“A.W.O.L.” | Arrow
Emily Bett Rickards
Emily Bett Rickards has made an appearance on our list in the past, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the heart shattering, raw performance she delivered in “A.W.O.L” Interestingly what I found most captivating is the fact that just as Felicity’s adjusting to her situation, so is Rickards, and because of this, it makes the situation feel that much more realistic. But as if that weren’t enough to leave me in awe, Rickard’s needed to sell “Goth Felicity” all while keeping up with a broken, perplexed version of who she’s supposed to and wants to be. The battle between the two versions made for an entertaining hour of television, but the way she sold the character’s innermost anguish was nothing short of phenomenal. Rickards kept all of Felicity’s quirky nuances in tact, but there were subtly brilliant moments where it became clear that she’s trying desperately to go back to her old ways. This could be seen most clearly when she’s giving Oliver a speech in the layer. And it all comes down to the series showcasing the importance of not only knowing ourselves, but learning to understand that who we are on the inside matters far more than how we appear on the outside. As “Goth Felicity” flagrantly discusses hair and clothing changes, you can see our Felicity actively fight through it.
It isn’t fun to watch your favorite character suffer, but Rickard’s performances made it difficult to take my eyes off the screen. There’s such profound poignancy in the way Rickard’s spoke when Felicity was attempting to calm the voice inside her head while Oliver was trying to get through to her — you felt every ounce of her frustration entwined with sadness and a sincere gratitude that’s imaginably difficult to manifest in such palpable ways.
Physical beauty is found in all shapes sizes and it knows no disability — we are most beautiful when we wear a genuine smile on our face and I loved watching Felicity burn her old photograph as Oliver’s speech brought her hope.