Warning: spoilers ahead for the second episode of Arrow Season 7, called "The Longbow Hunters."
Arrow is back for its seventh season, and the crime-fighting is definitely not business as usual for the good guys of Star City this time around. With Oliver incarcerated after making a deal with the FBI to out himself as the Green Arrow, the rest of the former Team Arrow has to find a way to move on. In "The Longbow Hunters," Arrow delivered a Felicity twist that is both shocking and entirely logical: she's going to work with the FBI, and it could be exactly what Season 7 needs.
Here's how it started. Felicity made good on her vow to Oliver in the Season 7 premiere that she was done hiding from Ricardo Diaz. She returned to Star City with the intent to find him and stop him, no matter what. Still in danger, Felicity was hiding out at ARGUS and attempting to use ARGUS resources for her goal. Curtis didn't want to risk his job by letting Felicity get into her usual cyber shenanigans, and Diggle wanted to keep the focus on larger ARGUS matters.
Normally, it might have been difficult to relate to Diggle wanting to prioritize ARGUS over tracking down the man who had ruined the lives and nearly killed some of his favorite people, but he had a point in this case. The Longbow Hunters debuted by stealing a battery with the capacity to generate a whole lot of power, and as one might expect of ARGUS tech, it can also be used as a weapon powerful enough to level a city. Oh, ARGUS.
Felicity's focus on catching the Longbow Hunters over recovering the battery botched an ARGUS mission, and her assistance during a train heist when an ARGUS team was attempting to stop the Longbow Hunters almost resulted in disaster when Diaz turned up on the train. Diggle got hold of the battery, but Diaz was right behind him, and Diggle told Felicity to uncouple his train car from the one carrying Diaz. Felicity wouldn't do it because it would have meant Diaz escaping, and Curtis stepped in and did it himself.
Luckily, Diggle and Felicity are two members of the former Team Arrow who can resolve conflicts like adults, so neither blamed the other for their disagreements during the episode. Diggle had a difficult discussion with her, and it was ultimately revealed that he didn't take on the mantle of the Green Arrow as Oliver requested because he couldn't bear to let his family be torn apart the way Oliver and Felicity's was.
After the train, Diggle checked up on her, and Felicity acknowledged that the world is a safer place since the weapon was recovered, even though it meant losing Diaz. Instead of compromising her priority, however, Felicity simply said that she needed to focus on catching Diaz, and Diggle was not the one to help her do that. She took her leave of ARGUS, telling Curtis she needed to find somebody to help her. As it turns out, that somebody happens to be FBI Agent Samanda Watson.
In the final scene of the episode, Felicity sat in Watson's office and rehashed the deal that sent Oliver to prison in exchange for the FBI capturing Diaz. As Felicity pointed out, Oliver is in the clink but Diaz is not yet captured. So, she told Watson that they're going to take down Diaz... together. Felicity will work within the law!
By teaming Felicity up with the FBI, Arrow is finally delivering an arc for Felicity in which she can be proactive and actually lead the charge. While the FBI will presumably have the power in the hunt for Diaz, and her mission is in honor of her husband, Felicity's mission to take down Diaz is her own, and she's taking steps to make it happen as quickly and effectively as possible. The normal allies can't cut it? Time to move on to the people who can!
As Overwatch (and before she received that name), she was an essential part of supporting Team Arrow, but she won't just be support in the hunt for Diaz, and it won't have to take a backseat to somebody else's arc. While her arc almost certainly won't be the A plot for every single episode of Season 7, it can showcase her in a new way and mix up a series that is getting pretty long in the tooth.
The CW is not CBS or NBC, and not an overwhelming number of shows last into their seventh season on the network, Supernatural notwithstanding. I'm still half convinced somebody at Supernatural made a deal with the devil to keep it going indefinitely. If Arrow gets too stale or formulaic, viewers may not be willing to tune in anymore. This new era of Arrow under a new showrunner is treading new ground, and that's a good thing in Season 7.
Now, some may argue that Felicity's decision to work with the FBI is a betrayal of Oliver, as he would not be in prison getting the stuffing beaten out of him if not for Watson forcing him into a deal. The reality is that Oliver made that deal of his own volition because he knew getting Diaz was more important than his own pride and freedom. Nobody tortured him into outing himself as the Green Arrow.
Oliver understood the need to bring in the FBI to assist Team Arrow five months ago; why wouldn't he understand and support Felicity helping the FBI keep its side of its bargain with him? If anything, he ought to be grateful when he finds out. He made the sacrifice of his own freedom to get Diaz captured. At the moment, he pretty much sacrificed his freedom for nothing. Diaz is not only at large; he also recruited a dangerous trio of villains to help him out.
Felicity teaming up with the FBI could absolutely expedite the process of capturing Diaz. We should also get to see Felicity unleashed with all the resources of the federal government behind her. She won't have to worry about being caught if she's working with the people who once would have done the catching. While Felicity presumably won't have a carte blanche to do whatever she wants under federal purview, she could have means she never had access to before, even under ARGUS.
Perhaps teaming Felicity up with the FBI also means that Arrow won't abandon any of the major arcs of the season for chunks of time. Oliver has the prison arc, Diggle (with Curtis) has the ARGUS arc, Dinah and Rene likely have the new Green Arrow arc, and Felicity can have the primary Diaz/Longbow Hunters arc. Laurel can go wherever the wind blows her, as is her wont. These arcs will surely cross over and the characters will interact, but I'm excited to see how Felicity's story unfolds.