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Arrow / Tropes H to M

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Arrow provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Hackette: Felicity Smoak, aided by the Magical Computer and Everything Is Online factor.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Pretty much everybody has different hair in the flashback scenes. Oliver's is longer, Slade's is shorter, Moira's is straighter, Sara has bangs, Dinah has Alex Kingston's signature curls whereas her hair is straight now, and Quentin's hair is darker. The few aversions include Laurel and Malcolm Merlyn. Felicity takes it Up to Eleven when it was revealed she was a dark-haired Goth in her flashbacks.
  • Half-Arc Season:
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    • The first season manages to give us two half-arcs. Each episode is a standalone, but with flashbacks to the island for the half-arc taking place with Oliver's level in badass and bird-breaking, and occasional scenes with the Big Bad to advance the half-arc of The Undertaking in the present.
    • The second season continues the pattern. On the island, we have, the Amazo and the Mirakuru. In the present, we have Deathstroke, Brother Blood, and the Mirakuru.
  • Hammerspace:
    • The Deathstrokes when they pull out their masks. One of them literally appears to be pulling his out of his ass.
    • Canary also has a habit of this with her staff, with it literally appearing in her hand in between shots before she and her dad battle the League of Assassins in the Clocktower in Season 2, Ep. 5.
  • Hands-On Approach: Sara towards Felicity when trying to correct her stance. The former is canonically bisexual and called her cute a few minutes prior, and the latter is wearing spandex at the time.
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  • Hard Light: Ray Palmer builds and uses an A.T.O.M. Exosuit described as having 'hard light' projectors as one of its weapons systems.
  • Has a Type: The Huntress lampshades to Black Canary that Ollie likes him some costumed girls, and Felicity blurts out "I have a type!" when she walks in on Ray Palmer doing a salmon ladder, getting her as easily flustered as she did all those times watching Oliver.
  • Healing Herb: Yao Fei and Oliver make use of healing herbs found on Lian Yu to greatly speed up healing and counter poisons. In Season 4, the Golden Lotus is a magical herb that's used to cure Thea of her Lazarus Pit-induced bloodlust.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Sara betrays Oliver on the Amazo out of fear of Ivo, then her loyalty wins out. Then she somehow ends up with the League of Assassins, but ultimately defects.
    • Malcolm Merlyn pretty much spends the entirety of Season 3 flip flopping.
  • Heroic BSoD: After nearly being killed by the Dark Archer, Oliver suffers from this, being too afraid of losing his family and friends to fight effectively. Diggle eventually snaps him out of it by telling him to use his loved ones as a source of strength instead. It doesn't hurt that the case he's working on happens to be one for Laurel, either.
    • He also gets one during the end of Season 2 when he loses faith he could stop Slade Wilson and his Mirakuru soldiers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
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    • Oliver's dad Robert shot himself and a fellow crew member on the lifeboat so that Oliver would have enough supplies to survive.
    • In the first season finale, Tommy runs in to save Laurel, and ends up getting killed when the building collapses on top of him.
    • In "Seeing Red", Slade captures Oliver and his family and forces him to chose between his mother Moira and younger sister Thea over who will live or die. Moira sacrifices herself to save her children by allowing Slade to kill her by stabbing her through the abdomen before both Oliver and Thea.
    • In "City of Blood", Oliver finds himself resolved to meet his death at the hands of Slade Wilson in order to end Slade's vendetta against him, and after seeing what Slade is capable of, he sees no other way to stop Slade other than surrendering, his devotion to those closest to him and to the city he swore to protect made evident during the efforts of both Felicity and Laurel to dissuade him. Laurel does manage to stop him from surrendering by telling him of another way he can stop Slade, by bringing down Sebastian Blood, the newly elected mayor with whom Slade had been working with.
    • In the sixth season finale Quentin dies in surgery after taking a bullet for Black Siren.
  • Hero of Another Story: Happens a couple times:
    • Barry Allen, during the inevitable crossover episodes.
    • John Constantine, who appears in Season 4 to aid Team Arrow with a mystical problem.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Oliver, both as the Hood and, as of Season Two, in his public persona.
  • Hidden Badass: Malcolm Merlyn.
  • Highly Visible Ninja:
    • The League of Assassins. They fight with exotic or hi-tech weapons, employ a great deal of theatrics, abseil with silk ribbons, and wear intimidating costumes when they are on a mission. This is especially the case with high-ranking members like Nyssa al Ghul, al-Owal, and Sara Lance, although even the uniform worn by lesser mooks such as Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer and Big Bad of Season One is clearly supposed to give the wearer a frightening appearance.
    • The Arrow himself. His bright green costume stands out considerably, as well as his use of arrows (green arrows, natch) and ziplines as a means of transport; as a result, he immediately ensures people know he's paid them a visit. Although by then it's too late for most of his targets.
  • High-Speed Hijack: Done during the flashback in "The Fallen". Oliver and Tatsu jump from a moving car on to an army truck. Olivier jumps into the back and deals with the soldiers there, while Tatsu climbs into the cab and throws out the driver.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Clock King develops a virus that makes computers explode including his mobile phone when Felicity gets her hands on it.
    • Slade Wilson bugged the Queen mansion in order to discover all the skeletons in Oliver's closet. As it turns out, Oliver discovered this when the manor was stripped to be sold and returned to stage a confession of love to Felicity he knew Slade would overhear, so that he'd kidnap Felicity and give her the opportunity to get close enough to cure him.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Sebastian shows complete and utter disdain towards Maya's religious devotion, even whispering "The gods are dead" to her in Spanish to scare her into a fatal heart attack.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • Quentin in real life wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Queen family considering his personal ties to them.
    • Laurel's career as a lawyer is practically made of this trope. It only gets worse when she's hired by the District Attorney's office in season two. Turns out it's because she's decent at blackmailing of all things.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Felicity Smoak.
  • Homage: The ending of "The Brave and the Bold," with Flash and Green Arrow squaring off to spar with no one watching, with the episode ending before the audience can see who wins, seems like a homage to "Grudge Match," the episode of Justice League Unlimited, which ends with Huntress and Black Canary squaring off to spar with no one watching, with the episode ending before the audience can see who wins.
  • Honor Before Reason: Another interpretation of Laurel going to CNRI in the finale. Risking her own life could be seen as stupid, until you realize the files and information she deals with can help her win court cases to save others from life in prison, being completely bankrupt, and other terrible fates.
  • Hopeless Suitor:
    • Felicity having a crush on Oliver was something fans suspected and the show teased at for a while, but it wasn't until Season Two that Felicity actually admitted it, albeit in a roundabout way. She eventually does confess her feelings and they consummate their relationship... just in time for Oliver to join the League of Assassins. Things aren't looking so hopeless during Season 4 however.
    • Barry Allen to Felicity, because of the above.
    • Thea to Tommy in "Legacies", which is made thoroughly creepy by the revelation that the two are half-siblings.
    • Slade to Shado by Season Two
    • Laurel is revealed to be one for Oliver at the end of Season 4 when she tells him he's the love of her life, despite knowing he's hopelessly in love with Felicity by this point.
  • House Husband: Oliver plays this role for Felicity during their time away.
  • Hourglass Plot: Since the show follows two different timelines at once, with the first one starting where the other is going to end, Oliver manages to have one of these with himself. In the current timeline, we see him grow from a merciless, homicidal vigilante to a true hero. Meanwhile, in the flashback timeline, we see him gradually change from an amiable Rich Idiot with No Day Job into, well, a merciless, homicidal vigilante.
  • How We Got Here: An interesting half-arc example. It appears that Oliver's time on the island will span a multi-season plot in its own right.
  • Human Notepad: Deadshot tattoos the names of his victims on his body.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Season Two Episode Four, "Crucible":
    Laurel: Please don't ask me if I'm okay, because everyone has been asking me that.
    Oliver: I would never do that.
    Laurel: Thank you.
    Oliver: You okay?
    Laurel: [Death Glare]
  • Identity Impersonator: When Oliver is arrested for being the Hood, his bodyguard Diggle puts on the costume and beats up some bad guys. The police have to release Oliver and apologize to him.
    • Diggle impersonates the Arrow again twice; in "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (to coerce Moira into answering his questions by hurting Oliver) and in "Left Behind" (in Oliver's absence, to keep up the impression that Arrow is still protecting the city).
    • Laurel's initial motivation to assume the mantle of the Canary is this - with Sara, the original Canary, dead, and Oliver presumed dead, she reasons that by impersonating her sister, she will be able to inspire fear in Starling City's criminals. She also more explicitly impersonated Sara when she uses a voice-modifier to mimic Sara's voice and trick her father into believing that Sara is still alive.
    • Towards the end of Season 3, various League of Assassins members, including Maseo and Ra's al Ghul himself impersonate the Arrow. Their purpose is to frame the Arrow for murders they've committed and turn Starling City against him, so that Oliver becomes willing to accept Ra's offer to replace him as the head of the League.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Deadshot, one of the most dangerous snipers in the world, uses a laser sight, allowing an alert Detective Lance to spot the dot and save the target. Any competent sniper would know to use either no sight, or a sight that could only be seen by someone with a huge eye lens as part of his costume. Diggle also manages to spot the red flicker in a later episode. Though, both times, Deadshot may have done so deliberately to cause panic.
    • Everyone grabs the ball in Season 3, Laurel keeps Sara's death a secret from her dad which naturally blows up in her face when he finds out. Malcolm brainwashes Thea to kill Sara as part of a convulated plot to manipulate Oliver into killing Ra's Al-Ghul for him. And Oliver keeps Malcolm under his protection instead of turning him over to the League to face justice for his crimes, much to the chagrin of his teammates.
    • Oliver's aversion to violence (or at least lethal force) seems understandable early on. But in Season 3, his unwillingness to kill Malcolm seems to fly in the face of almost all logic. Especially since he insists on going to war with the League of Assassins to protect Malcolm. As seen in the preview for Nanda Parbat, where he fights Nyssa and possibly Ra's for no discernible reason in order to save a man he hates and has every possible reason to hate.
    • Laurel makes a habit of grabbing it, with particular highlights including staying in CNRI to save some documents while the city is collapsing leading to Tommy's death in Season 1, blaming Tommy's death on the Hood and trying to get him arrested in Season 2, trying to become a vigilante with no training and then going after Malcolm Merlyn alone in Season 3, and reviving a long-dead Sara despite numerous warnings and refusing to tell anyone when Sara returns as a souless killer in Season 4.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Crosses over into a bit of Black Comedy since Oliver has snapped someone's neck before and has gone berserk over someone hurting Laurel.
    Tommy: Laurel and I are going to dinner. As in a date.
    Oliver: That's great. Laurel deserves someone special. And so do you. Listen, I gotta run to this thing.
    Tommy: Catch you later.
    Oliver: Oh, and Tommy? If you hurt her, I'll snap your neck.
    • Done by Diggle in season 3 when he meets Felicity's love interest Ray.
    Diggle: You hurt her, they'll never find your body.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: The Bratva make Oliver kill an enemy in order to prove he's one of them. Oliver takes a third option by merely rendering the guy unconscious and carrying him away before he wakes up.
  • I Have a Family: When Moira Queen is cornered by the Hood in "Betrayal", she gets down on her knees and begs him not to take her from her children, whose picture is behind her desk. It works, doubly because she's Oliver's mom and the picture is of him and Thea. Even though she then takes the opportunity to try to shoot him, Oliver later points out that none of his other targets thought of their families.
  • I Have Your Wife: Often.
    • Fyers is blackmailing Yao Fei by threatening his daughter.
    • Walter is kidnapped to keep a handle on Moira.
    • In episode 17 The Huntress compels Oliver by threatening Tommy and a room full of club-goers.
    • Slade does this twice at the end of Season 2, first taking Laurel, and on realizing Oliver wasn't in love with her anymore, he takes Felicity instead. The last one turns out to be a set-up by Oliver and Felicity.
    • Oliver does this to Diggle towards the end of Season 3.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: When Felicity is at a crossroads with Oliver's resignation that the Arrow is all he will have in his life, she takes up Ray Palmer's offer to come work for her in a more normalized environment. Played with, in that she still wants to make a difference in the city as part of Team Arrow, but realizes she needs a normal life as well to keep herself sane.
    • Oliver at the end of Season 3 decides to take a vacation from vigilante life. Season 4 has him happily living in the suburbs with Felicity, and finding a new enjoyment in cookery of all things.
  • I Lied: A constant theme, nearly every character has confessed to it.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Every mook with a machine gun that goes up against The Hood seems to have graduated from here. Particularly notable in the Pilot, where a mook fails to even graze Oliver on 3 separate occasions while Oliver's about 6 feet away. In their defense, it's always dark.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • A trait shared by all the currently living members of the Queen family:
    • Given the premise of the show, Oliver's skill with the bow is to be expected. However, he is also a master knife thrower. When Oliver throws an unbalanced kitchen knife to successfully disarm China White, Diggle is amazed and does not buy Oliver's explanation that it was just luck.
      • In Season 3, he turns out to be just as good with a gun, despite not actually practicing onscreen for several yearsnote .
    • Moira is one of the very few people in the entire show who has actually managed to hit the Vigilante when shooting him with a gun. Might be justified in that Oliver would not have taken her seriously as a threat, subconsciously thinking "My mother would never hurt me", while essentially forgetting that she doesn't know it's him.
    • Thea knocks a mook unconscious by hitting him on the back of the head with a bottle thrown from at least 20 feet away. She lampshades this trope.
      Roy: Where'd you learn to do that?
      Thea: I guess I have wicked aim.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Oliver regularly uses his bow as a bludgeon.
  • Improvised Armor: In "Trust but Verify", Oliver uses a garbage can lid as an improvised shield to block a tear gas grenade.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Oliver’s party boy image. Even when he's trying to project an air of carefree uselessness and indifference, he's either frighteningly intense or inhumanly calm. Indifferent? Not so much. note 
    • We have to be told that Thea is a smoker, since actually showing a non-villain smoking is against the rules of television.
  • Informed Judaism: Felicity is Jewish, but she only mentions it during a throwaway line during each of the first two seasons' Christmas episodes. It wasn't until the third season when her faith came up in non-Christmas situations, notably her throwing dirt into a newly dug grave because it is a Jewish custom.
  • In Name Only: The series uses a lot of names from The DCU, most of them minor, but the majority of them don't resemble their original counterparts at all. For example, Anatoli Knyazev (KGBeast) was changed from a Soviet Super Soldier to the leader of a Russian organized criminal group, and Mark Scheffer (Shrapnel) was changed from a man transformed into living metal to a Bomb Throwing Anarchist. There's also Laurel "Dinah" Lance in the show, the name of the comic book Black Canary. However a lot of the comic book Black Canary's attributes - world-class martial arts master, Battle Couple with Oliver, bisexual and mentor to a street orphan named Sin - are present in Sara Lance, while Laurel's character is a civilian lawyer and frequent Damsel in Distress in Season One and Two. Although Laurel eventually becomes a vigilante, she doesn't live long enough to develop the skills of the comic book Black Canary.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Ivo claims that Oliver is responsible for him shooting Shado, even though Oliver did nothing to provoke the attack. A grief stricken Slade under the influence of mirakuru readily believes this.
    • Malcolm Merlyn's wife was killed in the Glades, and he built the earthquake machine to destroy the glades and set it off in his insane grief, with the result that Tommy dies. This sequence of events notably does not contain any element caused by the Vigilante. Laurel is aware of who did it and why, but she still blames the vigilante for Tommy's death, saying he was caught in the crossfire between the Vigilante and Malcolm.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Team Arrow" for Ollie, Diggle, Felicity and their allies. Oliver doesn't approve, Felicity does.
    Oliver: We Don't call ourselves that.
    Felicity: I do—(catches Oliver's Death Glare) occasionally.
    • "Original Team Arrow" for the primary lineup of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity.
  • Insistent Terminology: Despite living together, having a child together, having been married before, and sometimes working together; Diggle and Lyla are not married. Until she accepts his proposal in season 3.
  • Inspector Javert: Detective Quentin Lance in the first season, even going so far as to use his daughter as bait to try and catch The Hood. Laurel Lance played this role temporarily as well.
  • Instant Expert: Oliver is an incredibly fast learner. He often screws up the first few times, but to date, he flawlessly practices a disarming flip and a neck snap after seeing them performed once, and later makes a killing shot with a bow and arrow after only one lesson.
  • Invisible Writing:
    • One episode has the names of Starling City's most corrupt criminals written in a handbook owned by Oliver's father. He only realized it wasn't blank when he put it near a flame and the names came up. The ink can also be revealed by way of a special pair of glasses.
    • The team finds some notes written the same way in Sara's boot in "The Magician" episode. Nyssa calls it "Ghost Ink" and says it is one of the standard methods that the League of Assassins employ for concealing secrets.
  • I Owe You My Life:
    • After 'The Hood' saves him, Roy has an epiphany, deciding that he needs to dedicate his life to helping the Hood. He ends up tracking him down and eventually becoming a member of Team Arrow, following the events of "Tremors".
    • Oliver could have simply left the island, but went back to save Yao Fei.
  • Irony: In Season One Laurel is the Hood's de-facto ally, while her father is actively trying to bring him to justice and both spend parts of the season trying to convince the other of their arguments. At the start of Season Two Detective Lance sees the Hood as the hero Starling City needs, while Laurel blames the Hood for Tommy's death and is trying to bring him in. Laurel's opinion changes pretty quickly after Broken Dolls, however, as it's really herself that she blames.
  • Island of Mystery: Oliver finds himself stranded on a seemingly deserted island in the South China Sea called Lian Yu. Soon he runs into a mysterious Chinese man, a mysterious military organization, and much more. Eventually John Constantine reveals that there are mystical reasons why the island acts as a magnet for so many bad people.
  • It Gets Easier: When he first arrived on the Island, he could barely bring himself to kill a bird. Over the flashbacks we see him become a man who snaps necks of mooks without a hint of hesitation.
    • His first human kill is a desperate accident but by the end of season one he's able to shot and kill the villain.
    • In season two he kills a man in rage, getting literal blood on his hands for the first time, sending him into shock. By the end when given the choice between curing Slade or killing him he stabs him in the eye with an arrow.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Thea, in classic teenager fashion but Up to Eleven. When Oliver first returns, she's actively trying to be like her brother was before he disappeared, which causes friction between the two of them as Oliver doesn't want Thea to go down the same path he did whilst Thea just sees her brother's disapproval as hypocritical and overbearing. She starts out as The Scrappy, her role in pretty much every episode before Roy shows up being limited to getting drunk and/or doing drugs and then telling Oliver it's all his fault for getting stranded on an island for five years. As the season goes on, it emerges that the reason Thea acts like this is because after the Queen's Gambit sank, Moira was so grief stricken that she closed herself off from Thea, who was 12 years old & had just lost her father & brother, and Thea's actions were just a cry for attention. It takes Moira finally opening up to Thea, and both Queen siblings beginning to understand how the past 5 years had affected each other, for Thea to begin to grow out of it. Finding someone else to care about helped, too: she really starts to grow when she has to help Roy Harper do so as well.
    • Laurel. For the first two seasons she compares her experiences with Oliver and Sara's five years of constant hell and torture, and come Season 4 she revives a souless, feral Sara resulting in several innocent people being attacked and killed, including Thea and when Oliver tries to clear up the mess Laurel's response is to complain he never thinks about her feelings. She gets better and becomes a card-carrying superhero... and dies a season later. Cue the fans clamoring for her death for the first 3 seasons and much of a fourth mourning her and begging the writers to bring her back.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Oliver uses this (roughly) to explain to Felicity why he's willing to have a one-night stand but not a serious relationship.
  • It's Personal: Oliver has this sort of a conflict with nearly every Big Bad for each season. If it isn't personal in the beginning, it's personal by the end. The only major villain he didn't come to hate in that manner was Ra's al Ghul, and that's because they would've never come into conflict in the first place had it not been for Malcolm.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: Amanda Waller's response to 50 mildly superhuman criminals? Destroy Starling City and kill every one of its hundreds of thousands of civilians. And it wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Tommy loves and understands Laurel so much... he breaks up with her because he believes she's still in love with both Oliver and the Hood. And should she ever find that out, she'd choose Oliver in a heartbeat. Tommy will always be second.
    • As Oliver and Felicity become closer, they attempt a date at the start of season three. An attack at the restaurant they were at convinces Oliver that he was off his game because of his feelings for her. Later in the season Felicity and Ray become involved, and Diggle points out Oliver's Green-Eyed Monster behavior. Oliver references the trope, while Diggle argues that actually being with Oliver WOULD make her happy.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Routinely used by Oliver throughout the series, mainly by shooting targets with arrows in painful places. Unusually for a superhero application of this trope, it is explicitly referred to as 'torture' in the Flash/Arrow crossover episodes.
    • 'Deathstroke' actually Billy Wintergreen uses this on Oliver in the island flashback in "Damaged".
    • In a shocking moment in "Sara", Laurel resorts to this on a suspect withholding information while questioning him in his hospital room.
    • In the flashback in "Brave and the Bold", we begin to learn the origins of Oliver's use of this technique. He is forced by Amanda Waller to interrogate a suspect who knows the location of a bomb. When he fails to do so, and the bomb explodes, causing the loss of innocent lives, a guilt-stricken Oliver gains the 'conviction' to master the 'art' of torture.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Quentin is crusading against Arrow because the guy's killed or maimed dozens of people. His treatment of Oliver also makes sense when you consider Oliver is the guy who cheated on his one daughter with his other daughter and got said daughter killed. And then his wife left due to her guilt over Sara’s death. Also, he didn't believe Oliver was the vigilante based on evidence so much as he needed it to be him to turn his hate for Oliver into a righteous crusade and throw him in jail. That's bad... but he is right about his identity after all.
    • Oliver uses this trope to avoid getting a job at Queen Consolidated, but he does make a valid point: He's not qualified to manage an international corporation.
    • Oliver’s speech to Tommy about how Laurel is a human being and doesn't need to be protected by Tommy and that he should actually treat her like an adult and talk to her.
    • Helena raises some good points about why Oliver's crusade for justice, where he has maimed and killed dozens of people, isn't any more valid than her own quest for revenge.
    • Oliver constantly lies to Laurel and shuts her out of Arrow business, even after she discovers his true identity. She calls him out for not trusting her as an equal and it's certainly poor behavior on Oliver's part....but Laurel does have a terrible track record of being trustworthy with his secrets. In Season 2 she used her secret relationship with the Arrow to ambush him, after discovering Oliver's identity considered exposing him (albeit to save her father) until Quentin talked her out of it and the moment she met Team Arrow she followed them against Oliver's express orders. In Season 3, she was rightfully furious about Oliver hiding the fact Malcolm murdered Sara...then single-handily attacked him and would have been killed if not for Nyssa. And in Season 4 after everyone hiding the existence of the Lazarus Pit from her, she immediately throws Sara's dead body in there against all protests and causing several deaths. With all that against her, it's surprising Oliver tells Laurel what he has for breakfast, let alone anything important.
    • Likewise Alex telling Oliver to distance himself from Laurel for the good of his mayoral campaign. Absolutely a jerk move concerning one of Oliver's oldest friends, but Laurel has publicly attacked him as both Oliver and the Arrow several times and their relationship has been painfully toxic for most of the show, so it's not surprising a political adviser would be worried at an ex-girlfriend still hanging around their client.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Quentin Lance maybe gruff and antagonistic but there’s no doubt he cares about his daughter and what’s her to be safe and happy.
    • Oliver often acts this way as well.
    • Roy in early seasons before upgrading to a genuine Nice Guy.
  • The Juggernaut: Cyrus Gold becomes this after being injected with Mirakuru, his muscle mass increasing to the point where he can punch down solid titanium doors, and any arrows Oliver shoots at him bend on impact.
  • Just Friends: Oliver and Felicity during s02.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Discussed. He's been accused of this but hotly denies it. In fact he's not actually in this to redistribute the wealth of his victims but to get their victims justice and prevent them from hurting more people.
  • Kick the Dog: Malcolm is good at doing this, particularly to Tommy.
    • One episode features Malcolm trying to mend fences with his son...until it turns out he just wants Tommy's signature to shut down a free clinic. Which was Tommy's dead mother's legacy .
    • In "Sacrifice", he kills three police SWAT team officers trying to stop him, and then brutally attacks Tommy when he tries to stop him. Later he threatens to kill Moira and Thea when he and Oliver are struggling, motivating Oliver to kill him.
    • If you were thinking that maybe, just maybe, Fyers wasn't a complete Jerkass... he shoots Yao Fei in the head in "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: The rationale given by Oliver in the first episode before snapping the neck of a mook who saw his face.
  • Knife Nut:
    • China White. Not only does she use a knife for everyday things like executing a witness who'd seen too much, but when she goes to kill Laurel in episode 2 she brings along gun-toting mooks... not to shoot the target, but for the express purpose of corralling Laurel (and Oliver) so that she can use her knives on them.
    • The way he suggests Oliver train with a sword as his main weapon implies that Slade Wilson is a Sword Nut.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother:
    • Oliver's sister does drugs and drives under the influence, causing her to crash. As a civilian, Oliver pulls all the favors he can to try and get Thea out of jail time. As the Hood, Oliver hunts down The Count and injects him with a concentrated dosage of Vertigo, causing The Count to suffer extreme pain and likely go insane. Don't even indirectly mess with Oliver's sister, or it's going to go down very badly for you.
    • When Roy is chasing after the Hood and bringing Thea with him, Oliver gets VERY angry at him, and not-so-subtly threatens him to keep her away from the Hood.
  • Lady of War: China White, Shado, Sara Lance, and Nyssa al Ghul.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Laurel gets attacked at her apartment with such frequency, her father wonders aloud why she doesn't just move. Quentin also sarcastically remarks how helpful the vigilante and the Dark Archer are now Color-Coded for Your Convenience once the latter starts showing up.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!":
    • In a flashback to the island in "The Odyssey", Oliver steps on a Japanese landmine left over from World War II, which goes click. Oliver is forced to stand immobile while Slade kills a group of patrolling soldiers around him. Slade frees Oliver by pushing the body of one of the soldiers on to the mine to take his place.
    • Gets a Call-Back in the Season Two premiere when Diggle and Felicity come to the island to find the self-exiled Oliver and Felicity ends up stepping onto a mine. Diggle attempts to free her with a knife, but Oliver calls him off and swings down Tarzan-style to get her clear.
    • Likewise, Sara plans to blow up Slade by exploiting one of the island's landmines. Cue Anatoli's reminiscence about his KGB training.
      Anatoli: Aah, KGB, you teach me many things. Russian bomb, Japanese bomb, both... go... [click] Boom.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice:
    • Oliver. Though it takes awhile for your eyes to move from his chest — ahem, scars.
    • Ditto Roy.
    • Even Slade has one.
  • Large Ham:
    • The Count, with his very... enthusiastic manner.
    • Slade, following his Face–Heel Turn. Practically every line he utters is delivered with either chilling gravitas, or in a loud bark.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The Count is rendered insane by an overdose of Vertigo.
    • Frank Chen betrayed Robert Queen to Malcolm Merlyn, resulting in the sabotage of the Queen's Gambit. He is, in turn, betrayed by Moira to Malcolm, leading to his own death. For added Irony, there's no evidence that Moira knew that Frank was involved with Robert's death.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The show actively throws curveballs into the story, making it difficult to discuss current events without spoiling some major developments. This includes Malcolm Merlyn is the Dark Archer, Tommy's death in the season one, Sara survived the boat sinking and returns to Starling City with skills comparable to Oliver in season two, Sara is killed in the start of season three.
  • Legacy Character: Unlike most superhero adaptations, Arrow doesn't avert this trope. It has indeed become part of the show's DNA to introduce a character who serves as a 'pre-cursor' to the later, more iconic version of the character.
    • In the show's continuity, Yao Fei was the first 'Green Arrow' (though he doesn't go by the name). Oliver inherits the mantle (literally, with the green hood) and develops the 'Hood/Arrow' persona in honor of him.
    • Sara Lance was the original (Black) Canary, and she symbolically passed on the mantle to Laurel by giving her the Canary jacket. After Sara's death at the start of Season 3, Laurel becomes the Black Canary to honor her dead sister.
    • The original Count Vertigo, who appeared in the first two seasons, was a drug-dealing psychopath known simply as 'the Count' who was eventually Killed Off for Real by the Arrow. At the start of Season 3, he is replaced by a crime-boss named Werner Zytle—the one and only 'Count Vertigo' in the comics. This trope is specifically invoked when the new Vertigo tells Arrow "There will always be a Vertigo".
    • Slade Wilson explains the Deathstroke mask as being something used by ASIS soldiers when in deep cover missions, and his former friend Billy Wintergreen is the first on the show to be called Deathstroke. Slade uses the mask as part of his modern day costume and Amanda Waller says they had code named him Deathstroke, suggesting it goes back even further.
    • Ra's al Ghul reveals that he is not the first leader of the League of Assassins. In "Al Saheem", it is explained that per the traditions of the League, Ra's anoints one of his protegees as his successor, who happens to be Oliver. Oliver learns from Malcolm that he has no choice in the matter and conditions him in a rigorous process that culminates in the destruction of their entire past life and community. By the end of Season 3 Malcolm becomes the new Ra's al Ghul.
    • In "My Name is Oliver Queen", Thea modifies Roy's Arsenal suit and assumes the identity of 'Red Arrow'.
    • After Roy claims to be The Arrow to protect Oliver and fakes his death, Oliver starts out season four creating a new persona as the "Green Arrow" and announces to the city that he is the successor to The Arrow. Thus Oliver is the Legacy Character to himself.
  • Legally Dead: Oliver is this during his five years on the island.
    • Post-Season 1, so is Malcolm Merlyn.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Oliver's is typically a variation of the theme used in the title sequence.
    • Malcolm Merlyn has a fanfare.
    • Deathstroke's can be described as a fearsome, two-note wail.
    • Barry Allen is introduced with a light piano theme, made all the more distinct by being stylistically very different from Arrow's background music.
    • Anyone with Mirakuru in them has a strange whooshing sound as the focus turns on them.
  • Let Them Die Happy: In the first season finale, Oliver lies to Tommy as the latter dies, saying he didn't kill Tommy's father Malcolm. Turns out not to be a lie in Season Two.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In the third season, Sara's death was a ploy by Malcolm, who drugged Thea and made her kill Sara in order to pit Oliver against the League of Assassins.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: Oliver Queen/Green Arrow and Damien Darhk. Darhk operates using Black Magic, empowered by blood and capable of Life Drain. To counter this Oliver is taught light magic known as "Light of the Soul", which allows Oliver to ward off darkness based magic using goodness. Darhk's magic becomes stronger with death and fear, while Oliver's magic is empowered by hope and selflessness. This is what leads to Darhk's defeat, with Oliver rallying the entire city against Darhk, which depowers his darkness magic.
  • Lighter and Softer: Season Four has a notable change in tone compared to the ultra-serious season three. The story still goes into dark areas but the character interaction is a bit more playful. Oliver in particular is A LOT warmer, almost leaving behind his role as The Stoic entirely.
  • Lip-Lock Sun-Block: Oliver and Felicity's The Big Damn Kiss in the Season 3 premiere.
  • Living with the Villain:
    • Oliver doesn't find out that his best friend Tommy's father is the one behind the List he's been crossing names off all season until the final few episodes.
    • Subverted with Moira Queen — the first episode reveals that she is complicit in Tempest alongside Malcolm Merlyn, but she's a reluctant participant.
    • Inverted with Detective Lance — he's actively trying to bring in the Hood, unaware it's Oliver.
    • In Season Two, Laurel's taken this role from her father.
    • Thea leaves town with Malcolm Merlyn at the end of Season 2.
  • The Lost Lenore: Shado. Her death haunts Oliver and prompts Slade's Face–Heel Turn and desire for revenge.
  • Love Confession: Oliver confesses his love for Felicity before going to fight Ra's al Ghul. Felicity declares her love for Oliver after he strikes a deal with Ra's al Ghul to stay in Nanda Parbat and be his heir.
  • Love Theme: "Convince Him" is Oliver and Felicity' theme song created by Blake Neely and is part of Arrow S03 Soundtracks.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Given that Oliver sleeps with absolutely everyone, it's unsurprising that he gets entangled in a few of these.
    • In the first season, Olvier is the Veronica to Tommy's Betty, with Laurel as Archie.
    • In the second season:
      • In the island flashbacks, it's Oliver, Slade, and Shado. Also Oliver, Shado, and Sara.
      • In the present, Oliver, Sara, and Nyssa (and Felicity?)
    • In the third season:
      • In the present: Felicity, Oliver, and Ray.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: In a platonic sense. After being rescued by the Hood, Roy becomes dedicated to finding the Hood so he can become his partner/student/protegee and be just like him. Roy’s opinion of Oliver is much lower – calling him a wimp.
  • Loyalty Mission:
    • Subverted in the first-season episode "Home Invasion." Oliver fails one of these by prioritizing protecting Laurel from a hitman over helping Diggle take down Deadshot, the man who killed Diggle's brother, without so much as a "sorry, buddy, I can't be in two places at once" to give Dig the heads-up that he's on his own, causing Diggle to take a 10-Minute Retirement from the team.
    • Played straight in the second-season episode "Keep Your Enemies Closer." Here, Ollie drops everything to travel with Diggle to Russia and track down Deadshot. Diggle tells Ollie that he didn't ask for his help, and Ollie replies that he didn't need to. Diggle's look of gratitude says it all.
  • Made of Iron: The amount of injuries Oliver sustained while on the island would have probably crippled most people. Likewise, in the premier he cuts his way through Adam Hunt's cadre of bodyguards, defeats his The Dragon, leaps out of a skyscraper, ziplines to safety... and reappears at his party a scant three minutes later looking none the worse for wear.
    • Third season mobster villain Brick has this almost explicitly. He is apparently a regular human, but is extremely difficult to harm short of extremely lethal means. He takes an arrow to the chest and pulls it with no hesitation. His favorite thing to do before killing an underling is offer them a gun in a form of chicken. Even if they get a shot off they are dead before getting another, even if they hit him.
  • MacGyvering: In the Season 3 episode "Corto Maltese", Oliver fashions bows and arrows for himself and Roy out of bed posts, blinds and other objects found in his hotel room.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • In the season finale, we learn that Fyers was working for some unknown woman, who's hidden behind shadows. With him now dead, she's likely responsible for what other problems Oliver and friends face on the island.
      • In Season 3, it is confirmed that the woman is Amanda Waller.
    • Slade is this to Brother Blood in Season Two.
  • The Mafiya: The third episode reveals that Oliver somehow has the rank of captain. As revealed in "Vertigo", he apparently saved the life of Anatoli Knyazev (who in the DCU is the KGBeast).
  • Magic Antidote:
    • Oliver has a herbal concoction he acquired on the island that seems able to cure any kind of poison, including curare.
    • The cure for Mirakuru, when it finally arrives, is an eerie glowing blue liquid.
      Felicity: Why does the secret formula always have to be colored? What happened to good old fashioned clear?
  • Magical Defibrillator: "The Odyssey". Diggle has to use one to restart Oliver's heart. Felicity even lampshades its usage by telling him he didn't say "clear" the first time.
  • Male Gaze: In "Dodger", when we see Felicity's party outfit, starting at her legs.
  • Man on Fire: "Burned" is about a presumed-dead firefighter taking revenge.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: See Oliver's skill with the mixed message.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Male example, with Oliver. He alternates between telling Laurel to stay away, and having ice cream with her. And he does this with everyone, so much so that in the Season 3 premiere, when Felicity and Oliver are about to squash their romance, she demands he stop "dangling 'maybes'."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: How Malcolm Merlyn keeps defying death. He survives being shot due to a kevlar vest, but he apparently returned from the dead in Season 2 with no explanation. To compicate matters, he's a known member of the League of Assassins, who have a... casual relationship with death to say the least.
  • May–December Romance: If Isabel Rochev is to be believed, this was true of her and Robert Queen.
  • Mayor Pain:
    • Sebastian Blood in season 2.
    • Ruvé Adams in season 4.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Helena with Oliver: "No one can know my secret."
    • Moira opens her press conference in the season finale with this line:
      Moira: My name is Moira Dearden Queen, I am the acting CEO of Queen Consolidated, and God forgive me, I have failed this city.
  • Meaningful Name: Oliver's nightclub 'Verdant': verdant is an adjective meaning to "be of a bright green colour." It also means, more figuratively, "full of life".
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • Most of the people killed on the show are men, but they're also criminals and there are more male criminals than female in the show's setting. The few women Oliver fights but doesn't kill survive less because they're women and more because they're just that badass.
    • Lampshaded in "The Huntress Returns", when Oliver and Diggle are discussing what to do about Helena.
      Oliver: So what? I should kill her?
      Diggle: I think you would have by now if she looked like me and not the T-Mobile girl.
  • Mercy Kill: Dr. Antony Ivo. Suffering from gangrene, he asks Sara and Oliver to end his life in exchange for valuable information about Mirakuru's cure.
  • Method Acting: invokedWhen Diggle acts as the Arrow to convince Moira to reveal what she knows about the Undertaking. In doing so, he rather convincingly beats up Oliver to get her to talk.
    (an alarmed Felicity sees Diggle and a heavily bruised Oliver walk in)
    Felicity: You said you would pull your punches!
    Diggle: I did.
  • Midfight Weapon Exchange: The Hood and Canary briefly exchange their signature weapons (bow and collapsable staff) in a melee, and turn out to be just as competent.
  • Mid-Season Twist:
    • Episode Seven of Season One reveals the Big Bad is Tommy's father and Oliver starts a relationship with Helena, who knows he's the vigilante. Tommy isn't the adaptation of the comic villain Merlyn the Archer. His father is.
    • In Episode Seven of season Two, Oliver is forced to kill Count Vertigo to save Felicity (without regret). Malcolm Merlyn is revealed to be alive, arranges Moira's not-guilty verdict in her trial, and reveals Thea is his daughter by a tryst they had.
    • Two episodes later, Slade is revealed to be the true Big Bad and The Man Behind the Man to Brother Blood when all previous evidence suggested he died on the island.
  • Mission Control: Felicity becomes this after "The Odyssey".
  • A Mistake Is Born:
    • Thea Queen is the love child of Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn, conceived while Moira was married to Robert Queen and Malcolm to his wife Rebecca. Thea's heritage is hidden from everyone for over two decades until Malcolm spills the beans following the death of his son, Tommy, his only legitimate heir. By this time, Moira and Malcolm are bitter enemies and Moira describes the affair as a one time slip of judgment, which means Thea was almost certainly a mistake.
    • Present-day Oliver loves his son William and would die for him. However, in season 2, we see a flashback where an in-his-early-twenties Oliver is completely freaked out after finding out his long-term fling, Samantha, is pregnant. He literally goes crying to his mother insisting he's too young to be a father and he doesn't want a baby.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: In a twist, it's Thea who thinks her mother is having an affair with Malcolm Merlyn, Tommy's dad. The misunderstanding doesn't overly affect Moira, Malcolm, or Walter since they'd had Walter kidnapped and the covert meetings were to do with their mysterious organization, but it devastates Thea and drives her to increasingly reckless behavior.
  • The Mole: One of Brother Blood's disciples is an officer in Detective Lance's department and leaks information.
  • Moral Dissonance: Ollie preaches to the Huntress quite a bit about her blasé attitude toward killing, pointing out that he only kills when it's necessary and only after giving his target a chance to do the right thing. This is true when it comes to his high-profile targets, but he extends no such niceties to the mooks in their employ, dropping a half-dozen hired guards in a typical episode with seemingly little care whether they live or die from the grievous arrow wounds he inflicts.
  • Mood Whiplash: An example using background music in Season 3 Episode 9 "The Climb": Oliver must face Ra's Al Ghul in a duel to the death using swords. The fight begins with Ra's unarmed while Oliver has two blades. Ra's dominates the fight, taking one of Oliver's blades during the battle. Oliver seems outmatched when music of worry starts to play as our hero is held to a standstill at the end of a sword at around 40:43... suddenly at 40:48 Oliver uses his remaining sword to parry Ra's blade and mount an offensive. The music of concern gives way to optimistic music. Oliver is mounting his comeback and the song has almost gone full-on Arrow theme music.... which is abruptly stopped when at 40:53 Ra's uses his bare hand to stop Oliver's sword mid-swing. Ra's punches him in the throat, slices his abdomen, monologues, stabs him through the chest, and kicks him off the side of a mountain. Oliver dies from his injuries.
  • Morality Chain: Diggle stated this is the main reason he joined Oliver, so to keep Oliver from going too far. Though as Oliver's characterization softens slightly, he settles in as more of a...
  • Morality Pet:
    • Diggle and Felicity keep Oliver from getting too myopic or ruthless in his vigilantism. They do this by calling him out when he goes too far and encouraging him to help people not related to his list.
    • Oliver is also shown to be concerned about how his actions affect the people he cares about.
    • Tommy is one for Malcolm Merlyn. While Malcolm treats his son pretty badly with his 'tough love' approach and general asshole behavior, he does not let anyone else do the same. Tommy is possibly the only person he cares about. Season 3 has a more complicated version of this trope with Thea.
  • The Most Wanted: Oliver Queen spends a great deal of time evading capture. The bad guys want him dead for ruining their criminal enterprises. Law enforcement wants him captured because of the murders he's committed as a vigilante. Covert ops want him for his value as an operative. People from his past show up wanting revenge for actions he's taken that created collateral damage.
  • Motif: Oliver frequently wears V-neck sweaters, which are reminiscent of an arrow. When he pairs one with a V-neck shirt, the two Vs overlap to create an even more overt arrow shape.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
    • Averted with Oliver who wears a variation of his costume from the comic in a darker shade of green.
    • The original Deathstroke gear worn by both Slade and Billy Wintergreen is replaced for black and grey combat gear with the classic mask, though with both eyes. His upgraded gear, however, while different from the comics, incorporates more orange as well as some dark blues, making it resemble his Arkhamverse and Injustice designs, and to some extent his design in the New 52, and like the classic design the mask only has one eye.
    • China White's costume is black rather than the white she wears in the comics.
    • Huntress wears mostly black with purple tones in her costume as a Shout-Out to her comic book incarnation.
    • Canary wears an outfit inspired by her classic gear, though with an added Domino Mask (which she only wore briefly in the comics) and replacing the fishnets with leather pants that have a cross-stitch design on the legs to evoke this image.
    • Deadshot tends towards whatever clothes he can get, some tactical gear, his eye piece and his wrist-mounted automatics. His mask is never worn and he doesn't wear any of his comic book costumes.
    • Bronze Tiger also just wears a leather jacket and some fancy claw-knuckles, never wearing his tiger-like mask of the comics.
    • Continuing with the rest of the Suicide Squad, Lyla/Harbringer never wears a costume when leading the team, and Shrapnel also just wore regular clothes instead of a costume; though, in the comics he didn't have a costume, being that he was basically sentient bomb shrapnel rather than an actual human being like he is here.
    • Roy Harper wears a similar costume to Oliver, but in dark red.
  • Mr. Fanservice
    • Oliver, if the main image didn't clue you in.
    • Diggle who has a similar physique to Oliver.
    • Teen Wolf alum Colton Haynes joins the cast as Roy Harper.
    • And don't forget Slade, who gets his own shirtless workout scene in episode 16.
    • A series of shirtless posters of all of the above were used to advertise the second season.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Thea in her revealing school uniform. She dips back into this in Season 3 once she Took a Level in Badass, with all of her outfits showing off her flawlessly toned stomach.
    • Laurel’s outfits – particularly her evening wear – tend to fall into this category. Less so in Season 2 as her drug habit takes its toll on her body.
    • Felicity’s dress in “Dodger” with the lingering shot of her legs. And throughout Season 2 her outfits become far more flattering, often incorporating a Cleavage Window. In "Time of Death", she wears spandex and is briefly shown in her underwear.
    • Helena’s outfits are often tight-fitting.
    • Sara Lance as Canary and her costume fit. Zigzagged - although she's had a few appearances in less clothing, which highlight her body and her especially athletic physique, there are instances where this is subverted by the very large and very visible scars on her back (see Toplessness from the Back, for example).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Arrow does this with a simple question:
    Arrow: WHAT. COLOUR. ARE. YOUR SHOES?
  • Mundane Wish: In the second episode, Oliver shows up at Laurel's apartment with a paper bag and tells her that there was one thing he thought about every day he was on the island - he even dreamed about it - and he promised himself that if he ever got the chance to do it again, he would do it with her: eat ice cream. Given his prior reputation and Laurel's facial expression, it's not too hard to imagine what she originally assumed he was talking about.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!:
    • Tommy gets a nonverbal version, over Oliver's teenage sister Thea.
      Tommy: Have you noticed how hot your little sister's gotten?
      Oliver: [Death Glare]
      Tommy: Because I have not!
    • Tommy just can't catch a break with this trope.
      Tommy: Girl's pretty cute.
      Diggle: She's my sister-in-law.
      Tommy: Who I will never speak to... or look at... ever.
    • Now pretty much becoming a Running Gag. Once more with feeling when Tommy visits Laurel and finds her father there. They're dating at the time, mind you.
      Tommy: Merry Christmas. How are you?
      Det. Lance: [in a low voice] Proficient with firearms.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • The death of Sara Lance on the Queen's Gambit is this for Oliver. Oliver blames himself for taking her on the ship in the first place, when he was in a committed relationship with her sister Laurel.
    • As of season 2, failing to stop the destruction of the Glades & the subsequent deaths of 503 innocents, including best friend Tommy, has also become this Oliver.
    • Dinah Lance also blames herself for not stopping Sara betraying Laurel, after seeing Sara packing to leave with Oliver on the yacht.
    • Laurel blames herself for Tommy's death.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.


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