open to the physical aspect of it, too. She wants to be able to self-defend if she doesn't have a keyboard,” said Rickards.

Season 2 of Arrow has been a big one for Felicity, who has come into her own in a way. She's been the moral center of the Arrow's Scoobie gang and is one of the reasons the Arrow stopped killing his enemies.

“I think voicing those things is something that she might not have had the confidence to do before. Voicing those things and being like, 'Well, I'm only going to stay on until we find Walter,' and then, 'Well, I'm part of the team now, so this isn't right. You can't just go around killing everyone. They're people, too. This person's a brother and this person's a husband and this person's a sister,' and that sort of thing,” she said.

The bespectacled, plucky computer genius had an almost-romance with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), even though he got struck by lightning and will be turning into The Flash this fall on the CW. And she's started to overcome her insecurities as the non-physical member of the team.

“She is stronger than she believes. She's just relatable in the sense that those are things that we fight with, too. 'Am I as strong as I think I am?' Not just physically, but 'Are my morals as strong as what I'd like to believe?' That's what it comes down to when you're put into those hard decisions. I think that she's proven herself to be a good role model. I'd like to see her make some bad decisions that she learns from,” said Rickards.

One of those bad decisions may be her desire to get into the field. This season, she even got shot saving Sara Lance's life and ended up with her first battle scar.

“I'm proud of her. I find the way she's dealt with her personal problems, and I'm not talking about how she has to save Starling City, I mean her ability to socially have a life and stick by her morals, even being in this high-stakes, life-threatening situation. I'm proud of how she worked through that. I think her anxiety has gone down. Her friend count has gone from zero to four. She's changed so much more in the past year than she ever has in her lifetime. That's my verdict for season two, is that she has let herself change. There's been a liberation, and she's learning to accept herself as this new person, growing from where she came from. I'm just very proud of her. She's got a really special place in my heart.”

The actress admits that her brainy character has had an impact in her real life, too.

“Felicity is definitely seeping into my life as much as I'm seeping into hers. I've definitely become more awkward, I think. It's interesting. She's been exposed to all these new activities and situations environmentally and socially that she wouldn't have been in before last year. By playing her, and with the show becoming more well-known, I'm also thrown into activities and environments and situations, getting to talk to people that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to talk to or meet before. We've both been going through a big life change.”

Arrow - Felicity aka Emily Bett Rickards

Luckily for Arrow fans, the successful CW series has been picked up for a third season, which will premiere this fall. That means, assuming Felicity survives tonight's bloodbath on Sterling City by Slade Wilson and his the Mirakuru-enhanced warriors, we'll have plenty of time to learn more about her. That includes her crush on Oliver.

“I think Felicity half-knows she's in love with him, but also very much feels inadequacy in that. I think he has the reverse of it. I think he chooses to ignore what might be there, and I think she does too. I think they're both half-ignoring what those feelings might be, because the acknowledgment of them is when things will change. Whether those acknowledgments come out [next season], and when they do, there's a whole bunch that's going to change. The dynamic of the team. There will be probably a few episodes that revolve around 'Where are we now?' sort of things. Then it comes down to what's more important? Friendship or your feelings?”

Considering Felicity's short romance with Barry, romance with someone else is a possibility.

“Felicity needs a love interest that doesn't get struck by lightning,” joked Rickards, regarding the fate of Barry, who got his origin story on Arrow this season.

But mostly Rickards would like to learn more about Felicity as the series goes forth.

“I'd like to know if she's willing to let go of this adoration she has for Oliver that might be hindering some decisions she makes,” said Rickards. “I'd like to know more about her family ... I'd like to see her have a love interest. Or a friend, a friend that she goes and has coffee with. Just a friend. A friend would be nice.”

Here's a look at the season-two finale, “Unthinkable”:

What are your hopes for Felicity Smoak as the series goes forth?

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