The first episode of ‘Arrow’ has finally premiered and, in my opinion, amazingly lived up to the hype. This is definitely no ‘Smallville’ so if you were expecting something to that extent, you may be disappointed. What we do have is a great beginning of a superhero origin series. Let’s get straight to the recap!
The episode begins with the rescue of Oliver Queen after being stranded on Lian Yu island. The Starling City news gives a report of his return with a b-roll of his notorious playboy lifestyle before his disappearance while also announcing the death of his father, Robert, from that same accident that stranded Oliver. When Oliver is finally brought to the Queen mansion, he is reunited with his sister (who he has an obvious affection for) and meets his dad’s business associate, Walter Steele, who he doesn’t seem to remember.
We are introduced to attorney Dinah Laurel Lance who works at a legal aid office and is working on a case to bring Adam Hunt, a man who has swindled people out of their homes and life savings, to justice. She hears a newscast about Oliver’s rescue and the fact that he was the sole survivor of the boating accident that claimed the life of her sister, Sarah.
In a flash back, we see that the yacht was heading into a category 2 hurricane. Oliver is getting it on with Laurel’s sister, Sarah, but he tells her not to worry as Laurel won’t find out. All of the sudden, the yacht overturns and the cabin begins to fill with water. Sarah is sweep away and the next thing Oliver remembers is his dad and the ship’s captain pulling him out of the ocean onto a raft. He watches as the boat sinks into the sea.
Oliver’s bestie, Tommy, arrives at the Queen mansion and during dinner brings Oliver up to speed with what he’s missed the last 5 years… Super Bowl winners, the finale of ‘Lost,’ all the important stuff. When Oliver makes a comment about Walter’s “relationship” with his mother, she tells him that they are now married once it was legally confirmed that his father, Robert, was dead.
The time at the island has really done a number on Oliver’s psyche as he feels more comfortable sleeping on the floor with the windows open then in a nice luxurious bed. As he sleeps, we are once again brought back to the fateful night of the boating accident.
Moira checks in on Oliver and tries to wake him up. Startled he flips her in a defensive move. When he realizes what he has done, he is in shock and apologizes. Not the only in shock, Moira tells him it is okay because he’s now home.
The next day, Oliver heads to Thea’s room where she and a friend are preparing to do some cocaine. They hide the drugs as Oliver comes in. Once her friend leaves, Oliver gives Thea a hozen, a Buddhist symbol of reconnection which gave him the hope to reconnect with his sister.
Tommy comes in and takes Oliver into town. Oliver sees how down trodden Starling City has become and confides to Tommy that the ones thing he misses the most is Laurel. Tommy takes Oliver to see Laurel where he tries to make amends and apologizes. After all, he was screwing her sister while he was supposed to be her boyfriend when her sister became lost at sea. Laurel tells him she doesn’t blame Sarah, but is still angry at Oliver and wished it was him and not her sister that died. (Yeah, that went well…)
As Tommy and Oliver head back to the car, they are jumped by masked men who shoot tranquilizers at them and kills storekeeper who inadvertently comes out of his shop. When Oliver comes to, one of the masked men asks him if his father had survived and if he told him anything. “Yeah,” he says, “he told me I’m going to kill you.”
In a quick action sequence, Oliver manages to take out all but one of the men. After checking to see if Tommy is okay (which apparently he was since he was faking unconsciousness…hm……), Oliver went after the last kidnapper. After catching him, Oliver has him in an upside down head lock, tells him that he saw him kill the shop keeper, mutters how the guy now knows his secret and snaps his neck.
Oliver tells detectives Hilton and Lance (yes, the same Lance as Sarah’s and Laurel’s father) that a man in a green hood saved them. Tommy says he never got a good look at the guy. Det. Lance doesn’t believe him. There a bit of animosity oozing out of the detective (can you blame him?) and Walter decides it is time for the detectives to leave. Lance leaves a parting shot that Oliver’s luck doesn’t seem to run out.
Later, Oliver is in his room looking up records on Adam Hunt and verifies that his name is in a mysterious black book he has with him. Raisa brings in some food for him and tells him that she notices he is different but still has a good heart. He tells her he knows he’s not always been a good person but would like to now be the person she always told him he’d be.
The next day, Moira tells her son that she has hired him a bodyguard/chauffeur and introduces him to John Diggle. As they drive into town, Diggle tells Oliver that he is ex-military and begins to tell him his background and warns him that he is there to protect him but in the midst of all this, Oliver manages to jump out of the moving car.
Oliver heads to the old Queen factory and begins to create a secret lair for himself. There he sets up a tech bay, machines new arrows, works out, and brings out the bow that he used on the island. He is on a mission and his first target is Hunt.
Hunt is heading to his car with his body guards and assistant shooting off orders at the latter to remind the Judge who got him his seat and to take care of Laurel. All of the sudden the lights go out and one of the bodyguards gets an arrow in the chest. Hunt is rushed into the town car while the other bodyguard is taken out. Hunt is forcedly pulled out of the car where he comes face to face with Arrow who tells him to transfer $40 million into an account at the Starling City bank or he’ll be back to take it himself.
Hunt tells Detectives Lance and Hilton that a man in a green hood with a bow and arrow attacked him and his men. As the detectives leave, they come to the conclusion that maybe Oliver was telling the truth.
The next night, Oliver is heading out to his welcome home party. When he opens the door, he finds Diggle in the back seat waiting for him. Oliver admires his resourcefulness. Guess he won’t be jumping out of moving cars anytime soon.
Coincidently, the party is across the street from Hunt’s office who can hear all the noise. At the party, Oliver sees his sister take a packet of drugs and heads to her to tell her she needs to leave. She tells him that the last 5 years hasn’t been easy and she’s dealing with it all the best that she can. As she leaves, she discovers that the drugs she bought are not in her purse. Instead, Oliver pick pocketed them out from under her and throws them in the trash. As he turns, he bumps into Laurel who has a change of heart and would like to talk to him privately. She apologizes for her earlier comments and offers to be there if he ever needs someone to talk to about what happened to him. Instead, he tells her to stay away from him because the next time he hurts her, it will be worse. (Don’t you hate noble bad asses?)
Oliver checks and Hunt didn’t transfer the money like he was told to do. As he tries to sneak away to visit Hunt, Diggle is waiting for him and directs him back to the party. He diverts Diggles attention and puts him in a choke hold to render him unconscious.
Over at Hunt’s office building, everyone is getting prepared to keep the green hooded man from entering the building but it’s all for naught as the lights go out and Arrow comes in via the elevator. He fights his way to Hunt’s office but security consultant Drakon attacks Oliver as he enters. As fight ensues between them but in the end, Drakon was able to grab a gun and fire at Oliver as he shoots an arrow into Drakon’s chest.
Lance and Hilton head to the office just as Oliver wakes up and we find that he had a bullet proof vest on (that is some vest!). He manages to escape by zip lining toward the parking lot. The detectives can’t believe their eyes.
The police try to shut down Oliver’s party but he saunters up to let them know that it’s a private party and they can’t do that. Lance tells him that the same green hooded guy that saved him is the same that attacked Hunt. Oliver then takes on the playboy persona and offers the crowd $2 million to find out who the green hooded guy is. Disgusted, Lance leaves but not before asking Oliver if he even tried saving his daughter Sarah. Oliver gets the party going again. Tommy tells him that it’s quite interesting that Oliver wanted to party across Hunt’s office, Hunt being robbed and the same green hooded guy showing up. Oliver just tells him she should be happy to be alive.
The next morning, Hunt finds out that $40 million is missing in his account and wonders how that could happen. We find out that one of the arrows that Green Arrow shot had an electronic hacking device that enabled Oliver to steal the money.
He crosses Hunt’s name from the black book and remembers the last hours with his dad. Robert tells Oliver that there isn’t enough food for all of them to live but he needs hang on in order to make it back home to right the wrongs he did. He tells Oliver to get some sleep and as he does, he shoots the captain. Oliver wakes up in shock. Robert looks at Oliver and tells him “Survive” before shooting himself in the head.
Meanwhile, Laurel is getting phone calls from clients who were part of a class action suit against Hunt calling to let her know that money has mysteriously shown up in their accounts. Apparently, Starling City has now found itself a guardian angel.
Tommy stops by to visit Laurel and we find out that they had a fling. Laurel tells him that there is nothing between her and Oliver and that he and her can’t be a couple as Tommy is not a one girl kind of guy. Tommy is obviously into Laurel and tells her it depends on the girl. As she leaves, Oliver is seen watching the two in his Arrow persona.
A voice over in Oliver’s voice breaks the fourth wall stating that the island has changed him and that the names on his list are names that have ruined his city through intimidation and fear and that when he’s done with them, every last one of them will wish he had died on that island.
Back at the Queen mansion, a man reports that the police do not know who arranged for Oliver’s abduction and asks if another one should be attempted. Moira tells him no as there are other ways to find out what her son knows….
First of all, I need to say that I’m not very familiar with the classic comic Green Arrow so if you expect a harsh reaction that it is very different than the Oliver from the comics or from Smallville, you won’t be getting it from me. On that note, the pilot did an excellent job introducing the characters and setting up the season. There are a lot of twists and turns and the usual questions that come with a new series and I think the producers managed it all very well in this pilot episode.
We were promised a grittier and more realistic Green Arrow and I think we have it. Although the show is a bit cavalier about the issue of killing people off, the freerunning sequences were wonderful to watch. If you missed this episode, you can still watch it online at the CW site.
So what did you think of the first episode? Sound off in the comments below!