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Arrow provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned War Child: Deadshot came home to a beautiful toddler who didn't recognize him, and didn't get the chance to get to know him before PTSD-driven aggression drove him out of his home.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: The Arrow's base of operations. It hugely averts the Never Recycle a Building trope first by using the Queen's former steel factory and then building a club above-ground with his Elaborate Underground Base underneath it so as to provide a cover to where he goes every night.
    • Joined by another one he planned to use in case the foundry was compromised. Until then he apparently went there when he needed alone time.
  • Action Girl:
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    • Laurel can hold her own against your usual mooks. In season three she started on the road that will make her this universes Black Canary, including gaining her trade mark Canary Cry.
    • Shado is as badass as Slade and considerably more so than Oliver.
    • Helena can just about keep up with the Vigilante.
    • McKenna Hall is a tough cop.
    • The Canary/Sara Lance, capable of matching Oliver in skill, and while she prefers a battle staff, she's no slacker with a bow either.
    • Nyssa al Ghul
    • Isabel Rochev, even before becoming the Ravager.
    • Thea Queen becomes this due to Malcolm's training.
  • Action Duo: Diggle and Oliver, before Felicity came along.
  • Action Survivor:
    • Oliver is forced to take level after level in badass after the Queen's Gambit sinks. Oliver is trapped on an island full of mercenaries (amoung other nasty surprises). His time there leads to over 20% of his body being covered in scars and there is evidence of healed broken bones that were never properly set. And he's a captain in the Russian Bratva. Who knows what else happened in those five years?
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    • Similarly, Sara is found by Dr. Ivo and a crew of pirates who are aboard The Amazo. Later she joins the League of Assassins. Unlike with Oliver, we may never know what happened during Sara's six years away from Starling.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • At one time, Laurel snarked at Tommy if he's planning to take her to Monte Carlo.
    • Thea describes Roy Harper as 'Abercrombie-looking'. Guess which company his actor Colton Haynes modeled for? Revisited in "Broken Dolls", where Sin also keeps calling him Abercrombie. It becomes her Affectionate Nickname for him.
    • In "Suicidal Tendencies", Oliver calls Ray Palmer "Supersuit", and Felicity calls his photo imaging tech "X-Ray vision". Brandon Routh played Superman in Superman Returns.
    • In "Invasion", Thea and Hallucination!Malcolm mention that Tommy Merlyn isn't able to be present at the Oliver/Laurel wedding because of his work as a doctor in Chicago, referencing the fact that Colin Donnell was unable to appear in this episode because of his work on Chicago Med.
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  • Adaptational Mundanity: The show is a lot more gritty than its source material, and while it doesn't remove all fantasy, the few elements of such remaining are treated as they would in the real world. This is especially true in the first two seasons.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The show incorporates elements from across diverse eras of Green Arrow's comic-book history and mythos, as well as the larger DC Universe.
    • Season 1 borrowed the tone and realistic aesthetics of Mike Grell's landmark Green Arrow series, as well as other elements (the hooded costume, Oliver's willingness to use lethal force, Oliver not being called 'Green Arrow' and focusing on tackling urban crime and corruption). 'The Undertaking' i.e. Malcolm's Merlyn's plot to level the Glades is based on a similar plot (which involved the SAME villain) from Judd Winick's mid-2000's run.
    • Word of God cited Andy Diggle's Green Arrow Year One miniseries as inspiration for the island flashbacks.
    • Oliver's feud with Deathstroke in Season 2 borrows elements from their feud in Identity Crisis (specifically, Oliver stabbing Slade in the eye with an arrow).
    • Oliver losing his company and fortune at the end of Season 2 sets up a status quo similar to that in the comics of the 70's through till the early 2000's.
    • Roy Harper on the show is a perfect example of the trope. He combines the origin of the New 52 version, a small-time felon who is given the chance by Green Arrow to become something more, with the Red Arrow costume he wore in the mid-2000's as a member of the Justice League; apparently goes by the name Arsenal but essentially plays a role similar to what he did in the comics as 'Speedy'. Also, the Season 2 sub-plot of Roy being injected by Mirakuru and losing control is reminiscent of the landmark comic-book story Snowbirds Don't Fly which dealt with Roy's heroin addiction.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Felicity Smoak has black hair in the comics, but is portrayed as a blonde in the TV series. Lampshaded in "Home Invasion", when she admits to dying her hair. Explained in the A Day in the Limelight episode "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak", in which it's revealed that her hair going from its natural black hair to dyed blonde is a Expository Hairstyle Change.
    • Oliver himself has dark hair, instead of his trademark blonde (though in some of the flashbacks his hair appears lighter, closer to its comic book roots).
    • The same goes for Roy Harper: from red-haired to brown.
    • Also Sara, who has golden hair under a platinum blonde wig. However, the original version of Sara, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, was a brunette, like Black Canary originally was in the comics.
    • Barry Allen has light blonde hair in the comics, but is portrayed with brown hair in the show.
    • Mia Dearden is blond, but Thea is a brunette.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A major aspect of the series.
    • Oliver's time on the island has expanded from a mere few weeks/months (during which he mastered archery in order to hunt game, and eventually busted some drug-dealers before getting home) to a 'five year nightmare', during which he, among a LOT of other things foils an attempt to cripple the Chinese economy and is involved in the origin of Deathstroke. As of Season 3, we've learned that he wasn't even on the island for the full five years, and spent some time in Hong Kong as an unwilling ARGUS agent. Basically, a simple origin story has been expanded into an on-going five season long flashback story-arc.
    • The show tends to do this with the origin stories of most characters. Roy Harper's transformation into Speedy/Arsenal became the subject of a season-long arc, and it looks to be the same with Laurel's transformation into Black Canary.
    • It has so far taken two seasons for the show to get to the classic status-quo that the Green Arrow comics started with - Green Arrow and Speedy (Arsenal on the show) fighting crime together as a team, and the Arrow being embraced as a hero by the citizens of Star(ling) City.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The name "Green Arrow" is never used (except once, derisively) until Season 4. Until then, Oliver Queen's alter ego were The Vigilante, the Hood, and The Arrow.
    • Mia Dearden becomes Thea Queen, though she uses her comic name as an alias in Season 3 and her comic surname is actually her and Oliver's mother's maiden name.
    • Detective Larry Lance in the comics becomes Detective Quentin Larry Lance, while his daughter Dinah Laurel Lance goes by her middle name.
    • Star City was known as Starling City until Season 4 (although Star City has been implied to be a nickname anyway).
    • Arthur King/Merlyn the Archer becomes Malcolm Merlyn /the Dark Archer.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Malcolm Merlyn (based on the comicbook character, Merlyn) had the Queen family yacht sabotaged, shipwrecking Oliver and his girlfriend Sara Lance, inadvertently causing the events that would shape them into The Arrow and The Canary vigilantes. Also, Deathstroke trained Oliver and helped him survive on the island.
    • In "Uprising", it is revealed that Brick was the one who murdered Malcolm Merlyn's wife and was thus responsible for his Start of Darkness. This means that he is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the origins of the Dark Archer, Arrow, Canary and Deathstroke.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Amanda Waller in the pre-Flashpoint comics is a heavy-set, middle aged woman. While her appearances in other live action media like Smallville (Pam Grier) and Green Lantern (Angela Bassett) typically have her as much slimmer, they still kept her as being older and weathered in experience. Waller in Arrow is played by a slim, very attractive actress in her 20's, which is more akin her post-Flashpoint look.
    • Merlyn in the comics is depicted as a middle-aged man with, Depending on the Artist, either a receding hairline or a "Wolverine like" hair. Malcolm Merlyn is portrayed as a Tall, Dark, and Handsome of the same age but with good head hair that is always properly groomed.
  • Adaptational Badass: Thanks to the current lack of powers (or at least, limited number of them) or A-List characters, characters who were B or C-level badasses in the comics are bumped up significantly to fill the gaps as they're no longer Overshadowed by Awesome.
    • The classic interpretation of Oliver resolves primarily around his inhumanly accurate archery skills along with his Trick Arrows, and while he is a competent athlete and hand-to-hand fighter in general, he's easily outclassed by the likes of Batman. Without Batman, Oliver changes from a B-list Badass Normal to the most notable hero in the universe whose skills make him a target for the likes of Ra's Al Ghul, who'd usually harass Batman instead. This is also helped in part by the fact that, by toning down the variety of Trick Arrows in his quiver, he's forced to take people down by hand more frequently, placing more emphasis on his fighting skills.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Anatoli Kynazev, who in the comics is the Batman villain KGBeast.
    • Shado in the comics is a Dark Action Girl who rapes Oliver. Here, she's his Sexy Mentor and their relationship is consensual.
    • Sebastian Blood gets a sort of Adaptational Anti Villainy. While the comics version is a total psychopath who does things For the Evulz, the Arrow incarnation is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who has a Heel Realization, and dies reiterating that everything he did was for his love of the city.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Every variation on Black Canary ditches the leotard and fishnets, but they hold on to the platinum blonde wig. Sara wears a corset under a jacket, but Laurel is an outright Spy Catsuit.
  • Adaptational Sexuality:
    • Nyssa al Ghul is a lesbian.
    • Also, Black Canary is bisexual, whereas, in the comics, she is canonically straight, which is not to say that she hasn't had any homoerotic subtext. Word of God, Gail Simone, stated the character was about 75% straight, but due to a communication error this never came up in the comics.
    • Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific is a gay man, where as his comic book counterpart is straight.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the comics, Dodger is a Lovable Rogue Anti-Villain who dates Mia. In the series he's a ruthless Smug Snake who gives his hostages explosive collars.
    • In the comics, Helena Bertinelli/Huntress is a dark antihero, perhaps the darkest in the DCU. Here, she eventually becomes an out-and-out villainess, although without very much change in her basic personality. She is somewhat more ruthless in the show, being willing to kill innocent people and attack Oliver's loved ones in pursuit of her revenge. In the comics, she never killed innocent people, and would not deliberately attack people who did not get in her way. Also, in the comics, she eventually became best friends with Oliver's off-again on-again love-interest, Dinah Lance/Black Canary.
    • Fyers was morally ambiguous at worst in the comics, and slowly became one of Oliver's close allies. Here... not so much.
    • Moira Queen, though to a less extent. In the comics, she was just a posthumous character (a Martha Wayne expy).
    • The Blackhawks were a heroic, if sexist (in a Fair for Its Day invoked kind of way) military airforce unit from WW2. Here, they're a corrupt Private Security firm who use their skills and equipment to rob banks.
    • The Movement has gone from an Occupy-type protest organisation to Bomb-Throwing Anarchists.
    • As revealed in "The Climb", Maseo. In the comics, he's just an ordinary man who's death leads to his wife becoming Katana. Here, he's a member of the League of Assassins. Granted, throughout the flashback arc in Season 3 his descent into villainy is portrayed sympathetically, and when he's finally killed by Katana his death is portrayed as a Dying as Yourself moment.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The toned down 'no fantastical powers' results in this for some characters, by turning them into Badass Normal characters instead.
    • Harbinger/Lyla Michaels, in the comics, is a super-powered ally of the Monitor and joined the Amazons; in the series she's a former Afghan War vet-turned ARGUS agent and leader of the Suicide Squad, and Diggle's ex wife who he reunites with.
    • Shrapnel, in the comics, is a walking pile of scrap metal. In the series, he's a Mad Bomber.
    • Laurel, due to being the Black Canary in the comics, who was one of the best fighters in the DCU. Here, she's an OK fighter at best who can take on a thug or two, but is easily over powered by stronger fighters. As of Season 3, she's working on that last part.
    • Sara, who is the show's Canary, also lacks her trademark Canary Cry. Instead, she has a sonic-generating device that has the same effect.
    • Kate Spencer is Manhunter in the comics. In-series, she is Starling City's District Attorney. Well, was...
    • Count Vertigo, in the comics, is a super-villain who is well trained in combat and has the ability to disrupt and disorient opponents using the "Vertigo Effect" from which he takes his name. In the series he becomes The Count, an intelligent and influential but non-powered drug lord who manufactures and sells a narcotic called vertigo which induces a disorienting effect in users.
  • Adorkable: Felicity. At times, even Oliver. And with Barry, adorkableness-squared when he's in the same room with Felicity.
    • Even Nyssa has moments of this after her falling out with Ra's and trying to live like a normal person when she isn't training Laurel - because having been raised to be a warrior all her life she has absolutely no idea of how normal people act. Her reaction to Laurel introducing her to milkshakes is especially funny.
  • An Aesop: Arrow tends to deliver a number of these, that take some of the characters singular episodes or sometimes even entire seasons to learn. Notable ones include:
    • "Once you go through a crucible, you emerge the stronger for it." Uttered by Helena Bertinelli early in Season One, subject to many a Call-Back and often part of a character's story arc.
    • "Don't let your own guilt justify a vendetta." First crops up in "Broken Dolls", where both Quentin and Laurel have to learn this, and becomes all-too-relevant following the Face–Heel Turn of Slade.
    • Drugs Are Bad - see below.
    • No-one is irredeemable:
      Laurel: That word you said before - what was it?
      Sara: Taer al-Safar... it means the Canary.
      Laurel: If you're so far gone, and so irredeemable, then why would they know you by such a beautiful name?
    • Don't push people away - it is atttachments to people that make life worth living. First uttered by Oliver (again, in "Broken Dolls"), it ironically can refer to one of his major character flaws.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Oliver has to relearn You Are Not Alone among other lessons to pull him out of his latest funk just about every season. Then, even if not Oliver, keeping secrets from each other is a bad thing is something most every member of Team Arrow has had to learn, with each having been on both sides of the fence at one point or another.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Oliver told Felicity he loved her before going to Nanda Parbat to fight Ra's al Ghul.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Malcolm Merlyn, the Big Bad, is generally quite polite and calm, even charming (the fact that he's played by John Barrowman helps), yet he's also the first villain to thoroughly kick Oliver's ass, and the only one to do so without a dose of Mirakuru.
    • Ra's al Ghul. Like Malcolm, he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who, as he puts it, replaces evil with death. (Basically, he and the league are what you'd expect for the guy Malcolm gets his way of thinking from.) So naturally, he's polite and calm and seldom gets worked up. When it's finally time for him and Ollie to come face to face, he hands Ollie a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle, and then compliments his abilities, and finally says a prayer for Ollie's peaceful entry into the afterlife, and seems very sincere about all of it. Then he tosses him off a cliff.
  • Age Lift:
    • In the comics, Roy was young enough to be adopted as Oliver's ward, like Dick Grayson to Batman. In the show, they're closer in age to the point they're more like brothers. Similarly, Mia Dearden (Thea's comic book counterpart) is a young teenager when her and Oliver first meet (around 16), and is at least a decade younger than Roy. While Roy's exact age isn't clarified in the show, she's 17/18 in the first season when the two start dating, implying he's only in his early twenties at most.
    • Similarly, Dinah Laurel Lance/Black Canary started her crime fighting career when she was in her late teens, and was around 19 when she joined the Justice League and first met Oliver (who was a good few years older than her). In the show, the two went to school together and are the same age. Likewise, the first Black Canary, Dinah Drake, is usually significantly older, having fought crime long before Oliver started, but in the show, Sara Lance, the show's version of the first Canary, is actually younger than Oliver and Laurel by a few years, being Laurel's younger sister instead of her mom.
  • The Alcatraz: Lian Yu, the island Oliver was stranded on, used to be a secret prison where the Chinese military kept its most dangerous prisoners. The end of Season 2 reveals that A.R.G.U.S. has since taken over and built actual underground cells.
  • All According to Plan: Turns out Oliver let himself be caught on camera. With Diggle's help, he's now able to have the Hood be spotted while he has the perfect alibi, thus deflecting the police's attention away from him and the fact that The Hood has shown up at the exact same time Oliver returned from the island. And Oliver was the first person he "saved".
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The League of Assassins, in the episode of the same name, attacks Canary's clock tower base to try and kill her.
    • In "Time of Death", there's a cyber attack variant, as Tockman hacks the Arrow Cave's computers and makes them self-destruct.
    • "The Man Under The Hood" has Slade easily break into the Arrow Cave and wipe the floor with the team, all so that he can steal the Skeleton Key device. And since he probably could have done so without them ever realizing he was there, it seems likely he was also trying to send a message.
    • There's a literal example of this in "City of Blood", as Isabel's takeover of Queen Consolidated allows her to seize all of the Queen family's assets, including Verdant, and by extension, the Arrow lair beneath it. During the siege of the city, she and Slade use the QC offices as their base.
    • In "Unthinkable", the Deathstrokes raid the clock tower (which Team Arrow have taken over as a default base), and are revealed to have trashed the main Arrow lair.
  • Alternate Continuity: DC's Geoff Johns said Arrow and The Flash will not be part of Warner Bros.'s current DC movie franchise, which includes Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The theme song for the Japanese release of the TV series is "BURNING UP" by EXILE TRIBE.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • The Dark Archer gives Arrow a Curb-Stomp Battle. Twice.
    • Cyrus Gold, first survivor of Mirakuru basically tossed The Arrow around like a rag doll and kicked the crap out of him. That's not the worst part, however, Oliver ends up poisoned during the battle and nearly dies afterwards.
    • In "Time of Death", The Clock King is this to Felicity initially, before she deals with him with his own tricks.
    • In the same episode, Felicity feels that Sara is this to her, as she repeatedly gets shown up by her as well as Tockman. This changes when she defeats the Clock King and saves Sara's life.
    • In Season 3, Laurel had a really hard time succeeding her sister as a vigilante after the latter's death.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Felicity's mom is always imploring her about her love life, and sort of embraces the Dumb Blonde stereotype. One of the reasons behind her behavior, though, is that she worries Felicity got all best traits from her deadbeat dad, and desperately tries to find something they have in common. Even their blonde hair doesn't count, as Felicity dyes her hair. Felicity does admit that she gets her tenacity from her mom, who struck around through the hardest times.
  • Anachronic Order: The show begins with Oliver being rescued from a deserted island, and splits its time with the modern story in Starling City with flashbacks to the events on the island. This is often used to explain how Oliver gained a particular skill he shows in the present day, or sometimes tell actual story elements that come back around. Towards the end of the first season Oliver acquires his first kill with a bow and arrow. Strictly speaking, both stories are chronological themselves, the first year on the island is covered over the course of the first year back in Starling City and the second season flashbacks covers the second year.
  • And Starring: Depends on the season. It's rotated and shared by Susanna Thompson (Moira), Paul Blackthorne (Quentin) or/and John Barrowman (Malcolm). Colin Donnel (Tommy) also always gets "Special Guest Star" billing separated from the normal episode guests list everytime he appears post Season 1 (sans "Three Ghosts" where he was treated as a "Surprise Guest").
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. If you are hit by one of Oliver's arrows you are going down and are lucky if you live (or unlucky that the misery is not over).
    • Subverted with Oliver's duel with the Dark Archer. He takes three arrows in the back but is in good enough shape to get out of there and rips them out. However, doing so seems to be too much for him and Diggle needs to get him to the hospital when he collapses afterwards, and he takes a while to recover from this, as well as the beating he took from the Dark Archer.
    • Played straight with Mirakuru Soldiers, but justified as Mirakuru makes their muscle density strong enough that any arrow that hits them is stopped before it can do damage and have strong healing abilities, and they can similarly withstand bullets. This was actually a plot point as its what lead Oliver to realizing what he was dealing with.
  • The Anticipator:
    • Some of the more Genre Savvy villains tend to take precautions against a visit from the Hood - these include posting a lot of mooks in order to deplete his arrows, or ambushing him in areas where he can't easily use his bow. Laurel does this as well when Oliver shows up in the Starling City Police Department's main office, having a contingent of Special Operations officers waiting to take him down.
    • One small time crook is smart enough, after surviving an encounter with the Hood, to bring a plexiglass riot shield with him next time.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Malcolm Merlyn would like you to believe he can solve all of Starling City’s problems by destroying the Glades and everyone in it with a man made earthquake. Heroic goal but horrific means.
    • William Tockman, the Clock King just wants to provide for his sister after he's gone!
    • Floyd Lawton / Deadshot started as a full fledged, psychotic villain. In the second season he's softened a bit when we learn that he has an account set up for his daughter and that he's more of a Punch-Clock Villain doing a job for the money. In the third season "Suicidal Tendencies" gives him a flashback story that shows his Start of Darkness as a war vet who loses his family after suffering PTSD and being recruited as a gun for hire afterwards.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: After Moira holds a press conference to announce Malcolm's plan in "Sacrifice", the Glades dissolves into chaos.
  • Arc Number:
    • 503 becomes important in season 2, since it's the number of people killed by the Big Bad's master plan in the season 1 finale.
    • "52" starts cropping up a lot in Season 2 as well (see Continuity Nod below)
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Season 1 has two. For the present day scenes, the strange symbol of Tempest which turned out to be a map of the Glades. For the flashback scenes, planes. First because a wreckage of it is where Oliver will meet Slade and start learning how to fight and survive. Second is because the flashback Big Bad's actual mission is to take down a plane to destroy the economy of China.
    • Drugs just keeps popping around as early as Season 1, Foreshadowing the introduction of Mirakuru as an important Plot Device in Season 2.
    • Masks in Season 3. While it's been around ever since, one of the Central Themes of the season (the other being family) is identity.
    • There are even examples for specific characters, such as:
      • Boats are strongly associated with Oliver in the flashbacks, symbolizing his journey on becoming "something else".
      • Water is strongly associated with Sara Lance. Ever since the yacht incident, she was thrown into a large body of water twice (including said incident), only to be rescued both times by people who will eventually teach her to become tough and strong. When she was killed off by Thea in the Season 3 premiere, she is revealed to be resurrected by the Lazarus Pit in the early trailers for Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Arc Villain: The flashbacks have each featured one or more per season:
    • Season 1 has Edward Fyers and his mercenaries, and Billy Wintergreen.
    • Season 2 has Anthony Ivo and the Amazo crew.
    • Season 3 has Amanda Waller then General Matthew Shrieve.
  • Arc Words:
    • General ones:
      • "You/I have failed this city". It's what Robert Queen says to Ollie before he died, it's what Oliver says to the people he takes down, and what Moira says to the press conference before outing herself and Malcolm.
      • "The [insert loved one] you lost, is not the [insert loved one] who has returned/you have found/ we/you will get back". Usually said when a lost loved one returns very different. How they are lost varies on the circumstances.
      • "It's not your/my secret(s) to tell". Said by Oliver and other characters regarding who gets to know his Secret Identity. It's also used a lot to defy premature Internal Reveals.
      • "Someone else...something else". It's said by Oliver in the Opening Narration of each episode, and finally spoken in the show proper by Felicity in the season 3 finale during her rousing speech to Oliver.
    • Season 1:
      • People are always telling Oliver to "Survive".
      • "Plane" always pops-up in every other conversations in the flashback scenes.
      • On the bad guy side, there's "The Undertaking".
    • Season 2:
      • Prochnost' /прочность, (Russian for "strength"), which ties into the storyline of the Mirakuru and its strength enhancing properties.
      • The S.T.A.R. Lab Particle Accelerator, which ultimately leads to Barry Allen getting his Super Hero Origin. S.T.A.R. Labs itself also becomes crucial to the plot leading to the Season Finale.
    • Season 3:
      • "A man cannot live by two names" (On that note, the title of the season 3 finale is "My name is Oliver Queen").
      • "Family" is mentioned a lot, befitting since it's the Central Theme of the season. Speaking of which, the season also featured the first Crossover with Team Flash, which is a meta-example of welcoming a new member of the Arrow-verse family.
    • Season 4:
      • "Darkness" has been mentioned several times in the season premiere alone. Coincidentally, the name of the season's Big Bad is Damien Darrk. Not only that, he uses black magic.
      • "United". It's part of Oliver's political plan when he runs for Mayor, but it also refers to the him finally reconciling every known issues he had with the members of the now growing Team Arrow.
  • Armor Is Useless: The body armor worn by the US Marshals doesn't help much against Huntress' crossbows. Truth in Television: the way kevlar vests are engineered to stop bullets makes them vulnerable to stabbing and bladed weapons.
    • Averted with Slade's Deathstroke gear, as it shows the armoured plates are designed with arrows in mind, resulting in Oliver's anti-Mirakuru arrows just bouncing off.
  • Arrow Catch: Used as a shorthand on the show to illustrate that a character is badass.
    • In Season One:
      • In the pilot, Oliver catches a knockout dart ...and is promptly knocked out.
      • Wintergreen does this with one of Yao Fei's arrows during a flashback in "An Innocent Man".
      • Helena catches an arrow Oliver shoots at her in "The Huntress Returns", saying she practiced the move just in case.
      • Malcolm does this when Oliver shoots at him in "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
      • In "Sacrifice", Malcolm does this again in his fight with Oliver. Only this time, Oliver fired an explosive arrow that detonates right after Malcolm catches it.
    • Season Two, in keeping with its promise to knock things up a notch in terms of supers...
      • Bronze Tiger, in the second episode, can slice arrows out of the air with his claws. Over and over.
      • In the fifth episode, "League of Assassins", one of said assassins catches one coming at him from behind. Well, to the side, but also a little bit behind.
      • In "Seeing Red," Roy in a Mirakuru-induced rage catches one of Ollie's arrows in midair and kills a cop with it.
    • Season Three:
      • In "Sara," Oliver shoots his last arrow at Delacroix, who deflects it and returns fire. Oliver catches the arrow fired at him, nocks it, and shoots Delacroix with it, pinning him to the wall.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: There's a very good reason why doctors give injections exactly the way they do: holding the syringe upside down and pushing the plunger until a bit of fluid comes out, then sticking the needle directly into bare skin. If any air gets injected into the patient's vein, it can cause a fatal embolism, and if the needle goes through clothing it can snag bits of fiber and push them into the bloodstream, which can be just as bad for you. The show screws up on both counts, more than once.
    • In addition, Ra's Al Ghul stabs Oliver in the high-to-middle torso, and the sword goes all the way through. It doesn't matter that he landed in snow and that the cold slowed blood loss. There is no possible way for him to have been stabbed there and had it not puncture either his stomach, which would've released hydrochloric acid into his system, or his intestines, in which case he would've gone septic. Unless he was minutes away from a hospital and was immediately attended to, instead of being on a remote mountain, there's no way he could have survived that injury.
  • Artistic License – Military: Season four introduces the rubicon program which can, with some work, launch all nuclear missiles simultaneously. Actual nuclear missile sites are closed network and can't be accessed via the internet. Furthermore, nuclear sites require physical input by high ranking military officers before they can fire. Not to mention that it is pretty dumb to place all of your nuclear missiles in the control of a small device which can be easily stolen.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • In the Pilot, the Corrupt Corporate Executive Adam Hunt gets the court case against him moved to the courtroom of a judge whose election campaign he funded in order to rig the outcome of the case. He's even shown at one point telling his subordinates to put "remind" the judge that "I put him on the bench, I can take him off." In real life, this would be a clear conflict of interest for the judge and he would have to recuse himself from the case. If he didn't recuse himself the plaintiffs would have excellent grounds for appeal.
    • Intentional version: In real life, the only wounds hospitals are required to report to the police are gunshot wounds. As Roy points out, when there's a vigilante archer running around putting arrows in criminals, an arrow wound is gonna get the police called just as easily as a bullet.
    • In the season 2 episode "Blind Spot" Laurel probably doesn't need to ask "a warrant, for what?" while handing it back to the corrupt cop. U.S. warrants have to state explicitly what is being searched for. As an assistant district attorney, she would certainly know this.
    • Season 3 reveals that criminal law has gotten a little... weird with the Arrow's team running around. The courts should dismiss any case where the suspect was brought in by a vigilante, but Starling City is willing to let that slide so long as they have actual hard proof, usually in the form of physical evidence. With no evidence, the courts have little choice but to let the suspects go.
    • Also in Season 3, a criminal called Brick steals a bunch of evidence from the warehouse where it's stored. He keeps newly released criminals in line by threatening to send evidence on them to the DA. But there's something called the chain of custody, where evidence is documented as having been handled only by police and officers of the court. As soon as Brick touched that evidence, it would be considered tainted — any competent defense attorney could get it excluded on the grounds that Brick could have tampered with it.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Some of the people in the Glades. Most were probably good people, however.
    • Sebastian Blood. After having him help Slade tear the city apart, and still think he'll be allowed to be its mayor, it's very satisfying to see Oliver's Death Glare as he leaves Blood's office. Zig-zagged when he's impaled by Isabel afterwards, though.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Cyrus Vanch certainly feels so.
    • Slade would agree.
    • Apart from those two, however, the series averts this. Most crime bosses offer no physical challenge to the Arrow themselves, and even Vanch is a pushover, relying on his men to handle the Arrow.
  • Back from the Dead: Happens a lot, despite the show's earlier more down-to-Earth aesthetic, the first two people to do it admittedly were only presumed dead.
    • An essential part of the Green Arrow mythos, Oliver Queen was assumed dead by the world for five years. Does for real in season three.
    • Sara Lance in the first season is presumed to have died on the Queens Gambit, but comes back in season 2, and it's eventually revealed that Oliver thought she really died a second time on the island. A third time happens in the trailer for the new spin-off Legends of Tomorrow.
    • Slade Wilson and Isabel Rochev in season two, both via Mirakuru. Malcolm Merlyn from the same season via Lazarus Pit (or so he implies).
    • Thea Queen in season three via Lazarus Pit. Not without side effects.
    • Sara AGAIN in season four. The Lazarus Pit has an even worse set of side effects on her than Thea, but they figure it out... eventually.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In the season 2 finale, the League of Assassins shows up to help Oliver fight Slade and his army of Mirakuru-enhanced criminals. They're the ones who kill Isabel when Oliver isn't willing to. Subverted in that Oliver really didn't want (or even need) her to die.
  • Bad Liar: Played with as Oliver can lie well enough to fool a police lie detector but he seemingly chooses not to most of the time. His family puts most of the lying and avoidance down to PTSD from his experiences on the island. A particular note to the terrible lies he tells Felicity - likely because he's testing her trustworthiness. Generally, he can lie when he needs to, but purposely makes bad lies as a way of testing people.
  • Badass Army: The League of Assassins and the Blood Cult.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: During the season one finale, Merlyn is defeated by Oliver in combat, but manages to destroy half the Glades anyway, though he kills his own son in the process.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: This turns out to be Ra's Al Ghul's specialty. He takes injury every time, but uses the Lazarus Pit as a Healing Factor.
  • Bash Brothers: Oliver and the Canary/Sara Lance in season 2, until they become a Battle Couple. Oliver and Diggle also play with this, and in Season 3 it appears Ollie and Roy have this dynamic too.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In "Damaged", Oliver realized that eventually someone will put together the timing of his return home and the arrival of Arrow, purposely staged his bag of supplies in front of a security camera, suspecting that he would get arrested on 'mostly' circumstantial evidence. Then, after being arrested and forced to wear a security anklet he threw a large party (ensuring multiple witnesses) and had Diggle appear as Arrow on the other side of town.
    • The way Oliver finally turns the table on Slade in the S2 finale. He had previously discovered that the Queen mansion had been bugged, and that Slade would kill the person he thought Oliver loved most, so he staged a declaration of love for Felicity, and planted the Mirakuru cure on her, in the hope that he would kidnap her.
  • Bathroom Break-Out:
    • In "An Innocent Man", Oliver ditches his bodyguard by going to the washroom and never coming back.
    • Which is a call back to "Lone Gunmen" in which Diggle and Oliver discuss Oliver using the tactic on him.
      Diggle: I guess from now on I'll be watching you pee.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Oliver and the Huntress are very briefly this in episode eight.
    • Oliver and the Canary, as expected, develop into this.
    • It's implied that Sara and Nyssa were this before the former ran away. One of the reasons they failed was because Sara couldn't take the life of an assassin anymore.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Arrow puts his fist through the visor of Helena's helmet before violently tearing it off her head, all without smudging her makeup, much less damaging her face to even the slightest degree. Likewise, though she engages in multiple bouts of fierce hand-to-hand combat, she is never shown to suffer so much as a scrape or bruise (until shot in the shoulder).
    • Subverted with Oliver himself, who most definitely suffered a great deal of cosmetic damage and scarring during his time on the island (though played straight in that he somehow avoided any lasting damage to his face). Sara as well, who is also covered in scars on her body but her face remains spotless.
    • Essentially, if you're a recurring character, you're not likely to get your mug busted. Diggs does get cut once, in a small way, and Oliver gets bruised a few times, but nothing big.
    • Averted with Deathstroke and Deadshot, who both lose an eye fighting Oliver that they replace with an Eyepatch of Power.
    • When a bomb goes off mere feet away from Felicity in the season 3 opener, she is seen afterwards with blood and soot all over her. But after she has a chance to clean up, she doesn't have so much as a single bruise.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Felicity said she would only help Oliver with his vigilante activities until Walter is rescued. She eventually warms up to the job though.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • An oddly inverted version. Detective Lance initially really wanted to bring the Hood in. By the time he became the Arrow, Lance was just as determined not to. "I can't know who he is. That would make him human. He'd have a family. I need him to be the Arrow."
    • Played straight with Oliver in the Season 3 premier. Oliver fears that because of everything he went through in the five years he was away, and the choice he made to dedicate himself to the crusade, he has now completely become the 'Arrow' and cannot truly be 'Oliver Queen'. Throughout the season his identity crisis is emphasized, culminating in The Arrow (actually Roy)'s capture and faked death. However, he does eventually become the Green Arrow in Season 4.
  • Big Bad: Two per season, separated by timeframe:
    • Season One:
      • Present Day: Malcolm Merlyn.
      • Flashbacks: Edward Fyers until the season finale reveals he's The Dragon to Amanda Waller (though she wasn't properly revealed as his benefactor until Season 3).
    • Season Two:
      • Present Day:Slade Wilson as The Man Behind the Man to Brother Blood.
      • Flashbacks: Dr. Anthony Ivo. In "The Promise", we see Slade's Face–Heel Turn occur in the flashbacks along with usurping Ivo's resources, making him the overall Big Bad of the whole season.
    • Season Three:
      • Present Day: Ra's al Ghul who wants to kill Malcolm Merlyn for betraying the Leauge of Assassins and plans to kill innocent people is Starling City in the process, as well as Merlyn again for dragging Team Arrow into the whole mess by braiwashing Thea into killing Sara. "Nanda Parbat" sees Ra's al Ghul take over the role completely with Merlyn becoming a reluctant ally of Team Arrow.
      • Flashbacks: China White who attempts to sell a highly dangerous virus and Amanda Waller who is trying to stop the sale and forces Oliver to cooperate by threatening Maseo's family. After China White gets arrested, "Broken Arrow" has General Shrieve hijack the role from Waller, with his plane to spread the aforementioned virus throughout China.
    • Season Four:
      • Present Day: Damien Darhk is plainly established as this as the visionary behind HIVE's plans for Star City.
      • Flashbacks: Baron Reiter, the Lian Yu slaver and drug lord who turns out to have been looking for the same magical idol that fuels Darhk's powers.
    • Season Five:
      • Present Day: Prometheus is introduced as a nemesis to Green Arrow.
      • Flashbacks: Konstantine Kovar, a Russian kingpin.
    • Season Six: Ricardo Diaz, formally known as 'The Dragon', a drug dealer seeking to take over Star City and land Oliver in prison.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Oliver has this for Thea, as does Tommy, to a lesser extent. Oliver also has a Knight Templar Big Brother side, which is stated in that entry.
    • Sara is the same, despite being explicitly Laurel's younger sister: Hurt Laurel, you're not likely to live. She reacts similarly when Quentin, her father, is harmed, and when her surrogate little sister Sin is hurt, she's willing to put aside the theatrics and Just Shoot Him.
  • Big Brother Worship:
    • Thea, for Oliver, before he disappeared. After his return, that worship transforms into an equally-powerful mass of bitterness and anger with him, because of how badly his apparent death hurt her. It's worth considering that a large part of the reason Thea became a parental disappointment, wild party girl and drug user, besides her stated reasons, is because that's how she remembered her brother, and she wanted very badly to grow up to be just like him.
    • Sin is the same with Sara, despite not being her actual sister.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Most heroic characters do this on multiple occasions, especially Oliver, Roy, and Sara; Yao Fei and Oliver often combine it with *Twang* Hello. A villainous example occurs in "Streets of Fire" with Malcolm Merlyn.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Oliver and Felicity at the end of season 3 premiere.
  • Bilingual Dialogue
    • Oliver speaking Russian and Yao Fei understanding English when responding in Mandarin Chinese in "Lone Gunmen", although he can speak English as well in "An Innocent Man".
    • Season Two episode "Keep Your Enemies Closer" sees the team travel to Russia, with an abundance of subtitled Russian dialogue (and a bit of Mandarin in a flashback).
    • Sebastian Blood and his mother, Maya Resik, alternate between English and Spanish. Somewhat justified in that Maya's English is not very good, and though Blood insists on speaking in English, he delivers lines he wants her to understand in Spanish, including his final Wham Line:
      Sebastian: Los dioses son muertos. (Your gods are dead.)
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The end of Season One has Tommy Killed Off for Real, half the Glades leveled with no indication about what happened to Thea or Roy and Moira taken to prison. Nobody really won since Merlyn only destroyed half while it was being evacuated (preventing a complete Downer Ending) and Oliver couldn't completely stop him.
    • The end of Season Two surpasses it. While he is able to defeat Slade and the Brother Blood Cult Army, Oliver is left without a job, his mom killed by Slade, and Thea having run off with her father after finding out she was Malcolm Merlyn's daughter. On the flipside, he and Team Arrow become more closer.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Oliver uses this as a way of disarming his enemies; once he tones down on killing it becomes his go-to attack until he declares Thou Shalt Not Kill, in which case he switches to just using non-lethal trick arrows, or 'Baby Arrows' as they're derisively dubbed.
    • Used twice in “Honor Thy Father”. Once with a knife to disarm China White and once to disarm Detective Lance.
    • In “Dodger” he actually paralyses the titular villain to disarm him.
    • In "Draw Back Your Bow" he manages to knock another archer's bow out of their hands.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Oliver does this a lot. Sometimes as a way of testing to see if he can trust the person he's lying to, but often to protect the people he cares about.
    • Oliver lies to Diggle a lot at first, because he doesn't like having a bodyguard. Once Diggle is in on the secret, he has no problem calling Oliver out – but he never goes to the police.
    • During the first half of the first season, Oliver regularly brings pieces of evidence to Felicity for her to analyze. For example he asks her to find the source of a dangerous drug, claiming that it is a hangover cure. His lies are so bad that she's less surprised when she should be when he finally tells her the truth.
      Felicity: If it's an energy drink, why is it in a syringe?
      Oliver: I ran out of sports bottles.
    • His mother passes his lying off as PTSD but his sister and Laurel are generally less impressed. It is worth noting that the lies he tells the three of them (and Tommy) are not quite as blatant.
    • Oliver's ability to pass a lie detector test could call this into question, but those rely mostly on the subject's nervousness while being questioned, and Oliver is very good at staying calm under pressure.
    • Slade takes the biscuit in "Deathstroke":
      Slade: Don't press charges on my account. I'm not one to hold a grudge.
    • Oliver claiming that he was the one who killed Sara. While his lie isn't TOO terrible, nobody falls for it. Not even Ra's, the guy who never even met Oliver.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Zig-zagged. Blood is shown sparingly, and usually to emphasize the cruelty or Combat Pragmatism of the person letting it. For instance, people injected with Mirakuru tend to bleed from the eyes, and when Slade kills four of Sebastian Blood's men in his Deathstroke gear, his sword ends up covered in the stuff. In contrast, many people arrowed by the Arrow's arrow aren't shown to bleed (one noteworthy exception is Roy Harper in "The Scientist", and he recovers from it quickly thanks to Mirakuru), when Slade stabs Wintergreen there is no blood, and a poison described as causing an eye haemorrhage in "Heir to the Demon" looks much less gory than it would in real life. In general, while the series does show blood, it tries not to show too much, likely to avoid incensing censors.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Diggle's official job is Oliver's bodyguard, with the first few episodes had him increasingly aware that Oliver was much more capable than he wanted people to believe. Even after joining the team, Oliver's bodyguard and Queen family security is his cover. He does mention in later episodes his cover is Oliver's "black driver."
  • Bond One-Liner: "Time flies" by Felicity, after the Clock King says "Tempus fugit", just before blowing up his mobile phone.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Mentioned by name by Thea when Team Arrow captures Anarky and just ties him up to be interrogated instead of throwing him into the deepest, darkest prison they can:
    Thea: Aren't we risking some CRAZY Bond Villain Stupidity here?
    • Black Siren lampshades the tendency of Arrow villains to pull this trope on Oliver, and attempts to avert it but fails.
    Black Siren: I am so sick of everybody not killing him when they get the chance!
  • Book-Ends:
    • Season 2 starts and ends with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity on the island.
    • Also, at the start and end Felicity is kidnapped by a villain who holds a weapon to her throat (the Count and Deathstroke respectively.) In the first instance the Count dies because Felicity is defenseless and Oliver has no choice but to kill him. In the second, unbeknownst to Slade, Felicity is carrying the cure, and uses her position to inject him. Oliver manages to capture him without killing him.
    • Finally, the second season opens with Oliver taking up his vow of Thou Shalt Not Kill. The season ends with Felicity reminding him that he swore not to kill, that his current problems aren't because he didn't kill Slade when he had the chance, but because he didn't save Slade when he had the chance.
    • The first time we see Moira, she calls Oliver "my beautiful boy." She calls him that again in a flashback in the episode where she dies.
  • Boot Camp Episode: In 'The Return', in preparation for the faceoff against Ra's al Ghul, Oliver takes Thea to Lian Yu to better train her.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Or Bottomless Quiver at any rate; Subverted in "Betrayal." Largely averted otherwise; he typically doesn't go up against enough people that he'd really need more than the two dozen arrows in his quiver. And a bow doesn't actually need reloading, when you think about it.
  • Break Them by Talking: Thea does not like it when Oliver treats her like a child and tries to send her home from a nightclub in the third episode, and she executes a vicious verbal attack on him via this trope. She informs Oliver that Tommy, his best friend, has been 'screwing' Laurel, his old flame, during his absence... and she does it with an immense amount of sleekly-smug satisfaction at the pain on their faces. The attack is mostly (though not completely) diffused by the fact that Oliver overheard the truth while on patrol and has somewhat come to terms with it already.
  • Break the Cutie: The series does this to quite a few characters.
    • Oliver: A rich party boy who’s stranded on an island named ‘purgatory’. And earns that name.
    • Thea: Her brother and father were killed in a boating accident which caused her mother to become emotionally distant for a while. Then when her brother does come back he’s suffering from PTSD. Then she discovers her mother cheated on her father and his biological father is a mass murderer, and then is murdered right before her protecting her and her brother. Then, just as she seems to be coming to terms with her legacy said father drugs her and makes her murder a friend, just to use her as leverage against Oliver. It's telling that when a guy tries to kill her when he's barely dressed after sex it hardly makes a blip on her "my life sucks" radar.
    • Laurel: Her sister and boyfriend were killed while cheating on her. Her parents divorced because of her sister’s death and her father became an alcoholic. Then her boyfriend comes back, tells her that her sister died and becomes distant. Then her new boyfriend dies and she becomes an alcoholic, and then her sister comes back and gets killed not long afterwards, this time for sure right before her eyes, and she has to hide it from her father because he's got a heart condition and the news might literally kill him. When he finally finds out, it damages their relationship forever.
    • McKenna Hall: A vice detective given the prime job of hunting down The Vigilante only to be injured and have to leave town.
    • Tommy: His mom was killed when he was eight then his father disappeared for two years. Then his best friend is killed in a boating ‘accident’. And then there’s what happens in season one, ending with his death.
    • Sara: Same as Oliver, though she left the island early and ended up running with the League of Assassins, and carrying out assassinations with them lead to her hating herself.
  • The Bro Code:
    • Tommy really doesn't want Oliver to find out that Tommy hooked up with Oliver's ex-girlfriend Laurel while Oliver was missing. Never mind that Oliver had been cheating on Laurel with her sister, or that Oliver was Legally Dead for five years.
      Tommy: Whether you were dead or, as it turns out, alive on a deserted island, you're my friend. And me being with Laurel violated that friendship in about fifty different ways.
    • Oliver’s observance of the same code is a little more fluid. He sleeps with Laurel while Tommy’s feelings for her are still up in the air and he’d told Tommy to try and work things out with her. However, Tommy had just shot down any idea of getting back with Laurel, and Oliver’s own feelings and readiness for a relationship play into it.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • For a while, this is how Thea sees her mom after The Undertaking.
    • And then later how Oliver sees his mother after finding out that Thea is Malcolm's daughter.
    • Tommy has this reaction to Oliver when he finds out he's the vigilante, and later to Malcolm upon finding out he's the Dark Archer after spending the last half of the series patching things up with him.
    • Surprisingly inverted with Thea, who gets increasingly pissed at everybody lying to her, to the point where it drives her to become Malcom Merlyn's apprentice. When she finally discovers that Oliver is the Arrow, she feels that all of the lying and secrets Oliver kept were justified and it goes a great length towards repairing their relationship.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Oliver (as the Green Arrow) and Thea (as Speedy) are this in Season 4.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Oliver is the Brooding Boy to Felicity's Gentle Girl.
  • Bulletproof Vest: At least the torso section of Arrow's costume seems to include this as a feature. Either that or the mooks are just that bad at aiming. Moira manages to do quite a bit of damage at close range with a handgun. Likewise the Dark Archer gets a couple of arrows through into Oliver's back.
  • Bury Your Gays: After spending a season nearly being killed at different points, Sara, one of the only two LGBT characters in the show, takes three arrows to her gut in the Season 3 premiere. Later Subverted, however, as she gets better in the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow, via Lazarus pit.
  • Burying a Substitute: Both Oliver and his father have gravestones, but no graves, because they were Lost at Sea. Oliver has both removed, even though his father really is dead. (Ostensibly to further his bad-boy cover persona, but possibly also because he knows his father has a real grave on Lian Yu). Laurel also tells Oliver they buried an empty coffin at her sister Sara's grave - which then ends up being used when Sara dies for real several seasons later. Until she comes back, that is.
  • The Bus Came Back: Joanna was Put on a Bus at some point but came back at some later point.
  • Byronic Hero: With the sole exception of Felicity, every major character. Oliver, Diggle, Quentin, Sara, Laurel, Roy, Thea, everyone is a highly flawed individual who are dedicated to what they believe in, but have a tendency to let their flaws get the better of them. They all get better through Character Development.
  • California Doubling: Somewhat. The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the stand-in for "Starling City", though it's usually atypically-angled shots of Boston, MA when we look out over the city. The license plates on cars are also thinly disguised modifications to standard-issue B.C. plates. In season two the plates have been changed a little bit: The motto now reads "Land of Mist".
  • Call-Back:
    • Oliver has a tendency to look down on other vigilantes and it's especially hilarious in Season One, when he's killing people left and right. His reason? "Typically, they don't show my level of restraint." Dig uses the phrase at least once more when he's talking about the copycat Hoods, and trying to convince Oliver that the city needs him.
    • "Suicide Squad" has Sara reassure Oliver that she's "not that easy to kill", a phrase that Oliver had once told her when referring to Shado and Slade.
    • In "Streets of Fire" Merlyn takes out a bad guy with an arrow that explodes after a delay, just like Oliver used on him to take advantage of his arrow catching prowess.
    • In 'Unthinkable', Slade escapes from a battle the exact same way Oliver did in the pilot...by jumping out of a window and sliding down a line that had already been set up.
    • The pilot, and the second and third season premiers, all begin with a shot from Oliver's POV as he runs through some woods. In the first two instances, Oliver is actually on Lian Yu, while in the third season premiere he's in Starling City. Doubles as a Homage Shot.
    • In "The Calm", Oliver ends his speech at Queen Consolidated by saying "This company is my family...And as my mother used to say, there is nothing more important to me than family". He was likely referring to Moira's campaign speech in "Seeing Red", where she said "Starling City is my home, you are my family, and there is nothing more important to me than family".
    • In the crossover "Flash vs. Arrow", Det. Joe West reluctantly tells Oliver at the end that "I might not agree with your methods, but I can't argue with the results." Det. Lance also said the same thing to him after a rescue of Laurel, which was the start of Lance becoming The Commissioner Gordon for Ollie.
  • The Cameo
    • A blonde-haired A.R.G.U.S inmate with a thick Joisey accent is heard offering Dig and Lyla marriage counseling in "Suicide Squad". She's voiced by Tara Strong and is credited as "Deranged Squad Female".
    • When Oliver met Waller in Beach City, the shot opens on the jumpsuit of a pilot with the name badge Jordan.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Inside H.I.V.E's Genesis bunker, messages about welcoming the brainwashed residents to their "new homes" can be heard constantly.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Tommy Merlyn, appearing in the zero issue of the New 52 Green Arrow series as Ollie's best friend before winding up on the island.
    • Diggle, as of issue 24 of the same series.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • In "The Odyssey", when Felicity finds Oliver as The Hood bleeding in the back of her car.
      Felicity: You're bleeding!
      Oliver: I don't need to be told that.
    • Later we get:
      Oliver: I guess I didn't die. Again. Cool.
  • Car Fu: How Felicity delivers a Shut Up, Hannibal! to the Ravager.
  • Cardboard Prison: Iron Heights is becoming this in Season Two. While the escapes are all somewhat justifiable (the prison endured some structural damage during the quake but they still have to use it to hold prisoners since it's all they got,) the fact that prison officials insist on trying to cover it up doesn't help their reputation. It's gotten so bad that Felicity just monitors their internal communication to find out who's gotten out next.
    Felicity: Iron Heights is better at keeping secrets than prisoners.
  • The Casanova: Tommy is stated to have quite a reputation as a ladies man, as did Oliver. Both quit it when they began dating Laurel (though Oliver wasn't ready to leave it behind until he was trapped on the island.)
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Huntress flatly reveals the vigilante's identity to the police, and they don't notice... because she dresses it up as screwing with Detective Hall, who was dating Oliver at the time. Also, he'd eliminated himself as a suspect (see Batman Gambit).
    • No-one will believe Laurel's insistence that Sebastian Blood is the man in the skull mask - almost everyone has written her off as mentally unstable and a drug addict. Made even worse when Blood substitutes Officer Daily for himself so that she ends up killing him and unmasking Daily instead of the real Brother Blood. As a result, even she won't believe her own truth.
  • The Cast Show Off: The show takes full advantage of the physical abilities of its cast members, in both martial arts and parkour. It is most evident in Stephen Amell as Oliver (Amell actually performs the salmon ladder, a notoriously difficult maneuver especially for someone of his size), but Caity Lotz as Black Canary also brings a lot to the table.
  • Catchphrase: "[Person in Oliver's book], You have failed this city!"
    • This is used much less in Season Two as The Arrow is now fighting crime in general. It does, however, get a Call-Back from Oliver at his lowest point in Season 2, when he declares, "I have failed this city."
    • Barton Mathis has "You have such lovely skin".
  • Caught in the Bad Part of Town:
    • Starling City has the Glades, which is like a ghetto where most of the crime in the city occurs. Thea often visited the Glades for various reasons (partying, helping Laurel, Roy), and on multiple occasions was attacked, and usually had to be saved by Oliver of Roy.
    • In the backstory, this is what happened to Rebecca Merlyn. She was robbed and shot while in the Glades, eventually bleeding out; Malcolm believes it was his fault for not answering his phone. This is Malcolm's motivation for forming Tempest.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Character Death: Tons. Robert Queen, Firefly, Billy Wintergreen/Deathstroke, stabbed slowly through his right eye by Slade, Yao Fei, shot in the head by Fyers, Fyers himself is killed by Oliver in the next episode, Tommy dies in "Sacrifice", Count Vertigo, Officer Daley, while wearing Sebastian Blood's skull mask, gets shot by Laurel five times, Alexi Leonov, Oliver's Bratva contact, killed by Slade with an arrow to the eye, Frank Bertinelli took a bullet meant for Oliver, Dr. Antony Ivo, mercy-killed by Oliver, Moira Queen was stabbed by Slade with a katana, Peter, who manned a torpedo to save Oliver, Anatoli, and Sara, the SCPD IT guy got his neck crushed by one of Slade's minions, District Attorney Kate Spencer had her neck snapped, again by one of Slade's minions, Sebastian Blood is stabbed twice by Isabel Rochev, and Isabel herself is killed by Nyssa al Ghul, via Neck Snap, Sara Lance takes three arrows to the chest from an unknown assassin and falls off a roof though she's later resurrected, Amanda Waller is shot, and Laurel Lance is killed by Damien Darkh.
  • Character Development:
    • Oliver as the Arrow used to pretty much kill any mook in his way, as well as his target. After Tommy's death, he began to use more nonlethal means. Not only that, but he's also shown to be more open with his team and hold himself more accountable, treating Felicity and Diggle as equal partners instead of sidekicks.
    • Through flashbacks, we also get to see Oliver change from the sheltered, self-centered kid he was before he was shipwrecked to the brutally efficient vigilante who comes home five years later.
    • Season 2 has Laurel go through a serious amount of this as she loses herself to drugs, alcohol, and depression, lashes out at others, before starting to realize that this isn't healthy and starts taking people's advice, then builds herself back up.
  • Character Shilling:
    • Felicity completely throws Sara under the bus by accusing her of becoming the Canary to hide from her inner demons, and says Laurel has "a light" inside her that her sister never did. Many fans were not happy with this utterly out-of-character statement to prop up Laurel as the Canary, particularly since Sara was dead by this point; while Sara herself thought herself as much, the fact Felicity - a close friend of hers - claims it as true while claiming that Laurel is more heroic is rather questionable.
    • Thea takes over Laurel propping in Season 4 when she tells Oliver he has to keep her in his life because she's such a good friend and so important to him. This is against 3+ seasons of toxic bickering and Laurel publicly attacking both Oliver Queen and the Arrow.
    • After Season 3's mid-season finale, Malcolm's been getting this quite a bit, notably when Roy tried to rationalize how Malcolm was just 'trying to help' by destroying the Glades while Oliver insists on protecting him because he needs him to help him get good enough to defeat Ra's Al Ghul (even though there's plenty of alternatives he could go to for training).
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: True to his comic book counterpart Oliver gains his expert archery skills while trapped on a deserted island for 5 years. Seems to extend to his other skills as well; somehow while on that island he became fluent in Russian and beating people up, not to mention wire fraud.
    • The flashbacks generally explain how he picked up a given skill, on a decidedly not deserted island that he wasn't even on for the entire 5 years.
  • Chekhov's Armory: A literal example. Brother Blood's base of operations in Season 2 becomes Team Arrow's base starting Season 4.
  • Chick Magnet: Oliver. He was dating Laurel prior to the show's start, but was able to convince her sister to go out on his dad's yacht with him. Since returning to Starling City, Felicity has a crush on him, he's slept with Laurel, McKenna Hall, the Huntress, Isabel Rochev, and the Canary. Most of the women on the show show at least some interest in him - which is totally justified given his wealth, handsomeness, and charm. Being in ridiculously good shape probably doesn't hurt either.
  • The City Narrows: The Glades. It's apparently such a horrible place that people can bleed out in the middle of the street while people walk around them.
  • City of Adventure: Starling City
  • Clark Kenting:
    • Oliver wears the hood, smears the area around his eyes with paint and uses a voice modulator that deepens and distorts his natural voice. Especially when talking to someone he knows personally, he keeps his head down and avoids eye contact. However, it isn't impenetrable and the whole thing falls apart if the hood is removed. Among other things, this is why Oliver starts wearing an actual Domino Mask in the second season.
      • In Season 4, Dahrk - who is an intelligent and capable villain - actually meets both Ollie and Green Arrow several times. As of "Taken", he still hasn't caught out that they're the same guy.
      • The series also implies that Hollywood Darkness is in effect, since there are several occasions when certain people Ollie knows should have a good look at his face, but don't.
    • Sara's Black Canary outfit has her with a Domino Mask and a platinum wig covering sandy blonde hair, but at least has a different shape so it's functionally the same as Ollie's hood. She adopts similar tactics that Oliver does with a voice modulator and avoiding eye contact (but the actress has a rather distinctive chin, making it less convincing when talking to friends and family while in costume). She also has a rather exposed cleavage under the black leather, which distracts people from her face.
    • Black Canary II wears a blonde wig over her natural hair, and wears tight leather as opposed to her "professional woman" daywear. Still should be pretty recognizable if you get a good look.
    • III possibly takes this trope to extremes, she's an SCPD cop, and when she's on a mission where she may encounter her colleagues, Felicity presents her with Laurel's domino mask. And that's it. No wig, no distracting cleavage, she's even Not Wearing Tights. Literally just her street clothes, a mask, and her hair down.
    • Mr. Terrific is Curtis Holt in a leather bike jacket with his hair in cornrows and a skintight "T" Expressive Mask. In short, instantly recognizable if you know him. The outfit is taken directly from the comics, BTW, which just raises further questions.
  • Clock King: The Trope Namer himself is the Villain of the Week in "Time of Death"
  • Cold Equation: Robert Queen figures that their life raft does not have enough food and water for three men to survive long enough to reach land so he kills the third survivor and then commits suicide, leaving Oliver alone with all the supplies.
  • Cold Sniper: Would we recognize Deadshot any other way?
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Lampshaded in episode 22, in reference to the differing colours of the arrows used by the Hood (green) and by the criminal known as the Copycat Archer (black).
      Detective Lance: The psychopaths are colour-coding themselves now, that's helpful!
    • Slade uses red and black arrows as his calling card in "Suicide Squad" - impaled in the right eye of his old mask and that of Alexi Leonov, Oliver's mafiya contact.
  • Combat Breakdown: Oliver vs. Slade in the second season finale has both of them exhausted, bleeding profusely and making clumsy swings, but they have just enough in them to keep it brutal.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Crosses over into Fridge Brilliance in that given Oliver's prowess with a bow, he could certainly kill every bad guy he comes across, but he intentionally leaves at least a few survivors to ensure the symbol of Arrow lives. Not that this necessarily helps his designated survivors: one poor mook survives because Oliver pins him to a crate... by his neck.
  • Combat Stilettos: Averted, most notably with China White. Either she's in combat boots or she takes off her heels before fighting.
    • Played straight with Helena, at least when undercover. Disguised as a stripper - wearing an outfit reminiscent of one of her comic book counterpart's uniform - she has no problem in subduing and then killing a man (and riding her motorcycle) while wearing platform stilettos, which impose even more of a handicap than the regular kind. Of course, she doesn't actually do much fighting in them so its a downplayed example.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: A television example, though it's not always the case.
    • Played straight in Season One as nobody ever calls Oliver "Green Arrow" or "the Arrow". It's even lampshaded in "Year's End" when "Green Arrow" is brought up and dismissed as being 'lame' by Oliver. Subverted in Season Two when Quentin and Laurel start calling him "the Arrow" and it's implied that Oliver prefers the name.
      • In a newspaper article from 2024 seen in The Flash (2014), he is referred to as "Green Arrow".
      • Finally fully averted by Oliver's announcement to the city at the end of the Season 4 premier- he's now the Green Arrow.
    • Zig-zagged by Deadshot — that's Interpol's codename for him, but Oliver calls him by his real name, Floyd Lawton. However, Diggle refers to him by both names, while ARGUS primarily uses the Deadshot codename once they get their hands on him.
    • The Royal Flush Gang are never mentioned by this title. At least directly. A news bulletin reports on their existence by this name.
    • Firefly is only mentioned as the group of firefighters he was part of, rather than his codename.
    • Count Vertigo is only called "The Count", with Vertigo being the name of his drug. Averted in Season Two by the man himself:
      The Count: I am Count Vertigo, and I approve this high!
    • Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress. In Season 2, this becomes her official codename that the police use for her.
      Detective Lance: You're quite the hunter, Miss Bertinelli... Well, I guess I should make that Huntress.
    • Subverted by Sara Lance, who uses the League of Shadows code name "Canary" (and dressing all in black). When Laurel takes up the mantle, she is referred to as "Black Canary".
    • And again with Malcolm Merlyn, who is mentioned offhand in Season 3 to use the codename "the Magician", referring to his status as The Chessmaster. In the comics, the character is called "Malcolm the Magician". Plus there's his status as the "Dark Archer".
    • Anatoli Knyazev isn't called KGBeast.
    • William Tockman is nicknamed "Clock King" by the Kent Brockman News — Felicity disapproves.
    • The name "Deathstroke" is not used in-show, even though Jeffrey Robinson (who plays Billy Wintergreen) is credited as Deathstroke. Finally subverted by Amanda Waller at the end of "Suicide Squad", referring to its rightful bearer, Slade Wilson.
    • Only Carrie Cutter calls herself Cupid. The rest are on Full-Name Basis with her.
    • Ray Palmer was never called The Atom here. The only time he was is when he crosses over to The Flash (2014).
    • Both Roy Harper and Thea Dearden Queen invokes this by saying they don't want to be called Speedy. The former is lucky enough since he canonically has many codenames. The latter isn't so lucky because it's been her nickname for a long time.
  • Composite Character:
    • Ray Palmer in Season 3, combines elements of the comic-book Ray Palmer (genius scientist, research on white-dwarf stars, development of 'Atom' suit) with Ted Kord (ALSO a tech-whiz, billionaire industrialist, involved with the OMAC project). The reason is that the writers originally wanted to use Ted Kord, but WB refused to give them access to the character and suggested the use of Ray Palmer instead.
    • To a certain extent, Oliver as well. While he is an adaptation of the Green Arrow of the comics, he incorporates a number of elements of Batman as well - such as his dealings with Amanda Waller, his conflict with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins (the sword-fight between Oliver and Ra's in "The Climb" is a homage to an iconic sword-fight in the comics between Batman and Ra's) and his evolving role as The Cowl in this continuity (in contrast with the Flash who is The Cape).
    • Thea has elements of Mia Dearden in her, but her initial drug problems originally belong to Comic!Roy's.
    • Isabel Rochev is merged with Rose Wilson, the Ravager.
    • Sara Lance's Canary has elements of both the first (original wearer of the costume and Laurel's predecessor) and the second (daughter of Dinah Drake, said original wearer in the comics). Amusingly, this also makes her a Decomposite Character.
    • In the first season, Malcolm Merlyn merges his original rival character Merlyn the Dark Archer with Ras Al Ghul, an affluent Well-Intentioned Extremist (his grand plan mimics Ras' plan in Batman Begins). In the third season finale, he becomes Ras Al Ghul, head of the League of Shadows as a Legacy Character.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Walter and Sara make the occasional appearance, but aren't regulars.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Appropriately enough, the League of Assassins is affected by this trope.
    • Slade's Mirakuru army is just slightly easier to take on than the few Mirakuru individuals seen previously. They're still scary, but they don't have Slade's ASIS training and the heroes start coming prepared with explosives, the only thing that can reliably incapacitate them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The number 52, a significant Arc Number in DC Comics, shows up a bunch of times.
      • In "Lone Gunmen" Deadshot stays at a hotel in room 52.
      • Continued in "Betrayal," in which Cyrus Vanch is stated to have been suspected in over 52 murders.
      • The Hood's official police kill count is 26, half of 52.
      • Detective Lance's call sign in 2x03 is Delta Charlie Fifty Two (DC-52).
      • Throughout the series, the major news channel in Starling City is "Channel 52"
    • Any time a character has a major injury, they get a visible scar in future episodes to match the injury. Often overlaps with foreshadowing.
  • Cool Car:
    • Felicity can somehow afford a massive, black 4x4 on an IT girl's salary. It gets totalled in "Streets of Fire".
  • Cool Mask: As it's a superhero series, these abound. Examples include Huntress, both Deathstrokes, Brother Blood, and Oliver himself.
  • Cool vs. Awesome:
    • Arrow fighting Nyssa al Ghul is this, with both of them showcasing brilliant, lightning-speed archery and martial arts. It even starts with Nyssa doing a flying backflip to retrieve her bow to face Oliver.
    • The tunnel scene from "Unthinkable", in which the Green Arrow, the Red Arrow, the Black Canary, Nyssa al Ghul, and her coterie of Dark Archers face off against Deathstroke's minions.
    • Oliver's showdowns against Malcolm Merlyn and Deathstroke.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
    • Oliver's first target, Adam Hunt, is a corrupt businessman who swindled hundreds of people out of their life savings. Presumably most of the people on Oliver's list also fit into this category.
    • Second target? Guy who stole pensions via insider trading.
    • Oliver's father confessed to being one while they were on the life raft. He's tried to be honest and clean ever since he unintentionally killed a bribe-seeking city official.
    • Oliver's mother seems to be this as well. She also strives for honesty, having been coerced into Tempest by the Big Bad, under threat to her family. Her surviving family.
    • Called out early on that Oliver is exclusively going after these. Afterwards, his friends convince him to occasionally make exceptions, when it's needed.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In season four, Laurel uses the Lazarus Pit to resurrect Sara and she Came Back Wrong, animalistic and not recognizing anyone. Laurel brought her back to Starling, but had her chained up in a basement because she didn't know what else to do with her. She avoids telling Oliver out of fear for how he would respond, and only sees his hypocrisy. He finds out when Sara escapes and is attacking random people and he is upset, because as it turns out Oliver knows a guy, John Constantine, who could have helped Sara long ago.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Diggle thought HE was the bodyguard for Oliver, until Oliver saved him during a fight against an assassin by disarming them with a thrown knife... an unbalanced butter knife. Oliver tried shrugging it off as a lucky throw, but Diggle knew it was too deliberate to have been done by accident. This was the start of his path to become a true ally for Oliver instead of a nuisance.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Deadshot is known as the man that "never misses" and goes as far as to lace his bullets with poison so that even a graze will be fatal.
    • Malcolm Merlyn's penthouse is one big panic room that has electromagnetic locks, with the power set on a separate circuit and covered on all sides with bulletproof glass. It contains his Dark Archer gear. Deadshot opens fire with a grenade launcher, destroying enough windows to give him a clear shot.
    • In the Season One finale, even after Oliver escapes, Tommy finds out The Plan, Moira outs the plan to the press and police, the Glades are being evacuated, the police attack him, Lance successfully deactivates the earthquake device, Oliver AND Diggle attack him and successfully KILL him, the Undertaking still goes through because the device planted where his wife was killed seemed to only be there for symbolic value — Malcolm had a more secure one due to the one thing he learned as a businessman: Redundancy.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Oliver Queen's transformation into the Green Arrow began when his family's yacht, the Queen's Gambit, sank, and he became stranded on Lian Yu. There, he was trained to fight by Slade Wilson. The Queen's Gambit was sunk by Malcolm Merlyn, the Big Bad of season one, while Slade Wilson became the Big Bad of season two. Oliver even expressly acknowledges at the end of season two that it was Slade who made Oliver into a hero.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Played tragically straight with Slade Wilson. First, Oliver injects him with Mirakuru in a desperate bid to save his life. Unfortunately, this joins with Oliver and Sara's decision to hide what happened to Shado from Slade to make Slade go nuts and turn on him. Then, when given the chance to cure Slade or try and kill him, Slade's deranged threats make Oliver stab him in the eye, completing Slade's turn to Deathstroke and unknowingly leaving him the superpowers to return to the mainland.
    • Zig-zagged with Huntress, Helena was already a dangerous sociopath before Oliver encountered her. After finding a kinship with each other and briefly dating, he took her under his wing in an attempt to give her direction and reign in her killing methods, but all this really did was give her a new look, a signature weapon with the crossbow and some better refined skills to do things her way. In addition to all of this, because she knows Oliver is the Hood and his own methods that makes her one of the more unpredictable enemies.
    • Played straight again with Carrie Cutter, who became the murderous Cupid only because of her obsession with the Arrow after he rescued her during the Siege of Starling City by the Mirakuru soldiers. Granted, she had a personality disorder long before that event, and had a tendency to become dangerously obsessed with people, but it was her obsession with Arrow that led her to the extremes of becoming a serial killer.
  • Cunning Like a Fox:
    • In Pilot, Oliver's first target as The Vigilante was Adam Hunt, a CEO accused of consumer fraud. He gives Hunt a warning, demanding $40 Million to be returned to his victims. When Hunt refuses, Oliver storms his office and takes out his security detail before escaping the police, who lied in waiting at Hunt's request. However, during the fight Oliver shot an arrow with an attached wireless router, which he used to remotely extract the amount he'd requested from Hunt's firm, which he then returned to Hunt's various victims.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In "Darkness on the Edge of Town" the Hood's confrontation with Malcolm Merlyn is short, brutal and almost entirely one-sided... unfortunately for Oliver.
    • Anyone unfortunate enough to fight the Mirakuru-infused Cyrus Gold loses badly. Until Oliver gets his Heroic Second Wind during their rematch.
    • Anyone with Mirakuru tends to do this to anyone they fight. The only person, seemingly, to kill someone with Mirakuru besides Oliver is Malcolm himself.
    • In "The Climb" when Oliver fights Ras Al'Ghul he starts with two swords while his opponent is unarmed, and ends up held at swordpoint after a couple minutes of entirely failing to hit him. He manages to get in a couple shots because he's assumed to be beaten, but the turnaround only lasts a couple seconds.
  • Damsel in Distress: Laurel and Felicity are often found in this situation. Subverted in the Season Two Finale when Felicity is deliberately left to be kidnapped by Slade so that she can get close enough to cure him.
  • Darker and Edgier: To the last TV show to air on The CW which was based on a DC Comics character. For a point of reference, it's commonly been compared to Batman Begins.
    • And to the original comics. No "Boxing Glove Arrow" here (until a Shout-Out improvised use of a glove-on-an-arrow in S3's "Guilty")! To be specific, Oliver starts out as a cold-blooded killer in the series; generally the show seems to take influence from Mike Grell's run, which itself was notable for its Darker and Edgier and no-spandex or superpowers approach to the DCU.
    • Also applies to other superheroes featured in the series. Black Canary, and in particular Huntress, both of whom are killers; Huntress, indeed, isn't a superhero in this version, but an outright villain. At best, the protagonists in this series qualify as examples of Anti-Hero.
    • Ollie is MUCH darker than his comics counterpart. For one, Comics!Ollie might be more than willing to hurt bad guys, but he doesn't break Thou Shalt Not Kill as blatantly as Arrow!Ollie does. Comics Ollie might have around maybe half a dozen kills in his entire existence as a character. By contrast, Arrow!Ollie might kill a dozen people an episode. Also, his idealism is less politically-motivated and more based on revenge for his father's murder (though he does soften up as the show goes along and graduates into heroism for its own sake on the side of his main mission).
    • It's deconstructed in comparison to The Flash (2014). When their characters cross over in "Brave and the Bold," they mention that they have the luxury of calling their bad guys metahumans. It helps them keep it from getting too real and serious, while Starling City is filled with much more real and darker threats.
      • Arrow's fifth midseason finale and The Flash's third midseason finale illustrate this. Despite both episodes' big climactic moments being pretty grim, they end with drastically different tones. The Flash episode ends with a celebratory Christmas sequence in which Joe finally hooks up with his coworker Camille, Wally receives his Kid Flash costume, Julian befriends the team, the West house is visited by merry carolers, Caitlin uses her powers to make it snow, and Barry and Iris get their own apartment together. In the Arrow episode, on the other hand, everybody is miserable: Diggle is arrested, Curtis's marriage falls apart, Billy is dead, Felicity is distraught over Billy being dead, and Oliver is distraught over the fact that Prometheus duped him into killing Billy. At least Laurel's apparent return from the dead lightens the mood a little bit.
    • The fifth season is this to the rest of the series, featuring a Slasher Movie-influenced main antagonist and having Oliver return to killing after three seasons of abstaining from it. That last point does not go well.
  • Dark Action Girl: Black Siren.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Practically EVERY major character on the show.
    • Oliver, naturally. Watched his father commit suicide. Watched his girlfriend's sister die TWICE. Spent five years in hell, losing his humanity, and forced to become a ruthless killing machine in order to survive. And that's not even counting everything he's been through since he came home...
    • Moira Queen. Lost her husband. Believed her son to be dead for five years. Was coerced into becoming part of a terrorist conspiracy.
    • Laurel Lance lost her sister and her boyfriend. In her own words, she was unable to either grieve or be angry towards her sister because of the circumstances in which she died (having an affair with her boyfriend).
    • John Diggle lost his brother to an assassin. During the war in Afghanistan, he went through a harrowing experience where he killed a child-soldier in order to save the life of a terrorist.
    • Felicity too, as off Season 3. She was a 'hacktivist' who developed a 'super-virus' that her boyfriend used to attempt to wipe out student loan records. Her boyfriend went to prison, and apparently committed suicide.
    • Malcolm Merlyn's troubled past is in a sense the beginning of everything on this show. His wife were murdered, leading to him leaving his son behind and traveling to Nanda Parbat to turn himself into an assassin and terrorist.
  • Dating Catwoman:
    • Helena - even after he discovers that she's the mysterious assassin who injured his mother and is trying to instigate a bloody war among the city's criminal factions.
    • Later, Oliver starts a relationship with Detective McKenna Hall, who immediately after gets assigned to help catch the Hood. She doesn't know Oliver's the Hood, though.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Dig and Lyla name their daughter Sara.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Half the cast, but particular honor has to go to Detective Quentin Lance and Slade Wilson.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • If you happen to be injected with Mirakuru.
    • Oliver started the series presumed dead, and has been clinically dead (no pulse) at least twice.
    • Sara. Presumed dead twice, then actually dead and brought back to life via mystical means
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Averted with Oliver and Thea. Their father was part of the conspiracy and cheated on their mother. Invoked by Thea who resists the idea that her father wasn't a saint, but is quick to blame her mother. Played straight with Tommy, whose dead mother was an altruist and has a free clinic in her name, while his living father wants to tear the place down – among other things.
  • Decomposite Character
    • The comic character of Deathstroke, an Anti-Villain with occasional touches of Anti-Hero, has been decomposed into two characters in the island flashbacks. His name, Slade Wilson, and better fighting ability goes to an Anti-Hero mentor to Oliver. His mask and villainous nature, with slightly lesser fighting prowess, goes to Billy Wintergreen, Slade's butler in the comics and here his former partner. As of Season Two, this has been subverted by Slade's Face–Heel Turn.
    • The character of Black Canary from the comics has been split between Laurel, the brunette civilian who wants to help the downtrodden, and her sister Sara, the blonde martial artist and crimefighter. Interestingly, Sara is also this to her mother Dinah, whose namesake is the first original wearer of the costume and Laurel's predecessor in the comics. Amusingly, this also makes her a Decomposite and Composite Character.
    • Isabel Rochev is also split into two; aspects of her character are merged with Moira in Season 1, while she herself appears in Season 2 proper and is merged with Ravager.
    • Roy Harper's canonical drug problems were distributed to Thea (pre to actual Season 1) and Laurel (Season 2), though he technically did have one in the form of Mirakuru.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The series. The first season in particularly seemed to deconstruct the Green Arrow mythos and the very idea of a 'superhero'. Oliver's previously harmless island origin turned into a 'five year nightmare' which may have left him with some amount of PTSD. Instead of getting a cool superhero Code Name Oliver's hooded alter ego was simply referred to as the 'Hood' or 'Vigilante' and rather than being considered a 'hero', he was hunted by the police as a criminal. Oliver lacked the 'code against killing' superheroes conventionally have, and his crusade had less to do with fighting crime and more to do with unraveling the conspiracy that led to his father's death. The villains he fought were mostly mob bosses, corrupt businessmen and politicians, and hitmen. Starting with Season 2 however, the show has progressively come closer to its comic-book roots, with a number of elements from the Green Arrow mythos and the wider DCU being introduced, albeit in a manner consistent with the tone of the show. Superpowers were introduced to the show with the strength-enhancing 'Mirakuru' serum. Black Canary (or at least an early iteration of her) was introduced. Oliver now has a firm code against killing, and works alongside Quentin Lance, who has become his 'Commissioner Gordon'. He is increasingly considered a hero and goes by the name 'Arrow', and later on, the Green Arrow. His mission is now a general pledge to fight crime, like most comic-book heroes. And he has faced a lot of 'supervillains' from the comics in the last two seasons, including Deathstroke, Clock King, Count Vertigo, Komodo, Cupid and the League of Assassins.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In the first season finale, when Malcolm has him in a choke hold, Oliver stabs himself with an arrow, injuring himself and mortally wounding the other. In "Draw Back Your Bow," Oliver ended up handcuffed to a railroad track and had seconds to escape, so he dislocated his own thumb so he could slip through. He's seen icing it afterwards.
  • Deserted Island: Lian Yu at first is presented as this. It's eventually revealed to be not the case.
  • Devoted to You: Oliver with Felicity. Since he found himself in love with Felicity, he was never able to move on - even if he tried once during their temporary breakup during S04 and S05.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Archery is treated as such in this series. Yao Fei notes that it can take years to learn archery and Oliver's first attempts on the island are, while not bad for an nonathletic beginner, terrible. Those who have learned archery, however, are the biggest badasses in the series and can take out gun-wielding goons with bulletproof armor and use special arrows making them more versatile.
    • The Mirakuru process is introduced like this as well. Surviving being exposed to it is difficult, and most tend to die from it; those who survive, however...
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Season Two introduces Sebastian Blood and Dr. Anthony Ivo as major villains of their respective timelines, only to supersede both with Slade Wilson. It should be noted that Blood was working for Slade the entire time, while Ivo merely had the spotlight stolen from him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Slade wants to level Starling City because Oliver couldn't save his girlfriend. Granted, he is Ax-Crazy, but still.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Felicity is not shy about her enjoyment of Oliver's salmon ladder workout, even if it keeps her work from having her full attention.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The dialogue between Ivo and Sara in "Blind Spot" sounds an awful lot like the two are in an abusive relationship.
  • Doing In the Wizard:
    • In the first season, there are no superpowers, and Oliver/the Hood is the first costumed vigilante/superhero in the world, with Word of God noting that they are approaching the show as if it is the DC Universe without super-powered people. With The Flash/Barry Allen turning up in season two & with him, the advent of superpowers, Word of God has said that people in the show aren't necessarily going to believe that superpowered beings exist, even if one were to run right by them.
    • Cyrus Gold gets his powers from a Super Serum, unlike in the comic, where he is a supernatural zombie resurrected by the Parliament of Trees.
    • The Canary uses a variety of sonic-themed weaponry, rather than having a sonic scream.
  • Domino Mask:
    • Oliver has a painted-on version at first, and eventually gets a real one in "Three Ghosts", as a parting gift from Barry Allen.
    • Helena/The Huntress and Sara/Black Canary.
    • Roy gets his own in the finale of Season 2.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Shado encourages Oliver to do this while trying to teach him how to shoot a bow. Then, they make out.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • Sara. Though she doesn't actually exist in the comics, a lot of fans accurately predicted her death since canonically, Laurel is supposed to be Black Canary. The fact that invokedWord of God confirmed that Laurel would eventually become the Black Canary didn't help matters.
    • Subverted in Season Four when - thanks to fan backlash - Sara is resurrected and becomes a major character on Legends of Tomorrow while it's Laurel - now the verse's Black Canary - who bites it. And Word of God confirms that this death will be permanent, providing an unusual subversion where a major Canon character dies, while the Canon Foreigner survives.
  • Double Entendre:
    • "Come before Oliver gets off", a phrase Oliver coins for a party he threw while under house arrest.
    • Helena gets one in when she says "Yes. I have a family engagement." She's looking to bump off her dad, who's cut a deal with the FBI.
  • Double Standard: There have been many arguments on social media about the fandom's treatment of Oliver versus Laurel. As the two main origin stories of the show, the writers have continually put them on parallel paths and events. This is highlighted the most in Season 3, when both characters react emotionally and irrationally to protect their loved ones (specifically their younger sisters). Both have done incredibly questionable things and have dealt with a lot of grief (torture and murder for Oliver, alcoholism and projection for Laurel), but Laurel is more likely to be hated by the fans for her actions under similar circumstances. Both have to deal with getting justice for Sara and Thea in Season 3. Laurel is hated by fans for reacting with violence and emotional outbursts when trying to find Sara's killer but the moment Oliver finds out who who killed Sara, and how he attempts to murder Malcolm, only to then protect him and, eventually, hand him the keys to the League of Assassins, denying Laurel justice for her sister's death.
    • This has only gotten worse after Laurel decides to do exactly what Oliver did to save Thea (by placing her in the Pit against anyone else's objections and without Thea's consent) to save her own sister - a year later, as no one told her about the Pit until now. When Oliver did it, this act was the sign of a loving brother. When Laurel does it, it is the sign of a selfish woman who doesn't actually love Sara. Many have wondered how certain fans would react if someone else, like Oliver, Thea or Felicity, had decided to resurrect Sara instead.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: After Sara is resurrected by the Lazrus Pit, Nyssa immediately destroys it afterward, both prevent Malcom Merlyn from having lackeys use it to bring him back whenever Nyssa kills him in the future and keeps it from being used to resurrect any of the rest of the cast that die from that point on.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Malcolm asks Moira to discover who the traitor is within the organization. He doesn't know it's Moira who ordered the hit on his life.
    • Tommy quits as Oliver's friend over Oliver's dishonesty and willingness to kill, seeking aid from his father Malcolm, who has way more of both.
    • When Moira is told she'll receive the death penalty on conviction, Oliver assures her that he will not let anyone take her away from him.
  • Dramatic Unmask:
    • Dark Archer unmasking himself. Especially since it was implied that he was Yao Fei. The show really likes unmasking the Dark Archer.
    • Oliver unmasks himself to Tommy, to convince the latter to trust him to save his father's life in "Dead to Rights".
    • Oliver pulls off The Canary's mask (and wig) in "Crucible", revealing Sara Lance underneath.
    • Oliver does the same with Roy to prove that he actually cares about Thea like Roy does and to get him to calm the hell down.
    • The end of "Sara" has a kendo fighter take their helmet off to reveal themselves to be Thea.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Sara shows up in the third season premiere and is shot in the chest and thrown off a roof after less than five minutes of screen time. Yes, she was Doomed by Canon but she could have had a much more meaningful death. Subverted when she gets resurrected later on.
  • Drinking Game: Invoked by Felicity regarding Malcolm Merlyn.
    Felicity: He is a mass murderer who has lied to us so many times it should be a drinking game.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The series in general often has Oliver come after various drug dealers, while also taking its time to explore exactly what substance abuse does to a person. This is especially the case with Laurel, whose addiction to painkillers is shown to be making her increasingly less mentally stable, and Katie Cassidy has lost a great deal of weight to show the toll it's taking on her body — costumes which used to be figure-hugging are literally hanging off her by "Blind Spot", when she is arrested for possession and fired.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked. Oliver has this reaction when Lance sarcastically asks, whilst investigating a robbery at Queen Consolidated, if they had another earthquake machine lying around, but Lance apologizes for the quip a second later anyway.
  • Dueling Hackers: Felicity is quite prominent in this trope. Some of the hackers she has dueled with include her father, an ex-boyfriend, and the Clock King.
  • Dye Hard: In-Universe Felicity is actually a natural brunette. It's a running joke whenever her blonde haired mother shows up that people comment on them sharing that trait.

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