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Arrow (The CW) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on October 12, 2012

‘Arrow’, based on characters appearing in comic books and graphic novels published by DC Comics, is about a playboy, converted to a superhero murdering machine by spending five years on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The main character, Oliver Queen, is portrayed by Stephen Amell (‘Justice for Natalee Holloway’). ‘Arrow’ airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8/7c.

‘Arrow’ starts with a man, doing some nice parkour on the rocks, followed by an epic shot with a bow and arrow creating a fireball explosion. For 5 years this man has been stranded on an island, the name of which translates into 'purgatory'. After his parkour fireball exercise, the man, called Oliver Queen, is found by a coincidentally passing ship.

Oliver tells the viewer in a voice over how he was stranded on the island after a shipwreck that killed everyone on board but him, and how his sole purpose was to survive. To accomplish this, he has formed himself into more than a man. He is a survival machine. And now, he can go home, to confront those who have ruined 'his city'.

Back home in Starling City, Oliver’s mother Moira (Susanna Thompson, ‘Once and Again’) and sister Thea (Willa Holland, ‘The O.C.’) await him. Oliver learns that his mother has been remarried, and he struggles visibly with this discovery.

In a series of flashbacks, we see the ship Oliver was on and how the disaster went down. One minute there was a storm and Oliver was in bed with a girl named Sarah, the next the entire ship rolled over and Oliver was floating in the ocean. His father and a crew member got him into a lifeboat, but he struggled to get out and find Sarah, who was still in the boat. His father did everything to keep Oliver alive, going as far as shooting both the crewmember and himself to make sure Oliver got all the supplies they had.

Sarah’s sister Laurel (Katie Cassidy, ‘Gossip Girl’) is Oliver’s former girlfriend. As it turns out, Oliver and Laurel were together when he took Sarah with him on the ship. Oliver goes to her, apologizing for being with her sister while he was her boyfriend, but she has no intention of forgiving him. She tells him she couldn't be angry at her because she was dead, and she couldn't grieve over her death because she died screwing Laurels boyfriend. She makes it clear what she thinks about the situation when she says: “It should've been you.”


Tommy (Colin Donnell, ‘Pan Am’), Oliver’s best friend, takes Oliver into the city to catch up on everything he missed. As they walk to their car, a van drives up to them and two men with masks shoot them with tranquilizer darts and they collapse. As Oliver wakes up, one of the masked men asks him if his father survived the accident. He tortures Oliver to make him answer, but Oliver has released his cuffs and fights the men off. I do wonder; where on the island did he learn how to do that? Was he taken hostage by the local animals, perhaps?

One of the masked men runs away, so Oliver follows him in his epic ‘parkour meets Tarzan’ mode. He catches the man and he breaks the man’s back so nobody will find out he is now some sort of superman. When he is back home, he tells two detectives about what happened. He tells them that a man in a green hood came in and fought off the robbers. Tommy was unconscious and doesn't remember any of it, so the detectives have no choice but to believe him.

Moira wants Oliver to have someone to watch over him, so they hire John ‘Dig’ Diggle (David Ramsey, ‘Dexter’) to take care of him. Obviously, Oliver doesn't need him, and so he simply steps out of the car Dig is driving and disappears. Oliver goes to his father's abandoned factory and sets up his home base there.

Oliver reveals his first target: Hunt, who has once again just been acquitted for a crime. Interestingly, Laurel happens to be one of the attorneys working on the case.
As Hunt is walking to his car in a garage, Oliver shoots his henchmen and pulls Hunt from the car and tells him to transfer $40.000.000 to an anonymous bank account by 10 p.m. the next evening. Back in his office, Hunt tells the police about what happened. He informs the detectives they will have to come back before 10 p.m. that night to catch Oliver..

Oliver can't escape from going to his coming home party that night, but he keeps a close eye on the clock. As luck would have it, Oliver’s party is across the street from Hunt's building, where policemen are gearing up.
Oliver then bumps into Laurel, and they go somewhere quiet where she apologizes for wishing he was the one who died. During their conversation, the clock strikes ten and Hunt hasn't transferred the money. Oliver tells Laurel to stay away from him, or he's going to hurt her again. He tries to pretend to be the same party boy he used to be so she won't get near him.


As Oliver walks away from the party hall to go across the street to Hunt's office, Dig intercepts him and tells him to go back to the party. Oliver is able to overpower him, and even though there are police forces everywhere, he makes his way into Hunt's office, with his hood on, by shooting half the officers and Hunt's men with his arrows. Before he can get to Hunt however, he has to take on Hunt's new bodyguard, and he’s proving to be a really good fighter. The policemen that were waiting outside the building get a call from Hunt that Oliver is inside, and they storm into the building.

Oliver only just overpowers the bodyguard when the police come in. He jumps out of the window, using a line he put up there before entering Hunt’s office to be able to escape to his party location across the street. The police see him going there, and they drop by the party. Oliver is back there again, and a standoff between him and the detective in charge shows that Sarah and Laurel are his daughters, and the detective is angry at Oliver for not saving his daughter. Tommy seems to suspect something, knowing that Oliver was the one who asked to have his party at that location.

Back at Hunt's office, we learn that 40 million dollars has been taken out of his account, untraceably. It turns out there is some device on one of the arrows Oliver shot into the wall of Hunter’s office that transfers the money wirelessly. Laurel and her coworkers are getting calls from their clients, the ones that had sued Hunt but lost, because magically, a lot of money has been added to their bank accounts.

‘Arrow’ was everything I expected it to be. It has action, a lot of chasing scenes, mysteries, betrayal, drama and love stories. It’s not always believable, especially when it comes to the things Oliver learned on the island. For instance; when his mother wakes him his first reaction is to pin her down to the ground. Now, I know that this can be normal for soldiers, for example, who just came back from a warzone, but when you’ve been on a deserted island I can’t imagine you’d learn this. After all; who would you be pinning to the ground? It would be more believable if he acted as if she was a wild animal. However, it doesn’t annoy me that much, or at least not as much as it could have. Although that is probably because they don’t put emphasis on how and where he learned these things, but more on what he is going to do with them.

This first episode primarily revolved around Oliver coming back to the mainland and his family, although he does ‘handle’ one ‘case’. However, I suspect the following episodes will be more about the people Oliver wants to take on. As for his motives; it’s not very clear yet why exactly he is doing what he is doing. The only thing that is hinted on is that his father might have asked him to, although that isn’t clear. So this is another thing that needs to be revealed in the following episodes. And then there is what seems to be a conspiracy against Oliver, with people abducting him and trying to get information from him. It’s safe to say that there are a lot of interesting episodes still to come.

‘Arrow’ airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 8/7c.

What do you think of 'Arrow'?

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    • Robin Oatley profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Oatley 

      6 years ago

      Hi Joe,

      There was a lot of forced dialogue, I agree. However, I suspect they wanted to tell the viewers as much about the characters and their relationships as they could, making the conversations a little weird.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It was a good concept, but the lousy dialogue was too off putting, and the "Dark Knight" tone made it unoriginal. I would like to see them do another pilot before watching this show again.

    • Robin Oatley profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Oatley 

      6 years ago

      Hi Fazz Hands,

      That is a very interesting view, I hadn't even thought about it that way. It would be so cool if there is so much more to the island than we know now! It would definitely explain a lot of things if there were other people there.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Fazz Hands 

      6 years ago

      When he pinned down his mother, I thought the same as you. But then I thought that perhaps he wasn't stranded on a *deserted* island after all - maybe there were others that he had to defend himself against.

      I think it adds to the mystery because you don't actually know what happened on the island, all we know is what he is telling us (which may be false).


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